Nonfiction > Abraham Lincoln > Political Debates Between Lincoln and Douglas > Page 310
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Abraham Lincoln (1809–1865).  Political Debates Between Lincoln and Douglas  1897.
 
Page 310
 
 
I hold in my hand a copy of the report which I made at that time. I will read from it:—
          The point upon which your Committee have entertained the most serious and grave doubts in regard to the propriety of indorsing the proposition, relates to the fact that, in the absence of any census of the inhabitants, there is reason to apprehend that the Territory does not contain sufficient population to entitle them to demand admission under the treaty with France, if we take the ratio of representation for a member of Congress as the rule.
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  Thus you see that in the written report accompanying the bill, I said that the great difficulty with the Committee was the question of population. In the same report I happened to refer to the question of submission. Now, listen to what I said about that:—
          In the opinion of your Committee, whenever a constitution shall be formed in any Territory, preparatory to its admission into the Union as a State, justice, the genius of our institutions, the whole theory of our republican system, imperatively demands that the voice of the people shall be fairly expressed, and their will embodied in that fundamental law, without fraud, or violence, or intimidation, or any other improper or unlawful influence, and subject to no other restrictions than those imposed by the Constitution of the United States.
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  I read this from the report I made at the time, on the Toombs bill. I will read yet another passage from the same report; after setting out the features of the Toombs bill, I contrast it with the proposition of Senator Seward, saying:—
          The revised proposition of the Senator from Georgia refers all matters in dispute to the decision of the present population, with guarantees of fairness and safeguards against frauds and violence to which no reasonable man can find just grounds of exception; while the Senator from New York, if his proposition is designed to recognize and impart vitality to the Topeka constitution, proposes to disfranchise, not only all the emigrants who have arrived in the Territory this year, but all the law-abiding men who refused to join in the act of open rebellion against the constituted authorities of the Territory last year, by making the unauthorized and unlawful action of a political party the fundamental law of the whole people.
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  Then, again, I repeat that under that bill the question is to be referred to the present population to decide for or against coming into the Union under the constitution they may adopt.  23
 

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