Nonfiction > Abraham Lincoln > Political Debates Between Lincoln and Douglas > Page 419
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Abraham Lincoln (1809–1865).  Political Debates Between Lincoln and Douglas  1897.
 
Page 419
 
 
done in these days to prepare the public mind to make property, and nothing but property, of the negro in all the States of this Union.  14
  But there is a point that I wish, before leaving this part of the discussion, to ask attention to. I have read and I repeat the words of Henry Clay:—
          I desire no concealment of my opinions in regard to the institution of slavery. I look upon it as a great evil, and deeply lament that we have derived it from the parental Government and from our ancestors. I wish every slave in the United States was in the country of his ancestors. But here they are; the question is, how they can best be dealt with? If a state of nature existed, and we were about to lay the foundations of society, no man would be more strongly opposed than I should be to incorporate the institution of slavery among its elements.
  15
  The principle upon which I have insisted in this canvass is in relation to laying the foundations of new societies. I have never sought to apply these principles to the old States for the purpose of abolishing slavery in those States. It is nothing but a miserable perversion of what I have said, to assume that I have declared Missouri, or any other Slave State, shall emancipate her slaves; I have proposed no such thing. But when Mr. Clay says that in laying the foundations of societies in our Territories where it does not exist, he would be opposed to the introduction of slavery as an element, I insist that we have his warrant—his license—for insisting upon the exclusion of that element which he declared in such strong and emphatic language was most hateful to him.  16
  Judge Douglas has again referred to a Springfield speech in which I said “a house divided against itself cannot stand.” The Judge has so often made the entire quotation from that speech that I can make it from memory. I used this language:—
          We are now far into the fifth year since a policy was initiated with the avowed object and confident promise of putting an end to the slavery agitation. Under the operation of this policy, that agitation has not only not ceased, but has constantly augmented. In my opinion it will not cease until a crisis shall have been reached and passed. “A house divided against itself cannot stand.” I believe this Government cannot endure permanently, half slave and half free. I do not expect the house to fall, but I do expect it will cease to be divided. It will become
 

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