Abraham Lincoln (18091865). Political Debates Between Lincoln and Douglas 1897.
all one thing, or all the other. Either the opponents of slavery will arrest the further spread of it, and place it where the public mind shall rest in the belief that it is in the course of ultimate extinction, or its advocates will push it forward till it shall become alike lawful in all the States,old as well as new, North as well as South.
That extract and the sentiments expressed in it have been extremely offensive to Judge Douglas. He has warred upon them as Satan wars upon the Bible. His perversions upon it are endless. Here now are my views upon it in brief.
I said we were 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. Is it not so? When that Nebraska bill was brought forward four years ago last January, was it not for the avowed object of putting an end to the slavery agitation. We were to have no more agitation in Congress; it was all to be banished to the Territories. By the way, I will remark here that, as Judge Douglas is very fond of complimenting Mr. Crittenden in these days, Mr. Crittenden has said there was a falsehood in that whole business, for there was no slavery agitation at that time to allay. We were for a little while quiet on the troublesome thing, and that very allaying plaster of Judge Douglass stirred it up again. But was it not understood or intimated with the confident promise of putting an end to the slavery agitation? Surely it was. In every speech you heard Judge Douglas make, until he got into this imbroglio, as they call it, with the Administration about the Lecompton Constitution, every speech on that Nebraska bill was full of his felicitation that we were just at the end of the slavery agitation. The last tip of the last joint of the old serpents tail was just drawing out of view. But has it proved so? I have asserted that under that policy that agitation has not only not ceased, but has constantly augmented. When was there ever a greater agitation in Congress than last winter? When was it as great in the country as to-day?
There was a collateral object in the introduction of that Nebraska policy, which was to clothe the people of the Territories with a superior degree of self-government, beyond what they had ever had before. The first object and the main one of conferring upon the people a higher degree of self-government