Abraham Lincoln (18091865). Political Debates Between Lincoln and Douglas 1897.
to an end, and that they might be quiet about it, watching it as it expired. I think Judge Douglas might have perceived that too; and whether he did or not, it is worth the attention of fair-minded men, here and elsewhere, to consider whether that is not the truth of the case. If he had looked at these two facts,that this matter has been an element of discord for one hundred and sixty years among this people, and that the only comparative peace we have had about it was when that policy prevailed in this Government, which he now wars upon,he might then, perhaps, have been brought to a more just appreciation of what I said fifteen months ago,that a house divided against itself cannot stand. I believe that this Government cannot endure permanently, half slave and half free. I do not expect the house to fall, I do not expect the Union to dissolve; but I do expect it will cease to be divided. It will become 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 will rest in the belief that it is in the course of ultimate extinction, or its advocates will push it forward until it shall become alike lawful in all the States, old as well as new, North as well as South. That was my sentiment at that time. In connection with it, I said: We are now far into the fifth year since a policy was inaugurated with the avowed object and confident promise of putting an end to slavery agitation. Under the operation of the policy, that agitation has not only not ceased, but has constantly augmented. I now say to you here that we are advanced still farther into the sixth year since that policy of Judge Douglas,that Popular Sovereignty of his,for quieting the slavery question was made the national policy. Fifteen months more have been added since I uttered that sentiment; and I call upon you and all other right-minded men, to say whether that fifteen months have belied or corroborated my words.
While I am here upon this subject, I cannot but express gratitude that this true view of this element of discord among usas I believe it isis attracting more and more attention. I do not believe that Governor Seward uttered that sentiment because I had done so before, but because he reflected upon this subject and saw the truth of it. Nor do I believe, because Governor Seward or I uttered it, that Mr. Hickman of Pennsylvania,