Abraham Lincoln (18091865). Political Debates Between Lincoln and Douglas 1897.
There is another reason why you Southern people ought to nominate Douglas at your Convention at Charleston. That reason is the wonderful capacity of the man,the power he has of doing what would seem to be impossible. Let me call your attention to one of these apparently impossible things.
Douglas had three or four very distinguished men of the most extreme anti-slavery views of any men in the Republican party expressing their desire for his re-election to the Senate last year. That would, of itself, have seemed to be a little wonderful; but that wonder is heightened when we see that Wise of Virginia, a man exactly opposed to them, a man who believes in the divine right of slavery, was also expressing his desire that Douglas should be re-elected; that another man that may be said to be kindred to Wise, Mr. Breckinridge, the Vice President, and of your own State, was also agreeing with the anti-slavery men in the North that Douglas ought to be re-elected. Still, to heighten the wonder, a Senator from Kentucky, whom I have always loved with an affection as tender and endearing as I have ever loved any man; who was opposed to the anti-slavery men for reasons which seemed sufficient to him, and equally opposed to Wise and Breckinridge, was writing letters to Illinois to secure the re-election of Douglas. Now, that all these conflicting elements should be brought, while at daggers points with one another, to support him, is a feat that is worthy for you to note and consider. It is quite probable that each of these classes of men thought, by the re-election of Douglas, their peculiar views would gain something; it is probable that the anti-slavery men thought their views would gain something; that Wise and Breckinridge thought so too, as regards their opinions; that Mr. Crittenden thought that his views would gain something, although he was opposed to both these other men. It is probable that each and all of them thought that they were using Douglas; and it is yet an unsolved problem whether he was not using them all. If he was, then it is for you to consider whether that power to perform wonders, is one for you lightly to throw away.