Friday, February 28, 2014

Remarks of Hon. Stephen A. Douglas on the State of Parties in Illinois

Remarks of Hon. Stephen A. Douglas on the State of Parties in Illinois; Delivered in the Senate of the United States, June 15, 1858. [Washington: 1858]

Mr. Douglas. I do not intend to go into the discussion of this question of the British outrages. I shall vote for the resolutions reported by the Committee on Foreign Relations, although, as is well known to the Senate, they are far short of coming up to what, in my opinion, the two Houses of Congress ought to have done in conferring power upon the President to resist and avenge insults to our flag; but I desire now to make an explanation on another matter, which connects itself somewhat with the subject now before us, and which affects me individually and my constituents. I find in the Intelligencer and many other papers, and commented upon extensively throughout the country, within the past week, this telegraphic dispatch:

Springfield, Illinois, June 9. — The State convention of the administration democracy assembled here to-day. Two hundred and sixty-three delegates, representing forty-eight counties, were in attendance. John Dougherty was nominated State treasurer, and ex- Governor Reynolds superintendent of public instruction. Resolutions were adopted affirming adherence to the Cincinnati platform ; reaffirming the principle of non-intervention in the Territories; opposing the concentration of power in the hands of the central government; deprecating slavery agitation; condemning Senator Douglas for his opposition to the administration; denouncing the principles of the republican party as tending to the dissolution of the Union, and denouncing the late outrages by the British cruisers on American vessels in the Gulf of Mexico and elsewhere.
In other papers I find this treated as a convention of the democracy of Illinois, and represented as having condemned my course this winter upon questions of public policy. I desire to correct this impression. It was not a convention called by any authorized authority of the democratic party of that State. It was not called by the democratic central committee, the organ of the party for that purpose ; nor by any portion of them; nor by the assent of any one of them. It has no more authority to assume to be a convention of the democracy of Illinois than any other equal number of citizens of the State who might get together irregularly and in violation of the usages of the party. I will go further, and say that the two persons nominated for State offices are not and have not been recognized in Illinois as uniformly consistent democrats. Both of them bolted the democratic party and joined the enemy on the occasion of the passage of the Nebraska bill. Both are noted for their violent, persecuting opposition to me and to the democracy of Illinois, in consequence of the passage of the Nebraska bill.

But, sir, the democracy of Illinois did assemble in State convention on the 21st of April last, and nominated a State ticket. That convention was regularly called by the democratic State central committee. The convention was held at the appropriate place, at the usual time; all its proceedings were regular. There was not a single defect, or error, or irregularity in the origin of the convention or in its assembling, either in general convention or in any one of the county conventions that nominated the delegates. That State convention represented ninety-eight of the one hundred and one counties in the State, in every one of which the county convention was called regularly by the proper county committee ; the proceedings were conducted
harmoniously and decorously, and in every one of those county conventions resolutions were passed endorsing and approving the course which I have pursued in the Senate this winter. The fact is, therefore, that, instead of being denounced by the democracy of Illinois, I have been endorsed by every county in the State, and in most of them unanimously. In four or five counties there were a few dissenting voices, but very few. When the delegates from those 98 counties assembled at Springfield at the appointed time, they passed a series of resolutions, to which, on another occasion, I called the attention of the Senate, and which I then endorsed, and now endorse. Those resolutions were adopted unanimously. They affirm their undying attachment to the principles and organization of the democratic party of the State and Union. They declare "that they are unalterably attached to, and will maintain inviolate, the principles declared by the national convention at Cincinnati in June, 1856."

I will read the fourth resolution, and send the whole series to the reporter to be inserted in his report of my remarks.

"4th. Resolved, That the platform of principles established by the national democratic convention at Cincinnati is the only authoritative exposition of democratic doctrine, and they deny the right of any power on earth, except a like body, to change or interpolate that platform, or to prescribe new and different tests; that they will neither do it themselves nor permit it to be done by others, but will recognize all men who stand by and uphold democratic principles."

Thus it will be seen that while they declare that, in their opinion, the Lecompton constitution ought to have been submitted to the people, and that no State should be forced into the Union with a constitution not approved by, and in opposition to, the wishes of the people, yet they will proscribe no man in consequence of a difference of opinion upon this point, but will recognize all men as democrats who abide regular nominations and adhere to the organization of the party, and uphold democratic principles. While they were firm in the conviction that their construction of the democratic platform was correct, they declare unequivocally that they will proscribe no democrat and submit to no proscription because of a difference of opinion on the Lecompton question. The whole series of resolutions is as follows :
"Colonel McClernand, from the committee to prepare resolutions for the consideration of the convention, made the following report; which was read, and, on motion, each resolution was separately read and unanimously adopted :

"1. Resolved, That the democratic party of the State of Illinois, through their delegates in general convention assembled, do re-assert and declare the principles avowed by them as
when, on former occasions, they have presented their candidates for popular suffrage.

"2. Resolved, That they are unalterably attached to, and will maintain inviolate, the principles declared by the national convention at Cincinnati in June, 1856.

"3. Resolved, That they avow, with renewed energy, their devotion to the Federal Union of the United States, their earnest desire to avert sectional strife, their determination to maintain the sovereignty of the States, and to protect every State, and the people thereof in all their constitutional rights,

"4. Resolved, That the platform of principles established by the national democratic convention at Cincinnati is the only authoritative exposition of democratic doctrine, and they deny
the right or any power on earth, except a like body, to change or interpolate that platform or to prescribe new or different tests; that they will neither do it themselves nor permit it to be done by others, but will recognize all men as democrats who stand by and uphold democratic principles.

"5 Resolved, That in the organization of States the people have a right to decide at the polls, upon the character of their fundamental law, and that the experience of the past year has conclusively demonstrated the wisdom and propriety of the principle that the fundamental law under which the Territory seeks admission into the Union should be submitted to the people of such Territory, for their ratification or rejection, at a fair election to be held for that purpose ; and that, before such Territory is admitted as a State such fundamental law should receive a majority of the legal votes cast at such election and they deny the right, and condemn the attempt, of any convention, called for the purpose of framing a constitution, to impose the instrument formed by them upon the people against their known will.

"6 Resolved, That a fair application of these principles requires that the Lecompton constitution should be submitted to a direct vote of the actual inhabitants of Kansas so that they may vote for or against that instrument, before Kansas shall be declared one of the States of this Union; and until it shall be ratified by the people of Kansas, at a fair election held for that purpose, the Illinois democracy are unalterably opposed to the admission of Kansas under that constitution.

"7. Resolved, That we heartily approve and sustain the manly, firm, patriotic, and democratic position of S. A. Douglas, Isaac N. Morris, Thomas L. Harris, Aaron Shaw, Robert Smith, and Samuel S. Marshall, the democratic delegation of Illinois in Congress upon the question or the admission of Kansas under the Lecompton constitution and that, by their firm and uncompromising devotion to democratic principles, and to the cause of justice right, truth, and the people, they have deserved our admiration increased, if possible, our confidence in their integrity and patriotism, and merited our warm approbation our sincere and hearty thanks, and shall receive our earnest support.

"8. Resolved, That in all things wherein the national administration sustain and carry out the principles of the democratic party as expressed in the Cincinnati platform, and affirmed in these resolutions, it is entitled to, and will receive, our hearty support."
These were the resolutions adopted unanimously by the regular democratic State convention containing representatives from 98 counties, embodying more of the distinguished and prominent men of the State than were ever assembled together before on any one occasion— men eminent for their ability, for their high character, for their stern unyielding democracy, and who never wavered in the performance of a patriotic duty. These were the men who assembled at Springfield and adopted these resolutions unanimously.

What well-founded objection can any honest democrat find to these resolutions, or to the proceedings of the convention which adopted them? What excuse can be assigned for bolting the nominations made by this convention, and dividing the democratic party, in order to transfer the whole power of the State into the hands of the republican party? No man pretends that the convention was not regularly called, or that the delegates were not fairly elected, or that its proceedings do not faithfully represent the feelings and sentiments of the democracy of the State. How comes it, then, that another convention, composed of bolters and disorganizers, has been held for the purpose of dividing and defeating the democratic party, and thereby securing the election of republicans, in the place of the regular democratic nominees, for State officers, for the legislature, for Congress, and for United States senator ? By whom and by what means has this disorganizing movement been devised and attempted to be executed ? I regret to say that it has been done under the auspices of a man who holds an appointment under the federal government, and who pretends that he is carrying out the policy and wishes of the administration in his efforts to divide and defeat the democratic party. Being the special agent of the Post Office Department, and having the general superintendence of all the mails, postmasters, and route agents in the State, and a free pass over all the railroads, he has prostituted the trust confided in him, by threatening all the postmasters and route agents and office holders of every description with immediate removal from office if they did not bolt the regular democratic nominations and join in the disorganizing movement to elect the republican ticket.

By this system of intimidation towards all persons in office, and by liberal promises to all who desired office, this special agent was enabled to induce a few persons to bolt and withdraw from the county conventions in five or six counties, after they had been outvoted by an overwhelming majority, and to appoint another set of delegates to a bolters' convention to assemble at Springfield on the same day of the regular convention. Besides these irregular bolting delegates from five or six counties, a few postmasters were induced to attend from other counties where they could not find sympathizers enough to get up a meeting; and in this manner they were able to assemble thirty-seven persons in all, claiming to represent some twenty-odd counties out of one hundred and one counties in the State. I repeat that they were not able to secure a regular delegation from any one county in the State, having been voted down by immense majorities in every county where they made the attempt. I have now in my possession several letters, which found their way into the newspapers, written by the postmaster at Chicago to other postmasters in the State, urging them to be appointed delegates, if possible, and, if they failed, to go to the bolters' convention on their own account without a constituency, with a distinct intimation that if they did not do so they would lose their offices. In this mode and by such means thirty-seven bolters were assembled in one hall of the State house while the regular democratic State convention was in session in the other hall of the same building.

That small squad of bolters adjourned from the 21st of April until the 9th day of this month, when they assembled again. A paper which I have from the capital of the State says that this time they had delegates from fifteen or twenty counties, and numbered a little over a hundred persons in all, nearly one-half of whom were from the city of Chicago. The telegraphic despatch to which I have referred states that they had delegates from forty-eight counties. The discrepancy is accounted for in this way: In fifteen or twenty counties there were small meetings held, which appointed delegates; and happening to find men in the city from some thirty other counties, they put down their names as delegates from those counties, though they had no constituency, and, in a majority of these instances, the persons did not go into the convention. It is this convention of bolters (whose only object is to defeat the regular nominations of the democratic party of the State) who have assembled together and denounced me. Sir, I have been in the habit of being denounced in Illinois for twenty-five years by bolters and deserters from the democratic party; never have I been denounced or censured by any regular democratic county or State convention in Illinois. I have always sustained the regular organization and nominations of the party, and hence I have incurred the displeasure and hostility of all disorganizers in the party and all bolters and renegades from it. It is natural, therefore, that such men as Doctor Charles Leib and his confederates should form a secret alliance with the leaders of the republican party to defeat me and all others who support the regular organization and nominees of the democratic party in the State. His antecedents fully justify the supposition that Doctor Leib would engage in such a conspiracy, and use all the means in his power to make it successful, even by prostituting the trust which the administration had confided to him as special mail agent, to divide and destroy that great party which elevated Mr. Buchanan to the presidency. A portion of the history of this man Leib — sufficient at least to show how much, or rather, how little confidence should be placed in his professions of attachment to the democratic party while acting in concert with, and for the benefit of, the republican leaders — is recorded in the official reports of the Senate, and now on our files, from which I will read a paragraph or two.

We all recollect the representations of Governor Denver in Kansas last winter, in regard to the existence of a secret military organization in that Territory, which he calls the "Danite Society"' in allusion to a similar organization among the Mormons. We have all seen the exposures of Redpath, the confederate of Lane and Leib, in Kansas, and remember the frightful accounts which he gives of the Danites in Kansas The existence and character of such an organization are not brought to light now for the first time.

It will be recollected that the Committee on Territories, in their report of the 12th of March, 1856, when condemning the revolutionary proceedings by which the Topeka constitution was got up, presented an expose of those revolutionary measures, and brought to light, amongst other things, a small pamphlet containing the ritual of the secret military organization, commonly called the "Danite Society." The committee then had, and now have on their files an original copy of the ritual of that Danite or secret military organization. It was obtained under these circumstances: In one of the fights there between the pro-slavery party and the freesoil party, a man by the name of George Warren was taken prisoner; he took this little pamphlet out of his pocket, put it into his mouth, and attempted to chew it and swallow it; he was caught by the throat,. and made to spit it out. The document was brought here to the Senate with the tooth-prints upon it, and from it this report was made. Here is the list of the officers of that military organization:
"The officers of the Grand Encampment are:
Grand General, Rev. G. W. Hutchinson, Lawrence, K. T.
Grand Vice General, C. K. Holliday, Topeka, K. T.
Grand Quartermaster, J. K. Goodwin, Lawrence, K. T.
Grand Paymaster, Charles Leib, M. D., Leavenworth city, K. T.
Here you find this same Charles Leib, who is now the agent of the Post Office Department for the State of Illinois, the man who has got up this bogus convention against the democracy, was one of the chief officers of Jim Lane's Danite society, in Kansas, and was so reported by a committee of this body in 1856. He has the reputation of having before fled from the Mormons when they got into trouble to join Jim Lane in Kansas. He then fled from Kansas and took shelter in Illinois, and is now getting up this movement to break down the democratic party. I will show you the character of this Danite society. Here is the oath that Mr. Leib took in order to become a member of it.


"I ____ ____, in the most solemn manner, here, in the presence of Heaven and these witnesses, bind myself that I will never reveal, nor cause to be revealed, either by word, look, or sign, by writing, printing, engraving, painting, or in any manner whatsoever, anything pertaining to this institution, save to persons duly qualified to receive the same. I will never reveal the nature of the organization, the place of meeting, the fact that any person is a member of the same, or even the existence of the organization, except to persons legally qualified to receive the same. Should I at any time withdraw, or be suspended or expelled from this organization, I will keep this obligation to the end of life. If any books, papers, or moneys belonging to this organization be intrusted to my care or keeping, I will faithfully and completely deliver up the same to my successor in office, or any one legally authorized to receive them. I will never knowingly propose a person for membership in this order who is not in favor of making Kansas a free State, and whom I feel satisfied will exert his entire influence to bring about this result. I will support, maintain, and abide by any honorable movement made by the organization to secure this great end, which will not conflict with the laws of the country and the Constitution of the United States. I will unflinchingly vote for and support the candidates nominated by this organization in preference to any and all others.
"To all of this obligation I do most solemnly promise and affirm, binding myself under the penalty of being expelled from this organization, of having my name published to the several territorial encampments as a perjurer before Heaven and a traitor to my country, of passing through life scorned and reviled by man, frowned on by devils, forsaken by angels, and abandoned by God."

The man who took that horrid oath is now representing the Post Office Department in Illinois, and going to each postmaster, and saying to him, "If you do not bolt the regular democratic nomination — if you do not join in to help elect a republican over Douglas, you shall be removed from office, and I am authorized to say so." He goes to each man who wants an office, and makes the same threat and promises. He has one or two associates with him engaged in the same business under his direction, who travel free upon the cars and public conveyances, who, professing to speak in the name and by the authority of the administration, avow that their object is to defeat the regular democratic nominees in Illinois, and knowing, too, that there is no hope or possibility of defeating them except by the election of the republican nominees. Why should not this man be acting in concert with republicans? His oath of allegiance to Jim Lane as a Danite requires him to help to destroy and break down the democratic party, under the penalty of being "a perjurer before heaven, and a traitor to his country, and of passing through lite scorned and reviled by man, frowned on by devils, forsaken by angels, and abandoned by God." He is now doing in Illinois what he bound himself by monstrous oaths to do before he left Kansas.

Mr. Bigler. I have no desire to interrupt the senator, nor shall I have any participation in this debate. It was the last thing that could occur to any man's imagination that we should have a debate of this kind. What I desire to say — and this much I must say in justice to Dr. Leib — is, simply, that I heard this allegation against him, I called his attention to it, personally, and I will give his own testimony for what it is worth.

Mr. Douglas. Let us have it.

Mr. Bigler. He solemnly denies that he ever belonged to any such association, or ever had any participation with it. He declares that the use of his name in that connexion was without authority and was an abuse of it; that he was not in Kansas at the date of this organization. That is his declaration to me.

Mr. Douglas. That compels me to make a statement to the contrary, and then the Senate and the country may judge. The first time I ever saw Dr. Leib was when I went home, in September, 1856, to take the stump for Mr. Buchanan, in Illinois. I met many distinguished men, some of whom are now present, and travelled with them to Tippecanoe battleground, where I made a speech on the 3d of September, I think. On the next day I made a speech at Joliet, Illinois, and took the cars about ten o'clock at night to go to Morris, where I was to speak on the succeeding day. When I got into the cars I found a large number of persons, perhaps one hundred or more, from Chicago, who were going down to attend the great meeting at Morris. Among them was Mr. John Van Buren, of New York. While I was conversing with Mr. Van Buren, a man whom I subsequently learned to be Dr. Charles Leib, approached, and Mr. Van Buren introduced me to Mr. Leib, as editor of the Tribune, mistaking the Tribune for a "small campaign paper called the Bugle. I understood him to say Mr. Lee. I spoke to him politely, but formally, and passed by. The Tribune was a paper that was opposing me very violently, and its editors, of course, would not have much sympathy with me in the business in which I was then engaged. I treated him politely, but had no conversation with him. In a few minutes he came back, and expressed the hope that I would have no hard feelings against him about that Kansas matter. I asked him to what he alluded, and he said he referred to his connexion with the secret military organization in Kansas, as exposed by me in the report of the Committee on Territories. I told him I did not recollect any man by the name of Lee connected with that "Danite society." He said his name was Leib, and that he was the grand paymaster of that association, and he supposed I had treated him coolly because of that fact. He has never pretended to disguise or deny the fact of his connexion with the notorious James H. Lane and the Danite association. It is a fact as well known and as notorious as any other in the history of the Kansas disturbances. Only a few days ago I received a letter from an editor of a newspaper in Kansas, a person unknown to me personally, who proposed to give a history of the outrages perpetrated by Leib and his Danite confederates in Kansas. The writer had observed the course pursued by Leib and his confederates in Illinois to divide and destroy the democratic party, and thought it his duty to expose him, under the impression that I was not aware of the facts.

If Leib now denies his connexion with Lane and the Danite society in Kansas, as exposed in the report of the Territorial Committee in March, 1856, it is only an additional evidence of the depravity of his character. As well might the senator from Pennsylvania [Mr. Bigler] deny his own identity, or his own record in the legislature of his State. Leib confessed the fact to me under the circumstances I have stated, and is equally well known to others, and can be proven by hundreds of witnesses. His sympathy with the republicans, and his oath as a Danite, would naturally stimulate him to do everything in his power to destroy the democratic party and build up the republicans.

I repeat, sir, that this man Leib is in the habit of threatening all the office holders in the State that he is authorized to have every one of them removed who does not bolt the regular democratic party and oppose its nominations. I will say, furthermore, that I do not believe he has any such authority. I do not believe the administration have authorized any man to give such pledges in their name in the State of Illinois; but what difference does that make if he does so every day and makes all the office seekers and office holders believe it. The result is the same as if he had the authority to make the promise. I tell you now the republican leaders have no hope of success in the ensuing election — no hope of destroying the democracy of Illinois, except by their alliance through Leib with the office holders. All their prospects and hopes depend upon that alliance. If they can succeed, of course the office holders will be well provided for. If Illinois be taken from the democratic party and annexed to the republican column, the office holders will have the sole credit, and, of course, will be well rewarded for the great services they will have rendered the republicans. I received a newspaper to-day from the capital of Illinois, edited by a worthy and honorable gentleman, which, speaking of the proceedings of this Danite convention, says:
"Many of those who participated in the proceeding did so under protest, and will repudiate the action of the convention and vote against its nominations. The speakers were Dougherty, Bonney, Carpenter, Fitch, and others, and they all took the position that it was necessary to nominate a ticket in order to defeat the democratic party of the State, not one of them pretending that a ticket nominated by them could be elected, or accomplish any better purpose than to give the State to the black republicans, which they boldly proclaimed would be far preferable to the success of the regular nominations of the party. This, to say the least, was creditable to their sincerity of purpose, corresponding as it did with their previous public councils and with their well known designs."
The object, therefore, is to divide and destroy the democratic party by aiding the republicans to elect their ticket. It is avowed, and hence you find that every republican paper in the State sympathizes with them against me. One will make charges and the other support them. There is a regular alliance in order to abolitionize the State by breaking down the democratic party and putting the republican party in power. They may have got some good democrats into the movement, men who have been deceived by false representations, and who hold office or desire places, and have been made to believe that hostility to the democratic party is the only sure passport to .the favor of the federal administration. That a large majority of those who have countenanced this movement have been deceived by Leib, Grand, Cook, Carpenter, and their confederates, I have no doubt, and that they will soon discover the fraud that has been practiced on them and return to the support of the democratic party and its nominees.

Sir, when you look to the principles stated in the platform of the regular democratic convention, what one is there to which any democrat can object? They affirm the Cincinnati platform, they affirm the Kansas-Nebraska bill, they affirm the great principle of self-government, that the people of each State and Territory have a right to decide for themselves what institutions they will have. They affirm that the application of these principles required the Lecompton constitution to be submitted to a vote of the people of Kansas, and yet they make no test with any democrat on that point and submit to none for themselves, recognizing all as democrats who support democratic principles. Then what pretext is there for this bolting convention of Danites, unless it is to make a test on every man who believed it was not right to force a constitution on a people against their will ? If that test be made, where would be your democratic party in Pennsylvania, in Ohio, in Indiana, in New Jersey, in California, or in any other State?

Mr. Broderick. Will the senator from Illinois allow me to interrupt him ?

Mr. Douglas. Certainly.

Mr. Broderick. Did I understand him aright, a few moments since, as stating that he believed the administration had not encouraged Leib in endeavoring to destroy the democratic organization in Illinois?

Mr. Douglas. I said I did not believe they had given him or his confederates any authority to speak or act for them in matters of appointment or removal of officers. I do not believe, and cannot believe, that Leib, Cook, or their confederates, have any authority from the President or any member of his cabinet to threaten honest democrats with removal from office in the event they will not abandon their principles and betray their party, or to promise offices to others on condition that they will perform such an act of perfidy. The meanness, yea, the infamy, of the act is too monstrous to admit of belief. Yet it is undeniable that these things are being done daily in the name and professedly by the authority of the administration; and the effect on the public mind will be precisely the same as if done by authority, unless promptly disavowed and rebuked by removing the treacherous agents from office. A refusal to disavow the authority, after a full knowledge of the facts shall have been brought home to the administration, should, of course, be regarded and treated as an approval and endorsement of the act as having been done by authority.

Mr. Broderick. I am fully answered, sir. I am very much delighted at your exposé, and I merely wished to know whether you intended to go with these gentlemen.

Mr. Douglas. I intend to denounce this treason to the democratic party ; this system of bolting regular democratic nominations; this coalition of office holders with the enemies of democracy. I intend to denounce it in every part of Illinois, and I mean to hold all men responsible for it who by their action become justly responsible. I now point out the fact that a conspiracy against the unity and integrity of the democratic party exists, and is being executed by a portion of the federal office holders in Illinois, who profess to be acting under the sanction of the administration, but who, in my opinion, are acting under the direction of a small squad of selfish and unscrupulous politicians here who care less for the present than the next administration. I am as confident that the democracy of the whole Union will visit the conspirators with condemnation when the facts are fully understood, as I am now assured that the movement itself is disapproved and condemned by a large majority of the democrats in both houses of Congress. All good democrats, all fair minded men of every party, will unite in denouncing such an unscrupulous alliance between the leaders of the republican party and that portion of the office holders who receive orders from the Danite chief. What is the issue now pending in Illinois? What is the inducement to the great struggle for which the republican leaders and their allies are now preparing? The motive cannot be disguised, nor, indeed, is there much effort to conceal it. The object of this combination is to strike down and crush out the democratic delegation in the two houses of Congress, and the democratic party in Illinois, which has unanimously endorsed their course in State convention, for having acted fully up to their conscientious convictions in carrying out in good faith the great principle of self-government in its application to Kansas. This is the extent of our offending. For this offence we are to be pursued and hunted down by an unscrupulous coalition. The republican leaders, with all the machinery of their party organization in motion, are fighting us with more fierceness, and, I may add, with more ferocity, than they ever did on any former occasion. They go into the battle with more energy and confidence, relying for success solely upon the aid which may be rendered them by the bolting office holders in dividing the democratic party.

It is natural that the republican leaders should feel great anxiety to humble and defeat the democracy of Illinois. They are restive under the reflection that Illinois is the only northern State which never struck her flag to the enemies of the democracy at a presidential election. While every other northern State has at some time, under some momentary panic or fanatical excitement, struck her flag and surrendered to the enemy, Illinois never! Pennsylvania has, on more than one occasion, abandoned the democratic party, and secured the election of an opposition President. New York has done the same thing frequently; Ohio often; Indiana several times; and so with each State in turn, leaving Illinois standing bravely alone, a solitary exception among her northern sisters. Now it is proposed, in view of these facts, to humble that gallant State, and make her trail her glorious old flag in the dust, and strike her ever victorious colors to an allied army composed of the republican organization and the bolting office holders under a democratic administration!

The republican leaders justify the part which they perform in this unnatural coalition upon the ground that they are only employing these bolting office holders to fight their battles the same as the British government employed the Hessians to fight our revolutionary fathers when they were struggling to establish and maintain the great principle of self-government, which we now insist should be extended to all the territories in the same manner as they applied it to the colonies. The republicans do not conceal their purpose of retaining exclusive possession of the field and appropriating to themselves the greater snare of the spoils of war and fruits of victory, in the event they shall be so fortunate as to win the battle solely through the agency of their allies in effecting a breach in the democratic ranks. The republican leaders reason in this way: that if, by acting in concert with the bolting office holders, they can secure a republican State ticket, a republican legislature, a republican United States senator, and a majority of republicans in the next Congress, they will be amply compensated for the sacrifice of principle and honor involved in a coalition with professed Lecomptonites to put down democrats whom they acknowledge to have been right on that issue, and at the same time using that very issue as the only means of accomplishing their defeat. Thus the proposition stands confessed that a combined effort is to be made to divide the democratic party and defeat the nominees, for the simple reason that we would not consent to force a constitution on an unwilling people, nor drag them into the Union against their consent with a constitution which they had rejected by ten thousand majority. Our firm and unyielding adherence to this position forms the basis for this coalition between the bolting office holders and the republican leaders. If this is to be the issue — if the great principle of self-government upon which all our institutions rest, the right of the people to form the constitution under which they are to live, and ratify or reject the same at a fair election, is to be the issue, my position is taken, and I am ready to maintain it. I resisted with all my strength and energy the attempt to force the people of Kansas into the Union with a constitution known to be repugnant to their wishes, without first giving them an opportunity to reject; and I rejoice to say that we resisted it successfully until the attempt was abandoned and the question of admission was referred back to the people of Kansas, to be decided by them at the polls. Although the struggle was long, exciting, and exhausting, it resulted in the abandonment of the attempt to force the Lecompton constitution on the people of Kansas, and in that abandonment was a clear recognition of the principle that the assent of the people must be first had and obtained before any instrument can rightfully become their fundamental law. The question of admission was remanded to the people of Kansas, to be decided by and for themselves at an election to be held, in pursuance of law, for that purpose; thus again recognizing the principle for which I had contended during the whole controversy, that the people had a right to decide for themselves the question of admission under the constitution. When I saw in the bill the recognition of the principle, I deeply regretted that the provisions of the bill and the form of submission were not such as I could sanction with my vote. I expressed this regret at the time, and indicated two amendments, which, if they could have been adopted, would have enabled me to vote for the bill. But when the bill became a law the whole question was remanded to Kansas, to be decided at an election, which has been fixed for the first Monday in August. Which ever way the people of Kansas may decide the question at that election will be final and conclusive. If they reject the proposition submitted by Congress, the Lecompton constitution is dead, and there is an end of the controversy. If, on the contrary, they accept the "proposition," Kansas, from that moment, becomes a State of the Union, and thus the controversy terminates. Whether they shall accept or reject the proposition is a question for the people of Kansas to decide for themselves, and with which neither Congress nor the people of the several States, nor any person, official or otherwise, outside of that Territory, has any right to interfere. Hence, the Lecompton controversy is at an end; for all men, of all parties, must he content with and abide by whatever decision the people of Kansas may make. It is true that the same question may arise on the application of some other Territory for admission into the Union. I am prepared now to give notice that whenever that question may arise I shall be found maintaining and vindicating the same principle which I have insisted so strenuously should be applied to Kansas. I rejoice, however, in the assurance that hereafter we are to have no diversity of opinion, at least in the democratic party, in regard to the wisdom and propriety of applying this great principle of popular sovereignty to all future cases as they may arise. On this question I shall be found sustaining with all my energy the recommendation of President Buchanan in his annual message, that the wise example in the Minnesota case, where Congress passed an enabling act containing a clause requiring the constitution to be submitted to the people, should be invariably followed, and never departed from, in any future case. I think this a wise recommendation on the part of President Buchanan, and I take pleasure in giving the assurance that he will at all times find me ready to sustain him in his patriotic efforts to carry that recommendation into practical effect, and thus prevent the possibility of another Lecompton controversy ever arising.

Under these circumstances, the question naturally arises what controverted principle is there left for democrats to differ and divide about?

In the first place, we all agree, not only democrats, but men of all parties, that whatever decision the people of Kansas may make at the election on the first Monday in August must be final and conclusive.

Now, if we can agree, as I have always avowed my willingness to do, to sustain President Buchanan's recommendation, that in all future cases the constitution shall be submitted to the people, as was required in the Minnesota case, all matters of dispute and controversy will be at an end, and our territorial policy will be firmly placed on a wise and just basis.

Under this view of the subject I repeat the question, for what purpose is this organization of bolters, under the command of the Danite chief, gotten up, and separate tickets formed with the view of dividing and defeating the democratic party? What patriotic purpose is to be accomplished — what patriotic sentiment is to be gratified by it? If the example of making tests on past issues and bolting regular nominations is to be set and sanctioned in Illinois, is there not danger that it may be followed in other States — that it may extend into Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and, indeed, every State in the Union? It should be remembered that proscription generates proscription. The Illinois democracy have declared, by a unanimous vote in their State convention, that they will make no new tests and submit to none — that they will proscribe no democrat and submit to no proscription of democrats on account of a difference of opinion on the Lecompton question; but will recognize all men as democrats who support the principles of the party, as laid down in the Cincinnati platform, and sustain the organization and nominees of the party fairly and regularly made.

This subject should commend itself to the earnest consideration of the democracy of the whole Union. I wish them to consider well the facts I have stated, and then let their judgment be heard in tones which will be heard throughout the republic, whether a coalition between the leaders of the republican party and a lot of bolting office holders, for the purpose of dividing and defeating the democratic party, is consistent with democratic policy, duty and usage.

I repeat that the only hope which animates the leaders of the republicans in Illinois to expect success springs from this unholy coalition with the bolting democrats ; and if the democracy shall be defeated in that State, it will result solely from this cause.

If such a result shall occur, the responsibility must rest on those who advise, encourage, and sanction this policy of bolting regular democratic nominations.

June 21, 1858, New York Evening Express, Douglas on Dr. Leib and the Administration. The Illinois Democracy,
Do you think whomever at who scanned the newspaper page that I clipped this article from might have deliberately been trying to defeat the OCR? It looks like the Wicked Witch of the West: "Help! I'm melting!"

No comments: