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of reading the Declaration of Independence to prove that all men were created equal, and endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, among which are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Mr. Lincoln is very much in the habit of following in the track of Lovejoy in this particular, by reading that part of the Declaration of Independence to prove that the negro was endowed by the Almighty with the inalienable right of equality with white men. Now I say to you, my fellow-citizens, that, in my opinion, the signers of the Declaration had no reference to the negro whatever, when they declared all men to be created equal.” 1

At Galesburg, October 7th, his faithful opponent answered:

"The Judge has alluded to the Declaration of Independence, and insisted that negroes are not included in that Declaration, and that it is a slander upon the framers of that instrument to suppose that negroes were meant therein; and he asks you, Is it possible to believe that Mr. Jefferson, who penned the immortal paper, could have supposed himself applying the language of that instrument to the negro race, and yet held a portion of that race in slavery? Would he not at once have freed them? I only have to remark upon this part of the Judge's speech, that I believe the entire records of the world, from the date of the Declaration of Independence up to within three years ago, may be searched in vain for one single affirmation from one single man, that the negro was not included in the Declaration. And I will remind Judge Douglas and this audience, that, while Mr. Jefferson was the owner of slaves, as undoubtedly he was, in speaking upon this very subject, he used the strong language, that 'he trembled for his country when he remembered that God was just.""


1 Political Debates, p. 116. 17


2 Ibid., p. 178.


And at Alton, October 15th, he renewed this same testimony.

"I assert that Judge Douglas and all his friends may search the whole records of the country, and it will be a matter of great astonishment to me, if they shall be able to find that one human being three years ago had ever uttered the astounding sentiment that the term 'all men' in the Declaration did not include the negro. Do not let me be misunderstood. I know that more than three years ago there were men, who, finding this assertion constantly in the way of their schemes to bring about the ascendency and perpetuation of Slavery, denied the truth of it. I know that Mr. Calhoun, and all the politicians of his school, denied the truth of the Declaration. I know that it ran along in the mouth of some Southern men for a period of years, ending at last in that shameful, though rather forcible, declaration of Pettit, of Indiana, upon the floor of the United States Senate, that the Declaration of Independence was, in that respect, a self-evident lie,' rather than a self-evident truth. But I say, with a perfect knowledge of all this hawking at the Declaration without directly attacking it, that three years ago there never had lived a man who had ventured to assail it in the sneaking way of pretending to believe it, and then asserting it did not include the negro."


In another speech, during the same political contest, the champion spoke immortal words. After setting forth the sublime opening of the Declaration by our fathers, he said:

"This was their majestic interpretation of the economy of the universe. This was their lofty and wise and noble understanding of the justice of the Creator to His creatures, - yes, Gentlemen, to all His creatures, to the whole great family of man."

1 Political Debates, p. 225.

Then, lifted by his cause, he appealed to his fellowcountrymen in tones of pathetic eloquence :

"Think nothing of me, take no thought for the political fate of any man whomsoever, but come back to the truths that are in the Declaration of Independence. You may do anything with me you choose, if you will but heed these sacred principles. You may not only defeat me for the Senate, but you may take me and put me to death. While pretending no indifference to earthly honors, I do claim to be actuated in this contest by something higher than an anxiety for office. I charge you to drop every paltry and insignificant thought for any man's success. It is nothing. I am nothing. Judge Douglas is nothing. But do not destroy that immortal emblem of humanity, the Declaration of American Independence."

Thus, at that early day, before war had overshadowed the land, was he ready for the sacrifice. "Take me and put me to death," said he, "but do not destroy that immortal emblem of humanity, the Declaration of American Independence." He has been put to death by the enemies of the Declaration; but, though dead, he will continue to guard that great title-deed of the human race.

The debate ended. An immense vote was cast. There were 126,084 votes for the Republican candidates, 121,940 for the Douglas candidates, and 5,091 for the Lecompton candidates, another class of Democrats; but the supporters of Mr. Douglas had a majority of eight on joint ballot in the Legislature, and he was reëlected to the Senate.

Again returned to his profession, our champion cherished the Declaration. To the Republicans of Boston, who had invited him to unite with them in celebrating

1 Crosby's Life of Lincoln, pp. 32, 33.

the birthday of Thomas Jefferson, he sent an answer, under date of April 6, 1859, which is a gem in political literature, and here also he asserts the supremacy of those truths for which he had battled so well. In him the West spoke to the East, pleading for Human Rights, as declared by our fathers.


'But, soberly, it is now no child's play to save the principles of Jefferson from total overthrow in this nation.

"One would state with great confidence that he could convince any sane child that the simpler propositions of Euclid are true; but, nevertheless, he would fail utterly with one who should deny the definitions and axioms. The principles of Jefferson are the definitions and axioms of free society, and yet they are denied and evaded with no small show of success. One dashingly calls them 'glittering generalities'; another bluntly calls them 'self-evident lies'; and others insidiously argue that they apply only to 'superior races.'

"These expressions, differing in form, are identical in object and effect, the supplanting the principles of free government, and restoring those of classification, caste, and legitimacy. They would delight a convocation of crowned heads plotting against the people. They are the van-guard, the miners and sappers, of returning despotism. We must repulse them, or they will subjugate us.

"This is a world of compensations; and he who would be no slave must consent to have no slave. Those who deny freedom to others deserve it not for themselves, and, under a just God, cannot long retain it.


All honor to Jefferson, the man who, in the concrete pressure of a struggle for national independence by a single people, had the coolness, forecast, and capacity to introduce into a merely revolutionary document an abstract truth, applicable to all men and all times, and so to embalm it there, that to-day, and in all coming days, it shall be a rebuke and

a stumbling-block to the very harbingers of reappearing tyranny and oppression !"1

Next winter the Western champion appeared at New York, and in a remarkable address at the Cooper Institute, February 27, 1860, vindicated the policy of the Fathers and the principles of the Republican party. Showing with curious skill and minuteness the original understanding on the power of Congress over Slavery in the Territories, he demonstrated that the Republican party was not in any just sense sectional; and then exposed the perils from the pretensions of slave-masters, who, not content with requiring that "we must arrest and return their fugitive slaves with greedy pleasure," insisted that the Constitution must be so interpreted as to uphold the idea of property in man. The whole address was subdued and argumentative, while each sentence was like a driven nail, with a concluding rally that was a bugle-call to the lovers of right. "Let us have faith," said he, "that right makes might, and in that faith let us to the end dare to do our duty as we understand it."

A few months later, this champion of the Right, who would not see the colored man shut out from the promises of the Declaration, and insisted upon the exclusion of Slavery from the Territories, after summoning his countrymen to their duty, was nominated by a great political party as candidate for President. Local considerations, securing to him the support of certain States beyond any other candidate, exercised a final influence in determining this selection; but it is easy to see how, from position, character, and origin, he was at that

1 Boston Daily Advertiser, April 14, 1859.

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