Skip to main content

Full text of "Speech of Hon. John C. Breckinridge, vice-president of the United States, at Ashland Kentucky, September 5th, 1860, repelling the charge of disunion and vindicating the national Democracy"

See other formats













< * o » » 



C /] 6 L 



I beg you, my neighbors, friends and old consti- 
tuents, to be assured that I feel profoundly grateful 
for the cordial welcome you have extended to me. 
The circuujstanccs under which I appear before you 
are unusual; I do it in obedience to the request of 
friends whose wishes I Imve been accustomed to ob- 
serve, and if it 'be an uncommon thing for a person in 
my position to address assemblages of the people. 
I can only say I hope to discuss the topics which I 
shall handle to-day, in a manner not altogether un- 
worthy the attitude which I occupy. I shall cer- 
tainly indulge in no language which, in my opin- 
ion, will fall below the dignity of political discus- 
sion. The condition of my health makes it impos- 
sible to extend my voice over this vast assembly, 
but I hope it will become stronger as I proceed. 

I appear before you to-day, for the purpose, first, 
of repelling certain accusations which have been 
made against me personally, and industriously dis- 
seminated over other States ; and next to show that 
the principles upon which I stand, are the principles 
of the Constitution and the Union ; (great applause.) 
ani surely, if at any time a justiiication could be 
found by any man for addressing the people in the 
position! occupy, it will be found in my case. Anony- 
mous writers and wandering orators have chosen 
to tell the people that I am a disunionist and a trai- 
tor to my country, and they declare that the atro- 
cious form in which I have exhibited that treason, 
makes, by comparison with it. Burr a patriot, and 
the memory of Arnold respectable. 

But fellow-citizens, before I come to those topics, 
I desire to make a brief but coniprehensivo state- 
ment in regard to my position in connection with 
the Presidency of the United States. I have been 
charged with a premature ambition ; I have been 
charged with intriguing for this nomination ; I have 
been charged witli leaping before the wishes of the 
people, and desiring to thrust myself before them for 
the highest office in their gift. To all this I answer 
that it is wholly untrue. I have written to nobody 
soliciting support. I have intrigued with nobody ; 
I have promised nobody. 

To these statements I challenge contradiction 
from any human being. (Cheers. A voice — "That's 
so, John C") Nay, more, I did not seek or desire 
to bo ])laced before the people for the office of Pre- 
sident by any Convention or any part of any Con- 
vention. When I returned to the State of Kentucky 
in the spring of 1S59, and was informed that some 
partial friends were presenting my name to the pub- 
lic in that connection, and certain editors, whose 
presence I see here, had hoisted my name for the 
Presidency, I said to them all—" Friends, I am not 
in any sense a candidate fur the Presidency," and 
I desired that my name might be taken down from 
the head of their columns. It was done. A very 
eminent citizen of the Commonwealth of Kentucky 
was presented Ly his friends fur that office; I was 
gratified to see it, and united cordially in presenting 
him for the suffrage of the American people. At no 
time, in or out of the State of Kentucky, did I do 
enact or utter a word which would bring my name 
Ui conflict with his, or that of any other eminent 

American citizen who desired, or whose friends de- 
sired for him that position; and if you have taken 
the trouble to read the proceedings of the Charles- 
ton Convention, you will remember when I received 
the vote of Arkansas, one of my friends arose and 
requested that the vote might be withdrawn, de- 
claring that I would not allow the use of my name 
in competition with that of the distinguished Ken- 
tuckiau to whom I have referred. 

And when that Convention assembled at Balti- 
more, my feelings and my conduct were still un- 
changed. After the disruption which took place 
there, my name, without any solicitation on my 
part, and against my expressed wishes, was pre- 
sented to the country for the office of President by 
a Convention, and under circumstances which cer- 
tainly deserved the most respectful consideration. 
No man could be vain enough to anticipate that his 
name would be placed before the country; but hav- 
ing heard that such a. thing was possible, I con- 
stantly said that " I did not desire to be presented 
to the American people, but was content, and more 
than content with the honors which have been 
heaped upon me by my State and country." And I 
looked forward with pleasure to the prospect of 
serving Kentucky in the Senate of the United States 
for the next six years, (Cries of " Good.") My name, 
however, was presented, and I felt that I could not 
refuse to accept the nomination under the circum- 
stances, without abandoning vital principles and be- 
traying my friends. (Applause.) 

It is said that I was not regularly nominated, and 
that an eminent citizen of Illinois was regularly 
nominated for the Presidency. But this is a ques- 
tion which I have not time to discuss to-day, and it 
has already been thoroughly exhausted before the 

I refer you to the able letter of your delegates 
from this Congressional district; I refer you to the 
masterly and exhaustive speech recently delivered 
by my noble friend in whose grounds we have met. 
I can only say that the Convention which assembled 
at Front Street Theatre at Baltimore, in my judg- 
ment, was devoid not only of the spirit of justice, 
but even of the forms of regularity. (Cheers.) The 
gentleman whom it nominated, never received the 
vote required by the rules of the Democratic 
organization. Whole States were excluded and dis- 
franchised in that Convention, not to speak of indi- 
viduals. The most flagrant acts of injustice were 
jierpetrated, for the purpose of forcing upon the 
Democratic organization a particular individual as 
the representative of a pernicious doctrine, which I 
shall be able to show is repugnant alike to reason 
and the Constitution. Owing to the gross outrage 
of these proceedings, a decided majority of the 
delegates from your own State withdrew from that 
Convention, declaring that it was not a National 
Convention of the real Democratic organization. 
Nearly the entire delegations from fifteen Southern 
States, and the entire delegations from California 
and Oregon, and large and imposing minorities from 
other States of the Union, making in whole, or in 
part, delegations from almost two-thirds cf the 



States of the Confederacy,- denounced and separated 
themselves from that ill-starred bod}'. The result 
furnishes a striking warnins; that the arts of politi- 
cal uianngcment are not always perfect substitutes 
for truth and justice. 

, But after all, the great question is what are the 
principles which ought to commend themselves to 
ihe American people, at issue in this canvass. 

But, before I proceed further, I will group to- 
gether and answer .a number of personal accusa- 
tions, some of which had their oiigin in the State of 
Kentucky, and others elsewhere, b}' which, through 
mo, it is attempted to strike down the organization 
with which I am connected. It begets in mo almost 
a feeling of humiliation to answer some of them, 
but as I have imposed upon myself the task, twill 
go through them all as brieflj' as I can. (Cheers.) 
(Voice — " Go on, John !") 

I believe it has been published in almost every 
Southern newspaper of the Opposition part}-, that 1 
signed a petition for the pardon of Jului Brown, 
the Harper's ferrj' murderer and traitor. This is 
wholl}' untrue. So much for that. (Cries of 
" Good !") 

It been extensively charged and circulated, 
that I was in favor of the election of General Tay- 
lor to the Presidency, and opposed to the election 
of Cass and Butler. This, also, is wholly untrue. 

In the year 1S47, there was a meeting in the city 
of Lexington, in which I participated, by which 
General Taylor was recommended for the Presi- 
dency of the United States. A difference of opin- 
ion existed at that time as to the political senti- 
ments of that distinguished gentleman. I was 
assured, in a manner satisfactory to me, that Gene- 
ral Taylor's political opinions coincided in the main 
with those I held, and I united in the meeting. 
Soon afterward I went to Mexico. When I returned 
twelve months afterward, in 184S, I found the cam- 
paign in full blast, with T.aylor the candidate of the 
AVhigs, and Cass and Butler in nomination b}' the 
National Democracy. It is well known to thousands 
of those within the sound of my voice, that as soon 
as I returned home I took the stump in behalf of 
the Democratic nousinees, and sustained them to 
the best of my ability. (A voice — "'All right.") 

It gives me pleasure to add that I worked all the 
more zealously because one of the gentlemen for 
whose success I labored, was a Kentuckian, in}' old 
commander and my friend. (Cheers.) 

It is said, I was not present, and did not vote at 
the election in Lexington in 1848. That is true. — 
But with the statement there ought to have gone 
an explanation well known, but which my oppo- 
nents never published, that is entirely satisfactory. 
You well know that at that time (before the adop- 
tion of the present constitution), a citizen might 
vote anj' where in the State. It so happened that 
after the labors of the canvass and the courts, I had 
gone on my annual hunting trip to the^iountains. 
There was with me a party of six or eight gentle- 
men, all of them belonging to the Whig party; and 
on the day of election the}' proposed to me that in- 
stead of going, as I intended, to the nearest voting- 
place, some fifteen miles, we should devote the day 
to the ch.ise. If they h.'id voted, there would have 
been sis or seven votes cast for Taylor, .and but one 
for Cass and Butler. (Cheers.) I accepted the 
proposition, and we went hunting (laughter), and 
if every man had done as well a^ myself, we would 
have car'ried the State })y forty thousand majority. 
(Applause.) Among those gentlemen, I remember 
the names of my friends, Thomas S. Redd, Nelson 
Dudley, George P. Jouett, aud others — who will 

doubtless recollect those facts, if anything were 
necessary beyond my word. (A voice — ''None, 
nothing more needed here.") 

Another charge, actively circulated throughout the 
Southern States, asserts that I was an emancipa- 
tionist in 1849, or at least voted for an emancipa- 
tionist. Gentlemen, in connection with this accu- 
sation, I feel it my duty to call your attention to a 
paper which I receired last evening from one of the 
Southern States — called the Tuskcgee (Alabama) 
Republican, and which contains a letter written by 
one of our own citizens, in reference to my jiublic 
position, and even in regard to my private affairs. 
It was written by Hon. George Robertson, to a Mr. 
Alexander, of Alabama, and is dated August 23d, 
18G0. I quote so much of it as I desire to com- 
ment upon : 

"J. C. Breckinridge has not been counted hero 
an emancipationist, however much he may have 
been suspected by some for sympathy with his 
uncle, the Rev. Robert J. Breckinridge. He does 
not keep house, and owns no slaves, unless he re- 
tains two that came by his wife. I know nothing 
of the investment in Ohio concerning which you in- 
quire. But we all know here that ho was commit- 
ted to squatter sovereignty ever since his nomina- 
tion in 1856, until, finding that Douglas would 
overwhelm him in the North, he changed his creed, 
and, in his Frankfort speech last January, turned 
Southerner and advocated protection by Congres- 
sional intervention." 

As to the part of that letter relating to my per- 
sonal affairs, I have to say that I do not envy the 
taste or character of a gentleman who would be en- 
gaged in writing letters through the Union touch- 
ing the private business of his neighbors. Whilst 
he is incorrect in some of these statements, I will 
not merit the contempt of this audience, by enter- 
ing into details in regard to my private affairs. (A 
voice — " That is manly.'') 

That part of the letter which relates to Squatter 
Sovereignty, will be disposed of in answering the 
accusations of other men; but I am now oq the 
question of emancipation. Observe the wording of 
the sentence : "John C.Breckinridge has not been 
counted here an emancipationist, however much ha 
may have been suspected by some for sympathy 
with his uncle. Rev. Robert J. Breckinridge?" 

Now, if there is an individual here, among the 
thousands within the sound of my voice, who ever 
heard or kneW of my sympathizing with the doc- 
trines advanced by Rev. R. J. Breckinridge, let 
him no'w speak, or forever hold his peace. (Cheers.) 
And when Hon. George Robertson will produce one 
respectable man, in or out of the county of Fay- 
ette, who will say he believed or suspected that I 
was an emancipationist, I will even- confess that it 
was proper to write that letter. (Cheers.) If the 
gentleman means that there has always existed be- 
tween Rev. Mr. Breckinridge and myself those re- 
lations of eordiality, respect and affection which are 
natural and proper, the insinuation is true. But 
that is not the purpose of the letter. It is in con- 
nection with the subject of emancipation that he 
was speaking, and he would convey the impression 
that I had been suspected of sympathy with my 
uncle upon that subject. That is the meaning of 
that letter. Judge Robertson, when called upon in 
regard to the authenticity of the letter, replied that 
it was genuine, but that it was a "a confidential 
letter." (A voice — " Confidential to be published.") 
I don't think that mends the case much. It would 
have been even better to write it for the public, 
than as a confidential letter. Don't you think so? 
(A voice — " Yes.") 

But T have other things to consume my time to- 
day tlian such " confidential" letters as that. 
(Laughter.) I come to the fact. The only time 
that the question of emancipation has been raised 
in Kentucky in my day, was in 1849, when we were 
electing delegates to the convention to form a new 
constitution. Then, Dr. Breckinridge and Mr. Shy 
■were emancipation candidates. I, as a candidate 
for the legislature, canvassed the county to the bo^t 
of my ability, in opposition to emancipation, be- 
lieving the interests of both races in the common- 
wealth would be promoted bj' the continuance of 
their present rchitions, and on that issue, as you 
know, I was elected. At the polls. Dr. Breckin- 
ridge voted against me, and I voted against him 
(cheers), because we were representing opposite 
principles; and just so would it be again under 
similar circumstances. So much for that charge. 

I have seen pamphlets published and circulated 
all over the Union ; for the purpose of proving that 
I was a Know-Nothing in the year 1855, in the 
State of Kentucky. (Laughter.) I have no doubt 
that a very considerable proportion of those listen- 
ing to me were members of that order; and if there 
is a man among you who belonged to the order, who 
ever saw me in one of your lodges, or who does not 
know that I was recognized from the beginning as 
one of the most uncompromising opponents, let him 
be good enough to say so now. (A voice — " He ain't 
here.") Why, gentlemen, I believe I was one of the 
first in Congress who took position against the or- 
ganization; and when I returned to the State of 
Kentucky, in the spring of 1855, finding it was mak- 
ing great progress in the commonwealth, although I 
had withdrawn from public life to attend to my pri- 
vate aff'airs, I opposed it in repeated speeches all 
over this part of the State. (Cheers.) This state- 
ment may not be very acceptable to some gentle- 
men within the sound of my voice ; but I do not 
want to deceive any man. I stand upon my prin- 
ciples, and am willing to avow them witliout the 
slightest regard to consequences. (Applause.) 

Gentlemen, I am represented to this day as hav- 
ing declared that I would make a political discrimi- 
nation between one of my own religious belief and 
another, and between a native and naturalized citi- 
zen. I never uttered such a sentiment. (Loud 
cheers. ) 

The underl.ying principle with me was this, that 
the condition of citizenship being once obtained, no 
question either of birth or religion should be al- 
lowed to mingle with political considerations. (Ap- 
plause.) I deem it only necessary to make these 
statements here succinctly and pass on, because I 
am speaking to assembled thousands who know the 
injustice of the charges. 

But, fellow-Qitizens, to come to more extended 
topics. It has been asserted that I, and the politi- 
cal organization with which I am connected, have 
abandoned the ground on which we stood, in regard 
to the Tcrriturial question in 1854 and 1856; that 
■we then occujnod the position which is now occu- 
pied by Mr. Douglas and his friends. I deny it ; 
and I shall now proceed to disprove it, both as to 
myself and as to the Constitutional Democratic 

You have heard a good deal of what is called my 
Tippecanoe speech. I went to the States of India- 
na, Michigan, and Pennsylvainia, and addressed the 
people in the autumn of 1856. None of those 
sjreeehes were ever written out beforehand, and no 
one of thorn prepared by me, except by the briefest 
iotcs; and of the reports which various persons 
chose to make, not one was ever revised or seen by 
me. I have been amused to see the various versions 

of what they call the Tippecanoe speech. For ex- 
ample, I have in my hand a paper which represent- 
me as saying at Tipi'Ccanoe, " The people of the 
Territories, under the Kansas-Nelu-aska act, have 
the full right to abolish or jjrohibit slavery, Ji(*if n^ a 
Stale lofiiikl, wliich principle is as old as republican 
government itself." Not only did I never utter such 
an opinion, but until recently, I had no reason to be- 
lieve any body ever represented me as having ut- 
tered it. It is only witliin a few weeks that I re- 
member to have seen it in any newspaper. But I 
have a very high accuser upon this subject — no less 
a person than the eminent Senator from Illinois. I 
have no time to spare in comments upon the pro- 
priety or delicacy of a gentleman who is before t!ie 
country for the office of President, introducing the 
name of one who is also a candidate, and giving his 
personal testimony as to that gentleman's opinions. 
I shall waste no time in the discussion of the pro- 
priety of such a course. I wish to meet the accusa- 

The Hon. Stephen A. Douglas, in a public address 
made recently in Concord, N. H., says ; 

"There is not an honest man in all America that 
will deny that James Buchanan and John C. Breck- 
inridge, in 1856, were pledged to the doctrine of 
non-intervention by Congress with slavery in the 
Territories." Mark the word as it is there, "non- 
intervention." " I made speeches from the same 
stand with J. C. Breckinridge, in 1856, when he was 
advocating his own claims to the Vice-Presidency, 
and heard him go the extreme length in favor of 
popular sovereignty in the Territories." Then, 
speaking of certain other gentlemen from the South, 
who had addressed the people in the North, he 
says : " In every one of their speeches they advo- 
cated Squatter Sovereignty in its broadest sense." 

Here, in the space of twelve lines, you have the 
words "non-intervention," " Squatter Sovereignty," 
and "Popular Sovereignty," all evidently intended 
to convej' the same meaning. These terms are not 
sj'nonymous, and this loose mode of employing 
language is well adapted to beget confusion. I held 
the doctrine of non-intervention as it was originally 
understood, and engrafted into the legislation of the 
country. (Cheers.) It was non-intervention in re- 
spect to slavery by Congress, and by its creature, the 
Territorial Legislature, leaving it to the people, 
when they should form a Constitution and become 
a State, to exercise the sovereign power of defining 
property, and admitting or excluding slave or other 
property. This was the non-intervention of 1850— - 
this was the non-intervention of Henry Clay, as I 
may show presently in another connection. 

But I assume that Mr. Douglas, in this statement, 
meant to declare that I, in 1856, from the same 
stand with him, advocated the doctrine that the 
Territorial Legislature has the right to exclude 
slave property pending the Territorial condition. I 
presume hj^uses all these expressions in that sense ; 
and indeed that is the question which has been the 
whole bone of dispute. 

Well, fellow-citizens, I have first my own state- 
ment to oppose to that of the distinguished Senator. 
At no time, either before or after the passage of the 
Kansas-Nebraska bill, did I ever entertain or utter 
the opinion that a Territorial Legislature, prior to 
tlie formation of a State Constitution, had the right 
to exclude slave property from the common Terri- 
tories of the Union, No. And no authentic utter- 
ance of mine can ho found which sustains that 
charge. You find it stated in this extract, which I 
just now read to you, and which I never saw until 
the other day, an irresponsible statement made by 

I know not whom, never revised nor seen by me, 
:ind, as I will .-ihow you, af^ainst the whole tenor of 
my public speeches. I have suffered a good deal by 
incorrect reports of my speeches. It wouhl be well, 
jierhaps, in some respects, since now, through the 
telegraph and the press, everything is dashed off by 
thetirst impression, to adopt the plan of gentlemen 
in the East, who write out their speeches before de- 
liverj\ But I never do it. I speak as I am moved 
to do when I stand before'the people. I do not 
doubt the competency, or desire to be correct, of the 
gentlemen making reports; but it may frequently 
happen, from the rapidity of utterance, or indis- 
tifietness of delivery, that they fail to catch the ex- 
pressions and meaning of the speaker. Indeed, it 
is wonderful that the errors are not greater and 
more numerous. I would in this connection request 
of the reporters to give me an opportunity of re- 
rising what is said to-day. 

^'ow, fellow-citizens, I will detain you briefly by 
as clear .an exposition as I can make, of the circum- 
stances under which the Kansas-Nebraska bill be- 
came a law, in 1854. 

The friends of the measure, North and South, 
agreed that the Missouri line should be repealed, 
and the territory open to settlement. But there was 
one capital point on which they differed. Nearly all 
the Southern friends of the bill, and a few from the 
North, denied that the power existed in Congress or 
a Territorial legislature, to exclude any description 
of property recognizeil in the States, during the 
Territorial condition. Others, and among tbeui 'Mr. 
Douglas, held that a Territorial Legislature might 
exclude slave property. It was a Constitutional 
question, and thej' agreed not to make it a subject 
of legislativf dispute, but to provide a mode in the 
bill by which the question might be promptly re- 
ferred to the Supreme Court of the United States for 
decision, and all parties were to abide by the dec^ 
sion of that august tribunal, as a final settlement of 
the Constitutional question. For thin purpose, 
whilst ordinarily an appeal cannot be taken from a 
Territorial court to the Supreme Court of the United 
States, unless the matter in controversy amounts to 
a thousand dollars, a clause was inserted in the 
Kansas bill, providing that in any case involving 
the title to a slave, an appeal might be taken to the 
Supreme Court, without regard to the value of the 
amount in coutroversj'. 

Now, during the period between the passage of 
that bill and the decision of the Supreme Court, all 
persons on each side entertained their own opinions. 
We, in the South, held that the Territorial Legisla- 
ture did not possess the power. Mr. Douglas and 
his friends held that the Territorial Legislature did 
possess the power. But on these points all were 
agreed — 1st, that the action of the Territorial Legis- 
lature must be "subject to the Constitution of the 
United States." 2d. That the limitations imposed 
by the Constitution should be determined by the Su- 
preme Court; and 3d, that all should acquiesce in 
the decision when rendered. (Cheers.) 

I think this is a plain and true statement, and for 
the purpose of showing j'ou that was the view taken 
by the Southern friends of the measure in Congress, 
and certainly the view taken by myself, I proceed to 
read two or three extracts from a speech delivered 
by me in the House of Representatives, in 1854, 
before the bill passed Congress : 

"We demand that all the citizens of the United 
States be allowed to enter the common Territory, 
with the Constitution alone in their hands. If that 
instrument protects the title of the master to his 
slave in this common Territory, you cannot com- 
plain; and if it does not protect his title, we ask no 

help from Congress ; and the relations of the Con- 
stitutiim to the subject we are willing to have de- 
cided by the courts of the United States." 

Again : 

" It is contended, on one hand, \i\)rin the idea of 
the equality of the States under the Constitution, 
and their common property in the Territories, that 
the citizens of the slaveholding States may remove 
to them with their slaves, and that the local legis- 
lature cannot rightfully exclude slavery while in 
the Territorial conditiim ; but it is conceded that the 
people may establish or prohibit it wheu they come 
to exercise the power of a sovereign State. On the 
other hand, it is said that slavery, being in deroga- 
tion of common right, can exist only by force of 
positive law; and it is denied that the Constitution 
furnishes this law for the Territories; and it is fur- 
tlier claimed that the local legislature may establish 
or exclude it any time after the government is or- 
ganized. As both parties appeal to the Constitu- 
tion, and base their respective arguments on oppo- 
site constructions of that instrument, the bill wisely 
refuses to make a question for judicial construction 
the subject of legislative conflict, and properly re- 
fers it to the tribunal created by the Constitution 
itself, for the very purpose of ' decidiug all cases in, 
law and equity arising under it.'" 

Then, in speaking of the equality of the States : 

'■ Carry the idea to the territories. What aro 
they? To whom do they belong?- Who are to in- 
habit them, and what are their political relations to 
the rest of the confederacy ? They are regions of 
countrj' acquired by the common efforts and treas- 
ure of all the States ; they belong therefore to the 
States for common use and enjoyment; the citizens 
of the States are to inhabit them, and wheu the 
population shall be sufficient they are to become 
equal members of the Union." 

I think this is sufficient to prove that at the period 
of the passage of the Kansas-Nebraska bill I did 
not hold the doctrine that a Territorial Legislature 
could exclude slave property from the Territory 
during the Territorial condition ; but while I held 
preciselj' the opposite, I was willing to refer the 
/question to the court, and to be bound by its deci- 

The doctrines announced by me in that speech 
were just such as I have ever declared in Kentucky, 
such as I declared in every public address which I 
made in Ohio, Indiana, Michigan and Pennsylvania. 
Afterward, when it was understood that I had been 
reported to have admitted that this power belonged 
to the Territorial Legislature, in the month of Sep- 
tember or October, 1S57, the editor of the Kentucky 
Statesman, a Journal published in Lexington, in al- 
luding to this charge, made the following statement, 
to which I beg leave to refer you. Remember, this 
speech was before the presidential election of 1856. 
" It was our pleasure to accompanj- Mr. Breckinridge 
on the occasion referred to, in his tour through Ohio 
and Indiania, and to witness the warm response of 
the National Democracy at Cincinnati, Hamilton, 
and Tippecanoe, to the avowal by him of exactly the 
sentiments we had often heard him proclaim in Ken- 
tucky, and which are clearly embodied in the plai- 
forin of our party. 

" He said it had been charged that the Democratic 
party intended to employ the Federal Government to 
propagate slavery, and that it was, in its federal re- 
lation, a pro-slavery party. This, he said, was not 
true. The Democratic party was neither a pro- 
slavery party nor an anti-slavery party, but a Con- 
stitutional party. It rejected the interferences of the 
Federal Government, whether to introduce or to ex- 



clnde slavery, and left the common Territories of 
the Union opon to common settlement from all the 
States. He proceeded to say that each new State 
was entitled to form its Constitution, and enter the 
Union without discrimination by Congress, on ac- 
count of the alloVance of prohibition of slavery. 
Hence, if Kansas presented herself with slavery in 
her Constitution, she must be admitted; if without 
it, still she must be admitted. Any other principle, 
he added, would be subversive of the rights and 
equality of the States. 

'' The allegation that Jlr. Breckinridge proclaimed 
the doctrine of Squatter Sovereignty is simply un- 
true. He said nothing upon which even a plausible 
charge of that nature could be based." 

In the autumn of the same year, I received a slip 
from a Louisiana paper, containing remarks made 
by General Miles, a distinguished citizen of that 
State, who was at Tippecnnoe and heard my speech, 
in which he denied I had admitted this doctrine of 
the Territorial power. He sent uie a slip contain- 
ing his speech. In the same month (October, 1856), 
some time before the Presidential election, in the 
course of a letter to him, I said : 

"You have reported me correctly, and I thank you 
for it. 

" Hands off the whole subject by the Federal Gov- 
ernment (except for one or two protective purposes, 
mentioned in the Constitution) — the equal rights of nil 
sections in the common Territory, and the absohite 
power of each NB.\V State to settle the question in 
ITS Constitution — these are my doctrines, and those 
of our platform, and, what is more, of the Constitu- 

"I consider the assault upon me so absurd as to 
be unworthy of further notice." 

The recollection of my letter to General Miles 
had wholly faded from my memory, and was re- 
vived only a few days since, when that gentleman 
printed it in a Southern journal, and sent me a 

Now, fellow-citizens, to the statement of the dis- 
tinguished Senator from Illinois, in which he un- 
dertakes to prove allegations against me by himself, 
I thus oppose, first, my own statement. Next, the 
proof furnished by my speech in 1854, pending the\ 
Kansas-Nebraska bill in Congress ; next, the testi- 
mony of the editor of the Kentucky Statesman, who 
is a gentleman of unquestioned intelligence and 
honor; next, the statement of General Miles, who 
heard my speech at Tippecanoe — and, finalh', my 
letter to him, written to him prior to the Presiden- 
tial election of 1856 — all these proofs being consist- 
ent with each other, and, as I solemnly affirm, con- 
sistent also with my uniform opinions. (A voice — 
" Now you are talking.") 

It would not be difficult to accumulate testimony 
on this point to any extent, but I think I have 
proved conclusively, that the charge is unfounded, 
and I will add, that this was the position held by 
nearly all the Southern friends of the " Nebraska 
bill," and by a portion cf its Northern supporters. 
These were our opinions ; and they were uttered on 
all proper occasions : but we did not attempt to force 
others to accept them. We had agreed to refer the 
question to the highest judicial tribunal in the 
Union. (Cheers.) 

Go to the records of Congress : read the debates 
of that period. They will dispel the clouds and 
darkness with which a multitude of words has ob- 
scured this subject. No historical fact is more cer- 
tain than that the South insisted on the repeal of 
the Missouri line to open the Territories to common 
colonization from all the States, and that when met 

with the dogma of territorial power to exclude her, 
confident in the Constitutional strength of her posi- 
tion, she offered to test it by the opinion of the Su- 
preme Court; and that oifer was solemnly accepted, 
and the agreement placed on the records of the 

And now, having vindicated myself and the Con- 
stitutional Democracy from the charge of having 
abandoned the position we held in 1854-56, I turn 
upon my accuser and undertake to show, that he 
himself abandoned the agreement he solemnly made 
at the time the Kansas-Nebraska bill passed the 
Congress of the United States; (Great Applause) : 
and I do not make myself a witness against him to 
do it. I will prove it by himself." (Voice— " Good, 
good," and applause.) 

In a debate in the Senate of the United States, 
on the 2d July, 1856, upon a bill to authorize the 
people of Kansas to form a Constitution and Stato 
Government, preparatory to admission into the 
Union as a State, when a question arose as to the 
true meaning of the Kansas-Nebraska bill, and the 
limitation on the power of the territorial govern- 
ment, i\Ir. Triimbull offered the following amend- 
ment, as an ailditional section to the bill : 

''And be it further enacted. That the provision in 
the act to organize the territories of Nebraska and 
Kansas, which declares it to be the true intent and 
meaning of said act, 'not to legislate slavery into 
any Territory or State, nor to exclude it therefrom, 
but to leave the people thereof perfectly free to form 
and regulate their domesticrinstitutions in their own 
way, subject only to the Constitution of the United 
States,' was intended to and does, confer upon, or 
leave 'to the people of the Territory of Kansas full 
power, at any time, through its territffrial legisla- 
ture, to exclude slavery from said territory, or to 
recognize and regulate it therein.' " 

■lAgainst this amendment an overwhelming majo- 
rity of the Senate voted, including General Cass, 
and Senator Douglas. Let me, however, do Mr. 
Douglas the justice to say he voted against it, not 
because he did not believe the territorial legislature 
had the right to exclude slavery from the territory, 
but because he did not believe it was consistent to 
decide the question legislatively, which they had 
agreed to leave to the Court. Gen. Cass says: 

"The South consider that the Constitution gives 
them the right of carrying their slaves any where 
in the territories. If they are right, j'ou can give no 
power to the territorial legislature to interfere with 
them. The major part of the North believe that the 
Constitution secures no such right to the South. 
They believe, of course, that this power is given to 
the legislature. I repeat that there is nothing equiv- 
ocal in the act. The different constructions of it re- 
sult from no equivocation in it, but from the fact 
that here is an important constitutional question,, 
undetermined by the supreme judicial authority; 
and in the mean time, individuals in different sec- 
tions of the Union put their own construction on it. 
We are neeessarilj- brought to that state of things. 
There is no power which the Senator from Illinois 
can use — no words which he can put into an act of 
Congress, that will remove this constitutional 
doubt until it is finally settled by the proper tribu- 

Mr. Douglas, in the same debate, in speaking of 
the attempt of his colleague to coerce an opinion 
from him upon the question whether the territorial 
legislature had the power to exclude slave property 
before they became a State, said ; 

" My opin-ion in regard to the question which my 

colleague is try in;; to raise horo has been well known 
to the Senate for years. It has been repeated over 
and over again. lie tried the other day, as those 
associated with him used to do, two years ago and 
last year, to ascertain what were my opinions on 
this point in the Nebraska bill ; I told him it was 
a judicial question. This would not suit them. 
Why ? Their object was to get me to express a 
judgment, so that they could charge me with hav- 
ing urged a dilTerent view at home, though I had 
expressed the same opinion here, pending that 
question, and though I had previously many times 
avowed the same thing. My answer then was, and 
now is, that if the Constitution carries slaverj" 
there, let it go, and no power on earth can take it 
away ; but if the Constitution does not carry it there, 
no power but the people can carry it there. What- 
ever may be the true decision of the constitutional 
point would not have affected my vote for or against 
the Nebraska bill. I should have supported it just 
as readily if I thought the decision would bo one 
way, as the other, ile will also find that I stated 
I would not discuss the legal question, for by the 
bill we referred it to the courts." 

Still later, on the loth of May last, in the Senate, 
Mr. Douglas said : 

" In the debate growing out of the Toombs bill, 
my colleague put the question to me after it had 
been answered over and over again in the previous 
speeches, whether or not a Territorial Legislature 
had the power to exclude slavery. Ho had heard 
my opinion on that question over and over again. 
I did not choose to answer a question that had been 
so often responded to, but referred him to the ju- 
diciary to ascertain whether the power existed. I 
believed the power existed; others believed other- 
wise. We agreed to differ; we agreed to refer it 
to the judiciary ; we agreed to abide by their de- 

I think I have shown that upon the point of dis- 
pute between the friends of the Kansas bill, as to 
the power of a Territorial Legislature to exclude 
slave property, it was agreed to refer it to the Su- 
preme Court, and when it had been judicially de- 
termined that we should abide by their decision, as 
a settlement of the constitutional question. 

Xow bear with me while I read a very little from 
the opinion of the Supreme Court of the United 
States, in the Dred Scott case rendered in the spring 
of 1S57, and three years after the passage of the 
Kansas bill. 

My friends, oceans of ink have been shed, and 
thousands of speeches have been made, all the 
catch-words of demagogues, and all possible forms 
of starting the question have been resorted to ; elo- 
quent appeals to the passions and prejudices of the 
people have been made in the discussion of this 
issue. Let us for a moment turn aside from this 
hot, seething, boiling, caldron of partisan and 
demagogue warfare, to the calm, enlightened, ju- 
dicial utterance of the most august tribunal on 
earth. (Kepeated applause.) This opinion was 
concurred in by all the judges, except two, and was 
delivered by the illustrious Chief Justice of the 
United States. In speaking of the acquisition of 
territory, the Court says : 

" But as we have before said, it was acquired by 
the General Government, as the representative and 
trustee of the people of the United States, and it 
must therefore be held in that character for their 
common and equal benefit; for it was the people of 
the several States acting through their agent and 
representative, the general government, who, in 
fact, acquired the territory in question, and the 

government holds it for their common dbo, until it 
shall bo associated ivith the other States as a mem- 
ber of the Union." 

No cant, no demagoguoism, no trash there, but a 
simple, clear, lucid, dispassionate exposition of a 
constitutional truth. The Court proceed to say that 
until the time arrives when the territory is organized 
as a State, some kind of government is necessary: 
but as to the power of Congress, and in this con- 
nection, they say : 

"But the power of Congress over the person or 
property of a citizen can never be a mere discre- 
tionary power under our Constitution and form of 
government. The powers of the government and 
the rights and privileges of the citizen are regulated 
and plainly defined by the Constitution itself. * •* 
It cannot, when it enters a territory of the United 
States, put oSf its character and assume discretion- 
ary or despotic power, which the Constitution has 
denied to it. 

"The territory being a part of the United States, 
the government and the citizen both enter it under 
the authority of the constitution, with tlieir respec- 
tive rights defined and marked out, and the Fede- 
ral Government can exercise no power over his 
person or property, beyond what that instrument 
confers, nor lawfully deny any right which it has 

Then proceeding with judicial exactitude : 

" The rights of private property have been 
guarded with equal care. Thus the rights of prop- 
erty are united with the rights of person, and placed 
on the same ground, by the fifth amendment to the 
Constitution, which provides that no person shall 
J be deprived of life, liberty, and property, without 
1 due process of law. And an act of Congress which 
' deprives a citizen of the LTnited States of his lib- 
erty or property, merely because he came himself, 
or brought his propert_y into a particular territory 
of the United States, and who committed no offence 
against the laws, could hardly be dignified with the 
name of due process of law. 

" The powers over person and property of which 
we speak, are not only not granted to Congress, but 
are in express terms denied, and they are forbidden 
to exercise them. 

"And if Congress itself cannot do this — if it is 
bej'ond the power conferred on the Federal Govern- 
ment — it will be admitted, we presume, that it 
could not authorize a territorial government to ex- 
ercise them. It could confer no power on any local 
government established by its authority, to violate 
the provisions of the constitution." 

Again : 

"It seems, however, to be supposed, that there is 
a difference between property in a slave and other 
property, and that different rules may be applied to 
it in expounding the Constitution of the United 
States. And the laws and usages of nations, and 
the writings of eminent jurists upon the relation 
of master and slave, and their mutual rights and 
duties, and the powers which government may ex- 
ercise over it, have been dwelt upon in the argu- 

But, after showing that no law of nations stands 
between the people of the United States and their 
government — that the powers of the government 
and the rights of the citizens under it are positive 
and practical regulations plainly written down — 
and that no usages of other nations or reasoning 
of their jurists upon the relations of master and 
slave, can enlarge the powers of this Government, 
or take from the citizens the rights they have re- 


They say : 

"And if the constitution recognizes the right of 
property of the master in a slave, and makes no 
distinction between that description of property and 
other property owned by a citizen, no tribunal act- 
ing under the authority of the United States, 
■whether it be legislative, executive or judicial, has 
a right to draw such a distinction, or deny to it the 
benefit of the provisions provided for the protection 
• of private property against the encroachments of 
the government. 

" Now, as we have already said in an earlier part 
of this opinion, upon a different point, the riglit of 
property in a slave is distinctlj'aud expressly affirm- 
ed in the Constitution. 

"And no word can be found in the Constitution 
■which gives Congress a greater power over slave 
property, or which entitles property of that kind to 
less protection than property of any other descrip- 
tion. The only power conferred is the power coupled 
•with the duty of guarding and protecting the owner 
in his rights." 

Now, my fellow-citizens, I cannot conceive of a 
simpler or clearer judicial exposition. The points 
of the opinion are briefly these : the Territories have 
been acquired and are held by Federal Government 
as trustee for the States, and the citizens of all the 
States may hold and enjoy their property in them 
until they take on the functions of sovereignty, and 
are admitted into the Union. 

The citizen enters the common Territory with the 
Constitution in his hand, and the Federal Govern- 
ment can exercise no power over his person or prop- 
erty beyond what that instrument confers, nor law- 
fully deny any right which it has reserved; and 
since the Federal Government cannot do this, still 
less can it authorize a Territorial government to 
exercise those powers. It cannot confer on any 
local government, established by its authority, the 
power to violate the Constitution. 

Between slave property and other property, no 
distinction exists ; property in slaves is recognized 
by the Constitution of the United States, and there 
is no word in that instrument which gives Congress 
greater power over it, or which entitles it to less 
protection than other property ; but the only power 
■which Congress has, is the power, coupled with the 
duty, of guarding and protecting the owner in his 

I am content to stand upon these principles, thus 
announced by the Supreme Court of the Union. 

Some disposition has been manifested to escape 
from these principles, because the case went up from 
a State and not a Territory ; but in my opinion this 
evasion is too small to be answered. The decision 
■we have been considering grew out of a proper case 
regularly carried up, and it determines every point 
of difference between the friends of the Kansas 

After this decision, ■we had arrived at a point 
■where we might reasonably expect tranquillity and 
peace. The equality of rights of persons and prop- 
erty of all the States, in the common Territory, 
having been stamped by the seal of judicial author- 
ity, all good citizens might well acquiesce. The 
time seemed to be at hand when the agitation would 
be confined to a little handful of political abolition- 
ists, which the conservative sentiment of the coun- 
try would soon put down. Least of all was any re- 
newal of agitation to be expected from any portion 
of those who had agreed by the Kansas bill to refer 
the Constitutional question to the Court. We seem- 
ed to be at the end of the struggle (assuming that 
the abolition party could not successfully prolong 

it), and now patriots and statesmen might devote 
their energies to the development of the varied ma- 
terial interests of the Union. The spectre of slavery 
agitation seemed to be laid forever. But these 
hopes were destined to cruel disap^iointment. 
Twelve months afterward, the Senator from Illi- 
nois, wl;o liiid "agreed to refer the question to the 
Supreme Court and to abide its decision," discover- 
ed a contrivance by which it was supposed the de- 
cision might be evaded, and rights which wo thought 
secure, be turned to ashes. Let us see how it was 
to be done. 

The opinion of the Supreme Court ■was delivered 
in 1S57. In IS58, M.Douglas was a candidate for 
re-election from that Stale, and then for the first 
time we find the theory adv:inced that there is a 
mode byivhich a .subordinate Territorial Legislature 
on a question of Con.-titutional right may evade, or 
maj' override tlie opinion of the highest /((c/iciViZ tri- 
bunal in the Union. Tlie manner in which it may 
be done is pointed out in the following language, 
employed by IMr. Douglas in discussion with his 
competitor, Mr. Lincoln : 

" The last question propounded to me by Mr. Lin- 
coln is. Can the people of a Territory, in any lav,'ful 
waj', against the wishes of any citizen of the United 
States, exclude slavery from their limits prior to the 
formation of a State Constitution ? I answer em- 
phatically, as Mr. Lincoln has heard me answer a 
hundred times from every stump in Illinois, that, 
in my opinion, the people of a Territory can, by 
lawful means, exclude slavery from their limits 
prior to the formation of a State Constitution." 

That question we agreed, in the Kansas bill, to 
refer to the Supreme Court of the United States. 
That question was decided, as I have just shown you, 
by the court the year before this speech was made 
by Mr. Douglas, in which decision they say neither 
Congress nor the Territorial Legislature has power 
to e.xclude ; but their only right and duty are to 
guard and protect. I h.ive shown 3'ou that Mr. 
Douglas agreed to submit the question to that court, 
and to abide by its decision. 

I quote Mr. Douglas again concerning what he 
calls the " abstract question" of the constitutional 
right of Southern citizens to hold and enjoy their 
property in the Territories. The question may be 
called " abstract," but it is one involving the equality 
of the States of this Union and the vital rights of 
nearly half of the confederacy : (Applause.) 

"It matters not," s.ays Mr. Douglas, "what way 
the Supreme Court my hereafter decide as to the 
abstract question, whether slavery may or may not 
go into a Territory under the Constitution, the peo- 
ple have the lawful means to introduce or exclude 
it as they please, for the reason that slavery cannot 
exist a day or on hour anywhere unless it is sup- 
ported by local police regulations." 

It matters not as to the right to go into the Ter- 
ritories under the Constitution. The people may 
lawfully exclude it while yet in the Territorial con- 
dition. I have shown you that in 1856, in the Sen- 
ate of the United States, he said : 

" If the Constitution carries slaver}' there, let it 
go, and no jyower on earth can take it away." I 
would like to see these two statements reconciled. 
(Great applause.) Whether the Constitution did 
authorize it to go there and protect the individual in 
his property, was a question which he agreed to re- 
fer to the Court. This I have proved, not by my- 
self, but by him. He now says, no matter which 
way the Court may decide it, it may be excluded. 
(Prolonged applause.) This declaration has never 
been withdrawn, and he aiserte to-day, that the peo2>l« 


of a Territory may exclude tJie property of SoutJierii 
people, prior to the formation of a Coiistitutiuii. hy 
territorial legislation againit it. '' No matter tthal the 
decisiuii of the Supreine Ciriirt may be on that ab- 
stract ytieUion, Mtill the rii/ht of the people to make a 
slave Territory or a free Territory is perfect and com- 
plete under the Nebraska bill.' " ! ! 

Gentlemen, in answer to the accusations against 
me of first holding and then abandoning this doc- 
trine, and which I have disproved, I have to say 
that it is not statesmanlike to agree to refer a con- 
troversy on a Constitutional point to the Supreme 
Court of the country, and when the Court has de- 
cided against you, to say " no matter how it miiy 
decide. 1 will find means to evade it, if against me." 

No. It is not for a statesman to point out to a 
subordinate legislative tribunal some device whether 
it be noQ-action or unfriendly legislation, by which 
it maj' destroy a constitutional right. 

That looks almost as much like "higher law" as 
some other "higher law" we heard of further East. 
(Laughter and applause.) 

And now, if I were disposed to imitate an emi- 
nent, but bad example, I might say, " there is not 
an honest man in all America," who can deny that 
■when tha friends of the Kansas bill differed upon 
the question of the power of Congress, or a territory, 
to exclude slave property during the territorial con- 
dition, they agreed to refer this constitutional ques- 
tion to the Supreme Court — that Mr. Douglas was a 
party to this agreement — that the Court decided 
upon a case properly arising, that neither Congress 
nor a territory, have the power to exclude Southern 
property from the common domain — and finally that 
Mr. Douglas, notwithstanding the agreement, yet 
declares that the legislature may expel slave pro- 
perty from the territories, and carefully points out 
the mode by which he supposed the decision of 
the Supreme Court may be evaded. (Loud ap- 

But I am content merely to state the facts, and 
let the public draw their own conclusions. 

Fellow-citizens, the serious illness under which I 
have suffered for some days, makes it almost im- 
possible for me to address this vast assemblage so as 
to be fully heard, and renders it necessary I should 
be brief. I pass on to a view of this subject in 
another aspect of it. 

No\t, gentlemen, how is this question met? Do 
not the Constitutional Democracy meet it by fair, 
manly appeals to the reason of the people and to 
the Constitution? Do we not state our principles 
fairly? Do we not state them in the very language 
of the Supreme Court of the United States itself ? 
Do we not stand upon the Constitution as adjudi- 
cated by the Court, and do not we express our rea- 
sons in temperat^manly, and respectful arguments? 
The language in which the Supreme Court states 
the territorial question, and decides it, and the 
manner in which it is stated by the distinguished 
Senator from Illinois — how different! Here are 
questions upon which the highest intellects of the 
country are exercised, engaging the anxious atten- 
tion of your wisest and best men, engaging the at- 
tention of your highest judicial tribunal, debated 
in the Senate, in the House of Representatives, 
before an anxious people who want to know the 

The question should be discussed on the strictest 
principles of the Constitution, divested of all preju- 
dice and passion. Yet this is the style of appeal 
commonly employed by Mr. Douglas and the most 
heated of his followers : 

"You shall not force slavery down the throats of 
an unwilling people." 

The argument consists of an appeal to the pas- 
sions of one section of the Union against the pas- 
sions of another section of the Union. Mr. Doug- 
las himstlf has sometimes admitted, that under our 
system, slave property stands upon the same foot- 
ing with other property. The Supreme Court of 
the United States has, as I have shown, decided 
that under the Constitution it stands upon the samo 
footing, and it has the same right to protection, and 
that all property alike must bo guarded and pro- 
tected in the common territories as other property. 
Yet we hear the accusation about "forcing slavery 
down the throat? of an unwilling people." This is 
the mode of treating questions of Constitutional 
right and private property ! 

Substitute the word "property" for the word 
" slaves," since sliive and other property have been 
shown to stand on the same footing, aud see how it 
would read : 

"You shall not force 'slavery' down the throats 
of an unwilling people." 

"You shall not force 'property' down the 
throats of an unwilling people. (Laughter and 

Why, the Territorial authority is the creature of 
Congress; Congress is the creature of the Constitu- 
tion; the Constitution is the creature of the States 
— and here you would have a little Territorial 
legislature three or four degrees removed from the 
original source of power, with the right to exclude 
all States of the Union with all their property from 
their own domains. (Applause.) This is the irre- 
sistible conclusion. — These are not the doctrines 
of the Constitutional Detnocracy. (Cheers.) These 
are not the doctrines of the Kentucky Opposition, 
or at least they were not last year. These are not 
the doctrines of the Constitution itself. These are 
sectional doctrines— (Cheers) these are not the doc- 
trines that make for the peace and harmony of the 
Union, of the States. (Cheers.) And forsooth be- 
cause we we will not take them and abandon the 
whole practice of tha Government and the decision 
of the Supreme Court ; because we will not bow down 
to a doctrine that deprives us of our rights — we are 
bolters, demagogues, secessionists, disunionists ! 
(Continued applause.) The distinguished Senator 
of Illinois said at Norfolk we are a " faction and 
must be destroyed." When we are destroyed, they 
will have struck their daggers through and through 
the Constitution of their country. (Immense ap- 

Just here, my friends, I want to say a word about 
the doctrine of non-intervention, which is adroitly 
mixed up with the phrases "popular sovereignty" 
and "squatter sovereignty," with a view to confuse 
the people. . -,, 

The names of Clay, AVebster, and other eminent 
statesmen, have been invoked to sustain this doc- 
trine of Territorial power, and the compromises of 
ISoO have been invoked for the same purpose. I 
assert that from 184S down to the period when this 
false doctrine, repugnant alike to the Constitution 
and reason, was thrust upon the country, no re- 
spectable political party held the opinion that a 
Territorial Legislature had the right to define or ex- 
clude property, pending the Territorial condition. 
When did Clay ever hold such doctrines? When 
were such doctrines ever embodied in the compro- 
mise measures of 1850 ? The legislation of that pe- 
riod shows that non-intervention was meant to ap- 
ply equally to Congress arid to the Territorial Gov- 

The statesmen of that day looked to the period 
when they should come into the Union as a State, 
as the time when the Territorial authorities might 


act on the subject of property, find hold or cx- 
cludo the slave property of the South. (Ap- 

Tiine will not allow me to do much more than 
state these propositions, but I will read short ex- 
tracts from the celebrated report made by the Com- 
mittee of Thirteen (of which Mr. Clay was chair- 
man), which resulted in the Compromise measures 
of 1350. It is calm, lucid, has no clap-trap, 
and in its tone is like the clear and elevated lan- 
guage of the Supreme Court : 

"It is high time that the wounds which it has 
inflicted should be healed up and closed, and that, 
to avoid in all future time the agitation which must 
be produced by the conflict of opinion on the sla- 
very question — existing as this institution does in 
some of the St.ites, and prohibited as it is in others, 
the true principle which ought to regulate the ac- 
tion of Congress in forming territorial governments 
for each newly acquired domain, is to refrain from 
all legislation on the suliject in the Territory ac- 
quired, so long as it retains the territorial form of 
government, leaving it to the people of such terri- 
tory, when tliey have attained to a conditicm which 
entitles them to admission as a State, to decide^for 
themselves the question of the allowance or prohi- 
bition of domestic slavery." (Applause — a voice, 
"That is true doctrine.") 

That, gentlemen, was non-intervention in ISoO. 
It was no interference to exclude by Congress, or 
the Territorial Legislature, but to leave the question 
to be decided by the people, when thej' come to form 
their State Constitution. It is as much a violation 
of the doctrine of non-intervention for a Territorial 
legislature under Mr. Douglas' bran new theory, 
to exclude slave property, as it would be for Con- 
gress to introduce it by positive law. 

Hero is the opinion of Webster, uttered .about the 
same time in the Senate, upon this question of Ter- 
' ritorial power : 

"We have always gone upon the ground that 
these territorial governments were in a state of pu- 
pilage, under the protection or patronage of the 
general government. The territorial legislature has 
a constitution prescribc<l by Congress. They have 
no power not given by that Congress. They must 
act within the limits of the constitution grafted them 
by Congress, or else their acts become void. The 
people under the territorial government are not a 
sovereignty; they do not constitute a sovereignty, 
and do not possess any of the rights incident to 
sovereignty. They are, if you so please to de- 
nominate it, in a state of inchoate government and 
sovereignty. If we well consider this question 
upon the ground of our prnctice during the last half 
century, I think -ire will find one way of disposing 
of it. It is our duty to provide for the people of 
the territory a government to keep the peace, to 
secure tJieir property/, to assign to them a subordinate 
legislative .authority, to see that the protection of their 
persons and the security of their property are all 
rejularhi provided for, and to maintain fhem in that 
state initil they grow into svfflcient importance in point 
ff jyopalation, to he admitted into the Union as a 
State upon the same footing with the original States." 

Do you suppose that Daniel Webster, .ifter the 
opinion of the Supreme Courfwhich I have read to 
you, would have considered it becoming in him, as 
an American statesman, to point ont some contri- 
Tance or device by which the territorial legislature 
could violate the Constitutional rights of the States. 
Not he ! Nor would Mr. Clay, nor any of the great 

axd go'id men who illustrated the earlier days of 
your history. (Cheers.) 

Why, how is it with these territorial govern- 
ments? From the beginning they have been re- 
garded as subordinate and temporary, without any 
attribute of sovereignty. Their judges, and ge- 
vernors. and most of the other officers, are appointed 
bj' the President and Senate and paid out of the 
public treasury; and even the daily expenses of the 
legislature which they invoke to exclude your pro- 
perty from the territories are paid out of the trea- 
sury from money to which that verj' propertj' con- 
tributes by taxation ! (Applause.) The practice of 
the government neverhas warranted this new doc- 
trine. Take an illustration which has always seemed 
to me to be conclusive. The theory is, that in the 
common domain of the United States, the States 
and their citizens are on a footing of equality and 
entitled to the protection of their persons and pro- 
port}'. This sounds like a national and constitu- 
tional doctrine. Now suppose that a vessel were 
going out of the port of Norfolk for another port, 
laden with freight, and having on board also a num- 
ber of slaves. It is said that property in slaves 
under our system is local, and cannot get beyond 
State limits without special legislation. This ship 
gets beyond one league from shore, and is in the 
open sea, beyond the limits of any State. Can n 
British cruiser come up and take these slaves from 
the deck of the vessel and say they are free, because 
slavery is local and they are not within the limits of 
any State ? No. What then protects them ? Nothing 
but the deck of an American ship and the flag of the 
United States. The property is upon the common 
domain of the Union, and the flag of America pro- 
tects it; and if it does it on the deck of a ship, it 
does it in the Territories, which are likewise the 
common domain of the Union. (Loud applause.) 

One other word on this general subject. I see in 
a speech made by the Senator from Illinois, in Pe- 
tersburg, Ya., he uses the following language to the 
people of that State : 

"You have the same right, under the Constitu- 
tion, to go and carry your property in the territories 
that I have mine. You have the same right to carry 
your slaves, or yout cattle, or your horses, that I 
have to carry any property that I possess. AVhen 
you get there, you and I stand on a footing of exact 
equality under the law. You bring your property 
with you subject to the local law, and I bring mine 
with me subject to the same local law." 

Observe, he says you haro the same right, under 
the Constitution, to go and carry your property into 
the Territory that he has to carry his; and I have 
showd that he declared previously in the Senate 
that if the Constitution carried i| there, no power 
on earth could take it away. Now, he says when 
you get there, it is subject to a local law, made by 
subordinate legislative authority, and the sura of it 
is that the moment it gets there, under the Consti- 
tution, they can drive it out against the Constitu- 
tion. (Laughter and applause.) Gentlemen, what 
is this but the assertion of wholly inconsistent po- 
sitions ? What is it but trifling with the intelligence 
of the people? 

Again, says that distinguished gentleman, in tho 
same speech : 

" Congress never yet passed a law for the protec. 
tion of any man's property in a Territory. Every 
man who goes to a territory with his wife, his chil- 
dren, his servants, and his property, is subject to 
the local law, and relies upon local law for his pro- 


Let us seo if that is so. Congress has done it in 
many instances. I happened to meet, tho other day, 
with a striking case, iu which it did so. In 1SH4, 
when groat statesmen were in tho Senate and the 
House, and Jaoljson was President of tlie United 
States, tho territory of Florida undertoolv to lay a 
tax on the slaves of non-residents liigher than on 
the slaves of residents. The non-residents of Vir- 
ginia and other States appealed to Congress to 
oblige tho Territorial Legislature to refrain from 
discriminating against their property. The com- 
mittee of Congress say they " think that Congress 
should always protect the property of citizens of the 
United Stales when subjected to tho operations of 
unjust legislation by territorial governments;" and 
they reported a bill enacting that all such acts as 
those complained of should be "null and void," 
and further that an attempt by any one to enforce 
said acts, passed by the Legislative Council of the 
Territory of Florida, should be punished bj- fine and 
imprisonment. The bill passed Congress, and was 
approved by President Jackson. Now would it not 
be an insult to your understandings to say that this 
was not an interference by Congress to protect pro- 
perty against the encroachments of the Territorial 
Legislature. Yet Mr. Douglas says that Congress 
" never yet passed a law for the protection of any 
man's property in a territory;" but that "he must 
always rely on tho local law." Of course I do not 
doubt that he believes the statement; but I relieve 
his truth and integrity at tho expense of his infor- 
mation. (Laughter. A voice, "I wouldn't care to 
be so relieved.") 

Fellow citizens : The principles I have tried 
feebly to vindicate here, are tho principles upon 
which the Consiitutional Democracy stands to-day; 
and they are the only principles upon which any 
human beings will pretend to charge them with 
purposes of disunion. If they are the principles of 
the Constitution and the Union, then we are Con- 
stitutional and Union men. (Cries of " That's so.") 
And yet, for two or three months back, you have 
heard loud and incessant clamor that I, and those 
with whom I am connected, are a disunion organi- 
zation, who seek to break up this Confederacy of 
States. My friends, I hardly know, so far as it is a 
personal charge against myself, how to answer it. 
(A voice, '■ Tell them it's a lie.") 

The whole stock in trade of many anonymous 
writers and wandering orators all over the country, 
' is "disunion" — "disunion." — "This man and his 
party attempt to break up the Union of the States." 
You may appeal to them by reason, but in vain. 
You saj-, these are the principles of the Constitu- 
tion, as determined by the practice of the Govern- 
ment. The answer is — "disunion." You may say 
they are the principles of the Constitution as deter- 
mined by the highest judicial tribunal of the land. 
The answer is — "disunion!" You may say, "we 
are asserting principles thus sanctioned, by means 
of reason and the ballot-box, and under the Con- 

And still, the large number of young gentlemen 
who are engaged in enlightening tho people upon 
the Constitution of tho country, by tho ringing of 
bells, with tongues as long and heads as empty as 
the bolls they ring, shout — "disunion!" (Pro- 
longed laughter and cheers.) 

From sources yet more eminent comes the accusa- 
tion, that I and the political organization with which 
I am connected, are laboring for the disruption of 
the Confederacy. I do not reply now to what Mr. 
Douglas says all over New England, in Virginia, 
and wherever he goes, because it my be quite natu- 
ral for a gentlemen who feels as profound a personal 

interest as he docs in pending questions, to think, 
that any man who opposes him, must be a dis- 
uniouist. (Cheers and laughter.) Indeed, by his 
declaration, wo must be all disunioni,-:ts in Ken- 
tucky ; for ho declares that those who assert that 
tho territorial logi.-Iaturo has no power to exclude 
slave property, and that Congress should intcrforo 
for its protection when necessary, are in effect dis- 
unionists; and that is what the whole Legislature 
and all the people of Kentucky said last year. (Ap- 

Fellow-citizens, oven in our own State, where I 
certainly thought my character and antecedents 
were known, one of the oldest and most eminent of 
our public men has not indeed said that I am a dis- 
unionist, but intimated that if I am not one myself 
I am connected with an orgauization whose bone 
and body is disunion. I refer to Jlr. Crittenden, 
and to a speech recently made b}' him at Louis- 

Gentlemen, I have known and admired Jlr. Crit- 
tenden since I was a buy. He also has known me ; 
towards him and his, I have ever cherished, and 
expect to cherish, relations of the most respectful 
and cordial esteem. There are reasons' I do not 
care to allude to in public, which, even if I had 
grounds for an opposite course, would prevent any 
but the most perfect courtesy in reply. After 
speaking of Mr. Lincoln in terms fully as compli- 
mentary as his principles merit, and of Mr. Douglas 
in terms of warm eulogy, he comes to speak of his 
own fellow-citizen in the language fallowing : 

"We are now left only to compare Mr. Bell with 
the third candidate who stands in opposition — Mr. 
Breckinridge. And here again, as in respect to Mr. 
Douglas, my objection is not to the candidate as an 
individual. I should hope that Mr. Breckenridge 
was not a disunion man. (A voice — "Yes he is!") 
He ought not to be. He belongs to a tribe of 
faithful, devoted Union men — the tribe of Ken- 
tuckians. (Great applause.) He must have been 
seduced away from the path of his duty, far from 
the path in which all the imptilses of his blood 
ought to carry him, if ho has bccnme a disunionist. 
But Mr. Breckenridge has made himself the head of 
a party. He is part and parcel of the present pur- 
pose of that part}', and as in the case of Mr. Lin- 
coln, we must judge of his public course by tho 
party that he consents to represent." 

Fellow-citizens, I thank my venerable and distin- 
guished friend for tho lingering hope he yet enter- 
tains that I am not a disunionist. (Laughter and 
applause.) Like a humane lawj'er, he gives me 
personally the benefit of a doubt, and for this, too, 
I thank him. (Renewed cheers.) As to my con- 
nection with principles or a party which tends in 
that direction, I may speak of it presently. My 
object is now to relieve myself, personally, from the 
imputation of being a disunicnist, and in this case 
I would greatly prefer to receive a strong and direct 
blow than to have it sound as it does, like the re- 
luctant confession of a sorrowful friend. (Applause 
and laughter.) In passing, I may sa}-, in regard to 
the distinguished gentleman associated with me as 
candidate for the Vice-Presidency, that his whole 
life is a refutation of the charge made ag.ninst him. 
Born in North Carolina, reared in Kentucky, long 
living in Indiana, more recently from far off Oregon, 
he has been in all parts of his country, tried in all, 
honored in all. He has served his country with 
high distinction in peace and war, and bears on his 
person enduring memorials of his patriotism and 
courage. His last act of treason was to add another 
star to the galaxy of the Union. (Loud applause.) 


"Whon a man is before the people for public trust, 
a deal depends on bis personal character and 
antecedents. Much then depends on the fact whether 
I am a disunionist. (Cries of "You're not!") Born 
•within sight of this spot where we are met, known 
to many of you for nearly forty years, your repre- 
sentative in the legislature of Kentucky, in the 
Congress of the United States, and other stations 
ef public trust, I invite any one to point to any 
thing in my character or antecedents which would 
ganctiou such a charge or such an imputation. 
(Cheers.) I will not degrade the dignity of my 
declaration on this subject by epithets, but I proudly 
challenge the bitterest enemy I may have on earth 
to point out an act, to disclose an utterance, to re- 
veal a thought of mine hostile to the Constitution 
and wnion of the States. (Loud cheers. A voice — • 
"He couldn't do it!") 

No, my friends, the man does not live, in or out 
of the Commonwealth of Kentucky, no matter how 
exalted his station or character, who has power 
enough to connect my name successfully with the 
slightest taint of disloyalty to the Constitution and 
union of -my country. (Applause. A voice — "Xo, 
you'd die (irst !" 

But, fellow.citizens, if there be nothing in my 
character or antecedents to justify this accusation, 
what is there in the principles upon which I stand ? 
It is not pretended that these resolutions which re- 
late to the acquisition of Cuba, the Pacific Railroad, 
the rights of naturalized citizens, <tc., contain dis- 
union sentiments. It must then be, if anywhere, in 
the resolutions as to property in Territories, and its 
protection. — I will read these two resolutions, and 
you can judge whether they accord with the Consti- 
tution, the decision of the Supreme Court, and the 
practice of the Government as I have shown it to- 
day : 

"1. Resolved, That the government of a Territory 
organized by an Act of Congress, is provisional and 
temporary, and during its existence all citizens of 
the United States have an equal right to settle with 
their property in tho Territory, without their rights 
of either person or property being destroyed or im- 
paired b}^ Congressional or Territorial legislation. 

"2. liesoh-ed, That it is the duty of the' Federal 
Government in all its departments to protect, when 
necessary, the rights of persons and property in the 
Territories, and wherever else its constitutional au- 
thority extends." 

These are tho principles we avow. Are they Con- 
Btitutional ? Are they jBist ? Are they sectional? 
If thejf are Constitutional, they are not sectional, 
for the Constitution covers the whole Union. 
(Cheers.) AVhy, he who stands upon the Constitu- 
tion, can neither be sectional nor a disunionist. I 
have shown j'ou that these principles are taken al- 
most word for word from the opinion of the Supreme 
Court of the United States, and we find they are 
supported by almost all the precedents and practice 
of the Government. They are principles upon which 
we maj' well live, and hy which wo may well be 
■willing to die. (Cheers.) Thcj- are important, the} 
are vital. They concern the rights of person and 
proj)crty. The cannot be abstract, they cannot be 
minute or unimportant, for thej' concern the honor 
and equality of the States. What has been fho po- 
sition of Kentucky upon that ijlatform ? You re- 
member the position taken by the candidates for 
Governor of this State last j'cnr? Both held that 
Territorial Legislatures have no power to exclude 
our property, and each contended that every depart- 
ment of Government must protect it when it became 
necessary. Mr. Joshua F. Bell, I believe, went a 

step further in thinking the time had now arrived 
when it was necessary for the Government to inter- 
pose. The Congressional conventions of both par 
ties, with scarcely an exception, and their nominees 
for Congress, indorsed these principles. The State 
Democratic Convention, on the 8th of January last, 
adopted by an overwhelming vote the following 
resolution, which embraces precisely the same prin- 
ciples ; 

1. Resolved, That the Democratic party in Ken- 
tucky believe that the Government of the United 
States h(dds the public domain in trust for the bene- 
fit of all the citizens of the respective States, and 
that Congress possesses tho power, and, in the 
faithful discharge of its trust, is bimnd to exercise 
the power, when it shall be necessary, to protect the 
citizens or inhabitants of any Territory in the use 
and enjoyment of every species of property; but 
that neither the Congress of the United States, nor 
anj' legislative agent of Congress can, by legislative 
enactment, or by unfriendly legislation, deprive the 
owner of his property, or restrict or restrain him in 
the use of the same." 

Again : 

The Senate of Kentucky, last winter, by a unani- 
mous vote of both parties, declared these principles 
to be important, constitutional and true, by the fol- 
lowing resolution, which I must read, it is so apt, 
so pertinent, so conclusive ; 

"Resolved, That the territories are the common 
property of the Union, and as a field for the expan- 
sion of the institutions and tho development of the 
energies of an advancing and progressive people, 
are open to the citizens of all the States ; and that 
there exists no power in the General Government or 
the government of a territory, during its contin- 
uance as such, and until having attained sufficient 
population it shall have formed a constitution and 
been admitted into the Union, to impair the right 
of any citizen migrating thereto in the ownership 
and enjoyment of any species of property which 
may be recognized by the laws of any one of the 
States, but that this right having been solemnly af- 
firmed by the decisions of our highest judicial tri- 
bunals, should be guarded by suitable laws, faith- 
fully administered ; and if, in any case, a territorial 
government should assail that right by unfriendly 
legislation, or experience should show that existing ^ 
laws are inadequate for its protection, it will then 
be the duty of the General Government in the exer- 
cise of its powers — legislative, judicial, and execu- 
tive, — each acting within its api)ropriate sphere, to 
provide such securitj' and protection as the exigen- 
cies of the occasion may demand." 

A similar resolution was unanimously agreed to 
in the House of Representatives of the Legislature. 

What is all this, hut adopting in principle and 
language, the opinion of the Supreme Court, and 
the resolutions I have read of the N.itional Demo- 
cratic Convention. Both parties in Kentucky, at 
the polls, twelve months ago, and by unanimous 
votes in both branches of tho legislatare, have de- 
clared that these principles are constitutional, and 
vital to the interests and honor of the State. 

Surely I might pause here, but I want, in support 
of these principles, the individual authority of one 
of our most venerable statesmen. I want tho au- 
thority of Mr. Crittenden himself. (Applause.) Gen- 
tlemen, whatever doubts he may have as to my fide- 
lity to the Constitution and the Union of these 
States. I do not hesitate to say, that in my opin- 
ion, that eminent gentlemen is devoted to the Union. 


I do not believe Zic would advocate principles which 
ho believed were uncoiistitiitioual or ciilculated to 
destroy the Union, and I can have his sanction and 
indorsement for the principles I advocate, surely it 
will go a great way in proving that they arc consti- 
tutional, and the true Union principles. I held iu 
uiy liand the Journal of the United States Senate, 
for the month of May last, when the following reso- 
lution wasadoptt-d by an overwhelming vote; 

liosoh'ed, That the Union of tliese States rests on 
the equality of rights and privileges among it mem- 
bers; and that it is especially the duty of tiic Senate, 
which represents the States, in their sovereign capa- 
city, to resist all attempts to discriminate either in 
relation to persons or property in the territories, 
whi>;h are the common possessions of the United 
States, so as to give advantages to the citizens of 
one State which are not equally assured to those 
of every other State." 

Mr. Crittenden's vote is on record, in the affirma- 
tive on that resolution. On the same day, the fol- 
lowing resolution passed the Senate : 

"Besolved, That neither Congress nor a Territorial 
Legislature, whether by direct legislation or legisla- 
tion of an indirect or unfriendly character, possess 
power to annul or impair the constitutional right of 
any citizen of the United States to take his slave 
property into the common territories, and there hold 
afld enjoy the same while the territorial condition 

Mr. Crittenden's vote is recorded in favor of this 

On the same day, the following resolution also 
passed the Senate : 

"Besolved, That if experience should at any time 
prove that the judicial and executive authority do 
not possess means to insure adequate protection to 
constitutional rights in a territory, and if the terri- 
torial government should fail or refuse to provide 
the necessary remedies for that purpose, it will be 
the duty of Congress to supply such deficiency, with- 
in the limits of its constitutional powers." 

Mr. Crittenden's name is recorded in favor of this 

Then I have the vote of my respected friend de- 
claring that these questions are not minute or un- 
important — that the Union o'f the States rests upon 
equality of rights among its members ; that neither 
Congress nor a Territorial Legislature has the power 
to annul or impair the constitutional right of any 
citizen of the United States to take his slave pro- 
perty into the common territories and there enjoy 
the same, while the territorial condition remains ; 
and that if such right be assailed by the territorial 
legislature, it becomes necessary for Congress to in- 
terfere to protect it ; precisely the principles upon 
which we stand to-day. (Cheers.) 

Mr. Crittenden, a few days after, followed these 
resolutions by a speech in the Senate, which I find 
reported in the Daily " Globe," the official organ of 
that body. It is true, that Mr. Crittenden expressed 
a hope that the time might never come when it would 
be necessary for Congress to intervene to protest 
these rights in the territories. I also trust tliat the 
time may never come when any territorial authoritj' 
•will be so reckless of its constitutional obligations 
as to make it necessarj' for Congress or the other 
branches of the Government to interfere for the pro- 
tection of personal rights and private property. — 

But in the speech to which I refer, he sustains the 

position I occup.y, in language which compares well 
with that of the Supreme Court itself. He says : 

"My idea upon that subject, Mr. President, with- 
out a shadow of duulit, is that a territorial govern- 
ment is the mere creature of Congre.-^s, ma'lo and 
fashioned by Congress ns it pleases, with what func- 
tions it jileascs, with what power it thinks proper to 
confer; that nil the,-o powers are liable to be re- 
sumed at any time, or to be fashioned and controlled 
and changed at the pleasure of Congress, and ac- 
cording to its discretion. Of courfe, there is no 
sovereignty or particle of it in the Territory: all i? 
a mere delegation of power, and is in subordination 
at all times to the Congress of the United States. 
I know of no sovereignty in this country, no su- 
preme political power, except that originally vested 
in the people of the United States. They are the 
natural depositaries, the}' are the natural owners of 
every thing like supreme power or sovereignty. They 
have, to form this (Jovernment, delegated a certain 
portion of that sovereignty to the Congress of the 
United States. The whole, then, of thi;? sovereignty 
exists, as to that part not delegated, in the people. 
»A.s to that part which they have delegated, that is in 
Congress; and here is the disposition of the whole 
sovereign supreme power of this country. None has 
been delegated to any one else. None, certainly, has 
been delegated to to the territorial governments." 

Further on in the same speech, Mr. Crittenden 
employs the following language : 

" As the territorial government has no sovereign 
or independent right to act on this subject, the Su- 
preme Court of the United States, having determined 
that every citizen of the United States may go into 
that Territory carrying his slaves with him, and 
holding them there, my opinion is, that the Con- 
stitution, is to protect that property which it has 
authorized to go there. Of course, that is a logical 
conclusion. It seems to me it is unquestionable. 
To assert my right to go there, to carry my property 
there, and to enjoy that property, and then to say 
there is any body stronger or mightier or more 
sovereign than the Constitution, that can take from 
rae that which the Constitution says I shall have 
and enjoy, or shall expel me from the place where 
the Constitution says I may go, I can imagine no- 
thing so inconsistent and so contradictory. I say, 
therefore, when the proper or extreme case occurs : 
when propertj' going there under the sanction of 
the Constitution, as interpreted by the Supremo 
Court of the United States, shall require such inter- 
position, that it is the duty of Congress to interpose 
and grant protection. Give it, and give it ade- 
quately. That is my opinion." 

Nobly and well said, in language worthy of his 
exalted character and reputation. 

Mr. Douglas saj's, and makes the acceptance of 
it the condition on which he will consent to admin- 
ister the government, that a Territorial Legislature, 
no matter what the decision of the Supreme Court 
m.ay be, can lawfully exclude slave property from a 
territory ; that you may take it there under the 
Constitution, but that the local legislature may then 
expel it by hostile laws. The Supreme Court says 
the Territorial Legislature can not exclude it. and 
Mr. Crittenden says that he can "imagine nothing 
so inconsistent and contradictory" as to say that 
you may fake your property there by virtue of the 
Constitution, and then to say that there is som» body 
stronger or mightier than the Constitution, that can 
take away that which the Constitution says you 
may hold and enjoy ; and yet, unless Mr. Douglas 
can force half the States to accept this surrender of 


their rights, he will rend and destroy as he goes. 
(Applause.) I derive some satisfaction from the 
fact that tlie Hon. John J. Crittenden, whose name 
juul iiuthority will go for in this Union, has de- 
chired, by hi- spo'cches and votes in the Senate, that 
the print'iplos upon which wo stand are constitu- 
tional and true. (Cheers.) 

FeUow-citizens, I cannot enlarge; I appeal to you 
if I have not conclusively repelled the accusations 
against nie, and if I have not shown that it is 
neither I nor the Constitutional Democracy, but 
Mr. Douglas who departed from the agreement of 
the Kansas bill ? 

Then passing to a more extended view, we have 
seen that these principles have been sanctioned by 
the practice of the Government, affirmed by the 
highest judicial tribunal in the world; voted to be 
true by both political parties in Kentucky in 1859; 
unanimously asserted by both branches of the 
Legislature, and by an overwhelming majority of 
the whole Democratic party in State Convention, 
and dechired by Mr. Crittenden himself, in the most 
solemn form, to be not onlj- constitutional, but to 
be sound and true, essential to the rights and 
equality of the States. (Cheers.) Surely these 
things make a pyramid of authority and argument 
in their support, which ought to commend them, if 
not to the adoption, certainly to the grave and can- 
did consideration of all men who wish to know the 
truth. And I have tried to sustain them by legiti- 
mate facts and argument. I am not conscious of 
having appealed to any prejudice. 

Fellow-citizens, these principles will give us 
peace and prosperity; they will preserve the equal- 
ity and restore the harmony of the States. They 
will make every man feel that in his personal rights 
and rights of property he stands on a footing of 
equality in the domain common to all the States? 
(Cheers.) They have their root in the Constitution, 
and no party can be sectional which maintains 
constitutional principles. Are we to be driven 
from their maintenance ? Is our State to be twisted 
round the fingers of politicians, as they would twist 
a gum-elastic thread? Are the people of Ken- 
tucky to be made to turn their backs to-day upon 
principles they thought true and constitutional last 
year, by loud and unreasonable clamor? Are they 
to be driven, terrified, staggered and bewildered by 
idle cries of "disunion," from maintaining their 
constitutional rights? And Avhen Kentuekj is 
asked to express her opinion of her own rights in 
this confederacy, has the spirit of the Common- 
wealth sunk so low that she dare not do it? (Cries 
of "No! no!" and cheers.) Such were not the 
men who laid the foundation of this State. Such 
were not those who maintained our independence in 
179S. Now the question is one of the equal rights 
of persons and property in the territories, though, 
indeed, just behind this outpost lie all our other 
constitutional rights. Then it was a question of 
the freedom of speech, and whetlicr the friendless 
foreigner might be driven from tlie country for rea- 
sons to be locked u]) in the breast of the President. 
Need I recite the glorious part Virginia and Ken- 
tucky played in that great drama? Many States 
replied to their resolutinns by stigmatizing them as 
disunionists ; but, undeterred by threats and false 
principles, they inaugurated a political revolution 
which saved the Constitution and your liberties. 
(Cheers.) Now, in 1S60, does Kentucky dare to de- 
fend the Constitution against senseless outcries? 
Does she dare to assert the equality of the States, 
and her own rights in the Confederacy? They are 
hers by the current of our history; hers by the 
practice of the government; hers by the sanction 

of judicial authority. Then will she fly from them, 
driven by the clamor of bells and noisy orators, or 
will she stand upon them brave and self-poised, and 
maintain alike her rights, the Constitution and 
the Union. (Cheers and cries, "We'll stand by 
them !") 

Fellow-citizens, if my strength will last, can you 
bear with me a little longer? (A voice — " Yes, a 
week ; go on !") 

I know of but one political organization which as- 
serts the principles I have attempted to defend. 
The Republican organization holds precisely oppo- 
site principles. They say we have no rights in the 
territories with our property. They s.ay Congress 
has a right to exclude it, and it is its duty to do so ; 
but they are somewhat indifferent on this point as 
long as they are quite sure it will be done by the 
territorial legislature. 

In regard to the platform adopted by the Conven- 
tion which nominated Mr. Bell, of Tennessee, and 
Mr. Everett, of Massachusetts, I have only to say 
that Certainly it announces no principle at all upon 
this subject — gentlemen tell us they are advocating 
the claims of these distinguished men upon the 
principles of the Constitution, the Union, and the 
enforcement of the laws. I presume that there is 
scarcely a man in this assembly — perhaps very few, 
North or South, who will admit that they are op- 
posed to the Union, the Constitution, and the en- 
forcement of the laws ; but they entertain the most 
diverse and opposite opinions as to the best mode 
of sustaining the Constitution, and the character of 
the laws to be enforced. 

Mr. Seward, of New York, Mr. Burlingame, of 
Massachusetts, Mr. Giddings, of Ohio — all identified 
with the anti-slavery party — will tell you they are 
for the Union, but it is their own sort of Union they 
want. They say they are for the Constitution ; but 
they construe the Constitution so as to take away 
our rights. — They tell you they are for the enforce- 
ment of the laws ; but they are for laws which 
would take away our property. (Cheers.) For the 
" Union, tlie Constitution, and the Laws," they 
shake hands with you on that; but you cannot agree 
on a single thing under Heaven afterward. (Laugh- 
ter and cheers.) 

Then tliis platform, gentlemen, declares practi- 
cally nothing, and I have nothing more to say about 
it. (Good! good!") 

But, the platform I have read to you does contain 
a distinct enunciation of certain principles which 
touch the rights of property and person in the Ter- 
ritories, and which declare the equal rights of the 
States; and now, is Kentucky ready to meet the 
issue? We appeal to you, not in behalf of any in- 
dividual, but to stand by your own principles, rest- 
ing as they do on the Constitution of the United 
States. (Cries of "Good!") 

Now, if it be true, that I am not a disunionist, 
and if it be true that the political principles I advo- 
cate are the principles of the Constitution, will it 
not be pretty difficult to fasten disunion on sound 
men, with Constitutional principles? (Cries of 
" That's so.") 

That, gentlemen, would seem to exhaust the sub- 
ject. Sound men, with Constitutional principles, 
which are afiirmed in the mode recognized in Ameri- 
can politics, and which we propose to maintain by 
reason and the ballot-box. Really this would seem 
to exhaust the question. 

But, it is said, although I am not a disunionist, 
and theprinciples I maintain are Constitutional and 
true, yet the object of the organization by which I 
have been nominated is to break up this Confede- 
racy ! and I suppose they have selected me as the 


tool with which to execute tliat scheme. (A voice — 
"A bad instrument I" Cheers.) 

Gentlemen, I do not think any man ^vill charge 
me, in my pulilic address to the people, with want 
of candor. I have no doubt a great many gentle- 
men in the Southern States of the Union think that 
their Constitutional rights will never be recognized. 
A few are, perhaps, ^jcr se, disunionists ; though I 
doubt if there are iifty such in the Union, aside from 
the Abolitionists of the Garrison school. Undoubt- 
edly, a number of gentlemen who were dissatisfied 
with the Compromise measures of IS JO, now prefer 
me for the Presidency, and sustain me on this plat- 
form ; and if I could descend to count noses, I doubt 
not there are many more of the same character who 
sustain other gentlemen, upon platforms not so con- 
stitutional and desirable as mine. (Cheers.) AVhat 
is the charge? Xearly the entire delegations of a 
majoritj' of the States made this nomination, and 
it is sustained by the masses of the Southern De- 
mocracj', and by strong organizations in most of the 
Northern States. Do they mean to say that these 
masses were disunionists? Why, gentlemen, the 
country is in a bad way if this be so. But the 
charge is a reckless one. The entire delegations 
from California and Oregon united in my nomina- 
tion, and affirmeil our principles. Are these dis- 
union States ? They lie thousands of miles away 
from our domestic strifes. What have they said or 
done that could lead any man to suppose that thej' 
would break up the Union of the S'ates? They are 
impartial arbitrators of this dispute; ai;d they tell 
our Northern brethren they must do justice and 
give equality in the Union, and thus aluue can they 
maintain the Union and the Constitution. 

Are a majority of the Senators in Congress dis- 
unionists ? Are three-fourths of the Democratic 
members of the House of Representatives disunion- 
ists? Are all the eminent men throughout the 
Union, who sustain this cause, disunionists ? My 
friends, the charge is baseless and absurd. 

Advantage has been taken of the loj-alty of the 
people of Kentucky ; and equally, to the surprise 
and delight of the gentlemen engaged in it, the 
scheme succeeded better than they expected. I am 
sure that the sober, second thought of the people 
will recall them to the maintenance of their well 
considered opinions. Kentucky will never abandon 
a principle which she has declared to be the princi- 
ple of the Constitution and the Union. (Loud ap- 

I will not answer the newspaper accusations that 
this gentleman and the other gentleman who have 
held extreme opinions, support me. Gentlemen of 
far more extreme opinions support the other candi- 
dates. What, if A B C and D, whose opinions you 
do not like, thinking better of a certain set of prin- 
ciples than they do of a certain other set of princi- 
ples, or no principles at all, (laughter and applause) 
choose to vote for me, will j'ou, for this, fasten the 
stigma of disunion upon one-half the confederacy ? 

Gentlemen, it is unworth;-. Judge men by their 
antecedents and by the principles supported by the 
mass of their advocates. Do that, and if you find 
the man unexceptionable, and the principles true, 
what brave man will be deterred from his support 
by a false clamor of disunion ? I never could un- 
derstand how it was sectional to assert a constitu- 
tional right, for I have always regarded the Consti- 
tion as covering the whole country. (Cheers.) 

But, while you are wrangling among yourselves, 
there are disunionists all over the country, work- 
ing, and working actively, for the overthrow of the 
Union of the States. They are those who deny 
constitutional rights j for upon the Constitution the 

Union rests. They are those who all over the North 
are engaged to-day in trampling under foot, without 
shame, the plainest rights guaranteed to us by the 
Federal Constitution. (Cheers.) The Governor of 
the State of Ohio refuses to deliver up a man in- 
dicted for felony in Kentucky, because, ho says, 
under the laws of Ohio it is no crime to steal a ne- 
gro. To-day, in the State of Wisconsin, a man in- 
dicted for a forcible rescue from the custody of the 
Marshall of the United States, is protected by a 
mob, whose lawless proceedings seem to be sus- 
tained by public opinion. Where, in the North, can 
the fugitive slave law be executed, except here and 
there along the border ? How many of the States 
in the North have passed laws making it an of- 
fense, to be punished by fine and imprisonment, to 
aid the officers of the United States in executing 
the law in regard to the return of fugitive slaves ? 
Si.x or eight, I believe. Look at these things. Look 
at the concentration of anti-slavery opinion. Look 
at the gradual advance, j^ear after year, of uncon- 
stitutional encroachments. See 3'ourselves envi- 
roned and closed in upon with steady and relentless 
steps. State after State enacting laws, making it 
penal in the people to assist the officers of the 
United States to execute the laws which protect 
your rights; armed mobs making rescues from the 
Marshal and refusing to surrender prisoners; a tho- 
rough anti-slavery opinion maturing and taking 
the form of political action in the Northern States; 
inroads in every direction — at Harper's Ferry ; ar- 
sons in Texas; the South environed and beset; the 
Constitution thrown with contempt into her face; 
the purpose avowed to exclude her from all the vast 
common domain of the Union, and thus to begin 
that "irrepressible conflict" which must end in the 
abolition of slavery in the States. (Applause.) 
And yet, when a political organization ventures to 
protest, in constitutional language — to ask for con- 
stitutional rights — those rights which you have 
said are yours, having no ear to hear, no eye to 
see, no voice of censure to rebuke these unconstitu- 
tional encroachments, you turn upon and stab, with 
clamorous cries of disunion, your own fellow-citi- 
zens, who are struggling for yoJr own rights, (ap- 
plause,) and like the Jews, when Titus besieged 
their citj', instead of defending the temple of your 
liberties, you waste the precious hours in insane 
wranglings and mutual accusations. (Renewed 

A single word upon another point. It is said 
that Mr. Lincoln, representing the most offensive 
principles before the country, ought to be defeated, 
and that lam the only man in the way of his de- 
feat. I agree he ought to be defeated. I agree 
that he represents the most obnoxious principles in 
issue in this canvass. I agree that his principles 
are clearly unconstitutional, and, if the Republican 
party should undertake to carry them out, they will 
destroy the Union. But does any one pretend that 
Mr. Lincoln will carry a single Southern State, in 
any event? Was Mr. Douglas willing to unite in 
the only practical mode for the defeat of Mr. Lin- 
coln, as many of the ^yisest men in the East thought? 
Of the details of that I know nothing. Did not the 
Democratic State Convention in Pennsylvania, be 
fore the National Convention assembled, nominate 
an electoral ticket and place it before the people, 
and did not a large majority of the State Central 
Committee of Pennsylvania, after the disruption at 
Baltimore, propose that the people of Pennsylvania, 
should vote for this electoral ticket, without 
any change, and that those electors should 
vote for whoever could defeat Mr. Lincoln? 
Was not that recommended? and did not Mr. 


Douglas, declaring that " oil and water could 
not mix," say his friends should not vote for this 
electoral ticket ; but should nominate one devoted 
to him alone; which every child knows has not a 
chance to carry that State, while it is equally sure, 
if the recommendation of the State Central Com- 
mittee had been acceded to, the united vote of those 
who prefer that gentleman and myself would defeat 
Mr. Lincoln. (Cheers.) The same thing may be 
predicated, in almost the same language, of New 
Jersey and other States. But no. We who stand 
upon the principles I have vindicated to-day, are 
disunionists, seoeders, and they will have nothing 
to do with us ! And so he breaks up the only mode 
by which, in the opinion of the regular organiza- 
tion of those States, Mr. Lincoln can bo defeated. 

Now, as I have said, Mr. Lincoln can in no event 
Ofirry a single Southern State of this Union ; and 
with them, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Cali- 
fornia would make a majority, so that the defeat of 
Mr. Lincoln would bo sure. If, perchance, he 
should be elected, nothing will have caused that re- 
sult but the "rule or ruin" purpose — the restless 
ambition and almost insane policy of one man and 
his violent adherents. (Loud cheers.) 

Not content with attempting to defeat at the 
North the surest mode by which the Democratic 
organization might control the result at the next 
election, this gentleman has turned his headlong 
course to the South. And what, I ask, is his object 
in coming South ? Does he expect, do you expect, 
does any sane man expect, that he will carry a 
single Southern State? (Cries of "No! no !") 

It is said his friends claim Missouri. I will not 
enter into particulars about that. Suppose he can. 
Yet I think he has no more chance for Missouri than 
I havo for Massachusetts. What other State, from 
Maryland to the Rio Grande, will any honest gen- 
tleman say, he expects him to carry? And you, 
gentlemen of the Opposition part}', who stand on 
principle, answer — what object do you think he 
must have in coming South. (A voice — "He can't 
carry five thousand in Tennessee.") 

Some gentleman says he will not carry five thou- 
sand in Tennessee. Suppose he carries twenty 
thousand, does not every one know he has no chance 
for that State ? 

Is it not, then, his object in coming South to de- 
moralize the Democratic organization in every State 
in the South, (A voice — " That's so), for the purpose 
of losing to tlie Democratic masses the organization 
of these States their candidates and their principles, 
and throwing the States into the hands of their po- 
litical opponents — that purpose and none other. (Ap- 

It will be, gentlemen, for the Democracy of Ken- 
tuckj', and for the gentlemen of the Opposition 
party, who believe our principles sound and consti- 
tutional, to determine whether they will countenance 
such a movement. 

Fellow-citizens, it is impossible for me to follow 
out this line of remark, or to say many things I had 
intended to say. (Cries of — "Go on.") My physi- 
cal indisposition makes it impossible forme to do so. 

I am not ashamed of the principles upon which I 

I am not ashamed of the reasons by which they 
are sustained. I am not ashamed of the friends that 
support me. I am not ashamed of the tone, bearing 
and character of our whole organization. (Ap- 
plause. A voice — " T')e truth will prevail.") 

Yes, the truth will prevail. You may smother it 
for a time beneath the passion and prejudices of 
men, but those passions and prejudices will sub- 
side, and the truth will reappear as the rock re- 
appears above the receding tide. I believe this 
country will yet walk by the light of these princi- 
ples. Bright and fixed, as the rock-built light-house 
in the stormy sea, they will abide, a perpetual bea- 
con, to attract the political mariner to the harbor 
of the Constitution. (Loud applause.) 

People of Kentucky, you never abandoned a prin- 
ciple you believed to be right. You may be misled, 
but the stigma never rested on Kentucky that she 
abandoned princiides she believed to be true. (Cries 
of, "We never will.") 

For myself, conscious that my foot is planted on 
the rock of the Constitution — surrounded and sus- 
tained by friends I love and cherish — holding prin- 
ciples that have been in every form indorsed by my 
native commonwealth — with a spirit erect and un- 
broken I defy all calumny, and calmly await the 
triumph of the truth. (Prolonged applause.) 

» ■■-