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never wavered, nor did his courage fail from offices are exceedingly few and jealously limthe day on which his hand drafted that sacred ited, and its entire authority is derived from chart of popular liberty till the grave finally nothing but the first grants and concessions of shielded him from the venomous vituperation | the people themselves; therefore it cannot of his natural enemies.
thrust itself in with impunity, and rarely with It is folly to plead the duty of interference, a healthy effect, between the people and their either on moral or pecuniary grounds, where own clear and lasting interests. the duty of no interference is so obvious. No man of capacity for reflection can deny that It is high time, moreover, we had a settled and his highest duty is toward the larger results; permanent TERRITORIAL SYSTEM. Our expeand these demand, both on the score of peace rience under the operation of the broad, demo and permanent advantage, simply that we shall cratic principles that give us national life, has not arrogantly attempt to legislate where legis- | certainly suggested the outline of such a system, lation can work nothing but mischief. Is it even if it has not established a platform for the such a hard thing, that, having a political ma- same already. We know very well that, thus chine at our hands which we call Congress, we far, States have been admitted into the conmust forbear tampering and meddling where federacy with institutions of their own selection, we can do no possible good? Is it always the and it is beyond all question that they will best way to assert authority, whether we pos- continue to come into the common family on sess it or no, lest we may somehow be charge- the same terms, whether Congress passes the able with not having any? And are we so intermediate time in factious wrangling about very sure that we are responsible to such an them or not. Thus has Popular Sovereignty extent for the conduct of our brethren in the always vindicated itself at last, as, in this Territories, that we must needs fashion their country, it always must. And this being the institutions after our own individual spirit and case, it is simply proposed now to establish a pattern ? And, farther than that still, do we permanent Territorial System on that very know that we understand their wants as sover- basis,—the only one that is either consonant eign citizens of a young Territory, better than with the principles of our government, or acthey understand them? Or, finally, are they ceptable to the masses in all sections of the not as capable of taking care of the slavery country. The need of it is apparent enough; if question while in a Territorial condition, as nothing else went to prove it, the present when they afterwards come to form themselves condition of affairs would certainly furnish into a State ?
testimony of an overwhelming character. To A very plain and ready thought will serve live along together in this chronic state of to dissolve the entanglement and perplexity in wrangling and quarreling, with this inflammawhich many well-minded men have suffered tion of passions and constant excitement of themselves to be involved, relative to the ad- bad blood between the two sections, is morally justment of the whole subject. It is this: in impossible ; it must end in a fatal explosion, if politics, the important question is not, what, it be much longer continued. Those who know in this man's opinion, or that man's opinion, and understand best about the ordinary charought to be done, but—what, under all the cir- acteristics of human nature, are well enough cumstances and obediently, of course, to the convinced on this point; they feel certain that operation of certain great underlying princi- this dangerous game between selfish political ples, can be done ?. If we can only fix upon factions can be played with impunity no longer. an answer to this inquiry, and still preserve Divested of its unimportant and impractithe spirit and follow the sense of those cardi- cable issues, the only question involved in nal principles from which we draw national relation to the Territories is, after all, whether life and sustenance, there is an end to all our Congress possesses the power to form political present difficulties. But if government is to be institutions for the people anywhere. It is used as a missionary organ for the propagation admitted that the Constitution vests in Conof this doctrine of morals, or that glittering gress the care of the public lands, empowering heresy, it is manifest that, in a democracy, that body both to protect them from foreign government has ceased to subserve the just hands and to dispose of them for the largest purpose of its establishment. The true demo- popular benefit; but it is utterly denied that cratic idea is, that “mankind is governed too Congress can create institutions for the settlers, much ;” and it is a fatal error for us as a whether of one kind or another. That pepeople to fall into, to expect the general culiar and highly important work they must government to inculcate a special code of do for themselves, and none others can do it morals, or furnish protection to a particular for them. This single great fact cannot be species of property, rather than to leave the gainsayed by any political party or faction in inhabitants of each separate locality to do this, the country. For, the moment another body, or even not do it, for themselves. However like Congress
, for example, assumes to establish strong may be the inclination to have our the political condition of the inhabitants of an brethren in the Territories as free from guile, at inchoate State, that moment the inhabitants of least, as we believe we are ourselves, it is no that same State become mere subjects; their part of the duty of the general government to domain is no more than an outlying dependgive itself any care about such concerns. Its I ency of an arrogant central government; they
exist only as they have political authority whose property it is in common; and let it delegated to them,—by a body, too, that has no exercise, under the charter of the Constitupolitical authority to delegate,-instead of tion, all that authority which is necessary to being prima facie sovereigns over Congress, the fullest protection and fairest disposal of and over every other created political body the public domain, with a view solely to its known under our Constitution.
early settlement by citizens from all the States And is this, we seriously ask, the limit and alike;-but here let the work of Congress extent of our liberties? How comes it that cease; it can go no farther; it cannot erect Congress can organize institutions, or consti- political communities, nor found institutions of tutions, for any of us ? Whence was its any sort for such communities; it may deal power derived ? Being only a creation itself, temporarily with the external property, but it and not a creator, it must of course have been cannot say that the people who buy it and invested with so high an authority. But settle upon it shall, or shall not, form themwhen ? where? If by the people themselves, selves into such political communities as they then it is plain that the people are the true are allowed to form, under the broad prosovereigns, after all; but if not by the people, visions of the common Constitution. Here then it follows that the authority was assumed the final stand must be taken,-has been in the first place. One or the other of these taken already. This shall constitute the dialternatives must be accepted.
viding line, over which the people of the If, then, as we must finally admit, Congress country insist that no Congresses ought, or derives all the powers it may properly exercise shall dare, to go. If we respect this division, from the hands of the people, and if the we may continue our national existence in people, therefore, are alone sovereign, where amity and peace; otherwise, there must be is the inconsistency in the position that the broils and contentions till the “ bitter end,” so people, rather than Congress, shall take the long desired of fanatics on both sides, shall formation of their political institutions into finally come. their own hands? Or where is the hardship, The Republicans, as they take their present except to interested politicians, in settling the position, not only declare that slavery shall present troubles in this sound, constitutional, not go into the Territories at all, but that it and thoroughly democratic manner? Those shall be kept out in only one way; and that who object, do it because it is too short and way, by Congressional legislation ! Here it is easy a method of securing peace, for their they show themselves totally impracticable ; hopes of political favor and preferment; or unless they can remove an evil by a process because it terminates an exciting controversy, patented by themselves, which is sure to entail through the continuance of which they hoped, many worse evils in its operation, they prefer in good time, to work the overthrow of a great not to remove it at all; it will serve them a national fabric too mighty for them to control. better turn, they think, as a topic for inflamIt would be the best policy to adopt,—this new matory and mischievous harangues ! Such a Territorial Policy, if it were only for the temper argues but little for the genuineness of sake of bringing each of these sets of reckless their professed philanthropy, to charge no political gamblers to nought.
more. They betray the suspicious fact that It is very certain that no American Con- they are more solicitous about the mode of gress can again pass such restrictions as the preventing, or curing, an evil than they are Missouri Compromise, whether in the interest about the one serious fact of preventing, or of slave labor or free. The day for that sort curing, it. Now if it has become apparent of things has gone by. We may combine to that slavery can never be established in, or elect such Congresses as we choose, either North kept out of a Territory by an Act of Congress, or South; but when the question is brought and that the very discussion of it puts the before them, if indeed it ever shall be again,- matter farther away from the possibility of whether they will interfere to prohibit one adjustment than ever,-is it not the best proof thing or to establish another,—it will be found of sincerity the Republicans can give, to be that no body of representatives will venture willing to adopt such a measure as shall be to interpose their opinions and prejudices practical, and at the same time effective and between the actual settlers and their prefer- permanent? To stand out for an impossibility,
No fact is plainer, or more emphatic, especially when the stubbornness is attended than this; and he who has not yet got his with so much actual danger to the whole Union, eyes open to observe it, must needs confess is no less an act of crime than it is of folly, and himself ignorant of the whole temper and stamps those who are guilty of it as men not tendency of public affairs in the country. No safe to be either followed or trusted. political party can hope to come into power, The people of the Territories themselves that fears to inscribe a doctrine like this upon will settle the matter; of that we have every its banner, in letters large and legible; for the
needed assurance. And, what is better, they people have set their stamp of approval upon will so settle it that their posterity to the the same, and they have not yet learned to latest generations will be satisfied with their forget that they are sovereign.
decision. That is something. But if slavery, Let Congress protect and dispose of the soil, or any other local institution, should be either acting merely as trustee for the several States established among them, or denied to them by
the authority of Congress, occasions would | JEFFERSON,—that pure and placid patriot arise in the future without number, when it and most thorough of all Democrats. Diswould be charged that no distant political sensions were frequent and radical in the body had any right to perform this business for cabinet of the First President, between the them; and it would even be insisted that their i timid element that always looked backward decision was not binding. The Congressional over its shoulder to the English Constitution mode is liable to this objection always, even if as the perfection of human wisdom, and the to none more immediately serious. It would other element that put full faith in the capacity ever be open, too, to the charge of corrupt of the people for self-government. It was the legislation, since the men are few whose votes spirit of the former that interposed a frame-work, could not be influenced by some sort of pres- called an Electoral College, between the people sure, either in one way or the other, without and their highest rulers, because it was afraid regard to the settlers at all.
to trust them directly with so imposing a reAre the politicians and factionists, then, sponsibility. The same element has run afraid to trust the people, -- to let them alone through all our history till the present time. with their own affairs? Is this the first fruits Jefferson stood forth the representative of the of our boasted system of government, that other element. He firmly believed in man's just when and where the people themselves can ability to create his own institutions,-a docrestore a peace so long unknown, their arro- trine that is rapidly making its way in Europe, gating leaders concede that they are not willing while a party in our own country dispute and to trust them ? Have the people, then, so deny it as a similar party disputed and denied grossly degenerated ? Are they less compe- it before! It was the clear and powerful pen tent to-day to manage their own local concerns of Jefferson that did more than any voice or than they were in the time of Jefferson ? Is word, in those days, to drive out the pernicious it indeed true that the ancient virtues have monarchical element from our national coungone out of them ? Are they not quite as cils, and establish the broad and enduring competent to decide whether slave labor is, or democratic principle, which has stood through is not, good for them, as any Congress can be ? evil report and good report unshaken to this And if they are not, then how is Congress to day. be more so ? - the same body that receives all The SECOND ERA occurred under Jackson. its authority from the people, and could not He found the popular will largely interfered even claim an existence unless the people first with, and sought to be entirely controlled, by spoke it into being ?
the overshadowing Money Power, wielded by This distrust of the popular virtue, and the a party that opposed, because they could not popular capacity, presages the certain decay use him; and such advancement had already and death of the political party that indulges been made to this end, through the legislative it. It ought to do so in a government like this. process, as to excite serious fears in the minds If faith diminishes in that direction, the sheet- of those who reposed their hopes for freedom
Thus far in our history, a in the unbiassed expression of the popular lack of such faith has been fatal to those who will. Without pausing to count the cost, the sought to manage and direct public affairs old hero entered the lists at once, threw the without it; and we are assured that it will whole weight of his character into the contest, always work the same result in the future. and fought courageously for the people and popAnd it is just as true on the other hand, that ular rights until complete victory was secured. whenever an issue of the highest magnitude This was the long-to-be-remembered war with has been fairly presented to the people for the gigantic Money Power,-a transplanted their disposal, their clear instincts and intelli- aristocracy—that openly bribed or defied our gent judgment have found a ready solution public men for its own ends, and essayed to for all perplexities and entanglements. The undermine the plainest rights of the people people being masters, it is proper that their through the forms of legislation. servants, when unable to adjust difficulties of a The THIRD ERA is this day upon us. It is most threatening nature, should deferentially signalized by a consolidated attempt of extremrefer them back to their wiser discretion and ists, factionists, and sectionalists everywherefinal disposal. For when the people in this North and South alike-to force upon the country have once settled a question, it may people, for purely selfish purposes, a system of be considered settled forever. They are above legislation that would take their inherent power bribery or corruption, and they understand out of their own hands, and, in short, make their own interests best.
Congress superior to its creators. As in the
two other eras, it is a deliberate and desperate We have just entered upon the THIRD effort to curtail the people of their own natuEra in the Political History of the country. rally derived power,--on one side, from motives Every nation has a tidal ebb and flow in its of passion and fanaticism, leading to nothing affairs, marked by certain events that remain practical, or permanent, or wise, --and, on the indelibly written on the pages of its history. other, from motives mainly of selfishness, and a The First Era in our political life, after we spirit that would either “rule or ruin." But had seriously entered upon the experiment of both sides are agreed on this point,--that they a Constitutional existence, was in the time of | are in pursuit of power ; and this they do not
anchor is gone.
seek from its legitimate source, the people, but | duct them victoriously through the storm of by the aid of a legislative legerdemain which is doubts and dangers to final safety and peace. sure to come to its end the very moment it Nor is he the man to fail them in their seems most to promise success.
need. Their instincts are as true as they Each party is confronted by a tried and i always were. These guide them to the wise courageous statesman, whom Heaven has spe- selection of their champion, and always aright. cially raised up and thoroughly disciplined for Mr. Douglas, chief of all the public men of this third vindication of Popular Rights. That our day, holds the attention and sympathies of man is STEPHEN A. DOUGLAS. From his the nation. People feel that he is their safest earliest days he has been a champion of the counsellor, because they know that he has people. To-day he is battling with his accus- never failed them in the past. His metal has tomed bravery for the rights of the masses, been tried and proved. He combines the proagainst legislative and executive usurpation found Jefferson faith with the high Jackson on the one side, and against political demands courage and will. Since the days when the made by the assumed representatives of slave existence of the nation began, no man in the property, on the other. He has faith in the public councils has presented a more marked people above both. He has thoroughly learned and conspicuous history, the lesson that the people are superior to all If evidence was still needed to prove the Congresses in forming their local institutions, determination of the man to stand firmly by and superior to all the laws that are sought to principle, we find more than sufficient in the be forced upon them for the protection of any fact that for this only he has been hounded sort of property. His faith in popular rights down by the dependents and pensioners of and capabilities is as profound as was that of faithless Administration, on which both the Thomas Jefferson, and his courage and persist people and politicians have set the seal of their ency in the defence of those rights and that condemnation long ago; it was for the single capability is as high as was ever that of Andrew reason that he sternly refused to become a Jackson. The crisis and the man have fitly party with them to defraud and betray the come together, as, under Providence, they people of a young Territory. In that despealways do.
rate struggle with power securely entrenched Thus, then, the great Political Triumvirate in its own position, he was doubly strong in in our history is complete. JEFFERSON- the thought that he was fighting the great batJACKSON-DOUGLAS ! all men of the people, tle for the people ; just as ready, afterwards, each a thorough Democrat in the true sense of to continue the war with corrupt politicians that term,—all willing and resolved to stake and fanatical sectionalists for the same rights their name and fame on behalf of popular and principles. It has been the insane resolurights and genuine popular sovereignty. tion of this Administration, stung with remorse
Jefferson was indeed beloved of the masses, and overwhelmed with mortification at finding and for reason. So was Jackson. So is itself beaten at all points of the issue,-disDouglas. See how they rally to his name. The carded by friends and detested by foes,—to people, always meaning well where their own crush out this brave man, whom it hesitated interests are at stake, are rarely guilty of error; not to brand as a “rebel;” it charged him their instincts are both quick and true, and freely with want of party fealty and the deserthey know how safe it is to follow them. The tion of political principle, while the record career of both Jefferson and Jackson marked
proves conclusively that he has been religiously the dawn of new eras for the country, when true to both ; it allied itself with an open politpopular rights gained new victories over as- ical foe, to defeat him whom it accused so sumptions that had grown hoary with time, and inconsistently with desertion of his party; and secured a longer lease for the reign of popular it has left no stone unturned, no effort untried, liberty; the career of DOUGLAS betokens the no paltry trick unappealed to, by which to approach of still better days for the people of compass the ignominy of this man who is this country, and his brave championship of guilty of no higher crime than that of defendpopular rights marks the dawn of an era ing the cause of popular rights everywhere. brighter and more full of promise than any to But thus far it has been a fatal experiment. which we can point in the past.
The arrogant leaders told him that no memIt is solely because Stephen A. Douglas has ber of the party, however distinguished, had so faithfully" fought the good fight” for popular ever defied an Administration in power, and rights, that the masses throughout the land continued his political existence; but he told respond to the very mention of his name with them in return, that the People are greater feverish enthusiasm; and now that a crisis has than all parties and Administrations, and never overtaken us, and a fierce and passionate strug- deserted the man who made a bold and brave gle has begun, tearing old political organiza- stand for them when their rights were put in tions to tatters, and requiring a high wisdom peril. and calm foresight to reconstruct the elements This same Administration, having vainly and array them in permanent order, they in- endeavored to compass the defeat of Mr. stinctively turn their eyes to him with a firm Douglas, two years ago, by an alliance with confidence in his courage, his experience, his Lincoln and his supporters in Illinois, have sagacity, and his thorough democracy, to con- since attempted the task of defeating him with the people, by an alliance with the secession- | open admirers. It is just because he refused ists and disunionists of the South ! A fine
to swerve from his high trusts, which have been concern, truly, to get up a cry of party faith- reposed in him by the people, that both sides lessness against a statesman like Judge Doug- are in open hostility against him now. In las, or to sound a howl of his destitution of this respect, no position could be more honorpolitical principle. Its own shameless prac- able thân' his. tices betray the complete treachery both to There is no mistake about the important party and to principle of which it has been fact, that Mr. Douglas is the man for the times. guilty, and the wicked perjury with which it The times are uncommon, and so is he. The is justly_chargeable. The reason was, not HOUR AND THE MAN have come together that Mr. Douglas was false, but that the Admin- by providential arrangement. If he hesitates istration was criminal, and he had fearlessly not to brave the sullen threats of an Adminisconvicted them of it before the country: They tration in power, and the angrier threats of its have only made good his words by their stead- followers and those who would use it as an fast course of persecution and revenge. Thus engine for their own destructive ends, because we have an Administration willing to back, of his devotion to popular rights,— neither will with all the influence and power committed to he quail before any other earthly authority or its trust, either section of fanatics, and to peril influence, when he sees the same sovereign the very existence of the Union for the sake rights invaded or impaired. No public man of wreaking a mean personal revenge! Sure- of our time has a more thorough experience ly, it is time all this was changed. Especially, in matters pertaining to legislation, nor is when such whining and hypocritical professions there one who is likely to surpass him in execuof purity are put forth in its own crippled tive ability. Courage he lacks not, and his defence, as are embodied in the Duquesne Let- will,when fixed on what is right, is as inflexible ter, or the Protest to the Committee of the as iron and enduring as adamant. House of Representatives, by the President. In the immediate future,- say within the
The people everywhere are eager to 'do next ten years,— the fortunes of these United justice by men who have unselfishly labored States are to experience a wonderful advanceand battled on their behalf; they never refuse ment. We have but to mention a Pacific to do it, when they once understand the true Railway across the Continent,- steam to China case. Already they see to what a course of and Japan - the opening of commercial reladeliberate and heartless persecution Mr. tions with four hundred millions of human Douglas has been subjected, for no other beings on the other side of the globe,— liberty reason than his uncompromising devotion to dawning upon long enslaved Europe,--and the them, and they are determined to set the uncounted improvements and inventions that matter right. They are eager for the day to are the sole fruits of fraternal peace and condawn when they may give in for him their cord,— and the mind takes in the outlines of verdict of approval and renewed confidence. the more than imperial sketch at a grasp. The It has already been the popular purpose, for thirty-three States must soon count forty,a considerable time, to invest him with that and then fifty. Our commerce will become official dignity and power he knows so well colossal ; our productions, both for quantity how to maintain on behalf of those who sol- and variety, enormous. All over the round emnly depute it. And that they will do globe our flag will carry the authority of our without fail. Every circumstance now points name and the force of our example, and that directly that way. The popular preference flag will still be the flag of the Unión. is unmistakable. The position of the man is. Who so well fitted, so thoroughly disciplined all in his favor. The times demand the coming so courageous, so experienced, so bold, so patriforth of just such, a character. And knowing otic, as STEPHEN A. DOUGLAS, to stand at the all this, the masses feel armed with a ten-fold helm while the good ship of State triumphantly resoluteness and enthusiasm.
sails forth from these perilous straits into those In the character of Mr. Douglas is to be new and broader seas? Who will keep the old found every reason for reposing public confi- flag nailed more fast to the mast than he ? Or, dence. Its elements are so combined, each at home, under whose lead can these internal riveted with such a secret power to the other, dissensions be sooner healed? If this exciting and the whole made so compact and firm, that question is settled now, and in the only way among our public men he holds a place as possible, it remains settled forever, for the peoadmirable as it is conspicuous. Such char- ple take no steps backward; but if the result acters are more rare than they are of this contest is only to keep the dangerous excellent. Their solidity gives them unusual discussion open still, -as it will, if either section weight, and their compactness gives them vast predominates,-patriots everywhere may well force. He has proved himself fearless in the despair of the longer continuance of the Union. storm of malignant threats that have rained The safe way lies, as it ever did, between the upon his head, and self-possessed and true in the two extremes. Let us unitedly resolve to go face of more suspicious flattery. It is every in none other. We understand the perils of thing to say of him what is only true, that his the Hour,-let us fix our eyes on the qualities foes, on
ther side, have been alternately his of the Man who can deliver us !