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deeply, lest his rival should unearth the private pledge to Lovejoy, of which Judge Logan has given us the history. When Judge Douglas produced a set of resolutions which he said had been passed by the Abolitionists at their Convention at Springfield, during the State Fair (the meeting alluded to by Mr. Herndon), and asserted that Mr. Lincoln was one of the committee that reported them, the latter replied with great spirit, and said what he could say with perfect truth, that he was not near Springfield when that body met, and that his name had been used without his consent.
R. LINCOLN predicted a bloody conflict in Kansas
as the immediate effect of the repeal of the Missouri restriction. He had not long to wait for the fulfilment of his prophecy: it began, in fact, before he spoke ; and if blood had not actually flowed on the plains of Kansas, occurrences were taking place on the Missouri border which could not avoid that result. The South invited the struggle by repealing a time-honored compromise, in such a manner as to convince the North that she no longer felt herself bound by any Congressional restrictions upon the institution of slavery; and that she intended, as far as her power would permit, to push its existence into all the Territories of the Union. The Northern States accepted the challenge promptly. The people of the Free States knew how to colonize and settle new Territories. The march of their westward settlements had for years assumed a steady tread as the population of these States augmented, and the facility for emigrating increased. When, therefore, the South threw down the barriers which had for thirty years consecrated all the Territories north of 36° 30' to free labor, and announced her intention of competing therein for the establishment of her “ peculiar institution,” the North responded by using the legitimate means at her command to throw into the exposed regions settlers who would organize the Territories in the interest of free labor. The “irrepressible conflict” was therefore opened in the Territories, with the people of the two sections of the country arrayed against each other as participants in, as well as spectators of, the contest. As participants, each section aided its representatives. The struggle opened in Kansas, and in favor of the South. During the passage of the bill organizing the Territory, preparations had been extensively made along the Missouri border, by “ Blue Lodges” and “ Social Bands," for the purpose of getting control of its Territorial government. The whole eastern border of the Territory was open to these marauders; and they were not slow to embrace the opportunity of meeting their enemies with so many advantages in their favor. Public meetings were held in many of the frontier counties of Missouri, in which the people were not only advised to go over and take early possession of the Territory, but to hold themselves in readiness to remove all emigrants who should go there under the auspices of the Northern Aid Societies. It was with these “ Border Ruffians," and some volunteers from Alabama and South Carolina, with a few vagabond "colonels” and “generals " from the Slave States generally, that the South began the struggle. Of course, the North did not look with complacency upon such a state of things. If the repeal of the Missouri Compromise startled the people of the Free States from their sense of security, the manner of applying“ popular sovereignty,” as indicated at its first introduction, was sufficient to arouse public sentiment to an unwonted degree. Kansas became at once a subject of universal interest. Societies were formed for throwing into her borders, with the utmost expedition, settlers who could be relied upon to mould her government in the interest of freedom. At the same time there was set in train all the political machinery that could be used to agitate the question, until the cry of “Bleeding Kansas” was heard throughout the land.
It is not necessary in this connection to set down, in order, the raids, assassinations, burnings, robberies, and election frauds which followed. Enough if their origin and character be understood. For this present purpose, a brief summary only will be given of what occurred during the long struggle to make Kansas a Slave State ; for upon the practical issues which arose during the contest followed the discussions between Mr. Lincoln and Mr. Douglas, upon the merits of which the former was carried into the Presidential office.
The first Territorial governor appointed under the provisions of the Kansas-Nebraska Act was Andrew H. Reeder of Pennsylvania. He was appointed by President Pierce. He reached Kansas in the autumn of 1854, and proceeded to establish a Territorial Government. The first election was for a delegate to Congress. By the aid of the people of Missouri, it resulted in favor of the Democrats. The governor then ordered an election for a first Territorial Legislature, to be held on the 31st of March, 1855. To this election the Missourians came in greater force than before ; and succeeded in electing proslavery men to both Houses of the Legislature, with a single exception in each house. The governor, a proslavery man, set aside the returns in six districts, as being fraudulent; whereupon new elections were held, which, with one exception, resulted in favor of the Free-State men. These parties, however, were refused their seats in the Legislature ; while the persons chosen at the previous election were accepted.
The Legislature thus organized proceeded to enact the most hostile measures against the Free State men. Many of these acts were promptly vetoed by the governor. The Legislature then petitioned the President for his removal. Their wishes were complied with ; and Wilson G. Shannon of Ohio was appointed in his stead. In the mean time, the Free-State men entirely repudiated the Legislature, and refused to be bound by its enactments.
Such was the situation in Kansas when Mr. Lincoln addressed to Mr. Speed the following letter :
SPRINGFIELD, Aug. 24, 1855. DEAR SPEED, – You know what a poor correspondent I am. Ever since I received your very agreeable letter of the 22d of May, I have been intending to write you an answer to it. You suggest that in political action now you and I would differ. I suppose we would; not quite as much, however, as you may think. You know I dislike slavery; and you fully admit the abstract wrong of it. So far there is no cause of difference. But you say, that, sooner than yield your legal right to the slave, — especially at the
bidding of those who are not themselves interested, you would see the Union dissolved. I am not aware that any one is bidding you yield that right: very certainly I am not. I leave that matter entirely to yourself. I also acknowledge your rights and my obligations under the Constitution in regard to your slaves. I confess I hate to see the poor creatures hunted down, and caught and carried back to their stripes and unrequited toils ; but I bite my lip, and keep quiet. In 1841 you and I had together a tedious low-water trip on a steamboat from Louisville to St. Louis. remember, as I well do, that, from Louisville to the mouth of the Ohio, there were on board ten or a dozen slaves shackled together with irons. That sight was a continued torment to me; and I see something like it every time I touch the Ohio, or any other slave border. It is not fair for you to assume that I have no interest in a thing which has, and continually exercises, the power of making me miserable. You ought rather to appreciate how much the great body of the Northern people do crucify their feelings, in order to maintain their loyalty to the Constitution and the Union. I do oppose the extension of slavery because my judgment and feeling so prompt me; and I am under no obligations to the contrary. If for this you and I must differ, differ we must. You say, if you were President, you would send an army, and hang the leaders of the Missouri outrages upon the Kansas elections ; still, if Kansas fairly votes herself a Slave State, she must be admitted, or the Union must he dissolved. But how if she votes herself a Slave State unfairly, that is, by the very means for which you say you would hang men? Must she still be admitted, or the Union dissolved ? That will be the phase of the question when it first becomes a practical one. In your assumption that there may be a fair decision of the slavery question in Kansas, I plainly see you and I would differ about the Nebraska law. I look upon that enactment, not as a law, but a violence from the beginning. It was conceived in violence, is maintained in violence, and is being executed in violence. I say it was conceived in violence, because the destruction of the Missouri Compromise, under the circumstances, was nothing less than violence. It was passed in violence, because it could not have passed at all but for the votes of many members in violence of the known will of their constituents. It is maintained in violence, because the elections since clearly demand its repeal; and the demand is openly disregarded.
You say men ought to be hung for the way they are executing that law; and I say the way it is being executed is quite as good as any of its antecedents. It is being executed in the precise way which was intended from the first; else why does no Nebraska man express astonishment or condemnation? Poor Reeder is the only public man who has been silly enough to believe that any thing like fairness was ever intended ; and he has been bravely undeceived.
That Kansas will form a slave constitution, and with it will ask to be admitted into the Union, I take to be already a settled question, and so