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recently adopted in Massachusetts, and whether he favored the fusion of all the opposition elements in the next canvass. He replied, that, as to the restrictions, he was wholly and unalterably opposed to them; and as to fusion, he was ready for it upon “ Republican grounds," but upon no other. He would not lower " the Republican standard even by a hair's breadth.” The letter undoubtedly had a good effect, and brought him valuable support from the foreign population.
To a gentleman who desired his views about the tariff question, he replied cautiously and discreetly as follows:
CLINTON, Oct. 11, 1859.
DR. EDWARD WALLACE.
My dear Sir, I am here just now attending court. Yesterday, before I left Springfield, your brother, Dr. William S. Wallace, showed me a letter of yours, in which you kindly mention my name, inquire for my tariffviews, and suggest the propriety of my writing a letter upon the subject. I was an old Henry-Clay Tariff Whig. In old times I made more speeches on that subject than on any other.
I have not since changed my views. I believe yet, if we could have a moderate, carefully adjusted, protective tariff, so far acquiesced in as not to be a perpetual subject of political strife, squabbles, changes, and uncertain, ties, it would be better for us. Still, it is my opinion, that, just now, the revival of that question will not advance the cause itself, or the man who revives it.
I have not thought much on the subject recently; but my general impression is, that the necessity for a protective tariff will ere long force its old opponents to take it up; and then its old friends can join in and establish it on a more firm and durable basis. We, the old Whigs, have been entirely beaten out on the tariff question; and we shall not be able to re-establish the policy until the absence of it shall have demonstrated the necessity for it in the minds of men heretofore opposed to it. With this view, I should prefer to not now write a public letter upon the subject.
I therefore wish this to be considered confidential.
In September Mr. Lincoln made a few masterly speeches in Ohio, where Mr. Douglas had preceded him on his new hobby of “squatter sovereignty,” or “ unfriendly legislation.'
He spoke at Columbus, Cincinnati, and several other points, each time devoting the greater part of his address to Mr. Douglas and his theories, as if the habit of combating that illustrious chieftain was hard to break.
In December he went to Kansas, speaking at Elwood, Donaphan, Troy, Atchison, and twice at Leavenworth. Wherever he went, he was met by vast assemblages of people. His speeches were principally repetitions of those previously made in Illinois ; but they were very fresh and captivating to his new audiences. These journeys, which turned out to be continuous ovations, spread his name and fame far beyond the limits to which they had heretofore been restricted.
During the winter of 1859–60, he saw that his reputation had reached such a height, that he might honorably compete with such renowned men as Seward, Chase, and Bates, for the Presidential nomination. Mr. Jackson Grimshaw of Quincy urged him very strongly on the point. At length Mr. Lincoln consented to a conference with Grimshaw and some of his more prominent friends. It took place in a committee-room in the State House. Mr. Bushnell, Mr. Hatch (the Secretary of State), Mr. Judd (Chairman of the Republican State Central Committee), Mr. Peck, and Mr. Grimshaw were present,
all of them “intimate friends.” They were unanimous in opinion as to the expediency and propriety of making him a candidate. But “ Mr. Lincoln, with his characteristic modesty, doubted whether he could get the nomination, even if he wished it, and asked until the next morning to answer us. The next day he authorized us to consider him, and work for him, if we pleased, as a candidate for the Presidency."
It was in October, 1859, that Mr. Lincoln received an invitation to speak in New York. It enchanted him: no event of his life had given him more heartfelt pleasure. He went straight to his office, and, Mr. Herndon says, “ looked pleased, not to say tickled. He said to me, · Billy, I am invited to deliver a lecture in New York. Shall I go?'_By all means,' I replied ; and it is a good opening too.' _ 'If you were in my
fix, what subject would you choose ?' said Lincoln. Why, a political one: that's your forte,' I answered.” Mr. Herndon remembered his partner's previous “ failure,- utter failure," as a lecturer, and, on this occasion, dreaded excessively his choice of a subject. 6 In the absence of a friend's advice, Lincoln would as soon take the Beautiful for a subject as any thing else, when he had absolutely no sense of it.” He wrote in response to the invitation, that he would avail himself of it the coming February, provided he might be permitted to make a political speech, in case he found it inconvenient to get up one of another kind. He had purposely set the day far ahead, that he might thoroughly prepare himself; and it may safely be said, that no effort of his life cost him so much labor as this one. Some of the party managers who were afterwards put to work to verify its statements, and get it out as a campaign document, are alleged to have been three weeks in finding the historical records consulted by him.
On the 25th of February, 1860, he arrived in New York. It was Saturday, and he spent the whole day in revising and retouching his speech. The next day he heard Beecher preach, and on Monday wandered about the city to see the sights. When the committee under whose auspices he was to speak waited upon him, they found him dressed in a sleek and shining suit of new black, covered with very apparent creases and wrinkles, acquired by being packed too closely and too long in his little valise. He felt uneasy in his new clothes and a strange place. His confusion was increased when the reporters called to get the printed slips of his speech in advance of its delivery. Mr. Lincoln knew nothing of such a custom among the orators, and had no slips. He was, in fact, not quite sure that the press would desire to publish his speech. When he reached the Cooper Institute, and was ushered into the vast hall, he was surprised to see the most cultivated men of the city awaiting him on the stand, and an immense audience assembled to hear him. Mr. Bryant introduced him as “an eminent citizen of the West, hitherto
, known to you only by reputation.” Mr. Lincoln then began, in low, monotonous tones, which gradually became louder and clearer, the following speech :
MR. PRESIDENT AND FELLOW-CITIZENS OF NEW YORK, --- The facts with which I shall deal this evening are mainly old and familiar; nor is there any thing new in the general use I shall make of them. If there shall be any novelty, it will be in the mode of presenting the facts, and the inferences and observations following that presentation.
In his speech last autumn, at Columbus, Ohio, as reported in “ The NewYork Times,” Senator Douglas said,
“Our fathers, when they framed the government under which we live, understood this question just as well, and even better than we do now.”
I fully indorse this, and I adopt it as a text for this discourse. I so adopt it, because it furnishes a precise and agreed starting-point for the discussion between Republicans and that wing of Democracy headed by Senator Douglas. It simply leaves the inquiry, “What was the understanding those fathers had of the questions mentioned ?"
What is the frame of government under which we live ?
The answer must be, “ The Constitution of the United States.” That Constitution consists of the original, framed in 1787 (and under which the present Government first went into operation), and twelve subsequently framed amendments, the first ten of which were framed in 1789.
Who were our fathers that framed the Constitution? I suppose the thirty-nine” who signed the original instrument may be fairly called our fathers who framed that part of the present Government. It is almost exactly true to say they framed it; and it is altogether true to say they fairly represented the opinion and sentiment of the whole nation at that time. Their names, being familiar to nearly all, and accessible to quite all, need not now be repeated.
I take these “ thirty-nine,” for the present, as being our fathers, who framed the Government under which we live."
What is the question which, according to the text, those fathers understood just as well, and even better than we do now?
It is this : Does the proper division of local from Federal authority, or any thing in the Constitution, forbid our Federal Government control as to slavery in our Federal Territories ?
Upon this, Douglas holds the affirmative, and Republicans the negative. This affirmative and denial form an issue; and this issue, this question, is precisely what the text declares our fathers understood better than we.
Let us now inquire whether the “ thirty-nine," or any of them, ever acted upon this question; and, if they did, how they acted upon it, - how they expressed that better understanding.
In 1784, — three years before the Constitution, — the United States then owning the North-western Territory, and no other, the Congress of the Con
federation had before them the question of prohibiting slavery in that Territory; and four of the “ thirty-nine” who afterward framed the Constitution were in that Congress, and voted on that question. Of these, Roger Sherman, Thomas Mifflin, and Hugh Williamson voted for the prohibition ; thus showing, that, in their understanding, no line dividing local from Federal authority, nor any thing else, properly forbade the Federal Government to control as to slavery in Federal territory. The other of the four, James McHenry, voted against the prohibition, showing that, for some cause, he thought it improper to vote for it.
In 1787 - still before the Constitution, but while the Convention was in session framing it, and while the North-western Territory still was the only Territory owned by the United States - the same question of prohibiting slavery in the Territory again came before the Congress of the Confederation; and three more of the “ thirty-nine ” who afterward signed the Constitution were in that Congress, and voted on the question. They were William Blount, William Few, and Abraham Baldwin; and they all voted for the prohibition, thus showing that, in their understanding, no line dividing local from Federal authority, nor any thing else, properly forbids the Federal Government to control as to slavery in Federal territory. This time the prohibition became a law, being part of what is now well known as the Ordinance of '87.
The question of Federal control of slavery in the Territories seems not to have been directly before the convention which framed the original Constitution; and hence it is not recorded that the “ thirty-nine,” or any of them, while engaged on that instrument, expressed any opinion on that precise question.
In 1789, by the First Congress which sat under the Constitution, an act was passed to enforce the Ordinance of '87, including the prohibition of slavery in the North-western Territory. The bill for this act was reported by one of the “thirty-nine, Thomas Fitzsimmons, then a member of the House of Representatives from Pennsylvania. It went through all its stages without a word of opposition, and finally passed both branches without yeas and nays, which is equivalent to a unanimous passage. In this Congress there were sixteen of the “ thirty-nine” fathers who framed the original Constitution. They were John Langdon, Nicholas Gilman, William S. Johnson, Roger Sherman, Robert Morris, Thomas Fitzsimmons, William Few, Abraham Baldwin, Rufus King, William Patterson, George Clymer, Richard Bassett, George Read, Pierce Butler, Daniel Carrol, James Madison.
This shows that, in their understanding, no line dividing local from Federal authority, nor any thing in the Constitution, properly forbade Congress to probibit slavery in the Federal territory; else both their fidelity to correct principle, and their oath to support the Constitution, would have constrained them to oppose the prohibition.
Again, George Washington, another of the “ thirty-nine," was then Presi