The Writings of Abraham Lincoln Vol. 1-7

Judge Douglas says he does not think differently. I am glad of
it. Then can he tell me why he is looking up resolutions of five
or six years ago, and insisting that they were my platform,
notwithstanding my protest that they are not, and never were my
platform, and my pointing out the platform of the State
Convention which he delights to say nominated me for the Senate?
I cannot see what he means by parading these resolutions, if it
is not to hold me responsible for them in some way. If he says
to me here that he does not hold the rule to be good, one way or
the other, I do not comprehend how he could answer me more fully
if he answered me at greater length. I will therefore put in as
my answer to the resolutions that he has hunted up against me,
what I, as a lawyer, would call a good plea to a bad declaration.
I understand that it is an axiom of law that a poor plea may be a
good plea to a bad declaration. I think that the opinions the
Judge brings from those who support me, yet differ from me, is a
bad declaration against me; but if I can bring the same things
against him, I am putting in a good plea to that kind of
declaration, and now I propose to try it.

At Freeport, Judge Douglas occupied a large part of his time in
producing resolutions and documents of various sorts, as I
understood, to make me somehow responsible for them; and I
propose now doing a little of the same sort of thing for him. In
1850 a very clever gentleman by the name of Thompson Campbell, a
personal friend of Judge Douglas and myself, a political friend
of Judge Douglas and opponent of mine, was a candidate for
Congress in the Galena District. He was interrogated as to his
views on this same slavery question. I have here before me the
interrogatories, and Campbell’s answers to them–I will read


“1st. Will you, if elected, vote for and cordially support a
bill prohibiting slavery in the Territories of the United States?

“2d. Will you vote for and support a bill abolishing slavery in
the District of Columbia?

“3d. Will you oppose the admission of any Slave States which may
be formed out of Texas or the Territories?

“4th. Will you vote for and advocate the repeal of the Fugitive
Slave law passed at the recent session of Congress?

“5th. Will you advocate and vote for the election of a Speaker
of the House of Representatives who shall be willing to organize
the committees of that House so as to give the Free States their
just influence in the business of legislation?

“6th. What are your views, not only as to the constitutional
right of Congress to prohibit the slave-trade between the States,
but also as to the expediency of exercising that right


“To the first and second interrogatories, I answer unequivocally
in the affirmative.

“To the third interrogatory I reply, that I am opposed to the
admission of any more Slave States into the Union, that may be
formed out of Texas or any other Territory.

“To the fourth and fifth interrogatories I unhesitatingly answer
in the affirmative.

“To the sixth interrogatory I reply, that so long as the Slave
States continue to treat slaves as articles of commerce, the
Constitution confers power on Congress to pass laws regulating
that peculiar COMMERCE, and that the protection of Human Rights
imperatively demands the interposition of every constitutional
means to prevent this most inhuman and iniquitous traffic.


I want to say here that Thompson Campbell was elected to Congress
on that platform, as the Democratic candidate in the Galena
District, against Martin P. Sweet.

[Judge DOUGLAS: Give me the date of the letter.]

The time Campbell ran was in 1850. I have not the exact date
here. It was some time in 1850 that these interrogatories were
put and the answer given. Campbell was elected to Congress, and
served out his term. I think a second election came up before he
served out his term, and he was not re-elected. Whether defeated
or not nominated, I do not know. [Mr. Campbell was nominated for
re-election by the Democratic party, by acclamation.] At the end
of his term his very good friend Judge Douglas got him a high
office from President Pierce, and sent him off to California. Is
not that the fact? Just at the end of his term in Congress it
appears that our mutual friend Judge Douglas got our mutual
friend Campbell a good office, and sent him to California upon
it. And not only so, but on the 27th of last month, when Judge
Douglas and myself spoke at Freeport in joint discussion, there
was his same friend Campbell, come all the way from California,
to help the Judge beat me; and there was poor Martin P. Sweet
standing on the platform, trying to help poor me to be elected.
That is true of one of Judge Douglas’s friends.

So again, in that same race of 1850, there was a Congressional
Convention assembled at Joliet, and it nominated R. S. Molony
for Congress, and unanimously adopted the following resolution:

“Resolved, That we are uncompromisingly opposed to the extension
of slavery; and while we would not make such opposition a ground
of interference with the interests of the States where it exists,
yet we moderately but firmly insist that it is the duty of
Congress to oppose its extension into Territory now free, by all
means compatible with the obligations of the Constitution, and
with good faith to our sister States; that these principles were
recognized by the Ordinance of 1787, which received the sanction
of Thomas Jefferson, who is acknowledged by all to be the great
oracle and expounder of our faith.”

Subsequently the same interrogatories were propounded to Dr.
Molony which had been addressed to Campbell as above, with the
exception of the 6th, respecting the interstate slave trade, to
which Dr. Molony, the Democratic nominee for Congress, replied
as follows:

“I received the written interrogatories this day, and, as you
will see by the La Salle Democrat and Ottawa Free Trader, I took
at Peru on the 5th, and at Ottawa on the 7th, the affirmative
side of interrogatories 1st and 2d; and in relation to the
admission of any more Slave States from Free Territory, my
position taken at these meetings, as correctly reported in said
papers, was emphatically and distinctly opposed to it. In
relation to the admission of any more Slave States from Texas,
whether I shall go against it or not will depend upon the opinion
that I may hereafter form of the true meaning and nature of the
resolutions of annexation. If, by said resolutions, the honor
and good faith of the nation is pledged to admit more Slave
States from Texas when she (Texas) may apply for the admission of
such State, then I should, if in Congress, vote for their
admission. But if not so PLEDGED and bound by sacred contract,
then a bill for the admission of more Slave States from Texas
would never receive my vote.

“To your fourth interrogatory I answer most decidedly in the
affirmative, and for reasons set forth in my reported remarks at
Ottawa last Monday.

“To your fifth interrogatory I also reply in the affirmative most
cordially, and that I will use my utmost exertions to secure the
nomination and election of a man who will accomplish the objects
of said interrogatories. I most cordially approve of the
resolutions adopted at the Union meeting held at Princeton on the
27th September ult.

“Yours, etc.,R. S. MOLONY.”

All I have to say in regard to Dr. Molony is that he was the
regularly nominated Democratic candidate for Congress in his
district; was elected at that time; at the end of his term was
appointed to a land-office at Danville. (I never heard anything
of Judge Douglas’s instrumentality in this.) He held this office
a considerable time, and when we were at Freeport the other day
there were handbills scattered about notifying the public that
after our debate was over R. S. Molony would make a Democratic
speech in favor of Judge Douglas. That is all I know of my own
personal knowledge. It is added here to this resolution, and
truly I believe, that among those who participated in the Joliet
Convention, and who supported its nominee, with his platform as
laid down in the resolution of the Convention and in his reply as
above given, we call at random the following names, all of which
are recognized at this day as leading

“Cook County,–E. B. Williams, Charles McDonell, Arno Voss,
Thomas Hoyne, Isaac Cook.”

I reckon we ought to except Cook.

“F. C. Sherman.
“Will,–Joel A. Matteson, S. W. Bowen.
“Kane,–B. F. Hall, G. W. Renwick, A. M. Herrington, Elijah
“McHenry,–W. M. Jackson, Enos W. Smith, Neil Donnelly.
La Salle,–John Hise, William Reddick.”

William Reddick! another one of Judge Douglas’s friends that
stood on the stand with him at Ottawa, at the time the Judge says
my knees trembled so that I had to be carried away. The names
are all here:

“Du Page,–Nathan Allen.
“De Kalb,–Z. B. Mayo.”

Here is another set of resolutions which I think are apposite to
the matter in hand.

On the 28th of February of the same year a Democratic District
Convention was held at Naperville to nominate a candidate for
Circuit Judge. Among the delegates were Bowen and Kelly of Will;
Captain Naper, H. H. Cody, Nathan Allen, of Du Page; W. M.
Jackson, J. M. Strode, P. W. Platt, and Enos W. Smith of McHenry;
J. Horssnan and others of Winnebago. Colonel Strode presided
over the Convention. The following resolutions were unanimously
adopted,–the first on motion of P. W. Platt, the second on
motion of William M. Jackson:

“Resolved, That this Convention is in favor of the Wilmot
Proviso, both in Principle and Practice, and that we know of no
good reason why any person should oppose the largest latitude in
Free Soil, Free Territory and Free speech.

“Resolved, That in the opinion of this Convention, the time has
arrived when all men should be free, whites as well as others.”

[Judge DOUGLAS: What is the date of those resolutions?]

I understand it was in 1850, but I do not know it. I do not
state a thing and say I know it, when I do not. But I have the
highest belief that this is so. I know of no way to arrive at
the conclusion that there is an error in it. I mean to put a
case no stronger than the truth will allow. But what I was going
to comment upon is an extract from a newspaper in De Kalb County;
and it strikes me as being rather singular, I confess, under the
circumstances. There is a Judge Mayo in that county, who is a
candidate for the Legislature, for the purpose, if he secures his
election, of helping to re-elect Judge Douglas. He is the editor
of a newspaper [De Kalb County Sentinel], and in that paper I
find the extract I am going to read. It is part of an editorial
article in which he was electioneering as fiercely as he could
for Judge Douglas and against me. It was a curious thing, I
think, to be in such a paper. I will agree to that, and the
Judge may make the most of it:

“Our education has been such that we have been rather in favor of
the equality of the blacks; that is, that they should enjoy all
the privileges of the whites where they reside. We are aware
that this is not a very popular doctrine. We have had many a
confab with some who are now strong ‘Republicans’ we taking the
broad ground of equality, and they the opposite ground.

“We were brought up in a State where blacks were voters, and we
do not know of any inconvenience resulting from it, though
perhaps it would not work as well where the blacks are more
numerous. We have no doubt of the right of the whites to guard
against such an evil, if it is one. Our opinion is that it would
be best for all concerned to have the colored population in a
State by themselves [in this I agree with him]; but if within the
jurisdiction of the United States, we say by all means they
should have the right to have their Senators and Representatives
in Congress, and to vote for President. With us ‘worth makes the
man, and want of it the fellow.’ We have seen many a ‘nigger’
that we thought more of than some white men.”

That is one of Judge Douglas’s friends. Now, I do not want to
leave myself in an attitude where I can be misrepresented, so I
will say I do not think the Judge is responsible for this
article; but he is quite as responsible for it as I would be if
one of my friends had said it. I think that is fair enough.

I have here also a set of resolutions passed by a Democratic
State Convention in Judge Douglas’s own good State of Vermont,
that I think ought to be good for him too:

“Resolved, That liberty is a right inherent and inalienable in
man, and that herein all men are equal.
“Resolved, That we claim no authority in the Federal Government
to abolish slavery in the several States, but we do claim for it
Constitutional power perpetually to prohibit the introduction of
slavery into territory now free, and abolish it wherever, under
the jurisdiction of Congress, it exists.
“Resolved, That this power ought immediately to be exercised in
prohibiting the introduction and existence of slavery in New
Mexico and California, in abolishing slavery and the slave-trade
in the District of Columbia, on the high seas, and wherever else,
under the Constitution, it can be reached.
“Resolved, That no more Slave States should be admitted into the
Federal Union.
“Resolved, That the Government ought to return to its ancient
policy, not to extend, nationalize, or encourage, but to limit,
localize, and discourage slavery.”

At Freeport I answered several interrogatories that had been
propounded to me by Judge Douglas at the Ottawa meeting. The
Judge has not yet seen fit to find any fault with the position
that I took in regard to those seven interrogatories, which were
certainly broad enough, in all conscience, to cover the entire
ground. In my answers, which have been printed, and all have had
the opportunity of seeing, I take the ground that those who elect
me must expect that I will do nothing which will not be in
accordance with those answers. I have some right to assert that
Judge Douglas has no fault to find with them. But he chooses to
still try to thrust me upon different ground, without paying any
attention to my answers, the obtaining of which from me cost him
so much trouble and concern. At the same time I propounded four
interrogatories to him, claiming it as a right that he should
answer as many interrogatories for me as I did for him, and I
would reserve myself for a future instalment when I got them
ready. The Judge, in answering me upon that occasion, put in
what I suppose he intends as answers to all four of my
interrogatories. The first one of these interrogatories I have
before me, and it is in these words:

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