The Lincoln and Douglas Debate at Freeport.


September 2, 1858.
[From the Chicago Journal, Aug. 25.]
From 15,000 to 20,000 People Present.
Douglas gets into a Passion.

There was an immense assemblage of the people of Northern Illinois at Freeport yesterday. They came down from above, and up from below in scores and hundreds. All the regular railroad trains, and one or two special excursion trains, both on Thursday night and on Friday morning, brought in great crowds, and hundreds of others came in with teams from all directions.

Senator Douglas reached Freeport the evening previous, and was honored with the show of a public reception by his friends, and made a short address from the Brewster House balcony.

Mr. Lincoln arrived by the Illinois Central train at about 9 o'clock Friday morning, and was saluted by the cannon and received by a large procession of Republicans, on whose behalf Hon. T. J. Turner, of Freeport, made a speech of welcome. He was conducted to the Brewster House, where he made a most happy speech of acknowledgement. From the moment he came out of the cars till he entered his room in the hotel, the streets were made perfectly clamorous with shouts and hurrahs for Lincoln. He tried in vain to enjoy a few hours of retirement at the hotel; the multitude insisted upon his "showing himself" again on the balcony, and of greeting him with hearty shakes of his good right hand. The people, on this occasion, were Lincoln men — there being four Republicans present for every Douglasite. Northern Illinois is "all right," and no mistake.

At two o'clock, the mass of people had surrounded the platform that had been erected in a large vacant lot in the rear of the Brewster House, and the debated commenced, Mr. Lincoln opening in a speech of an hour; Douglas following in a reply of an hour and a half; and Mr. Lincoln concluding in a half hour speech.

Hon. T. J. Turner, of Freeport, introduced Mr. Lincoln, who was greeted with the most vociferous buzzes of the multitude. He commenced by saying that at Ottawa, Judge Douglas put seven interrogatories to him, which, not having time to answer then, he would answer now. He repeated Douglas' questions, and replied to them as follows:
Question 1. — I desire to know whether Lincoln to-day stands as he did in 1854, in favor of the unconditional repeal of the Fugitive Slave Law."

Lincoln's Answer — I do not now, nor ever did, stand in favor of the unconditional repeal of the Fugitive Slave Law.

Question 2 — I desire him to answer whether he stands pledged to-day as he did in 1854, against the admission of any more slave States into the Union, even if the people want them."

Lincoln's Answer — I do not now, nor "ever did, stand pledged against the admission of any more slave States into the Union."

Question 3 — I want to know whether he stands pledged against the admission of a new State into the Union with such a constitution as the people of the State may see fit to make?"

Lincoln's Answer — I do not stand pledged against the admission of a new State into the Union, with such a constitution as the people of that State may see fit to make.

Question 4 — I want to know whether he stands to-day pledged to the abolition of Slavery in the District of Columbia?"

Lincoln's Answer — I do not stand pledged to-day to the abolition of Slavery in the District of Columbia.

Question 5 — I desire him to answer whether he stands pledged to the prohibition of the Slave trade between the different States?"

Lincoln's Answer — I do not stand pledged to the prohibition of the Slave trade between the different States.

Question 6 — I desire to know whether he stands pledged to prohibit slavery in all the Territories of the United States, South as well as North of the Missouri compromise line?"

Lincoln's Answer — I am impliedly, if not expressly, pledged to a belief in the right and duty of Congress to prohibit Slavery in all the United States Territories.

Question 7 — "I desire to know whether he is opposed to the acquisition of any more territory, unless slavery is prohibited there in?"

Lincoln's Answer — I am not generally opposed to the hones acquisition of territory; and in any given case, I would or would not oppose such acquisition, according as I might think such acquisition of would or would not aggravate the slavery question among ourselves.

Mr. Lincoln then proceeded to explain some of these answers more fully. He said he had never hesitated to say that the people of the South are entitled to some kind of a Congressional Fugitive Slave Law. The present law is objectionable in several important particulars, and might be modified; but he is not disposed to introduce this matter as a new subject of agitation at this time. Regarding the matter of voting for the admission of a Slave State, he said he should be sorry to be placed in a position to vote for a Slave State, for he hoped that no more Slave States will be admitted. But if the people of a Territory, by a fairly expressed wish, desired to come in as a Slave State, he could not Constitutionally oppose it. As to the abolition of slavery in the District of Columbia, he should be glad to see it done, and believes Congress has the Constitutional power to do it. But he should be in favor of its gradual abolition, by submitting the question to the vote of the people of the District, and by granting compensation to the slaveowners.

As to the abolition of the slave trade between the slaveholding States themselves, that was a matter Mr. Lincoln said that he had never sufficiently investigated to give a decided opinion. It has never been a prominent subject of discussion before the country. He is not sure that Congress has a right to interfere in the matter.

Mr. Lincoln, having answered all of Mr. Douglas's interrogatories, then, proceeded to propound the following interrogatories to him, requesting him to answer them:
1. If the people of Kansas shall, by means entirely unobjectionable in all other respects, adopt a State Constitution, and ask admission into the Union under it, before they have the requisite number of inhabitants, according to the English bill — [unknown] three thousand — would you vote to admit them.

2. Can the people of a United States territory, in any lawful way, against the wish of any citizen of the United States exclude slavery from their limits, prior to the formation of a State constitution?

3. If the Supreme Court of the United States shall decide that States cannot exclude slavery from their limits, are you in favor of acquiescing in, adopting, and following such decision as a rule of political action?

4. Are you in favor of acquiring additional territory, in disregard of how such acquisition may affect the nation on the slavery question?

Mr. Lincoln then exposed the trick of Douglas at Ottawa, of reading a set of resolutions that had never been adopted by the Republican party, and pretending that they had been passed at the first Republican Convention, at Springfield, in 1854, two years before the Republican party had been organized in Illinois. Those resolutions, Mr. Lincoln said, he knew nothing about — ever had anything to do with them — had no part in getting them up, and Douglas falsifies when he alleges that they express either his (Lincoln's) sentiments or those of the Republican party of Illinois. Mr. Douglas was continually charging falsehood upon his opponent, but was himself most guilty of the charge.

Mr. Lincoln then repeated his opinion, heretofore expressed, that Douglas and those who acted with him at the time of the passage of the Nebraska bill, were engaged in a diabolical conspiracy to nationalize slavery. He showed, by the fact that Chase's proposed amendment to the Nebraska bill, "that the people of Kansas might exclude slavery from the Territory if they saw fit," was voted down by Douglas and his partisans, that they anticipated the Dred Scott decision, extending slavery over Kansas and all other Territories. There were strong indications that the Nebraska bill and the Dred Scott decision were but of one piece, and the result of conspiracy on the part of the Democracy in Congress, the Administration and the Supreme Court Bench to nationalize and perpetuate slavery. Douglas has not yet explained this matter satisfactorily. He alluded to the fact that Mr. Douglas exhibits much self-righteous indignation that such a charge of conspiracy should be charged on himself, upon other members of Congress, and when the high functionaries in the Government, but reminded Mr. Douglas that he had himself charged a smaller conspiracy against the very same men and high functionaries, in his speeches against the Administration Lecompton policy. This fact entirely destroys the force of his affected indignation.

Mr. Lincoln's hour being up, Mr. Douglas then took the stand in reply. He expressed himself rejoiced that Mr. Lincoln had, by his interrogatories, defined his position. He then proceeded to answer the questions propounded by Mr. Lincoln to him.

1st. He said he believed that, when a Territory has a population enough for a slave State, she has also enough for a free State; but believes, nevertheless, that no Territory ought to be admitted or apply for admission with a less population than 93,000.

2d. He said he believes that the people of a Territory can by lawful mean prohibit slavery if they see it, through their Territorial Legislature. The Nebraska bill, he said, provided that the Legislature of the Territory should have power over all subjects consistent with the organic set and the Federal Constitution.

3d. He dismissed this interrogatory by saying that he does not believe the Supreme Court would ever dream of such a thing as deciding that no State has the right to abolish slavery, and therefore considered the question simply aboard, said a vile imputation upon the character of the Federal Judiciary.

4th. He was in favor of the acquisition of Territory, when he considered it necessary or proper, whether the acquisition is from the north, the South, the east or the west. True, he said, we have Territory enough for the present, but we are a growing nation, and in fifteen years, all this territory, will be filled up and we mush have more. Expansion is the law of this Republic, and the nation would die if we restrict its limits.

He then repeated his trashy nonsense about "Negro Equality." Regarding the charge that the resolutions he tried to palm off at Ottawa as Republican platform, were a fraud, he said he would look into the matter after he got to Springfield. He quoted the Springfield State register (one of his own organs) as authority that he was right. He read a number of resolutions is manuscript, which he said had been adopted by the first Republican Congressional Convention of the first district at Rockford, and lectured his audience for having adopted a platform so full of "revolutionary" sentiment. He declared that he would nail the charge that the Republicans had abandoned their old, and adopted a new platform of principles to their backs. "I will nail it, upon the back of every Black Republican in the State." [A sensation among the audience and loud cries of "not black — we are white!"] To which Douglas replied — no- when the Republicans in Congress voted for the Crittenden amendment, they were decent, but since they have gone back to abolitionism, they are no longer brown but black." [We suggest that the truth is that when he hoped for Republican votes he left the "black," but now finding that "it's no use," he again applies the vulgar epithet to the Republicans even when he addresses them in a public debate, to which he invites them.]

He then proceeded to eulogize the Old Whig party, arguing that in 1850 it stood precisely where he stood and stands now; but he didn't say why, if the Whig party stood where he stood, he at that time villainously inaligned its principles and heaped obloquy upon leading men. This post mortem abedding of tears over the old Whig party, will fail to convince those who loved that great party and venerate its deceased statesmen, that they ought now to support and vote for one, who when the Whig party flourished, was its strongest opponent and bitterest and most unscrupulous libeler. During some remarks on "the great principle of self-government," but was abusively personal and sneeringly and insultingly repeated the epithet of "Black Republicans," whereupon a general cry of "White!" "White!" arose, from the insulted auditors and continued for some time, putting Douglas out of humor. He shook his fist at the multitude, declaring that while his friends treated Mr. Lincoln when he spoke with respect, the friends of Mr. Lincoln must now, while he was speaking, exhibit their vulgarity — and explained it by saying: "You know that I am clinching Lincoln, and are scared to death at the result — but I defy your wrath."

Mr. Douglas argued long and vehemently to prove that Mr. Lincoln and the Republicans do not now stand upon the same platform they stood upon in 1854. He forgets that the Republican party had not been organized in Illinois till 1856, and that the Republican party of, the State are not responsible for proceedings or resolutions of county or other conventions before that date. The Bloomington State Convention, at which Col. Bissell was nominated for Governor, was the first regular Convention of the Republican party of the State of Illinois. Therefore all the platforms and resolutions to which Douglas alludes, and over which he makes so much noise, are nothing to the Republicans, and Lincoln has no more to do with them then he has with the Cincinnati platform.

Mr. Douglas declared the charge of Mr. Lincoln, that he had accused the administration and the Lecompton members of Congress of being guilty of a conspiracy; "false" — "an infamous lie." He said he charged the Washington Union, and nobody else, with the conspiracy. He also repeated his charge that the Republicans and the Buchanan men in this State have formed an alliance to break him down.

His honor and a half having expired, Mr. Douglas took his seat, and Mr. Lincoln again took the stand. He said that there were some things that Mr. Douglas had stated to which he could not, in his short half hour, answer as he desired to do, and would, therefore, at this time, answer only some of them.

Mr. Lincoln, in reply to Douglas's complaint that he had been interrupted by "vulgarity" when speaking, while Lincoln had been treated with respect, said, very truly and appropriately, that the reason of this no doubt was the fact that when he (Lincoln) spoke, there was no "vulgarity" need towards the audience.

He admitted candidly that all Republicans may not — probably do not, agree fully with himself on all subjects, but they were nevertheless members of one and the same party, and were fully agreed on the main question at issue. He challenged Mr. Douglas to find any among his (Lincoln's) political supporters who would charge him with a single act of inconsistency; and if he could find such a one, he would agree to withdraw from the contest and give Douglas no more trouble.

During the excitement at North consequent upon the passage of the Nebraska bill, much was said and done, doubtless, Mr. Lincoln said, that was hasty, and in some cases extreme — but Republicans are bound by the platform adopted by their regular State convention, and that only. The only thing Douglas is afraid of is that the Republicans will pull together; his efforts to divide them will be unavailing. We will pull together against the nationalising of Slavery — will we not? [A tremendous response of "Yes!"]

Mr. Lincoln concluded by cornering Mr. Douglas on the conspiracy charge, as effectually as any man has ever been cornered by argument. He said that Mr. Douglas denied that he had charged the administration and others with conspiracy, saying that the charge was made only against the Washington Union. Mr. Lincoln read form a printed copy of one of Mr. Douglas' late speeches in Congress, in which he plainly charged that those for whom the Washington Union speaks, as well as that paper itself, were guilty of a conspiracy. Mr. Lincoln nailed this charge to the back of Douglas with a clinching blow, and the air was rent with the applause of the multitude.

Mr. Lincoln's half hour expiring, the debate was declared closed, and the people dispersed. At about 5 o'clock, a great crowd gathered in front of the Brewster House, with loud calls for Lovejoy. Hon. Owen Lovejoy responded, and made one of the most powerful speeches that has been made in this campaign. Mr. Denio and others also spoke to a Republican meeting at the Court House in the evening. The Douglasites had vanished — left town — ashamed and afraid to show their heads. Lincoln freely mingled with the masses about the city during the evening, while Douglas was closeted the whole time with a number of aristocratic Democrats, at his hotel. He didn't care enough about "the people" to mingle with them at all. This is just the difference in the dispositions and politics of the two men.