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(From the Memphis Daily Avalanche, August 17th.) The large space in our issue to-day, occupied by the great speech of the Hon. Wm. L. YANCEY, necessarily precludes the appearance of the usual amount of interesting miscellaneous and news matter. We are satisfied, however, that our readers will commend the appearance of the speech to the exclusion of almost everything else. Never was so much interest manifested as there is to read this mighty production. Even those who heard it, desire now to read it and file it away as a great document for future reference. Since our promise to have it in full this morning, a large number of extra copies containing it have been ordered, which will repay the enterprise and expense we have been at in having it reported and published.

SPEECH

OF

HON. WILLIAM L. YANCEY,

OF ALABAMA,

DELIVERED AT MEMPHIS, TENN., AUGUST 14, 1860, ON THE ISSUES INVOLVED

IN THE PRESIDENTIAL CONTEST.

(Stenographic report of the Memphis Daily Avalanche.] FELLOW-CITIZENS OF TENNESSEE:

the very safety of the Constitution itself, and If you will give me your attention to-night, I with the safety of your instititutions and your will endeavor to address you as one honest man rights. I speak it not as a partisan, for, although ought to speak to another-frankly, truthfully, I speak in behalf of the Democratic party tofearlessly. I know where I stand and in whose night, I am not a Democratic partisan; I have presence I am. I know, too, what has been said not been a Democratic partisan; I am not one of in relation to my humble self and my opinions, those who hurrah for the Democracy without a in this State, by the press and by influential indi why or a wherefore, whether it be right or wrong. viduals. What I have to say to-night will be in If my humble history is known to you, as it behalf of the Deraocracy, of the Constitution, should be known by a people who have heard so and of the Union under the Constitution. Of much abuse of myself, it would show to you that those who bave been opposed to me, possibly in times past I have ventured to differ with my whose minds have been prejudiced, whose ears party, the Democracy, on this great question, and have been filled with unkind sayings, (to speak relying upon my own conviction of what is right, of it in the most charitable terms,) I only ask a

that I have ventured to oppose it. If now and patient hearing. Of the patriot, who wishes his for some years past I have been found acting with country well, and who would himself willingly or it cordially, it has only been, my countrymen, willfully do nothing that would be injurious to

because my convictions are that it is constituthe interests of that country, I ask a like candid tionally sound and right. [Applause.) hearing of all, to all, and about all. What I The great question will rise before you that if say, as I said before, I shall endeavor to say with the unity of this party is a matter of national frankness, with truthfulness, and I trust with a interest, how is it that unity is now in danger? proper respect for them and for myself.

What is, and who causes that danger? What The country, my friends, has for many years are the purposes that those have in view who been in a state of excitement with reference as are endangering its uniry? These are questo what shall be its fate within this government. tions of great interest. I shall not discuss them This grave, dignified, and mighty issue has been with the mere newspaper slang, by declaring that such that parties and statesmen have gone down my party is right and all other parties are wrong, before it, and that no party has been able to stand and hurrah for the flag that floats over me withit save the Democratic party. [A voice, “Bravo.”] out reason; but, in order that I may commend Whether that party is yet to exist longer and be what I say to-night to your judgment and to your a barrier against sectional and unconstitutional reason, and to your better nature, I shall endeav. aggression, is my theme to-night. It is a subject or to go back to the record and speak by the of profound interest to every reflecting man, who record, and only speak that which is in fact the : for a few years past has thought that that party truth of history now. was the only barrier between the dissolution of There are now three parties in the South claim-. this government and the Constitution. The unity ing of the people their suffrages. The Breckinof that great party, therefore, is a matter of na- ridge and Lane party, that I name first in order, Constitution, and because I believe it has more In the first place, I look to the Conventions power and more ability, and as much will as any that have lately assembled ; and in the course of other party to save the Constitution. Then there my argument upon his platform I shall go back is the Douglas Democracy, and lastly the Bell many years in the history of the Democracy to party, that hopes to rise to power and success prove the truth of these assertions. When the simply by reason of the division of the Demo- Convention of the Democracy met at Charleston, cratic party.

Mr. Douglas was well aware that he could not When Breckinridge and Lane present them- obtain the nomination under the two-thirds rule, selves before the people for their suffrages, as the and his friends now throughout the country—and Democratic candidates, and as occupying the I instance one of the most eminent of his friends, Democratic platform that has been approved by Hershel V. Johnson, of Georgia, candidate for the country, they are met by the friends of Mr. the Vice Presidency upon the Doaglas ticketDouglas, who assert that Stephen A. Douglas and his friends, I say, indorsed by Gov. Johnson, say Herschel V. Johnson are the regular nominees of that had the eight cotton States remained in the the Democratic party, and that Mr. Douglas Charleston Convention, that there was no possialone, of the Democratic candidates in the field, ble chance of nominating Mr. Douglas. They represents the Democratic policy and Democratic admit that now, as then. Starting out with the principles. While Mr. Bell and his friends assert conviction that the Democratic rule of two thirds that the people should give Bell their confidence, stood between him and the object of his ambibecause he is in favor of "the Union, the Consti tion, his designs were to dismember the Demotution, and the enforcement of the law,” without cratic party, and to do it in such a manner as, if offering to the public any avowed remedy for the possible, to wool the eyes of the people, and evils which are afflicting the government, or any make them believe that others were responsible well digested means of saving the Union, (ap- for its dismemberment. plause,] it is due to frankness to state that the First, then, he a vowed before that Convention Douglas party does offer a platform which, with met that he would not accept of the nomination the explanation given to it by Mr. Douglas, can at the hands of the Democracy, unless the Demeasily be understood; while the Breckinridge ocratic party indorsed his view in relation to the party offers a platform clearly defined in itself, Kansas-Nebraska bill. Now, then, here stood and that needs no explanation. I propose to con- his incentive to his friends —"I want to be nomsider these three parties, with the positions which inated for the Presidency, and you wish to nomi. their different heads occupy before the American nate me. I cannot obtain two thirds of that Con. people.

vention.” Gov. Herschel V. Johnson now openI will first address myself to the Douglas ly proclaims that it could not have been done, Democracy, because the unity of the Democracy and others make the same statement; and I know which the country has long desired, if it existed it, too. “I also proclaim that I will not accept at this hour, would prevent any other party at the of the nomination on any other platform than my South offering itself for the suffrages of the own, and yet I am a candidate now for the nomiAmerican people, for I believe Mr. Bell would nation. I must have the platform to suit myself, not have been in the field if it had not been and I must get rid of this two-thirds rule. These divided. I shall undertake to show to those are my two points." Democrats who rally under Mr. Douglas, that he The State of Alabama, as well as ot er Southis not the regular nominee of the party, and that ern States, fully recognized the importance of the principles that he avows before the American the great issue before the American people; and people are not the principles of the Democracy, that issue was a vital issue, a constitutional prin: and never have been the principles of ile Demo- ciple being involved, which could not be comprocracy. [Applause.)

mised without yielding our constitutional posiMr. Douglas, my friends, is a statesman of tion of equali:y in the Union, and to that degree great eminence and ability, a man of great power taking from our breast the Constitution, which is individually, having many manly traits of char- our only shield and protection against Northern acter, with whom it has been my pleasure, ever majorities. {Applause.) We declared that we since I have known him, for some sixteen years, must demand that our platform should be indorsto be upon terms of personal intimacy and re- ed by the Convention. Here, then, were Southgard. But it is due to frankness and to the truth ern States taking the position that the constituof history to state that Mr. Douglas has had de- tional rights of the South should be acknowlsigns upon the unity of the Democratic party ever edged in the Democratic Convention, and Mr. since the Northern people failed to obtain, under Douglas taking the position—"My platform must the operation of the Kansas-Nebraska act, the be acknowledged or I will not accept the nomi. dominancy in the Territory of Kansas, and that, nation.” It is easy for one man to say that anwhen it became apparent that the Southern men other is wrong. It is not always so easy to prove had obtained advantages under that act, and that his error. It is common to say that Alabama Kacsas, under these advantages, if fairly dealt attempted to dictate. It is no dictation for me by, would be admitted into the Union as a slave to say that I claim all my constitutional rights, State, that he bas determined to war against the and that others shall not trample upon them. He true principles of the Kansas-Nebraska bill to wbo undertakes to tell me that I shall not have keep Kansas out of the Union as a slave State, my constitutional rights, does, however, dicta te and, if necessary, to dismember the Democratic to me. But when I hold up the compact which party, and to rely for support in that controversy my fathers made, and say, "give me this that it upon the anti-slavery sentiment of the Northern was guaranteed I should have, and give me it Convention opposed to each other. Alabama to the exclusion of the other, he would not have but spoke for her rights, and when Douglas said received more than half that number. That Con. I will have the nomination and the platform, Al- | vention should have adopted either the unit rule, abama said we will have our constitutional rights that each and every State should cast its vote of protection acknowledged, or we will not re- solid for or against some man, or it should have main in a Convention that denies us that consti- adopted the separate rule, that each and every tutional protection. [Applause.]

member of the Convention should be allowed to Mr. Douglas had no right at stake in that Con- cast his own vote. vention save his personal ambition. The State By the operation of this rule he gained largely, of Alabama and other Southern States had their so as to make a difference in the result of fifty rights at stake, and they had a right to speak. votes. New York gave thirty-five votes to DougWe said, “Don't aggress on us," while he said, las, whereas he was entitled to but twenty; Penn« If you are aggressed on, I proclaim in advance sylvania had given no instructions to her delethat you shan't have the protection of your Gov- gates, and therefore the rule allowed all the memernment.” He could yield, and yield no consti- bers in the minority to vote for Douglas; wheretutional position. We could not yield without as, by the unit rule, as applied to New York, her yielding our constitutional rights. ĮCheers.) twenty-seven votes would have been cast against

Now then, when his friends got into the Con- him. The practical operation of the rule was to vention, the first object they had in view was to suppress the voice of the people with reference to beat down the two-thirds rule if possible. Well, Mr. Douglas, and to suppress the voice of the how did they go about to do that. There were people with reference to his principles. in several States at the South a few men friendly That was his first design, and by its success he to Douglas. These were a minority in each of made a practical difference in his favor of fiftysuch States. The inajority of each of those del- one votes. That gave him a majority in the egations, if they cast the vote of their State as a Charleston Convention, and that majority was unit, would have suppressed all those minorities. worked for his individual purposes. [Cries of Douglas did not wish that. There were also in “That's so.") several of the Northern States minorities against Next he said, “I must drive out these cotton Douglas and majorities in his favor. The major- States that insist upon protection. These eight ity vote in each of these States would suppress States will vote against me for the nomination, I all these minorities against him, and make these know, and now I must destroy the votes of those votes that were really against him be for him. States." How was he to do that? His way was, Now, it was a remarkably smart man who could when the platform question came up, so to shape bring in a rule to make all these votes count for that platform, so to deny the rights of those eight him. A double edged sword, that cuts both sides, States, that when they were denied, those States it is supposed, cuts to the injury of the hands of could not consistently with true Democracy rehim who holds it; but he was able to make it main in the Convention, and they would secede. work on both sides against his enemies and for These rights were urged with moderation; in a himself. He, therefore, by his friends, concocted spirit of conciliation and kindness, and purely on a rule so cunningly devised that its effect was not constitutional grounds, by arguments addressed observed until after it was passed. That rule to the reason and judgment of that Convention; was, that the States not instructed by the State and yet, when the vote was taken, by the working Conventions to vote as a unit should vote each this unit rule, Mr. Douglas voted it down by a. man in the delegation for himself, but the States vote of 165 to 138; thus denying to the Southern. that were instructed to vote as a unit should vote States that equal protection to their rights in the according to those instructions.

Territories that the South has always yielded to, What was the effect of that rule? It was to every section in the Union. When protection. give, in fact, to Mr. Douglas fifty-one votes that was thus denied to the constitutional rights of he otherwise would not have got. In the State those eight States, those eight States left the of Pennsylvania it gave him some ten votes that Convention. [Applause and cheers ] were cast in his favor, which, if the rule had been Why did they leave it? Because, as I will uniform throughout the Convention, would have show you before I close, the great Democratic been suppressed, and given in favor of Breckin- principle of the equality of the States, and of the ridge or Guthrie. In Virginia it gave him one people of the States in the common Territories, vote; in North Carolina one; in Massachusetts of the Union, had been willfully violated by Mr. six; in Tennessee one; in Maryland three and a Douglas and his friends, and that was done with half, and in New Jersey two and a half. The in- the view that the States I refer to should be dividual rule of voting gave him twenty-four and driven out of that Convention. We did not ask. a half votes which would have been suppressed the Convention to add any new plank to the if the majority rule had prevailed, or if the rule Democratic platform; but as Mr. Douglas had. had been uniform, that the majority of each dele construed the Cincinnati platform to mean no gation should cast the entire vote of each State. protection to the constitutional rights of the Had the contrary rule been uniformly in force, South; as he had thus violated that platform by. then he would have lost fifteen votes in New his construction of the Kansas act, as since de York; in Ohio six; four and a half in Indiana, termined in the Dred Scott decision; as he himAnd one half in Vermont, or twenty-six in all. self had violated the principle of the KansasBut by this ingenious device, by mingling two in- Nebraska act, which left the question to be deconsistent rules together, and using each as it termined by the Supreme Court of the United suited him, Mr. Douglas succeeded in gaining States, the South deemed it necessary, before

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