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made it, each State retaining the right to have just such laws and institutions as it may choose, and to modify and change them as it may see proper. I renew to you my grateful acknowledgments for the kind and respectful manner in which you have listened to me, and beg to bid you good night.
The last and crowning feature of this triumphal tour was the receipt of a telegraphic dispatch by Mr. Douglas, at Baltimore, just as he was entering the cars for Washington, announcing his reëlection to the Senate of the United States by the legislature of Illinois, by a majority of eight votes, hav. ing received the vote of every Democratic member in each House.
Mr. Douglas again in Washington-Experiences a Change of Atmosphere
Scene shifts—Removed from Post of Chairman of Territorial Commit. tee-His Services as Chairman-Pretext of Removal-Freeport SpeechLetter to California in reply to Dr. Gwin.
WHEN Mr. Douglas reached Washington, where Executive power and patronage stifles popular sentiment, he found himself suddenly plunged into a very different atmosphere from that which he had been breathing in the past few weeks. Failing in their efforts to defeat his reëlection to the Senate by a disreputable coalition with the abolitionists of Illinois, his enemies contrived a new scheme to humble and degrade the unsubdued rebel. For thirteen years previous, he had been chairman of the Committee on Territories, two years in the House and eleven in the Senate. In that capacity, he had reported and successfully carried through Congress bills for the admission of the following States: Texas, Iowa, Wisconsin, California, Oregon, and Minnesota.
During the same period, he had reported and successfully carried through Congress bills to organize the following Territories : Oregon, Minnesota, New Mexico, Utah, Washington, Kansas, and Nebraska. In that time, he had met and mastered every intricate question which had arisen connected with the organization of the Territories and the admission of new States. Confessedly, he was more familiar with all subjects pertaining to Territorial legislation, than any other living man. His peculiar qualifications and acquaintance with the subject, induced the Senate, on the day of his first entrance into that body, to put him at the head of the Territorial Committee. He had been unanimously nominated in the Democratic caucus, and reëlected chairman of that committee each succeeding year. With a full knowledge on the part of every senator of his views and opinions on Territorial policy, what excuse can be given for the removal of a man from a position which he had so long filled with such distinguished ability, and for which he was so eminently qualified ? With or without excuse, however, the deed was consummated in a secret caucus, and in Mr. Douglas' absence. The public indignation at his removal was almost universal. Indeed, so heavily has it fallen on those engaged in it, but three or four senators have ever had the boldness to confess themselves parties to the act, and ever these have assigned a reason as a pretext for the deed, which is an insult to the intelligence of the American people, and but a poor compliment to their own understanding; because they affect to call in question Mr. Douglas' political orthodoxy for the expression of an opinion in his Illinois campaign, which he had advanced and elaborated in his speeches on the Compromise measures of 1850, and upon the passage of the KansasNebraska Bill, and indeed upon every discussion of the slavery question in which he had participated for the ten years previous to his removal.
Notwithstanding Mr. Douglas, in all his joint debates with Mr. Lincoln, in Illinois, had taken direct issue with him on all his abolition propositions--assuming bold ground against negro citizenship-reasserting his old position, that uniformity in the institutions of the various States was neither possible nor desirable—treating negro-slavery as purely a question of climate, production, and political economy, to be regulated by their inexorable laws-sustaining the Fugitive Slave Law, and avowing his willingness, if not strong enough, to vote to make it stronger-maintaining the binding force of all supreme judicial decisions-vindicating the equality of all the States, and proclaiming the right of all their citizens to emigrate into the common Territories on the basis of an entire equality under the local law, with their property of all descriptions, whether horses, clocks, negroes or what notdenouncing the doctrines of the “irrepressible conflict,” when advanced by Lincoln four months prior to Seward's Rochester speech-sustaining the regular organization of the Democratic party, and maintaining the Democratic creed as enunciated in the Cincinnati platform ;-notwithstanding all these facts, they seize on an answer of Mr. Douglas to a question propounded by Mr. Lincoln at Freeport, garble it from its context and present it to the country as the reason for his removal from the chairmanship of the Committee on Territories.
It went for nothing that Col. Jefferson Davis had uttered, a few weeks before, at Portland, similar views touching the power of the people of the Territories, which Mr. Douglas quoted and indorsed in a joint debate with Mr. Lincoln at Alton, as containing his own views—nothing that Stephens, Orr, Cobb, and a host of Democratic lights, great and small, were committed to the same proposition—nothing that Mr. Douglas was simply repeating as the Washington “Union” at that time in an elaborate article charged and proved (alleging that he was consistently unsound), what he had uttered frequently in the debates on the Compromise measures of 1850—nothing that Col. Richardson, when the Democratic candidate for Speaker, in 1855, had expressed similar opinions, and received, afterward, every Democratic vote in tho House—it booted nothing that Mr. Douglas was on record one hundred times advocating the same doctrine while these very men (his present accusers) were his advocates for the Presidency. These things all stood for nothing.
MR. DOUGLAS' CALIFORNIA LETTER.
It is a remarkable fact, that while Mr. Douglas was removed from the Committee on Territories in December, 1858, no senator ever publicly assigned Mr. Douglas' Freeport speech
a cause for it, until in July, 1859, Dr. Gwin gave this reason in a speech in California. Mr. Douglas promptly replied to Dr. Gwin's speech, in a letter addressed to the editor of the San Francisco “National,” from which we extract so much as relates to this subject :
The country is now informed for the first time that I was removed from the post of chairman of the Committee on Territories because of the sentiments contained in my “Freeport speech.” To use the language of Mr. Gwin, “ The doctrines he had avowed in his Freeport speech had been condemned in the Senate by his removal from the chairmanship of the Territorial Committee of that body.” The country will bear in mind this testimony, that I was not removed because of any personal unkindness or hostility; nor in consequence of my course on the Lecompton question, or in respect to the administration; but that it was intended as a condemnation of the doctrines avowed in my “Freeport speech.” The only position taken in my “Freeport speech,” which I have ever seen criticised or controverted, may be stated in a single sentence, and was in reply to an interrogatory propounded by my competitor for the Senate: “That “the Territorial legislature could lawfully exclude slavery, either by non-action or unfriendly legislation.” This opinion was not expressed by me at Freeport for the first time. I have expressed the same opinion often in the Senate, freely and frequently, in the presence of those senators who, as Mr. Gwin testifies, removed me “from the chairmanship of the Committee on Territories,” ten years after they knew that I held the opinion, and would never surrender it.
I could fill many columns of the “National” with extracts of speeches made by me during the discussion of the Compromise measures in 1850, and in defence of the principles embodied in those measures in 1851 and 1852, in the discussion of the Kansas-Nebraska Bill in 1854, and of the Kansas difficulties and the Topeka revolutionary movements in 1856, in all of which I expressed the same opinion and defended the same position which was assumed in the “Freeport speeech.” I will not, however, bur