Our defense is in the preservation of the spirit which prizes liberty as a heritage of all men, in all lands, everywhere. Destroy this spirit and you have planted the seeds of despotism around your own doors.
Understanding the spirit of our institutions to aim at the elevation of men, I am opposed to whatever tends to degrade them.
I have always thought that all men should be free; but if any should be slaves, it should be first those who desire it for themselves, and secondly, those who desire it for others. When I hear anyone arguing for slavery, I feel a strong impulse to see it tried on him personally.
I have here stated my purpose according to my view of official duty; and I intend no modification of my oft-expressed personal wish that all men every where could be free.
Some single mind must be master, else there will be no agreement in anything.
Most folks are as happy as they make up their minds to be.
I was losing interest in politics, when the repeal of the Missouri Compromise aroused me again. What I have done since then is pretty well known.
I have no purpose, directly or indirectly, to interfere with the institution of slavery in the states where it exists. I believe I have no lawful right to do so, and I have no inclination to do so.
The shepherd drives the wolf from the sheep's for which the sheep thanks the shepherd as his liberator, while the wolf denounces him for the same act as the destroyer of liberty. Plainly, the sheep and the wolf are not agreed upon a definition of liberty.
Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt.
To give victory to the right, not bloody bullets, but peaceful ballots only, are necessary.
Did Stanton say I was a damned fool? Then I dare say I must be one, for Stanton is generally right and he always says what he means.
An inspection of the Constitution will show that the right of property in a slave is not distinctly and expressly affirmed in it.
If slavery is right, all words, acts, laws, and constitutions against it, are themselves wrong, and should be silenced, and swept away.
Intelligence, patriotism, Christianity, and a firm reliance on Him, who has never yet forsaken this favored land, are still competent to adjust, in the best way, all our present difficulty.
Don't worry when you are not recognized, but strive to be worthy of recognition.
We hope all danger may be overcome; but to conclude that no danger may ever arise would itself be extremely dangerous.
The negative principle that no law is free law, is not much known except among lawyers.
May our children and our children's children to a thousand generations, continue to enjoy the benefits conferred upon us by a united country, and have cause yet to rejoice under those glorious institutions bequeathed us by Washington and his compeers.
Wherever slavery is, it has been first introduced without law. The oldest laws we find concerning it, are not laws introducing it; but regulating it, as an already existing thing.
Without slavery the rebellion could never have existed; without slavery it could not continue.