Stephen Douglas’ Speech at Harrisonburg

Posted on October 30, 2008 by


Realizing that those with dial-up may have a hard time opening the pdf that I mentioned yesterday, I decided to post a transcription of the review of Douglas’ speech as printed in Staunton’s Republican Vindicator on September 7, 1860. Of course, Douglas made the speech at the Court House in Harrisonburg, on Monday, September 3, 1860. It’s an interesting read.

We accompanied Judge Douglas to Harrisonburg, and heard him deliver a masterly speech to a very large and enthusiastic audience on last Monday. Although it was raining and the day was damp and disagreeable, the Court House was crowded. He vindicated in a clear, concise and satisfactory manner, the position occupied by the Democratic party, his own fidelity to the Constitution and laws, and his perfect submission in all cases to the decisions of the Supreme Court. He contended that although that tribunal might make a decision distasteful to him, yet, as an honest man, respecting the dignity of American citizenship, he could not and would not fail to render implicit obedience to the result of its action. Throughout, his remarks were characterized by a degree of candor, frankness, honesty and nationality, which won the admiration of all. A number of persons heretofore the avowed supporters of Mr. Breckinridge, came out unhesitatingly and fully for Douglas. We have never known a more favorable impression to be made than that created by the speech and presence of Judge Douglas in Harrisonburg. Those who had charged him with being an abolitionist, found that no man breathes, who is more fully committed in sentiment and action to the maintenance of the rights of all the States alike, or who more indignantly denounces and repudiates any abridgement of or interference with the rights of each individual and State of the Union. He made these preposition clear and satisfactory to every impartial mind, and opened the eyes of many who had heretofore opposed him because of a misapprehension of his views and position.