I continue to be impressed by the level of awareness demonstrated in these Steiner quotations, even though the way he says things doesn’t always immediately resonate with me.
I continue to be impressed by the level of awareness demonstrated in these Steiner quotations, even though the way he says things doesn’t always immediately resonate with me.
[A book with four interlocking themes:
.22. We Didn’t Expect the War
[Saturday, January 28, 2006]
(8:10 p.m.) All right. Set pieces? I can hear a few of them. Gettysburg, Fredericksburg. Shiloh and the west, to Chattanooga? Slow-trot Thomas and Hood? The march to the sea? North Carolina? Or do you have other things in mind?
Other things, mostly. How could I give you a description of battles? You’d die of nerve strain, wondering if the detail would check out. But I can give you other things of value, and I will.
I told you, we didn’t expect the war. We looked at it as a conspiracy – a long-running conspiracy but still, nothing much more than a plot – among the few families that ran southern society. You’ve learned what a jumble Virginian genealogy is, with cross-connection on cross-connection. That’s what the other southern states would have been, only they didn’t stay together long enough. Virginia was 250 years old when the war came, just as Mr. Lincoln said, “the bondsman’s 250 years of unrequited toil.” But Mississippi and Alabama, say, weren’t but 50 years old at the most! Their old and venerable traditions weren’t much older than the generation that saw it crumble – or, say, their parents, anyway. They talk about the Old South and they like to make out that it is the oldest part of the country and the northwest the latecomers. But that’s about as accurate as anything else they said, trying to find any straw anywhere to prop themselves up, and slavery with them.
Just look at the history of it! When we got freedom from England, what of the future confederacy was there? Virginia. The Carolinas. Georgia. Mary land if you want to count it too.
There wasn’t any other Old South! Kentucky was a county of Virginia with a few thousand people. Tennessee, the same in connection with North Carolina. Where were the other states? Florida was Spanish. Mississippi, Alabama, was Indian. Louisiana was French and then Spanish. Arkansas [ARE-Kansas] and Texas were empty and didn’t belong to us anyway. Missouri was Spanish. So where was your old south? I’ll tell you where – it was Virginia, mostly, and Charleston, South Carolina. You find me any more old south, anywhere. North Carolina didn’t have any harbors to amount to anything, so its piedmont country got filled in, by way of Pennsylvania and the Shenandoah Valley, long before the rest of it. Georgia was a howling wilderness, and Maryland was up next to Pennsylvania, which meant it had cross-currents in its society and its economy, that Charleston never did.
That’s why it was so important for these upstarts that they get Virginia! That, and Tredegar Iron Works. But mostly if Virginia had stayed in the union – if it had been a model of a slave-holding state staying loyal, with the prestige that only Virginia had – well, the confederacy’d have fallen in a heap, quicker than Jack Frost. That’s one thing Mr. Lincoln was playing for, I think – trying to find a way to keep Virginia in. If he’d succeeded at that – well, hell, if he’d kept Virginia in, he’d have had Bobby Lee at the head of the army, for one thing! – I don’t think the rebellion would have lasted the year. But if it had stayed in, there’s no way the country could have abolished slavery. It just couldn’t have happened, so maybe it all came out for the best after all. Sure spilled a lot of blood this way, though.
But I was saying, we didn’t expect an actual war. We thought we were going to assemble a very big posse and round up some influential trouble-makers and that would be the end of the military aspect and then it would be a matter of dealing with the political aftermath. In the spring of 1861, I think you could say a lot of us were thinking this was going to be another Shay’s Rebellion. We never dreamed it was going to be – as one of your historians said – our 1848.
That’s why all that “on to Richmond” stuff before Bull Run, and all the suspicion of the army, and the political interferences with it afterwards. We were still thinking, “what’s the hold-up?” as you say. We didn’t see it as a conflict between two armies, but between our army, that we had always known, and this jacked-up comic opera army representing the slave power that had a stranglehold on the south’s politics and its economy. We couldn’t quite picture people that weren’t slave owners fighting for the right of these very same slave owners to continue to run everything the way they pleased, for their own benefit and nobody else’s. We didn’t understand yet what forces we were playing with. We didn’t realize, for one thing, what 50 years of lies had done to people’s ideas about the rest of the country and about what the world thought of slavery, and what the outside world was becoming in the age of steam.
Well, so we had Bull Run and we got whipped, and it was a terrific shock. We – the army! – got whipped by a bunch of rebels! How could that be? Treason within our army? Maybe – God knows we’d seen enough to it, years and years of it bearing fruit all in one bitter winter and spring. But Bull Run wasn’t so bad in the long run. One of the rebs said later that they’d been worse demoralized by the victory than the north was by the defeat, and there’s probably something to that: There ain’t anything concentrates your mind like a good whipping, and nothing makes you more lazy and stupid than a big win that you think is just the natural result of your own superiority. Anyway, we got whipped at Bull Run, but anybody could see, once they got the whole story, that as much as anything it was that our boys were green. So were the rebs, but there wasn’t any Bobby Lee legend to make them especially fearsome, and they hadn’t yet built up their reputation as A1 fighting men. What I’m saying is, we could see we were going to have to build up and do it again, and maybe take it all a little more serious, but what wasn’t clear and didn’t get made clear by Bull Run is that this was going to be a stiff fight and a long one.
Shiloh showed us that.
Up until Shiloh, things was going pretty good in the West. In fact, they weren’t going so bad anywhere if you look just at the facts and not at our own expectations. Kentucky was ours, Mary land was ours, Missouri was mostly ours. They’d all been saved from the wreckage. Grant had been clearing the Tennessee River, and it looked like he’d be down in Mississippi and Alabama before too long. It looked pretty much like the army in Virginia was the main thing we had to worry about. And if we could clear the boards around it, Virginia couldn’t stand alone very long. In a way that’s what finally happened, as you know. We cleared out the Mississippi valley, went down through Georgia and started up at her from the south. But that was a whole mountain of corpses later. In 1861 nobody – nobody, even old far-seeing Sherman – was imagining anything like the number of men were going to get killed over this. Sherman said we’d need 300,000 men to end the rebellion and everybody thought he was crazy. Even he didn’t guess that twice that many men were going to get killed before it was over. And that by the way is what he figured he was doing in Georgia three years later, something you don’t generally understand. He said he was going to give ‘em memories that would stop them from thinking rebellion a good long way into the future.
Grant was proceeding down through Tennessee, moving up the Tennessee River that more or less paralleled the Mississippi but as you know had the advantage of flowing north, so that any gunboats that might get put out of action by gunfire or mechanical accident would drift back behind our own lines, not over to the enemy’s territory. Plus, once he’d got past Forts Henry and Donelson, he had the river pretty well cleared: It wasn’t like the Mississippi where they were going to have to clear out post after post, although as it turned out that was just a matter of time, being as we had a navy and we had the navy men, and the rebels didn’t.
You know the story of Shiloh. Grant was maybe a little overconfident, and maybe the troops weren’t as careful as they should have been. I can’t say; I wasn’t there. But there was a terrific hell of a battle, and if it wasn’t for those cool old boys, Sherman and Grant, we could have lost big. But you know the story of Uncle Billy coming up on Grant that night and saying, “Grant, we’ve had a hell of a time today,” and Grant saying, “Yep. Whip ‘em tomorrow, though.” And sure enough they did – with the help of Don Carlos Buell’s last-minute-Charlie appearance in the middle of the night, coming upriver just in time. My point here though is that Grant himself later said, Shiloh is when he knew we were in for a long fight. Them southern boys just came in like thunder, and they kept coming on all day, and if anybody after that day thought that southerners that didn’t own slaves weren’t liable to fight like the devil anyway, they just weren’t wanting to know. Anybody wanted to know, knew.
Here’s what I’m going to do, Joseph. I’ll find some short history, and study up on the way it went and you can continue without my worrying about is the order of things right, and all.
Wrong way to go about it. It’s bad enough what you already know – though, come to think about it, I suppose it is like my showing you on the map so you could get the lay of the land and have one thing less to worry over. But don’t do more than get the sequence. If you do that, set it down for your possible readers too so we’re all at the same place when I start in again.
[A book with four interlocking themes:
.21. How to work your way backwards
After a long few weeks exploring various aspects of guidance, I felt ready to return to Joseph, resolved not to let the problems around verification prevent me from receiving the material.
[Saturday, January 28, 2006] 4:10 p.m.
– Joseph, I sure would like to hear your Civil War experiences, and if you will tell me I will listen and won’t try to correct you.
Well, that’s better. You take a lot on when you set out to follow someone else’s story, and don’t think I don’t know it. And for you who hates to be wrong and hates to mislead people, it’s a lot, and I know it.
You liked what I said about old Mr. A Lincoln, but if you stop a bit and think about it, there were plenty of facts within my opinions that might have been as wrong as anything. What we though of him might have anachronisms, you know. So it isn’t like you haven‘t been sailing into the wind all along, just that you didn’t quite see it.
I think it will be easier to tell it out of order and you maybe won’t get so fussed. I can hear you wondering where the story should go, what to make up if I don’t, so to speak! Just relax and let me make up a story.
You remember you had half a memory of living in those half-earth half-timber buildings you were told were called “red-outs” – redoubts? And you recall you got a full sense of the grim year 1864? And you were moved by the Battle of Chickamauga – that you always called Chick-a-MAWG-wa? You know that you were greatly drawn to Sherman and Grant (and Mr. Lincoln, of course) and a few others like old Slow-Trot Thomas? You had lively sympathy with Burnside and Hooker – kind of wished for his sake that Fighting Joe had been killed instead of stunned at Chancellorsville – and nothing but contempt for McClellan? And your mixed feelings for Ben Butler, who wasn’t much as a general but was pretty good as a politician? Don’t you suppose all that meant something? Gettysburg was dammed important, but so was Vicksburg – but you don’t have any more feeling for Vicksburg than 50 other occasions, and for Gettysburg, well, you know.
Do you have any feeling at all for the Indian fighting? For the border ruffian kind of skirmishing? For, say, the little skirmishes in New Mexico or the Indian Territory – Oklahoma? Nothing for the naval battles except a sort of abstract appreciation.
Now reel all this in and what interests you most?
Grant, early on, and Sherman, in the west in the war’s very early days. Not McClellan in West Virginia as it became, and not McClellan organizing the army except, again, as an abstract achievement. Not McDowell or the other innocents of the first part of the war, and not the Peninsular campaign except as occasion to seethe over a lost opportunity! – except you see how it was the will of providence that we not win the war without finally ending slavery.
So – Grant and Sharman in ’61 and early ’62. Then what?
Chancellorsville and Gettysburg in ’63. That is, the east, not the Mississippi Valley. Fredericksburg, but not Sharpsburg (Antietam Creek).
And then the long brutal spring and mostly summer of 1864.
Not all that much interest in the siege and the extension of encampments and fortifications – ever wondered why? Not much interest in the complicated actions in the Mississippi valley – I should say the intricate and frustrating and unglamorous and not very attractive actions – except Grant’s campaign (conceptually) to the east of Vicksburg, his relief of Chattanooga, then Sherman’s chess-match with Johnston and his hammering of Hood, and not the capture of Atlanta but Atlanta to the sea, and then back north. “Uncle Billy seems to have hit this river longways.”
So let’s you and me play a little game here. If I was only at the places interested you – and noplace else – would that draw us a route map, do you think?
Here’s how I make it. Grand and Sherman to Shiloh – though not either of them right off, but more like coming in in the middle of the story, like coming in on the night of the first day at Shiloh.
In the east at least for Fredericksburg which was December ’62, Chancellorsville, May of ’63, Gettysburg July ’63 and some undefined time, then the winter – the hard winter of ’64 and what might have been, maybe should have been, the last year of the war. Maybe almost was. But then no more connection with the east after a time, why is that? Then Franklin and after the capture of Atlanta a joyride through Georgia and the expectation of some hard fighting in South Carolina – which they couldn’t give us, damn them! – and up into North Carolina and the end.
Doesn’t that seem to hang together to you? If you’d do the research to see what units were where, when, you’d be a long way easier in your mind. But if you don’t mind treating all this as fiction we can get the story told anyway. I won’t be able to bring in the level of detail that would convince you – because your level of anxiety makes it sure that I won’t! So we’ll do it round the barn.
Well, that is great and I look forward to it. I can’t do it now – got to get ready to go out to supper – but this does offer promise. And what an interesting approach to it! Start with what is vivid to me and see if it structures itself!
Remember though, life ain’t as tidy as theory. One man, any small unit, could have all sorts of experiences they shouldn’t have got, in theory. Just like Chamberlain said in the book you just read, The Passing of the Armies, you saw how this and that unit wound up fighting with this and that other command in the head of battle. So it happens on a larger scale, too: People wound up here and then there for reasons they sure didn’t know much about!
By the way, you notice how you were very interested in Chamberlain’s description of the days after Appomattox? And you notice in the description of the Grand Review it was the second day – Sherman’s men – that interested you? And you notice your disappointment in Grant over Gouvernor Warren, and your predisposition to be of two minds about Sheridan – kind of a horse’s ass but a great fighter? All that is more clues for you. Fix your attitude and work backwards, figure out for yourself who was likely to have those feelings and why. There’s your key. Hit the gong and see if it rings true. Terrible metaphor, let’s try it again. If you hit it and you hear “clunk” it ain’t bell-metal. Enough for now, go get ready and I’ll see you when you can spare the time next.
This seems particularly relevant in light of today’s session with Nathaniel. Writing a memoir of your life can be a powerful process. It isn’t about the audience; it’s about the author.
These, courtesy of Jim Szpajcher, are from a workshop Jim hosted for Bruce. In the group picture, Jim is in front, wearing a blue shirt and a big smile. Bruce, suffering the fate always accorded to tall people, in in the very last row (on the right).
The photo below, of Bruce illustrating a point with a gesture, will likely remind those who knew him of Bruce’s lucid, relaxed style of instruction.
[A book with four interlocking themes:
.20. The Question of Trust
The question of verification bothered me more than ever after my session with psychic (and psychotherapist) Karen Storsteen on December 29, has described here in Chasing Smallwood — 15. I know that people think that psychic investigators are willing to believe anything and everything, and are so eager to connect that they fooled themselves routinely, never doubting that whatever they fantasize is true. No doubt some people are like that, but I am not. If anything, my need for verification has often stood in the way of obtaining the experience that would eventually provide the verification. Clutching in the face of uncertainty often has the effect of stepping on the air hose, cutting off the flow. One doesn’t want to be a fool; one doesn’t want to cut off the flow. It makes for a delicate, often uncomfortable balance.
Friday, December 30, 2005
I feel particularly down and out this morning. Last night’s session with Karen seems to say that much of what I thought I know knew about Joseph isn’t so — and much that he said isn’t so. Damn it, I’m tired of cat and mouse!
Very depressed; no way to end an old year.
Alright gentlemen, I guess I’ve been putting this off. As Bruce Moen says, trust is always the issue. You know what is bothering me. Why in 18 years have I been unable to find one shred of physical evidence to support any of the stories I’ve been given or have fabricated?
The validations have all been internal, and they have changed you. But you wish something external and have not gotten it. How much effort have you made to obtain it?
Every lead that I have been given has come up negative. Don’t tell me that it is my fault that I — faithfully recording Smallwood’s stories — have been unable to find him where he now says he is not.
You know as well as I that I do not need a tenth — a percent — of one scholar would need as evidence. I, knowing that I am not perpetuating a hoax, need not prove that I am not doing so. Therefore all I need is some concrete thing — a historical record, a book, something — to say “here you are, as promised.” Instead I get nothing.
And do not tell me that this is so I can tell others of the difficulties in the path. Fine! I’ve had 18 years of it, some of it in public. There is enough already on the record to demonstrate the point. Now I want something concrete.
You have the Army records to be found.
Maybe. And maybe no David Joseph Smallwood is to be found there. To this point I don’t have one slightest point to lean on, and I’m getting mighty tired of it.
And another thing — those stories from Smallwood. They seemed real enough. They were just stories, apparently. I notice they stopped dead when it came time to look at facts that could be checked.
I don’t know why I bother with this, and I don’t know what to do. I have so much of my being tied up in the into this. My god what will I do?
Trust. You live in trust. Keep living in trust, and all will be seen as well. It is well; it will be seen to be well.
Yes, well — what is your answer to my question? Why have I been unable to find evidence?
We answered the question. You haven’t really looked. Your efforts have been halfhearted and cursory. You have not even made up sheets of information to check! Never have thought of doing it, or of asking us how.
Say that’s true. Why can’t you just give me where to find a thing? “Yeats” gave me the publisher of David’s book, but no trace, no idea how or where to find it, or even if it exists.
[A book with four interlocking themes:
.19. The plot thickens (or, What’s really going on here?)
[December 27, 2005. 8:20 a.m.] All right, Joseph—let’s revert to my question the answer to which got interrupted [the night before]. What’s going on here? Where are we going? What is all this in aid of?
[I can always tell when it’s TGU – or, anyway, I can always tell now – because for one thing everything is “we” with them. When I hear “we” I know it isn’t one individual unless he’s doing what I often do. I often say “we” – I do it all the time when I’m talking to myself. “We’ll just do this,” etc. Anyway – as Joseph says a lot – I thought this a short diversion but I begin to see that it is part of what is happening. Rather than just sit down and report what has happened with me in re guidance, or analyze the rules that seem to apply—which is what I thought I was in the process of doing once I conceptualized folding the healing and guidance sections together—instead I’m experiencing new growth in access and understanding, so it will become a more profoundly important book—because after all who cares about someone else’s experiences except insofar as they shed light on the listener’s own potential?
Okay, back to our regularly scheduled programming.
And I have to laugh! I see that what I experienced as me giving an aside about the fact that “I noticed TGU were going to answer the question” is the answer, and I didn’t notice it till I was at the point of posing it again! Well, that brings up a related point, simply that for most of my life—and presumably this applies to other people as well!—I was assuming the speaker was this part of myself when in fact it was, or was largely, another part. Hell, it took years (I think; I’ll have to re-read my journals to see, but I remember it as years) before I realized that “they” are not “they” (rather than I) in any absolute sense.
So, that is one more strand to weave. Recognition of what is you and what is not. I need to compile my experiences and questions and problems and lay them out—it will result in a nice survey, which is what I was proposing to write. As with healing, I have more to offer than sometimes appears. And it seems that now it the time when I am able to do it!
All right, Joseph—and for a while I am going to avoid questions of fact, even the ones that have occurred to me as questions, such as “did he actually call himself Joseph even though his given name was Elijah or something” until I can have a session with Karen.
A friend – Rich – saw an analogy between how we treated the freed slaves and how in this century we treated the Iraqis (with no plan for it, in other words); is that what you’re doing, suggesting analogies?
Your mental processes furnish the analogies, always. That’s what they do. What somebody sets in front of you is one thing. The connections it suggests is a different thing. That is why three people looking at the same thing not only have their different opinions about it among them—they each are in their own world about it in a way. They each think about other things that suggest themselves. So you can see how rich this makes things. You take a thousand men surviving a battle, or even a hard winter, and they will each one of them have been associating it with stuff from their past before that – and not just in that lifetime, either! Everything they are is affected by everything that happens to every part of them. You think that’s simple?
It ain’t that it’s hard to understand how disagreements arise. It is more surprising when any two people see things the same! That’s why if you want to persuade people, you have to do it with pictures. And that was Mr. Lincoln’s specialty.
Now, don’t fight me on this, and you might learn something. State your objections so we get it on the record, so to speak.
Well, I know where you’re going, of course, but I don’t think of Lincoln’s painting pictures like Hitler (“the soldier at his hearth” and all that). I think of Lincoln’s speeches as being masterpieces of logic. You read his Cooper Union speech for instance, and it is just a remorseless piling up of fact on fact, conclusion on conclusion, till at the end you just can’t doubt that he has proved his point. I don’t see him drawing word pictures.
All right, that was a good summary of the objection. And it shows how words mislead. I’m saying Mr. Lincoln drew pictures and you are saying no he did not. That’s pretty black-or-white, ain’t it. But I don’t have to deny his overwhelming strength of logic and I wouldn’t if I had to. There was nobody could equal him in long term conviction – bringing you to it, I mean – because he didn’t do it with tricks or manipulation but with just what you said, a remorseless piling up of fact on fact.
Douglas could persuade you if you already wanted to be persuaded. Mr. Lincoln could show you things you hadn’t thought, and show ‘em to you so you never doubted ‘em thereafter even if you couldn’t remember how he got you there. And this was his genius, you see, and this is why you aren’t yet seeing him (you are as I write this long sentence, but until now you didn’t)..
Mr. Lincoln would start with a proposition that sounded simple and flat as old beer. Then he would start piling fact on fact, as you say, and entirely without bells or flourishes and ornament. Flat, steady, one small step at a time. Dull. Undeniable. And that is the way he would lead you – not trying for emotional effects along the way; avoiding those effects, until at the end when you got there you were in a frame of mind that said there wasn’t any other straight way to see it. And you felt like you reasoned it out with him. You had been taken there by your own steps, it felt like, and you couldn’t not see it – not when he was at his best – unless you either started from a position too far away, so you never hooked up with that he was building, or you were listening only intending to get ammunition to shoot against it. And even that, Mr. Lincoln didn’t mind. He encouraged it, in fact, because then when you began shooting at his argument you were shooting at the people he had already convinced!
You see it? Mr. Lincoln was a prairie lawyer. He had spent his life in politics and in law. They both involved the same thing – persuading simple people to see complicated things and see ‘em his way.
What is taught to you without tricks, you remember and you trust. What is just arm-waving and logic-chopping and emotional appeal, you may be persuaded for a while – but then when something else comes in to contradict it, you don’t have the same staying power. And if it happens that the facts support what you persuaded ’em about –in other words if things happened just about the way you said they had to, why, you’d be a fool not to listen to somebody who’d done the work of thinking it out for you. You couldn’t repeat the logic you had heard, and you couldn’t say any more why you knew what you did, but it didn’t matter. You was changed. Now ain’t that painting pictures?
You were thinking I meant painting scenes that tug on the heart-strings like Uncle Tom’s Cabin. No, that kind of picture makes clear to people where they stand on something. It don’t tell ’em what to do, and it don’t tell ’em who to trust to know what to do. Mr. Lincoln’s pictures were pictures of the situation. We were here, says he, and then this happened, and it meant this; and that happened, and it did this to things; and then this happened and the result was so—and now here we are, and if we ain’t careful (he’d ’a’ said “keerful.” I can hear him still) we’re going to wind up here and then what will we do? You see? For people who didn’t know what the meaning of things was, it was irresistible! They left different than they came. I knew I did, the only time I had the honor and pleasure of hearing him, back in ’58. I went into that meeting not expecting anything special but having just a vague hope that maybe this tall sucker could hit a few licks at the little giant, but like I saw, not hoping for too much – because we hated the power that little man had over crowds, and we hated what he’d done with it, but we feared him, too.
Now, go look for your book that has the excepts from the Lincoln-Douglas debates, I want to show you something. And by the way, it ought to occur to you that this is the way to do research – get a guide, and then use the power-tools that are other men’s research.
[I don’t seem to have the book I thought I had, or can’t find it now. Somewhere I have read at least some of the Lincoln-Douglas debates. While looking I kept hearing “Alton” so I guess that’s where Joseph Smallwood heard Mr. Lincoln. I didn’t know where Alton was – thought it was probably up near Davenport and Smallwood just slipped across the river, but it is down across from St. Louis. Still on the river, more or less, though. I should look more – maybe the computer could give me the Alton speech.]
I find that the Alton debate was the seventh and last, and is considered to be either the decisive debate or a reprise of the sixth. A crowd of 6,000 heard the debate that was – as I’d sensed – held out of doors. This was Oct. 15, 1858.
(10:30 a.m.) All right, now. So you re-read the Lincoln half of the debate and you marked a couple of passages, with me looking over your shoulder, so to speak. Not everybody’s going to be interested in Mr. Lincoln—not those who think his spirit is dead and the past is dead—but patch in those two pieces, and show ’em where to find more, and some will follow and some won’t. The two pieces will show his power of exposition. And all the typing that will go along with entering this will get you ready for more. You ain’t ready right now, though you don’t know it.
[Excerpt from Mr. Lincoln’s speech at Alton, which was a reply to Douglas, who preceded him, and followed him with a rebuttal.]
And if there be among you any body who supposes that he, as a Democrat can consider himself “as much opposed to slavery as anybody,” I would like to reason with him. You never treat it as a wrong. What other thing that you consider as a wrong, do you deal with as you deal with that? Perhaps you say it is wrong, but your leader never does, and you quarrel with any body who says it is wrong. Although you pretend to say so yourself you can find no fit place to deal with it as a wrong. You must not say any thing about it in the free States, because it is not here. You must not say any thing about it in the slave States, because it is there. You must not say any thing about it in the pulpit, because that is religion and has nothing to do with it. You must not say any thing about it in politics, because that will disturb the security of “my place.” There is no place to talk about it as being a wrong, although you say yourself it is a wrong. But finally you will screw yourself up to the belief that if the people of the slave States should adopt a system of gradual emancipation on the slavery question, you would be in favor of it. You would be in favor of it. You say that is getting it in the right place, and you would be glad to see it succeed. But you are deceiving yourself. You all know that Frank Blair and Gratz Brown, down there in St. Louis, undertook to introduce that system in Missouri. They fought as valiantly as they could for the system of gradual emancipation which you pretend you would be glad to see succeed. Now I will bring you to the test. After a hard fight they were beaten, and when the news came over here you threw up your hats and hurraed for Democracy.
[A little later]:
That is the real issue. That is the issue that will continue in this country when these poor tongues of Judge Douglas and myself shall be silent. It is the eternal struggle between these two principles–right and wrong–throughout the world. They are the two principles that have stood face to face from the beginning of time; and will ever continue to struggle. The one is the common right of humanity and the other the divine right of kings. It is the same principle in whatever shape it develops itself. It is the same spirit that says, “You work and toil and earn bread, and I’ll eat it.” No matter in what shape it comes, whether from the mouth of a king who seeks to bestride the people of his own nation and live by the fruit of their labor, or from one race of men as an apology for enslaving another race, it is the same tyrannical principle. I was glad to express my gratitude at Quincy, and I re-express it here to Judge Douglas–that he looks to no end of the institution of slavery. That will help the people to see where the struggle really is. It will hereafter place with us all men who really do wish the wrong may have an end. And whenever we can get rid of the fog which obscures the real question–when we can get Judge Douglas and his friends to avow a policy looking to its perpetuation–we can get out from among that class of men and bring them to the side of those who treat it as a wrong. Then there will soon be an end of it, and that end will be its “ultimate extinction.” Whenever the issue can be distinctly made, and all extraneous matter thrown out so that men can fairly see the real difference between the parties, this controversy will soon be settled, and it will be done peaceably too. There will be no war, no violence. It will be placed again where the wisest and best men of the world placed it.
[2 p.m.] I still don’t know where we’re going with this.
You can’t go someplace new and still know where you’re going ahead of time. you can have an idea in your head, but that doesn’t mean the trip is going to look like your idea.
Now that is enough about Mr. Lincoln for a while. I saw him that evening, sandwiched between Douglas and when I heard Douglas speak I was a bit downhearted, for he seemed to have the crowd – though maybe that was just the usual loud-mouths giving that impression, cheering and applauding and calling out. And his arguments sounded plausible enough, and while he was still talking, he had you. But then he had to sit down, and old Abe Lincoln stood up and started slow and just skinned him. And when he stood there looking at Douglas, asking him a question he couldn’t have answered even if it had been his time to answer, the effect was just tremendous.
[What Lincoln said, in part, that Joseph said created such a tremendous impression:
And when Judge Douglas asks me why we cannot let it remain part slave and part free, as the fathers of the Government made it, he asks a question based upon an assumption which is itself a falsehood; and I turn upon him and ask him the question, when the policy that the fathers of the Government had adopted in relation to this element among us was the best policy in the world–the only wise policy–the only policy that we can ever safely continue upon–that will ever give us peace unless this dangerous element masters us all and becomes a national institution–I turn upon him and ask him why he could not let it alone. [Great and prolonged cheering.]
And then when Douglas got up to give his reply to Mr. Lincoln’s reply, it was pitiful. At least, I thought so. They were both pretty good at poking fun at each other, but when Douglas used his first minutes to talk about Lincoln’s opposing the Mexican War! – well it showed the difference between ’em. I never read of Lincoln wasting shot and shell on side-points. He’d hammer away, but it wasn’t never at a side-issue. And the other thing between ’em was this. If you were really on the fence, if you weren’t a committed Republican, if you weren’t a die-hard Democrat, and if you came there not quite knowing how to think about things, more chances were you came out of there remembering Lincoln’s arguments than Douglas’. And when you read it in the papers, it was Lincoln’s that stuck with you, because his didn’t depend on cheap effects or momentary emotions. He knew how to let you persuade yourself, by following along and saying yes or no as he built his case. The trouble for Douglas, you see, is that he made it too big, too fast, and so he never had to learn how to persuade a jury of farmers about a patent infringement case.
Well, I did say that was enough about Abraham Lincoln. But there can’t ever be enough, and certainly there can’t be too much. He is still the key in your time, if you can find it.
Now. You have had ten days of this. Time for you to do the other part of your preparation – go through making notes. You can come back to me when the time is right. You will know, and I ain’t going any where.