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included in this arrangement. Already, in the fall of 1845, Lincoln industriously began his appeals and instructions to his friends in the district to secure the succession. Thus he wrote on November 17:

"The paper at Pekin has nominated Hardin for governor, and, commenting on this, the Alton paper indirectly nominated him for Congress. It would give Hardin a great start, and perhaps use me up, if the Whig papers of the district should nominate him for Congress. If your feelings toward me are the same as when I saw you (which I have no reason to doubt), I wish you would let nothing appear in your paper which may operate against me. You understand. Matters stand just as they did when I saw you. Baker is certainly off the track, and I fear Hardin intends to be on it."

But again, as before, the spirit of absolute fairness governed all his movements, and he took special pains to guard against it being "suspected that I was attempting to juggle Hardin out of a nomination for Congress by juggling him into one for governor." "I should be pleased," he wrote again in January, "if I could concur with you in the hope that my name would be the only one presented to the convention; but I cannot. Hardin is a man of desperate energy and perseverance, and one that never backs out; and, I fear, to think otherwise is to be deceived in the character of our adversary. I would rejoice to be spared the labor of a contest, but, 'being in,' I shall go it thoroughly and to the bottom." He then goes on to recount in much detail the chances for and against him in the several counties of the district, and in later letters discusses the system of selecting candidates, where the convention ought to be held, how the delegates should be chosen, the instructions they should receive, and how




the places of absent delegates should be filled. watched his field of operations, planned his strategy, and handled his forces almost with the vigilance of a military commander. As a result, he won both his nomination in May and his election to the Thirtieth Congress in August, 1846.

In that same year the Mexican War broke out. Hardin became colonel of one of the three regiments of Illinois volunteers called for by President Polk, while Baker raised a fourth regiment, which was also accepted. Colonel Hardin was killed in the battle of Buena Vista, and Colonel Baker won great distinction in the fighting near the City of Mexico.

Like Abraham Lincoln, Douglas was also elected to Congress in 1846, where he had already served the two preceding terms. But these redoubtable Illinois champions were not to have a personal tilt in the House of Representatives. Before Congress met, the Illinois legislature elected Douglas to the United States Sentae for six years from March 4, 1847.


First Session of the Thirtieth Congress-Mexican War -"Wilmot Proviso"-Campaign of 1848-Letters to Herndon about Young Men in Politics-Speech in Congress on the Mexican War-Second Session of the Thirtieth Congress-Bill to Prohibit Slavery in the District of Columbia-Lincoln's Recommendations of Office-Seekers-Letters to Speed-Commissioner of the General Land Office-Declines Governership of Oregon


VERY few men are fortunate enough to gain distinction during their first term in Congress. The reason is obvious. Legally, a term extends over two years; practically, a session of five or six months during the first, and three months during the second year ordinarily reduce their opportunities more than one half. In those two sessions, even if we presuppose some knowledge of parliamentary law, they must learn the daily routine of business, make the acquaintance of their fellow-members, who already, in the Thirtieth Congress, numbered something over two hundred, study the past and prospective legislation on a multitude of minor national questions entirely new to the new members, and perform the drudgery of haunting the departments in the character of unpaid agent and attorney to attend to the private interests of constituents a physical task of no small proportions in Lincoln's day, when there was neither street-car nor omnibus in the "city of magnificent distances," as Washington was nicknamed. Add to this that the principal


work of preparing legislation is done by the various committees in their committee-rooms, of which the public hears nothing, and that members cannot choose their own time for making speeches; still further, that the management of debate on prepared legislation must necessarily be intrusted to members of long experience as well as talent, and it will be seen that the novice need not expect immediate fame.

It is therefore not to be wondered at that Lincoln's single term in the House of Representatives at Washington added practically nothing to his reputation. He did not attempt to shine forth in debate by either a stinging retort or a witty epigram, or by a sudden burst of inspired eloquence. On the contrary, he took up his task as a quiet but earnest and patient apprentice in the great workshop of national legislation, and performed his share of duty with industry and intelligence, as well as with a modest and appreciative respect for the ability and experience of his seniors.

"As to speechmaking," he wrote, "by way of getting the hang of the House, I made a little speech two or three days ago on a post-office question of no general interest. I find speaking here and elsewhere about the same thing. I was about as badly scared, and no worse, as I am when I speak in court. I expect to make one within a week or two in which I hope to succeed well enough to wish you to see it." And again, some weeks later: "I just take my pen to say that Mr. Stephens of Georgia, a little, slim, pale-faced consumptive man with a voice like Logan's, has just concluded the very best speech of an hour's length I ever heard. My old, withered, dry eyes are full of tears yet."

He was appointed the junior Whig member of the Committee on Post-offices and Post-roads, and shared its prosaic but eminently useful labors both in the com


mittee-room and the House debates. His name appears on only one other committee,-that on Expenditures of the War Department,—and he seems to have interested himself in certain amendments of the law relating to bounty lands for soldiers and such minor military topics. He looked carefully after the interests of Illinois in certain grants of land to that State for railroads, but expressed his desire that the government price of the reserved sections should not be increased to actual settlers.

During the first session of the Thirtieth Congress he delivered three set speeches in the House, all of them carefully prepared and fully written out. The first of these, on January 12, 1848, was an elaborate defense of the Whig doctrine summarized in a House resolution, passed a week or ten days before, that the Mexican War "had been unnecessarily and unconstitutionally commenced by the President," James K. Polk. The speech is not a mere party diatribe, but a terse historical and legal examination of the origin of the Mexican War. In the after-light of our own times which shines upon these transactions, we may readily admit that Mr. Lincoln and the Whigs had the best of the argument, but it must be quite as readily conceded that they were far behind the President and his defenders in political and party strategy. The former were clearly wasting their time in discussing an abstract question of international law upon conditions existing twenty months before. During those twenty months the American arms had won victory after victory, and planted the American flag on the "halls of the Montezumas." Could even successful argument undo those victories or call back to life the brave American soldiers who had shed their blood to win them?

It may be assumed as an axiom that Providence has

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