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ance of the Dred Scott-decision, "and that," said they, "will make him Senator." "That may be," said Mr. Lincoln, with a twinkle in his eye, "but if he takes that shoot he never can be President."
Mr. Lincoln's sagacity did not fail him here. This position which Douglas took of "unfriendly legislation," was a stumbling-block which he was never able to get over; and if the contest between them had brought out no other good result, the compelling Douglas to take this ground was an immense success.
The fourth speech, at Charleston, was devoted by Mr. Lincoln to enlarging upon the evidence of a charge previously made by Judge Trumbull upon Douglas of being himself responsible for a clause in the Kansas bill which would have deprived the people of Kansas of the right to vote upon their own Constitutiona charge which Douglas could never try to answer without losing his temper.
In the fifth debate, Mr. Lincoln answered the charge that the Republican party was sectional; and after again exploding the fraudulent resolutions and giving strong proof that Douglas himself was a party to the fraud, and again showing that Douglas had failed to answer his question about the acceptance of the new Dred Scott decision, which, he said, was "just as sure to be made as to-morrow is to come, if the Democratic party shall be sustained" in the elections, he discussed the acquisition of further territory and the importance of deciding upon any such acquisition, by the effect which it would have upon the Slavery question among ourselves.
In the next debate, at Quincy, besides making some
personal points as to the mode in which Douglas had conducted the previous discussions, he stated clearly and briefly what were the principles of the Republican party, what they proposed to do, and what they did not propose to do. He said that they looked upon Slavery as "a moral, a social, and a political wrong," and they proposed a course of conduct which should treat it as a wrong;" did not propose to "disturb it in the States," but did propose to "restrict it to its present limits;" did not propose to decide that Dred Scott was free, but did not believe that the decision in that case was a political rule binding the voters, the Congress, or the President, and proposed "so resisting it as to have it reversed if possible, and a new judicial rule established on the subject."
Mr. Lincoln's last speech, at Alton, was a very full and conclusive argument of the whole Slavery Question. He showed that the present Democratic doctrines were not those held at the time of the Revolution in reference to Slavery; showed how the agitation of the country had come from the attempt to set Slavery upon a different footing, and showed the dangers to the country of this attempt. He brought the whole controversy down to the vital question whether Slavery is wrong or not, and demonstrated that the present Democratic sentiment was that it was not wrong, and that Douglas and those who sympathized with him did not desire or expect ever to see the country freed from this gigantic evil.
It must not be supposed that these seven debates were all of Mr. Lincoln's appearances before the people during the campaign. He made some fifty other
speeches all over the State, and everywhere his strong arguments, his forcible language, and his homely way of presenting the great issues, so as to bring them home to the hearts of the people, had a powerful effect. The whole State fairly boiled with the excitement of the contest. Nor this alone, for all over the country the eyes of the people were turned to Illinois as the great battle-ground, and the earnest wishes of almost all who loved freedom followed Mr. Lincoln throughout all the heated struggle. He had, however, other opposition besides that of his political opponents. The action of Judge Douglas on the Lecompton Constitution, and the bitter hostility of the southern wing of the Democratic party towards him, had led very many Republicans, and some of high consideration and influence in other States, to favor his return to the Senate. They deemed this due to the zeal and efficiency with which he had resisted the attempt to force slavery into Kansas against the will of the people, and as important in encouraging other Democratic leaders to imitate the example of Douglas in throwing off the yoke of the slaveholding aristocracy. This feeling proved to be of a good deal of weight against Mr. Lincoln in the canvas.
Then, again, the State had been so unfairly districted, that the odds were very heavily against the Republicans, and thus it came about that although on the popular vote Douglas was beaten by more than five thousand votes, he was enabled to carry off the substantial prize of victory by his majority in the Legisla ture. We say the "substantial prize of victory," and so it was thought to be at the time. But later events showed that the battle which was then fought was after all but the precursor of the Presidential contest, and
that it insured to Mr. Lincoln the victory in that more important struggle.
Between the close of this Senatorial contest and the opening of the Presidential campaign, Mr. Lincoln made several visits to other States. In the following year he took an active part in the political campaign in Ohio, still following up his old opponent, who had but recently contributed to Harper's Magazine his famous article on Slavery and the Constitution. He also visited Kansas, and was received with unbounded enthusiasm by the people of that State, whose battle he had fought so well; and in February, 1860, he visited New York, and there made a speech on National Politics before the Young Men's Republican Club at Cooper Institute, the effect of which was to make him better known and still more highly esteemed in New York, where his contest with Douglas had already made him many friends. Indeed, we think we hardly state it too strongly when we say, that their joint effect was to make Mr. Lincoln decidedly the second choice of the great body of the Republicans of New York, as the candidate of the Republican party for the campaign of 1860.
It was, doubtless, during this visit of Mr. Lincoln to New York that the following incident occurred, which is thus narrated by a teacher at the Five Points House of Industry: "Our Sunday School in the Five Points was assembled, one Sabbath morning, when I noticed a tall, remarkable looking man enter the room and take a seat among us. He listened with fixed attention to our exercises, and his countenance expressed such genuine interest that I approached him and suggested
that he might be willing to say something to the children. He accepted the invitation with evident pleasure; and coming forward began a simple address, which at once fascinated every little hearer and hushed the room into silence. His language was strikingly beautiful, and his tones musical with intensest feeling. The little faces around him would droop into sad conviction as he uttered sentences of warning, and would brighten into sunshine as he spoke cheerful words of promise. Once or twice he attempted to close his remarks, but the imperative shout of 'Go on!' 'Oh, do go on!' would compel him to resume. As I looked upon the gaunt and sinewy frame of the stranger, and marked his powerful head and determined features, now touched into softness by the impressions of the moment, I felt an irrepressible curiosity to learn something more about him, and when he was quietly leaving the room I begged to know his name. He courteously. replied, 'It is Abraham Lincoln, from Illinois.'”
The Republican National Convention of 1860, met on the 16th of May, at Chicago, in an immense building which the people of Chicago had put up for the purpose, called the Wigwam. There were 465 Delegates. The city was filled with earnest men, who had come there to press the claims of their favorite candidates, and the halls and corridors of all the hotels swarmed, and buzzed with an eager crowd, in and out of which darted or pushed or wormed their way the various leaders of party politics. Mr. Chase, Mr. Bates, and Mr. Cameron were spoken of and pressed somewhat as candidates, but from the first it was evident that the contest lay between Mr. Seward and Mr. Lincoln.