Page images

people; he was greeted with a salute, which was re-echoed by a cannon carried down on the train by a large delegation from Joliet.

In the evening he made a speech of over two hours and a half. Of that speech an edition of eighty thousand was printed in pamphlet form and distributed all over Illinois, and copies were sent to all parts of the Union. It was also published in all the Democratic papers of the state, and thus distributed everywhere.

Particular reference is made to this speech because in it is contained an assertion of doctrine exactly similar in all practical operation and effect with that subsequently expressed at Freeport. At that time, however, July 16th, the allies thought there was no chance of Douglas' success, and it was not thought necessary to discover treason to Democratic faith in sentiments corresponding exactly with those uniformly expressed by him during the previous eight years of active discussion of the slavery question. The next day he proceeded on his way to Springfield. Present at his speech in Bloomington and on board the same train to Springfield was Mr. Lincoln. As the train proceeded it grew in length. At every station there was a mass of Democrats waiting to greet the champion of Democratic principles. Additional cars had to be added, and when the train reached Springfield it had twenty-five cars, each filled to overflowing with enthusiastic Democrats. Lincoln was perhaps the only Lincoln man on the train. During the day, which had been sultry, there fell heavy showers, yet the Democracy were not deterred in their determination to honor the man against whom there had been arraigned the force of such an extraordinary combination. Large trains filled to overflowing had come up from the lower part of the state. The vast multitude repaired to Edward's grove, and notwithstanding the ground was wet, and the trees dripping with the rain that had fallen, for three hours they remained listening to the voice of Stephen A. Douglas, who, in the name of Democratic truth, the Constitution and the vested rights of the people of the states and territories, bid Black Republicanism and its allies bold defiance. The writer of these pages witnessed that day of rejoicing, excitement and enthusiasm. It is imposible to describe it. It was the voluntary outpouring of popular enthusiasm towards a

man who had no patronage at his disposal, who was denounced as a political outcast, yet who with words of truth and burning eloquence proclaimed the everlasting principles of Democracy. His speech on this occasion was published in full, and an edition of fifty thousand copies in pamphlet form was distributed in Illinois and other states.

At night Lincoln spoke in reply at the State House.

During the next few days Judge Douglas, acting with the State Democratic Committee, fixed upon a list of appointments for Democratic meetings, which list was published at once in all the Democratic papers of the State. This first list extended only to the 21st of August, but was afterwards extended to the last of October. The complete list was as follows:

Clinton, on July 27th, then in succession at Monticello, Paris, Hillsboro, Greenville, Edwardsville, Highland, Winchester, Pittsfield, Beardstown, Havana, Lewiston, Peoria, Lacon, Ottawa, Galena, Freeport, Junction, Joliet, Pontiac, Lincoln, Jacksonville, Carlinville, Belleville, Waterloo, Chester, Jonesboro, Benton, Charleston, Danville, Urbana, Kankakee, Henepin, Henry, Metamora, Pekin, Oquaka, Monmouth, Galesburg, Macomb, Carthage, Quincy, Alton, Gillespie, Decatur, Springfield, Atlanta, Bloomington, Toulon, Genessee, Rock Island— the last being on Friday, October 30-the election taking place on Tuesday, the 3d of November. These were his regular appointments, but in addition to these he spoke perhaps at twenty other places, being points on his route, at which the people would turn out, and insist upon his speaking to them. His speeches at his regular appointments averaged about two hours and a half each; except those at the joint discussions, where the time was limited to one hour and a half. A glance at the map of the State will give an idea of the distance traveled, and the activity necessary to get from point to point upon the list of designated places. It was a task requiring a wonderful display of fortitude and of physical endurance. At almost each of these places Senator Douglas was met at a distance from the town by committees, who in the name of the Democracy welcomed him to the place. To all these speeches Judge Douglas made a response extending from ten to thirty minutes. He was then escorted to the place of meeting where he delivered his regular speech.

On the 24th of July Mr. Douglas returned to Chicago, pre

paratory to setting out to meet his appointments, the first of which was fixed at Clinton on the 27th. Mr. Lincoln addressed him a note proposing that they should canvass the State together. Lincoln or his friends had seen enough of the enthusiasm of the people along the line of Mr. Douglas' late journey to satisfy every one that wherever Douglas was announced to speak there would be no lack of auditors-men of all parties. To allow Douglas to address these immense gatherings of Democrats and Republicans, without any reply being made to his remarks, was something that required attention if it could not be prevented. Mr. Douglas responded, stating his regret that Mr. Lincoln had not thought it proper to make the proposal at an earlier day, and before he (Mr. D.), had with the Democratic State Committee arranged a series of exclusive Democratic meetings, at which not only he, but the Democratic nominees for Congress and the Legislature were expected to speak. Mr. Lincoln had gone down to Springfield with him, and from the 9th to the 24th had never said one word upon the subject. He, however, agreed to meet Mr. Lincoln once in each congressional district; and that, as they had already both spoken at Chicago in the Second District and Springfield in the Sixth District, they would have one meeting in each of the other seven districts. He then left Chicago and proceeded to Clinton; Mr. Lincoln was present on that occasion; he next went to Monticello, where Lincoln was again present. Lincoln subsequently accepted Douglas' offer in a letter which, for its strange combination of phrases, has become historical in Illinois as "Lincoln's conclusion." Judge Douglas then named the following places for the joint discussions:

[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][merged small]

On the 7th of August Senator Trumbull spoke at Chicago, and indulged in language of the lowest and most disreputable personal abuse of Mr. Douglas. His special subject was the alleged mutilation of the "Toombs Bill." That speech was so boldly vituperative, and contained allegations so utterly reck

less, that it failed in producing any impression save disgust for the author. His allegations were promptly exposed and triumphantly refuted.

Douglas' tour over the State was a succession of triumphs such as had rarely ever been witnessed in Illinois. Presidential aspirants in the Democratic party, who desired his defeat, hovered about Illinois, and were alarmed at the prospect. The arm of Federal power fell upon officials who dared say they would vote for Douglas. Brainard was appointed to the marine hospital in place of Dr. M'VICKAR, an accomplished physician and a Democrat of unimpeachable integrity.

An amusing incident occurred at this time, and it is questionable whether in the history of partizanship a parallel can be found for it. A venerable gentleman was holding a small, very small Federal office in Chicago. He was the father of twenty-one children; his age, his democracy and his patriarchal character could not save him from destruction. One of the respectable statesmen who, living far off from Illinois had taken such an interest in Illinois politics, and had become so anxious for Lincoln's success, reached Chicago, and in a few days it was ascertained that the fate of the venerable officeholder was sealed. On the morning when the papers for his removal and for the appointment of his successor were about to be sent off to Washington, the old man rushed into the hotel, entered unbidden the council chamber of the Danites, and addressing the exalted dispenser of Federal patronage, exclaimed, "He has come! My wife have my twenty-second child this morning, and I have called him

he look very much like you!"


The prefixes to the family name of the boy were the names of Mr. Buchanan's embassador to Illinois. Human nature could not resist that appeal! He had already one boy named James Buchanan, and another Howell Cobb. Even Danite revenge yielded, and the old man was continued in office. The old man afterwards said that if Bright and Fitch would only give him ordinary time and notice he would be prepared for them when they should come to Illinois for the purpose of removing him. Since that time, however, his head has fallen, and the old gentleman is no longer an officer of the govern



On August the 7th, 1858, Mr. Douglas reached Winchester. The people had taken the trouble to send all the way to Alton for a piece of artillery to add its reverberating tones to the welcome they had prepared for him. The attendance was very large. Winchester claimed Douglas as her own. The people of that little town regarded him as one whose history was to be forever identified with that of Winchester. He was greeted with the most unbounded expressions of delight. The Rev. Perry Bennett, of the Baptist church, in a chaste and eloquent speech welcomed him to his old home-his first home in Illinois. Mr. Douglas thus responded to the address:

"Ladies and gentlemen-fellow-citizens-To say that I am profoundly impressed with the keenest gratitude for the kind and cordial welcome you have given me in the eloquent and too partial remarks which have been addressed to me is but a feeble expression of the emotions of my heart. There is no spot on this vast globe which fills me with such emotions as when I come to this place, and recognize the faces of my old and good friends who now surround me and bid me welcome. Twenty-five years ago I entered this town on foot, with my coat upon my arm, without an acquaintance in a thousand miles, and without knowing where I could get money to pay a week's board. Here I made the first six dollars I ever earned in my life, and obtained the first regular occupation that I ever pursued. For the first time in my life I felt that the responsibilities of manhood were upon me, although I was under age, for I had none to advise with, and knew no one upon whom I had a right to call for assistance or friendship.

"Here I found the then settlers of the country my friends-my first start in life was taken here, not only as a private citizen, but my first election to public office by the people was conferred upon me by those whom I am now addressing and by their fathers. A quarter of a century has passed, and that penniless boy stands before you with his heart full and gushing with the sentiments which such associations and recollections necessarily inspire."

Mr. Douglas subsequently received a personal welcome from each of the vast multitude assembled at Winchester. Old times and old events were discussed familiarly; and men who had known him twenty-five years before crowded around him with an affectionate interest. He was a "Winchester boy," and Winchester people regarded him with fraternal love and admiration. Scott County, united with Morgan, sent up two members of the Legislature pledged to vote for the re-election of Stephen A. Douglas.

« PreviousContinue »