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had been so deeply engaged, he had worked so hard, and the result, especially towards the last, had been so uncertain, that defeat was trying. That he felt it keenly is shown by his remark to Whitney the day after the election: "I can't help it, and I expect everybody to leave us; " and in his letter to Governor Crittenden, in which he said: "The emotions of defeat in which I felt more than a merely selfish interest and to which defeat the use of your name contributed largely, are fresh upon me." Yet he was glad that he made the race, for it gave him a hearing "on the great and durable question of the age which I would have had in no other way; and although I now sink out of view and shall be forgotten, I believe I have made some marks which will tell for the cause of civil liberty long after I am gone." But, instead of sinking out of sight, he rose from the dust of defeat a National figure no longer merely a leader of his party in his State, but the leader of a great people.


Douglas would beat Lincoln for the Senatorship but would be beaten by Lincoln for the Presidency in 1860.- Life of Lincoln, by Norman Hapgood, pp. 141-142 (1901).


Lincoln's Herndon

Added to the chagrin of defeat, Lincoln had to endure a lightness of purse that was actually painful. "The fight must go on," he wrote to Henry Asbury a few days after the election; "the cause of civil liberty must not be surrendered at the end of one or even one hundred defeats;" but while the good wishes showered upon him from all parts of the North put him in good heart, they did not relieve his finances. His law practice had been neglected; the canvass had cost him time and money; and he had to cast about him for funds. To cap it all, he was asked by Norman Judd, chairman of the State Committee, to help make up a deficit in the campaign purse! He replied:

I am willing to pay according to my ability, but I am the poorest hand living to get others to pay. I have been on expense so long, without earning anything, that I am absolutely without money now for even household expenses. Still, if you can put in $250 for me towards discharging the debt of the committee, I will allow it when you and I settle the private matter between us. This, with what I have already paid, . . . will exceed my subscription of $500. This, too, is exclusive of my ordinary expenses during the campaign, all of which, being added to my loss of time and business, bears pretty heavily upon one no better off than I am. But as I had the post of honor, it is not for me to be overnice. You are feeling badly; "and this, too, shall pass away;" never fear.

Many invitations came to him to make speeches; and in order to respond he prepared a lecture on Discoveries, Inventions, and Improvements, hoping thereby to recoup his losses. He began with Adam and Eve, and the invention of the "fig-leaf apron," of which he gave a humorous description, passing

thence to the invention of letters, writing, printing, of the application of steam and electricity; all of which he classed under the head of "inventions and discoveries." He gave a shrewd and satirical portrait of Douglas's "Young America," possessed by the Platonic "longing after" territory and a "perfect rage for the 'new'; particularly the new earth mentioned in Revelation, in which, being no more sea, there must be about three times as much land as in the present. He is a great friend of humanity; and his desire for land is not selfish," quoth Lincoln, "but merely an impulse to extend the area of freedom" with much more of the same political fooling, along with the "invention of negroes, or the present mode of using them." For the rest, aside from its ripples of humor, it was rather commonplace, and after delivering it once or twice he gave it up. When he went to Clinton to lecture no one turned out, and the local paper remarked: "That does not look much like being President." In fact, he soon realized that he was not a success outside the political field, and that he needed a moral issue to bring out his powers. Somewhat dejectedly he returned to the law, from which he had tried more than once to escape.

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No one could gainsay that Douglas had achieved a great personal victory, against heavy odds.1 In the East, Republican papers applauded him heartily, not so much because they lacked sympathy with Lincoln, as because they regarded his triumph as a signal rebuke to Buchanan, and because they hoped that he would do yet further damage to the Democratic party. This expectation was a source of cheer in anti-slavery circles, where the defeat of Lincoln was a real grief. So Theodore Parker, in his last letter to Mr. Herndon, interprets the scene, foretelling what he saw in the future:

1 Many tributes have been paid to Douglas by men of opposite political faith; notably, by I. N. Arnold, Life of Lincoln, pp. 149-50 (1884); by J. G. Blaine, Twenty Years of Congress, Vol. I, p. 149 (1884); by Horace Greeley, Recollections of a Busy Life, pp. 357-59 (1869); by Gustave Koerner, and others.

Boston, Mass., Nov. 13, 1858. My Dear Sir: - I am your debtor for three letters, very instructive ones too. I should not have allowed the account to run on so, had I not been sick. A surgical operation laid me on my bed for nearly three weeks, and, of course, I wrote only with another's hand, and but little even in that wise.

So you "are beaten;" the reasons you give are philosophical and profound, it seems to me. I think you have hit the nail on the head. But I don't agree with you as to Seward: what private reasons you have for your opinion, I cannot say, but his two speeches at Rochester and at Rome don't look like lowering the platform. He never spoke so bold and brave before. He quite outruns his party, and no Republican paper in New England, I fear, has dared to republish them. The anti-slavery papers printed one, and perhaps will copy the other.

You are beaten, but I am not so sure the Administration do not think it a worse defeat that you do. I think they hated and feared Douglas more than Lincoln. Had Lincoln succeeded, Douglas would be a ruined man. He would have no political position, and so little political power; he would have no original influence in American politics, for he does not deal with principles which a man may spread abroad from the pulpit or by the press, but only with measures that require political place to carry out. He could do the Administration no harm. But now in place for six years more, with his personal power unimpaired, and his positional power much enhanced, he can do the Democratic party a world of damage.

Here is what I conjecture will take place. There will be a reconstruction of the Democratic platform on Douglas's "principles" (else they lose the nation). This involves the (actual but not expressed) repudiation of Buchanan, and the sacrifice of his cabinet officers, etc. He will sink as low as Pierce. In 1860 the convention will nominate a man of the Douglas ideas. Will it be Douglas himself? I doubt it, for he has so many foes in the North and the South, that I think they will not risk him. But if he has heart enough to carry the convention, then I think the fight will be between him and Seward and that he will be beaten! I look for an antislavery administration in 1861 - I hope with Seward at its head. But it requires a deal of skill to organize a party, to find a harness which all the North can work in; but we shall triumph, vide Hammond's speech. Yours truly,


So, no doubt, it would have turned out in the ordinary run of affairs; but in times of crises the best laid plans of prophets "gang aft agley." Rapid and radical changes took place before 1860, and Parker himself, before he died, turned from Seward to Lincoln as the true leader; due in part, perhaps, to the influence of Herndon, but in larger part to the fact that Seward had outrun his party, while Lincoln by his conservative radicalism had made himself the spokesman of all phases of the anti-slavery sentiment - the one man upon whom the North could unite. Nor did Mr. Herndon fail to rebuke Greeley for his lukewarmness toward Lincoln and the Illinois contest, inquiring if the philosopher intended to follow the logic of his situation and support Douglas for the Presidency in 1860. Judging from the rather curt reply, it must have been a stinging letter:

New York, N. Y., Nov. 14, 1858.

Friend Herndon : I do not think I could write editorials that would seem to you lucid or satisfactory. Perhaps you will not be able to understand me when I advise you privately that: (1) Mr. Douglas would be the strongest candidate that the Democratic party could present for President; but (2) they will not present him. The old leaders won't endure it. (3) As he is doomed to be slaughtered at Charleston it is good policy to fatten him meantime. He will cut the better at killing time.

The Republicans of Illinois might have had Douglas with them in their late struggles, as those of Pennsylvania had Hickman, Indiana had Davis, New Jersey had Adrian, and New York had H. F. Clark and Haskins. Some of these may treat us badly; but a majority of them will prove sound coin. But the Republicans of Illinois chose to have the anti-Lecompton Democrats against rather than with them. In consequence, the State will cast a majority of its votes next December ('59) for a Democrat Speaker, while Pennsylvania will throw 21 to 4; New Jersey 5 to 0; and New York 28 to 4 on the right side. Your course may prove wiser in the long run; but ours vindicates itself at the outset. A gain of 25 members of Congress in three contiguous States is our answer to all gainsayers. Yours,

HORACE GREELEY. But to Herndon such gains, made at the expense of lowering

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