« PreviousContinue »
tion, following the census of 1850, was for ten years Democratic. Under all the circumstances, therefore, the vote for Mr. Lincoln was a remarkable one, showing that he possessed a rare degree of strength with the people. His earnest sincerity of manner always strongly impressed those whom he addressed. They knew him to be a man of strong moral convictions. An opponent seemed to intend a sneer at this trait, when he called Mr. Lincoln "conscientious," but it was a quality to which the people were never indifferent.
There was a universal confidence in his honest integrity, such as has been rarely extended to men so prominent in political life. The longer he was tried as a public servant, the more his constituents became attached to him. A popularity thus thoroughly grounded is not to be destroyed by the breezes of momentary passion or prejudice, or materially affected by any idle fickleness of the populace.
MR. LINCOLN IN CONGRESS.-1847-49.
The Thirtieth Congress-Its Political Character-The Democracy in a Minority in the House.-Robert C. Winthrop Elected Speaker.Distinguished Members in both Houses.-Mr. Lincoln takes his Seat as a Member of the House, and Mr. Douglas, for the first time, as a Member of the Senate, at the same Session. Mr. Lincoln's Congressional Record, that of a Clay and Webster Whig.-The Mexican War.-Mr. Lincoln's Views on the Subject.-Misrepresentations.— Not an Available Issue for Mr. Lincoln's Opponents.-His Resolutions of Inquiry in Regard to the Origin of the War.-Mr. Richardson's Resolutions Indorsing the Administration.—Mr. Hudson's Resolutions for an Immediate Discontinuance of the War.-Voted Against by Mr. Lincoln.-Resolutions of Thanks to Gen. Taylor.Mr. Henley's Amendment, and Mr. Ashman's Addition thereto.Resolutions Adopted without Amendment.-Mr. Lincoln's First Speech in Congress, on the Mexican War.-Mr. Lincoln on Internal Improvements.-A Characteristic Campaign Speech. Mr. Lincoln on the Nomination of Gen. Taylor; the Veto Power; National Issues President and People; the Wilmot Proviso; Platforms; Democratio Sympathy for Clay; Military Heroes and Exploits; Cass a Progressive; Extra Pay; the Whigs and the Mexican War; Democratio Divisions. Close of the Session.—Mr. Lincoln on the Stump.-Gen. Taylor's Election.-Second Session of the Thirtieth Congress.Slavery in the District of Columbia.-The Public Lands.-Mr. Lincoln as a Congressman.-He Retires to Private Life.
MR. LINCOLN took his seat in the National House of Representatives on the 6th day of December, 1847, the date of the opening of the Thirtieth Congress. In many respects this Congress was a memorable one. That which preceded, elected at the same time Mr. Polk was chosen to the Presidency, had been strongly Democratic in both branches. The policy of the Administration, however, had been such, during the first two years of its existence, that a great popular re-action had followed
The present House contained but one hundred and ten Democrats, while the remaining one hundred and eighteen, with the exception of a single Native American from Philadelphia, were nearly all Whigs, the balance being "Free-Soil men," who mostly co-operated with them. Of these, only Messrs. Giddings, Tuck and Palfrey refused to vote for the Hon. Robert C. Winthrop for Speaker, who was elected on the third ballot.
Among the members of the House, on the Whig side, were John Quincy Adams (who died during the first session, and was succeeded by Horace Mann), and George Ashman, of Massachusetts; Washington Hunt, of New York; Jacob Collamer and George P. Marsh, of Vermont; Truman Smith, of Connecti cut; Joseph R. Ingersoll and James Pollock, of Pennsylvania; John M. Botts and William L. Goggin, of Virginia; Alexander H. Stephens, Robert Toombs and Thomas Butler King, of Georgia; Henry W. Hilliard, of Alabama; Samuel F. Vinton and Robert C. Schenck, of Ohio; John B. Thompson and Charles S. Morehead, of Kentucky; Caleb B. Smith and Richard W. Thompson, of Indiana, and Meredith P. Gentry, of Tennessee. On the Democratic side, there were David Wilmot, of Pennsylvania; Robert M. McLane, of Maryland; James McDowell and Richard K. Meade, of Virginia; R. Barnwell Rhett, of South Carolina; Howell Cobb, of Georgia; Albert G. Brown and Jacob Thompson, of Mississippi; Linn Boyd, of Kentucky; Andrew Johnson, George W. Jones and Frederick P. Stanton, of Tennessee; James S. Greene and John S. Phelps, of Missouri; and Kinsley S. Bingham, of Michigan. Illinois had seven representatives, of whom Mr Lincoln was the only Whig. His Democratic colleagues were John A. MeClernand, Orlando B. Ficklin, William A. Richardson, Robert Smith, Thomas J. Turner and John Wentworth.
At this session, Stephen A. Douglas took his seat in the Senate, for the first time, having been elected the previous. winter. In that body there were but twenty-two Opposition Senators, against thirty-six Democrats. Among the former were Daniel Webster, Wm. L. Dayton, S. S. Phelps, John M. Clayton, Reverdy Johnson, Thomas Corwin, John M. Berrien, and John Bell. On the Democratic side were John C. Cal