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all the States-old as well as new, North as well as South."
While he recognized that there was a "tendency to the latter condition," in the removal of the last obstacle to the introduction of slavery in the new Territories by the repeal of the Missouri Comproinise, he evidently hoped for a different result, as shown by the encouraging words with which he closed this historical address:
"The result is not doubtful. We shall not fail-if we stand firm, we shall not fail. Wise counsels may accelerate or mistakes delay it, but sooner or later the victory is sure to come."
The effect of this speech was startling. While it provoked the bitter criticism of his opponents--who, without justification, denounced it as a plea for disunion—it was regarded by many of his friends as ill. advised. Yet its far-reaching sagacity and foresight, which now seem to have been prompted by a species of inspired prophecy, were demonstrated by the events of less than five years later, in which he was a principal factor.
The Springfield speech was followed, a few months later, by the series of joint debates with Senator Douglas, in which Lincoln was the challenging party, Douglas naming the conditions. Seven meetings were held, as follows: Ottawa, August 21; Freeport, Au. gust 27; Jonesboro, September 15; Charleston, September 18; Galesburg, October 7; Quincy, October 13; Alton, October 15-Douglas opening and closing at four and Lincoln at three. They not only aroused the interest of both parties throughout the State, but attracted the attention of the whole country. A fea. ture of this debate was the seven questions submitted to Douglas by Lincoln, four of which were propounded at Freeport and the other three at subsequent dates. These were a sort of offset to an equal number of questions propounded to Lincoln by Douglas at their first debate at Ottawa. The answers made by Douglas involved him in inconsistencies and apparent contra. dictions, which weakened him in the South and contributed to his defeat as a candidate for the Presidency in 1860.
At the election in November, 1858–although the Republicans elected their State ticket by nearly 4,000 plurality—the friends of Judge Douglas secured a majority in the Legislature, thus a second time defeat. ing Mr. Lincoln's aspirations, to the United States Senate.
This debate served as a sort:of school for Mr. Lin. coln, in which he studied, with the deepest intensity, those questions affecting human rights and the permanent welfare of the nation; and, while proving the capacity which he ever manifested to rise to every demand of the occasion, qualified him for the problems which he was called to face a few years later, The national reputation thus won for him was still further enhanced by his speeches in Ohio in September, 1859, still later in Kansas, and early in 1860 in the Eastthat delivered at Cooper Institute, New York, on Feb. ruary 27, 1860, being the inost memorable. The latter, by their sound sentiment, convincing logic, and lofty patriotism, evoked the admiration of Eastern Republicans and prepared the way for what was to come at Chicago in May following.
ELECTION TO THE PRESIDENCY-ADMINISTRA:
TION-DEATH. The National Republican Convention met at Chi. cago, May 16, 1860. The Republicans of Illinois had already been stirred to enthusiasm by the scenes witnessed in the State Convention at Decatur, a week earlier, and this was sustained in the National Conven. tion by the presence of such men, on the floor or in the audience, as David Davis, Norman B. Judd, Burton C. Cook, Stephen T. Logan, O. H. Browning, Leonard Swett, R. J. Oglesby, Joseph Gillespie, and large delegations of Mr. Lincoln's personal friends from all parts of Illinois, to say nothing of those from other States.
The work of nominating a candidate for President was taken up on the third day- May 18. On the first ballot, William H. Seward led Lincoln by 5372 votes, on the second by only 312; on the third, Lincoln received 23172 votes to 180 for Seward--all others receiving 53% votes. Before the result was announced, Lincoln's vote had increased to 354, and he was finally nominated unanimously amid the wildest enthusiasm. Lincoln received the announcement of his nomination in the editorial room of “The State Journal" at Springfield, and, after receiving the congratulations of his friends, withdrew to inform his wife of the result.
The succeeding campaign was one of great earnest. ness and enthusiasm on the part of his political friends in all the Northern States, and one of intense bitterness on the part of his enemies, especially in the
South. He was described in the partisan press as rude, ignorant, and uncultivated to the last degree, and pictured as a "baboon," and even painted as a sot and drunkard after his election, in spite of his abstemi. ous habits. The election in November gave him a plurality of the popular v..te and 180 electoral votes out of 303, although not a single vote was returned for him from ten Southern States.
From this point the history of his life is the history of his country. On the morning of February 11, 1861, he left his home at Springfield to assume the duties of his office at Washington. Standing on the rear platform of the train at the depot of the Great Western (now the Wabash) Railroad, he addressed his friends and neighbors, who had assembled to witness his departure:
“My Friends: No one not in my position can realize the sadness I feel at this parting. To this people I owe all that I am. Here I have lived more than a quarter of a century. Here my children were born, and here one of them lies buried. I know not how soon I shall see you again. I go to assume a task more difficult than that which has devolved upon any other man since the days of Washington. He never would have succeeded except for the aid of. Divine Providence, upon which he at all times relied. I feel that I cannot succeed without the same divine blessing which sustained him; and on the same Almighty Being I place my reliance for support. And I hope you, my friends, will all pray that I may receive that divine assistance, without which I cannot succeed, but with which success is certain. Again, I bid you an affectionate farewell."
No man ever spoke with profounder earnestness, or from a conscience stirred to deeper feeling by the bur. den of responsibility which had been placed upon his shoulders by the choice of the people. His route on the way to the National Capital lay through the States of Indiana, Ohio, New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania, and, at nearly every important station, immense throngs were gathered to greet him and bid him God. speed in the cause he had undertaken. The discovery of a plot to assassinate him in Baltimore led to a change of the program of his journey at Harrisburg, and he passed through Baltimore at night in company with Ward H. Lamon and Allan Pinkerton, the detective, arriving at Washington in safety on the morning of February 23.
At that time the National Capital was full of leaders of secession, and unrest and mutual suspicion prevailed everywhere. Already seven States had adopted ordinances of secession, and four more soon followed their example.
Mr. Lincoln's inaugural address was a touching appeal to stand by the Union, but, so far as the great bulk of the Southern people were concerned, it fell upon deaf ears. Then came four years of civil war with all its horrors. These were years of the deepest gloom and anxiety for Mr. Lincoln, but he never swerved from the duty he had assumed on the day of his inauguration, to "preserve, protect, and defend" the Union.
The fall of Fort Sumter, the disaster at Bull Run, the reverses at Fredericksburg and Chancellorsville, and the long wait of McClellan at Manassas and in the Valley of the James—though counterbalanced by the