Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln. Volume 3.
Lincoln, Abraham, 1809-1865.

Speech at Monmouth, Illinois [1].

October 11, 1858

. . .. Mr. Lincoln was then introduced to the audience by Philo E. Reed, Esq., President of the day. Of his speech I will only say that it lasted three hours, and that during all that time the whole audience seemed perfectly wrapt in attention, and that in power, pathos and eloquence, I have never heard it equalled. The Toombs bill was shown up, Dug's miserable attempt to lead off Old Clay Whigs was held up to the scorn and contempt of the crowd. Said Mr. Lincoln: ``Judge Douglas is attempting to administer upon the political assets of Henry Clay. It is usual for the administrator to be a creditor or of kin to the deceased. Henry Clay did not owe anything politically to his old enemy, Douglas, and as to Douglas being of any kin to him, everybody knows they never had a single feeling in unison, and that Douglas was one of his most virulent abusers while living. And he is a pretty man to undertake to wrap the mantle of Clay around him, and strut about trying to palm himself off as his political administrator.''

. . .. Mr. Lincoln lifted himself up and was about to reply, when Philo Reed, a very modest, unassuming young man, told him to sit down and wait till the glee band had a chance to spread themselves---which they did to the delight of the Republicans. Mr. Lincoln then proceeded. About the first hour of his speech was taken up with little sharps on Douglas, calculated to tickle the fancy of the Republicans. He referred to the speech made by Douglas last week, in which he was charged with being the attorney of the Illinois Central Railroad, at the time the charter was granted, to make a good bargain for the company against the State---and as having induced the legislature to change the per centage from fifteen to seven per cent. He didn't deny the charge that he was then or is now the attorney of the railroad, or that he is to-day receiving a big fee from that company as their attorney. He referredPage  245 to the bargain between himself and Trumbull to Abolitionize the old line Whigs and Democrats, and said it was none of Douglas' business how he and Trumbull ``managed their own domestic concerns.'' He referred to the Mexican war, while he was in congress giving aid and comfort to the enemy, and against his own country, pronouncing it unholy, unconstitutional, God abhorred, and not begun on the right ``spot.'' This portion of his speech he made as clear as mud. He then harped on the resolutions read at Ottawa by Douglas as a forgery because they were not adopted on the right ``spot,'' but never once said a word about the revolutionary heresies they contained. He harped over the conspiracy entered into by Douglas and the Supreme Court, the submission clause in the Toombs bill, &c., &c., all of which have been nailed and clinched as lies by Douglas time and again. His whole speech was a personal attack on Douglas and Democrats. He dodged the issues before the people, and failed entirely to discuss the principles dividing the two parties. It was not marked by the ``abilities of a Statesman, or the dignity of a would be Senator,'' and was coldly received by the small crowd present.

Annotation

[1]   Chicago Press and Tribune, October 15, 1858; Monmouth Review, October 15, 1858.