The political events of 1854 are justifiably legendary in Illinois. The year began with Illinois Senator Stephen A. Douglas sponsoring legislation that, once passed, repealed the antislavery provisions of the Missouri Compromise; it concluded with the emergence of his great rival, Abraham Lincoln, who battled Douglas that fall throughout central Illinois in service of the antislavery cause. Thus began Lincoln's memorable antislavery career, and with it the reorientation of Illinois and national politics that resulted in Lincoln's election to the presidency in 1860.

Despite their significance, Lincoln and Douglas's forensic battles in 1854 are not easy to reconstruct. Because stenographers were not on hand to produce copy for contemporary newspapers, as they were for the 1858 debates, much of the record is irretrievably lost. Fortunately, Lincoln published his magnificent Peoria address in the Illinois Journal to promote his ideas, thus preserving his eloquence for posterity. But the Peoria address was not the only major address he made. He spoke all across the state's midsection and once in Chicago: at the conclusion of the Scott County Whig Convention on August 26; at Carrollton on August 28 in reply to Democratic congressional candidate Thomas L. Harris; at Jacksonville on September 2; at Springfield on September 9 in reply to Democrat John Calhoun; at Bloomington on September 12 to a German anti-Nebraska meeting; at Bloomington again on September 26 in reply to Douglas; in Springfield on October 4 in reply to Douglas; in Peoria on October 16 in reply to Douglas; in Urbana on October 24; in Chicago on October 27; and in Quincy on November 1. [1] The relatively short newspaper accounts of the early addresses, when conjoined with the Peoria address, demonstrate that Lincoln was developing and rehearsing arguments to justify repeal of the Kansas-Nebraska Act. But the relation of his speeches to each other and the manner in which they were received by audiences are more difficult to discern.

Douglas's speeches have fared even worse. Although he spoke throughout the state, Douglas did not publish any of his addresses during the campaign. He did, however, deliver a lengthy post-election speech on November 9, 1854, in front of "some two hundred of his personal and political friends" at a dinner in his honor in Chicago. This address was initially published by the Chicago Times on November 14, and subsequently by the Illinois State Register on November 21 and 22 and the Weekly National Intelligencer on December 2. [2] John Corry has made it widely accessible by transcribing most of it in his recent study of the 1854 debates. [3] Douglas described the speech as an "an outline of the argument I have presented every where in this State," and in it he argued that the Kansas-Nebraska Act was entirely consistent with the compromise measures of 1850, which the Whig and Democratic parties had endorsed in 1852, and which he maintained had established a rule of action for all future territorial expansion. Moreover, he denied that giving territorial settlers the right to legalize slavery would necessarily result in slavery's extension. Although the speech sheds invaluable light on what Douglas likely said on the campaign trail, it cannot be described as a precise equivalent to Lincoln's Peoria address, which was a campaign document. In contrast, Douglas's speech was likely influenced by the brutal losses northern Democrats suffered at the polls, and possibly he published the speech as a defense of his position. Hence the document underscores the challenges of trying to recover what Douglas said to the crowds while campaigning that fall. [4]

Fortuitously, recently resurfaced documents shed some new light on these questions. The spectacle of Douglas's October 3 appearance at the Illinois State Fair in Springfield lured two reporters from rival St. Louis newspapers. The proslavery Whig Missouri Republican sent an anonymous writer, while the free-soil Democratic Missouri Democrat dispatched a writer who subscribed himself "T.G.F." Both reporters wrote accounts of various speeches and events at the fair. However, while the Republican's correspondent recorded Douglas's October 3 speech, Lincoln's response on October 4, and Douglas's rebuttal that same day, the Missouri Democrat's reporter arrived midway through Douglas's opening speech and only managed to produce a short synopsis of Lincoln's speech the next day. Together, these sources complement accounts by Springfield newspapers that historians have long used, and additional accounts in the Chicago Journal that Michael Burlingame has recently utilized.[5] In Springfield, the Illinois State Register devoted about two columns to the three speeches over two days, while the Illinois Journal published a substantial but abridged account of Lincoln's speech on October 5. Meanwhile, the Chicago Journal published Horace White's correspondence from Springfield.

Unlike the other newspapers, the Missouri Republican reported the speeches of both men. Indeed, in what was probably the first use of the Republican's text, P. Orman Ray cited Douglas's speech in The Repeal of the Missouri Compromise, published in 1909. But Ray's account did not indicate that the Republican had published Lincoln's speech, and Lincoln scholars evidently never examined the newspaper to check for themselves. [6] They can hardly be blamed for the oversight. After all, antebellum newspapers rarely reproduced the speeches of politicians from rival parties. Their typical practice was to ridicule the speeches of political opponents, as the Illinois State Register did in its stinging rejoinder to Lincoln's October 4 speech.[7] In contrast to this widespread practice, the Missouri Republican's correspondent recorded the debate between Lincoln and Douglas quite extensively, although unfortunately he gave short shrift to Douglas's rebuttal.

The Republican's record of the actual debate is thus unique, and in conjunction the two Missouri newspapers provide new information about Lincoln and Douglas's 1854 debates. Most fundamentally, they suggest that Lincoln and Douglas did not vary their speeches appreciably over the course of the fall campaign. Rather, the speakers recapitulated their arguments in front of different audiences as they traversed Illinois, notwithstanding some nipping and tucking in the presentations along the way. But the accounts also suggest that the audiences were transfixed. Most of the men and women in the crowds listening to Lincoln and Douglas that fall did not know exactly what they would hear because speeches were rarely published by newspapers in full. However, the audiences found themselves almost mesmerized, standing hour after hour gripped by oratory, encountering speakers of great power addressing issues of profound moral and political significance. In response, they applauded and cheered their champions.

The starting point for interpreting the Missouri Republican's account is deciphering its political coloring. On the surface the account seems surprisingly neutral. The correspondent deemed himself "a fair and truthful journalistic reporter," took "copious" notes from which he sought to create "a faithful synopsis," and lauded both speakers, even though he concluded that Douglas exerted more influence over the crowd. Such a seemingly evenhanded approach was exceedingly rare at a time when newspaper editors wrote for highly partisan subscribers, colored their political analysis accordingly, and made no claim to journalistic objectivity. Presumably it was in keeping with his declared neutrality that the correspondent recorded the entire debate rather than focusing primarily on one speaker. [8]

Yet the account may have been crafted with great care to subtly promote Douglas. This was the contention of Benjamin Gratz Brown, the free-soil editor of the Missouri Democrat and soon-to-be prominent Republican Party politician from Missouri, who sneered at the putative neutrality of the Republican's correspondent in an editorial. Brown argued that the Republican had strongly supported Douglas at the beginning of the fall campaign, promoted slavery's expansion into Kansas, and stopped denouncing Illinois' anti-Nebraska Whig candidates only when faced with "a storm of indignation." Under the circumstances, charged Brown, the Republican's correspondent cannily promulgated Douglas's superiority while the newspaper's editor professed not to "endorse everything contained therein." Brown skewered the Republican, asking who had ever "heard of a political journal sending out its reporters to run down its own professed political friends, and exalt its political antagonists ...?"[9] Brown's charge deserves serious consideration, especially given the statement of William Herndon, who referred disparagingly in an October 10 editorial in the Illinois Journal to the "paid Douglas writers for the St. Louis Republican."[10] Nevertheless, it is hard to credit Brown's arguments fully, partly because he exaggerated the correspondent's bias and partly because a comparison of the Republican's account to the speeches Lincoln and Douglas later put into print shows that the Republican's transcription was impressively accurate.

To be sure, the Missouri Republican did occupy an awkward position in the political maelstrom that followed the Kansas-Nebraska Act. As a proslavery southern Whig paper on the border of a free state, the editor avidly supported the Nebraska bill from its inception and never wavered. After all, he feared Missouri's near encirclement by free states should Kansas be settled by Northerners; he supported the slaveholders' desire to cross the border to fresh land; and he maintained that the Union should protect their right to do so. Therefore, although nominally no friend of Democrats, he welcomed Douglas's doctrine that Kansans should be permitted to legalize slavery if they chose. To his mind, popular sovereignty promised to end national discord over slavery's expansion by offering justice to the slaveholder and non-slaveholder alike.[11] Unsurprisingly, he loathed abolitionism, which he denominated fanaticism. Ignoring "duty or law, or consideration of peace," he fulminated, the abolitionist "becomes a useless, raving, agitator; an Ishmaelite, warring with everyone but his own tribe, and sometimes with them." [12] Despising fusionists equally, he excoriated them for luring northern Whigs into the antislavery Republican Party, which he feared would precipitate disunion. [13] His recriminations notwithstanding, many northern Whig papers openly embraced or at least tended towards fusion after passage of the Kansas-Nebraska Act, which put the Republican into something of a pickle. Although still Whig, and expressing hope that the Whig party would somehow ride out the tempest and reunite as a national party, the Republican was slowly shedding its skin and emerging as that most curious creature, a border state Douglas Whig paper.[14] In this regard the editor shared the dilemma of conservative Illinois Whigs who feared antislavery politics and offered Douglas a pool of potential recruits.[15]

How the views of the editor played out in the report of his scribe is difficult to establish with precision. Some passages in the correspondent's report testify to strong affinities in their ideas. For instance, the correspondent admired Douglas. When reporting speeches by anti-Nebraska Democrats who were attacking Douglas on October 5, he judged that "the 'Little Giant' has the brains and the argument, and will eventually lay them all to the wall," and admitted that whether Douglas "be right or wrong, we admire his wonderful talents, and his indomitable energy and spunk."[16] The correspondent also seemed to express distaste for blacks, observing that there were "more 'niggers' dodging about all day than you could 'shake a stick at,'" and indeed "more negroes about this city than in any other Western city of its size of my acquaintance." [17] More tellingly, he expressed hostility to the Illinois anti-Nebraska fusion convention that met in Springfield on October 4 and 5. He described the first day of the convention as a "flash in the pan" and claimed that the Whigs had "regular candidates" and would "stick to them."[18] About "fifty" fusionists gathered for the second day of the convention, he mockingly reported, "and about as many more spectators," who watched as abolitionists Owen Lovejoy and Ichabod Codding "bossed the job." All in all, he described the convention as a "farce" that adopted "precious disunion resolutions" and "excited no attention here."[19] This dismissive language exactly comported with the desire of the Missouri Republican to blunt the radicalization of northern Whigs.

Yet, even if the correspondent did wish to denigrate the fusionists, he had no clear motivation to defame Lincoln. After all, Lincoln did not represent antislavery radicalism in 1854 and was making no open overtures to promote fusion. Quite deliberately, his Springfield speech promoted the restoration of the Missouri Compromise rather than urging the creation of an antislavery party. While not identical to the position of the Missouri Republican, neither was it an intolerable antislavery affront. Moreover, the correspondent surely had some Whig sympathies. He socialized in Springfield with Simeon Francis, the editor of the Illinois Journal and a friend of Lincoln's. Indeed, Francis gave the correspondent free passes to the fair and drove him there on October 5. It is quite possible that Francis's influence shaped the correspondent's description of Lincoln as "well known here and through the State as one of the first lawyers and speakers." Certainly the correspondent generously complimented Lincoln's speech, describing it as "the best historical display of facts upon that side of the question that I have ever listened to." All in all, there is not much reason to believe that the Missouri Republican's political allegiances unduly influenced the correspondent's account of the debate, even though it very likely shaped his portrayal of the fusion convention.[20]

The correspondents for both the Missouri Republican and Missouri Democrat provided vivid context for the debate by describing the fair and its Springfield environs. The excitement produced by traveling on railroads to the fair, for example, is palpable in the Republican's account. Railroads were still new to Illinoisans, and the correspondent was joined in his trip from Alton to Springfield by "merry groups" who thoroughly enjoyed their excursion. Disembarking from the crowded cars, they found a jam-packed city upon arrival.[21] One hotel had twelve women sleeping in the same small room, and hundreds of people had no rooms at all. The Republican's correspondent unexpectedly struck gold, securing a "luxurious" bed in a six-by-nine foot bedroom, which is a stark reminder of the modest size of antebellum homes. Transporting the crowds to the twenty-acre fairgrounds one mile outside Springfield required more cramming. Mud and miserable weather discouraged walkers on October 3, and so carriage drivers wedged in passengers like freight. Pitchmen capitalized on the influx, with peddlers, peep shows, musicians, candy stands, freak shows, and a circus lining the road to the fair. Even African-Americans benefited from the fair, although antebellum racial barriers appear suggestively in the Republican's statement that "every negro hereabouts" was hanging up the fiddle and the "white-wash brush" in favor of barbering the visiting hordes. Because of their circumscribed opportunities, blacks exploited the windfall created by the fair. [22]

The state's economic dynamism is also evident. Breeders from Kentucky exhibited cows, calves, and bulls, while a breeder from Vermont brought sufficient sheep to fill three pens. Other salesmen exhibited mechanical devices to increase farm productivity. According to the Missouri Democrat, the "self-raker and reapers especially attract the attention of farmers." The fair's commercial character indicates the increasing integration of regional and national economies by the 1850s, the growing capital resources of the state's market-oriented farmers, and the increasing size of farms, which made labor-saving machinery cost-effective. Meanwhile, as the Republican's correspondent observed, Springfield was growing by leaps and bounds, with a torrent of new commercial and residential construction underway and a corresponding need for additional tradesmen. [23]

But the political drama took center stage. Douglas was the main attraction, and his supporters had reserved "a pretty grove" for his speech on Tuesday, October 3, "so that all could hear." The forbidding weather forced the event into the Hall of Representatives in the state capitol, which was "crowded to the utmost" with "ten to twelve hundred persons," including many women, who listened to Douglas's long speech in the early afternoon. The "vast auditory" reconvened at 7 P.M. to hear subsequent speakers for at least an additional two and a half hours, and after those speakers had concluded, Lincoln announced he would respond to Douglas the next day.[24] The Republican's correspondent well understood the significance of Lincoln's reply, writing that "I must be there to look on." In the end, he devoted sixty percent of his correspondence on October 6 to the debate between Douglas and Lincoln, which testifies to the enormous public interest in the Kansas-Nebraska Act.[25]

Even citizens who were not enamored with the political theater illustrated its pervasive influence. The managers of the fair, doubtless concerned with their pocketbooks, circulated a handbill that invited "the people to frown down" politicians who gave speeches at fairs. Agreeably, the farmers' assembly, meeting in the Hall of Representatives after Douglas's speech, unanimously adopted a resolution decrying the politicians' grandstanding, complaining that "nothing was heard in the hotels and streets but 'Nebraska' and 'Anti-Nebraska.'" However, the Republican's correspondent recorded wryly, "a continuous uproar" from a Nebraska speech in the rotunda interrupted them, "and the doors of the Hall were ordered to be closed to prevent interruption."[26]

The farmers could hardly begrudge their neighbors' political ardor. After all, the farmers' meeting was organized in a recognizable political format, with officers, resolutions, and spirited debate, and was characterized by a highly democratic ethos, with any person present "entitled to speak on any of the subjects proposed." Moreover, the farmers participated in an extensive political discussion themselves, debating whether farmers and mechanics could "be suitably educated in sectarian and other classical schools."[27] Their debate stemmed from the ideas of Illinois College professor Jonathan Baldwin Turner, whose advocacy of publicly funded industrial colleges stimulated considerable interest throughout the state and eventually resulted in the creation of the nation's land-grant universities.

The Republican's account also suggests Douglas's considerable ability to sway crowds. According to the correspondent, Douglas's condemnation of nativism in his opening speech aroused so much passion that the audience "crowded upon the reporter's desk," preventing further note-taking. This participatory response to Douglas's appeals was not atypical. The next evening, ten minutes after he had begun his reply to Lincoln, "the applause of the roused assembly was so constant and intense" that he had to ask for their silence, yet as his speech progressed "the cheers could not be repressed." Indeed, as he spoke, "the audience accumulated rather than decreased," and when he finished there was "a succession of cheering, for some moments," and subsequently "volleys of cheers" as the audience departed the Hall of Representatives. Though admiring Lincoln, the correspondent judged by the "effect" of the speeches that Lincoln had been "overwhelmed." One testimony to Douglas's magnetism was that he spoke from 6 P.M. to 8 P.M., prime supper hours for an audience that had already heard Lincoln speak since 2 P.M.. Nevertheless, the correspondent "could not perceive that any persons retired," even though abolitionist Owen Lovejoy had announced after Lincoln's speech that a statewide anti-Nebraska convention would assemble in the Senate chamber immediately.[28]

To be sure, the Democrat's correspondent contradicted the Republican, claiming instead that it was Lincoln who swayed the crowd. Indeed, the Democrat's correspondent concluded that there was a "great want of enthusiasm" among auditors of Douglas's speech on October 3. However, he reported that "at least two thousand persons" heard Lincoln the next day and gave him "six cheers" when he finished. Douglas's vigorous rebuttal of Lincoln compelled the Democrat's correspondent to acknowledge that "he is certainly a great speaker when aroused, as he most assuredly was by Mr. Lincoln's forcible reasoning against his bantling." [29] Despite Douglas's efforts, however, the crowd had "lessened considerably" by the time he was done. [30]

The correspondents' accounts also highlight the freewheeling and interactive character of antebellum speeches. This aspect of antebellum speechmaking is difficult to recapture from speeches written out for publication, such as Lincoln's Peoria address. However, the Republican recorded Douglas interrupting Lincoln at least four times, which followed Lincoln's surprising invitation for Douglas to "correct him in any point in which he might err."[31] Politicians' skill in handling these interruptions was significant to audiences appreciative of forensic duels. Lincoln deflected one interruption with characteristic self-deprecating humor. When Douglas charged that Lincoln was likely a Know Nothing because Lincoln claimed to know nothing about the secret order, Lincoln "rejoined that he never did know much and if he should happen to come out a Know Nothing it would not be much of a descent." This exchange produced "much merriment." With equal humor, but skewering his adversary, Lincoln skillfully riposted after another Douglas thrust. Douglas interrupted to reassert his claim, advanced in his opening speech, that the principle of the Kansas-Nebraska Act could be found in the Bible, where God introduced man to "good and evil, and told him to take his choice." Smoothly, but cuttingly, Lincoln "replied that it was a great honor that Mr. Douglas was the first man to find that out."[32] The Democrat's correspondent observed that this reply "created some laughter." [33] Yet the interruptions were not always so combative. When Lincoln mentioned that Douglas had introduced him to David Wilmot, the Pennsylvania Democrat who sponsored the Wilmot Proviso, which Lincoln had repeatedly supported in Congress, Douglas wittily responded that he had done so because he thought they "would be fit associates."[34] This instance of apparent good humor between Lincoln and Douglas, reinforced by Douglas's later reference to "my friend, Mr. Lincoln," is a reminder that their long history was not merely one of rivalry, despite the substantial personal, partisan, and national considerations at stake in their debates and the sharp elbows that both men exchanged in 1854 and increasingly thereafter. [35]

Comparing the Republican's text to the Peoria address confirms that the Springfield and Peoria speeches were essentially the same. Historians have long suspected this, partly because Lincoln stated at Peoria that in Springfield he had "spoken substantially as I have here." [36] The speeches are organized almost identically, excepting only a small number of deviations. [37] Lincoln began his speech at Springfield with a series of disclaimers that he also used at Peoria. However, at Springfield, Lincoln then rebutted Douglas's claims, advanced the night before, linking the Know Nothings and Whigs with the abolitionists. Lincoln did not take that detour at Peoria, even though Douglas reiterated his claims about Know Nothings at the end of his Peoria speech.[38] At both locales, Lincoln subsequently delved into an historical analysis of territorial slavery and the Northwest Ordinance, although the Republican's report suggests that Lincoln slightly changed his presentation on this subject at Peoria. Lincoln then sequentially addressed three subsequent historical developments: the admission of new states after the Louisiana Purchase in 1803; the Missouri Compromise of 1820; and the war with Mexico from 1846 to 1848. In Springfield, as he had in Bloomington on September 26, Lincoln then discussed Lewis Cass's 1848 Nicholson letter. However, Lincoln dropped this subject from his Peoria speech even though Douglas again spoke about the Nicholson letter in Peoria. [39]

In both speeches, Lincoln then turned to the Compromise of 1850 and the Kansas-Nebraska Act. In his analysis of the origins of the latter act in Springfield, Lincoln observed that Douglas claimed that there was no significant difference between the initial version of his bill, which did not explicitly repeal the Missouri Compromise, and the final, amended version, which did. At Peoria, Lincoln relocated this passage to his critique of Douglas's defense of the repeal. [40] Subsequently, at Springfield, Lincoln criticized the Kansas-Nebraska Act for changing government policy towards slavery, inviting it to expand rather than precluding it from doing so. Some of these comments he also relocated in his Peoria speech, putting them at the conclusion, where he denounced Douglas's popular sovereignty principle for contradicting the founders' precept of tolerating slavery out of necessity alone. [41] Another change traceable from the Republican's account was Lincoln's statement in Springfield, after defending the South's right to a fugitive slave law, that he "differed" from "Anti-Nebraska men" in "many respects." At Peoria, Lincoln omitted making that general distinction. [42] Comparison of the two speeches thus reveals that at Peoria Lincoln dropped mention of the Know Nothings and the Nicholson letter, relocated two passages relating to the Kansas-Nebraska Act, and deemphasized distinctions between himself and other opponents of the Kansas-Nebraska Act. All in all, these were very modest changes for a speech of such length and complexity.

The possibility of one substantial reorganization probably can be ruled out by checking the Republican's text against the Chicago Journal's and Illinois Journal's accounts of the Springfield speech. According to the Republican, Lincoln sequentially addressed the following four subjects after censuring the government's newfound support for slavery: the humanity of the slaves, the problems posed by emancipation, the moral decency of Southerners, and the constitutionality of the fugitive slave law. [43] At Peoria, in contrast, he changed the sequence of the subjects: first addressing the moral decency of Southerners, then the problems posed by emancipation, and then the constitutionality of the fugitive slave law. Meanwhile, he did not address the humanity of the slaves until considerably later in the speech.[44] If the Republican's report is correct, Lincoln significantly reordered the speech at Peoria. However, while the Republican's correspondent usually seems to have followed the linear order of Lincoln's presentation, in this case he probably did not; indeed, the brief two-paragraph summary he made of this portion of Lincoln's speech made it easy for him to alter its order. Notably, both the Illinois Journal's and the Chicago Journal's accounts seem to place Lincoln's passages about the humanity of slaves at the same place they are located in the Peoria address. [45]

The number of occasions in which the Republican's correspondent reported Lincoln's words almost exactly as they later appeared in the Peoria address provides further evidence of the similarity between the speeches. At the inception of the speech, the correspondent wrote that Lincoln commenced by stating that he did not wish "to assail the motives of any man or set of men," but instead intended to "confine himself to the naked merits of the case."[46] Subsequently, the correspondent recorded that Lincoln expressed his intention to investigate "the history of kindred subjects" before examining the Missouri Compromise and its repeal.[47] When Lincoln denounced the repeal of the compromise, the correspondent reported him as saying that the government's attitude toward slavery was "go, and God speed you."[48] When Lincoln moved from the Missouri Compromise to the Mexican War, the correspondent reported him as saying that the "war with Mexico broke out." [49] When Lincoln castigated slavery propagation, the correspondent recorded Lincoln as saying that it "has done much to rob our republican example of its force, and held us up as hypocrit[e]s." And when Lincoln denounced the implications of the Kansas-Nebraska Act, the correspondent recorded him as saying that the bill "furnished no more excuse for the extension of Slavery, than to revive the old Slave-Trade."[50] All of these passages are virtually identical to those in the Peoria address. [51] Given that the reporter generally had to summarize rather than literally transcribe the speeches, leaving the historian few instances of direct comparison, these passages suggest that Lincoln did not substantially vary his language in other parts of the speech in the interim between the debates.

However, tracing the changes between the accounts does not explain when or why the changes were made. As Douglas L. Wilson observed, Lincoln almost certainly altered aspects of the Peoria address in order to maximize its effectiveness in print. Wilson contended that "many passages bear the marks of careful revision and the process of transforming spoken discourse into readable prose," even though "much of it was undoubtedly plotted out in advance and memorized." [52] Hence it is possible that Lincoln made many and perhaps most of the changes identified above after the Peoria speech rather than before it, which further underscores the similarity of the two speeches.

There were good reasons for Lincoln to omit spoken words from the published version of his speech. Not surprisingly, for instance, he excised references to the Know Nothings, whom he did not wish to discuss. Douglas associated nativism with the anti-Nebraska movement in order to drive "the Germans and all other foreigners and Catholics" to the Democratic ticket, and at Springfield he severely censured the Know Nothings. [53] Because Lincoln could not logically prove that northern Know Nothings had no connection to the anti-Nebraska movement, he deflected Douglas's assault at Springfield by narrating the recent victory of an unnamed Know Nothing politician in Virginia before humorously concluding that "These Know-Nothings were certainly not Abolitionists!"[54] He also subtly fished for the nativists' support while trivializing Douglas's argument by arguing that Douglas's gambit was designed to secure the five percent of the foreign voters who did not already vote for him.[55] While these were apt maneuvers before a live audience, Lincoln surely preferred to avoid discussing the issue altogether, and in his published version of the Peoria speech he ignored the Know-Nothings while urging all opponents of the Kansas-Nebraska Act to unite in opposition to the extension of slavery.

Lincoln likewise purged an amusing passage that he had used at Springfield to defuse Douglas's attempt to attract conservative Whigs who abhorred abolitionists. After Douglas had charged that the Whig Party, now abolitionized, was "dead," Lincoln wryly informed the crowd "that they were being addressed by a dead man," highlighting the seeming absurdity of Douglas's claim. Although this tactic enabled Lincoln to avoid addressing the substance of Douglas's charge before the crowds, in print it was wiser to ignore the subject altogether. [56]

Lastly, Lincoln removed humorous passages that, if published, would have detracted from the seriousness of the speech. For instance, the correspondent of the Missouri Democrat reported that Lincoln described Douglas as having "raised a storm, the white caps of which can be seen afar off in the distant States, mounting higher and still higher, and bursting here and there, leaving the little boats of his friends floating about bottom upward."[57] Although probably amusing to listeners, this jibe at the fate of Douglas and his friends undercut the soberness of Lincoln's contention that the Kansas-Nebraska Act would incite violence in Kansas. In the print version, consequently, Lincoln excised the turbulent storm, retaining, however, a vivid metaphor of champions fighting in a ring, placed there by an unthinking Congress, and asked rhetorically whether "the first drop of blood so shed" would "be the real knell of the Union?"[58] This metaphor, unlike the storm, focused Lincoln's readers on the likelihood that the Kansas-Nebraska Act would violently and fatefully pit the North and South against each other.

Comparison of the Republican's account of Douglas's Springfield speech to Douglas's later speeches at Peoria and Chicago suggest that the Illinois senator made even fewer changes to his speeches over the course of the campaign than did Lincoln. The Springfield speech closely matches Douglas's post-election address in Chicago on November 9, 1854. Most of the significant differences between the speeches seem to reflect omissions by the Republican's correspondent. [59] For example, the correspondent did not record Douglas's explanation of the Compromise of 1850 in detail, although he summarized Douglas's conclusion.[60] He also did not record Douglas's argument that northern congressmen had endorsed popular sovereignty in the organization of Washington Territory, which supported Douglas's contention that the Kansas-Nebraska Act carried out the principles established by the Compromise of 1850.[61] He also omitted a lengthy section of the speech in which Douglas sequentially analyzed the rights of whites to govern blacks, the likelihood of slavery entering Kansas or Nebraska, the founders' position on local self-government, the history of emancipation in Illinois and throughout the nation, the abolitionists' role in intensifying southern proslavery attitudes, and the sectional character of the Republican Party.[62] This material constituted approximately thirty percent of the speech, and Douglas almost certainly presented it at Springfield. Indeed, Lincoln rebutted Douglas's arguments on almost all of these topics at Peoria.

However, like Lincoln, Douglas had reason to revise his words when he published the post-election speech in the Chicago Times. As a leading northern Democratic Party politician and the primary author of the Kansas-Nebraska Act, he almost certainly intended the speech to be distributed nationally, and thus he wrote for a national audience. As a consequence, he omitted references to Illinois Whig politician Richard Yates, Illinois abolitionist Ichabod Codding, and Ohio Free Soilers Joshua Giddings and Salmon Chase. While invoking them had been apropos for a speech in Springfield, the references were too particularistic for a national audience. In addition, he significantly reduced his emphasis on the Know Nothings. During the campaign, he had attacked them in order to divide the anti-Nebraska forces and to recruit votes, but at core his speeches defended the Kansas-Nebraska Act. In print, he focused on that central issue. Douglas also softened his language in the published address, reducing the powerful emotional appeals that had characterized his spoken words. He did not charge his political opponents with mobocratic or insurrectionary activity, and he reduced the race-baiting that characterized his campaign speeches.[63] Douglas also excised his joke that Westerners were especially capable of self-government because only the "smart sons" and "prettiest girls" from eastern states migrated west.[64] Although amusing to Westerners, the joke was not appropriate for a national audience. He also removed several falsehoods that would have been easily disproved had he printed them. At Springfield and elsewhere, for example, he had criticized the anti-Nebraska press for failing to print the Kansas-Nebraska Act because "the very bill itself openly and clearly refutes their assertions." [65] But the opposition press had in fact printed the act, and publishing the assertion would have opened him to immediate critique.[66] He also corrected his claim, ridiculed by Lincoln at Springfield, that in 1851 the Illinois state legislature had passed resolutions supporting the principle of popular sovereignty as a "rule of action" for future territorial organization. In print, he acknowledged that only the Illinois House of Representatives had adopted the resolutions. [67] And lastly, he removed his reference to the biblical origins of popular sovereignty, which Lincoln had belittled at Springfield and then had conclusively disproved through biblical exegesis at Peoria after Douglas had persisted in making the argument. These exceptions aside, the speeches were extremely similar, confirming Douglas's assertion that his November 9 Chicago speech was "an outline of the arguments I have presented every where in this State."[68]

The Missouri Republican and Missouri Democrat accounts therefore have considerable value. Most fundamentally, they confirm scholars' speculation that the candidates did not appreciably modify their arguments over the course of the fall campaign.[69] Although historians have carefully studied the 1854 debates between the two men, and analyzed related political developments that occurred that fall, the new documents provide additional clues with which to decipher what happened and why. Moreover, the correspondents' colorful reports vividly capture the political tumult that followed in the wake of the Kansas-Nebraska Act and put the allegiances of many voters up for grabs. In response, Lincoln and Douglas developed multi-pronged appeals, skillfully wielding argument, emotion, and humor as they vied to attract enough voters to fashion a majority in the fall elections. Yet, in so doing, both men also developed arguments about the relationship of slavery and American politics that they reasserted during the rest of the decade. At root, Douglas insisted that slavery and American democracy were completely compatible; and Lincoln just as emphatically denied it. In 1855 and 1856, southerners proved Lincoln right by using intimidation and violence to legalize slavery in Kansas. When they did so, they fatally compromised Douglas's ability to hold northern antislavery sentiment in check. However, this dénouement was not yet apparent in 1854. Instead, caught up in the moment and transfixed by riveting oratory and debate, Springfield's residents and fairgoers evaluated Lincoln's and Douglas's rival visions of national ideals and the nation's future. On those chilly autumn days, they were among the first in the nation to encounter the ideas that subsequently helped to precipitate secession in 1860, civil war in 1861, and emancipation in 1863—and expanded civil rights for all Americans ever since.



Special Correspondence of the Missouri Republican.

Springfield, October 3, 1854.

The noble packet[71] Reindeer was not long in speeding from your city to Alton, on Monday evening last, Mr. Editor, and your humble servant wended his way to the depot of the C. and M. R. R.[72], to take the train for this city. There was a great crowd of passengers on the train, mostly bound for Springfield, principally farmers and hard-fisted men, whose conversation smacked of huge apples, tall corn, and fine stock. Knots of politicians jabbered over Nebraska, and a slight sprinkling of very pleasing young ladies were an agreeable variety. What a beautiful moonlight night that was, when our train sallied out upon the broad prairies above Brighton, and thundered on Northward. And in the cars were such merry groups, arguing, laughing, telling jokes, and the like, that the four hours ride seemed squeezed into two, more or less. Mr. Guild was our conductor, and a most gentlemanly and straight-forward one he is. His politeness was appreciated by the passengers, especially the ladies who, one and all, concurred in the opinion that he was an agreeable and good-looking young man, that would do to pass.

It was reported that the hotels and houses in Springfield were filled to overflowing, and I expected to meet with rough times, accordingly. I thought over the matter strongly, as a philosopher, and came to the conclusion that a bare floor would be an excellent bed, if the boards were sawed straight with the grain. But on arriving here, I find an old friend, though he is a young man, waiting for me. Strange to say, Charley had been getting married, had the neatest little box of a house in the world, and a charming wife to take care of it and him,—and that nice little six-by[-]nine bed-room, and luxurious bed, will not be soon forgotten. While getting ready to snooze, I could but think of many poor wights[73] down at the Depot, or in the hotel barrooms, who had not where to lay their head, and who could sing with all reasonable sympathy and application, that mournful ditty,

"My lodging is on the cold, cold ground."

A change of weather occurred in the night, a severe rain and hail storm ushering in a bleak, raw December morning.

But, sir, the farmers were on hand, like "the thousand of brick" we hear tell of, some of them, from a distance, being caught out thus in their summer rig borrowing a blanket or an old blue coat, which, put on over their light breeches, and surmounted by a straw hat, gave them a unique appearance very happy to behold. The streets were alive with people at an early hour, and soon, wagons, carriages, carts, and mongrel "wehikles" of all sorts, were passing about, with a sign inscribed in chalk upon them, "to the Fair—10cts." We mounted one, a huge, lumbering affair, that had seen someservice in its palmiest days, in the lightning rod and stone pump business, and requested our Jehu[74] to propel—which he did, eventually, when he could not squeeze us any tighter into space by taking in other wights at one dime per head. Such hawing and jeeing by everybody, and bustling and splashing of the slushy mud about, is not witnessed every day. Everybody's horses wanted to run away, and the locomotives, too, as we passed over the track, and the cold cutting wind made our noses blue—still, it was all quite correct, for you see we were at the State Fair.

The Fair ground is about a mile out from town—an area of several acres, nearly square, surrounded by a high board fence. We walked inside, thanks to our friend S. Francis, Esq., of the Springfield Journal, who kindly supplied the editorial fraternity with dead-head passes[75], probably correctly surmising the costive[76] condition of their purses in these times of drouth.

We first ranged around the hog pens, not from any peculiar affinity, but because first reached. There we saw some splendid specimens of fine and common blooded swine. Thence we strolled past the long line of stalls erected for fine cattle and horses. The stalls and pens comprise fully a mile in length and at this early hour they were nearly all filled. Such splendid cattle—bulls, steers, cows, and calves, of various breeds and ages, you would hardly suppose could be grouped together in the West—to say nothing of one State. Durhams were as "plenty as blackberries" in an ordinary good season. Quite a number of blooded cows, calves and bulls were here from Kentucky on exhibition and subsequent sale. Horses, stallions, brood mares and colts of every strain, color and gait were present in such great numbers, and presenting so many different points of excellence, as to quite put at fault our limited jockey knowledge. Next we came to the fowl department, where the Shanghais, and Cochins and Chittagongs equally divided public admiration. Some of these creatures were got up on an extremely large scale. Half-breeds of these species, and choice varieties of ducks and turkies [sic] were not wanting.

The fruit and flower departments were not yet arranged, as also the vegetable kingdom in miniature; so we pass them until to-morrow. The ladies' fancy-work department, the merchants', mechanics', and artists' tables, were not yet prepared: and in fact, the Fair was not yet a Fair, and not fully open to the public. The sheep pens next came in view, nearly all filled with varieties of sheep. Jewett, of Vermont, the great sheep importer, had three pens filled with young bucks, of the real French Merino blood, and his agent only asked $300 each for the best of them.

There was a good assortment of agricultural machines, more double-geared plows and reapers, and mowers, and corn-shellers, and straw-cutters, portable little older mills, &c., &c., than we anticipated. It proves that the Yankee genius sticks out prominently, even in Suckers, the people here evidently carrying their keen jack-knives and whittling timber, close about them.

But I can not particularize to-day, respecting the details of this gala-day of the yeomanry of the Prairie State.

To-morrow the Fair will be in full blast, and we will traverse the ground thoroughly, note-book in hand. It is now about dinner time, and the keen morning air has sharpened up our appetite—so let us return to town, and see what is the prospect for satisfying the inner man.


Just after dinner a cry of fire ran through the city. The car shop attached to the P. C. & M. R. R.,[77] took fire and burned down. In it were three new passenger cars, just finished, and then in the hands of the painters. The building was a large brick edifice, one story high, and the loss must be severe. The fire is supposed to have originated in the paint room.

At half-past one, P.M., the cannon began to roar, announcing that Senator Douglas was about to make his great speech on the Nebraska act. It was intended that he should speak in a pretty grove near town, so that all could hear, but the change in the weather forbid it, and all repaired to the State House. By the way, at noon of this day, a handbill was issued by the Managers of [t]he State Fair, deprecating the practice of politicians who follow up the Fairs to gain popular strength, and inviting the people to frown down all such movements.

The Representatives Hall, the largest room in the building, was crowded to the utmost, many ladies gracing the galleries. There were from ten to twelve hundred persons present, all expectant and anxious to hear the "Little Giant." The meeting was called to order, and Gov. Matteson[78] elected President and Gov. John Moore, Col. Dunlap, and another gentleman whose name we did not catch, were nominated and elected Vice-Presidents.

The following is a faithful synopsis of this speech, compiled from copious notes taken during its delivery:


I do not deem any introduction necessary in addressing you, fellow-citizens. Our mutual acquaintance extends back more than twenty-one years. We have met to discuss the great political questions of the day, and should do so frankly and fairly. But before I proceed to speak upon these topics, I will mention that it is understood by some gentlemen that Mr. Lincoln, of this city, is expected to answer me. If this is the understanding, I wish that Mr. Lincoln would step forward, and let us arrange some plan upon which to carry out this discussion. I dislike very much upon all these occasions to make speeches first and to have them answered by opponents, thus giving them constantly the closing speech. I wish to meet the many slanders and gross abuse heaped upon me by all these opponents. Will Mr. Lincoln step forward? [Senator Douglas waited some moments, and calls were made for Lincoln, but met with no response, when he proceeded.] The question to which I ask your attention is the so-called "Nebraska Bill."[79] You have all heard of that same Nebraska Bill, no doubt. [Applause.]

Yet while all this cry is raised against it, not one Whig or Abolitionist paper has ever published that bill, to my knowledge. If it was such a bad act, why do they not publish it? If it is such an iniquitous measure, why not prove it to the world? The reason is, the very bill itself openly and clearly refutes their assertions. (Applause.) But they contend that there is no necessity for its introduction, and that it was a ruthless, wanton act on my part. But, fellow-citizens, I can assure them that this is no new proposition. Ten years ago I was called upon to legislate upon this proposition. This same principle has been sustained four times—twice in the Senate, and twice in the lower House of Congress. In 1852–3 this question was up, and Yates[80], among others, voted for it. If it was necessary to legislate upon this Territory then, why is it now unnecessary? The necessity of opening this vast Territory is self-evident to every candid, intelligent mind. The thousands of emigrants crossing the plains could not go through that Territory without breaking the Indian intercourse law, and subjecting themselves to heavy fines and imprisonment. Such is the actual fact. Should not this Indian barrier be broken down? Is that vast country to remain a perpetual wilderness? Is the march of Christianity and civilization to stop there; and are our railroads and highways to the Pacific there to end?

If, however, the object is to open up that country to emigration and to the California and India trade, we must take the necessary steps to accomplish that object.

What plan should be determined upon to settle it? Now, I admit that this is a matter of debate.

I have been Chairman of the Committee on Territories, in Congress, for the past ten years, and it was my duty to act in this matter and bring forward this bill. I was no volunteer in this matter. It devolved upon me as a duty. The Missouri Compromise line was adopted in 1820. In 1845 it was continued through Texas, as far as our Government claimed the territory. Consequently, when New Mexico came in, I went for that line, not that I approved of its principles, but considered it better than to stir up a great sectional excitement. That proposition was voted down by Northern votes.—[Applause.]

Sectional feelings then were very strong, occasioned by the refusal of Congress to accede to this line. The Abolition papers denounced me then, as they do now, for advocating it. If the Missouri Compromise line had been extended, then all this trouble would have been avoided. The gallant Henry Clay would not have been called to leave his retirement at Ashland.—The rejection of the Missouri Compromise line then created the necessity for passing the Compromise Measures of 1850. Every Abolition paper, at the time it was rejected, placed my name in black lines: "Stephen A. Douglas—the solitary exception." They say I have changed—then so must they, for we are certainly not alike. [Applause.]

Polk signed the Oregon bill with that especial understanding; yet how soon it was voted down. How was it with the three Presidential candidates in 1848—Van Buren, Taylor, and Cass[81]? Van Buren's Buffalo platform prohibited slavery both North and South of that line, and thus virtually rejected the compromise line. I have conversed with many of the Van Buren electors of Illinois, since then, and they admit that, and it is too well known to be disputed. This party were unsuccessful, and therefore failed in what they tried to do, and for doing which they now call me Traitor. [Applause.] If it were an act of infamy to destroy that compromise line, why did they try to do it? [Applause.] The truth is, friends, there is only this difference between us: they could not, I did. So much for the Abolitionists; and now we come to the Whig party, and when I speak of it, it is with great respect. I have battled against the old Whig party for twenty-one years, and now that it is dead, with none to preach its funeral sermon, [applause,] I will not denounce or abuse it.—Clay and Webster[82], and their followers—men who fought valiantly for their principles—are entitled to profound respect. But in 1848, the Whig party favored prohibiting slavery from all new Territories, and went totally against the compromise line. Then they would not have it, and censured me for standing up to it. If it is a sacred compact with the Whigs in 1854, how was it in 1848? If I am a traitor now, how was I then?—[Applause.] If you condemn me now, you condemn yourselves. You may, therefore, make yourselves out base, but you are incompetent witnesses against me.—[Applause.]

The Democratic position in 1848 was against the Missouri Compromise. Every man was against it, I alone excepted, according to the Abolition papers of that time. All parties thus condemned the Compromise, but on different grounds. Some wished to remove all restrictions, others to impose all restrictions. Why did I change? Because every party was against me; [I was][83] stripped of all power to carry out my views. Why deprive me of power to carry out my views, bind me wholly to yours, and now abuse me for it? [Great Applause.]

Thus it was that all parties repudiated the Missouri Compromise line, and rendered necessary the new compromise measures of 1850, which were ushered into existence and supported by these great leaders of parties, Clay, Webster, and Cass. This latter Compromise became a law, and I returned from Washington, an invalid, on crutches, and found rebellion in Chicago against the National Government. Open anarchy reigned there. I made a speech and showed that the Compromise of 1850 stood upon the broad doctrine of popular sovereignty.

Resolutions were unanimously passed at that meeting, and the next day the City Council of Chicago rescinded their Nullification Resolutions by a vote of twelve to one. I defended that principle then the same as I do now. [Applause.] Our Legislature met soon after and passed strong resolutions supporting me in this position.

[Mr. Douglas here read the resolutions, but we have not them at hand.]

This then follows—that the Missouri Compromise was then considered a restriction upon this great principle, and that it should be wiped out.

Thus in 1851—but three years ago—you instructed me to carry out this principle, and now can you blame me? [Applause.] Did the people abandon, hang in effigy and burn those members of the Legislature who thus instructed me? I never heard of such a thing. How was it then? Why[,] every Democratic member voted for that resolution. Who blames them now?—[Voices cried, "nobody."]

I will read the names of members who voted for that instruction. All the Democrats, and every Whig but four, voted for it.[84]

How was it in the Presidential campaign of 1851? Scott and Pierce[85] both stood on the Baltimore Platforms. What did this mean? Was it not that this principle should stand, and be applied forever to all new Territories? Were not Scott and Pierce both Compromise men, and was not the struggle between them which was the more sound on that question? Thus, but two years ago all the people were for this principle. If right two years ago, why this charge, that it is wrong now?

The Kansas and Nebraska bill needs no proof that it conforms to the Compromise of 1850. The very same provisions of the bill organizing New Mexico, are in the Nebraska bill.

[Mr. Douglas here read the fourteenth clause of the Nebraska bill, which states that the object of the bill is neither to legislate slavery in nor out of that Territory, but leave it to the people themselves to settle.]

The Whigs voted for this principle three years since—now every Whig says the object was to legislate slavery in. But the Nebraska bill says emphatically that it does not, and therefore when they assert it, they either have not read the bill or they willfully assert a falsehood. [Applause, and cries of shame, shame on them.] And yet they burn in effigy, and get up mobs, and incite to insurrection, not daring to publish the bill, yet they dare not meet it. This is a simple matter, and easily settled. Shall the people of the Territories determine their local affairs for themselves? We say that they shall—our opponents, that they shall not.

Now, why are not the Nebraska Emigrants capable of self-government? Where did they come from? They came from Virginia, Rhode Island, Kentucky, Tennessee, and all the old States. Were they not capable before they went, or did they lose their knowledge when they crossed the Missouri river. [Great applause.] Do you hold the idea of some Eastern people, that the pioneers are but frontier barbarians? Of course our Eastern relations think we are an exception, and sympathize with us for living in such a hard country. [Applause.] Now, I maintain that we are as smart as people East—indeed, more so, for this reason: If a man has two sons, one smart and energetic, the other dull and stupid, it is not the active one that consents to be the drone at home with his parents. Yes, the smart sons come out here, make their farms and homes, and then go back, pick out the prettiest girls in the country for their wives, and here they are. [Great applause.]

Why cannot we of the West govern ourselves, then, with the smartest men and best of women? Truly we will control ourselves in this matter, and as we sow, so we must reap, and if we do wrong we hope to see our error and do better.

But you say this slavery is a great crime, and different from everything else. Now, why? Crime is but one thing, in greater or less degrees, and the very same principle applies to it. Does Congress legislate upon horse stealing or anything else in the Territories? Who is the tribunal if the people err in this matter? Will you go to a King, Pope, or Czar? No! You must go back to the people themselves. We of the States, or in Congress, cannot enjoy the benefits or suffer the curse of laws we make for the Territories- [sic]

How is it that the Abolitionists are so fond of Congressional interference? It is of late cocurrence [sic], suddenly and without a reason. How is it with Whiggery now? They have changed their name, and now call themselves Republicans!

Honest men rarely have need to change their names. The Whigs and fusionists don't claim the word National Republican. That name, with Henry Clay, covered the whole Union. Now see what they advocate—read their platform! A negro appears in every clause! [Great applause.] Therefore I call them the Black Republican party. [Continued applause.]

[Mr. Douglas here read the new Fusion Platform, which repudiates the Fugitive Slave Law, and which refuses to admit more Slave States upon any condition.][86]

Now Whigs must subscribe to this platform. The Utah and New Mexico organic acts declare that the people may do as they choose, yet now this principle, voted for by the Whig party of 1850, is denied. Fillmore[87] acted up to this principle, and it made him his popularity. The contest now is a great fight between Abolitionists and National Republicans[88]. Those who follow me about in this State—Giddings, Chase, and Ichabod Codding[89]—slander and abuse me and make excitable speeches to the people, inciting section against section, and not a national pulse beats in them. National parties must have national principles. Even the churches have split upon this question, and if there is not charity and Christian forbearance there, where will we find it? Our Creator gave us good and evil to choose, and as we choose so must we abide the result. Thus in the Nebraska bill we neither legislate slavery in nor out, but let the people decide for themselves.

I now come to speak of another new element, the Know-Nothings. I have reason to pay particular attention to them, for they of late have been after me: armed bodies of men, determined to put down free speech, and who meet in secret conclave to rule the destinies of the nation. Their principles are these: They are sworn to proscribe men of foreign birth, or of foreign parents. Why proscribe a man for his birth? Do not all countries turn out good men, and great rogues? Is it consistent with our Republican principles? Look over the Declaration of Independence, and see all sects and religions embodied in the signatures there. No Know-Nothings there. Then principles made men. If that new test had been in Washington's army, what would have become of Lafayette, Steuben[90], and others who, in our early struggles for independence, poured out their blood like water in the defence of their adopted country? And what would they do with "the fourigner" [sic] Robert Morris[91], whose money and efforts saved Gen. Washington's army from overwhelming defeat? If Robert Morris were alive he would be proscribed by them now, and his son after him. [Much excitement was here exhibited by the audience.]

How was it with the foreign soldiers in the last war, and how in Mexico? And what did Gen. Scott say in regard to them? And my brave-hearted colleague, Gen. Shields, who has shed more blood in defence of his country than all these Know-Nothings put together. He is to be proscribed as a foreigner. [Much excitement again prevailed.]

Religious persecution in the old world was the means of settling the old States, and shall the descendants of these emigrants now pursue that same course which in olden times drove their fathers from their homes and native land, to seek an asylum in the wilds of America?

At this juncture the interest became intense, and persons crowded upon the reporter's desk, obstructing the light, and preventing his following the speaker. Senator Douglas spoke about fifteen minutes longer on this topic, and then, after thanking his audience for their courtesy and attention, and hoping that he had wounded no one's feelings by his warm and unguarded expressions, he sat down. Three tremendous cheers were then given for him, three more for Nebraska, and three more for Thos. L. Harris, the Nebraska candidate for Congress in this district.

The meeting passed off pleasantly, in every respect, and nothing occurred to mar the good name of the city of Springfield.[92]

At seven o'clock, P.M., a large concourse of people were again attracted to the Capitol in anticipation of another Nebraska speech, from General Singleton, of Brown county, Illinois; the affair having been announced at the conclusion of the meeting in the afternoon. A large number of farmers also gathered in the Hall of Representatives about the same time. The political meeting was held in the Rotunda. Gen. Singleton mounted the steps and spoke for two hours and a half. His speech was very entertaining to his vast auditory, and he was frequently interrupted with uproarious applause, which at times disconcerted the farmers in the vicinity and within hearing, [sic]

Finding his speech in most respects repetition of the arguments and principles advanced and discussed by Mr. Douglas, we paid an early visit to the farmers' assembly.

The meeting was organized by calling Dr. Kennicut[93] of Cook county, Vice President of the State Agricultural Society, to the chair, in the place of Mr. J. N. Brown, President, who was absent.

The President stated that the meeting was for the Friends of Agriculture and the Mechanic Arts. A resolution was read expressive of their disapprobation of political leaders taking advantage of Agricultural meetings for the purpose of making political capital out of their gatherings, which was unanimously adopted. In connection with this resolution the President made a few apt remarks, which were well received. He stated that the farmers, from all parts of the State, had collected for the purpose of holding a Fair—to exhibit their improved stock and farming implements for mutual benefit, and that the town was filled with political demagogues, who were endeavoring to engross the whole public attention—that nothing was heard in the hotels and streets but "Nebraska" and "Anti-Nebraska," and the extending or abolishing of Missouri Compromise lines. He did not approve of it for his part, and the spirit with which his remarks were greeted indicated that few persons present did.

All this time a continuous uproar was being kept up without, and the doors of the Hall were ordered to be closed to prevent interruption.

A few of the farmers present then made remarks on the same lively subject. They all seemed to consider the political tendency of the town at this time an imposition and not to be tolerated, and advised the members of the press, if there were any present to [sic], notice the matter, and endeavor to bring about a different state of things by next year.

The objects of the meeting were then briefly stated by the President. He said that it was highly important, to accomplish their object, that the farmers from various parts of the State should meet together to discuss subjects connected with husbandry; that there should be a free and honest interchange of thought and opinion on experimental farming and the most approved implements in use in tilling the soil; that facts in relation to farming were necessary to be known in order that all might derive advantage from the experience of each individual, and thus enable them sooner to arrive at a true and practical standard of farming economy. It would also strengthen the ties of brotherhood to which common interests would naturally give birth.

In order more effectually to carry out these purposes, a variety of subjects had been selected to occupy their time in discussion, and it was particularly impressed on the members, that facts in farming, and practical experience, would be most acceptable in treating them. Every person present was entitled to speak on any of the subjects proposed, providing he was cognizant of any interesting facts concerning them, and the speeches were limited to five minutes in duration.

The first subject proposed was "The value of farming implements in facilitating labor on a farm."

Mr. Dunlap, connected with the Chicago press—also a farmer—was called on for a speech on this subject.

He spoke at some length, and cautioned the awarding committee to be actuated by no prejudice or outside pressure, in order that no implement should go from this Fair stamped with their diploma, and turn out a second or third rate article.

"Deep Plowing" was the next subject read for discussion. Brief statements were solicited from any persons present, on the utility or inutility of deep plowing. Mr. R. Ware advocated deep plowing, and stated that in his experience, an increase of from one-fourth to one-fifth more produce had resulted from it, and strongly advocated the practice.

"Trench Plowing" came next in order on the list of subjects, and was taken up. This is simply running one plow immediately after another, turning up the subsoil to the depth of from eight to ten inches. Mr. Dunlap spoke highly in its favor for the culture of corn and trees, and stated that in his soil it would produce at least double that obtained by common plowing. He especially advocated Trench Plowing for dry seasons. It was also said to be the most effectual mode to eradicate weeds and the blue grass of the prairies. Messrs Rouse, of Woodford county; E. C. Douglass, Madison county; C. R. Overman, Fulton county; M. Hughes, Henry county, and Dr. Fenbrook[94], Edgar county, spoke warmly in its favor for the corn crop.

Mr. Mills, of Salem, remarked that in his experience it had made no difference in the wheat crop, and stated that his soil was the black, prairie loam, with a clay subsoil. Mr. Johnson, of Hancock, also, spoke in this connection.

Mr. Dunlap endeavored to explain why wheat did not succeed with the Trench plowing as well as corn, &c., and gave some very satisfactory and philosophical reasons to substantiate his theory. Messrs. Wittman, of Tazewell county, and Wells, of Pike county, followed him with brief remarks. This discussion was very spirited and seemed to interest the whole assembly. As it occupied considerable time several of the subjects were passed over and set apart for another occasion, and the following question was propounded and opened for free discussion:

"Can Farmers and Mechanics be suitably educated in sectarian and other classical schools?"[95]

Here was a wide subject, and one fraught with great interest to the farmer. Dr. Kennicutt made a few remarks, taking the negative side, and advocating the necessity of a more efficient Common School system in the State. He was followed by Dr. Rutherford, who stated that he was incompetent to do the subject justice, but that suitable speakers would be provided at a more convenient time to discuss it fully. He said that there was too much indifference to practical education in the art of husbandry among farmers, and that the masses of Agricultural and Mechanical pursuits see that persons who are best educated are not the best farmers and mechanics, and this rendered them lukewarm and careless of cultivating their minds.

Mr. Wells of Pike county advocated a system of Agricultural Schools, wherein the youth of the land might make Agriculture their chief study, under professors, as the students of medicine, law, and divinity. The following named gentlemen all expressed themselves fully upon this subject—Mr. Dunlap, Mr. Wells, Henry Shaw, Tazewell co.; Mr. Mills, Salem; T.G. Forster, St. Louis; Mr. Johnson, Hancock; Mr. Garver, Springfield; Mr. Bakewell, McLane co; and Mr. Eames, Cass co. They were all of one opinion regarding the sort of education farmers should have, and various measures were suggested to ensure it to them.

They were all of one opinion in thinking that the farmers' sons should not be classed as a lower and more degraded race than professional men, and that they should receive equal education to make them in every respect equal with them. The meeting adjourned till seven o'clock to-morrow evening, when other subjects will be taken up and other speakers introduced.


Springfield, October 4.

This morning opened quite cool, but with a bright, pleasant sunshine. Every body were on the move at an early hour, anticipating a lively day. The hotels poured out their quota of the million, "unshaven, unshorn," and the sunny places on the public square were occupied by motly [sic] groupes [sic], coolly calculating the chances for a breakfast amid the bleak wind.

Next to the hotels, the barber shops are the great resort of the populi; and to judge from the number of "colored gemmen" in the various shops, it would seem that every negro hereabouts had "hung up the fiddle and the bow," and let his white-wash brush "hang pendant up on the wall," and taken to the art tonsorial. My experience is that they excel in muscular strength, if not in skill in their art, and their razor handles are strongly constructed. The merchants do a thriving business, also, this week, especially in the clothing line—boots and shoes and fancy goods—for why, it is the State Fair, and everybody wishes to spruce up and look fine, and do the generous thing by their wives, children, sweethearts, and poor relations. The hotel keepers, in some instances, are pretty sharp; no one gets a meal or a bed of them, until he walks up to the Captain's office and settles for a ticket. A lady friend informed me today, that twelve ladies slept in the same room with her, last night, at one of the hotels. The room was by no means a large one, and most of them slept on the floor.

Strangers have poured in to-day in shoals. Two trains from Alton, of half-a-dozen cars each, came in densely crowded, and the trains from Jacksonville were well loaded, and also trains from the North. Some are returning to their homes, however, having seen a portion of the elephant, but who cannot reman [sic] to see its tail. And then, they have to go home now, so that the rest can come; as I heard an old gent say, he "reckoned he mout [sic] as well toddle home and let the boys come."

I have noticed very many of the prominent men of the State here, this week, and politicians great and small, of every clique and party. To-day was the time set for the Fusion Anti-Nebraska Convention, and it brought a singular compound of human nature out into daylight. The old Abolition salt, of Illinois, rallied out in a good ordinary state of preservation, headed by Ichabod Codding, the erratic Lovejoy, brother to the Lovejoy of Alton memory[96], Dick Taylor of Chicago, and John M. Palmer of Macoupin. But for some reason, this Convention was a flash in the pan. The Whigs here have out regular candidates of their own, and will stick to them, and the Abolitionists, like Mahomet, will have to go to the mountain, since the mountain will not come to them.

While we are walking out to the fair ground, I will write a word about this city. Springfield has grown very rapidly during the past year. New buildings are now progressing in every direction, and there has been a want for more mechanics here, all the past summer. Some large and fine brick storehouses are being built opposite and near the Chicago and Alton Railroad depot, and the Odd Fellows' or Masonic building, I forget which, is nearly completed. The Governor's house is a beautiful building, an ornament to the city, and a credit to the State. The plan is a very tasteful one, and the material is of the best quality—pressed brick, white stone or marble sills and cappings, and the windows in front, and perhaps on all sides, reaching to the floors. When it is more nearly completed, I hope to have the opportunity to make out a minute description of it for the Illinois readers of the Republican. Springfield is spreading rapidly over a large area of ground, tasteful cottages and their appurtenances rising up like magic on every hand. A love of cottage life and scenery is one of the marked features of this age.

But here we are at the Fair ground, and will go in, as soon as I can pull my red badge out of my vest pocket and exhibit it to pacify the gate keeper, who keeps a sharp lookout for the dimes and quarters. I have seen, by handbills stuck about the streets, that Lincoln is to make an Anti-Nebraska speech, and to be answered by Douglas, this afternoon, and I must be there to look on. This, with the fact that the ladies' fancy-work tables, the fruit and floral departments, and perhaps other departments, are yet unfinished, determines me to defer particularizing again, until tomorrow. Then I shall be on hand, with pencil and note book, ready or no ready, on the part of others.

But we can glance about and generalize a little, even [t]hough we may have a couple of pretty young ladies in company, and have to look "two ways of a Sunday" to keep clear of the teams of fast horses and men, driving in buggies and sulkeys[97], and on horseback. There comes three beautiful horses, in sulkeys, one after the other. The forward horse is a large, fine shaped, black or dark brown animal, and holds his head up and arches his neck as if in the very ecstasy of pride. He is a fine trotter for so large a horse. The second is a still larger horse, a bright bay, a very fine animal in his proper sphere, but too heavy for fast work. The third is an elegant sorrel horse, smaller than the others, but a complete trotter. There they go, sailing over the capacious Fair ground. Now they have a clear stretch of two or three hundred yards, and the little sorrel is put to his metal, and sweeps by his large competitors easily. He is a trained horse, and goes his mile in three minutes, and was sold a few days or weeks since for $800.

What a Babel of noise and confusion we hear and see all about. Over yonder are the agricultural implements and other mechanical inventions, and the noise caused by trials of them, mingling with the neighing of horses, braying of donkeys, lowing of cows, and wheezing of chronic Shanghai roosters, is most euphonious. Negroes and whites are constantly at work, currying the stock; men are carrying fodder past for their teams, and the boys are leading their favorite colts or bull calves about. Handsomer cattle and horses, altogether, I never saw before anywhere.

I cannot attempt to specify—for once to commence, there is no telling where to fetch up, with so many subjects before me. Besides, I remember the speechifying yet to come, and will reserve for that.

We will leave the crowd and Fair, then, and go back to town, to dinner, in a leisurely way. Near by, we come to a raree show[98] of some sort, in a small hut by the wayside. A fiddle and tamborine [sic] are in active operation inside of it, and a huge figure upon the canvas denotes that a griffon or some other terrific monster was there on exhibition at ten cents per head, music gratis. Across the road is a pedler [sic], on his wagon, before a dozen or so of farmers, a pair of suspenders, a shaving box, a fine tooth comb, &c., held in his hand, and he is grinding out in a dolorous tone, "thirty-seven-'naff,'naff,'naff—will you now make it forty?" Passing by gingerbread and candy stands, we come to a tent containing the celebrated wild mare of Nebraska, or some other unheard of region. A drawing on the canvas represents this mare to be driving a herd of the horse-kind before her, helter skelter, over trees and stumps and Indian hunters. But the Wild Mare did not get my ten cents, though I will say this for her, she kept a good fiddler in her tent for public accommodation. Further on, again, is a tent of live snakes, a negro dancer, and plenty of that kind of music produced at an extravagant use of elbow grease. The snakes in the picture are someweat [sic] on the corpulent order, their bodies being larger around than the man and horse enveloped in its horrid folds. Still, the painter is in for that, and I don't state it to damage the character of the show. Lastly, we come to a real old fashioned circus, just in [sic] the edge of the city. The dingy tent, muddy roads, poor horses, &c., &c., all denote that this old relic of by-gone amusements is not in good odor[99]—and if they make their expenses in this town they will do well.

The gongs and bells sound for dinner as we enter the city, and it not being convenient to talk and eat at the same time, we will dispense with the former for the present.


The Hall of Representatives was well filled at two o'clock, P.M., to hear all about Nebraska. Hon. A. B. [sic] Lincoln, of this city, and well known here and through the State as one of the first lawyers and speakers, arose and spoke upon the subject. His speech was four hours in length, was conceived and expressed in a most happy, pleasant style, and was received with abundant applause.[100] At times he made statements which brought Senator Douglas to his feet, who was sitting immediately before him, and then good humored passages of wit created much interest and enthusiasm. The following skeleton of Mr. Lincoln's speech does not begin to do him justice, I know, but if the reader can get a general idea of this speech, from its perusal, it is all I can hope for. Suffice it to say, this speech was fair, candid, and gentlemanly, filled with pleasant turns and witty conceits, and was the best historical display of facts upon that side of the question that I have ever listened to. The Whigs were entirely satisfied with the speech, believing it unanswerable.


He commenced by announcing that he did not desire to assail the motives of any man or set of men, present or absent, in what he was about to say. He desired to confine himself to the naked merits of the case, and did not intend to be particularly severe or hostile toward any one, or make any assault upon any man's principles—whether for or against the Nebraska Bill. He added that it was customary for speakers on this question to say something about sectional views, but he did not wish to go in that narrow pathway, and if he did in the course of his remarks occupy any such ground he hoped to be able to show good reasons for so doing. In discussing the Nebraska question, which was part and parcel of negro slavery, he meant to keep apart from the existing institution of slavery as much as possible and direct his remarks to its extension.

The speaker here said he wished to reply just to a few remarks of Senator Douglas, made toward the last of his speech on Tuesday. He then took up the subject of Know Nothingism, and said Judge Douglas seemed to be very conversant with the objects and principles of this mysterious order. For his part he knew nothing about them.

[Mr. Douglas here interrupted the speaker by saying that all Know Nothings would say the same thing, and that he strongly suspected Lincoln for being one of them on this account.]

Lincoln rejoined that he never did know much and if he should happen to come out a Know Nothing it would not be much of a descent.

This part of the discussion occasioned much merriment in the large assembly. The speaker continued, that he was inclined to believe that there was no such organization as the Know-Nothings; but if there were bodies of men organized to put down constitutional liberty, he hoped to do battle against them.

Judge Douglas inferred in his speech that many of the so called Know-Nothings were Abolitionists, and in this connection Mr. Lincoln told an anecdote of the result of a late election in Virginia. A Whig and Democrat were running as opponents for the same office, and were very busy around the polls on election day. They each thought they had done a good day's work, and that one of them was certainly elected. They found, however, that they had received about forty votes each, and that some Know-Nothing whom they knew nothing about had been elected, much to their surprise. These Know-Nothings were certainly not Abolitionists! which settled that question, and he passed on from it.

Another thing he wished to notice was Douglas' remark, that the Whig party was dead, or swallowed up by the Abolitionists. He expressed himself obliged to inform the people that they were being addressed by a dead man, and he might appropriately remark in the language of the poet:

"Hark, from the tomb a doleful sound."

The speaker now turned his remarks on the manner in which Douglas had been received in various cities since the passage of the Nebraska bill. Who produced such a state of things as spoken of at Chicago? There where the Judge had numbered so many friends, and now could not muster enough to give him a hearing? Not the Whigs certainly; there are not Whigs enough in the whole town to do it! Some of the Judge's friends must have been swallowed by Abolitionism, or Know-Nothingism!

Before touching the question of the repeal of the Missouri Compromise, the speaker professed to enter upon the history of kindred subjects to this in the history of our Government, until the repeal, as it is called, of 1850.[101] Not desiring to misrepresent a single fact, he desired the Judge to correct him in any point in which he might err. At the close of the Revolutionary war, the United States did not really own any territory outside of the States themselves. Some of the States did claim territory as States, under the Federal Government. When the General Government first had anything to do with Kentucky, the State was thickly covered with slaves. The line of the Ohio river had not then been made a dividing line between the North and South, or the Slaveholding and non-Slaveholding States. The Northwest Territory was then what is termed free, there being no slaves within its borders. Slavery was tolerated in the South because it already existed, and there was no disposition to divide by a line, making [o]ne side slave territory, and the other free. The Constitution of the United States was not drafted when the States made a cession of their territory to the General Government. The Ordinance of 1787 provided that slavery should be prohibited in those Territories where slavery did not exist at the time the cession was made. This Ordinance was repealed by the adoption of the Constitution; but nobody thought it was, and everybody acted as if it had not been.

Petitions were actually presented to Congress for the repeal of the Ordinance, in order that Slavery might be introduced. The people always acted as if the Ordinance had been in full force, until 1848, when Wisconsin was admitted into the Union. In 1803, Mr. Jefferson, then President, thought it advisable to have the mouth of the Mississippi river, and the country on both sides, and the purchase of the Territory of Louisiana was effected, which includes the country to which the Missouri Compromise applies. Kansas and Nebraska, the western boundary of the Territory then purchased, was rather indefinite, and was left for the time unsettled. Florida was also purchased in 1819. In 1812 the State of Louisiana was admitted with Slavery, without any agitation. Missouri applied for admission into the Union in 1818–19, there being a few slaves in Kaskaskia and Vincennes at the time. This the General Government opposed, unless under a provision to exclude Slavery from the State.

It was at last agreed upon that Missouri should come in as a slave State, if she wished it, but slavery was proscribed from all the other Territories North of 35 [sic] deg. 30 min. No effort was made to repeal this compromise, and there was never any difficulty about it until lately. The line of 36 30 [sic] was always spoken of as a substantial dividing line between the slave States and free territory. It did not establish slavery South of the line, but left the people free to do as they pleased South, just as the repeal leaves it on both sides. A good many years after this, Arkansas came into the Union with[out][102] serious agitation. Iowa, Minnesota, and other Territorial governments, were established north of the line under the provisions of this compromise without controversy. We thus see the estimation in which the Missouri Compromise was held long after its passage, and all parties were not to be blamed for adhering to its principles so closely. Mr. Lincoln now spoke at some length in justification of this strict adherence, and read part of one of Mr. Douglas' speeches delivered in the Hall of Representatives of Illinois, in 1849, in defence of the Missouri Compromise. The substance was, that it should be held sacred by the people of the United States, one of the strongest and indissoluble ties to bind the Union together forever, and praying that it might never be severed by any ruthless hand, and drawing from this that Mr. Douglas ought not to blame any party for still reverencing it.

The war with Mexico broke out and President Polk asked of Congress an appropriation of $2,000,000 to be used in case of necessity, in bringing about a peace, and acquiring some portion of the territory. The speaker here mentioned David Wilmot, and said that Mr. Douglas had introduced him to the author of the famous Wilmot Proviso at Washington. [Mr. Douglas here remarked that he introduced them because he thought they were congenial spirits, and had a natural affinity for each other.]

The proviso was in substance, to prevent slavery ever going into the territory we might acquire from Mexico. Mr. Lincoln stated that he had voted for this proviso in one shape or another, forty times, and Mr. Douglas agreed with him in this probability, which shows a very strong affinity between him and Mr. Wilmot.

About this time Gen. Cass wrote his celebrated Nicholson letter, which Mr. Lincoln contended, originated the principle of the Nebraska Bill, the fame Mr. Douglas had acquired as its author, to the contrary notwithstanding.

[Mr. Douglas rose and said, with Mr. Lincoln's permission he would explain the real origin of the bill and the principle upon which it was founded, which he did as follows:

"God made man, and placed before him good and evil, and told him to take his choice."]

Mr. Lincoln replied that it was a great honor that Mr. Douglas was the first man to find that out, and then proceeded:

Congress would not let California in for six or seven months because she would not admit slavery, and there was considerable agitation on this question. Considerable excitement was also caused at this time by the fact that a stable within sight of the capitol at Washington was used for a storehouse for slaves, whence they were driven, when it became crowded, to a market in the South. There were some at that time who advocated the abolition of slavery in the District of Columbia. The country was full of slavery questions. The adjusting of the boundary line of Texas became as distinct a slavery question as any they had. Exchanges of interest were made between the North and South. The North obtained California [as] a free State. The South got a new fugitive slave law. The people in Utah and New Mexico got the privilege of deciding about slavery for themselves. The slave-pen was also driven out of Washington, and it finally resulted in the Compromise of 1850.

The bill for the organization of Kansas and Nebraska passed the House of Representatives in 1853, and went to the Senate. Here the language was changed, making considerable difference.[103] Mr. Douglas contended that the changes were immaterial, and he still owned the bill; but whether the differences had been great or small, all the difficulties have sprung from this change. Nobody raised any opposition to the bill before the change, and by the passage of this bill the Missouri Compromise is distinctly and unquestionably repealed. We do not charge that the bill legislates slavery into the Territories, but it operates much the same. From 1820 to 1854, thirty-four years, the Missouri Compromise was in force, and nobly answered the purposes for which it was intended. Now Congress says to slavery—"go there if you can, there's your chance." This seems to me something like [an][104] invitation. It is understood that the sympathy of [the][105] Government is in favor of slavery going there.

Mr. Lincoln here said that he was opposed to the extension of slavery; that he might express himself as opposed to slavery anyhow; that he looked upon the Nebraska Bill as glaringly and enormously wrong, especially after the Missouri compromise was found to operate so well for the safety and perpetuity of the Union; that he was opposed to our Government, after seventy years, saying to slavery, "go, and God speed you." It has done much to rob our republican example of its force, and held us up as hypocrits [sic], and to the scorn and derision of foreign nations.

Mr. Lincoln here went into a summing up of slavery, negro-trading, relations existing between master and slave, and slave owner and slave dealer, and entered into a discussion with himself, of whether a slave is property or not. He acknowledged the difficulty, almost impossibility, of remedying the evil suddenly, and said there was question enough upon the subject of freeing negroes, and that no statesmanship could act upon it.

He neither blamed or denounced the South for holding slaves. It is an institution in which they grew up, and the Constitution of the United States does right in giving the South a good and efficient law to protect their property. He was therefore in favor of the Fugitive Slave Law, and consequently he said he differed from very many present who were Anti-Nebraska men. He differed from them in many respects. He spoke warmly in opposition to the extension of Slavery by such outlets as the Nebraska Bill, and said that it furnished no more excuse for the extension of Slavery, than to revive the old Slave-Trade.

Mr. Lincoln now took up some of the arguments of Mr. Douglas in favor of the bill, and his justification of his course in the matter, and spoke at length and with much power. He endeavored to prove that the necessities of the case could not have required the measure, and consequently no excuse or argument could justify it. He said that instead of having Nebraska filled with negroes, we want that country for our poor white men.

Lastly, he said the bill provides no mode by which the Slavery question is to be settled in Nebraska, and the people are left to settle it as they please.

When Mr. Lincoln concluded, there was much sensation among the audience, and three cheers were given him, and three for Yates.

Mr. Douglas then took the stand, but not before a Mr. Lovejoy, brother to the Lovejoy killed at Alton, got upon it, and announced that the Fusion Republican Anti-Nebraska Convention would immediately assemble in the Senate Chamber. This step partially aroused the "little giant," and he said, in a clear, loud tone of voice, that he hoped the people would hear him one moment, while he made a simple statement. Said he: "I had no intention to speak here to-day, having occupied your patience and time too long, perhaps, on yesterday. Almost confined to a sick bed, yet I had arranged to leave Springfield this day, to meet an appointment elsewhere, (at Jacksonville,) to-morrow. But my friend, Mr. Lincoln, expressly invited me to stay and hear him speak to-day, as he heard me yesterday, and to answer and defend myself as best I could. I here thank him for his courteous offer; and this is the reason why I come before you to-night. And it is my earnest desire, and, I am sure, of my friend Lincoln also, that the same audience that has listened to his speech will alike listen to my vindication." Loud cries of "go on," "go on, we'll hear you," "never mind the fusionists," and other such expressions.[106]

Mr. Douglas then commenced his speech, and all was still, and deep attention. I could not perceive that any persons retired, as suggested by Lovejoy. The house was as well filled as at any time during the afternoon, although the shades of night were drooping, and the audience had listened to a four hour's speech. The ladies in the gallery kept their places, even, and as he had been keenly, yet fair[l]y and candidly, attacked by Mr. Lincoln, all were on the qui vive [107] to hear his defence. It came. When he had spoken three minutes the house was as still as death. In five minutes time he fairly got at his subject, and within ten minutes from his commencing, the applause of the roused assembly was so constant and intense, that he had to stop and specially request his hearers to restrain their applause and allow him [to use the][108] short time left to him to the best possible advantage.

Mr. Douglas proceeded to take up Mr. Lincoln's positions, one by one, in the most skillful manner, and as he passed on, from one to another, flaying his opponent alive upon each proposition, as his friends doubtless thought, the cheers could not be repressed. I state this as a mere witness, having no feeling in the matter, but simply giving my observations.

Mr. Douglas spoke about two hours, in the most animated strain, and the audience accumulated rather than decreased. His great forte seems to be the answering and pulling down of his opponents, and on this occasion his competitor was overwhelmed, being evidently unused to such warfare.

When Mr. Douglas closed, there was a succession of cheering, for some moments, and then three cheers for himself, three for Nebraska, and three for Harris were given with the most hearty zeal and emphasis. And as the crowd passed out, and down the winding steps, volleys of cheers were given for "Douglas," "the little giant," and "Nebraska."

I do not draw any parallel between these two speeches, when I thus write of the latter. I merely speak of the effect of the latter, as a fair and truthful journalist reporter, not presuming to judge of the argument of either. And it may not be improper for me to remark in this connexion, that the friends of Mr. Lincoln have no cause for any regret respecting this debate; even though the oratory of his gifted opponent has rung throughout this country and Europe, and who is generally conceded to be one of the best, if not the best, stump speakers in America.

Immediately after the breaking up of the Nebraska discussion, the friends of agriculture and the mechanic arts assembled in the Hall of Representatives, pursuant to adjournment. Vice President Dr. Kennicutt called the meeting to order the moment Mr. Douglas had left the stand, and desired all those more interested in agriculture than politics to remain in the room and learn something. But the Hall was nearly vacated by its former audience—a sitting of six hours duration in a crowded hall being quite enough to produce a desire to breathe fresh air and relish supper. At a later hour the Hall was well filled, and interesting discussions were being conducted in a spirited manner by the members. The subject of education, partially discussed last evening, occupied the greater portion of the present session. Other subjects connected with agriculture were freely and spiritedly discussed.

Letters from Springfield[109]

Springfield, Oct. 5

....Judges Trumbull and Breese did not arrive as was expected, to speak yesterday. The Hon. A. Lincoln, however, formerly member of Congress from this State, was present, and delivered an able anti-Nebraska speech, in reply to Senator Douglas' remarks of the day previous. I cannot pretend in one letter to give a full report of a speech, which occupied three hours and a half in the delivery, although I have the notes thereof.

Mr. L. said he made no war with slavery in those States where it existed, because he believed it guaranteed by the constitution and the laws of the land. But that he was utterly opposed to extending the area of the same—especially as in so doing the senator sought by his bill to perpetrate a great wrong in the violation of national faith. It was a great wrong for the South, who, under the provisions of the Missouri compromise, had succeeded in getting her half of the benefits anticipated to be derived from this measure, now to aim at breaking down this barrier, for the purpose of grabbing at what in good faith belongs to her sister States of the North. He was opposed to the adoption of the principle involved in the Nebraska bill, which virtually annulled the declaration that all men are created free and equal; and he could not subscribe to any measure that authorized one portion of the race of man to enslave by law another portion, without the consent of that portion first being obtained. We already had much difficulty in reconciling our practice with our declarations in the estimating of other portions of the civilized world. The passage of the Nebraska bill was virtually an invitation by Congress to extend slavery into territories already free, and gave full authority to an entire world to denominate us as a nation of hypocrites. He felt disposed, and would ever stand by the compromise measures of 1850; but he trusted never to see the evil of slavery transpla[n]ted into new territory, as would be the result of the carrying out of the features of the Nebraska iniquity.

He ably combatted [sic] the position of Senator Douglas, that the passage of the Nebraska bill was destined to save the Union. For himself, he must declare

"It hath no relish of salvation in it."

On the contrary, it sought to extend the area of the very institution, discussion upon which had so often agitated the entire country, and sought again to renew the difficulties and dissensions that the Missouri compromise left uninvaded, and the measures of 1850 had quietly put to rest.

Again; this famous bill does not decide how the matter is to be settled, after all, nor by whom. Whether one dozen, a score or a hundred are to decide the question—no provision is laid down. And at present it seems to be the opinion of those who are seeking a settlement there, that any other mode than a peaceable one is to be resorted to. Pistols and bowie knifes seemed to be the method adopted, and he feared a bigger fight than many anticipated would be the result, since Congress, in the passage of this bill, had formed a ring, and pitted the champions to fight it out, in the most approved method of savage warfare.

In fine, instead of producing quietude and peace, the passage of this bill had created a sea of trouble. The Hon. Senator had raised a storm, the white caps of which can be seen afar off in the distant States, mounting higher and still higher, and bursting here and there, leaving the little boats of his friends floating about bottom upward.[110]

There were at least two thousand persons present; and, at the conclusion of the speech, of which I have given but a meagre [sic] report, six cheers were given for Lincoln.

Senator Douglas was present, and repiled [sic]; and we must say he is certainly a great speaker when aroused, as he most assuredly was by Mr. Lincoln's forcible reasoning against his bantling. The main force of his argument consisted in endeavoring to demonstrate that the Nebraska bill was but asserting the principles involved in the compromise measures of 1850—"the platform that Henry Clay reared, and upon which Daniel Webster died"—as he expressed it. The crowd lessened considerably by the time Mr. Douglas had concluded; but when he closed, he was also cheered.

During the speech of Mr. Lincoln, a passage of words occurred which created some laughter, and may be worthy of report. Mr. L. had asserted chat [sic] he rather inclined to the opinion that the Nicholson letter was the origin of the Nebraska bill.

Mr. Douglas immediately rose, and replied that the Nebraska bill was based upon a principle that dated back to the period when the Almighty created man, and placing good and evil before him, bade him choose for himself and abide the consequences!

To which Mr. Lincoln promptly rejoined—that great honor was due Mr. Douglas for having been the first to make the discovery!

Special Correspondence of the Journal.

Douglas in the Interior—Politics—State Fair &c.[111]

Springfield, Oct. 3rd, 1854.

A ride from Chicago to Springfield, commencing at the former place at 10 P. M. Monday, and ending at the latter at 12 [P.] M. Tuesday, was disagreeably diversified by a thunder storm and two cows; the one making frightful music overhead and the other getting under the ca[r]s and switching us off the track on the most doleful prairie in the whole Prairie State. The accident occurred near the Magon station, or perhaps half way between that and Dwight. It detained us from about two o'clock in the morning to nearly five. Nothing damaged except the cattle which were crushed into just no shape at all.

Confusion reigns in the Capital and sits gloating over the ranks of the unterrified. A short year ago and Stephen A. Douglas would have been taken from the cars at the Springfield depot and borne in triumph on the heads of enthusiastic Democracy. Now, how changed! He arrives at the Capital of his own State, comes out of the car and looks around for a deputation [o]r a committee to escort him to his rooms. No one appears and no one seems to know that Stephen A. Douglas is not in his grave. He takes up his baggage and marches off—merely an American citizen who has a right to come to Springfield or not, just as suits his convenience.

Mr. D. looks desponding. His friends say he is unwell, got the ague, had a shake, expects the fever and all that, but those who know, know that it is merely a ruse to let the people understand what a Hercules he would be if he was well.—Mr. D. has had a hard time in the interior. It was expected on all hands that being a martyr throughout the Northern part of the State, commencing at Chicago and ending at Geneva, he would be hailed with salvos by the strong holds of Democracy where no tinge of Abolitionism ever lurked. Alas! the cold shoulder is turned to the small giant wherever he appears, and his presence in a community is the signal for an upstarting of giants more gigantic than himself, who arm themselves with truth and do fearful battle with Nebraska and its putative father.

At Bloomington a few days since, he made his usual speech to about two thousand people and was listened to calmly and respect[f]ully. No applause was thundered forth as of old when the Missouri Compromise was 'a sacred thing which no ruthless hand would ever be reckless enough to disturb,' but the feeling was painfully apparent that his audience didn't believe him. Lincoln was there. Lincoln is apt to be w[h]ere he isn't wanted. He was there, and when Douglas had just finished he announced that he would address the people of Bloomington on the subject of the Nebraska bill in the evening. This was a little ominous, and so Mr. Douglas announced that he would also speak in the evening to the people of Bloomington, in another place, on the same subject. Lincoln had a large and enthusiastic crowd and Douglas so beggarly an attendance that his organs have seen fit to ignore the matter entirely. After that coup de main he made a rush towards Alton, but concluded not to go quite there, preferring to stop in the banner County of Democracy in the Springfield District—Macoupin. At Carlinville he outdid himself and attempted to do a miracle. He tried to make an enthusiastic demonstration in the State, and he sadly failed. It would not go down. The pill was too nauceous [sic] and by far too large for a single dose. Macoupin was not to be done. The applause was faint and came at the wrong place. When he left the town the committee which of course should have escorted him to the depot was wholly minus, and the duty fell to the Macoupin Statesman. The inveterate Dugger handed the orator out of the carriage and saw him safely off. The locomotive whistled and that was the only announcement that Stephen A. Douglas had started for Springfield.

His reception here I have described. Th[is] afternoon he spoke in the Representative's Hall, to a tolerably full house. Twenty five or thirty retainers were stationed in the gallery to cheer and applaud. It was noticed that no applause came from any other quarter. Governor Matteson introduced the speaker to the assembly. The speaker bowed low and waited till the enthusiasm created by his presence should entirely subside. Not a sound was heard, no hands were clapped, not a cheer was uttered. Still he put a good face on the ominous omission and commenced his speech. All who have heard him speak know exactly what he said. Still he rather improved on himself in one or two particulars. He added to his regular list, two lies which I had not heard before. He said that Daniel Webster was in favor of making the Compromise of 1850 a finality, and was therefore in favor of leaving slavery to make all the progress in the territorities [sic] it could; that Webster wished never to stay the progress of slavery where the people wanted it. The other and most barefaced falsification was that the organization of Washington territory violated the ordinance of 1787!!

From remarks I have heard since the speech, I am led to believe that this latter falsehood disgusted even his friends.

The speech was finally concluded and a sorry thing it was. The twenty five cheermen invariably applauded in the wrong place, and the people invariably did'nt [sic] applaud at all. One thing a little noticeable in the address was that in the first place Mr. Douglas abused the whigs like a pickpocket, and shortly after commenced praising Henry Clay to the skies, and cajoling all whigs to return to the standard of that great patriot and to the—Nebraska bill.

To-day politics have been brewing in Springfield. All parts of the State are represented, and all parties are working like famished tigers. Douglas and Harris are both shouldering the wheel, and if it lies in their power (which it does not) Mr. H. will be elected by a heavy majority. Murray McConnell has come up to their help, and is busy laying pipe and putting a cast iron face on all affairs of whatever nature. Judge Treat is walking soberly around with the Habeas Corpus Act under his arm. Gov. Matteson is tugging at—it is impossible to state what. Gen. Singleton, the hero of the Mormon war, is doing battle for Nebraska by licking the feet of Douglas, and begging that individual to spit on him.

On the other hand, the anti-Nebraska force is actually Herculean. Lincoln, after setting Mr. Douglas back several degrees at Bloomington, has come to do it over again here. John M. Palmer[,] having settled all the hash with Burke in Macoupin county, is prepared to strike some sledge hammer blows in Sangamon. Jehu Baker of Bell[e]ville, one of the soundest and ablest men in the West[,] has come prepared to do all that can be expected of an honest man. Trumbull, Breese and Yates will be here to-morrow, and in short the cup of the Nebraskaites will be full to the brim. Of members of the press there are scores, and I shall have an opportunity of enumerating them hereafter.

At present, a harmless, renegade, dough[f]ace Whig[,] Gen. Singleton, hero of the Mormon war as aforesaid, is speaking in the rotunda, and showing that Congress has no more right to legislate slavery out of Kansas because it is an evil, than it would have to legislate cholera out of the same territory, because that is an evil. While eating all the dirt that drops from Douglas, he spreads slime on the name of Henry Clay, calls him the greatest of men, and claims the Nebraska bill as being as much a Whig as a Democratic measure. At the same time he holds up office seekers to immense ridicule.

P. S. Mr. Singleton has concluded, Major Harris has squeaked out about fifteen minutes talk, and Mr. Lincoln has announced that he or Judge Trumbull or both, will answer Mr. Douglas to-morrow afternoon in the Representatives Hall. Hitherto Nebraska has had it all its own way. To-morrow the answering batteries will be opened and—we shall see.

The State Fair is quite full and is well attended but I must defer an extended account of it.

The paint shop of the C. & M. R. R. took fire yesterday, and three new passenger cars were totally consumed. Loss about $12,000.

Special Correspondence of the Journal.

Grand Passage of Arms—Douglas and Lincoln[112]

Springfield, Oct. 4, 1854.

Abraham Lincoln is a mammoth. He has this day delivered a speech, the grea[t]est ever listened to in the State of Illinois, unless [he] himself has made a greater. Stephen A. Douglas never in his life received so terrible a back fall. For vigor of thought, strength of expression, comprehensiveness of scope, keenness of argument—extent of research, and candor of presentation, the speech of Mr. Lincoln has rarely been equaled in the annals of American eloquence,[sic]

In order to understand it fully, it must be known that Mr. L[.] invited Mr[.] Douglas to attend the meeting and reply if he chose. Mr. Douglas consented to do so, and at two o'clock precisely the orators entered the Representatives Hall, together. Mr. Lincoln took the stand, and commenced.

He said that he should not assail the motives and not impeach the honesty of any man who voted for the Nebraska Bill, much less, his distinguished friend, Judge Douglas. He gave his distinguished friend, Douglas[,] credit for honesty of intention and true patriotism—referring whatever of wrong he might happen to find among his actions, entirely to mistaken sense of duty. If in giving a running account of the political history of the country, he should make any mistakes he would thank his learned friend for pointing them out, and making the proper corrections. This, Mr. Douglas consented to do.

t will be impossible for me to give more than a sketch of the speech and its concomitants. It occupied nearly three hours, and a very short summary must of necessity, take up considerable room. Mr. Lincoln commenced with a few humorous allusions to the position of Douglas on the Know-Nothing question, principally to get his audience into good temper, or that part of them who would be likely to kick up if they saw their great Mogul contradicted. He saw nothing remarkable in Mr. D[.]'s position on the Know-Nothings. It was a notorious fact that nineteen twentieths of our foreign population had always supported Mr. Douglas, and if that gentleman could fetch over the other twentieth, it wouldn't prove such a bad speculation. (Laughter.—Douglas as grim as Mont Blanc.[113]) 'Fellow Citizens,' said Mr. Lincoln, 'my distinguished friend here has told you that the Whig party is dead. If that be so, you have to day the extraordinary privilege of being addressed by a dead man. According to my notion, however, he has got the wrong party in the grave. From what I have been able to learn, it is the Democratic party that has gone into the hands of the undertakers. The Democrats of Connecticut, New Hampshire, Maine, Vermo[n]t and Iowa, seem to me to be in a very bad way. If there has been any 'swallowing up,' as my friend Judge Douglas speaks of, it occurs to me that he has got the wrong party swallowed.

From the election returns thus far, the 'swallowing' has been all the other side. (Laughter.) Take for example, the City of Chicago, in our own State, the great City of the North West, and the home of my distinguished friend, present. What kind of swallowing has been done there? If I am not mistaken, the friends and supporters of my distinguished friend present, were more than two-thirds of the entire population, and now my friend comes down here and tells that the Abolitionists of Chicago howled him down, and refused him the freedom of speech. If the 'swallowing' referred to by our Senator, has been exactly of the kind he says, it is surely strange that the two-thirds of the population of Chicago did not immediately choke down the fractional Abolitionist party, and allow the Judge to finish his speech. Alas, I fear that the 'swallowing up' which my distinguished friend alludes to, has been done by altogether different throats.['][114] (Laughter.)

Mr. Lincoln then commenced a narration of the political history of the country, beginning with the old confederation and the ordinance of 1787, and ending with the passage of the Nebraska bill and the annihilation of the Missouri Compromise. He said that the North West Territory belonged to the State of Virginia, which State ceded it to the General Government, and the General Government saw fit to apply to it the ordinance of 1787, by which slavery and involuntary servitude, except in the punishment of crime, whereof the parties shall have been duly convicted, should be prohibited forever; that afterwards the Supreme Court decided that the adoption of the Constitution abrogated that ordinance, but the decision of the Court was so little regarded that in all acts for the admission of the new States in the North West some provision was put in to keep the ordinance of '87 in full force, as regarded all the country of the Ohio river;[115] that "self-government" and "popular sovereignty" so called, was not allowed even to the people of Illinois, and that even now they didn't know how miserable they had been all their lives without it. The Missouri Compromise merely excluded slavery north of 36 degrees and 30 minutes. It did not establish slavery south of that line. The Compromise was loved and respected and regarded a "sacred thing" by men of all parties for thirty-four years.

"Gentlemen," said the speaker, "to show you how it was regarded by some of the leaders of the Democratic party, I will read you a portion of a speech delivered in 1849 by my distinguished friend. It is powerful and eloquent; its language is choice and rich. I wish I was such a master of language as my friend, the Judge; I do indeed." Mr.L. then read the extract which stated that the Compromise was canonized in the hearts of the American people, &c. It was followed by enthusiastic applause. "A first rate speech," said Douglas. (Renewed applause.) "Indeed so affectionate was the Judge's regard for the Missouri Compromise that when Texas was admitted, and a little strip of it was found to be north of 36 30, he actually had the prohibitory line extended over that also." "And you voted against extending the line, Mr. Lincoln?" remarked Mr. Douglas, (Laughter.) "Yes, sir, because I was in favor of running that line much further south." (Great applause.) "About this time my friend, the Judge, introduced me to a particular friend of his, one Davy Wilmot, of Pennsylvania." (Laughter.) "I thought you would be fit associates," quoth Mr. Douglas.—(Great laughter.) "Well, in the end it proved we were, and I hope to convince this audience that we may be so yet. (Uproarious applause.) I voted in one way or another about forty times for that gentlemen's proviso, but some way or other the House adjourned and the proviso didn't pass. About this time old General Cass began to be talked of for the Presidency, and in order to make the matter sure in the South, he must write a letter that became somewhat famous under the name of the Nicholson letter. My friend here says that all Democrats who voted for Gen. Cass were in favor of abrogating the Missouri Compromise. Well, according to my notion, this Nicholson letter was the primal origin of the doctrine of popular sovereignty. I think the old General after all is the father of the dogma. If I am not right I will thank my distinguished friend to correct me."[116]

Douglas, (Solemnly,)—God Almighty placed man on earth and told him to choose between good and evil. That was the origin of the Nebraska bill. (A dead calm.)

Lincoln—Well then I think my distinguished friend is deserving of great honor for being the first to discover it." (Tremendous laughter.)

Mr. Lincoln then reviewed the whole of the Compromise measures of 1850 to discover if there were any just grounds for the statements of Mr. Douglas that all who endorsed these measures were strictly in favor of annulling the Missouri Compromise. He stated that the measures were, the admission of California as a free State, the definite settlement of the Texas boundary, the Utah and New Mexico bills, the Fugitive Slave Law, and the abolition of the slave depot in sight of the Capitol at Washington. He wished to know which one of these acts was supposed to point to the overthrow of the Missouri restriction, and if there was one such act, whether it was fair to rest everything on that single point, and neglect the rest. He was unable to see the fairness of such a statement as his friend was in the habit of making to all the people he addressed, to the effect that any man who supported the Compromise of 1850 was is [sic] in favor of destroying that of 1820, or any other man who was in favor of extending the line further South was in favor of destroying the line where it already existed. If his friend should counsel him to build an addition to his house and he should decline doing so, would it be proper for his friend to set fire to the old house and burn it to the ground? It would be a very singular deduction.[117]

In 1853 Mr. Douglas saw fit to introduce a bill for the organization of Nebraska Territory. So little noise did it make, that in the interior of Illinois, scarcely any one ever heard of it. In 1850[118], as he says, he introduced the same bill again without any material change. Whatever Judge Douglas might have ac[t]ually thought, and we give him credit for honesty, he certainly deferred to the opinion of men who thought and said that the change was material, very material. The bill passed, the barrier is thrown down, and slavery is invited to go into the territory consecrated to freedom.

Mr. Lincoln then went on with a most eloquent argument on the subject of slavery in the abstract though still guaranteeing to the south all their constitutional rights. He then referred to some of Mr.Douglas' [sic] arguments, and said that if he (Mr. D.,) [sic] would acquire the habit of reading the resolutions and instructions that passed both houses of the Illinois Legislature, instead of those that only passed one branch, it would suit him (Lincoln) a great deal better. He did'nt [sic] remember what resolutions actually passed both branches but he would much prefer those very ones should be read. Mr. Douglas here handed Mr. Lincoln a book and requested him to read. The speaker declined, but insisted Mr. Douglas hereafter to [sic] read the correct resolutions himself. Considerable hilarity was caused by this side shot.[119]

"Gentlemen," said Mr. Lincoln, "I have read in a speech of my distinguished friend, that it was an insult to the emigrants of Kansas and Nebraska to suppose they were not good enough to govern themselves. We must not pass over this argument with a laugh or a joke. It must be met and answered. I acknowledged the right of man to govern himself, but I affirm that no man has a right to govern another, WITHOUT THAT OTHERS CONSENT." (Tremendous applause.)

Mr. Lincoln finally concluded his speech with some stirring appeals to the men of the North and the South together, warning the latter to beware of the preservation of the Union[,] which never would be dissolved except by the further extension of slavery. He made a perfectly barbarous point against Douglas by saying that he presumed the Missouri Compromise could be restored in the South, because surely his friend Judge Douglas would obey the will of his constituents.[120] One other point is all I shall have time to notice. The speaker said that things at Washington had come to a frightful pass. Said he, "among the members of the U. S. Senate there is one bold fellow, who don't mince matters, but speaks out just what he sees to be apparent. He says on the floor of the Senate that our revered Declaration of Independence is a "a self-evident lie," and I am forced to believe against all my inclinations, that not one of his friends, his Nebraska friends in that body was found to rebuke him, nor one of the Administration papers in the United States to remonstrate with him. Gentlemen if that man had made use of that sentence in old Independence Hall the door keeper would have taken him by the throat and hurled him into the street." The applause that followed was continued for some minutes.[121]

When Lincoln had concluded, the crowd gave six cheers for him and six for Dick Yates, after which Douglas took the stand actually quivering. Mr. D's. [sic] invariable way of commencing a speech or argument is to say that he has been abused in a manner hitherto unparalleled. In this case all he could say was that he had been grossly assaailed [sic] though in a perfectly courteous manner.—He then undertook to show that Anti-Nebraska men were not in favor of the extention [sic] of slavery. This was almost the only attempt at reply. He immediately launched off into a stout Nebraska speech of his own, and left Mr. Lincoln's argument untouched.[122] This was the only course open to him. Lincoln had built a fortress impregnable as Gibralter.

I acknowledge to have done Mr. Lincoln poor justice in this short report and indeed from his style I think it would be impossible for any one to do him full justice. His speech was nothing short of tremendous and its effect on all who heard it was terribly telling. Compared with Abraham Lincoln, Stephen A. Douglas is not discoverable with the microscope.

To-morrow, Breese and Trumbull have it all to themselves. Confusion is starting up in the ranks of Democracy and coincident with it, Dick Yates is starting into the thirty-fourth Congress. So mote it be.



  1. Roy P. Basler et al., eds., The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln, 9 vols. (New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers University Press, 1953–1955): 2:226–34; The Lincoln Log, (accessed July 15, 2008). For an excellent recent introduction to the origins and implications of Lincoln's Peoria address, see Lewis E. Lehrman, Lincoln at Peoria: The Turning Point (Mechanicsburg, Pa.: Stackpole Books, 2008). I am grateful to Jared Orsi, Lewis Lehrman, and Douglas Wilson for suggestions that greatly improved this essay; to Jim Rinkus, Sylvia Giemza, and Debbie Strueben, who transcribed the various correspondents' reports; to Evelyn Taylor and Rosemary Peck for checking the edited and annotated transcriptions against the newspaper copy; to Sheila Murphy for invaluable interlibrary loan assistance; to Rev. William Moore for sharing a copy of the Freeport Journal's account of the 1854 Republican Party convention in Springfield; and to Michael Burlingame for generously encouraging me to publish the Chicago Journal's accounts of Lincoln's and Douglas's speeches in Springfield, which his biography brought to my attention only a few weeks before this article went to press. return to text
  2. Illinois State Register, November 21, 22; Weekly National Intelligencer, December 2, 1854. Prior historians have utilized these accounts of Douglas's speech. In their respective biographies of Lincoln and Douglas, Albert Beveridge cited the Chicago Times and the Weekly National Intelligencer, and Robert W. Johannsen cited the Illinois State Register. The Intelligencer is the best account to use because the November 14, 1854, issue of the Chicago Times no longer seems extant, the microfilm quality for the relevant issues of the Illinois State Register is poor, and the Intelligencer copied the speech directly from the Times. Albert J. Beveridge, Abraham Lincoln, 1809–1858 (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1928), 2:273; Robert W. Johannsen, Stephen A. Douglas (1973; reprint, Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1997), 461, 920. return to text
  3. John A. Corry, The First Lincoln-Douglas Debates, October 1854 (Philadelphia: Xlibris, 2008), 153–78. Although Corry has provided a real service by transcribing the Intelligencer's account, the transcription contains several errors and omits the prefatory information prior to the speech, most of the first paragraph, the last four paragraphs, several lists of names, and all indications of applause. I have nevertheless chosen to cite Corry's account where feasible because it is widely available. return to text
  4. I thank Lewis Lehrman for sharing many perceptive observations about the challenge of interpreting Douglas's speech. return to text
  5. Michael Burlingame, Abraham Lincoln: A Life (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2008), 1:377–87. This recent outpouring of either unknown or barely known accounts of Lincoln's address at Springfield makes it one of the better documented speeches of his pre-presidential career. return to text
  6. P. Orman Ray, The Repeal of the Missouri Compromise: Its Origin and Authorship (Cleveland: Arthur H. Clark, 1909), 200. Ray also indicated that there was "a brief account" of the debate in the October 14, 1854, issue of Chicago's Weekly Democratic Press. However, the Wisconsin Historical Society is apparently the only repository that owns that issue, and its staff is unable to locate the copy. Ray does not mention the Missouri Democrat, and as far as I am aware Lincoln scholars have never used its report of the speeches. Albert J. Beveridge and George Fort Milton used the Missouri Republican's account indirectly, both citing the Washington Sentinel, which had clipped the Republican. Beveridge, Abraham Lincoln, 2:263; George Fort Milton, The Eve of Conflict: Stephen A. Douglas and the Needless War (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1934), 182. return to text
  7. The Register asserted that Douglas "pounded" Lincoln "to pumice with his terrible war club of retort and argument," and snidely hoped that the debate would "make Mr. Lincoln a wiser man," teaching "him that no talent he may possess, no industry he may use, no art he can invent, can stay the power of truth that supports the friends of the Nebraska measure." Illinois State Register, October 6, 1854. return to text
  8. Missouri Republican, October 6, 1854. return to text
  9. Missouri Democrat, October 10, 1854. return to text
  10. Illinois Journal, October 10, 1854. Herndon indicated that newspaper editors from Kentucky and other southern states were also present in Springfield, which suggests that other transcriptions of the debate may exist. However, none of the Kentucky newspapers that I was able to obtain through interlibrary loan—the Kentucky Yeoman, the Louisville Daily Courier, and the Louisville Daily Journal—mention the debate. return to text
  11. Missouri Republican, January 22, 27, 1854; February 7, 1854; June 2, 8, 14, 15, 1854. return to text
  12. Ibid., September 3, 1854. return to text
  13. Ibid., September 5, 1854. The Republican's hostility to fusion led it into contretemps with Illinois Whig newspapers, which the Illinois State Register sardonically exploited in its columns. Illinois State Register, September 2, 4, 23, 1854. return to text
  14. The Missouri Republican supported Douglas's presidential candidacy in 1860. Missouri Republican, November 3, 1860. return to text
  15. Douglas's appeal to such Whigs began immediately after passage of the Kansas-Nebraska Act and continued throughout the decade. return to text
  16. Missouri Republican, October 8, 1854. return to text
  17. Ibid. return to text
  18. Ibid., October 6, 1854. return to text
  19. Ibid., October 8, 1854. The correspondent from the Missouri Democrat also attended the second day of the convention, reporting that there "was a very full attendance." However, the official record of the convention, published in the Freeport Journal, stated that attendance on the second day was "not large" owing to "many unfavorable circumstances." This suggests that the number reported by the Republican might very well be accurate despite the correspondent's hostility to the fusionists. Historians have never been able to pinpoint the attendance of the convention, so the new information is valuable. Certainly the Illinois State Register's claim that only about several dozen abolitionists attended can now be dismissed as a deliberate falsehood. Missouri Democrat, October 7, 1854; Freeport Journal, October 12, 1854; Illinois State Register, October 7, 9, 1854; Paul Selby, "Republican State Convention, Springfield, Ill., October 4–5, 1854," McLean County Historical Society Transactions 3 (1900): 43–47; and Selby, "Genesis of the Republican Party in Illinois," Transactions of the Illinois State Historical Society (1906): 270–83. Despite the low attendance, one passage from the Missouri Republican suggests that the convention may have been received more warmly than many historians have credited. Democrat John Calhoun, who was replying to Lyman Trumbull's anti-Nebraska speech on the evening of October 5, "spoke violently against the Abolitionists and of the objects of the Fusion Convention, held in that house this morning," because if the "objects of that Convention were carried out, disunion would be sure to ensue." However, Calhoun's "expression was received with considerable disapprobation," compelling Calhoun to go "into an argument in favor of the assertion" for two hours. Nevertheless, he "was met by frequent retorts from the crowd" during his speech. Missouri Republican, October 8, 1854. This degree of sympathy for the fusion movement would be in keeping with what the fusionists asserted: that confusion over the date of the meeting, an inability to schedule a meeting place, and hostility from Springfield printers crippled their attempt to sponsor a well-attended convention. By this logic, the poor attendance did not reflect hostility to the antislavery movement per se. return to text
  20. Missouri Republican, October 6, 8, 1854. Certainly the Missouri Democrat was not so familiar with Lincoln. Despite defending Lincoln against the Republican correspondent's alleged "disparagement," Benjamin Gratz Brown referred to the Illinois lawyer as "Gen. Lincoln." Missouri Democrat, October 10, 1854. return to text
  21. The Democrat's correspondent stated that perhaps five thousand visitors crowded into the fair's twenty-acre enclosure at noon on October 4. Missouri Democrat, October 6, 1854. return to text
  22. Missouri Republican, October 6, 1854 (quotes); Missouri Democrat, October 6, 1854. The Democrat published reports on the fair through October 12, including the October 5 anti-Nebraska speeches of Sidney Breese and Lyman Trumbull. The Republican published additional correspondence on the fair through October 10. return to text
  23. Missouri Republican, October 6, 1854; Missouri Democrat, October 6, 1854. return to text
  24. Missouri Republican, October 6, 1854; The Lincoln Log, (accessed July 16, 2008). return to text
  25. Missouri Republican, October 6, 1854. return to text
  26. Ibid.; Missouri Democrat, October 6, 1854. return to text
  27. Missouri Republican, October 6, 1854. return to text
  28. Ibid. The correspondent's description of the crowd's departure after Douglas's speech matched that of the Illinois State Register, which stated that "cheer after cheer went up from the assembled thousands" as the "vast crowd was passing out of the state house." Illinois State Register, October 6, 1854. return to text
  29. "Bantling" refers to a very young child, which suggests that the Democrat's correspondent used the word colloquially to deride Douglas's arguments as childish or simplistic. return to text
  30. Missouri Democrat, October 6, 1854. return to text
  31. Missouri Republican, October 6, 1854. The Chicago Journal's correspondent also recorded Lincoln's invitation to Douglas, and both the Chicago Journal and the Illinois Journal recorded additional interruptions Douglas made during Lincoln's speech. Chicago Journal, October 9, 1854; Collected Works, 2:244. return to text
  32. Missouri Republican, October 6, 1854. Lincoln referred to this exchange at Peoria, where he stated that Douglas again advanced the argument in his rebuttal of Lincoln at Springfield. Lincoln therefore changed his response at Peoria, contradicting Douglas's biblical exegesis by noting that God had prohibited Adam from eating fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil "upon pain of certain death." Collected Works, 2:278. Douglas made no reference to the biblical origins of the Kansas-Nebraska Act in his November 9, 1854, speech in Chicago. He likely quietly abandoned his argument, which contradicted the Bible. return to text
  33. Missouri Democrat, October 6, 1854. On October 9, 1854, the Chicago Journal also recorded this exchange. return to text
  34. Chicago Journal, October 9, 1854. return to text
  35. Missouri Republican, October 6, 1854. return to text
  36. Collected Works, 2:276. For instance, Roy Basler concluded that "Lincoln made much the same speech" at Peoria, and Michael Burlingame stated that Lincoln "repeated" his Springfield address at Peoria, delivering "virtually the same remarks." Collected Works, 2:240; Burlingame, Abraham Lincoln, 1:377. return to text
  37. The Peoria address, of course, differed in one substantial way from the Springfield speech. Knowing that Douglas was going to speak after him in Peoria, Lincoln anticipated Douglas's coming critique by addressing "some of the points" Douglas previously had advanced in his rebuttal of Lincoln at Springfield. Lincoln's decision to append these comments at the end of the Peoria address suggests the degree to which he chose to protect the cohesion of his Springfield speech. Rather than incorporating his new ideas into his existing speech, he presented them at the end as a series of related but distinct arguments. Though this choice undermined the rhetorical effect of his magnificent conclusion, it ensured that the core speech remained a tour de force, spellbinding his listeners. Lincoln's choice is especially comprehensible given that he memorized the Peoria address and spoke without notes. Substantially altering the Springfield speech between October 4 and October 16 would have made preparing and delivering such a polished address very difficult. Collected Works 2:276–83; Douglas L. Wilson, Lincoln's Sword: The Presidency and the Power of Words (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2006), 37. return to text
  38. Corry, First Lincoln-Douglas Debates, 212. Corry includes a transcription of the Peoria Daily Union's account of Douglas's Peoria speech in the book's appendix. return to text
  39. See Collected Works, 2:236 for the text of the speech at Bloomington; Corry, First Lincoln-Douglas Debates, 208. return to text
  40. See Collected Works, 2:261 for the text of the Peoria address. return to text
  41. See Ibid., 2:275, for Lincoln's quote "Go, and God speed you," which Lincoln relocated at Peoria. The conclusion of the Peoria address included Lincoln's remarkable closing paragraph that urged Americans to repurify the nation's soiled republican robe "in the spirit, if not the blood, of the Revolution." Neither the Illinois Journal's, the Chicago Journal's, or the Missouri Republican's accounts recorded Lincoln's conclusion at Peoria, despite its memorable language, and nothing in the short summaries of Lincoln's earlier speeches suggests it either. However, the Illinois Journal's October 10 editorial on Lincoln's speech, which William Herndon later claimed to have written, clearly identified Lincoln's masterful conclusion: "No where, in the whole speech of Mr. Lincoln, was he more grand than at the conclusion. He said this people were degenerating from the sires of the Revolution,—from Washington, Jefferson, Madison and Monroe,—as it appeared to him; yet he called upon the spirit of the brave, valiant, free sons of all and every clime, to defend freedom and the institutions that our fathers and Washington gave us, and that now was the time to show to the world, and to the free and manly souls therein, that we were not rolling back towards despotism." Illinois Journal, October 10, 1854; William Henry Herndon, Herndon's Life of Lincoln, ed. Paul M. Angle (Greenwich, Conn.: Fawcett Publications, 1961), 297–98. return to text
  42. Missouri Republican, October 6, 1854; see Collected Works, 2:256 for the text of the Peoria address. The closest Lincoln came to using such language at Peoria was much later in the speech when he urged Whigs to stand "WITH the abolitionist in restoring the Missouri Compromise; and stand AGAINST him when he attempts to repeal the fugitive slave law." Collected Works, 2:273. Wishing to emphasize Lincoln's distinction between Whigs and abolitionists, the Republican's correspondent possibly exaggerated Lincoln's language at Springfield. return to text
  43. Missouri Republican, October 6, 1854. return to text
  44. Collected Works, 2:255–56, 263–65. return to text
  45. Ibid., 2:244–46 (Springfield speech) and 2:261–65 (Peoria address); Chicago Journal, October 9, 1854. return to text
  46. Missouri Republican, October 6, 1854; see Collected Works 2:248 for quote. return to text
  47. Missouri Republican, October 6, 1854; see Collected Works 2:248 for quote. return to text
  48. Missouri Republican, October 6, 1854; see Collected Works 2:275 for quote. return to text
  49. Missouri Republican, October 6, 1854; see Collected Works 2:252 for quote. return to text
  50. Missouri Republican, October 6, 1854; see Collected Works 2:256 for quote. return to text
  51. Other correspondents also reported words that appear in the Peoria address. The Missouri Democrat's correspondent, while reporting Lincoln's contention that the Kansas-Nebraska Act was no preservative for the Union, quoted Lincoln saying that "It hath no relish of salvation in it." The Chicago Journal's correspondent, while recording Lincoln's critique of Douglas's idea of self-government, quotes Lincoln as saying "that no man has a right to govern another, WITHOUT THAT OTHERS CONSENT." Missouri Democrat, October 6, 1854; Chicago Journal, October 9, 1854; see Collected Works, 2:270, 2:266 for the respective quotes. return to text
  52. Wilson, Lincoln's Sword, 37–38. return to text
  53. Robert W. Johannsen, ed., The Letters of Stephen A. Douglas (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1961), 330. return to text
  54. Missouri Republican, October 6, 1854. return to text
  55. Chicago Journal, October 9, 1854. return to text
  56. Missouri Republican, October 6, 1854. The Chicago Journal also quoted this passage from Lincoln, and the journal's editor subsequently wrote to Lincoln that his repudiation of the death of the Whigs "told up this way with good effect." Chicago Journal, October 9, 1854; Richard L. Wilson to Abraham Lincoln, October 20, 1854, Abraham Lincoln Papers, Series 1, Library of Congress, (accessed April 28, 2009). return to text
  57. Missouri Democrat, October 6, 1854. return to text
  58. Collected Works, 2:272. return to text
  59. I have not documented three trivial instances in which Douglas relocated very short passages. return to text
  60. See Corry, First Lincoln-Douglas Debates, 160–62, for Douglas's analysis of the Compromise in 1850 in his Chicago speech. return to text
  61. Horace White's report in the Chicago Journal demonstrates that Douglas did present this material at Springfield, as he also did at Peoria only twelve days later. Chicago Journal, October 5, 1854; Corry, First Lincoln-Douglas Debates, 166–168 (Chicago speech), 210 (Peoria speech). return to text
  62. See Ibid., 169–76, for Douglas's Chicago speech. return to text
  63. However, Douglas's hostility to his foes did not diminish. In the conclusion of the printed speech, he renewed his attacks on abolitionists, Whigs, and Know Nothings, urging Democrats to make "NO COMPROMISES with the enemy, for they are the enemies of the country." Weekly National Intelligencer, December 2, 1854. Robert W. Johannsen also judged that Douglas's November 9 speech, despite similarity in substance, differed from prior campaign speeches in tone. Johannsen, Douglas, 457–58, 461. return to text
  64. Missouri Republican, October 6, 1854. return to text
  65. Ibid. return to text
  66. Illinois Valley Register, clipped in the Chicago Journal, October 11, 1854. return to text
  67. Corry, The First Lincoln-Douglas Debates, 163. return to text
  68. Weekly National Intelligencer, December 2, 1854. Notably, the Springfield correspondent of Chicago's Democratic Press stated that the "Senator's speech was almost an exact copy of those delivered in the northern counties." In addition, Douglas's Peoria speech was very similar to his Springfield and Chicago speeches. However, Douglas apparently organized the same material quite differently in September when presenting an abbreviated version of the speech in Indianapolis. Whether he did so because of the speech's shorter duration or because he had not yet decided upon the most effective order of presentation is impossible to discern. However, by the time he spoke in Springfield, he seems to have established a set speech. Democratic Press, October 6, 1854; Corry, First Lincoln-Douglas Debates, 206–12 (Peoria speech); Illinois State Register, September 14, 1854 (Indianapolis speech). return to text
  69. To be sure, Lincoln doubtless developed his arguments and language to some degree that fall during the addresses he gave prior to the Springfield speech. However, tracing this evolution is difficult because the texts of his prior speeches are abbreviated in length and difficult to compare to the Springfield and Peoria texts. Thus it is safer to assert that he did not appreciably modify his arguments after October 4. Nevertheless, it seems unlikely that he took to the stump earlier without having already worked out many of his central ideas. return to text
  70. Missouri Republican, October 6, 1854. return to text
  71. Packet boats traveled regular routes, typically along coasts or rivers, carrying passengers, freight, and mail. return to text
  72. The Chicago and Mississippi Railroad connected Alton to Joliet through Springfield. Service between Alton and Chicago began on August 7, 1854. Wm. K. Ackerman, Early Illinois Railroads (Chicago: Fergus Printing, 1884), 50,,M1 (accessed August 18, 2008); The Lincoln Log, (accessed July 15, 2008). return to text
  73. A patronizing, commiserating, or jocular reference to individuals in unfortunate circumstances. return to text
  74. A coachman or driver, especially one who drives recklessly. return to text
  75. Free passes. return to text
  76. Constipated, or, in this case, unwilling or unable to open. return to text
  77. Actually, the C. & M. R. R. return to text
  78. Joel Matteson was governor of Illinois from 1853 to 1857. return to text
  79. Sponsored by Douglas, the Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854 organized the territories of Kansas and Nebraska. Most northerners bitterly resented the act because it repealed the Missouri Compromise's prohibition on territorial slavery in Louisiana Purchase territories above the latitude 36 degrees 30 minutes, thus enabling slavery's possible expansion into Kansas and Nebraska. return to text
  80. Richard Yates was a central Illinois Whig congressman who served in the House of Representatives from 1851 to 1855. He strongly opposed the Kansas-Nebraska Act, but was defeated in his bid for reelection in the fall of 1854 by Douglas's ally Thomas L. Harris, a pro-Nebraska politician. return to text
  81. Martin Van Buren, Zachary Taylor, and Lewis Cass were the candidates respectively of the Free Soil Party, Whig Party, and Democratic Party. Free Soilers opposed slavery's expansion and therefore advocated congressional prohibition of slavery in territories acquired from Mexico. return to text
  82. Whig senators Henry Clay of Kentucky and Daniel Webster of Massachusetts had supported the compromise measures of 1850, which enabled territorial settlers in Utah and New Mexico to legalize slavery if they chose. However, in 1848 northern Whigs had endorsed the Wilmot Proviso, which prohibited slavery from entering any territories acquired from Mexico. return to text
  83. Editor's insertion. return to text
  84. Douglas almost certainly stated that every Whig and Democrat voted for the resolution, while only four abolitionists voted against it, which is what he said at Peoria and later at Chicago. John A. Corry, First Lincoln-Douglas Debates, October 1854 (Philadelphia: Xlibris, 2008), 165, 209. return to text
  85. Winfield Scott and Franklin Pierce were the presidential candidates of the Whig and Democratic parties respectively in the 1852 election. Both parties held their presidential conventions in Baltimore, and both party platforms endorsed the Compromise of 1850, including the Fugitive Slave Act, and deprecated any further agitation of the slavery issue as dangerous to national unity. return to text
  86. Douglas probably read resolutions from an August anti-Nebraska mass meeting in Kane County that had been published in the Illinois State Register on September 2, 1854. The Register published antislavery resolutions from meetings in northern Illinois as evidence that the Whig party had been abolitionized. However, the Register's carelessness, or possible fraudulence, in documenting such resolutions later embarrassed Douglas. On October 16, 1854, about two weeks after the state fair, the Register published resolutions that purportedly had been passed by the statewide anti-Nebraska fusion convention that met in Springfield on October 4 and 5. However, the resolutions the Register published largely reproduced the Kane County resolutions, although additional resolutions from a different meeting also crept in. Consequently, when Douglas quoted the October 16 resolutions against Lincoln in the first of the seven Lincoln-Douglas debates, Lincoln responded by charging him with falsehood. Illinois State Register, September 2, October 16, 1854; Roy P. Basler et al., eds. The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln, 9 vols. (New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers University Press, 1953–1955), 3:3–4, 43–45, 56–61, 227–30, 239–40, 251–54, 257–60. return to text
  87. New York's Millard Fillmore was president of the United States from 1850 until 1853, succeeding Zachary Taylor, who died in office. Fillmore threw his influence and patronage behind the Compromise of 1850, including the provision enabling settlers in New Mexico and Utah to legalize slavery if they chose. return to text
  88. Douglas almost certainly stated "national Democrats" rather than "national Republicans," as his November 9 speech in Chicago makes clear. Corry, First Lincoln-Douglas Debates, 178. return to text
  89. Congressman Joshua Giddings and Senator Salmon P. Chase, both Ohio Free Soilers, had strongly protested passage of the Kansas-Nebraska Act in Congress. Subsequently, they joined Illinois abolitionist Ichabod Codding in hounding Douglas on the campaign trail in Illinois. return to text
  90. Marquis de Lafayette of France and Friedrich Wilhelm von Steuben of Prussia served as generals in the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War. Steuben subsequently became an American citizen and settled in New York. return to text
  91. Born in England, and coming to America as a youth, Robert Morris became a wealthy Philadelphia merchant and provided indispensable services to the Revolutionary cause, most directly as superintendent of finance from 1781 until 1784. While superintendent, he also used his personal wealth and credit to maintain the war effort. return to text
  92. This was in reference to a Chicago audience that had shouted down Douglas on September 1, preventing him from completing his speech defending the Kansas-Nebraska Act. Douglas's audiences at other locales in northern Illinois subsequently expressed considerable hostility as well. Lewis E. Lehrman, Lincoln at Peoria: The Turning Point (Mechanicsburg, Pa.: Stackpole Books), 20–24. return to text
  93. This individual was likely John Kennicott, an amateur botanist, but possibly it was his son, Robert Kennicott, who became a pioneering American naturalist. return to text
  94. The Democrat's correspondent, who also attended this event, recorded this name as Dr. Ten Brock. Missouri Democrat, October 6, 1854. return to text
  95. Whether farmers and mechanics deserved a non-sectarian, industrial education relevant to their vocational pursuits was an issue of great interest in Illinois in the mid-1850s. Jonathan Baldwin Turner, a professor at Illinois College, was the progenitor in the movement, which ultimately resulted in the creation of land-grant universities. return to text
  96. Owen Lovejoy of Princeton, Illinois, was a minister and abolitionist who dedicated his life to ending slavery after a proslavery mob murdered his brother, Elijah Parish Lovejoy, in Alton, Illinois, in 1837. In 1854, as a leader in the fusion movement, Lovejoy sought to create an antislavery political party in Illinois. return to text
  97. Light, one-seat, two-wheeled carriages used for both transportation and racing. return to text
  98. A portable peep show. return to text
  99. The correspondent possibly wrote, or intended to write, order. return to text
  100. The length of Lincoln's speech is something of a mystery. The Chicago Journal reported on October 9 that he spoke for "nearly three hours;" the Illinois Journal reported on October 10 that he spoke for three hours and ten minutes; the Missouri Democrat reported on October 6 that he spoke for three hours and thirty minutes; and the Freeport Journal reported on October 12 that the state fusion convention assembled at 5 p.m., which suggests that he spoke for three hours, because the convention began after his speech concluded. return to text
  101. The correspondent doubtless meant to call it the "repeal of 1854." return to text
  102. Editor's insertion. return to text
  103. The correspondent here conflated Douglas's 1853 and 1854 Nebraska bills, only the second of which repealed the antislavery provisions of the Missouri Compromise. Lincoln carefully differentiated between the bills, as the Peoria address makes clear. Collected Works, 2:254. return to text
  104. Editor's insertion. return to text
  105. Editor's insertion. return to text
  106. Assuming that the correspondent correctly identified Lovejoy, the report clears up the question of whether Lovejoy or Codding made the invitation to the crowd. The Illinois State Register on October 16 stated that Codding had made the invitation, but William Herndon claimed in 1888 that Lovejoy had done so. During the 1858 debates with Lincoln, Douglas confirmed the Register, stating his clear recollection that Codding had announced the convention. In 1908, Horace White wrote that either Lovejoy or Codding had announced the convention. Illinois State Register, October 16, 1854; William Henry Herndon, Herndon's Life of Lincoln, ed. Paul M. Angle (Greenwich, Conn.: Fawcett Publications, 1961), 299–300; Collected Works, 3:30; Horace White, "Abraham Lincoln in 1854," An Address delivered before the Illinois State Historical Society, at its 9th Annual Meeting at Springfield, Illinois, Jan. 30, 1908, 12. Lovejoy's appeal to the crowd also highlights one critical reason that the convention had poor attendance. Its organizers had inadvertently disseminated two slightly different calls for a state convention, one scheduling the convention for 12:00 P.M. on October 4 and the other scheduling it for 2:00 P.M. on October 5; and they had also failed to reserve the State House in advance. Therefore, when delegates arrived in Springfield they had no place to convene and were unable to secure a meeting place until about 5 P.M. on October 4, immediately following Lincoln's speech. Hence the convention ended up competing directly with Lincoln and Douglas's gripping debate. Lovejoy deftly sought to turn this to the fusionists' advantage by recruiting from the crowd of "at least two thousand persons." However, Douglas retained the crowd, and the convention meeting that evening largely failed, although the delegates in attendance did organize a committee on resolutions before adjourning until 8 A.M. the next morning. However, they had no time to publicize the meeting and only about one hundred people attended, if the Missouri Republican is to be believed. Freeport Journal, October 12, 1854; Albert J. Beveridge, Abraham Lincoln, 1809–1858 (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1928), 2:265; Missouri Democrat, October 6, 1854 (quote); Missouri Republican, October 8, 1854. return to text
  107. On the alert. return to text
  108. Editor's correction of transposed words. return to text
  109. Missouri Democrat, October 6, 1854. return to text
  110. This short passage is not in the Peoria address. Collected Works, 2:271–72. return to text
  111. Chicago Journal, October 5, 1854. The Journal's correspondent was Horace White, whose hostility to Douglas is abundantly evident. After hearing Lincoln's response to Douglas, White became a devoted Lincoln advocate. On October 25, 1854, he encouraged Lincoln to speak in Chicago, stating that "[y]ou will have a crowd of from eight to ten or fifteen thousand and the result will be that the people will demand of their Representatives to elect a Whig Senator." Joseph Logsdon, Horace White, Nineteenth Century Liberal (Westport: Greenwood Publishing, 1971), 20–24; Horace White to Abraham Lincoln, October 25, 1854, Abraham Lincoln Papers, Series 1, Library of Congress, (accessed April 28, 2009). return to text
  112. Chicago Journal, October 9, 1854. return to text
  113. Mont Blanc is the highest mountain in the Alps. return to text
  114. The Missouri Republican's correspondent also recorded this passage, but the Journal's version is more extensive. return to text
  115. The Missouri Republican's correspondent also recorded this statement, which is not in the Peoria address. return to text
  116. This passage, along with a passage in the Bloomington speech on September 26, best illuminates Lincoln's use of the Nicholson letter. Collected Works, 2:236. return to text
  117. Lincoln also used this analogy at Bloomington and Peoria, although he relocated it at Peoria. Other than this exception, the Chicago Journal's account of Lincoln's Springfield speech suggests that Lincoln presented his ideas in almost exactly the same sequence at Peoria. Collected Works, 2:237 (Bloomington), 2:258 (Peoria). return to text
  118. Lincoln doubtless stated "1854." return to text
  119. The Illinois Journal also reported this very amusing exchange. Collected Works, 2:244. Lincoln advanced the same argument at Bloomington and Peoria. Collected Works, 2:239, 260. return to text
  120. The conclusion to the Peoria address does not state that Illinois' unrelenting advocate of popular sovereignty would "surely" repeal the Kansas-Nebraska Act in obedience to "the will of his constituents." While it was an effective line during a debate, Lincoln probably removed it from the published version of the speech because it would have distracted his reading audience from the high-minded idealism of uniting politically to restore the Missouri Compromise, which was his object in that passage of the speech. return to text
  121. This passage was neither in the report of the Missouri Republican nor the Illinois Journal, but it was in the Peoria address. Collected Works, 2:275. return to text
  122. This assertion is not true. The lines of argument in Douglas's rebuttal are evident by studying Lincoln's critique of it at Peoria, and the vigor of Douglas's reply is acknowledged in the Missouri Democrat. Collected Works, 2:276–83; Missouri Democrat, October 6, 1854. return to text