Изображения страниц
[ocr errors]

CRAP. IX. the party. I have done so, I trust, upon no light or unworthy ground. I have not done so alone. The causes that have operated on me have operated on the Democratic party of the United States, and have operated an effect which the whole future life of the Senator will be utterly unable to obliterate. It is impossible that confidence thus lost can be restored. On what ground has that confidence been forfeited, and why is it that we now refuse him our support and fellowship? I have stated our reasons to-day. I have appealed to the record. I have not followed him back in the false issue or the feigned traverse that he makes in relation to matters that are not now in contest between him and the Democratic party. The question is not what we all said or believed in 1850 or in 1856. How idle was it to search ancient precedents and accumulate old quotations from what Senators may have at different times said in relation to their principles and views. The precise point, the direct arraignment, the plain and explicit allegation made against the Senator from Illinois is not touched by him in all of his speech.

We accuse him for this, to wit: that having bargained with us upon a point upon which we were at issue, that it should be considered a judicial point; that he would abide the decision; that he would act under the decision, and consider it a doctrine of the party; that having said that to us here in the Senate, he went home, and under the stress of a local election, his knees gave way; his whole person trembled. His adversary stood upon principle and was beaten; and lo! he is the candidate of a mighty party for the Presidency of the United States. The Senator from Illinois faltered. He got the prize for which he faltered; but lo! the grand prize of his ambition Benjamin, to-day slips from his grasp because of his faltering in his former contest, and his success in the canvass for the Senate, purchased for an ignoble price, has cost him the Pamphlet. loss of the Presidency of the United States.

May 22,


The Senatorial canvass in Illinois came to a close with the election on the 2d of November and resulted in a victory for Douglas. The Repub

licans, on their State ticket, polled 125,430 votes; CHAP. IX. the Douglas Democrats, 121,609; the Buchanan Democrats, 5071. By this plurality the Republican State officers were chosen. But in respect to members of the Legislature the case stood differently, and when in the following January the Senatorial election took place in joint session of the two Houses, Douglas received the vote of every Democrat, 54 members, and Lincoln the vote of every Republican, 46 members, whereupon Douglas was declared elected Senator of the United States for six years from the 4th of March, 1859.

The main cause of Lincoln's defeat was the unfairness of the existing apportionment, which was based upon the census of 1850. A fair apportionment, based on the changes of population which had occurred, would have given northern Illinois a larger representation; and it was there the Republicans had recruited their principal strength in the recent transformation of parties. The Republicans estimated that this circumstance caused them a loss of six to ten members.


But the unusual political combinations also had a large influence on the result. Lincoln, in an Ohio speech made in the following year, addressing himself to Kentuckians, thus summarized the political forces that contributed to his defeat: 'Douglas had three or four very distinguished men of the most extreme antislavery views of any men in the Republican party expressing their desire for his reëlection to the Senate last year. That would of itself have seemed to be a little wonderful, but that wonder is heightened when we see that Wise, of Virginia, a man exactly opposed

CHAP. IX. to them, a man who believes in the divine right of slavery, was also expressing his desire that Douglas should be reëlected; that another man that may be said to be kindred to Wise, Mr. Breckinridge, the Vice-President, and of your own State, was also agreeing with the antislavery men in the North, that Douglas ought to be reëlected. Still to heighten the wonder, a Senator from Kentucky, whom I have always loved with an affection as tender and endearing as I have ever loved any man, who was opposed to the antislavery men for reasons which seemed sufficient to him and equally opposed to Wise and Breckinridge, was writing letters to Illinois to secure the reëlection of Douglas. Now that all these conflicting elements should be brought, while at daggers' points with one another, to support him, is a feat that is worthy for you to note and consider. It is quite probable that each of these classes of men thought, by the reëlection of Douglas, their peculiar views would gain something; it is probable that the antislavery men thought their views would gain something; that Wise and Breckinridge thought so too, as regards their opinions; that Mr. Crittenden thought that his views would gain something although he was opposed to both these other men. It is probCincinnati able that each and all of them thought they were



Sept. 17, 1859. Debates, p. 263.

using Douglas, and it is yet an unsolved problem whether he was not using them all."

After a hundred consecutive days of excitement, of intense mental strain, and of unremitting bodily exertion, after speech-making and parades, music and bonfires, it must be something of a trial to face at once the mortification of defeat, the weari

ness of intellectual and physical reaction, and the CHAP. IX. dull commonplace of daily routine. Letters written at this period show that under these conditions Mr. Lincoln remained composed, patient, and hopeful. Two weeks after election he wrote thus to Mr. Judd, a member of the Legislature and Chairman of the Republican State Central Committee: "I have the pleasure to inform you that I am convalescing and hoping these lines may find you in the same improving state of health. Doubtless you have suspected for some time that I entertain a personal wish for a term in the United States Senate; and had the suspicion taken the shape of the direct charge I think I could not have truthfully denied it. But let the past as nothing be. For the future my view is that the fight must go on. The returns here are not yet complete, but it is believed that Dougherty's vote will be slightly greater than Miller's majority over Fondey. We have some 120,000 clear Republican votes. That pile is worth keeping together. It will elect a State ticket two years hence.

"In that day I shall fight in the ranks, but shall be in no one's way for any of the places. I am especially for Trumbull's reëlection; and, by the way, this brings me to the principal object of this letter. Can you not take your draft of an apportionment bill and carefully revise it till it shall be strictly and obviously just in all particulars, and then by an early and persistent effort get enough of the enemies' men to enable you to pass it? I believe if you and Peck make a job of it, begin early and work earnestly and quietly, you can succeed in it. Unless something be done, Trumbull is

CHAP. IX. inevitably beaten two years hence. Take this into serious consideration."

Lincoln to Judd, Nov. 15, 1858.

Ibid., Nov. 16, 1858.

On the following day he received from Mr. Judd a letter informing him that the funds subscribed for the State Central Committee did not suffice to pay all the election bills, and asking his help to raise additional contributions. To this appeal Lincoln replied: "Yours of the 15th is just received. I wrote you the same day. As to the pecuniary matter, I am willing to pay according to my ability, but I am the poorest hand living to get others to pay. I have been on expenses so long without earning anything that I am absolutely without money now for even household purposes. Still, if you can put in $250 for me towards discharging the debt of the committee, I will allow it when you and I settle the private matter between us. This, with what I have already paid, and with an outstanding note of mine, will exceed my subscription of $500. This, too, is exclusive of my ordinary expenses during the campaign, all which being added to my loss of time and business, bears pretty heavily upon one no better off in world's goods than I; but as I had the post of honor, it is not for me to be over-nice. You are feeling badly -'And this too shall pass away. Never fear."

The sting of personal defeat is painful to most men, and doubtless it was so to Lincoln. Yet he regarded the passing struggle as something more than a mere scramble for office, and drew from it the consolation which all earnest workers feel in the consciousness of a task well done. Thus he wrote to a friend on November 19: "You doubtless have seen ere this the result of the election

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »