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grandest forum in the world. Here Fox, Burke, and Sheridan hurled their denunciations against Warren Hastings. Here Brougham defended Queen Caroline. And this," he went on to repeat, in the words of Macaulay, (words as familiar in America as here), “This is the great hall of William Rufus, the hall which has resounded with acclamations at the inauguration of thirty kings, and which has witnessed the trials of Bacon and Somers and Strafford and Charles the First." "And yet," I replied, "I have seen justice administered on the prairies of Illinois without pomp or ceremony, everything simple to rudeness, and yet when Lincoln and Douglass led at that bar, I have seen justice administered by judges as pure, aided by advocates as eloquent, if not as learned, as any who ever presided, or plead, in Westminster Hall."

The common law of England (said to be the perfection of human wisdom) was administered in both forums, and the decisions of each tribunal were cited as authority in the other; both illustrating that reverence for, and obedience to, law, which is the glory of the English-speaking


Lincoln was a great lawyer. He sought to convince rather by the application of principle than by the citation of authorities. On the whole, he was stronger with the jury than with the court. I do not know that there has ever been, in America, a greater or more successful advocate before a jury, on the right side, than Abraham Lincoln. He had a marvelous power of conciliating and impressing every one in his favor. A stranger entering the court, ignorant of the case, and listening a few moments to Lincoln, would find himself involuntarily on his side



and wishing him success. He was a quick and accurate reader of character, and seemed to comprehend, almost intuitively, the peculiarities of those with whom he came in contact. His manner was so candid, his methods so direct, so fair, he seemed so anxious that truth and justice should prevail, that every one wished him success. He excelled in the statement of his case. However complicated, he would disentangle it, and present the important and turning-point in a way so clear that all could understand. Indeed, his statement often alone won his cause, rendering argument unnecessary. The judges would often stop him by saying, "If that is the case, brother Lincoln, we will hear the other side."

His ability in examining a witness, in bringing out clearly the important facts, was only surpassed by his skillful cross-examinations, He could often compel a witness to tell the truth, where he meant to lie. He could make a jury laugh, and generally weep, at his pleasure. On the right side, and when fraud or injustice were to be exposed, or innocence vir.dicated, he rose to the highest range of eloquence, and was irresistible. But he must have faith in his cause to bring out his full strength. His wit and humor, his quaint and homely illustrations, his inexhaustible stores of anecdote, always to the point, added greatly to his power as a jury-advocate.

He never misstated evidence or misrepresented his opponent's case, but met it fairly and squarely.

He remained in active practice until his nomination, in May, 1860, for the presidency. He was employed in the leading cases in both the federal and state courts, and had a large clientelage not only in Illinois, but

was frequently called, on special retainers, to other States.


By his eloquence and popularity he became, early in life, the leader of the old Whig party, in Illinois. He served as member of the State Legislature, was the candidate of his party for speaker, presidential elector, and United States senator, and was a member of the lower house of Congress.


When the independence of the American republic was established, African slavery was tolerated as a local and temporary institution. It was in conflict with the moral sense, the religious convictions of the people, and the political principles on which the government was


But having been tolerated, it soon became an organized aggressive power, and, later, it became the master of the government. Conscious of its inherent weakness, it demanded and obtained additional territory for its expansion. First, the great Louisiana territory was purchased, then Florida, and then Texas.

By the repeal, in 1854, of the prohibition of slavery north of the line of 36, 30' of latitude (known in America as the "Missouri Compromise"), the slavery question became the leading one in American politics, and the absorbing and exciting topic of discussion. It shattered into fragments the old conservative Whig party, with



which Mr. Lincoln had, theretofore, acted. It divided the Democratic party, and new parties were organized upon issues growing directly out of the question of slavery.

The leader of that portion of the Democratic party which continued, for a time, to act with the slavery party, was Stephen Arnold Douglas, then representing Illinois in the United States Senate. He was a bold, ambitious, able man, and had, thus far, been uniformly successful. He had introduced and carried through Congress, against the most vehement opposition, the repeal of the law prohibiting slavery, called the Missouri Compromise.


The issue having been now distinctly made between freedom and the extension of slavery into the territories, Lincoln and Douglas, the leaders of the Free-soil and Democratic parties, became more than ever antagonized. The conflict between freedom and slavery now became earnest, fierce, and violent, beyond all previous political controversies, and from this time on, Lincoln plead the cause of liberty with an energy, ability, and eloquence, which rapidly gained for him a national reputation.. From this time on, through the tremendous struggle, it was he who grasped the helm and led his party to victory.. Conscious of a great cause, inspired by a generous love of liberty, and animated by the moral sublimity of his great theme, he proclaimed his determination, ever thereafter, "to speak for freedom, and against slavery, until every

where the sun shall shine, the rain shall fall, and the wind blow upon no man who goes forth to unrequited toil."


The great debate between Lincoln and Douglas, in 1858, was, unquestionably, both with reference to the ability of the speakers and its influence upon opinion and events, the most important in American history. I do not think I do injustice to others, nor over-estimate their importance, when I say that the speeches of Lincoln published, circulated, and read throughout the Free States, did more than any other agency in creating the public opinion, which prepared the way for the overthrow of slavery. The speeches of John Quincy Adams, and those of Senator Sumner, were more learned and scholarly, and those of Lovejoy and Wendell Phillips were more vehement and impassioned; Senators Seward, Chase, and Hale spoke from a more conspicuous forum, but Lincoln's speeches were as philosophic, as able, as earnest as any, and his manner had a simplicity and directness, a clearness of illustration, and his language a plainness, a vigor, an Anglo-Saxon strength, better adapted than any other, to reach and influence the understanding and sentiment of the common people.

At the time of this memorable discussion, both Lincoln and Douglas were in the full maturity of their powers, Douglas being forty-five and Lincoln forty-nine years old. Douglas had had a long training and experience as a popular speaker. On the hustings (stump, as we say in America) and in Congress, and, especially in the United

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