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176 ABRAHAM LINCOLN

chap. x. out again, their rascally vulnerable heels will run away with them."

The speech concludes with these swelling words: "Mr. Lamborn refers to the late elections in the States, and from their results confidently predicts every State in the Union will vote for Mr. Yan Buren at the next Presidential election. Address that argument to cowards and slaves: with the free and the brave it will affect nothing. It may be true; if it must, let it. Many free countries have lost their liberty, and ours may lose hers; but if she shall, be it my proudest plume, not that I was the last to desert, but that I never deserted her. I know that the great volcano at Washington, aroused and directed by the evil spirit that reigns there, is belching forth the lava of political corrup­tion in a current broad and deep, which is sweep­ing with frightful velocity over the whole length and breadth of the land, bidding fair to leave un­scathed no green spot or living thing; while on its bosom are riding, like demons on the wave of Hell, the imps of the Evil Spirit, and fiendishly taunting all those who dare to resist its destroying course with the hopelessness of their efforts; and know­ing this, I cannot deny that all may be swept away. Broken by it I, too, may be; bow to it, I never will. The probability that we may fall in the struggle ought not to deter us from the support of a cause we believe to be just. It shall not deter me. If ever I feel the soul within me elevate and expand to those dimensions not wholly unworthy of its almighty architect, it is when I contemplate the cause of my country, deserted by all the world beside, and I standing up boldly alone, hurling



WILLIAM HENRY HARRISON.

EAELY LAW PBACTICE 177

defiance at. her victorious oppressors. Here, with- chap. x. out contemplating consequences, before Heaven, and in face of the world, I swear eternal fealty to the just cause, as I deem it, of the land of my life, my liberty, and my love. And who that thinks with me will not fearlessly adopt that oath that I take ? Let none falter who thinks he is right, and we may succeed. But if after all we should fail, be it so. We still shall have the proud consolation of saying to our consciences, and to the departed shade of our country's freedom, that the cause approved of our judgment, and adored of our hearts, in disaster, in chains, in torture, in death, we never faltered in defending."

These perfervid and musical metaphors of devo­tion and defiance have often been quoted as Mr. Lin­coln's heroic challenge to the slave power, and Bishop Simpson gave them that lofty significance in his funeral oration. But they were simply the utterances of a young and ardent Whig, earnestly advocating the election of "old Tippecanoe'' and not unwilling, while doing this, to show the people of the capital a specimen of his eloquence. The whole campaign was carried on in a tone some­what shrill. The Whigs were recovering from the numbness into which they had fallen during the time of Jackson's imperious predominance, and in the new prospect of success they felt all the excite­ment of prosperous rebels. The taunts of the party in power, when Harrison's nomination was first mentioned, their sneers at "hard cider" and " log-cabins," had been dexterously adopted as the slogan of the opposition, and gave rise to the dis­tinguishing features of that extraordinary cam-

vol. L—12

178 ABEAHAM LINCOLN

chap. x. paign. Log-cabins were built in every Western county, tuns of hard cider were filled and emptied at all the Whig mass meetings; and as the canvass gained momentum and vehemence a curious kind of music added its inspiration to the cause; and after the Maine election was over, with its augury of triumph, every Whig who was able to sing, or even to make a joyful noise, was roaring the inquiry, " Oh, have you heard how old Maine went!" and the profane but powerfully accented response, " She went, hell-bent, for Governor Kent, and Tippecanoe, and Tyler too."

It was one of the busiest and most enjoyable seasons of Lincoln's life. He had grown by this time thoroughly at home in political controversy, and he had the pleasure of frequently meeting Mr. Douglas in rough-and-tumble debate in various towns of the State as they followed Judge Treat on his circuit. If we may trust the willing testi­mony of his old associates, Lincoln had no diffi­culty in holding his own against his adroit antagonist, and it was even thought that the recollection of his ill success in these encounters was not without its influence in inducing Douglas and his followers, defeated in the nation, though • victorious in the State, to wreak their vengeance on the Illinois Supreme Court.

In Lincoln's letters to Major Stuart, then in Washington, we see how strongly the subject of politics overshadows all others in his mind. Under
Major date of November 14, 1839, he wrote : " I have possession, been to the Secretary's office within the last hour, and find things precisely as you left them ; no new arrivals of returns on either side. Douglas has not

EABLY LAW PBACTIOE

179


Noali W.

Matheny, County Clerk.
been here since yon left. A report is in circulation chap. x. here now that he has abandoned the idea of going to Washington; but the report does not come in very authentic form so far as I can learn. Though, speaking of authenticity, you know that if we had heard Douglas say that he had abandoned the con­test, it would not be very authentic. There is no news here. Noah, I still think, will be elected very easily. I am afraid of our race for representative. Dr. Knapp has become a candidate; and I fear the few votes he will get will be taken from us. Also some one has been tampering with old squire Wyckoff, and induced him to send in his name to be announced as a candidate. Francis refused to announce him without seeing him, and now I sup­pose there is to be a fuss about it. I have been so busy that I have not seen Mrs. Stuart since you left, though I understand she wrote you by to-day's mail, which will inform you more about her than I could. The very moment a speaker is elected, write me who he is. Your friend, as ever."

Again he wrote, on New Year's Day, 1840, a let­ter curiously destitute of any festal suggestions: " There is a considerable disposition on the part of both parties in the Legislature to reinstate the law bringing on the Congressional elections next sum­mer. What motive for this the Locos have, I can­not tell. The Whigs say that the canal and other public works will stop, and consequently we shall then be clear of the foreign votes, whereas by another year they may be brought in again. The Whigs of our district say that everything is in favor of holding the election next summer, except

180 ABEAHAM LINCOLN

chap. x. the fact of your absence; and several of them have requested me to ask your opinion on the matter. Write me immediately what you think of it.

"On the other side of this sheet I send you a copy of my Land Besolutions, which passed both branches of our Legislature last winter. Will you show them to Mr. Calhoun, informing him of the fact of their passage through our Legislature! Mr. Calhoun suggested a similar proposition last win­ter; and perhaps if he finds himself backed by one of the States he may be induced to take it up again."

After the session opened, January 20, he wrote to Mr. Stuart, accurately outlining the work of the winter: "The following is my guess as to what will be done. The Internal Improvement System will be put down in a lump without benefit of clergy. The Bank will be resuscitated with some trifling modifications."

State affairs have evidently lost their interest, however, and his soul is in arms for the wider fray. " Be sure to send me as many copies of the Life of Harrison as you can spare. Be very sure to send me the Senate Journal of New York for September, 1814,"— he had seen in a newspaper a charge of dis­loyalty made against Mr. Van Buren during the war with Great Britain, but, as usual, wanted to be sure of his facts,— " and in general," he adds, " send me everything you think will be a good war-club, The nomination of Harrison takes first-rate. You know I am never sanguine; but I believe we will carry the State. The chance for doing so appears to me twenty-five per cent, better than it did for you to beat Douglas. A great many of the

EAELY LAW PRACTICE 181

grocery sort of Yan Buren men are out for Harrison. chap. x. Our Irish blacksmith Gregory is for Harrison. . . . You have heard that the Whigs and Locos had a " political discussion shortly after the meeting of the Legislature. Well, I made a big speech which is in progress of printing in pamphlet form. To en­lighten you and the rest of the world, I shall send you a copy when it is finished." The abig speech" was the one from which we have just quoted.

The sanguine mood continued in his next letter, March 1: UI have never seen the prospects of our party so bright in these parts as they are now. We shall carry this county by a larger majority than we did in 1836 when you ran against May. I do not think my prospects individually are very flattering, for I think it probable I shall not be permitted to be a candidate; but the party ticket will succeed triumphantly. Subscriptions to the 6' Old Soldier? pour in without abatement. This morning I took from the post-office a letter from Dubois, inclosing the names of sixty subscribers, and on carrying it to Francis [Simeon Francis, editor of the ' Sangamo Journal'] I found he had received one hundred and forty more from other quarters by the same day's mail. . . . Yesterday Douglas, having chosen to consider himself insulted by something in the .A Journal,' undertook to cane Francis in the street. Francis caught him by the hair and jammed him back against a market-cart, where the matter ended by Francis being pulled away from him. The whole affair was so ludicrous that Francis and everybody else, Douglas excepted, have been laughing about it ever since."

Douglas seems to have had a great propensity to

182 ABBAHAM LINCOLN

chap. x. such rencontres, of which the issue was ordinarily his complete discomfiture, as he had the untoward habit of attacking much bigger and stronger men than himself. He weighed at that time little, if anything, over a hundred pounds, yet his heart was so valiant that he made nothing of assaulting men of ponderous flesh like Francis, or of great height and strength like Stuart. He sought a quarrel with the latter, during their canvass in 1838, in a grocery, with the usual result. A bystander who re­members the incident says that Stuart "jest mopped the floor with him." In the same letter Mr. Lincoln gives a long list of names to which he wants documents to be sent. It shows a remark­able personal acquaintance with the minutest needs of the canvass: this one is a doubtful Whig; that one is an inquiring Democrat; that other a zealous young fellow who would be pleased by the atten­tion; three brothers are mentioned who "fell out with us about Early and are doubtful now"; and finally he tells Stuart that Joe Smith is an admirer of his, and that a few documents had better be mailed to the Mormons; and he must be sure, the next time he writes, to send Evan Butler his com­pliments.

It would be strange, indeed, if such a politician as this were slighted by his constituents, and in his next letter we find how groundless were his forebodings in that direction. The convention had been held; the rural delegates took all the nominations away from Springfield except two, Baker for the Senate, and Lincoln for the House of Eepresentatives. "Ninian," he says, meaning Mnian "W. Edwards, " was very much hurt at not

EAELY LAW PRACTICE 183

being nominated, but he has become tolerably well chap. x. reconciled. I was much, very ranch, wounded my­self, at his being left ont. The fact is, the country delegates made the nominations as they pleased, and they pleased to make them all from the country, except Baker and me, whom they supposed neces­sary to make stump speeches. Old Colonel Elkin is nominated for Sheriff — that 's right.'7

Harrison was elected in November, and the great preoccupation of most of the Whigs was, of course, the distribution of the offices which they felt belonged to them as the spoils of battle. This demoralizing doctrine had been promulgated by Jackson, and acted upon for so many years that it was too much to expect of human nature that the Whigs should not adopt it, partially at least, when their turn came, But we are left in no doubt as to the way in which Lincoln regarded the unseemly scramble. It is probable that he was asked to express his preference among applicants, and he wrote under date of December 17: " This affair of appointments to office is very annoying — more so to you than to me doubtless. I am, as you know, opposed to removals to make places for our friends. Bearing this in mind, I express my preference in a few cases, as follows: for Marshal, first, John Dawson, second, B. F. Edwards; for postmaster here, Dr. Henry; at Carlinville, Joseph 0. Howell."

The mention of this last post-office rouses his righteous indignation, and he calls for justice upon a wrong-doer. " There is no question of the pro­priety of removing the postmaster at Carlinville. I have been told by so many different persons as to preclude all doubt of its truth, that he boldly

184 ABBAHAM LINCOLN

chap. x. refused to deliver from his office during the can­vass all documents franked 'by Whig members of Congress."

Once more, on the 23d of January, 1841, he addresses a letter to Mr. Stuart, which closes the correspondence, and which affords a glimpse of that strange condition of melancholia into whose dark shadow he was then entering, and which lasted, with only occasional intervals of healthy cheerfulness, to the time of his marriage. We give this remarkable letter entire, from the manuscript submitted to us by the late John T. Stuart:

dear stuakt: Yours of the 3d instant is received, and I proceed to answer it as well as I can, though from the deplorable state of my mind at this time I fear I shall give you but little satisfaction. About the matter of the Congressional election, I can only tell you that there is a bill now before the Senate adopting the general ticket system; but whether the party have fully deter­mined on its adoption is yet uncertain. There is no sign of opposition to you among our friends, and none that I can learn among our enemies; though of course there will be if the general ticket be adopted. The Chicago lt American/7Peoria "Register," and Sangamo " Journal" have already hoisted your flag upon their own responsi­bility 5 and the other Whig papers of the district are ex­pected to follow immediately. On last evening there was a meeting of our friends at Butler's, and I submitted the question to them and found them unanimously in favor of having you announced as a candidate. A few of us this morning, however, concluded that as you were already being announced in the papers we would delay announc­ing you, as by your authority, for a week or two. We thought that to appear too keen about it might spur our opponents 011 about their general ticket project. Upon the whole I think I may say with certainty that your reelection is sure, if it be in the power of the Whigs to make it so.

EARLY LAW PRACTICE 185

For not giving you a general summary of news, you chap. x. must pardon me 5 it is not in my power to do so. I am now the most miserable man living. If what I feel were equally distributed to the whole human family, there would not be one cheerful face on earth. Whether I shall ever be better I cannot tell j I awfully forebode I shall not. To remain as I am is impossible 5 I must die or be better, it appears to me. The matter you speak of on my account you may attend to as you say, unless you shall hear of my condition forbidding it. I say this because I fear I shall be unable to attend to any business here, and a change of scene might help me. If I could be myself, I would rather remain at home with Judge Logan. I can write no more. Your friend as ever.

A. lincoln.

CHAPTER XI

MARRIAGE

chap. xi. HHHE foregoing letter brings us to the eonsidera-isio. JL tion of a remarkable passage in Lincoln's life. It has been the cause of much profane and idle discussion among those who were constitutionally incapacitated from appreciating ideal sufferings, and we would be tempted to refrain from adding a Word to what has already been said if it were pos­sible to omit all reference to an experience so im­portant in the development of his character.

In the year 1840 he became engaged to be married to Miss Mary Todd, of Lexington, Ken­tucky, a young lady of good education and excel­lent connections, who was visiting her sister, Mrs. Mnian W. Edwards, at Springfield.1 The engage­ment was not in all respects a happy one, as both

i Mrs. Lincoln was the daugh- killed at the battle of the Blue

ter of the Hon. Robert S. Todd, Licks, in 1782. His brother Levi

of Kentucky. Her great-uncle, was also at that battle, and was

John Todd, and her grandfather, one of the few survivors of it.

Levi Todd, accompanied General Colonel John Todd was one of

George Rogers Clark to Illinois, the original proprietors of the

and were present a.t the capture town of Lexington, Ky. While

of Kaskaskia and Vincennes. In encamped on the site of the

December, 1778, John Todd present city, he heard of the

was appointed by Patrick Henry, opening battle of the Revolution,

Governor of Virginia, to be lieu- and named his infant settlement

tenant of the county of Illinois, in its honor.— Arnold's "Life of

then a part of Virginia. He was Lincoln/'p. 68.

186

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