Abraham Lincoln, a History — Volume 02 eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 452 pages of information about Abraham Lincoln, a History — Volume 02.

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 here.  Of course I wished, but I did not much expect, a better result....  I am glad I made the late race.  It gave me a hearing on the great and durable question of the age, which I could have had in no other way; and though I now sink out of view, and shall be forgotten, I believe I have made some marks which will tell for the cause of civil liberty long after I am gone.”

  [Sidenote] Lincoln to Asbury, November 19, 1858.

To these one other letter may be added, showing his never-failing faith in the political future.  To a personal friend in Quincy, Illinois, who had watched the campaign with unusual attention, Lincoln wrote that same day:  “Yours of the 13th was received some days ago.  The fight must go on.  The cause of civil liberty must not be surrendered at the end of one or even one hundred defeats.  Douglas had the ingenuity to be supported in the late contest, both as the best means to break down and to uphold the slave interest.  No ingenuity can keep these antagonistic elements in harmony long.  Another explosion will soon come.”

  [Sidenote] 1858.

Douglas was also greatly exhausted by the wearing labors of the campaign; but he had the notable triumph of an assured reelection to the Senate and the congratulations of his enthusiastic friends to sustain and refresh him.  Being an indefatigable worker, he was already organizing a new and more ambitious effort.  Three weeks after election he started on a brief tour to the Southern States, making speeches at Memphis and New Orleans, of which further mention will be made in the next chapter.  Perhaps he deemed it wise not to proceed immediately to Washington, where Congress convened on the first Monday of December, and thus to avoid a direct continuance of his battle with the Buchanan Administration.  If so, the device proved ineffectual.  The President and his partisans were determined to put the author of the “Freeport doctrine” under public ban, and to that end, when Congress organized, one of the first acts of the Senate majority was to depose Douglas from his place as chairman of the Committee on Territories, which he had held in that body for eleven years.

[1] A local nickname by which the southern or pro-slavery portion of
Illinois was familiarly known.


    “Question 1.  ’I desire to know whether Lincoln to-day stands, as
    he did in 1854, in favor of the unconditional repeal of the
    fugitive-slave law?’

    Answer.  I do not now, nor ever did, stand in favor of the
    unconditional repeal of the fugitive-slave law.

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Abraham Lincoln, a History — Volume 02 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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