Abraham Lincoln, Volume I eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 338 pages of information about Abraham Lincoln, Volume I.
He was again a member of the Finance Committee; but financiering by those wise lawgivers was no longer so lightsome and exuberant a task as it had been.  The hour of reckoning had come; and the business proved to be chiefly a series of humiliating and futile efforts to undo the follies of the preceding two and a half years.  Lincoln shared in this disagreeable labor, as he had shared in the mania which had made it necessary.  He admitted that he was “no financier,” and gave evidence of the fact by submitting a bill which did not deserve to be passed, and was not.  It can, however, be said for him that he never favored repudiation, as some of his comrades did.

In 1840[45] Lincoln was again elected, again was the nominee of the Whig party for the speakership, and again was beaten by Ewing, the Democratic candidate, who mustered 46 votes against 36 for Lincoln.  This legislature held only one session, and apparently Holland’s statement, that “no important business of general interest was transacted,” is a fair summary.  Lincoln did only one memorable thing, and that unfortunately was discreditable.  In a close and exciting contest, he, with two other Whigs, jumped out of the window in order to break a quorum.  It is gratifying to hear from the chronicler of the event, who was one of the parties concerned, that “Mr. Lincoln always regretted that he entered into that arrangement, as he deprecated everything that savored of the revolutionary."[46]

The year 1840 was made lively throughout the country by the spirited and rollicking campaign which the Whigs made on behalf of General Harrison.  In that famous struggle for “Tippecanoe and Tyler too,” the log cabin, hard cider, and the ’coon skin were the popular emblems which seemed to lend picturesqueness and enthusiasm and a kind of Western spirit to the electioneering everywhere in the land.  In Illinois Lincoln was a candidate on the Whig electoral ticket, and threw himself with great zeal into the congenial task of “stumping” the State.  Douglas was doing the same duty on the other side, and the two had many encounters.  Of Lincoln’s speeches only one has been preserved,[47] and it leads to the conclusion that nothing of value was lost when the others perished.  The effusion was in the worst style of the effervescent and exuberant school of that region and generation.  Nevertheless, it may have had the greatest merit which oratory can possess, in being perfectly adapted to the audience to which it was addressed.  But rhetoric could not carry Illinois for the Whigs; the Democrats cast the vote of the State.


[34] The Good Old Times in McLean County, passim.

[35] It was first advocated in 1835-36, and was adopted by slow degrees thereafter.  Ford, Hist. of Illinois, 204.

[36] Ibid. 201.

[37] Lamon, 129, where is given the text of the manifesto; Herndon, 101; N. and H. i. 101, 105; Holland, 53, says that after his return from the Black Hawk campaign, Lincoln “was applied to” to become a candidate, and that the “application was a great surprise to him.”  This seems an obvious error, in view of the manifesto; yet see Lamon, 122.

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Abraham Lincoln, Volume I from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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