Walker, the fourth Democratic governor who had now been sacrificed to the interests of the Kansas pro-slavery cabal, also wrote a sharp letter of resignation denouncing the Lecompton fraud and policy; and such was the indignation aroused in the free States, that although the Senate passed the Lecompton Bill, twenty-two Northern Democrats joining their vote to that of the Republicans, the measure was defeated in the House of Representatives. The President and his Southern partizans bitterly resented this defeat; and the schism between them, on the one hand, and Douglas and his adherents, on the other, became permanent and irreconcilable.
The Senatorial Contest in Illinois—“House Divided against Itself” Speech—The Lincoln-Douglas Debates—The Freeport Doctrine—Douglas Deposed from Chairmanship of Committee on Territories—Benjamin on Douglas—Lincoln’s Popular Majority—Douglas Gains Legislature—Greeley, Crittenden, et al.—“The Fight Must Go On”—Douglas’s Southern Speeches—Senator Brown’s Questions—Lincoln’s Warning against Popular Sovereignty—The War of Pamphlets—Lincoln’s Ohio Speeches—The John Brown Raid—Lincoln’s Comment
The hostility of the Buchanan administration to Douglas for his part in defeating the Lecompton Constitution, and the multiplying chances against him, served only to stimulate his followers in Illinois to greater efforts to secure his reelection. Precisely the same elements inspired the hope and increased the enthusiasm of the Republicans of the State to accomplish his defeat. For a candidate to oppose the “Little Giant,” there could be no rival in the Republican ranks to Abraham Lincoln. He had in 1854 yielded his priority of claim to Trumbull; he alone had successfully encountered Douglas in debate. The political events themselves seemed to have selected and pitted these two champions against each other. Therefore, when the Illinois State convention on June 16, 1858, passed by acclamation a separate resolution, “That Abraham Lincoln is the first and only choice of the Republicans of Illinois for the United States Senate as the successor of Stephen A. Douglas,” it only recorded the well-known judgment of the party. After its routine work was finished, the convention adjourned to meet again in the hall of the State House at Springfield at eight o’clock in the evening. At that hour Mr. Lincoln appeared before the assembled delegates and delivered a carefully studied speech, which has become historic. After a few opening sentences, he uttered the following significant prediction: