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his days of struggle with poverty. In his arguments at the bar, Mr. Lincoln's style was generally plain and unimpassioned, and his professional bearing was so high and honorable, that no man ever questioned his truthfulness, or his honor. No one, who ever watched him for half an hour, in a hard contested case, would doubt his ability. He had a clear insight into the human heart; knew jury, witnesses, parties, attorneys, and how best to address and manage all.
. His statement of his case was an argument of itself; his illustrations, often quaint and homely, yet always clear and presented with sincerity and earnestness of manner, generally carried conviction. He never misstated evidence, or law, but met the case squarely and fairly. Such was Mr. Lincoln at the bar, a fair, honest, able lawyer, on the right side, always successful— avoiding, carefully, the wrong side, and when he found himself upon it, either throwing up his case, or making an effort so weak, that the jury, generally said, “Lincoln is on the wrong side; he don't try."
The last case which Mr. Lincoln ever tried, was the case of Jones v. Johnson, tried in the United States Circuit Court at Chicago, in the Spring of 1860, before the Hon. Thomas Drummond, District Judge. The case involved the title to land of great value, which had been formed by accretion, on the shore of Lake Michigan, by the gradual action of the lake. It led to an investigation of ancient land marks and boundaries, old Government surveys, and maps; the location of the lake shore when the town of Chicago was first platted into town lots, etc. It involved the recollections of the old settlers, and was a case peculiarly fitted for Mr. Lincoln's powers. The case was tried by Mr. Lincoln, and Messrs. Wilson & Fuller, and others, for the plaintiff, Jones, and by Judge B. S. Morris, and the author,for the defendant.
Mr. Lincoln obtained a verdict in favor of his client, although in the previous trials, the result had been the other way.
LINCOLN AND SLAVERY FROM 1854 TO 1858.
LINCOLN AND DOUGLAS DEBATE AT SPRINGFIELD, 1855 — AT PEO
RIA — ELECTION OF TRUMBULL TO THE SENATE — REORGANIZATION OF PARTIES ON THE SLAVERY ISSUE—THE REPUBLICAN PARTY — PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION OF 1856- MARGARET GARNER - BROOKS' ASSAULT ON SUMNER— LINCOLN's HATRED OF SLAV. ERY BUCHANAN
KANSAS - LECOMPTON DOUGLAS — THE DRED Scott CASE-SLAVERY DOMINANT, AND ITS EFFECTS UPON THE REPUBLIC.
IN 1854, events occurred, which brought into public action
all the power and energy of Mr. Lincoln. The repeal of the Missouri Compromise, the struggle for, and outrages in Kansas, brought him again prominently before the people of Illinois, and from this time, he devoted himself to the conflict between freedom and slavery, until he was elevated to the Presidency. The conviction settled upon his mind, that there could be no peace on the slavery question, until freedom or slavery should triumph.
When Senator Douglas returned to Illinois, after the passage of the Kansas-Nebraska bill, he was met by a storm of indignation, which would have overwhelmed a man of less power and will. Like a bold and couragous man, confident of his power over the people, he met the storm, and sought to overcome it. At his first attempt to address the people at Chicago, he was refused a hearing, but he would be and was heard. Early in October, the State fair was held at Springfield, and his personal and political friends from all parts of the State, made it a point to be there, as it was known Douglas would be present and attempt to vindicate his action. When it was known that Douglas was to speak, Lincoln was called upon by those who disapproved of the course of the Senator, to reply. Douglas spoke to a vast crowd of people, with his usual great ability. His long experience in debate, his confidence in himself, made him somewhat arrogant and overbearing. Lincoln listened to his speech, and at the close, it was announced, that he would, on the following day, reply. Douglas was present at this reply, which occupied more than three hours; during all this long period, Lincoln held his vast audience in close attention. No report of this speech has been made, but it was undoubtedly one of the greatest efforts of his life. A by-stander, describing the speaker and the speech, says.
“His whole heart was in the subject. He quivered with feeling and emotion. The house was as still as death.” The effect of the speech was most magnetic and powerful; cheer upon cheer interrupted him. Women. waved their handkerchiefs, men sprung from their seats and waved their hats, in uncontrollable enthusiasm.
As soon as Lincoln concluded, Douglas sprung to the stand and said he had been abused, “though in a perfectly courteous manner.” He spoke until the hour for supper, but without his usual success. He said he would continue his remarks in the evening, but he did not. He was evidently unprepared for the tremendous effort of Lincoln, and could not immediately recover from it.
Their next place of meeting was at Peoria; Mr. Lincoln followed Douglas to that place, and challenged the discussion. On this occasion, as at Springfield, Lincoln replied to Douglas, in a speech of some three hours length, and carried the audience almost unanimously with him. On these two occasions, more perhaps than any other in his life, was Douglas disconcerted by the vigor and power of the reply to him. A consciousness of being in the wrong may have contributed to this result. It was perfectly clear, that Lincoln spoke from the most deep and earnest conviction of right, and his manner indicated this. Mr. Lincoln desired to continue the discussion with the author of the Kansas-Nebraska bill, in other parts of the State, but Douglas declined.
General Shields, who was the colleague of Douglas in the Senate, whose term was about to expire, had voted, under the influence of Douglas, for the Kansas-Nebraska bill. He was a candidate for reëlection. Mr. Lincoln having been the leader of the whig party, now the leader of all who opposed the repeal of the Missouri Compromise, and the Kansas outrages, was brought prominently forward for the place. The free soil democrats, whigs, and liberty party men, were united and carried a majority of the Legislature. Lincoln would have been elected Senator, as he was the choice of a large majority of the anti-Nebraska members, so elected; but among the Senators, who had been elected as democrats, and who held over, but who would vote for an anti-Nebraska democrat, for the Senate, were N. B. Judd, B. C. Cook, Palmer, (now Major General Palmer,) and Parks. These gentlemen, while appreciating Mr. Lincoln's ability, and his great services, felt that they could not vote for a whig, and brought forward Lyman Trumbull as a candidate. On ascertaining these facts, seeing danger, that unless prevented by the immediate concentration of the anti-Nebraska members, Governor Matteson, a democrat, would be elected, Mr. Lincoln, with the generous magnanimity and unselfish devotion to principle which ever characterized him, withdrew his name as a candidate; and by earnest, personal appeals, induced his friends to vote solid for Judge Trumbull, and thus secured his election. Meanwhile the Thirty-fourth Congress had been elected and convened in December, 1855. The old whig party had been dissolved, and out of it had sprung two parties, calling themselves the American, and the republican parties. At this Congress, neither party having a majority, a long struggle ensued for the election of Speaker, which after sixty days' ballotting, resulted in the election of N. P. Banks, of Massachusetts, over ex-Governor Aiken, of South Carolina. The slavery question absorbed public attention, and political contests before the people, centered more and more upon that question, as the Presidential election of 1856 approached.
The friends of freedom, elevated by the consciousness of a great cause, animated by the advocacy of great principles, and a generous love of liberty, conscious of the moral sublimity of their position, grew more and more confident of success. The slavery question had shattered and broken up
the old party organizations. From the fragments of former parties, there existed the material, which if it could be united, and brought together, would constitute a powerful and successful party.
There had been in the great democratic organization, an earnest and powerful element opposed to slavery; but as that party had passed more and more into the control of the slaveholders, this element had been driven out. The old whig party had been broken up; the party calling itself American, was not sufficiently broad, national, and catholic to suit the American people. The time had come, it was believed by many, for the organization of a new party, which should embody the vitality, vigor, and the genuine democratic principles of the ancient democracy; a party which earnestly and heartily believed in the Declaration of Independence; a party that should combine the best elements of the old parties, and all the earnest anti-slavery men of the country.
This new organization needed a leader, and found one, unconciously to itself, and to him, in Abraham Lincoln. He was selected by the instincts of the masses of the people. In principle, in character, he was, of all others, the representative man of this new organization.
The aggressions of the slaveholders, and their outrages in Kansas, had intensified the feeling of hostility to slavery, and in that hostility was to be found a common bond of union.
Hitherto the democratic party, under the attractive name of democracy, had secured the vote of the foreign born citizens of the republic. But a large and intelligent class, including the Swedes and Norwegians, and a very numerous body of Germans, and others, when they saw an organization distinctly hostile to slavery, which in all its forms they abhored, placing itself upon the broad principle of liberty, felt that their true position was in the ranks of this new party. If this powerful foreign element could be detached from the democracy, and join the new party now crystalizing, it would contribute very largely towards its early success.
But there were strong prejudices to be overcome between these foreign born citizens and that portion of the new party who had been called Americans.