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9
LINCOLN AND DOUGLAS

retire to his lodgings at the Tremont House. The people then separated quietly and all except the office-holders, in the greatest of good humor.—

A large number, and we certainly were among them, felt deeply mortified that Mr. Douglas had not been permitted to say what he pleased. We must say, however, that the matter terminated much more peacefully than most of our citizens feared, and all have reason, considering the excited state of public mind, to be thankful that matters are no worse.

ABRAHAM LINCOLN OF ILLINOIS

Among those who opposed the action of Douglas was his long-time friend and rival, Abraham Lincoln, who had served several terms in the Illinois State Legislature and one term in Congress (1847-49) and then retired from public life to look after his law practice. After six years of retirement, he confessed himself drawn again into the arena of politics by the passing of the Kansas-Nebraska act. In the dissatisfaction with Douglas and the Democratic dissension likely to follow, Lincoln saw an opportunity for the Whigs of Illinois and an opening for his long-suppressed political ambitions. During the autumn of 1854, after Douglas had been refused a hearing in Chicago, Lincoln wrote to an influential friend, "It has come around that a Whig may by possibility be elected to the United States Senate, and I want the chance of being that man."[1]

At this time, Lincoln was among the most prominent of the old line Whigs of Illinois; but the dissensions in the Democratic party which promised him a hearing also brought an obstacle in the many prominent Democrats who were deserting the pro-slavery Douglas and who might properly be called new line Whigs, although known as anti-Nebraska men. The Whigs, never able to carry

  1. Nicolay and Hay, Complete Works of Abraham Lincoln, I, 209