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29
THE SENATORIAL CAMPAIGN OF 1858

[New York Daily Tribune, June 26, 1858]

ILLINOIS


Sketch of the Hon. Abraham Lincoln

Correspondence of the New York Tribune

Collinsville, Ill., June 15, 1858

The decided expressions of the Republican Convention of this State in favor of Abraham Lincoln for Senator, in the place now held by Judge Douglas, will give interest to anything throwing light upon the character and abilities of Mr. Lincoln, especially to those who are not acquainted with him. As he has served only one term in the Lower House of Congress, and that so long ago as 1846-8, there must be many who would like to know how he will be likely to fill the place of the now so notorious—I might say distinguished—Douglas. Is he a match for his "illustrious predecessor"?


But I am forgetting myself, which was chiefly to relate an incident showing the two men in contact and somewhat in comparsion. I think it has never been in print.

It was in the Fall of 1854, when the Nebraska bill was a fresh topic, Lincoln was speaking to some two thousand persons in the State House at Springfield. Douglas sat on the Clerk's platform, just under the Speaker's stand. In his introduction, Lincoln complimented his distinguished friend; said he himself had not been in public life as he had; and if he should, on that account, misstate any fact, he would be very much obliged to his friend the Judge, if he would correct him. Judge Douglas rose with a good deal of Senatorial dignity, and said that it was not always agreeable to a speaker to be interrupted in the course of his remarks, and therefore, if he should have anything to say, he would wait until Mr. Lincoln was done. For some reason, he did not keep to his purpose, but quite frequently rose to put in a word when he seemed to think his case required immediate attention. One of these passages—and it was pretty nearly a sample of the rest—was in this wise: Lincoln had been giving a history of the legislation of the Federal Government on the subject of Slavery, and referring to the opinions held by public men, and had come down to the Nicholson letter, wherein the denial of the power of Congress to prohibit Slavery in the Territories was first presented to the public. Said he, "I don't know what my friend the Judge thinks" [and he looked down upon