Page:Lincolndouglas2184linc.djvu/73

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37
THE SENATORIAL CAMPAIGN OF 1858

Senator Douglas, to hear what account he had to give of himself and what he had to say in reference to the political topics of the day.

He spoke for an hour and a half, in his usual style—dispensing "soft-soap" quite freely, setting himself forth as a hero of no common order, and indulging even more than ordinarily in that inexorable habit of misrepresentation, and prevarication which appears in political matters to have become a sort of second nature to him.


Dropping the Kansas question, he next paid his respects to Mr. Lincoln and the speech that gentleman made at Springfield at the late Republican State Convention. He considered Mr. Lincoln a "kind, amiable, high-minded gentleman, a good citizen, and an honorable opponent," but took exception to the sentiments of his speech.


He repeated, almost word for word, the language of his last year's Springfield speech in regard to "negro equality" and very falsely imputed to Mr. Lincoln this doctrine of "negro equality," while the fact is that Mr. Lincoln has no more to do with negroes, or the question of placing negroes on an equality with white men, than Douglas has to do with the Americanizing of the Hottentots or the Fejee Islanders.

[From the same paper]

The following scene, as described by the Tribune, took place preliminary to the speech:

Shortly before eight o'clock the procession from the depot, preceded by a band of music, and two companies of militia, reached the corner of Lake and Dearborn streets, from Randolph. The hack drivers charged furiously on the dense throng and by dint of whipping and swearing, the carriage containing Mr. Douglas was brought up to the north entrance of the house. At this juncture a blockhead on the upper balcony commenced firing off rockets, and of course made a dozen horses crazy. Those attached to the carriage in which Mr. Douglas sat, plunged frantically in every direction. Several persons were bruised. One man had his leg broken in three places, and was borne fainting into a drug store. Mr. Douglas escaped indoors, and almost immediately reappeared on the north balcony, when Charles Walker, Esq., commenced his reception speech.

At this point of the proceedings a furious battle commenced in the street between the crowd and the remaining hack drivers, who persisted insanely in plowing through the living sea in front of the building. In the confusion and excitement, Mr. Walker's speech came to an abrupt and embarrassing termination—leaving people uncertain whether he had forgotten the balance, or had adopted the novel and peculiar way of welcoming a Senator. Not one man in fifty of the entire audience knew that he had made a speech at all.