Springfield at this time contained about fifteen thousand inhabitants and the visitors to the fair increased the population at least ten thousand. It was the day of stump speaking. The farmers held sessions daily during the week at which they discussed topics pertaining to agriculture and its allied interests; each evening a woman was lecturing in the court room on "Woman's Influence in the Great Progressive Movements of the Day;" and the politicians occupied the senate chamber from noon to midnight with a short intermission for supper. In a card given out through the press, the members of the Agricultural Society protested against the political speakers taking advantage of their "Annual Jubilee and School of Life" to occupy the time and distract the attention of the people by a public discussion of questions foreign to the objects of the society. "The politicians as well as the farmers are out in force," wrote a reporter.
On Wednesday of Fair week, Douglas spoke in the Hall of Representatives in the State House, making a masterly defense of himself and his theory of popular sovereignty. He was to be answered at the same place the following afternoon by Judge Trumbull, of Alton, the most prominent anti-Nebraska Democrat in the southern part of the state. Trumbull failed to arrive at the proper time and Abraham Lincoln, a Whig, arose to reply to Douglas. Lincoln was the recognized speaker for the Whigs in Springfield: a month before, he had replied to Calhoun, a pro-Nebraska Democrat.
[Chicago Democratic Press, October 6, 1854]
Today we listened to a 31⁄2 hour's speech from the Hon. Abram Lincoln, in reply to that of Judge Douglas of yesterday. He made a full and convincing reply and showed up squatter sovereignty in all its unblushing pretensions. We came away as Judge Douglas commenced to reply to Mr. Lincoln.