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[Illinois Journal, Springfield, February 9, 1855]


Trumbull Elected—The Anti-Nebraska Sentiment of Illinois Vindicated

The Senatorial election took place on yesterday. . . . . Abraham Lincoln had by far the largest number of votes on the first votes [ballot]: but it having become apparent that he could not be elected, his friends to a man, with his entire approbation, united on a candidate that could be, and was, elected. Every vote Judge Trumbull received came from anti-Nebraska and anti-Douglas men. Thus has the State of Illinois rebuked the authors of the repeal of the Missouri restriction.—They have done it in a manner that will be felt, not only in this State, but throughout the nation. The Douglas party would have greatly preferred the election of Lincoln, Williams, Odgen, Kellogg, or Sweet, to that of Judge Trumbull. They were most anxious to crush him for daring to be honest.

Of Mr. Lincoln, we need scarcely say,—that though ambitious of the office himself,—when it was apparent that he could not be elected, he pressed his friends to vote for Mr. Trumbull.—Mr. Lincoln's friends can well say, that while with his advice they ultimately cast their votes for, and assisted in the election of Mr. Trumbull, it was not "because they loved Ceasar less, but because they loved Rome more."

It has long been certain that there was an anti-Nebraska majority in the Legislature. The Douglas men were certain of this fact—and their anticipated "triumph," as announced by Mr. Moulton in the House, was based on the known popularity of Gov. Matteson personally, which would give their votes for him and which would ensure his election.

Although Herndon and Lincoln's other friends attempted in these complimentary terms to soften the blow of his defeat, he felt keenly the sacrifice he had been compelled to make for a man who had been until recently his political enemy, "I regret my defeat moderately," he wrote to a friend, "but am not nervous about it."[1] Quite naturally he would be given a chance when the next senatorial vacancy occurred and that would be four years hence.

  1. Nicolay and Hay, op.cit., 215.