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After the “race," still smarting from the mortification of defeat, and the disappointment of a cherished hope, he took his old friend Jim Matheny away off to a solitary place in the woods, “and then and there," “ with great emphasis," protested that he had not grown proud, and was not an aristocrat. “Jim," said he, in conclusion, “I am now, and always shall be, the same Abe Lincoln that I always was.
N 1844 Mr. Lincoln was again a candidate for elector on
the Whig ticket. Mr. Clay, as he has said himself, was his “beau-ideal of a statesman," and he labored earnestly and as effectually as any one else for his election. For the most part, he still had his old antagonists to meet in the Springfield region, chief among whom this year was John Calhoun. . With him and others he had joint debates, running through several nights, which excited much popular feeling. One of his old friends and neighbors, who attended all these discussions, speaks in very enthusiastic terms of Mr. Calhoun, and, after enumerating his many noble gifts of head and heart, concludes that “ Calhoun came nearer of whipping Lincoln in debate than Douglas did.”
Mr. Lincoln made many speeches in Illinois, and finally, towards the close of the campaign, he went over into Indiana, and there continued "on the stump" until the end. Among other places he spoke at Rockport on the Ohio, - where he had first embarked for New Orleans with Gentry, -at Gentryville, and at a place in the country about two miles from the cabin where his father had lived. While he was in the midst of his speech at Gentryville, his old friend, Nat Grigsby, entered the room.
Lincoln recognized him on the instant, and, stopping short in his remarks, cried out, " There's Nat!” Without the slightest regard for the proprieties of the occasion, he suspended his address totally, and, striding from the platform, began scrambling through the audience and over the benches, toward the modest Nat, who stood near the door. When he reached him, Lincoln shook his hand “ cordially ;” and, after felicitating himself sufficiently upon the happy meeting, he returned to the platform, and finished his speech. When that was over, Lincoln could not make up his mind to part with Nat, but insisted that they must sleep together. Accordingly, they wended their way to Col. Jones's, where that fine old Jackson Democrat received his distinguished “clerk” with all the honors he could show him. Nat says, that in the night a cat“ began mewing, scratching, and making a fuss generally.” Lincoln got up, took the cat in his hands, and stroking its back “gently and kindly,” made it sparkle for Nat's amusement. He then “gently” put it out of the door, and, returning to bed, “ commenced telling stories and talking over old times."
It is hardly necessary to say, that the result of the canvass was a severe disappointment to Mr. Lincoln. No defeat but his own could have given him more pain; and thereafter he seems to have attended quietly to his own private business until the Congressional canvass of 1846.
It was thought for many years by some persons well informed, that between Lincoln, Logan, Baker, and Hardin, four very conspicuous Whig leaders, — there was a secret personal understanding that they four should “ rotate” in Congress until each had had a term. Baker succeeded Hardin in 1844; Lincoln was elected in 1846, and Logan was nominated, but defeated, in 1848. Lincoln publicly declined to contest the nomination with Baker in 1844; Hardin did the same for Lincoln in 1846 (although both seem to have acted reluctantly), and Lincoln refused to run against Logan in 1848. Col. Matheny and others insist, with great show of reason, that the agreement actually existed ; and, if such was the case, it was practically carried out, although Lincoln was a candidate against Baker, and Hardin against Lincoln, as long as either of them thought there was the smallest prospect of success. They might have done this, however, merely to keep other and less tractable candidates out of the field. That Lincoln would cheerfully have made such a bargain to insure himself a seat