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LINCOLN IN NEW YORK AND NEW ENGLAND.
The year 1858 was the time when Douglas was to be re-elected Senator to Congress, or some one else was to take his place. Abraham Lincoln wished to be the one to take his place, and he prepared to stump the State in opposition to him. Douglas whose fault it was originally that the people in Kansas had such a period of struggle and suffering, had at last turned against the unlawful measures of the South when he perceived that the North would not endure any more; so he came back to the contest stronger for the part he had just taken. But the people in Illinois knew him; and Lin
coln saw that he was working to be elected President in 1860. The Democratic State Convention of Illinois in April, 1858, endorsed Douglas for re-election as Senator. The Republican State Convention, however, which met in June passed a resolution: "That Abraham Lin
coln is our first and only choice for United. States Senator to fill the vacancy about to be created by the expiration of Mr. Douglas' term of office."
Then the Convention must follow Lincoln wherever he led. He had been preparing his speech carefully, jotting down on scraps of paper thought after thought as it came to him. Then he put them together to speak and print. "It was not the work of a mere politician," says Stoddard, "it was the thoughtful expression of a human life; the thoughts had been growing through gloomy, toilsome years."
Mr. Lincoln read a part of his speech to some of his friends before delivering it in the Convention. They said to him: "You must not say that; it's ahead of the time; if you say that you will never be elected." "That makes no difference," said Lincoln. "I will deliver it as it is written. I want to use some universally known figure, expressed in simple language as universally known, that may strike home to the minds of men in order to rouse them to the peril of the times. I would rather be defeated with this expression in the speech, and it held up and discussed before the people, than to be victorious without it." Here was the great difference between Lincoln and Douglas, Douglas loved himself and a high office best of all; Lin
coln loved his country and God's truth before his own gain. So, although all his party who heard this statement, except his partner, Herndon, warned him not to say it, Lincoln followed his own conscience and this is what he said on that 16th of June, 1858:
"Gentlemen of the Convention: If we could first know where we are and whither we are tending, we could then better judge what to do and how to do it. We are now far on into the fifth year since a policy was initiated with the avowed object and confident promise of putting an end to slavery agitation. Under the operation of that policy, that agitation has not only not ceased, but has continually augmented. In my opinion, it will not cease until a crisis shall have been reached and passed. 'A house divided against itself cannot stand.' I believe this government cannot endure permanently, half slave and half free. I do not expect the Union to be dissolved; I do not expect the house to fall; but I do expect that it will cease to be divided. It will become all one thing or all the other. Either the opponents of slavery will arrest the further spread of it, and place it where the public mind shall rest in the belief that it is in course of ultimate extinction, or its advocates will push it forward till it shall become alike lawful in all the States,
old as well as new, North as well as South.' From this beginning Lincoln went on until he ended with this trumpet note of courage: "The result is not doubtful. We shall not fail—if we stand firm, we shall not fail. Wise counsels may accelerate, or mistakes delay it, but sooner or later, the victory is sure to come."
It was not strange that as he had spoken God's words, at his own peril, his heart should be filled with God's faith.
A few days afterward a friend assured him that those foolish words of his would defeat him in the contest for the senatorship and that the friend was so very sorry; he wished they could be wiped out of existence. "Don't you wish it, now?" he asked.
Stoddard tells us that Lincoln dropped his pen and answered: "Well, doctor, if I had to draw a pen across and erase my whole life from existence, and I had one poor gift or choice left as to what I should save from the wreck, I should choose that speech and leave it to the world unerased.'"'
"The battle of the giants" began again when Douglas went through the State vindicating his own acts and accusing and maligning Lincoln's political position, and Lincoln answered him from point to point and defeated his arguments on each. But the prediction of the result of Lin
coln's speech before the Convention proved true; he was defeated for the senatorship which he much desired; he could not know then that he was withdrawn for a higher place. When some one asked him how he felt about this defeat, he said that he supposed he felt like the stripling who had bruised his toe-"too badly to laugh and too big to cry."
But Lincoln's fame had grown far wider than at first his friends realized. In his contest with Douglas he had forced the latter from a position which even his victory as Senator could not retrieve for him. And more than this, he had shown the whole country most clearly just what the issue was between the North and the South, and that slavery was the root of the trouble; and his wonderful comparison of the country as a house divided against itself had made thinking men everywhere understand that things would not and could not be left to take care of themselves; that it was true this country would become all slave, every State in it, unless the North stood for freedom as strongly as the South stood and fought for slavery. It was not then a question of actual battle with bayonets, but of political combinations and victory of the ballot box. Lincoln had stirred the hearts of the people; everywhere they were reading his speeches. Already, to the nation he was a