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leader, if not yet the leader of the mighty forces marshaling to resist at the polls the inroads of slavery. For the North was not a coward; it had long been quiet for the sake of peace and the Union. But since the repeal of the Missouri Compromise, it had been upon the alert.

So, the country was more than ready to listen to Lincoln. In October he received an invitation to deliver a lecture in Cooper Institute, New York City. He never worked so hard as he did over that speech. The day after its delivery the New York Tribune said: "No man ever before made such an impression on his first appeal to a New York audience." The people, some of the most scholarly and critical in the city, had come together expecting to hear a rough Westerner who had made a great impression upon Western audiences; they expected to be amused and interested by "stump oratory." It was an address not to themselves alone but to the whole American people; it was a masterly exposition of slavery in its whole history and purposes from the foundation of the government up to that present time in the February of 1860. It showed a comprehension of political movements and developments that astonished even careful students of politics; and a mental training and penetration into causes, and perception of results that scholars admired. The crowd

who came to hear "stump oratory" went away saying: "A great orator! A great man!"

One of Mr. Lincoln's errands at the East had been to visit his oldest son, Robert, then a student at Harvard College. But invitations to speak poured in upon him from all quarters; all over New England people wanted to hear him and to learn of the cause in which he spoke. Everywhere he went the people were delighted with him, as were his own people in Illinois. And he, too, was studying men and things and learning much that was of use to him in his high office. When at last he returned to his own home he was "better and more widely known," says a writer, "than nine out of every ten who sit out a long term in the United States Senate."

One who often heard him speak and who knew him well wrote of him that when Mr. Lincoln began to speak he was awkward and embarrassed in his movements and gestures. But all this soon wore off; as he forgot everything in his subject and his audience, dignity, power, expression, inspiration came to him; his gestures were no longer awkward, but eloquent and always effective, because they were always natural, the expression of his own emotion. When he and Douglas spoke together, Douglas charmed crowds by his eloquence, his grace and skill;

but after the meetings were over and the people had gone to their homes, it was Lincoln's logic and his appeal to manhood that they remembered.

But not yet did Lincoln foresee that it was his hand which by the grace of God was to make all free that "house" of his beloved country then "divided against itself."




Lincoln in one of his speeches had said that the South was wrong in accusing the North of being "radical;" it was the South itself which was radical and had changed the basis of the slavery question. The North was conservative; it desired to go back to the position that the founders of the republic had held in regard to slavery-to keep it from spreading, and to wait for its gradual abolition by the slave States themselves.

This had been the belief of many men at the North, in spite of the great strides that slavery had been taking over the country. But at the repeal of the Missouri Compromise the North awoke. As the Poet Whittier sang years before in his inspiring "Voices of Freedom" which found an echo in the hearts of thousands of people;

"The land is roused-its spirit
Was sleeping, but not dead!"

There was agitation, trouble, perplexity everywhere. But through it all, those who believed in freedom began to draw together to defend themselves against the encroachments of the slave power. Some men like William Lloyd Garrison stood on the moral wrong of slavery alone and did not believe in fighting it on other ground. But Whittier, Sumner, and other leaders of the Abolitionists believed that the struggle for liberty must come through the ballot. So, Abolitionists, the old Whigs-to which Lincoln belonged and which had gone to pieces as a separate party-Know-Nothings, Free-Soilers and all organizations which had freedom for their object perceived that if they would have victory at the polls they must be one party and not many. In 1856 they struggled to elect Frémont, the candidate of freedom. But in place of Frémont, Buchanan, a Democrat, was made President. But the party for freedom had shown much force.

In the May of 1856 there was a State Republican Convention at Bloomington, Illinois. And here the Republican party in Illinois was first organized and named. Of course, Lincoln was there; and, of course, he spoke. Herndon says that that speech was the greatest of Lincoln's life. "It was full of fire and energy and force; it was logic; it was pathos; he felt justice; his

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