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heart was alive to the right; enthusiasm unusual to him blazed up; his eyes were aglow with inspiration; he stood before the throne of the eternal Right."
Lincoln had been made one of the Presidential Electors, as he usually was, and he canvassed the State for Frémont, making about fifty speeches. He was invited to speak everywhere, Indiana and Wisconsin sent for him, and Iowa. "Come to our place," wrote an enthusiastic officer there; "because in you do our people place more confidence than in any other man. People who do not read want the story told as you only can tell it. Others may make fine speeches, but it would not be: 'Lincoln said so in his speech."" A settlement of Germans in southern Indiana wanted to hear him; and the president of a college spoke of him as "one providentially raised up for a time like this, and even should defeat come in the contest, it would be some consolation to remember we had Hector for a leader."
But before very long it was not defeat but victory that was coming in the contest. One day while Lincoln was speaking for Frémont a voice from the audience called out: "Mr. Lincoln, is it true that you entered this State barefoot, driving a yoke of oxen?" Mr. Lincoln paused a moment, as if he wondered whether
he should pay any attention to such impertinence. At last he answered that he thought he could prove the fact by at least a dozen men in the crowd, every one more respectable than his questioner. Then he seemed inspired by the question and went on to show what free institutions had done for himself and how bad slavery was for the white man, and asked why he should not hate slavery and agitate against it? "We will speak for freedom and against slavery," he said, "as long as the Constitution of our country guarantees free speech, until everywhere on this wide land, the sun shall shine and the rain shall fall and the wind shall blow upon no man who goes forth to unrequited toil.' The man who had tried to embarrass him had only made him the more eloquent. The Republican governor was elected and a large vote polled for Frémont, in Illinois.
This was before Mr. Lincoln spoke in New York and New England; and before that second "battle of the giants" with Douglas in 1858 when through the newspapers all the country had been present. From that time he continually rose in importance to the people of the country. It was a great astonishment to him to find himself admired by educated persons. A gentleman who had listened to him in Norwich, Connecticut, met him on the train the
following day and told him that he himself had learned more of the art of public speaking from his speech of the previous evening, than he could have done from a whole course of lectures on rhetoric. Lincoln in genuine amazement replied by mentioning a professor of rhetoric in Yale College who had taken notes of his speech and taught his class from them the next day, and who had followed him to Meriden and heard him again for the same reason. He had not expected any triumph among the cultivated men of the East; it was "very extraordinary," he said. As he and the stranger were about to separate, the latter told him that in this great struggle with slavery, he, Lincoln, had become one of the leaders. "Be true to your principles," he said, "and we will be true to you, and God will be true to us all." Mr. Lincoln took the speaker's hand in both his own. "I say amen to that! amen to that!" he cried.
The February before the Illinois Republican Convention at Bloomington which has been spoken of, there had been held at Pittsburgh on the twenty-second-Washington's birthday—a general gathering of prominent Republicans and anti-Nebraska politicians and other earnest men from the free States and a few from the border slave States, between three and four hundred active leaders representing twenty
eight States and Territories. It was an informal meeting; but it prepared the way for more. The members were moderate and careful; but many of the delegates were men known all over the country. This meeting in its resolutions made four demands: "The repeal of all laws which allowed slavery to be brought into Territories only consecrated to freedom; resistance by constitutional means to slavery in any United States Territory; the immediate admission of Kansas as a free State; and the overthrow of the Democratic national administration." And it issued a call for the first National Convention of the Republican party to meet at Philadelphia, June 17, 1856. That was the Convention which, as we know, nominated John C. Frémont, a great explorer of our Western country and an earnest anti-slavery man, as candidate for the next President. And here also Lincoln received over one hundred votes for Vicepresident, but Dayton was finally chosen. It has been said that Lincoln worked hard in his own State and in other States to have Frémont elected; and so did many other determined men. But as we have seen, they were unsuccessful. Buchanan was our next President.
After the Bloomington Convention, when a meeting to endorse it was called at Springfield, nobody seemed interested; only three were pres