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foeman could never do, the silent artillery of that time has done—the levelling of its walls. They are gone. They were a forest of giant oaks; but the resistless hurricane has swept over them and left only here and there a lonely trunk despoiled of its verdure, shorn of its foliage, unshading and unshaded, to murmur in a few more gentle breezes and to combat with its mutilated limbs a few more ruder storms, then to sink and be no more.”
A little later, in 1839, there was a remarkable debate in the Illinois Legislature, in which the Democratic disputants were Stephen A. Douglas, John Calhoun, Josiah Lamborn, and Jesse B. Thomas. The Whig speakers were Stephen T. Logan, Edward D. Baker, Orville H. Browning, and Abraham Lincoln. All of these men were conspicuous figures in Illinois politics, and most of them became celebrated throughout the country in after years. During the debate, one of the speakers taunted the other side with the hopelessness of their cause and the fewness of their numbers. In replying to him, Lincoln said: “Address that argument to cowards and knaves. With the free and the brave it will effect nothing. It may be true; if it must, let it. Many free countries have lost their liberty, and ours may lose hers; but, if she shall, let it be my proudest plume, not that I was the last to desert, but that I never deserted her.”
Martin Van Buren was then President, and all who opposed his administration were denounced and persecuted with a virulence unknown in these more liberal days.
Alluding to this Lincoln said: “Bow to it I never will. Here, before heaven, and in the face of the world, I swear eternal fidelity to the just cause
of the land of my life, my liberty, and my love.
The cause approved of by our judgment and our hearts, in disaster, in chains, in death, we never faltered in defending.'
In 1840, the country was deeply stirred by the Presidential campaign of that year. Martin Van Buren was nominated by the Democrats, and General William H. Harrison by the Whigs. Lincoln was one of the Presidential electors on the Harrison ticket, and he took a lively interest in the canvass, making speeches and going on long expeditions for the sake of his candidate. Harrison lived in Ohio, where he had been one of the earlier pioneers. The dwelling of the pioneer, of course, was a log cabin; his favorite drink was supposed to be “hard” or sour, fermented apple cider. In a very short time the Harrison campaign became “the log-cabin and hardcider campaign.” Even in the staid, old-fashioned cities and towns of the Eastern States, log cabins were built for rallying-places. Barrels of hard cider were kept on tap, and, instead of the customary tin cup for drinking purposes, gourds were ostentatiously hung out. Coon-skins were nailed on the outer walls of these symbolic log cabins. In some places extravagant expedients were resorted to in order to rouse public enthusiasm. In Boston, for example, a huge ball was made by covering a wood framework, some fifty feet in circumference, with painted cloth; and on the ends was lettered the legend, “This is the ball that is rolling on.” The novel device was rolled through the streets of the city, on the occasion of a log-cabin parade, the big ball being
At a great
guided by ropes hitched to its axis. Campaign songsters, flags, and all sorts of inventions to stir up the people, were scattered broadcast all over the country.
Lincoln threw himself heart and soul into this extraordinary and memorable canvass. meeting in Springfield, Edward Baker, Lincoln's close friend, was speaking in a large room next below the floor on which Lincoln's office was. A trap-door, once used for ventilating purposes, was cut in the ceiling over the spot where the speaker stood. Lincoln raised this slightly and listened to Baker's harangue. Presently, Baker, losing his temper, assailed the Democrats very hotly, and, as some of these were present, they made a rush for the speaker, crying: "Pull him off the platform!” To their intense surprise, the trap-door was lifted, and Lincoln's large feet, well known by their proportions, appeared; then his legs, and finally his body, slid down, and the tall son of the backwoods stood defiantly by the side of Baker. Quieting the rising tide by a wave of his hand, Lincoln said: “Gentlemen, let us not disgrace the age and country in which we live. This is a land where freedom of speech is guaranteed. Baker has a right to speak, and a right to be permitted to do so. I am here to protect him, and no man shall take him from this stand if I can prevent it.” Lincoln had sufficient reputation for courage and muscle, as well as for fairness, to warrant that Baker should have no further interruption.
WINNING HIS WAY.
His First Love Affair—A Disappointment—Dark Days—The Lincoln
Shields “Duel”—Good Advice on the Subject of Quarrelling-
HILE Lincoln was living in New Salem, he
became tenderly attached to a young lady of that village, Miss Ann Rutledge. It is not known that the pair were ever engaged to be married, but it is known that a very cordial affection existed between the twain. At that time, Lincoln, who was ever looking on the dark and practical side of life, was in no condition to marry; he was not only poor, but was burdened with debts, and with a very uncertain future before him. It is hardly likely that he would have engaged himself to marry while his prospects in life were so very dim and discouraging. But Miss Rutledge died suddenly, and while yet in the bloom of youth. This sad event impressed Lincoln with the deepest melancholy, and it is said that he never was as cheerful afterwards. To the day of his death, it is likely, the taking out of life of Ann Rutledge, who seems to have been cut down most untimely, was to Lincoln a forcible lesson of the vanity of human
expectations. It was at this time, so far as we know, that an old poem, beginning with the line
“Oh, why should the spirit of mortal be proud ?”
greatly impressed him with its sadness and pathetic reminders of death, decay, and disappointment. The poem sunk insensibly into his memory, and it was a favorite with him ever after.
It does not appear that Lincoln was ever what is called “a lady's man.” He delighted in the society and conversation of cultivated and sprightly women, always, but he was not greatly addicted to such society when a young man making his way in the world. He was obliged to live laborious days, and sit up far into the night pursuing his studies, his reading, his course of thought. But in 1840 there came to Springfield from Kentucky his destiny in the person of Miss Mary Todd. She was a daughter of Robert Todd. It was one of her relatives, John Todd, who gave name to Lexington, Kentucky. When, at the breaking out of the Revolution, John Todd was encamped hard by the site of the present city, he heard from the far East the news of the battle of Lexington, and he bestowed on the settlement yet unborn the title it wears unto this day. The Todd family was one of ancient and honorable standing in Kentucky. Mary Todd's sister was the wife of Ninian W. Edwards, a man of substance in Springfield, and it was to visit her that Miss Todd had reached the Illinois capital.
Mary Todd was courted and flattered by the young men of Springfield, and as the young ladies of those