George Washington Smith.

A history of southern Illinois : a narrative account of its historical progress, its people, and its principal interests (Volume v.1) online

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band played a piece or two and the crowd dispersed. Arrangements
had been made for speaking in the afternoon. A few prominent people
were guests at the hotel for dinner.

The speaking occurred early in the afternoon. Men who were there
seem to think the audience was not demonstrative. Evidently there
were few, if any, of the leaders of the party present except local nota-
bles. Capt. W. W. Williams, now of Cairo, thinks Josh Allen. John
A. Logan and Gen. Uriah Linder were present. Captain Williams
says Douglas seemed to be feeling the strain of the campaign and spoke
with considerable difficulty.

An interesting story is told by Captain Williams. He says he called
at the Taylor House to pay his respects and was introduced to Mrs.
Douglas in the kitchen, where she was assisting in making pies for the
dinner or noon meal, as they were expecting many guests. Other citi-
zens confirm the story. Hon. W. T. Dowdall. now of Memphis, Ten-


nessee, was a prominent participant in the reception of Senator Doug-
las, and has rendered valuable help in the preservation of the details
of that memorable day. He has much to say of the charm of Mrs.
Douglas. His notion is that she was of inestimable service to her hus-
band in this noted canvass.

It would probably not be wide of the truth to say that the visit of
Senator and Mrs. Douglas to Cairo on their way to Jonesboro was more
a social event than it was a political affair. Great preparations were
made for a reception and ball to be given in the Tayor House on the
evening of the 14th. The evening meal was served promptly and elab-
orate preparations were made in the large dining room for the social
functions. This feature seems to have been in charge of Hon. Win.
A. Hacker, C. G. Simons, H. Watson Webb, and others. Professor Ter-
pinitz and his musicians furnished the music, Senator and Mrs. Doug-
las led the grand march. Mrs. Douglas, never weary of service in the
cause of her noted husband, danced with many of the noted gentlemen
present, particularly Colonel Taylor and Captain Billy Williams. Sen-
ator Douglas needed to husband his resources for the great conflict on
the morrow, so he retired early, but the "younger set" kept up the
dance till the wee hours of the morning.

On the morning of the 15th a special train stood ready upon the
Illinois Central tracks to convey the Little Giant and his party to the
little village of Anna, in Union county, where they would debark for
the historic town of Jonesboro. The train consisted of several coaches;
attached to the rear was a flat car upon which was a cannon manned
by the "Cairo artillerymen." There was not a large crowd of Cairoites
who went to Jonesboro. Professor Terpinitz thinks the cannon was
fired often on the way to Anna. The country passed through was
mostly timbered and hilly and he says the reverberations of the artillery
waked the natives. Anria was reached about noon, and after some de-
lay a procession was formed and the party marched to Jonesboro a
mile west.

The following extract from the Chicago Journal of September 16,
1858, is of interest, as it helps to settle some matters which the oldest
inhabitant does not remember.

"(Special Correspondence of the Journal).

"Just as we go to press, we received a letter from Southern Illinois,
a portion only of which we can publish today :

"CAIRO. Sept. 14, 1858.

" * * * Senator Douglas with his cannon arrived here yesterday
(it should read today) and made a speech (today) to the assembled
Cairoites. Linder, Judge Marshall, and John Logan also had their
say. We did not get here in time to hear the speeches. In the morn-
ing, Douglas and his cannon proceed to Jonesboro, where he meets Mr.
Lincoln in debate before the Egyptians, for the first time, tomorrow
afternoon. Mr. Lincoln is already there, having come down on the
same train which brought us to Cairo. He was received bv a number
of friends at the depot (in Anna) and is the guest of Mr. Dresser.

"He looks well, feels strong, and is full of courage as he has every
reason to be. A warm time is expected tomorrow, and we hear some
whispers of a proposed attempt on the part of Missourians and Ken-
tuckians, who are coming over to shout for Douglas, to "put down"


Lincoln. But we cannot believe that the attempt will be made. Mr.
Lincoln will not be without friends at the meeting. We find that he
is personally popular even here in Egypt."

A correspondent for the Chicago Journal, writing from Jonesboro
at the close of the debate, and reviewing the day 's doings, says : ' ' The
extra excursion train from Cairo, for the State Fair at Centralia,
brought up Senator Douglas and his cannon this evening (evidently
afternoon as the train reached Anna about noon or shortly thereafter).
We came upon the same train and were surprised that notwithstanding
the cannon was fired on the arrival at each station not a solitary cheer
was given nor any sign of enthusiasm manifested . . . between
Cairo and Jonesboro. . . . When the train arrived at the station,
his cannon (he always carries it with him, on an extra wood car at-
tached to the train) fired his own salute."

Another correspondent to the Press and Tribune says: "Shortly
before two o'clock the people entered the fair grounds, a little north of
the town, where the speaking stand had been erected. The inevitable
brass cannon was there before them filling the yard with a loud noise
and a bad smell."


Mr. Lincoln reached Anna from the north probably about 2 o'clock
in the afternoon of the fourteenth. He was accompanied by Mr. Hor-
ace White, Mr. D. L. Phillips, and probably Mr. Robert R. Hitt, the
shorthand reporter. In the letter above to the Journal, the correspond-
ent says he was to be the guest of Mr. Dresser, but Mr. A. J. Phillips,
son of D. L. Phillips, says his father entertained Mr. Lincoln. Mr. A. J.
Phillips was eleven years old and he says he remembers the occasion
in all its details. The elder Phillips had an office in a two-story frame
building about where the Miller opera house stands and Messrs. Phil-
lips, Lincoln, Hitt and White, possibly others, spent some time in the
office, and later Mr. Lincoln went to the home of Mr. Phillips on the
north side of the street from Anna to Jonesboro and remained over
night. Messrs. Hitt and White went to Jonesboro and stayed over
night at the Union Hotel, which is situated on the east side of the public
square. In all probability Mr. Lincoln and Mr. Phillips were at the
hotel for some time in the evening, for Mr. Horace White, now of New
York, writes as follows: "The only thing I recall at Jonesboro was
not political and not even terrestrial. It was the splendid appearance
of Donati's comet in the sky, the evening before the debate. Mr. Lin-
coln greatly admired this strange visitor, and he and I sat for an hour
or more in front of the hotel looking at it." Mr. White further says:
"The country people came into the little town with ox teams mostly,
and a very stunted breed of oxen, too. Their wagons were old-fash-
ioned, and looked as though they were ready to fall to pieces."

On the morning of the fifteenth Dr. Me Vane, a prominent Demo-
crat, who lived near Mr. Phillips, offered to take Mr. Lincoln and Mr.
Phillips out driving. Mr. Lincoln consented. Dr. McVane was quite
a horse fancier and drove a fine span of matched geldings. When they
were ready to start Dr. McVane asked young Phillips to go with them
and of course the youngster was glad of the chance. The four drove


over to Jonesboro, around the town, and westward along the picturesque
road leading to Willard's Landing on the Mississippi river. They re-
turned and Mr. Lincoln made some calls, one of which was to the home
of a Mrs. Hacker, a daughter-in-law of Col. John Hacker and wife of
Dr. Hacker. Some years ago Mrs. Dr. Hacker gave the writer the
story of the visit of both Mr. Lincoln and Senator Douglas. She says
when Lincoln called she had in her arms a six weeks' old baby. She
observed his ungainly appearance, the awkward gait, the long, bony
hand, the kindly look in the eyes, the sympathetic conversation, etc.
He stayed but a few moments, fondled the child and departed. Doug-
las also called. He was tastily attired, his hands encased in kid gloves,
and everything denoted the air of a cultured gentleman. In his visit
to the home he strengthened the ties already strong between himself
and the Hackers, the most influential name in the extreme south end
of the state at that time.

Mr. A. J. Phillips says they returned to Anna for an early dinner
and within a short time the village was startled by the roar of a
cannon. Everybody rushed to the station and a large crowd of people
welcomed the Little Giant. Mr. Horace White says: "I was standing
at the railroad station at Anna when Douglas's special train arrived
from Cairo. My recollection is that there was a flat car attached to
the train on which a small cannon was mounted and that it was fired
several times after its arrival."

Andrew J. Bunch, now seventy-five years of age, living at McClure,
in the northwest part of Alexander county, was a young man twenty-
one years of age at the time of the debate. He was living in Jonesboro
at that time. He says: "Jonesboro was a small town of less than
one thousand population. There was a large hotel on the east side of
the square kept by a man by the name of Sheets, and one on the west
side kept by a Mrs. Williams. The courthouse in the center of the
square was very dilapidated. There was no floor, only a dirt floor.
The present courthouse was just being plastered. The prominent men
were Col. John Hacker, his two sons, William and Henry. The latter
was a doctor. William was a very active politician. Col. John Dough-
erty was a very prominent man. His son, Lafayette, was the United
States marshal for the southern district of Illinois. Other prominent
men were John E. Nail, Willis Willard, John Greer, Adam Cruse, Dr.
Toler, William Bunch, Ephraim Kimmel, Joseph E. Terpinitz, John R.
Miller, George Williams, Samuel Flagler, Jeff Baldwin, etc. But Jones-
boro was almost solid for Buchanan and it was a cold reception that
Douglas got. The reception committee consisted of the Hackers and
Dr. Toler with others who were nominally on the committee. Slight
preparations were made. The debate occurred half a mile north of the
square. The reason the preparations were slight was that no Buchanan
man would do anything toward making arrangements. The Douglas
cannon was taken to the grounds and placed to the south of the speaker's
stand and fired several times while Douglas was speaking. When the
speaking was over someone shouted for Dougherty to speak and he
took the platform, but the confusion was too great. Josh Allen got up
and shouted for Linder, who came forward and spoke. I do not know
what became of Douglas and Lincoln after the speaking."

Prof. Joseph E. Terpinitz, the leader of the band, after telling of
having some difficulty in getting anything to eat, says: "Upon arriv-


ing at Jonesboro we were again disappointed in getting refreshments.
The square was alive with people and streams of men and boys were
moving toward the fair grounds. Finally the band led the way and the
march to the grounds was taken up. I remember we were tired and
hungry and not inclined to pay much attention to what was going on.
But as we were going up a gentle slope near the grounds, I noticed to
the left of the road in a path a tall, odd looking man walking along
with his hands behind him. He wore a tall plug hat, rather long-tailed
coat, and was a person who would attract attention in a crowd. He
seemed in deep meditation, walking with his head down. I asked
Who is that odd looking man? Someone in the band said that was
Lincoln from Springfield, who was going to speak. He was not particu-
larly with anyone, though there were many people walking along and
his friends may have been near."

The debate was without unusual incident. The audience was in-
deed very small. No one has estimated it more than two thousand,
while those who were accustomed to size up audiences place it at fifteen
hundred. The correspondents for the city papers speak of a good dele-
gation coming from the State Fair at Centralia, and of a good sized
crowd from Cairo. Mr. Horace White says: "My impression was
that the audience at Jonesboro was rather stolid, and took little interest
in the questions discussed, but that it was composed of honest, well
meaning, old fashioned country folks. I do not think Lincoln made any
converts at Jonesboro. I doubt if Douglas made any or even held his

























The joint debate between Mr. Douglas and Mr. Lincoln, which was
held at Jonesboro on September 15, 1858, was the third of the series,
and so thoroughly covers the ground of the questions at issue, that it
is here reproduced verbatim.


Ladies and Gentlemen: I appear before you to-day in pursuance
of a previous notice, and have made arrangements with Mr. Lincoln
to divide time, and discuss with him the leading political topics that now
agitate the country.

Prior to 1854 this country was divided into two great political
parties known as Whig and Democratic. These parties differed from
each other on certain questions which were then deemed to be impor-
tant to the bests interests of the Republic. Whigs and Democrats dif-
fered about a bank, the tariff, distribution, the specie circular and the
sub-treasury. On those issues we went before the country and discussed
the principles, objects and measures of the two great parties. Each
of the parties could proclaim its principles in Louisiana as well as in
Massachusetts, in Kentucky as well as in Illinois. Since that period, a
great revolution has taken place in the formation of parties, by which
they now seem to be divided by a geographical line, a large party in
the north being arrayed under the Abolition or Republican banner, in
hostility to the southern states, southern people, and southern institu-
tions. It becomes important for us to inquire how this transformation
of parties has occurred, made from those of national principles to
geographical factions. You remember that in 1850 this country was
agitated from, its center to its circumference about this slavery ques-
tion -it became necessary for the leaders of the great Whig party and
the leaders of the great Democratic party to postpone, for the time
being, their particular disputes, and unite first to save the Union be-
fore they should quarrel as to the mode in which it was to be governed.
During the congress of 1849- '50, Henry Clay was the leader of the
Union men, supported by Cass and Webster, and the leaders of the
Democracy and the leaders of the Whigs, in opposition to northern
Abolitionists or southern Disunionists. That great contest of 1850
resulted in the establishment of the Compromise Measures of that year,
which measures rested on the great principle that the people of each



state and each territory of this Union ought to be permitted to regulate
their own domestic institutions in their own way, subject to no other
limitation than that which the Federal constitution imposes.

I now wish to ask you whether that principle was right or wrong
which guaranteed to every state and every community the right to
form and regulate their domestic institutions to suit themselves. These
measures were adopted, as I have previously said, by the joint action
of the Union Whigs and Union Democrats in opposition to northern
Abolitionists and southern Disunionists. In 1858, when the Whig
party assembled at Baltimore, in national convention for the last time,
they adopted the principle of the Compromise Measures of 1850 as
their rule of party action in the future. One month thereafter the
Democrats assembled at the same place to nominate a candidate for
the presidency, and declared the same great principle as the rule of
action by which the Democracy would be governed. The presidential
election of 1852 was fought on that basis. It is true that the Whigs
claimed special merit for the adoption of those measures, because they
asserted that their great Clay originated them, their god-like Webster
defended them and their Fillmore signed the bill making them the law
of the land ; but on the other hand, the Democrats claimed special credit
for the Democracy, upon the ground that we gave twice as many votes
in both houses of congress for the passage of these measures as the
Whig party.

Thus you see that in the presidential election of 1852, the Whigs
were pledged by their platform and their candidate to the principle
of the Compromise Measures of 1850, and the Democracy were likewise
pledged by our principles, our platform, and our candidate to the same
line of policy, to preserve peace and quiet between the different sections
of this Union. Since that period the Whig party has been transformed
into a sectional party, under the name of the Republican party, whilst
the Democratic party continues the same national party it was at that
day. All sectional men, all men of Abolition sentiments and principles,
no matter whether they were old Abolitionists or had been Whigs or
Democrats, rally under the sectional Republican banner, and conse-
quently all national men, all Union-loving men, whether Whigs, Demo-
crats, or by whatever name they have been known, ought to rally under
the stars and stripes in defense of the constitution as our fathers made
it, and of the Union as it has existed under the constitution.

How has this departure from the faith of the Democracy and the
faith of the Whig party been accomplished? In 1854, certain restless,
ambitious, and disappointed politicians throughout the land took ad-
vantage of the temporary excitement created by the Nebraska bill to
try and dissolve the old Whig party and the old Democratic party, to
abolitionize their members, and lead them, bound hand and foot, cap-
tives into the Abolition camp. In the state of New York a convention
was held by some of these men and a platform adopted, every plank of
which was as black as night, each one relating to the negro, and not
one referring to the interests of the white man. That example was
followed throughout the northern states, the effect being made to com-
bine all the free states in hostile array against the slave states. The
men who thus thought that they could build up a great sectional party,
and through its organization control the political destinies of this
country, based all their hopes on the single fact that the north was the


stronger division of the nation, and hence, if the north could be com-
bined against the south, a sure victory awaited their efforts. I am
doing no more than justice to the truth of history when I say that in
this state Abraham Lincoln, on behalf of the Whigs, and Lyman Trum-
bull, on behalf of the Democrats, were the leaders who undertook to
perform this grand scheme of abolitionizing the two parties to which
they belonged. They had a private arrangement as to what should
be the political destiny of each of the contracting parties before they
went into the operation. The arrangement was that Mr. Lincoln was
to take the old line Whigs with him, claiming that he was still as good
a Whig as ever, over to the Abolitionists, and Mr. Trumbull was to
run for congress in the Belleville district, and, claiming to be a good
Democrat, coax the old Democrats into the Abolition camp, and when,
by the joint efforts of the abolitionized Whigs, the abolitionized Demo-
crats, and the old line Abolition and Freesoil party of this state, they
should secure a majority in the legislature. Lincoln was then to be
made United States senator in Shield's place, Trumbull remaining in
congress until I should be accommodating enough to die or resign, and
give him a chance to follow Lincoln. That was a very nice little bargain
so far as Lincoln and Trumbull were concerned, if it had been carried
out in good faith, and friend Lincoln had attained to senatorial dignity
according to the contract. They went into the contest in every part
of the state, calling upon all disappointed politicians to join in the
crusade against the Democracy, and appealed to the prevailing senti-
ments and prejudices in all the northern counties of the state. In
three congressional districts in the north end of the state they adopted,
as the platform of this new party thus formed by Lincoln and Trum-
bull in the connection with the Abolitionists, all of those principles
which aimed at a warfare on the part of the north against the south.
They declared in that platform that the Wilmot Proviso was to be
applied to all the territories of the United States, north as well as
south of 36 degrees 30 minutes, and not only to all the territory we then
had but all that we might hereafter acquire ; that hereafter no more slave
states should be admitted into this Union, even if the people, of such
state desired slavery; that the Fugitive Slave law should be absolutely
and unconditionally repealed ; that slavery should be abolished in the
District of Columbia; that the slave-trade should be abolished between
the different states, and, in fact, every article in their creed related to
this slavery question, and pointed to a northern geographical party in
hostility to the southern states of this Union. Such were their princi-
ples in northern Illinois. A little further south they became bleached
and grew paler just in proportion as public sentiment moderated and
changed in this direction. They were Republicans or Abolitionists in
the north, anti-Nebraska men down about Springfield, and in this neigh-
borhood they contented themselves with talking about the inexpediency
of the repeal of the Missouri Compromise. In the extreme northern
counties they brought out men to canvass the state whose complexion
suited their political creed, and hence Fred Douglass, the negro, was
to be found there, following General Cass, and attempting to speak on
behalf of Lincoln, Trumbull and Abolitionism, against that illustrious
senator. Why, they brought Fred Douglass to Freeport, when I was
addressing a meeting there, in a carriage driven by the white owner,
the negro sitting inside with the white lady and her daughter. When


I got through canvassing the northern counties that year, and pro-
gressed as far south as Springfield, I was met and opposed in discussion
by Lincoln, Lovejoy, Trumbull, and Sidney Breese, who were on one
side. Father Giddings, the high-priest of Abolitionism, had just been
there, and Chase came about the time I left. ["Why didn't you shoot
him?"] I did take a running shot at them, but as I was single-handed
against the white, black and mixed drove, I had to use a shotgun and
fire into the crowd instead of taking them off singly with a rifle. Trum-
bull had for his lieutenants, in aiding him to abolitionize the Democracy,
such men as John Wentworth, of Chicago, Governor Reynolds, of Belle-
ville, Sidney Breese, of Carlisle, and John Dougherty, of Union, each
of whom modified his opinions to suit the locality he was in. Dougherty,
for instance, would not go much further than to talk about the inex-
pediency of the Nebraska bill, whilst his allies at Chicago, advocated
negro citizenship and negro equality, putting the white man and the
negro on the same basis under the law. Now these men, four years ago,
were engaged in a conspiracy to break down the Democracy ; to-day
they are again acting together for the same purpose! They do not
hoist the same flag; they do not own the same principles, or profess
the same faith ; but conceal their union for the sake of policy. In the
northern counties, you find that all the conventions are called in the
name of the Black Republican party; at Springfield, they dare not call
a Republican convention, but invite all the enemies of the Democracy
to unite, and when they get down into Egypt, Trumbull issues notices
calling upon the "Free Democracy" to assemble and hear him speak.
I have one of the handbills calling a Trumbull meeting at Waterloo
the other day, which I received there, which is in the following language :

Online LibraryGeorge Washington SmithA history of southern Illinois : a narrative account of its historical progress, its people, and its principal interests (Volume v.1) → online text (page 33 of 65)