Laurels Won

Elected Representative in 1834—Dr. Barrett's View—Refused to “Treat” his Friends—Close Study—How Obtained a New Suit of Clothes and Interview with Smoot—Pocket-money—Infidels and Infidel Books—In the Legislature—John T. Stuart Advises him to Study Law—His Generous Aid—Henry Clay—Decides to Study Law—Self-Denial and Companions—Walking Twenty-two Miles for Books—Like Cicero—Elected again in 1836—Surveying and Studying—Prevents Violence at a Political Meeting—Flaying a Politician Alive—Who Met in Legislature—The Long Nine—Face to Face with Slavery—Firm Stand with Dan Stone—Admitted to Bar in 1837—Elected for Third Term in 1838—His Firm Temperance Principles—Addressing Young Men's Lyceum—Elected Fourth Time in 1840—Quelling a Political Mob—Silencing a Legislator with a Story—Stuart and Logan—Married—Letters of Friendship Revealing his Heart

Members of the Legislature served two years in Illinois, so that the next election occurred in 1834. Lincoln was a candidate. There was a Whig party then, and he was a member of it. Yet many Democrats supported him in the contest, so that he was elected by a larger majority than any other man on the ticket.

“Who is this man Lincoln I hear talked about for the Legislature?” inquired one Dr. Barrett, who was a stranger to the candidate, but a friend of Herndon. The question was put to the latter.

“Go to Berlin to-morrow, and you will learn who he is; he is goin’ to speak there,” Herndon replied.

Dr. Barrett was there promptly, and when the tall, awkward, homely candidate was pointed out by Herndon, he said,—

“Can’t the party raise any better material than that?”

“Wait,” answered Herndon, “until you hear his speech before you pass judgment. He is our candidate, and good material enough for us.”

“Well, if that fellow is qualified to go to the Legislature, then his looks belie him, that’s all,” continued Dr. Barrett.

He soon heard his speech, however; and, at the conclusion of it, Herndon inquired,—

“Doctor, what do you think now?”

“I give it up now. Why, sir, he is a perfect take-in,—he knows more than all of them put together.”

Lincoln received 1,376 votes, and was elected, causing great joy among his friends. Many who did not vote for him were perfectly satisfied with his election. Nor did he resort to the dishonourable means of getting votes which some candidates employed, such as furnishing a grog-shop for their use on election day, and paying the bills. He utterly refused to promote his own election by proffering the intoxicating cup, although such was the custom.

The time between the election and the assembling of the Legislature Lincoln spent in very close study, that he might be better qualified to discharge his duties in the State House.

One thing was indispensable if he would make a respectable appearance in the Legislature—he must have a new suit of clothes, and some money for expenses,—much more than he possessed. His wants, in this respect, were supplied in the following providential manner.

When he had charge of Offutt’s store, in 1832, a stranger entered one morning, and introduced himself as Mr. Smoot. Lincoln jumped over the counter and grasped the stranger’s hand in his cordial way, saying,—

“Glad to see you, Mr. Smoot. I have heard of you often, but never had the pleasure of meeting you before.”

  By PanEris using Melati.

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