The Rising Statesman

Candidate for Congress—Henry Clay—Generosity to a Client—Takes Seat in Congress Dec. 6,1847—Opposes Mexican War and Annexation of Texas—Popularity in Congress—Devotes Himself tc Self- improvement—Retirement—Occasional Political and Temperance Speeches—Aroused by Breaking Missouri Compromise—Takes the Field of Controversy—Replying to Douglas—Great Speech—Great Success—Candidate for United States Senator—Magnanimous Withdrawal in Favour of Trumbull—Republican Party of Illinois Organized, his Speech—Candidate for Vice-President in 1856—In Fremont Campaign—His Prophecies of Bloodshed—Candidate for United States Senator in 1858—His Victorious Debates with Douglas—His “House-Divided-Against-Itself Speech”—Interview with Herndon and Others—Result of the Canvass—His Tribute to Declaration of Independence

Mr. Lincoln was elected to Congress in 1840. He was brought forward in a meeting to nominate delegates to a Congressional Convention in 1844, but Colonel Baker received the endorsement of the convention. Mr. Lincoln, however, was chosen one of the delegates to the district convention, whereupon he wrote to his old friend Speed, in a vein of humour, “The meeting appointed me one of the delegates, so that in getting Baker the nomination I shall be ‘fixed’ a good deal like the fellow who is made groomsman to the man who has ‘cut him out,’ and is marrying his own dear gal.”

Henry Clay, his favourite statesman, was the Whig candidate for President that year; and Mr. Lincoln entered into the canvass with all his heart, making numerous speeches, and winning golden opinions. He was chosen a presidential elector, a merited honour.

One day he was coming down the steps of the State House, when he met an old client, whose note for services he held.

“Hallo, Cogdal!” Lincoln exclaimed, heartily extending his hand: “you have been very unfortunate, I hear.” Cogdal had been blown up by an accidental discharge of powder, and lost one hand by the calamity.

“Yes, rather unfortunate; but it might have been worse,” answered Cogdal.

“Well, that is a philosophical way of looking at it, certainly,” continued Lincoln. “But how are you getting along in your business?”

“Badly enough. I am not only broken up in my business, but crippled for life also.”

“I am sorry for you, very sorry indeed,” replied Lincoln, with profound sympathy.

“I have been thinking about that note of yours,” Cogdal added, in a despairing tone.

“Well,” responded Lincoln, in a half-laughing way, “you needn’t think any more about it,” at the same time taking the note from his pocket-book and handing it to him.

Cogdal protested against taking the note, and expressed the hope that some day he might be able to pay it. But Lincoln insisted, adding, “If you had the money I would not take it,” and he hurried away.

We said that he was elected to Congress in 1846. He was elected, too, by a surprisingly large majority. Henry Clay received but nine hundred and fourteen majority in the district in 1844; but Lincoln’s majority was one thousand five hundred and eleven. Many voted for him who were not Whigs, his honesty and peculiar fitness for the office winning their votes. He took his seat in the National House of Representatives, December 6th, 1847; and the fact that he was the only Whig member from Illinois contributed somewhat to his popularity. At the same session Stephen A. Douglas took his seat in the United States Senate—Democratic senator from Illinois. He was “the youngest and shortest member of the senate,” while Lincoln was the “youngest and longest member of the house;” so a waggish associate claimed.

The country was thoroughly excited, at that time, upon the questions of “the Mexican war” and the “admission of Texas as a slave State.” The war with Mexico was unjustly waged in the interests of slavery,

  By PanEris using Melati.

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