Going up Higher

State Convention of Illinois—Lincoln Invited to Platform—The Hurrah—The Old Democrat and Rails—Criticism of Democrat—Convention puts him forward for President—Incidents a Year Before—An Old Friend in New York—At Five Points Mission—Dr. Gulliver's Account of Interview with him—National Republican Convention at Chicago—The Candidates—Lincoln Nominated on Third Ballot—A Hurricane of Applause—News at Springfield—Scenes—His Temperance Principles come to the Front again—Effect at the South—His Visitors many—Amusing Incidents—His Height—The Scanty Dinner—Hannah Armstrong—Incidents in Chicago—His Election to the Presidency—Dramatic Scene in Presence of Mr. Bateman—His Confidence in Bible and Prayer—Child of Providence—Went to see his Mother, a Touching Scene—People Fear his Assassination—Speech to Neighbours on Leaving for Washington—Trip there—Plot to Assassinate him

The Republican State Convention of Illinois met at Decatur, May 9th, 1860, in a “Wigwam” erected for the purpose. Directly after the convention was organized, Governor Oglesby, the chairman, arose, and said, “I am informed that a distinguished citizen of Illinois, and one whom Illinois will ever delight to honour, is present, and I wish to move that this body invite him to a seat on the stand.” After a pause, as if to awaken curiosity, he called out the name in a much louder voice, Abraham Lincoln. Such a round of applause, cheer upon cheer, followed the announcement, as shook every board and joist of the wigwam. A rush, too, was made for the gentleman, who stood near the door, and he was actually taken up and borne through the dense crowd to the platform. The cheering was like the roar of the sea. Hats were thrown up by the Chicago delegation, as if hats were no longer useful.

The convention proceeded to business, and was fairly under way, when the chairman interrupted by saying: “There is an old Democrat outside, I understand, who has something to present to this convention.”

“Receive it! receive it!” responded several.

“What is it? what is it?” cried out others.

“Let us have it,” shouted another.

The convention voted to receive the Democrat, and in walked Mr. Lincoln’s old friend, John Hanks, who helped him to split the rails for his father’s fifteen acre lot; the same Hanks who went with him to New Orleans for Offutt, and enlisted with him in the Black Hawk war. John bore on his shoulders two rails, from the lot he and Abe split, surmoanted with a banner with this inscription:—

“Two Rails
From a Lot made by Abraham Lincoln and John Hanks,
in the Sangamon Bottom, in the Year 1830.”

Wild, tumultuous applause greeted the rails, and the scene became simply tempestuous and bewildering. The tumult subsided only to make way for another.

“A speech!” “Let’s hear the rail-splitter!” “A speech!” “Old Abe must show his hand!” These and other demands were made in one incessant noisy clamour, lasting several minutes, until Mr. Lincoln arose, confused, blushing, yet smiling, and remarked,—

“Gentlemen, I suppose you want to know something about those things” (pointing to the rails). “Well, the truth is, John Hanks and I did make rails in the Sangamon Bottom. I don’t know whether we made those rails or not; the fact is, I don’t think they are a credit to the makers. But I do know this: I made rails then, and I think I could make better ones than these now.”

Another storm of applause shook the wigwam for several minutes; and was followed by a resolution declaring “Abraham Lincoln to be the first choice of the Republican party of Illinois for the Presidency.” The resolution was carried unanimously, amidst the wildest demonstrations.

  By PanEris using Melati.

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