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Chapter 9.

  • Lincoln still unmarried.
  • -- the Todd family. -- Mary Todd. -- introduced to Lincoln. -- the courtship. -- the flirtation with Douglas -- the advice of Speed. -- how Lincoln broke the engagement. -- preparations for marriage. -- a disappointed bride. -- a crazy groom. -- Speed takes Lincoln to Kentucky. -- restored spirits. -- return of Lincoln to Illinois. -- letters to Speed. -- the party at Simeon Francis's house. -- the reconciliation. -- the marriage. -- the duel with James Shields. -- the “Rebecca” letters.--“Cathleen” invokes the muse. -- Whiteside's account of the duel. -- Merryman's account. -- Lincoln's address before the Washingtonian society. -- meeting with Martin Van Buren. -- partnership with Stephen T. Logan. -- partnership with William H. Herndon. -- Congressional aspirations -- nomination and election of John J. Hardin. -- the Presidential campaign of 1844. -- Lincoln takes the stump in Southern Indiana. -- Lincoln nominated for Congress. -- the canvass against Peter Cartwright. -- Lincoln elected. -- in Congress. -- the “spot resolutions.” -- Opposes the Mexican war. -- letters to Herndon. -- speeches in Congress. -- stumping through New England. -- a Congressman's troubles. -- a characteristic letter. -- end of Congressional term.


The year 1840 finds Mr. Lincoln entering his thirty-second year and still unmarried. “I have come to the conclusion,” he suggests in a facetious letter, two years before, “never again to think of marrying.” But meanwhile he had seen more of the world. The State Capital had been removed to Springfield, and he soon observed the power and influence one can exert with high family and social surroundings to draw upon. The sober truth is that Lincoln was inordinately ambitious. He had already succeeded in obtaining no inconsiderable political recognition, and numbered among his party friends men of wealth and reputation; but he himself was poor, besides lacking the graces and ease of bearing obtained through mingling in polite society — in fact, to use the expressive language of Mary Owens, he was “deficient in those little links which make up the chain of woman's happiness.” Conscious, therefore, of his humble rank in the social scale, how natural that he should seek by marriage in an influential family to establish strong connections and at the same time foster his political fortunes! This may seem an audacious thing to insinuate, but on no other basis can we reconcile the strange course of his courtship and the tempestuous

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