but one who reads it will lay it down convinced that Lincoln
's ascendency for a quarter of a century among the political spirits in Illinois
was by no means an accident; neither will the reader wonder that Douglas
, with all his forensic ability, averted, as long as he could, a contest with a man whose plain, analytical reasoning was not less potent than his mingled drollery and caricature were effective.
The speech in the main is an arraignment of General Cass
, the Democratic
candidate for President
, who had already achieved great renown in the political world, principally on account of his career as a soldier in the war of 1812, and is a triumphant vindication of his Whig opponent, General Taylor
, who seemed to have had a less extensive knowledge of civil than of military affairs, and was discreetly silent about both.
caricatured the military pretensions of the Democratic
candidate in picturesque style.
This latter section of the speech has heretofore been omitted by most of Mr. Lincoln
's biographers because of its glaring inappropriateness as a Congressional effort.
I have always failed to see wherein its comparison with scores of others delivered in the halls of Congress since that time could in any way detract from the fame of Mr. Lincoln
, and I therefore reproduce it here: