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[377] Meanwhile the Legislature had convened and the Senatorial question came on for solution. The history of this contest is generally understood, and the world has repeatedly been told how Lincoln was led to expect the place and would have won but for the apostasy of the five anti-Nebraska men of Democratic antecedents who clung to and finally forced the election of Lyman Trumbull. The student of history in after years will be taught to rever the name of Lincoln for his exceeding magnanimity in inducting his friends to abandon him at the critical period and save Trumbull, while he himself disappeared beneath the waves of defeat.1

This frustration of Lincoln's ambition had a

1 “After a number of ballots — Judd of Cook, Cook of La Salle, Palmer of Macoupin, and Allen and Baker of Madison voting for Trumbull — I asked Mr. Lincoln what he would advise us to do. He answered, ‘Go for Trumbull by all means.’ We understood the case to be that Shields was to be run by the Democrats at first and then to be dropped, and Joel A. Matteson put up; and it was calculated that certain of our men who had been elected on the ‘Free Soil’ issue would vote for him after they had acted with us long enough to satisfy their consciences and constituents. Our object was to force an election before they got through with their programme. We were savagely opposed to Matteson, and so was Mr. Lincoln, who said that if we did not drop in and unite upon Trumbull the five men above-named would go for Matteson and elect him, which would be an everlasting disgrace to the State. We reluctantly complied: went to Trumbull and elected him. I remember that Judge S. T. Logan gave up Lincoln with great reluctance. He begged hard to try him on one or two ballots more, but Mr. Lincoln urged us not to risk it longer. I never saw the latter more earnest and decided. He congratulated Trumbull warmly, although of course greatly disappointed and mortified at his own want of success.” --Joseph Gillespie, letter, September 19, 1866.

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