marked effect on his political views.
It was plain to him now that the “irrepressible conflict” was not far ahead.
With the strengthening of his faith in a just cause so long held in abeyance he became more defiant each day. But in the very nature of things he dared not be as bold and out spoken as I.
With him every word and sentence had to be weighed and its effects calculated, before being uttered: but with me that operation had to be reversed if done at all. An incident that occurred about this time will show how his views were broadening.
Some time after the election of Trumbull
a young negro, the son of a colored woman in Springfield
known as Polly
, went from his home to St. Louis
and there hired as a hand on a lower Mississippi
boat,--for what special service, I do not recollect,--arriving in New Orleans without what were known as free papers.
Though born free he was subjected to the tyranny of the “black code,” all the more stringent because of the recent utterances of the Abolitionists in the North
, and was kept in prison until his boat had left.
Then, as no one was especially interested in him, he was forgotten.
After a certain length of time established by law, he would inevitably have been sold into slavery to defray prison expenses had not Lincoln
and I interposed our aid. The mother came to us with the story of the wrong done her son and induced us to interfere in her behalf.
We went first to see the Governor
, who, after patient and thorough examination of the law, responded that he had no right or power to interfere.
Recourse was then had to the Governor