there gave the Republican party its official christening.
The business of the convention being over, Mr. Lincoln
, in response to repeated calls, came forward and delivered a speech of such earnestness and power that no one who heard it will ever forget the effect it produced.
In referring to this speech some years ago I used the following rather graphic language: “I have heard or read all of Mr. Lincoln
's great speeches, and I give it as my opinion that the Bloomington speech was the grand effort of this life.
Heretofore he had simply argued the slavery question on grounds of policy,--the stateman's grounds,--never reaching the question of the radical and the eternal right.
Now he was newly baptized and freshly born; he had the fervor of a new convert; the smothered flame broke out; enthusiasm unusual to him blazed up; his eyes were aglow with an inspiration; he felt justice; his heart was alive to the right; his sympathies, remarkably deep for him, burst forth, and he stood before the throne of the eternal Right.
His speech was full of fire and energy and force; it was logic; it was pathos; it was enthusiasm; it was justice, equity, truth, and right set ablaze by the divine fires of a soul maddened by the wrong; it was hard, heavy, knotty, gnarly, backed with wrath.
I attempted for about fifteen minutes as was usual with me then to take notes, but at the end of that time I threw pen and paper away and lived only in the inspiration of the hour.
If Mr. Lincoln
was six feet, four inches high usually, at Bloomington
that day he was seven feet, ”