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Chapter 5.

  • The Black Hawk war.
  • -- Lincoln elected captain. -- under arrest. -- Protecting the Indian. -- recollections of a comrade. -- Lincoln re-enlists as a private. -- return to New Salem. -- candidate for the Legislature. -- the handbill. -- first political speech. -- the canvass. -- defeat. -- partnership in the store with Berry. -- the trade with William Greene. -- failure of the business. -- law studies. -- Pettifogging. -- stories and poetry. -- Referee in rural sports. -- deputy surveyor under John Calhoun. -- studying with Mentor Graham. -- postmaster at New Salem. -- the incident with Chandler. -- feats of strength. -- second race for the Legislature. -- election.

The departure of the Talisman for deeper waters, the downfall of Denton Offut's varied enterprises and his disappearance from New Salem, followed in rapid succession, and before the spring of 1832 had merged into summer Lincoln found himself a piece of “floating driftwood” again. Where he might have lodged had not the Black Hawk war intervened can only be a matter of conjecture. A glance at this novel period in his life may not be out of keeping with the purpose of this book. The great Indian chief, Black Hawk, who on the 30th of June, 1831, had entered into an agreement, having all the solemnity of a treaty, with Governor Reynolds and General Gaines that none of his tribe should ever cross the Mississippi “to their usual place of residence, nor any part of their old hunting grounds east of the Mississippi, without permission of the President of the United States or the governor of the State of Illinois,” had openly broken the compact. On the 6th of April, 1832, he recrossed the Mississippi and marched up Rock River Valley, accompanied by about five hundred warriors on horseback; while his women and children went up the river in canoes. The great chief was now sixty-seven years old, and believed that his plots

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