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Chapter 8.

  • Lincoln a member of the Legislature at Vandalia.
  • -- first meeting with Douglas. -- the society of Vandalia. -- pioneer legislation. -- deputy surveyor under Thomas M. Neal. -- candidate for the Legislature again. -- another handbill. -- favors “woman's rights.” -- the letter to Col. Robert Allen. -- the canvass. -- the answer to George Forquer. -- the election, Lincoln leading the ticket. -- the “long Nine.” -- reckless legislation. -- the “Dewitt Clinton” of Illinois. -- internal improvements. -- the removal of the capital to Springfield. -- the Committee on Finance. -- the New England importation. -- the Lincoln -- Stone protest. -- return of the “long Nine” to Springfield. -- Lincoln removes to Springfield. -- licensed to practise law. -- in partnership with John T. Stuart. -- early practice. -- generosity of Joshua F. Speed. -- the bar of Springfield. -- Speed's store. -- political discussions. -- more poetry. -- Lincoln addresses the “young men's Lyceum.” -- the debate in the Presbyterian Church. -- elected to the Legislature again. -- answering Col. Dick Taylor on the stump. -- rescue of Baker. -- last canvass for the Legislature. -- the Thomas “skinning.” -- the presidential canvass of 1840.


In December, 1834, Lincoln prepared himself for the Legislature to which he had been elected by such a complimentary majority. Through the generosity of his friend Smoot he purchased a new suit of clothes, and entering the stage at New Salem, rode through to Vandalia, the seat of government. He appreciated the dignity of his new position, and instead of walking to the capitol, as some of his biographers have contended, availed himself of the usual mode of travel. At this session of the Legislature he was anything but conspicuous. In reality he was very modest, but shrewd enough to impress the force of his character on those persons whose influence might some day be of advantage to him. He made but little stir, if we are to believe the record, during the whole of this first session. Made a member of the committee on Public Accounts and Expenditures, his name appears so seldom in the reports of the proceedings that we are prone to conclude that he must have contented himself with listening to the flashes of border oratory and absorbing his due proportion of parliamentary law. He was reserved in manner, but very observant: said little, but learned much; made the acquaintance of all the members and many influential

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