that, by this time many of them had reached that state of mind in which they wanted a pretext for secession from the Union
's election would give them that pretext while Douglas
's would not.
On a boat that carried a portion of the audience, including the writer, from Alton
to St. Louis
, after the debate was over, was a prominent Missouri Democrat, afterwards a Confederate leader, who expressed himself very freely.
He declared that he would rather trust the institutions of the South
to the hands of a conservative and honest man like “Old Abe,” than to those of “a political jumping-jack like Douglas
The most of the other Southern men and slaveholders present seemed to concur in his views.
It is a fact that a good many of the Anti-Slavery leaders living outside of Illinois
, and a good many of those living within it, wanted the Republicans of that State to let Douglas
go back to the Senate without a contest, believing that he would be far more useful to them there than a Republican would be. It is not improbable that enough of the Illinois Republicans
took that view of the matter, and helped to give Douglas
the victory in what was a very close contest.
A portion of Douglas
's speech was a spirited defense of his “squatter sovereignty” doctrine against the denunciations of members of his own political party, in the course of which he gave President Buchanan
a savage overhauling.
It showed him to be a master of invective.
“Go it, husband; go it, bear,” was Mr. Lincoln
's comment on that part of Douglas