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I went to the debate with a very strong prejudice against Douglas, looking upon him as one of the most time-serving of those Northern men whom the Abolitionists called “dough-faces.” I confess that my views of the man were considerably modified. I admired the pluck he showed in speaking when his voice was in tatters. Still more did I like the resolution he displayed in defying those leaders of his own party, including the President, who wanted him to retreat from the ground he had taken, seeing that it had become practically Anti-Slavery.

At the same time I had an almost worshipful admiration for Lincoln, whom I had not before seen or heard. I expected a great deal from him. I thought his closing appeal in that great debate would contain some ringing words for freedom. He had, as I supposed, a great opportunity for telling eloquence. He stood almost on the ground that had drunk the blood of Lovejoy, the Anti-Slavery martyr. I felt that that fact ought to inspire him. I was disappointed. Mr. Lincoln's speech was altogether colorless. It was an argument, able but perfectly cold. It was largely technical. There was no sentiment in it. Lovejoy had died in vain so far as that address was concerned. I am free to say that I was led to doubt whether Mr. Lincoln was then in hearty sympathy with any movement looking to the freedom of the slave, and this impression was not afterwards wholly removed from my mind.

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Abraham Lincoln (3)
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