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believe in my heart we are right and the right surely ought to prevail.11
TRUMBULL TO PALMER.
Alton, Feb. 24, 1855. My dear Sir,
Am much obliged for your kind favor of the 20th. It contained the first and only intelligence I have had of the action of the Nebraska members by way of protest. I presume the question will be made at Washington and every obstacle thrown in the way of my taking a seat which malice and spleen can invent. This however cannot effect the right at all only exposes how mean some men are. Have you seen the article of an “Able Lawyer" in the Register of the 21st? Who is probably the author? I surmised Harris12 but it is mere conjecture. It does not strike me as a very strong article and the dishonesty and insincerity of the author is apparent. Wonder if the con
11 In the interval between this and the next letter, Lyman Trumbull had been elected United States Senator over Abraham Lincoln, James Shields and Joel A. Matteson, then Governor of the State. Trumbull was placed in nomination by John M. Palmer as an Anti-Nebraska Democrat; Lincoln was nominated by Representative Stephen T. Logan as the selection of a caucus of Whigs and FreeSoilers, while Shields was nominated by Benjamin Graham as a Nebraskaite. There were 100 members, 25 in the Senate and 75 in the House.
The first ballot gave Lincoln 45; Shields 41; Trumbull 5, and 8 scattering.
After seven ballots, the Nebraskaites swung to Governor Matteson ;-a movement which Lincoln had anticipated, but which he could not head off. The vote on the seventh ballot stood : Matteson 44; Lincoln 38; Trumbull 9 and 7 scattering.
By the ninth ballot the result stood: Matteson, 47; Trumbull 35 and Lincoln 15.
At this point, Lincoln urged his Whig followers to vote for Trumbull and, on the tenth ballot, Trumbull received 51 votes and Matteson 47.
According to Horace White: “The result astounded the Democrats. They were more disappointed by it than they would have been by the election of Lincoln. They regarded Trumbull as an arch traitor. That he and his fellow traitory, Palmer, Judd and Cook, should have carried off the great prize was an unexpected and most bitter pill, but they did not know how bitter it was until Trumbull took his seat in the Senate and opened fire on the Nebraska iniquity."
Lincoln, in writing of his defeat to Elihu B. Washburne, says: “I regret my defeat moderately, but am not nervous about it. I could have headed off every combination and been elected had it not been for Matteson's double game and his defeat now gives me more pleasure than my own gives me pain. On the whole it is perhaps as well for our general cause that Trumbull is elected.”
Horace White adds: “And so it seems to me now. Lincoln's defeat was my first great disappointment in politics, and I was slow in forgiving Palmer, Judd and Cook for their share in bringing it about. But before the campaign of 1858 came on I was able to see that they had acted wisely and well. They had not only satisfied their own constituents, and led many of them into the new Republican organization, but they had given a powerful reinforcement to the party of freedom in the nation at large, in the person of Lyman Trumbull, whose high abilities and noble career in the Senate paved the way for thousands of recruits from the ranks of the Democratic party.
12 Thomas L. Harris, warm friend of Charles H. Lanphier, editor of "The Register" just elected for Congress against Richard Yates.
sciences of the forty-seven who voted for Matteson are any quieter than of the fifty-one who were for me? I doubt the propriety of entering into an extended argument through the newspapers on this subject, but think it may be well enough to expose the hypocrisy of "Able Lawyer” and state briefly the positions assumed by those who regard the State Constitutional provision as invalid.
Shields is off the track for Congress as you have probably seen. The valiant General thought discretion the better part of valor in this case. Am sorry for it. Would rather have met him than Smith,13 who is to be the Nebraska candidate. We can, however, beat Smith with Underwood if he will only consent to run which I have reason to suppose he may be induced to do. Some few of the Nebraskaites, not the masses I think, the more they think of my election, the madder they get. Let them fret, it will do them good I trust.
Your sincere friend,
TRUMBULL TO PALMER.
Alton, May 7, 1855.
Are you going to Cairo and if so when do you start? Please answer so that I will get yours by to-night's mail.
I have some idea of going and if I do, thought of joining the excursion at Decatur where I suppose it will be Wednesday morning.
No one speaks of going from here except myself. Baker14 thinks he will not go.
Have not heard from Gillespie15 or Allen.
Hope you may be going. Unless some friends are along I shall not care to go myself.
13 Robert Smith of Alton, Ill. See foot note 55.
1 Henry s. Baker, of Alton, a representative who was among the five voting for Trumbull on the irst ballot.
1. Joseph Gillespie, a personal friend of Lincoln. See note on page 1. 1.G. T. Allen, representative from Madison County who voted for Trumbull
on the first ballot.
TRUMBULL TO PALMER.
Washington City, Dec. 3, 1855. My Dear Sir,
I was sworn in and took my seat this morning without objection, so you see Matteson after all has gained nothing by his meanness. Gen. Cass,17 at the instance of Richardson18 and Harris, presented the protest of the members of the Legislature against my right to a seat and said he would at the proper time move its reference to the appropriate committee. It will not amount to anything.
You will see the protest in the Globe of to-morrow which I will send you. Although R. and H. got Gen. C. to present a protest against me in the Senate, they did not think proper to make any objections against Marshalli' in the House. Was not this consistent?
TRUMBULL TO PALMER.
Washington, Jany. 2, 1856. J. M. Palmer, Esq.,
The message is pro-slavery enough. That part of it treating the slavery question would scarcely pass for a good stump speech and is disgraceful in a president. It is full of misrepresentation and false reasoning but I think it will do good in the North by showing the people clearly whither the government is tending. The discussion in the House clearly shows that squatter sovereignty has no place in the Nebraska Act. Even
17 Lewis Cass, candidate for the Presidency in 1848 and defeated by General Taylor. At this time United States Senator from Michigan and a powerful figure.
18 William A. Richardson, Democratic member of Congress, from Quincy district;, elected to the United States Senate in 1863 to fill out Douglas term,
10 Samuel S. Marshall, of McLeansboro, elected to Congress as a Democrat. As he had been a circuit judge in the 12th circuit, resigning in 1854, the same constitutional objections applied to him.