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HON. BURTON C. COOK.
When the Republican Party held land origin, having descended from its Second National Convention, in the Henry Cook, who came from Kent, old wigwam at Chicago, in 1860, it England, and located at Salem, was a distinguished Chicago lawyer.Mass., in 1638. who placed Abraham Lincoln in After completing academic nomination for the presidency of the course of study, Burton C. Cook read United States. When the Third Na law for a short time with Joseph Carttional Convention of the Party of ter, of Rochester, N. Y., brother of Union and Liberty met in Baltimore, David K. Cartter, afterwards Chief four years later, it was another emi Justice of the District of Columbia. nent Illinois lawyer, afterwards a He then came to Ottawa, Ill., and enprominent member of the Chicago tered the law office of Judge T. L. bar, who placed " The Great Emanci Dickey–who sat for many years upon pator” a second time in nomination the Supreme Bench of the Statem for the presidency. The first of these where he completed his preliminary noted Illinoisans, Hon. Norman B. course of study, and entered upon Judd, has been dead some years.
the practice of law, in 1840. The second, Hon. Burton C. Cook, Six years of practice at the Ottawa retired from the active practice of bar gained for him the reputalaw only two or three years since, and tion of a thorough lawyer, and still devotes a considerable portion of in 1846, he elected by the his time to professional work,
Legislature to the office of States AtThere are few men now living, who torney, for the Ninth Judicial Dishave had to do with more stirring trict, to serve for two years. At that events, or events calculated to time what was known as the Ninth greater extent to shape the destinies Judicial District, was composed of of the nation, than Burton C. Cook, the Counties of La Salle, Kendall, who has lived a full half century of Kane, De Kalb, Bureau, Stark, Pepublic and professional life in Illinois. oria, Marshall, and Putnam. It cov.
He was born on the uth of May, ered a large area of country, which 1819, in Monroe County, N. Y., his in the early history of the State, was father being Rev. Chauncey Cook, over-run by criminals of every class a Congregational minister of that and description. A vigorous proseState. The family is of New Eng cution of these criminal classes, car
ried on without fear or favor, followed the Legislature as Democrats, and Mr. Cook's induction into the office the two last named as Whigs. While of States Attorney, and as
all of these men were more or less dequence his labors were exceedingly voted to the political organizations arduos, while many of his experi with which they were nominally ences were of that thrilling character identified, they were interested above which constituted a prominent fea every thing else, in preventing as far ture of this branch of the practice of as possible, the extension of slavery. the law, in the days of the pioneer This they looked upon as the issue of western courts. It was necessary for vital importance to the nation at that him to be present at all the sittings time. In May of 1854, Congress had of the court in various portions of passed the Kansas-Nebraska bill, rethe district, and long tedious trips pealing the Missouri Compromise, had to be made from one point to which defined the limits of slave teranother, by stage or private con ritory. When the Illinois Legislature veyance, sometimes on horseback, in convened in the following January, all kinds of weather, and not infre an opportunity presented itself to quently under trying and distressing that body for expressing its senticircumstances.
ment, concerning the act which threw In 1848 he was married to Miss down the bars, and opened up the Elizabeth Hart, a daughter of Judge way for the extension of slavery into Orris Hart, of Oswego, N. Y., and the the territories of the United States. same year he was re-elected by popu A United States Senator was to be lary vote to the office of States At elected, and General James Shields, torney for a term of four years. He
who had supported the Kansas-Necontinued to reside at Ottawa, and in braska bill, was a candidate for re1852, at the expiration of his term of election. Including all who had been office as District Attorney, he was elected to the Legislature as Demoelected to the State Senate, for a crats, that party had two majority on term of four years.
joint ballot. The three above named, It was while serving this term in however, refused to recognize any the Senate that he came to the front party necessity or obligation, which as a political leader, and was one would prevent them from throwing the five men who became the virtual all their influence in favor of the refounders of a new party, in the State turn of a pronounced anti-slavery of Illinois. These five men were State
to the United States Senate. Senators Norman B. Judd, Burton C. The two Whigs, Baker and Allen, asCook, and John M. Palmer, 'and Rep sumed the same attitude, and when resentatives Baker and Allen. The the Whigs and Democrats held their three first named had been elected to respective caucuses to nominate can
didates for the Senatorship, the five to him, but for one thing. The five members, who soon became known as Legislators who held the balance of the Anti-Kansas-Nebraska Party, re power, comprising a small and easily fused to attend these caucuses.
handled party, held many earnest General Shields was nominated by conferences from day to day, to dethe Democrats and Abraham Lincoln termine where their opportunities was put forward by the Whigs, with lay, and what course it would be best the expectation that he would receive for them to finally pursue. the support of the Anti-Nebraska As a result of these conferences, Democrats. Lincoln had himself they reached the conclusion that an been elected a member of the Legis- opportunity presented itself for the lature from Sangamon county, but formation of a new political organiwhen he discovered that an Anti-Ne zation in Illinois, which should unite braska Legislature had been elected, and bring together for harmonious he announced his intention of becom action, the Anti-slavery elements of ing a candidate for United States both the Whig and Democratic Senator, and declined to qualify as a parties. member of the Legislature. A new They were of the opinion that the election was ordered and it turned Whig party could be carried almost out unfortunately, that a Democrat bodily into the new organization, but was elected from Sangamon county, in order to build up a dominant party in place of a Whig, as expected, and in the State, it was necessary that one more vote was secured for Gen there should be large accessions to it eral Shields.
from the Democratic ranks. To bring For some weeks after the Legisla this about, it was decided to put forture convened, nothing but the Sena
“ Free Soil” Democrat as a torial election was thought of. The candidate of the proposed new party, excitement ran high, and conferences for the United States Senatorship. of the friends of the Senatorial aspi After much deliberation it was derants were in session at almost all cided that Hon. Lyman Trumbull, hours of the day and night. It was who at that time had just been elected soon discovered that neither Shields a Representative in Congress, after nor Lincoln could be elected without serving with distinction on the Suthe votes of two or more of the five preme Bench of the State, and in determined and uncompromising Free other official capacities, was the most Soilers, and these votes could not be available man whom the new party gotten for either of the candidates.
managers could put forward as The necessary number of votes candidate for Senator. might have been secured for Lincoln, At the proper time, without any as both Judd and Cook were friendly flourish of trumpets, they commenced
casting their ballots for Trumbull a list of names was made out and each time that a vote was called in submitted to Lincoln, from which he the Legislature. Their candidate was to select the names of those who gained ground steadily until the would be satisfactory to him as deleDemocrats, fearing a stampede from gates to the convention. The delegates General Shields, withdrew his name, whom Mr. Lincoln was virtually alto substitute that of Governor Joel lowed to name, were elected, and Mr. A. Matteson, who was presented as Cook was among the number. A their caucus nominee. This change more enthusiastic body of men never of candidates availed them nothing. attended a National Convention, but Lincoln threw the weight of his in when the convention met on the 16th fluence in favor of Trumbull, who day of May, 1860, they discovered was elected, and the Republican that they were not fully prepared to Party, although it had not at that cope with the trained politicians of time been named, gained its first vic the Eastern States. When the names tory in Illinois.
of candidates were mentioned at the In 1856, Mr. Cook was returned to first day's sitting of the convention, the State Senate as a Republican. the Illinois delegates were surprised During the four years preceding the to note that the friends of Lincoln nomination and election of Lincoln could raise but a puny cheer, comto the presidency, he took an active pared with that which went up for part in politics, and there are few, if William H. Seward, the New York any, of the ante-bellum politicians candidate. They were shrewd enough now living, who are so thoroughly to discover that Mr. Seward's appaconversant as he, with all the circum rent popularity in the convention, stances which led up to that nomina was due in a great measure to the tion, and the means by which it was fact that a large number of his friends brought about.
had been admitted to the wigwam, He was one of the fifteen or twenty with instructions to make themselves Republican party leaders of the State, heard, and their presence felt, whenwho held a memorable meeting, in ever an opportunity for so doing pre1860, on the open prarie, out of reach of sented itself. The Illinois delegates reporters or eaves-droppers, to dis had neglected to make any such syscuss the question of presenting an Il tematic arrangements for "spontanelinois Republican as a candidate for ous outbursts of enthusiasm ” on the presidential nomination. Their
behalf of their candidate, at the first decision being that candidate day's session; but when the convenshould be presented to the coming tion again met, this matter had been National Convention, and that Abra attended to under the supervision of ham Lincoln should be that candidate, Norman B. Judd, who was chairman
of the delegation, and Mr. Cook, who reasonably certain, and they looked was, perhaps, his most active assistant upon his nomination as assured. in arranging and carrying out “the When Mr. Cook came down from plan of campaign.” On the following the conference, he found Horace day, two enthusiastic Illinois Repub- Greeley just sending to the New York licans, who had up to that time re Tribune a dispatch, to the effect that mained away from the convention, Seward would be nominated the next and who were noted above all else morning, but for obvious reasons, he for the immensity of their lung refrained from giving him the inforpower, were on hand, and under mation which would have enabled their leadership the cheers which went the great editor to make a more reliup
for Lincoln almost raised the roof able newspaper prediction. No part of the wigwam.
of the plan of the Illinoisans miscarOn the evening of the second day ried, and on the 18th of May, Lincoln of the convention, Mr. Cook was pre was nominated on the third ballot. sent at the conference of Representa It was just after the nomination lives of New Jersey, Pennsylvania, had been made, and while the Illinois Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, and lowa; delegates were together at their headwhich was held in the top story of quarters receiving the congratulathe old Tremont House, and resulted tions showered upon them, that the in an arrangement being entered into irrepressible Senator “Jim” Nye, which secured Lincoln's nomination then of New York, perpetrated his on the following day. Each of the famous joke at the expense of ThurStates named sent three delegates to low Weed. this conference, and when it ad Weed, who was looked upon as one journed at midnight, the agreement of the most astute politicians in the which had been reached was, that United States, was at the head of the when the balloting for candidates New York delegation and had mancommenced, if Lincoln should receive aged Seward's campaign. After his a certain number of votes, enough defeat, Nye called at the headquaradditional votes should be given him ters of the jollifying Illinoisans, and by the States represented in the con
informed them that he wished to preference to insure his nomination. If
sent for their consideration, a request Lincoln failed to receive this number which came from the New York deleof votes, other candidates were to be gation. When asked what the reballoted for by the combination in quest was he replied with great gravthe order agreed upon. That he ity that, " The New York Republicans would receive the specified number would like to have Illinois send a of votes the Illinois delegates were couple of her young politicians back