“The Latest But Not The Last Lesson,” Philadelphia (PA) Press, November 4, 1858, in Edwin Erle Sparks, ed., The Lincoln-Douglas Debates of 1858 (Springfield: Illinois State Historical Library, 1908), 576.
The Latest But Not The Last Lesson
Transcription adapted from The Lincoln-Douglas Debates of 1858 (1908), edited by Edwin Erle Sparks
Adapted by David Park, Dickinson College
The following transcript has been adapted from the Lincoln Douglas Debates of 1858 (1908).
THE LATEST BUT NOT THE LAST LESSON
Our latest dispatches assure us that Stephen A. Douglas has triumphed in Illinois. Never since the beginning of this Government has any political contest excited so much the public expectation and solicitude as that which was decided in Illinois on Tuesday last; and this not merely because of the principles involved, but because of the characters immediately interested. The spectacle of the entire Administration of the Federal Government with its vast patronage of a hundred millions of dollars, with its army of mercenaries and expectants, organized and rallied against one individual, standing by the principles of the Constitution and the principles and pledges of the Democratic party, was well calculated to arouse the profoundest feelings of men of all parties and in all sections of the Union…It has fallen to his [Douglas's] lot to take part in more exciting canvasses than any public man of our day. He it was who fought for the Democratic party in 1838 and in '40; in '44, when the annexation of Texas was in issue; in '46, when the Mexican war loomed upon the horizon; in 1848, when General Cass was the Democratic candidate; in 1850, when the Compromise measures became the olive branch of peace to the whole Union, and yet no message of peace to him, (for he was compelled to return to his own home and contend for those measures in the face of an infuriated multitude) ; in 1852, as the advocate of President Pierce; in 1854, when he applied the doctrine of Popular Sovereignty, asserted in the Compromise measures; and finally in 1856, as the heroic defender of this same glorious doctrine. And now, after all these struggles, with a career of unbroken consistency, without a blot upon his political record, even when his adversaries are compelled to stand forward and pay tribute to his courage and to his character, he has made an appeal to his own people at his own home, and he has been sustained.