Transcription adapted from Memoirs of Gustave Koerner, 1809-1896 (1909), edited by Thomas J. McCormack
Adapted by Don Sailer, Dickinson College
The following transcript has been adapted from Memoirs of Gustave Koerner, 1809-1896 (1909).
I need not say that I was in the midst of this fight. I believe I spoke in every large city in the State, usually twice a day, and, towards the last, in every election precinct of St. Clair County. As to the Senatorial election, which depended on getting a majority in the Legislature, I was not so sanguine as most men of our party. The last Democratic Legislature had prevented a new districting of the State. The old apportionment had become unjust in the highest degree. A careful computation showed the remarkable result, that by the gerrymandering of the State seven hundred Democratic votes were equal to one thousand Republican votes. The split in the Democratic party amounted to but little. It rather helped Douglas, for his friends made him pose now as the martyr of his noble battle against the administration, which sought to admit Kansas as a Slave State under the fraudulent Lecompton Constitution; and inasmuch as a large part of the Republicans in other States were incessant in their efforts to make us in Illinois take up Douglas as the leader in this righteous cause, it made us lose a good many Republicans and made others lukewarm in their opposition to Douglas. We had, as it were, to fight our cause in our own State single handed, without support from the outside…
As in 1856, St. Clair in the south had proved itself the banner Republican county. But we lost the Legislature by about eight votes, which involved the defeat of Lincoln for the Senate. The popular Republican majority over Douglas was five thousand. The Buchanan candidates got no votes worth mentioning. That under all opposing circumstances Douglas succeeded, was proof of his immense power of personal attraction, which fascinated and infatuated such a large part of the people, and blinded them to his almost criminal efforts to reach the dazzling prize of the Presidency.