Chicago (IL) Times, "The Campaign - The Discussion at Freeport," August 30, 1858

    Source citation
    "The Campaign. --The Discussion at Freeport," Chicago (IL) Times, August 30, 1858, in Edwin Erie Sparks, ed., The Lincoln-Douglas Debates of 1858 (Springfield: Illinois State Historical Library, 1908), 188-190.
    Newspaper: Publication
    Chicago Times
    Newspaper: Headline
    The Campaign.--The Discussion at Freeport
    Date Certainty
    Transcription adapted from The Lincoln-Douglas Debates of 1858 (1908), edited by Edwin Erle Sparks
    Adapted by David Park, Dickinson College
    Transcription date
    The following transcript has been adapted from the Lincoln Douglas Debates of 1858 (1908).


    Douglas and Lincoln.— 15,000 Present!—Lincoln on Pledges.—Lincoln "Aint Pledged" to Anything! Lincoln Asks Questions! Lincoln Gets Answered!—A Leak Takes Place.—The "Lion" Frightened the "Dog" !—Lincoln Gets Weak! Lincoln a Fountain!!—Speeches of the Candidates

    Friday was the day appointed for the joint discussion at Freeport between Douglas and Lincoln.

    On Thursday night Judge Douglas reached Freeport from Galena, and was met at the depot by a vast multitude of persons. As he stepped upon the platform, he was greeted with tremendous shouts and cheers. A grand salute was fired at the same time, which, as it resounded through the city, gave notice to the people that the champion of popular rights had arrived, and thousands of persons flocked from the hotels and from all parts of the city, swelling the assemblage to not less than five thousand persons. A procession was formed, and, with not less than a thousand torches, music, the cheers of people, and the thunders of the cannon, Judge Douglas was escorted Reads: "visiting" for "enlisting." to the Brewster House. When the head of the procession reached the hotel, the ranks opened, and the carriage containing the people's guest drove up to the door. At this moment the scene was the grandest ever beheld in Freeport. The whole area of the streets in the vicinity of the hotel was densely packed; a few squares off, the cannon was belching forth its notes of welcome; a thousand torches blazed with brilliancy; the crowd cheered lustily, and from windows, balconies, house-tops, etc., there were to be seen the smiling faces and waving handkerchiefs of ladies.


    On Friday the day was heavy, and weather chilly and damp, yet, at two o'clock, there had assembled at the grove on the outskirts of the town, a multitude numbering not less than 15,000 persons, many of them ladies. Hon. Thomas J. Turner was moderator on the part of the Republicans, and Col. Mitchell on the part of the Democrats. At two o'clock the discussion commenced, and we give the speeches in the order that they were delivered.


    Mr. Lincoln — Fellow Citizens, Ladies and Gentlemen

    Deacon Bross—Hold on, Lincoln. You can't speak yet. Hitt ain't here, and there is no use of your speaking unless the Press and Tribune has a report.

    Mr. Lincoln—Ain't Hitt here? Where is he?

    A Voice.—Perhaps he is in the crowd.

    Deacon Bross—(After adjusting the green shawl around his classic shoulders, after the manner of McVicker in Brutus, advanced to the front of the stand and spoke.) If Hitt is in the crowd he will please to come forward. Is Hitt in the crowd? If he is, tell him Mr. Bross of the Chicago Press and Tribune wants him to come up here on the stand to make a verbatim report for the only paper in the Northwest, that has enterprise enough to publish speeches in full.

    Joe Medill—That's the talk.

    Herr Kriesman here wiped his spectacles and looked into the crowd to see if he could distinguish Hitt.

    A Voice—If Hitt ain't here, I know a young man from our town that can make nearly a verbatim report, I guess. Shall I call him?

    Deacon Bross—Is he here.

    A Voice—" Yes, I see him, his name is Hitch.

    "Loud cries for " Hitch " were made, and messengers ran wildly about enquiring "where is Hitch?" "where is Hitch?"

    After a delay, the moderator decided that the speaking must go on.

    Deacon Bross—" Well, wait, (taking a chair) I'll report the speech. Lincoln you can go on now. I'll report you."

    Mr. Lincoln, though he had five minutes of his time left, then took his seat.

    During the delivery of Douglas' speech Lincoln was very uneasy; he could not sit still, nor would his limbs sustain him while standing. He was shivering, quaking, trembling, and his agony during the last fifteen minutes of Judge Douglas' speech was positively painful to the -crowd who witnessed his behavior. The weather was lowering, and occasionally showering, and this, together with the fearful blows of Douglas, had a terrible effect upon Lincoln. He lost all his natural powers, and it was discovered that whenever he moved about the stand there was a leak from the roof or elsewhere. The leak seemed to be confined to the" spot " where Lincoln stood; his boots glistened with the dampness, which seemed to have the attribute of mercy for

    It droppeth like the gentle rain
    Upon the place beneath.

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