Chicago (IL) Times, "The Audience at Charleston," September 21, 1858

    Source citation
    "The Audience at Charleston," Chicago (IL) Times, September 21, 1858, in Edwin Erle Sparks, ed., The Lincoln-Douglas Debates of 1858 (Springfield: Illinois State Historical Library, 1908), 322.
    Newspaper: Publication
    Chicago Times
    Newspaper: Headline
    The Audience at Charleston
    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 Has the People with Him


    Of the vast multitude of people in attendance upon the discussion, at Charleston, between Douglas and Lincoln, it is entirely safe to say that more than three-fourths were Democrats—making the number of Douglas's friends on the ground not less, according to the most reasonable calculation, than ELEVEN THOUSAND. This proportion of Democrats to Republicans was manifest at the first, and throughout the debate. While Lincoln was speaking no responses greeted him from the crowd; he spoke as well, but no better, than usual, but to intelligent citizens of the Democratic persuasion, who exhibited no sympathy with or no respect for him. However, as it is the habit of Democrats to tolerate in the most respectful manner free speech, he was not interrupted or disturbed. But when Douglas commenced his reply, the whole assemblage sent up a prolonged and almost unanimous shout of applause. The effect on each individual auditor was electrical, and the speaker entered into the discussion with great energy of manner, and in a style of manly and convincing eloquence. In spite of his expressed wish to be allowed to proceed without interruption by applauses, at every telling point—and his speech abounded with them—the most vociferous and hearty cheers were given. When Douglas had finished the people appeared satisfied; many went immediately away; and before Lincoln was half through with his rejoinder not a quarter of the crowd remained to hear him. He had not more than four thousand hearers; it is not believed that he had three thousand. We fancy he has had enough of Egypt; and certainly Egypt has had enough of him.

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