Galesburg (IL) Democrat, "The Galesburg Debate," October 9, 1858

    Source citation
    "The Galesburg Debate," Galesburg (IL) Democrat, October 9, 1858, in Edwin Erle Sparks, ed., The Lincoln-Douglas Debates of 1858 (Springfield: Illinois State Historical Library, 1908), 372-376.
    Newspaper: Publication
    Galesburg Democrat
    Newspaper: Headline
    The Galesburg Debate
    Date Certainty
    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).


    Great Outpouring of the People!—20,000 Persons Present

    The expectations of all parties were far surpassed in the results of Thursday. The crowd was immense notwithstanding the remarkably heavy rains of the day previous, and the sudden change during the night to a fiercely blowing, cutting wind which lasted during the whole day, ripping and tearing banners and sending signs pell mell all over town.

    At early dawn our gunners announced the opening day and at an early hour the people began to pour in from every direction in wagons, on horseback and on foot.

    At about ten o'clock the Burlington train arrived with Mr. Douglas and a large delegation of both Douglas and Lincoln men from the West.

    Mr. Douglas was escorted to the Bancroft House, when a portion of the students of Lombard University presented him with a beautiful banner. A well prepared but somewhat fulsome address was made on its delivery by Geo. Elwell, who was followed by two young ladies, each with a symbolic address, the whole of which we could not catch.

    Mr. Douglas responded with great felicity and his friends were well satisfied with their part of the performance. The banner was a " true circle" of silk, with a beautifully embroidered wreath within which was inscribed " Presented to Stephen A. Douglas, by the students of Lombard University. " The speaker said the " circle " was emblematic of Mr. Douglas's course. So it was in a different sense from that meant by them.

    Mr. Douglas was then escorted to the Bonney House, where a large multitude of all parties gathered to see and shake hands with him.

    At 12 o'clock the Republicans with the military went to meet Mr. Lincoln, who was to come in with the Knoxville delegation.—Hard by two they reached the place of rendezvous ; when the delegation came along "mammoth" would not describe it. It was like one of Cobb's tales, of monstrous length and to be continued.

    Lincoln was escorted to the house of Mr. Henry R. Sanderson, when a reception speech was made by T. G. Frost, Esq., and the most beautiful banner of the day prepared by the ladies of Galesburg was presented by Miss Ada Hurd. It was an American Shield handsomely embroidered. Upon one side was the inscription, "Presented to THE Hon. a. Lincoln by the Republican Ladies of Galesburg, Oct. 7, 1858." On the reverse was the Declaration of Independence upon a scroll, executed with a pen by a Mr. Clark of Peoria. Miss Hurd, who is of a queenly appearance, rode up at the head of the troop of equestrians and receiving the banner from the attendant presented it in a very neat and well spoken address. Mr. Lincoln's remarks in reply were very happy. It was the most beautiful ceremony of the day.

    A banner was also presented to Mr. Lincoln from the students of Lombard University.

    By this time the delegations of both parties began to come in strong. Mercer Co. turned out a large delegation for Douglas as well as a large one for Lincoln; but Wataga, Henderson and the adjoining villages bore off the palm for numbers, their delegation alone being over half a mile in length.

    Monmouth sent up a rousing delegation for Lincoln. Somebody down there is great on crayon sketches, as the banners of this delegation were of the most amusing kind.

    First—came one inscribed the " Monmouth Glee Club. "

    Second—A crayon sketch of Douglas and Toombs "modifying," in which Douglas with pen in hand is erasing the clause referring the Kansas Constitution back to the people.

    Third—A representation of Jim Davidson with his head just stricken from his shoulders. In a scroll Jim learns that it is 184 miles to Monmouth.

    Fourth—"Dug at Freeport," "my platform," in which Douglas stands "reversed" upon the Dred Scott platform, one leg of which is giving way beneath.

    Fifth—" Coming from Egypt, " in which Douglas roaring with rage, is being punched up with Lincoln's cane.

    Other banners in that delegation we have not time to notice.

    Of the notable banners in the procession, we observed the following:

    A representation of the Capitol, and over the Senate room door Douglas' complaint, " He's got my place. " Douglas is turning away while Lincoln is coming in.

    A representation of a two donky act, or Douglas attempting to ride Popular Sovereignty and Dred Scott. His straddle is remarkable but not equal to the task as both animals kicking up their heels send him sprawling.

    "Knox College Goes for Lincoln, " stretched across the south front and north end of the College building.

    "We Will Subdue You" Stephen A. Douglas.”

    "Abe Lincoln the Champion of Freedom." Upon this banner was also a portrait of 'Long Abe.'

    Three figures, one taking a chair from beneath Mr. Douglas and dropping him plump upon the floor, at which he exclaims, " Oh my place!" Mr. Lincoln standing by blandly remarks, "The people say it." The "place" Mr. Douglas referred to was doubtless the portion which came in contact with the floor.

    Upon a four sided banner the following : '' Macomb Lincoln Club. " " We honor the man who brands the Traitor and Nullifier. " " Smallfisted Farmers, Mud Sills of Society, Greasy Mechanics, for A. Lincoln. " "The dose of milk Abe gave Dug down in Egypt made him very sick. "

    A well painted banner with a terrible Lion on one side and ditto Dog on the other, with the inscriptions " Douglas the dead Lion, " " Lincoln the living Dog. " If we are not mistaken this came upon the cars from the west with Douglas.

    The best banner upon the ground was a painting of the locomotive " Freedom " with a long train of Free State cars rushing round a curve, with the warning, " Clear the track for Freedom, " while sticking upon the track a little in advance of the train was Douglas' ox cart laden with cotton. His negro driver had just taken the alarm and springing up in terror exclaims, " Fore God, Massa, I bleves we's in danger!"

    Another ludicrous banner had a representation upon one side of Douglas going down to Egypt, pail in hand, to bring Abe to his milk. On the other, "How he succeeded."—Like Mr. Sniggs, in his first effort at milking a cow, he gave the customary command to "histe" the foot. Abe hinted, and Douglas and his pail are seen "laying around loose. "

    Star spangled banners were numberless.

    The principal banner on the Douglas side was a large blue one with an inscription in favor of Douglas and Popular Sovereignty. Lithographs of Douglas abounded.

    Knox College, by the east end of which the stand was erected, was gaily decorated with flags and streamers. Immediately over the stand was one bearing the inscription, " Knox College for Lincoln. "

    At noon the people began to collect and for an hour before the appointed time more than ten thousand people stood waiting the arrival of the speakers, and in the meantime the crowd was addressed by Mr. Reed of the Aledo Record, in a spicy and humorous speech, so the Lincoln friends thought.

    At 2 o'clock Lincoln and Douglas in two four horse carriages driven abreast, were escorted to the grounds by the military and a large body of citizens on horseback and on foot.

    Hon. James Knox, of Knoxville, acted as chairman, and as soon as order could be obtained he introduced Mr. Douglas who by the arrangement was to occupy one hour, then Mr. Lincoln an hour and a half and Mr. Douglas a half hour in conclusion.

    How to Cite This Page: "Galesburg (IL) Democrat, "The Galesburg Debate," October 9, 1858," House Divided: The Civil War Research Engine at Dickinson College,