Chicago (IL) Press and Tribune, "Great Debate Between Lincoln and Douglas At Ottawa," August 23, 1858

    Source citation
    “Great Debate Between Lincoln and Douglas at Ottawa,” Chicago (IL) Press and Tribune, August 23, 1858, p. 1: 2.
    Newspaper: Publication
    Chicago Tribune
    Newspaper: Headline
    Great Debate Between Lincoln and Douglas At Ottawa
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    Newspaper: Column
    Date Certainty
    Joanne Williams, Dickinson College
    Transcription date
    The following text is presented here in complete form, as it originally appeared in print. Spelling and typographical errors have been preserved as in the original.




    At Ottawa.



    Dred Scott Champion Pulverized.

    Verbatim Report of Douglas’ Speech --- Lincoln’s Reply and Douglas’ Rejoinder.

    From sunrise till high noon on Saturday, Ottawa was deluged in dust. The first of the seven great debates which Douglas had consented to hold with Lincoln, had started La Salle, Will, Kendall, Grundy, Kankakee, Cook and other surrounding counties, in unwonted commotion. Before breakfast Ottawa was beleaguered with a multiplying host from all points of the compass. At eight o’clock the streets and avenues leading from the country were so enveloped with dust that the town resembled a vast smoke house. Teams, trains and processions poured in from every direction like an army with banners. National flags, mottoes and devices fluttered and stared from every street corner. Military companies and bands of music monopolized the thoroughfares around the Court House and the public square. Two brass twelve pounders banged away in the centre of the city and drowned the hubbub of the multitude with their own higher capacities for hubbub. Vanity Fair never boiled with madder enthusiasm.

    At 11o’clock two long processions were formed - one marching to the depot of the Rock Island Railroad, where Mr. Lincoln was expected to arrive, and the other moving down the road towards Peru whence Mr. Douglas was advertised to come. As the first procession was crossing the canal an enormous canal boat was moored near the bridge, crowded with men and women. On the bow was a large banner ininscribed [inscribed]:




    In a few minutes another boat appeared from Morris with a similar crowd and similar devices.

    Shortly after 12 o’clock the special train from Chicago, Joliet, &c., came in with seventeen cars. When it reached the depot, three deafening cheers went up for Abraham Lincoln. The cheers were repeated and re repeated until the woods and bluffs rang again. Mr. Lincoln was placed in a carriage beautifully decorated with evergreens and mottoes by the young ladies of Ottawa, and escorted by the procession, over half a mile in length, with military companies and bands of music from the depot to the public square, around the square and to the residence of Mayor Glover. Enormous crowds blockaded the streets and sidewalks through which the procession moved, and the shouts of the multitude rolled from end to end, around the street corners and across the bridge, in a continuous tumult. When Mr. Lincoln’s carriage stopped at the Mayor’s residence, three mighty cheers were given and the crowd scattered miscellaneously for dinner.

    The Douglas procession moved down the Peru road to Buffalo Rock, where they met the pro-slavery champion, whom they escorted to the Geiger House. The procession was about half as long as that which waited on Mr. Lincoln, and the enthusiasm was almost wholly confined to the Irish Catholics.

    At one o’clock the crowd commenced pouring into the public square. The rush was literally tremendous. The speaking stand had been foolishly left unguarded, and was so crowded with people, before the officers of the day arrived, that half an hour was consumed in a battle to make room for the speakers and reporters. Even then the accommodations were of the most wretched character. Two or three times the surge of people on the platform nearly drove the reporters off, and half a dozen clowns on the roof broke through some of the boards and let themselves down on the heads of the Reception Committees. The whole number of persons present could not have been less than twelve thousand. Large numbers were present from Chicago, Galena, Springfield, Peoria, Quincy, Rock Island, Bloomington, Alton and other distant points. The crowd was considerably larger on the ground than that which assembled in this city on the night of Douglas’ opening speech.

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