THE SENATORIAL CONTEST IN ILLINOIS
[From our Special Correspondent]
Freeport, Ill., Friday, August 27, 1858
To-day was set apart as the occasion of the second discussion between Lincoln and Douglas, and Freeport has the distinguished honor. It is a day fruitful in debate, and abundantly refreshing to hotel and saloon keepers, who stand aghast at the multitudes to be fed. There is an immense throng here, larger than that at Ottawa, and larger, it is admitted, than that at the great Fremont demonstration here, two years ago. By the Illinois Central and the Chicago and Galena railroads, by boats on the Pecatonic, and by divers vehicles, the masses have come. The Rockford train brought eighteen cars filled. The Dixon train brought twelve, and others in proportion. All prairiedom has broken loose. Banners waive unyielding devotion to "Old Abe Lincoln," and unfettering faith in "Douglas and Popular Sovereignty." Cotton mottoes proclaim a similar creed, and small flags upon the horses announce a like truth. The town, which has a population of 7,000 has an outside delegation of many more, and the streets are fairly black with people. It would be uncomfortable, if it were hot and sunny; but the weather is cool and cloudy.
Mr. Douglas arrived last night, and was greeted with a turn-out of torches, a salvo of artillery, and a stunning illumination of the hotel. Mr. Lincoln came in this morning by the Dixon train, and was received at the depot by a host of staunch friends, who roared themselves hoarse on his appearance. The forenoon was occupied with the receptions and levees of the distinguished orators, and by a free interchange of political views and speculations among the masses, that blocked up every avenue of approach to anywhere.
After dinner the crowd hurried to a grove near the hotel, where the speakers' stand and the seats for listeners has been arranged. Here also were confusion and disorder. They have a wretched way in Illinois of leaving the platform unguarded and exposed to the forcible entry of the mob, who seize upon it an hour or so before the notabilities arrive, and turn a deaf ear to all urgent appeals to evacuation. Hence orators, committee of reception, invited guests, and last, but not least, the newspaper gentry, have to fight a hand-to-hand conflict for even the meagerest chance for standing room. This consumes half an hour or so, during which the crowd, taking their cue from those of high places, improvise a few scuffles for position among themselves.