Recollection by Gustave Koerner, Lincoln-Douglas Debates

    Source citation
    Thomas J. McCormack, ed., Memoirs of Gustave Koerner, 1809-1896 (2 vols; Cedar Rapids, IA: The Torch Press, 1909), 2: 65-66.
    Date Certainty
    Transcription adapted from Memoirs of Gustave Koerner, 1809-1896 (1909), edited by Thomas J. McCormack
    Adapted by Ben Lyman, Dickinson College
    The following transcript has been adapted from Memoirs of Gustave Koerner, 1809-1896 (1909).


    Douglas continued his canvass over the State in the same royal style in which he had commenced it in his appointments at Springfield and Bloomington. Large sums were sent into Illinois by his outside friends, and he himself raised, it was said, fifty thousand dollars, by mortgaging his real estate. Lincoln, now and then with a few friends, traveled as an ordinary passenger, though of course he met with enthusiastic demonstrations wherever he spoke. At the end of the canvass, when a friend asked him how much the campaign had cost him, he answered: "He was afraid that he had not spent less than five hundred dollars." Both candidates spoke almost every day from the 10th of July to the day of election. The highly excited elections in 1840 and 1856 bore no comparison with the political tempest which raged this year all over the Prairie State.

    In the joint discussions, Douglas restrained himself somewhat from making aggressive and personally offensive remarks. But on other occasions he was most bitter and denunciatory. Trumbull, who had been, as I predicted, when he was first elected, a thorn in Douglas's side, came in for a large share of undignified abuse; and where there were large German crowds, I, too, did not escape his maledictions. One great attraction in his canvass was his beautiful wife. He had married some years before the "Belle of Washington. '' She accompanied him, held receptions, largely attended of course by the ladies of the places where he spoke, and not less by crowds of admiring gentlemen. This was rather a new and interesting feature in the show. It was said and believed that Mr. Charles L. Bernays, then the editor of the St. Louis "Anzeiger" and a strong Republican, upon having had the honor of being introduced to Mrs. Douglas at Belleville, was at once taken captive by the bewitching charms of the lady Senator and was turned into an effusive admirer of Mr. Douglas. The "Anzeiger" thenceforth advocated Douglas's election....


    How to Cite This Page: "Recollection by Gustave Koerner, Lincoln-Douglas Debates," House Divided: The Civil War Research Engine at Dickinson College,