Recollection by David Patterson Dyer, Quincy Debate, October 13, 1858

    Source citation
    David Patterson Dyer, Autobiography and Reminiscences (St. Louis: The William Harvey Miner Company, 1922), 76-77.
    Author (from)
    Dyer, David Patterson
    Date Certainty
    Adapted by David Park, Dickinson College
    Transcription date
    The following transcript has been adapted from Autobiography and Reminiscences (1922).

    In the fall of 1858, a joint debate between Senator Stephen A. Douglas and Honorable Abraham Lincoln was being held in the State of Illinois that attracted world-wide attention. On the 13th day of October of that year, I went to Quincy, Illinois, to hear them. I left Bowling Green at night and went to Louisiana, remaining there overnight, and took the boat about daylight the next morning for Quincy, some fifty miles distant. The boat arrived about 11:00 A. M., just as the Republican procession was passing. I had never seen a Republican procession before, and up to that time had never heard a Republican speech. I was curious to hear everything that was to be said by the representative of either party, and especially by the Republican. I fell in behind the procession, which after awhile halted in front of the hotel where Mr. Lincoln was stopping.

    There was much enthusiasm and much cheering as Mr. Lincoln appeared upon the balcony to say a few words of thanks. I saw him on two or three occasions during the day, but never again after that time. His sincere face, so full of tenderness and seeming sadness, made a deep and lasting impression upon me.

    The debate that day between Mr. Lincoln and Senator Douglas took place in a public park, and the crowd that gathered there was immense. Douglas was short in stature but a great orator. Lincoln was tall, ungainly-looking, with a bronzed face, a voice not near so charming as that of his opponent, but his power as a logical and convincing debater, in my opinion, surpassed that of Mr. Douglas. I was only twenty years old at the time and my sympathies were with Mr. Douglas, but the logical reasoning of Mr. Lincoln shook my faith in the correctness of Mr. Douglas's position.

    After the debate was over, I took the "down boat" for home. I heard Mr. Douglas once after that, but never saw or heard Mr. Lincoln again. The debate at Quincy was one of a series planned and agreed upon by the two. Douglas was the Democratic candidate for the United States Senate and Mr. Lincoln was his Republican opponent. The Legislature at that time chose the senator, and at the election in November a majority of three Democrats, I think, was elected to the Legislature. Mr. Douglas was chosen senator for another six years and Mr. Lincoln returned to Springfield and resumed the practice of law.

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