Douglas' Squirmings at Beardstown.
August 17, 1858.
Mr. Douglas spoke at Beardstown on the 13th, and the manner in which he howled and squirmed under the sharp lash administered upon his bare back by the recent speeches of Messrs. Lincoln and Trumbull was most dreadful. His whole speech was an insane and most vain attempt to overcome the charges which they have so overwhelmingly driven home upon him. He was the maddest man that ever stood up before an outraged people. He raved like a maniac. He foamed at the mouth and tore his hair. He shook his fists and shook his head ten times worse then ever. His words were one continued stream of dirty billingate. In his blind rage he ransacked his pot house calendar for expletives to hurl against those who arraigned him for his crimes.
He seemed to have suddenly and for the first time awakened up to a realizing sense of the vileness of the proslavery conspiracy which Mr. Lincoln has exposed and branded upon his back. He did not attempt to explain it, for he knows he cannot; he did not seek to smoothe it over for he knows it cannot be palliated. But in his insane raving all he could do, was to cry out "lie," "falsehood," and other like blackguard expletives of a personal character against Mr. Lincoln.
And so in regard to Senator Trumbull's galling exposure of his mutilation of the Toombs bill. Well knowing that it could not be answered by argument; that it was a part of the history of the country which could be verified by the record he did not dare to explain it by fair and manly showing, but resorted to the argument of the bully and the coward, to break its effect. Instead of meeting and answering the charge, he launched forth into a tirade of low and scurrilous buffoonery, most disgusting to decent men, and threatened to "call Mr. Trumbull to account." for what? His ravings were most Fallstaffian, and from his manner and attitudes, one would think that the little giant was ready for a set to at fisticuffs.
But his ravings don't alarm anybody. His splutterings are only the effects of the damaging exposure which he has been made against him. It is the wounded bird that flutters. It is the crushed worm that writhes. It is the truth that hurts. Douglas feels this to the quick. He may continue to squirm, but the record still stands and he cannot change it or break its force.