Primary tabs

The Great Debate at Freeport Between Lincoln and Douglas.


August 30, 1858.

Immense Concourse of People. Douglas "trotted through" and "brought to his milk."
Freeport, Stephenson County, August, 27, 1858.

Aug. 30, 1858.

Eds. Journal: -- This has been a grand day for Lincoln and a glorious one for the Republican cause. The great discussion between Lincoln and Douglas has resulted in the overwhelming discomfiture of the "little giant." He was completely wiped out and annihilated. To use his own choice vernacular, he was thoroughly "trotted through." Lincoln "brought him to his milk" in a most triumphant manner.

I have not time before the mail closes to go into the details of the discussion but the crowd was immense numbering altogether upwards of twenty thousand, and four fifths of them good and staunch Lincoln men. They came in their might from all the surrounding counties. Carroll country mustered several thousand strong. Joe Daviess sent over nine car loads including the Lincoln club of Galena. Large delegations came in from Rockford and other points, and all with their banners and bands of music.

Douglas arrived the night before the discussion but met with a poor reception. Lincoln came in on the morning train from Amboy at 10 o'clock. Full five thousand strong received him at the depot and escorted him to the hotel where he made a short speech which set the crowd in a blaze of enthusiasm. He was several times afterwards called out by the various delegations, who as they arrived, paraded in quest of his quarters to pay their respects to him.

At two o'clock P.M. he was wheeled to the place appointed for the speaking in a cannestoga wagon, drawn by six white horses. A tremendous hurrah went up as the crowd joined in the procession and march, the music playing and the flags and banners waiving in all directions. Douglas was to have been driven out in a splendid six horse coach, but when he saw Lincoln's equipments, he backed out of the arrangement.

What shall I say of the speaking? Lincoln made a most powerful speech, and charged home upon Douglas with a vengeance which was perfectly overwhelming. There was no escape from the coils which Lincoln wound around him, and his speech in reply was without spirit, without power and labored throughout. His platitudes about amalgamation and nigger equality -- his only political stock in trade -- were too old, too stupid to be listened to with patience. Lincoln's half hour rejoinder was admirable, and clinched the argument of the first speech so that Douglas fairly squirmed under the infliction. At the close, cheer after cheer for Lincoln rent the air in prolonged shouts. The whole crowd seemed, with one voice, to join in the enthusiasm for "Old Abe," while Douglas crawled off to his quarters like a whipped spaniel.

At night, and now while I write, a tremendous meeting is being held in front of the Hotel, and Lovejoy is making a speech every word of which brings the blood from the negroites. The Douglas followers tried to get up a meeting at the Court House, but failed. I close as I commenced, by saying this has been a grand day for Lincoln an a glorious one for the cause. -- It is thought that Douglas, sick of his seven appointments, will decline to meet Lincoln in any further debate. If he will only keep on the track, every meeting will make hundreds of votes for us.