Douglas and the Monkey Show.
August 23, 1858.
Correspondence of the Illinois State Journal.
This morning two steamers arrived at our landing, contained Col. Woods' great show -- the principle feature of which was Donetti's performing monkeys and dogs. At noon, the great debater on negro equality, amalgamation, abolition and popular sovereignty, arrived on the cars from Lewistown. A large number ran to the boats to see the bearded woman, fat woman and the stream caliope, while an equal number were attracted to the part of town at which it was supposed Douglas would enter. There was about as much excitement and enthusiasm in the one crowd as in the other. From all I could see this evening, those who witnessed the monkey performance at the boats, are better pleased at their outlay of a quarter, than are those who heard the growling and saw the contortions of Douglas.
A crowd of 10,000 persons was promised today; but 2,500 people, nearly half of whom were Republicans, were all that came up to see the sights and hear the noises. I say half were Republicans, and this certainly seemed to be the cause, judging from their expressions favorable to Lincoln and derogatory to Douglas and his principles. A large number of Republicans have already arrived, who are delegates to the Congressional Convention to nominate a candidate to represent the fourth Congressional district. Three hundred persons from Mercer county alone, came in to-day for this purpose, and I observe Republicans delegates from Mason, Stark, Knox, Woodford, Tazewell and other counties.
Douglas spoke in the Court House Square at 3 o'clock this afternoon. There was little new in his harangue, other than ringing a few changes on "the lie," "infamous liar," "knave," and such choice Senatorial language, applied to his competitors. In the commencement today, he only charged Lincoln with making an "infamous blunder," instead of "infamous lie," as he usually has it; but he soon changed the mild phase for that to which he is most accustomed , and it went off glibly from his tongue. The epithets of sneak, coward, liar, amalgamationist, were freely applied to his co-Senator, Trumbull. But the words fell heavily on his auditors. General disgust took the place of enthusiasm; and if Douglas daily loses 100 votes from his cause by such tirades, as it is confidently believed he does, at least twice this number came over to the Republican cause today.
A remarkable fact is, that there were scarcely any Germans, and even very few Irish in the crowd here. Another fact is, that here, where the Administration has numerous friends, he took pains to defend Buchanan as against Trumbull, a thing he has not done elsewhere. The truth is, Douglas is losing ground and has long since lost his temper. He feels his cause a sinking one, and he has a bout run his race. It would not be surprising for him to back square out of the race. His voice is failing, and he can scarcely pronounce his words. Standing six feet from him today, I observed that he omitted many of the smaller words entirely, and half the syllables of larger words; doing it in such a manner as to render it intelligible to a close observer, but very disagreeable. It is to be hoped that he will not entirely break down, for he is making Lincoln votes at every point he goes.
His winding up assertion was that Kellogg would be defeated this election in the fourth district, while the truth is, to hold his own he would receive some 1,600 majority, and those best posted say 3,000 is the least majority calculated on for him. Tomorrow is the convention at this place for making the nomination. It is understood that Kellogg will be nominated by acclamation. Addresses will be delivered by Mr. K. and other speakers, and in the afternoon Mr. Lincoln will speak to one of the largest audiences ever congregated in this part of the State. He arrived on the cars this evening and met with a warm reception by the committee of arrangements and the assembled delegates, who escorted him in carriages to the Peoria House.
A crowd of about 1,000 persons, three-fourths of whom were Republicans, gathered in the square this evening to hear a few small guns of the Douglas party. A large portion of the Simon pure preferred visiting the whisky shops, the effects of which visits are plainly visible on many who are attempting to hurrah for Douglas. As I write, cheers are going up for Lincoln in all directions, and the little dugout is taking his departure for Lacon, where speaks tomorrow.
Thursday morning, 19th. Several hundred delegates are assembling in the Court House hall to nominate Congressman for this district. Banners are flying from all the prominent points, inscribed with mottoes such as "Illinois is for Lincoln!" Hon. Wm. Kellogg will doubtless be nominated by acclimation. I will write you this evening the result of this day's proceedings, which bid fair to be most harmonious and interesting.