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books, he was induced to enter upon the study of law. Again, in 1836, he was re-elected to the Legislature. His growing popularity was indicated by the fact that, at this election, he received the highest vote cast for any candidate on the legislative ticket from Sangamon County. In the Legislature chosen at this time, Sangamon County was represented by the famous “Long Nine"-two being members of the Senate and Seven of the House-of whom Lincoln was the tallest. This Legislature was made memorable in State history by the fact that it was the one which passed the act removing the State capital from Vandalia to Springfield, and set on foot the ill-fated internal improve. ment scheme,” in both of which Lincoln bore a prominent part, but the last of which he lived to regret on account of the burdensome debt which it imposed upon the State without beneficial results. It was also conspicuous for the large number of its members who afterwards became distinguished in state or national history. Among them we find such names as Edward D. Baker, afterwards Congressman from the Springfield and Galena districts, United States Senator from Oregon, and killed at Ball's Bluff during the Civil War; Orville H. Browning, who became United States Senator and Attorney-General of the United States; four others-Stephen A. Douglas, James Semple,
— James Shields, and William A Richardson-became United States Senators; four -- John J. Hardin, John A. McClernand, William A. Richardson, and Robert Smith--occupied seats in the lower House of Congress; three became Attorney-Generals; four, State Treasurers; three, Lieutenant-Governors, and one (Augustus C. French), Governor. Re-elected to the House in 1338, and again in 1840, we find him the associate of such men as Dr. John Logan, the father of Gen. John A. Logan; William H. Bissell, afterwards Congressman and Governor; Lyman Trumbull, afterwards a Justice of the Supreme Court and United States Senator; Thomas Drummond, who became Judge of the United States District Court; Joseph Gillespie, Ebenezer Peck, and many more who became his life-long friends. His prominence at this time is shown by the fact that, at both of these sessions-1838 and 1840–he was the choice of his party (the Whig) for Speaker of the House, but defeated by the candidate of the Democracy, who were in the majority.
On his return from the Legislature of 1836–37, he entered upon the practice of law, for which he had been preparing, as the necessity of making a livelihood would permit, for the past two years, entering into partnership with his preceptor and legislative colleague, Hon. John T. Stuart. 'The story of his removal, as told by his friend, Joshua F. Speed, then a merchant of Springfield, whose invitation to share his room Lincoln finally accepted, is so graphic, and, withal, tinged with such a mixture of frankness, humor, and pathos, as to be worthy of reproduction
, here. Mr. Speed says:
“He had ridden into town on a borrowed horse, and engaged from the only cabinet-maker in the village a single bedstead. He came into my store, set his saddle-bags on the counter, and inquired what the furniture for a single bedstead would cost. I took slate and pencil, made a calculation, and found the sum for furniture, complete, would amount to seventeen dollars in all. Said he: It is probably cheap enough; but I want to say that, cheap as it is, I have not the money to pay. But if you will credit me until Christmas, and my experiment as a lawyer here is a success, I will pay you then. If I fail in that, I will probably never pay you at all.' The tone of his voice was so melancholy that I felt for him. I looked at him, and I thought then, as I think now, that I never saw so gloomy and melancholy a face in my life. I said to him, so small a debt seems to effect you so deeply, I think I can suggest a plan by which you will be able to attain your end without any debt. I have a
I have a very large room, and a very large double-bed in it, which you are perfectly welcome to share with me if you choose.' "Where is your room?' he asked. “Upstairs,' said I, pointing to the stairs leading from the store to my room. Without saying a word, he took his saddle-bags on his arm, went upstairs, set them down on the floor, came down again, and, with a face beaming with pleasure and smiles, exclaimed, Well, Speed, I'm moved.'”
The friendship between Lincoln and Speed, which began in, and was cemented by this generous act of the latter, was of the most devoted character, and, although Mr. Speed returned to his native State of Kentucky a few years later, it was continued through life. During the Civil War, he was intrusted by Mr. Lincoln with many delicate and important duties in the interest of the Government. His brother, James Speed, was appointed by Mr. Lincoln Attorney-General in 1864, but resigned after the accession of President Johnson.
AS LAWYER AND POLITICAL LEADER.
After 1840 Mr. Lincoln declined a re-election to the Legislature. His prominence as a political leader was indicated by the appearance of his name on the Whig clectoral ticket of that year, as it did again in 1844 and in 1852, and on the Republican ticket for the State-atLarge in 1856. Except while in the Legislature, from 1837 he gave his attention to the practice of his profession, first as the partner of Maj. John T. Stuart, then of Judge Stephen T. Logan, and finally of William H. Herndon, the latter partnership continuing, at least nominally, until his death. His life as a lawyer upon “the circuit” was much to his liking, as it brought him in contact with many congenial minds. Friendships were formed during this period which lasted through life. Next to those among the lawyers about his home at Springfield--the Edwardses, Judge Logan, John T. Stuart, J. C. Conkling, and others of an earlier and later period-probably none was stronger than that entertained for David Davis, of Bloomington, who was one of the most earnest supporters of his nomination for the Presidency in 1860, and afterwards received at his hands an appointment on the Supreme Bench of the United States.
In an address before the Young Men's Lyceum at Springfield, in January, 1837, on “The Perpetuation of our Political Institutions," Mr. Lincoln gave out what may be construed as one of his earliest public utterances on the subject of slavery. His theme was suggested by numerous lynchings and mob outrages which had been taking place in a number of the Southern States-especially in Mississippi-and by the recent burning of a negro in St. Louis charged with the commission of a murder. The argument, as a whole, was a warning against the danger of mob law to the principles of civil liberty enunciated in the Declaration of Independence, and a cautious plea for the right of free speech. In it he said :
There is no grievance that is a fit object of redress by mob law. In any case that may arise, as, for instance, the promulgation of abolitionism, one of two positions is necessarily true—that the thing is right within itself, and therefore deserves protection of all law and all good citizens; or it is wrong, and, therefore, proper to be prohibited by legal enactments; and in neither case is the interposition of mob law either necessary, justifiable, or excusable.”
While there are some crudities in this early effort, and an absence of that logical clearness, directness, and force which distinguished Mr. Lincoln's later productions, it indicates the bent of his mind at that time on this subject. This was shown, possibly, with still greater emphasis and distinctness during the session of the Legislature in March of the same year, when, in conjunction with one other member—his colleague, Dan Stone-he entered upon the House Journal his protest against a series of pro-slavery resolutions which had been adopted by that body. In that document the protestants expressed their belief that the institution of slavery is founded on both injustice and bad policy," and that, while Congress had “no power under the Constitution to interfere with the institution of slavery in the different States," it had the power to abolish