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WHISKY AND TEMPERANCE

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legislature refused. Nearly all the Whig newspapers were for temperance, and had nicknamed the Democratic party the "Whisky party"; at the far southern point of Egypt, the Cairo Weekly Times and Delta declared, "The use of intoxicating drinks seems more natural than the use of water.'

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In 1855, the question went to a vote; the proposed prohibition law, modeled on the one in force in Maine, was beaten by a majority of 14,447 votes. In Chicago and in the canal and railroad zones, with the largest number of foreign-born voters, the balloting was heaviest against the proposed law.

Lincoln was asked if he were a temperance man. He replied: "I am not a temperance man, but I am temperate to this extent: I don't drink."

The temperance movement had its main strength among the New Englanders who had filled up northern counties of the state. Raiding squads with axes knocked holes in whisky barrels and destroyed liquor stocks in the smaller towns; such raids were not attempted in Chicago, where 800 saloons were licensed.

In the air, strung on poles, were "lightning wires"; a telegraph operator in Pekin told Lincoln all he could tell about electric currents and the Morse alphabet; the telegraph connected Chicago, Springfield, and St. Louis. Within two years a network of wires joined all parts of Illinois in a system controlled by Judge John D. Caton, called "the telegraph king of the West." The Journal and the Register at Springfield announced they would have telegraphic news; if the President at Washington issued a message they would publish it as it came over the lightning wires; likewise with steamboat explosions, train robberies, murders. Eight newspapers were published daily in Illinois in 1850; they increased in four years to twenty; also in the state were 118 weekly publications. Chicago had seven daily newspapers, fifteen weeklies, and six monthly and other periodicals. In the southern part of the state the publications were fewer; the Southern Illinois Advocate of Shawneetown was the only newspaper in ten counties; its principles and aims were unlimited-"universal liberty abroad, and an ocean-bound republic at home."

The West was beginning to feel its oats and lift its voice. The Gem of the Prairie, the weekly magazine of the Chicago Tribune, declared: "The West must have a literature peculiarly its own. It is here that the great problem of human destiny will be worked out on a grander scale than was ever before attempted or conceived."

When southern representatives in Congress spoke threats of leaving the Union, at the time California was admitted as a freesoil state and the South felt itself losing ground politically, Texas was reported to be making ready to defy the Federal Government by force of arms. The Alton Telegraph voiced the opinion, "The great and patriotic West has become strong enough to strangle the monster of disunion the moment it shall venture to raise its head."

This, while Senator Douglas was telling the country from the floor of the Senate: "There is a power in this nation greater than either the North or the South-a growing, increasing, swelling power, that will be able to speak the law to this nation, and to execute the law as spoken. That power is the country known as the great West-the Valley of the Mississippi, one and indivisible from the Gulf to the Great Lakes, and stretching on the one side and the other, to the extreme sources of the Ohio and the Missouri-from the Alleghenies to the Rocky Mountains. There, sir, is the hope of this nation-the resting-place of the power that is not only to control, but to save the Union. This is the mission of the great Mississippi Valley, the heart and soul of the nation and continent."

And while Douglas was openly telling the country this sentiment, his right-hand man in the House of Representatives was secretly writing Governor French of Illinois that if Texas defied the Federal Government, it would be the signal for the whole South to draw out of the Union; and therefore he advised strengthening the state militia, warning the governor: "I would prepare for this storm-I would provide against portentous violence. This, as a citizen of Illinois and a lover of the Union, I call upon you to do."

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THE SPREADING SETTLEMENTS

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The human inflow from Europe came before Lincoln's eyes. He saw Germans, Irish, and English by tens of thousands come into the state. Fourteen steamboats, ice-locked in the Mississippi River near Cairo in the winter of 1854, were loaded with 2,000 German and Irish immigrants. Up at Nauvoo, where the Mormon colony had moved out and crossed the Great Plains and the Rocky Mountains, to settle at the Great Salt Lake in the midst of the Great American Desert, had come a group of French Communists. Near Athens in Sangamon County was a settlement of Norwegians; north of Springfield was a huddle of Portuguese. The Germans outnumbered all others; Lincoln carried a German grammar and studied the language in a night class. He wrote "nix com raus" in letters. A Turnverein was organized in Springfield in 1851.

In Bureau and Sangamon counties were Fourier phalanxes, experiments aimed at making perfect model human corners on earth, planned somewhat after Brook Farm, the famous phalanx in New England started by Albert Brisbane and having Horace Greeley, Charles A. Dana, and Nathaniel Hawthorne among its members.

Many new organizations were started; societies, unions, lodges, churches. Some were ancient, tested, filling deep human wants; others were new, fantastic, untried. And it seemed that Lincoln didn't belong to any organization, new or old, secret or open, except the Whig party, the state bar, and the American Colonization Society.

Chapter 93

LATE in the afternoon of an autumn day in 1850 Abraham Lincoln is riding in the rattletrap buggy which he drives from one courthouse to another across the fourteen counties of the Eighth Judicial Circuit. He has spoken only occasionally to "Old Buck," his horse; the head and the haunches, the hair and the ribs of "Old Buck," are familiar to him; he has curried and cleaned

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