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Wilson, Douglas L., ed.; Davis, Rodney O., ed.; Parks, Samuel C. 'Samuel C. Parks (Statement for William H. Herndon)' in 'Herndon's Informants: Letters, Interviews, and Statements About Abraham Lincoln' . Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1998. [format: book], [genre: history]. Permission: University of Illinois Press
Persistent link to this document: http://lincoln.lib.niu.edu/file.php?file=herndon537.html


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426. Samuel C. Parks (statement for William H. Herndon).

[1866 [1]]

Senatorial Contest of 1854 and 5.

In the contest for the U.S. Senate in the winter of 1854 and 5 in the Illinois Legislature nearly all the Whigs and some of the "Anti Nebraska Democrats" preferred Mr. Lincoln to any other man; Some of them (and myself among the number) had been candidates, and had been elected by the People for the express purpose of doing all in their power for his election; and a great deal of their time during the sesion was taken up both in caucus and out of it in laboring to unite the Anti Nebraska Party on their favorite; but there was from the first as the result proved and inseperable obstacle to their success. Four (4) of the Anti Nebraska Democrats had been elected in part by Democrats and they not only personally prefferred Mr. Trumbull, but considered his election necessary to consolidate the union between all those who were opposed to repeal of the Missouri Compromise and to the new policy upon the subject of slavery which Mr. Douglas and his friends were laboring so hard to inaugerate; they insisted that the election of Mr. Trumbull to the Senate would secure thousands of democratic votes to the Anti Nebraska Party who would be driven off by the election of Mr. Lincoln — that the Whig Party were nearly a unit in opposition to Mr. Douglas, so that the election of the favorite candidate of the majority would give no particular strength in that quarter; and they manifested a fixed purpose to vote steadily for Mr. Trumbull and not at all for Mr. Lincoln and thus compel the friends of Mr. Lincoln to vote for their man, to prevent the election of Gov. Matteson who it was ascertained could after the first few ballots carry enough Anti Nebraska men to elect him. These four men were Judd, of Cook, Palmer of Macoupin, Cook of Lasalle and Baker of Madison; Allen of Madison went with them, but was not inflexible and would have voted for Lincoln cheerfully, but did not want to seperate from his Democratic friends. These men kept aloff from the caucuses of both parties during the winter. They could not act with the Democrats from principle and would not act with the Whigs from policy.

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When the election came off, it was evident after the first two or three ballots, that Mr. Lincoln could not be elected, and it was feared that if the balloting continued long Gov. Matteson would be elected. Mr. Lincoln then preadvised his friends to vote for Mr. Trumbull. They did so and elected him.

Mr. Lincoln was very much disappointed, for I think that at that time it was the height of his ambition to get into the U.S. Senate. He manifested however no bitterness towards Mr. Judd or the other Anti Nebraska Democrats by whom practically he was beaten, but evidently thought that their motives were right. He told me several times afterwards that the election of Trumbull was the best thing that could have happened.

During the entire session Mr. Gillespie seemed moderately for Mr. Lincoln, but some of our men thought he was secretly for Trumbull all the time.

Judge Logan was devoted for Mr. Lincoln all winter and did all he could for him; he and some others of Mr. Lincoln's friends in the Legislature seemed to think that the conduct of Judd and Co. in compelling us to vote for Mr. Trumbull was ungenerous and selfish. Mr. Waters of McDonough was especially indignant and utterly refused to vote for Mr. Trumbull at all. On the last ballot he threw away his vote on Mr. Williams.

There was a great deal of dissatisfaction throughout the State at the result of the election. The whigs constituted a vast majority of the Anti Nebraska Party; they thought they were entitled to the Senate and that Mr. Lincoln by his contest with Mr. Douglas had earned it; Mr. Lincoln, however, generously exonorated Mr. Trumbull and his friends from all blame in the matter.

Trumbull's first encounter with Mr. Douglas in the Senate, filled the people of Illinois with admiration for his abilities and the ill feeling caused by his election gradually passed away.

(From S. C. Parks)

Huntington Library: LN2408, 2:443 — 46

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Wilson, Douglas L., ed.; Davis, Rodney O., ed.; Parks, Samuel C. 'Samuel C. Parks (Statement for William H. Herndon)' in 'Herndon's Informants: Letters, Interviews, and Statements About Abraham Lincoln' . Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1998. [format: book], [genre: history]. Permission: University of Illinois Press
Persistent link to this document: http://lincoln.lib.niu.edu/file.php?file=herndon537.html
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