Lincoln’s doings on December 1, 1859
The official reception committee at Troy was composed of A.D. Richardson, Abel Carter Wiler and John P. Hatterscheidt.
Lincoln’s speech at Troy lasted for an hour and three quarters and then turned into a debate as several slaveholders replied to him. It is likely that Lincoln used again the speech he had given at Elwood.
Immediately after the Troy speech, Lincoln was driven the ten miles to Doniphan. In Doniphan, Lincoln had luncheon and then gave his third speech which was probably a repetition of the one at Elwood. He spoke in Ashel Low’s Hotel, one of the most imposing buildings in the town.
A. B. Macdonald, The Kansas City Star, Sunday, February 10,1929.
Carol Dark Ayres, Lincoln and Kansas Partnership for Freedom.
Not more than forty people assembled in that little, bare-walled court-house. There was none of the magnetism of a multitude to inspire the long, angular, ungainly orator, who rose up behind a rough table. With little gesticulation, and that little ungraceful, he began, not to declaim, but to talk. In a conversational tone, he argued the question of Slavery in the Territories, in the language of an average Ohio or New York farmer. I thought, “If the Illinoisans consider this a great man, their ideas must be very peculiar.”
But in ten or fifteen minutes I was unconsciously and irresistibly drawn by the clearness and closeness of his argument. Link after link it was forged and welded like a blacksmith’s chain. He made few assertions, but merely asked questions: “Is not this true? If you admit that fact, is not this induction correct?” Give him his premises, and his conclusions were inevitable as death.
His fairness and candor were very noticeable. He ridiculed nothing, burlesqued nothing, mis-represented nothing. So far from distorting the views held by Mr. Douglas and his adherents, he stated them with more strength probably than any one of their advocates could have done. Then, very modestly and courteously, he inquired into their soundness. He was too kind for bitterness, and too great for vituperation.
His anecdotes, of course, were felicitous and illustrative. He delineated the tortuous windings of the Democracy upon the Slavery question, from Thomas Jefferson down to Franklin Pierce. Whenever he heard a man avow his determination to adhere unswervingly to the principles of the Democratic party, it reminded him, he said, of a “little incident” in Illinois. A lad, plowing upon the prairie, asked his father in what direction he should strike a new furrow. The parent replied, “Steer for that yoke of oxen standing at the further end of the field.” The father went away, and the lad obeyed. But just as he started, the oxen started also. He kept steering for them ; and they continued to walk. He followed them entirely around the field, and came “back to the starting-point, having furrowed a circle instead of a line !
The address lasted for an hour and three-quarters. Neither rhetorical, graceful, nor eloquent, it was still very fascinating. The people of the frontier believe profoundly in fair play, and in hearing both sides. So they now called for an aged ex-Kentuckian, who was the heaviest slaveholder in the Territory. Responding, he thus prefaced his remarks :
“I have heard, during my life, all the ablest public speakers – all the eminent statesmen of the past and the present generation. And while I dissent utterly from the doctrines of this address, and shall endeavor to refute some of them, candor compels me to say that it is the most able and the most logical speech I ever listened to.”