Report of Remarks at Bloomington, Illinois, 16 July 18581
In the evening, Judge Douglas spoke at Bloomington to an audience of about two thousand persons. There was no enthusiasm, however. The Pantagraph says:
“As soon as Judge Douglas retired, loud calls were made for Hon. Abraham Lincoln. Mr. L. held back for a little while, but the crowd finally succeeded in inducing him to come upon the stand. He was received with three rousing cheers— much louder than those given to Judge Douglas. He remarked that he appeared before the audience for the purpose of saying that he would take an early opportunity to give his views to the citizens of this place regarding the matters spoken of in Judge Douglas’ speech.2This meeting,’ said Mr. Lincoln, ‘was called by the friends of Judge Douglas, and it would be improper for me to address it.’ Mr. L. then retired amid loud cheering.”3
1The Daily Illinois State Journal extracted this report of remarks by Abraham Lincoln from the original printed version which appeared in the Bloomington Daily Pantagraph on July 17, 1858. The Daily Illinois State Journal preceded these remarks with a summary of Stephen A. Douglas’ recent public appearances as he traveled from Chicago to Springfield, in which the newspaper painted his early efforts in the senatorial campaign of 1858 as unsuccessful. The newspaper then included a brief description of Douglas’ July 16, 1858 arrival and speech in Bloomington, following which Lincoln made these comments. No manuscript version of Lincoln’s remarks has been located.
Lincoln had recently been nominated at the 1858 Illinois Republican Convention to run against incumbent Douglas to represent Illinois in the U.S. Senate. At this time the Illinois General Assembly elected the state’s representatives in the U.S. Senate, thus the outcome of races for the Illinois House of Representatives and Illinois Senate were of importance to Lincoln’s campaign. Lincoln and Douglas both focused their efforts in the 1858 election campaign on the former Whig stronghold of central Illinois, where the state legislative races were the closest.
Lincoln arrived in Bloomington from Springfield on this date and listened to Douglas’ speech in the evening. On the following morning he attended another speech by Douglas in Atlanta, at which he similarly declined to speak when pressed. Later in the day on July 17 he returned to Springfield, where he delivered a speech of his own in the evening.
Michael Burlingame, Abraham Lincoln: A Life (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2008), 1:457-58, 476-77; Allen C. Guelzo, “Houses Divided: Lincoln, Douglas, and the Political Landscape of 1858,” The Journal of American History 94 (September 2007), 392-94, 400-401; The Lincoln Log: A Daily Chronology of the Life of Abraham Lincoln, 16 July 1858,; 17 July 1858,; Summary of Remarks at Atlanta, Illinois; Summary of Remarks at Atlanta, Illinois; Speech at Springfield, Illinois; Report of Speech at Springfield, Illinois; Report of Speech at Springfield, Illinois.
2Lincoln gave a campaign speech in Bloomington on September 4, 1858.
The Lincoln Log: A Daily Chronology of the Life of Abraham Lincoln, 4 September 1858,; Report of Speech at Bloomington, Illinois; Michael Burlingame, Abraham Lincoln: A Life, 1:509.
3The Daily Illinois State Journal followed this report with a similar report of the remarks made by Lincoln in Atlanta on 17 July, which was also drawn from an original report in the Bloomington Daily Pantagraph. The newspaper then included an anecdote from the Daily Pantagraph’s description of Douglas’ appearance in Atlanta, and summarized further campaign appearances by Douglas in a disparaging tone.
The Daily Pantagraph (Bloomington, IL), 19 July 1858, 3:2.

Printed Document, 1 page(s), Daily Illinois State Journal, (Springfield, IL), 21 July 1858, 2:1.