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Wednesday, October 20, 1858.+-

Rushville, IL.

A large crowd gathers in the public square to hear Lincoln speak. One newspaper reports that the procession of attendees entering the square measures approximately "one mile and a half long--double the length of any other procession ever seen in Rushville." Before delivering his remarks, Lincoln stops at the home of local businessman William H. Ray, and his "hospitable thronged with the old friends and admirers of Mr. Lincoln." Lincoln begins speaking at two in the afternoon to an audience of between 2,000 and 3,000, "among whom was a large number of ladies." Lincoln states his views on slavery, and he defends his "House Divided" speech against Stephen A. Douglas's criticism. A couple of "disturbances" slightly mar Lincoln's speech. Some suspect that the Democratic party is behind the appearance of "a black flag...found fluttering from the top of the Court house steeple!" A newspaper reports that the incident is "a public insult offered to the Republicans of Schuyler County." During his speech, some "foolish boys" as well as "Several females" heckle Lincoln to the point that he is "compelled to stop in the midst of his speech and request them to be still." In spite of the problems, however, the paper adds that "the day passed off very pleasantly and successfully." Speech at Rushville, Illinois, 20 October 1858, CW, 3:329; Schuyler Citizen (Rushville, IL), 27 October 1858, 2:1-4; Chicago Daily Press and Tribune (IL), 23 October 1858, 2:2; Newton Bateman and Paul Selby, eds., Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois and History of Schuyler County (Chicago: Munsell Publishing, 1908), 442-43.

Lincoln writes a letter to Norman B. Judd, a member of the Illinois State Senate from Chicago. He seeks Judd's advice on how to prevent "fraudulent votes" in the upcoming election. Lincoln fears that the opposition "will introduce into the doubtful districts numbers of men who are legal voters in all respects except residence and who will swear to residence and thus put it beyond our power to exclude them." Lincoln suspects that the "fifteen Celtic gentlemen, with black carpet-sacks in their hands" whom he recently encountered in Naples were there for that purpose. He also relays to Judd that he heard that "about four hundred of the same sort were to be brought into Schuyler [County], before the election, to work on some new Railroad." Lincoln explains that he checked with a source in Schuyler who "thinks that is not so." Lincoln suggests to Judd that perhaps someone could infiltrate the ranks of the suspect voters, someone "in disguise, who could, at the nick of time, control their votes." Lincoln concludes, "If we can head off the fraudulent votes we shall carry the day." Biographical Directory of the American Congress, 1774-1949 (Washington, D.C.: United States Government Printing Office, 1950), 1391; Abraham Lincoln to Norman B. Judd, 20 October 1858, CW, 3:329-30.