Abraham Lincoln, 1809-1858 - Vol. 1

By Albert J. Beveridge | Go to book overview

CHAPTER IV
LEGISLATURE AND SPRINGFIELD

I am opposed to encouraging that lawless and mobocratic spirit . . . which is already abroad in the land. Lincoln.

UPON the west bluff of the Kaskaskia River, sixty feet above high water, stood in 1834, perhaps a hundred buildings. All but two were of wood, some of them frame structures, but most of them log cabins. A little frame Presbyterian church house, without a steeple, nestled on a side street, while a still smaller building served for all other religious denominations as well as for school purposes and public gatherings. A comparatively large Methodist church was in process of construction.1 Five or six of the bigger houses were taverns or boarding places, two of them would accommodate thirty or forty persons, though they were not entirely finished.2 A watch and clock mender had a shop,3 and three or four stores and groceries, the latter heavily stocked with all kinds of liquors,4 supplied the wants of the town and countryside. A jail had just been finished.

____________________
1
It was forty feet square and sixteen feet high. Illinois Advocate, Vandalia, Aug. 24, 1833. The full title of this newspaper was at this time the Illinois Advocate and State Register. On April 15, 1835, it became the Illinois Advocate and so continued until March 8, 1836, when for about three months it was the Illinois State Register and Illinois Advocate. On June 24, 1836, it appeared as the Illinois State Register and People's Advocate, a name it retained until its removal in August, 1839, to the new capital, Springfield, where it dropped half its name and was from that time the Illinois State Register. The shorter titles -- Illinois Advocate and Illinois State Register -- are used in these notes.
2
Carter's tavern was forty-four feet long by forty feet wide. Ib., Feb. 9, 1833. The National Hotel advertised a fine table and 'choicest wines and wholesome liquors.' Ib., March 15, 1834.

'The House of Entertainment at the Sign of the Green Tree' assured customers that its 'Bar will be furnished with the choicest liquors of every kind.' Ib., Dec. 16, 1835. One tavern was called the 'New White House.' Ib., Jan. 14, 1834. The Vandalia Inn advertised that its dining room was forty-four by twenty feet and that it had thirteen bed-rooms. Ib., Sept. 24, 1834.

3
Ib., Jan. 14, 1834.
4
One of these advertised 'Groceries of all kinds, the most choice Liquors such as the best French Brandy, Holland Gin, Whisky, wines, etc.' Ib., Feb. 4, 1835.

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