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Abraham Lincoln, Volume 1 (of 2) by Herndon

Captain Bogue he gave the load


The

early spring of 1832 brought to Springfield and New Salem a most joyful announcement. It was the news of the coming of a steamboat down the Sangamon river--proof incontestable that the stream was navigable. The enterprise was undertaken and carried through by Captain Vincent Bogue, of Springfield, who had gone to Cincinnati to procure a vessel and thus settle the much-mooted question of the river's navigability. When, therefore, he notified the people of his town that the steamboat _Talisman_ would put out from Cincinnati for Springfield, we can well imagine what great excitement and unbounded enthusiasm followed the announcement. Springfield, New Salem, and all the other towns along the now interesting Sangamon* were to be connected by water with the outside world.

*The final syllable of this name was then pronounced to rhyme with "raw." In later days the letter "n" was added-- probably for euphony's sake.

Public meetings, with the accompaniment of long subscription lists, were held; the merchants of Springfield advertised the arrival of goods "direct from the East per steamer _Talisman_;" the mails were promised as often as once a week from the same direction; all the land adjoining each enterprising and aspiring village along the river was subdivided into town lots--in fact, the whole region began to feel the stimulating effects of what, in later days, would have been called a "boom." I remember

the occasion well, for two reasons. It was my first sight of a steamboat, and also the first time I ever saw Mr. Lincoln--although I never became acquainted with him till his second race for the Legislature in 1834. In response to the suggestion of Captain Bogue, made from Cincinnati, a number of citizens--among the number Lincoln--had gone down the river to Beardstown to meet the vessel as she emerged from the Illinois. These were armed with axes having long handles, to cut away, as Bogue had recommended, "branches of trees hanging over from the banks." After having passed New Salem, I and other boys on horseback followed the boat, riding along the river's bank as far as Bogue's mill, where she tied up. There we went aboard, and lost in boyish wonder, feasted our eyes on the splendor of her interior decorations. The _Sangamon Journal_ of that period contains numerous poetical efforts celebrating the _Talisman's_ arrival. A few lines under date of April 5, 1832, unsigned, but supposed to have been the product of a local poet--one Oliphant*--were sung to the tune of "Clar de Kitchen." I cannot refrain from inflicting a stanza or two of this ode on the reader:

* E. P. Oliphant, a lawyer.

"O, Captain Bogue he gave the load, And Captain Bogue he showed the road; And we came up with a right good will, And tied our boat up to his mill. Now we are up the Sangamo, And here we'll have a grand hurra, So fill your glasses to the brim, Of whiskey, brandy, wine, and gin. Illinois suckers, young and raw, Were strung along the Sangamo, To see a boat come up by steam They surely thought it was a dream."


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