|On March 29, 1832 the Springfield Journal reported: “On Saturday last the citizens of this place [Springfield] were gratified by the arrival of the steamer Talisman… The safe arrival of a boat of the size of the Talisman on a river never before navigated by steam had created much solicitude, and the shores for miles were crowded by our citizens. Her arrival at the destined port was hailed with loud acclaim and full demonstrations of pleasure…”The arrival of the Talisman would have had a profound effect on Lincoln. Prior to the coming of the railroad, Springfield was handicapped by inadequate transportation facilities which the towns people hoped the Talisman would address. The community had invested in the undertaking and were naturally thrilled by its successful arrival with Lincoln very much involved in the undertaking. The Talisman represented not only an economic lifeline for Lincoln, but a political one as well. He and the river were intimately linked having provided him recent passage to the state of Illinois and New Salem byway of a flatboat. River travel had also provided a means earning a living hauling cargo down to New Orleans and back.|
As a consequence of his experience and sensitivity to the needs and aspiration of his new adopted community, Lincoln sought to galvanize new political and economic support for the transportation development for the region as reflected in his first political announcement made just three weeks prior to the arrival of the Talisman. The Sangamon Journal published this statement by Abraham Lincoln, who was seeking his first seat in the Illinois General Assembly. The following are excerpts from that letter which illustrates many of the facets of Lincoln’s personal integrity and visionary leadership.
From my peculiar circumstances, it is probable that for the last twelve months I have given as particular attention to the stage of the water in this river as any other person in the country. In the month of March, 1831, in company of others, I commenced the building of a flat boat on the Sangamon, and finished and took her out in the course of the spring…