ver, his competitor, John J. Hardin, was one of the foremost men of Illinois. It is true that Hardin was a Whig, and that by this time there was a pretty clear division between Whigs and Jackson men on offices as well as measures, so that the contest was a party as well as a personal affair; but from auctioneer's clerk to district attorney was a promotion hardly to be won in a year by a youth of qualities less than extraordinary.
The election was in February, 1835, and Douglas held the office the better part of two years. A justice of the supreme court had declared, on hearing of the legislature's choice, that the stripling could not fill the place because he was no lawyer and had no law books. Nevertheless, he was an efficient prosecutor. No record of his service is available, but there was a tradition in later years that not one of his indictments was quashed. Certainly, his work in the courts of the district increased his reputation and strengthened his hold on his own party. In the spring of 1836,