wen- to pass also. Upon this understanding, each got votes which
it could have got in no other way. It is this fact which gives to the
measures their true character; and it is the universal knowledge of
this fact that has given them the name of " compromises," so expres-
sive of that true character.
I had asked "if, in carrying the Utah and New Mexico laws to
Nebraska, you could clear away other objection, how could you leave
ADDKESSES AND LETTERS OF ABRAHAM LINCOLN 207
Nebraska ' perfectly free ' to introduce slavery before she forms a
constitution during her territorial government, while the Utah and
New Mexico laws only authorize it when they form constitutions
and are admitted into the Union!" To this Judge Douglas an-
swered that the Utah and New Mexico laws also authorized it be-
fore ; and to prove this he read from one of their laws, as follows :
" That the legislative power of said territory shall extend to all
rightful subjects of legislation, consistent with the Constitution of
the United States and the provisions of this act."
Now it is perceived from the reading of this that there is nothing
express upon the subject, but that the authority is sought to be
implied merely for the general provision of "all rightful subjects
of legislation." In reply to this I insist, as a legal rule of construc-
tion, as well as the plain, popular view of the matter, that the ex-
press provision for Utah and New Mexico coming in with slavery,
if they choose, when they shall form constitutions, is an exclusion
of all implied authority on the same subject ; that Congress, having
the subject distinctly in their minds when they made the express pro-
vision, they therein expressed their whole meaning on that subject.
The judge rather insinuated that I had found it convenient to
forget the Washington territorial law passed in 1853. This was a
division of Oregon organizing the northern part as the Territory
of Washington. He asserted that by this act the ordinance of '87,
theretofore existing in Oregon, was repealed ; ' that nearly all the
members of Congress voted for it, beginning in the House of Rep-
resentatives with Charles Allen of Massachusetts, and ending with
Richard Yates of Illinois ; and that he could not understand how those
who now oppose the Nebraska bill so voted there, unless it was be-
cause it was then too soon after both the great political parties had
ratified the compromises of 1850, and the ratification therefore was
too fresh to be then repudiated.
Now I had seen the Washington act before, and I have carefully
examined it since; and I aver that there is no repeal of the ordi-
nance of '87, or of any prohibition of slavery, in it. In express
terms, there is absolutely nothing in the whole law upon the sub-
ject ā in fact, nothing to lead a reader to think of the subject. To
my judgment it is equally free from everything from which repeal
can be legally implied ; but however this may be, are men now to
be entrapped by a legal implication, extracted from covert language,
introduced perhaps for the very purpose of entrapping them ? I
sincerely wish every man could read this law quite through, care-
fully watching every sentence and every line for a repeal of the
ordinance of '87, or anything equivalent to it.
Another point on the Washington act. If it was intended to be
modeled after the Utah and New Mexico acts, as Judge Douglas in-
sists, why was it not inserted in it, as in them, that Washington was
to come in with or without slavery as she may choose at the adop-
tion of her constitution? It has no such provision in it; and I
defy the ingenuity of man to give a reason for the omission, other
than that it was not intended to follow the Utah and New Mexico
laws in regard to the question of slavery.
208 ADDRESSES AND LETTERS OF ABRAHAM LINCOLN
The Washington act not only differs vitally from the Utah and
Nrw Mexico acts, but the Nebraska ael differs vitally from both.
By the latter act the people are left "perfectly free'' to regulate
tlnir own domestic concerns, etc.; but in all the former, all their
laws are to be submitted to Congress, and if disapproved are to be
null. The "Washington act goes even further; it absolutely pro-
hibits the territorial legislature, by very strong and guarded lan-
guage, from establishing banks or borrowing money on the faith of
the Territory. Is this the sacred right of self-government we hear
vaunted so much? No, sir; the Nebraska bill finds no model in the
acts of '50 or the Washington act. It finds no model in any law
from Adam till to-day. As Phillips says of Napoleon, the Nebraska
act is grand, gloomy and peculiar, wrapped in the solitude of its own
originality, without a model and without a shadow upon the earth.
In the course of his reply Senator Douglas remarked in substance
that he had always considered this government was made for the
white people and not for the negroes. Why, in point of mere fact,
I think so too. But in this remark of the judge there is a signifi-
cance which I think is the key to the great mistake (if there is any
such mistake) which he has made in this Nebraska measure. It
shows that the judge has no very vivid impression that the negro is
human, and consequently has no idea that there can be any moral
question in legislating about him. In his view the question of
whether a new country shall be slave or free, is a matter of as utter
indifference as it is whether his neighbor shall plant his farm with
tobacco or stock it with horned cattle. Now, whether this view is
right or wrong, it is very certain that the great mass of mankind
take a totally different view. They consider slavery a great moral
wrong, and their feeling against it is not evanescent, but eternal. It
lies at the very foundation of their sense of justice, and it cannot be
trifled with. It is a great and durable element of popular action, and
I think no statesman can safely disregard it.
Our senator also objects that those who oppose him in this matter
do not entirely agree with one another. He reminds me that in mv
firm adherence to the constitutional rights of the slave States, I
differ widely from others who are cooperating with me in opposing
the Nebraska bill, and he says it is not quite fair to oppose him in
this variety of ways. He should remember that he took us by sur-
prise ā astounded us by this measure. We were thunderstruck and
stunned, and we reeled and fell in utter confusion. But we rose, each
fighting, grasping whatever he could first reach ā a scythe, a pitch-
fork, a chopping-ax, or a butcher's cleaver. We struck in the direc-
tion of the sound, and we were rapidly closing in upon him. He
must not think to divert us from our purpose by showing us that our
drill, our dress, and our weapons are not entirely perfect and uni-
form. When the storm shall be past he shall find us still Americans,
no less devoted to the continued union and prosperity of the country
Finally, the judge invokes against me the memory of Clay and
Webster. They were great men, and men of great deeds. But where
have I assailed them? For what is it that their life-long enemy shall
ADDRESSES AND LETTERS OF ABRAHAM LINCOLN 209
now make profit by assuming to defend them against me, their life-
long friend ? I go against the repeal of the Missouri Compromise ;
did they ever go for it? They went for the compromise of 1850; did
I ever go against them? They were greatly devoted to the Union;
to the small measure of my ability was I ever less so? Clay and
Webster were dead before this question arose; by what authority
shall our senator say they would espouse his side of it if alive? Mr.
Clay was the leading spirit in making the Missouri Compromise ; is
it very credible that if now alive he would take the lead in the
breaking of it? The truth is that some support from Whigs is now
a necessity with the judge, and for this it is that the names of Clay
and Webster are invoked. His old friends have deserted him in
such numbers as to leave too few to live by. He came to his own,
and his own received him not ; and lo ! he turns unto the Gentiles.
A word now as to the judge's desperate assumption that the com-
promises of 1850 had no connection with one another ; that Illinois
came into the Union as a slave State, and some other similar ones.
This is no other than a bold denial of the history of the country. If
we do not know that the compromises of 1850 were dependent on each
other ; if we do not know that Illinois came into the Union as a free
State, ā we do not know anything. If we do not know these things,
we do not know that we ever had a Revolutionary war or such a
chief as Washington. To deny these things is to deny our national
axioms, ā or dogmas, at least, ā and it puts an end to all argument. If
a man will stand up and assert, and repeat and reassert, that two and
two do not make four, I know nothing in the power of argument
that can stop him. I think I can answer the judge so long as he
sticks to the premises ; but when he flies from them, I cannot work
any argument into the consistency of a mental gag and actually close
his mouth with it. In such a case I can only commend him to the
seventy thousand answers just in from Pennsylvania, Ohio, and
November 27, 1854. ā Letter to T. J. Henderson.
Springfield, November 27, 1854.
T. J. Henderson, Esq.
My dear Sir : It has come round that a Whig may, by possibility,
be elected to the United States Senate ; and I want the chance of
being the man. You are a member of the legislature, and have a
vote to give. Think it over, and see whether you can do better than
go for me. Write me at all events, and let this be confidential.
Yours truly, A. Lincoln.
November 27, 1854. ā Letter to I. Codding.
Sprlngfield, November 27, 1854.
I. Codding, Esq.
Dear Sir : Your note of the 13th requesting my attendance on the
Republican State Central Committee, on the 17th instant at Chicago,
Vol. I.ā 14.
210 ADDRESSES AND LETTERS OF .ABRAHAM LINCOLN
was, owing to my absence from home, received on the evening of
that day (17th) only. While I have pen in hand allow me to say I
have been perplexed some to understand why my name was placed
on that committee. I was not consulted on the subject, nor was I
apprised of the appointment until I discovered it by accident two
or three weeks afterward. I suppose my opposition to the principle
of slavery is as strong as that of any member of the Republican
party; but I have also supposed that the extent to which I feel
authorized to carry that opposition, practically, was not at all satis-
factory to that party. The leading men who organized that party
were present on the 4th of October at the discussion between Doug-
las and myself at Springfield, and had full opportunity to not mis-
understand my position. Do I misunderstand them? Please write
and inform me. Yours truly,
December 6, 1854. ā Letter to Justice John McLean.
Sprl\gfield, Illlnois, December 6, 1854.
Hon. Justice McLean.
Sir: I understand it is in contemplation to displace the present
clerk, and appoint a new one, for the Circuit and District Courts
of Illinois. I am very friendly to the present incumbent, and both
for his own sake and that of his family, I wish him to be retained
so long as it is possible for the court to do so. In the contingency
of his removal, however, I have recommended William Butler as
his successor, and I do not wish what I write now to be taken as
any abatement of that recommendation.
William J. Black is also an applicant for the appointment, and I
write this at the solicitation of his friends to say that he is every
way worthy of the office, and that I doubt not the conferring it upon
him will give great satisfaction. Your obedient servant,
December 11, 1854. ā Letter to E. B. Washburne.
Springfield, Illinois, December 11, 1854.
Hon. E. B. Washburne.
My dear Sir: Your note of the 5th is just received. It is too
true that by the official returns Allen beats Colonel Archer one vote.
There is a report to-day that there is a mistake in the returns from
Clay County, giving Allen sixty votes more than he really has; but
this, I fear,* is itself a mistake? I have just examined tne returns
from that county at the secretary's office, and find that the aggre-
gate vote for sheriff only falls short by three votes of the aggregate,
as reported, of Allen and Archer's vote. Our friends, however, are
hot on the track, and will probe the matter to the bottom. As to
my own matter, things continue to look reasonably well. I wrote
ADDRESSES AND LETTERS OF ABRAHAM LINCOLN 211
your friend, George Gage ; and three days ago had an answer from
him, in which he talks out plainly, as your letter taught me to
expect. To-day I had a letter from Turner. He says he is not com-
mitted, and will not be until he sees how most effectually to oppose
I have not ventured to write all the members in your district, lest
some of them should be offended by the indelicacy of the thing ā
that is, coming from a total stranger. Could you not drop some of
them a line ? Very truly your friend,
December 14, 1854. ā Letter to E. B. Washburne.
Springfield, December 14, 1854.
Hon. E. B. Washburne.
My dear Sir : So far as I am concerned, there must be something
wrong about United States senator at Chicago. My most intimate
friends there do not answer my letters, and I cannot get a word from
them. Wentworth has a knack of knowing things better than most
men. I wish you would pump him, and write me what you get from
him. Please do this as soon as you can, as the time is growing
short. Don't let any one know I have written you this ; for there
may be those opposed to me nearer about you than you think.
Very truly yours, etc., A. Lincoln.
December 15, 1854. ā Letter to T. J. Henderson.
Springfield, December 15, 1854.
Hon. T. J. Henderson.
Bear Sir: Yours of the 11th was received last night, and for
which I thank you. Of course, I prefer myself to all others ; yet it
is neither in my heart nor my conscience to say I am any better
man than Mr. Williams. We shall have a terrible struggle with our
adversaries. They are desperate, and bent on desperate deeds. I
accidentally learned of one of the leaders here writing to a member
south of here, in about the following language :
We are beaten. They have a clear majority of at least nine on joint bal-
lot. They outnumber us, but we must outmanage them. Douglas must be
sustained. We must elect the Speaker; and we must elect a Nebraska United
States senator, or elect none at all.
Similar letters, no doubt, are written to every Nebraska member.
Be considering how we can best meet, and foil, and beat them.
I send you by this mail a copy of my Peoria speech. You may
have seen it before, or you may not think it worth seeing now. Do
not speak of the Nebraska letter mentioned above ; I do not wish it
to become public that I receive such information.
Yours truly, A. Lincoln.
212 ADDRESSES AND LETTERS OF ABRAHAM LINCOLN
December 19, 1854. ā Letter to E. B. Washburn k.
Springfield, December 19, 1854.
Hon. E. B. Washburn e.
My (bar Sir : Yours of the 12th just received. The objection of
your friend at Winnebago rather astonishes me. For a senator to
be the impartial representative of his whole State is so plain a
duty that I pledge myself to the observance of it without hesita-
tion, but not without some mortification that any one should sus-
pect me of an inclination to the contrary. I was eight years a
representative of Sangamon County in the legislature ; and al-
though in a conflict of interests between that and other counties it
perhaps would have been my duty to stick to old Sangamon, yei
it is not within my recollection that the northern members ever
wanted my vote for any interest of theirs without getting it. My
distinct recollection is that the northern members and Sangamon
members were always on good terms, and always cooperating on
measures of policy. The canal was then the great northern measure,
and it from first to last had our votes as readily as the votes of the
north itself. Indeed, I shall be surprised if it can be pointed out
that in any instance the north sought our aid and failed to get it.
Again, I was a member of Congress one term ā the term when Mr.
Turner was the legal member and you were a lobby member from
your then district. Now I think I might appeal to Mr. Turner and
yourself, whether you did not always have my feeble service for
the asking. In the case of conflict, I might without blame have
preferred my own district. As a senator I should claim no right,
as I should feel no inclination, to give the central portion of the
State any preference over the north, or any other portion of it.
Very truly your friend, A. Lincoln.
January 6, 1855. ā Letter to E. B. Washburne.
Springfield, January 6, 1855.
Hon. E. B. Washburne.
My dear Sir : I telegraphed you as to the organization of the two
houses. T. J. Turner elected Speaker, 40 to 24 ; House not full ; Dr.
Richmond of Schuyler was his opponent ; Anti-Nebraska also elected
all the other officers of the House of Representatives. In the Senate
Anti-Nebraska elected George T. Brown, of the "Alton Couri' r."
secretary; and Dr. Ray, of the "Galena Jeffersonian," one of the
clerks. In fact they elected all the officers, but some of them were
Nebraska men elected over the regular Nebraska nominees. It is
said that by this they get one or two Nebraska senators to go for
bringing on the senatorial election. I cannot vouch. for this. Afl
to the senatorial election, I think very little more is known than
was before the meeting of the legislature. Besides the ten or a
dozen on our side who are willing to be known as candidates. I
think there are fifty secretly watching for a chance. I do not know
ADDRESSES AND LETTERS OF ABRAHAM LINCOLN 213
that it is much advantage to have the largest number of votes at
the start. If I did know this to be an advantage, I should feel better,
for I cannot doubt but I have more committals than any other
man. Your district comes up tolerably well for me, but not unani-
mously by any means. George Gage is for me, as you know. J. H.
Adams is not committed to me, but I think will be for me. Mr.
Talcott will not be for me as a first choice. Dr. Little and Mr. Sar-
gent are openly for me. Professor Pinckney is for me, but wishes
to be quiet. Dr. Whitney writes me that Rev. Mr. Lawrence will
be for me, and his manner to me so indicates, but he has not
spoken it out. Mr. Swan I have some slight hopes of. Turner
says he is not committed, and I shall get him whenever I can make
it appear to be his interest to go for me. Dr. Lyman and old Mr.
Diggins will never go for me as a first choice. M. P. Sweet is here
as a candidate, and I understand he claims that he has twenty-two
members committed to him. I think some part of his estimate must
be based on insufficient evidence, as I cannot well see where they
are to be found, and as I can learn the name of one only ā Day of
La Salle. Still it may be so. There are more than twenty-two Anti-
Nebraska members who are not committed to me. Tell Norton
that Mr. Strunk and Mr. Wheeler come out plump for me, and for
which I thank him. Judge Parks I have decided hopes of, but he
says he is not committed. I understand myself as having twenty-
six committals, and I do not think any other one man has ten. May
be mistaken, though. The whole legislature stands :
Senate A. N. 13 N. 12
House of Representatives " 44 "31
All here, but Kinney of St. Clair.
Our special election here is plain enough when understood. Our
adversaries pretended to be running no candidate, secretly notified
all their men to be on hand, and, favored by a very rainy day, got
a complete snap judgment on us. In November Sangamon gave
Yates 2166 votes. On the rainy day she gave our man only 984,
leaving him 82 votes behind. After all, the result is not of the least
consequence. The Locos kept up a great chattering over it till the
organization of the House of Representatives, since which they all
seem to have forgotten it. G.'s letter to L., I think has not been re-
ceived. Ask him if he sent it. Yours as ever,
February 9, 1855. ā Letter to E. B. Washburne.
Springfield, February 9, 1855.
Hon. E. B. Washburne.
My dear Sir : The agony is over at last, and the result you doubt-
less know. I write this only to give you some particulars to explain
214 ADDKI'.SSI.S AM" LKTTKKS ()F ABRAHAM LINCOLN
what might appear difficult of understanding. I began with 44
votes, Shields 41, and Trumbull 5, ā yet Trumbull was elected. Iu
fact, 47 different members voted for me, ā getting three new ones on
the second ballot, and losing four old ones. How came my 47 to
yield to Trumbull's of It was Governor Matteson's work. He has
been secretly a candidate ever since (before, even) the fall election.
All the members round about the canal were Anti-Nebraska, but
were nevertheless nearly all Democrats and old personal friends of
his. His plan was to privately impress them with the belief that he
was as good Anti-Nebraska as any one else, ā at least could be se-
cured to be so by instructions, which could be easily passed. In this
way he got from four to six of that sort of men to really prefer his
election to that of any other man ā all sub rosa, of course. One
notable instance of this sort was with Mr. Strunk of Kankakee. At
the beginning of the session he came a volunteer to tell me he was
for me and would walk a hundred miles to elect me; but lo! it was
not long before he leaked it out that he was going for me the first
few ballots and then for Governor Matteson.
The Nebraska men, of course, were not for Matteson: but when
they found they could elect no avowed Nebraska man, they tardily
determined to let him get whomever of our men he could, by what-
ever means he could, and ask him no questions. In the mean time
Osgood, Don Morrison, and Trapp of St. Clair had openly gone over
from us. With the united Nebraska force and their recruits, open
and covert, it gave Matteson more than enough to elect him. We
saw into it plainly ten days ago, but with every possible effort could
not head it off. All that remained of the Anti-Nebraska force, i x-
cepting Judd, Cook, Palmer, Baker and Allen of Madison, and two
or three of the secret Matteson men, would go into caucus, and I
could get the nomination of that caucus. But the three senators and
one of the two representatives above named "could never vote for a
Whig," and this incensed some twenty Whigs to "think" they would
never vote for the man of the five. So we stood, and so we went into
the fight yesterday, ā the Nebraska men very confident of the
election of Matteson, though denying that he was a candidate, and
we very much believing also that they w r ould elect him. But they
wanted first to make a show of good faith to Shields by voting for
him a few times, and our secret Matteson men also wanted to make a
show of good faith by voting with us a few times. So we led off.
On the seventh ballot^ I think, the signal was given to the Nebraska
men to turn to Matteson, which they acted on to a man, with one
exception, my old friend Strunk going with them, giving him 44
votes. Next ballot the remaining Nebraska man and one pretended
Anti went over to him, giving him 4fi. The next still another, giving
him 47, wanting only three of an election. In the mean time oul
friends, with a view of detaining our expected bolters, had been
turning from me to Trumbull till he had risen to 35 and I had been
reduced to 15. These would never desert me except by my direc-
tion ; but I became satisfied that if we could prevent Matteson's
election one or two ballots more, we could not possibly do so a single
ballot after my friends should begin to return to me from Trumbull.
ADDRESSES AND LETTERS OF ABRAHAM LINCOLN 215
So I determined to strike at once, and accordingly advised my re-
maining friends to go for him, which they did and. elected him on
the tenth ballot.
Such is the way the thing was done. I think you would have
done the same under the circumstances ; though Judge Davis, who
came down this morning, declares he never would have consented
to the forty-seven men being controlled by the five. I regret my
defeat moderately, but I am not nervous about it. I could have
headed off every combination and been elected, had it not been for