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The Missouri Historical

Review

Volume X Januart, 1916 Number 2




TABLE OF CONTENTS

Lincoln and Missouri Page
Walter B. Stevens 63

Historical Articles in Missouri
Newspapers 120

Notes and Documents 127

Historical News and Comments 132



Published Quarterly by

THE STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY
OF MISSOURI

COLUMBIA

Entered as second-class mail matter at Columbia, Missouri, July i8, 1907



THE MISSOURI HISTORICAL REVIEW

FLOYD C. SHOEMAKER, Editor



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The Missouri Historical Review is a quarterly magazine de-
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Each number of the Review contains several articles on Mis-
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Departing from the custom adopted by most historical socie-
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able historical contribution than could otherwise be obtained.

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Manuscripts and letters on all Missouri subjects of a his-
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' 7 Z./AJ(0(LAJ / >-r\^



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The Missouri Historical

Review

Vol X, No. 2 Columbia January, 1916

LINCOLN AND MISSOURL^

Walter B. Stevens.

This is the narrative of "Lincoln and Missouri." The relation-
ship was intimate and continuous for eight years. It meant much to
Mr. Lincoln. On Missouri the President depended for the effectiveness
of his border states policy. That policy he believed was vital to the sal-
vation of the Union.

1857—1860.

On the 7th of April, 1857, Abraham Lincoln and Francis
P. Blair were conferring at Springfield. With that date
begins this narrative of "Lincoln and Missouri." The time
was four years before the Civil War. Buchanan had been
inaugurated the preceding month. Lincoln had come back
to political activity. He had shaped the formation of the
Republican party of Illinois. He had suggested the can-
didate for governor and that candidate had been elected, —
Bissell of Belleville. Frank Blair had advanced from local
politics to the national field. He was entering upon his
first term in Congress.

There were other circumstances which made the con-
ference of these two men significant. In March Chief

1. Read by the author at the Annual Dinner of the State Historical
Society of Missoiu-i, December 10, 1915.
Copyrighted January, 1916.

(63)



66 MISSOURI HISTORICAL REVIEW.

divided against itself can not stand. Neither was an aboli-
tionist. Neither was anti-slavery in the moral sense that
inspired the northerners. But viewing the issue as the great
political and economic question which must be settled
peaceably, both of them looked for the solution in the border
States with Missouri as the key to the solution.

About the time of the conference, Mrs. Lincoln wrote to
her sister in Kentucky:

"Although Mr. Lincoln is, or was, a Fremont man, you
must not include him with so many of those who belong to
that party, an abolitionist. In principle he is far from it.
All he desires is that slavery shall not be extended. Let it
remain where it is."

Also, about the time of the conference there appeared
in Missouri an authorized biographical sketch of Blair which
defined his position:

"He is no believer in the unholy and disgusting tenets
advocated by abolition fanaticism but advocates the gradual
abolition of slavery in the Union and the colonization of the
slaves emancipated in Central America, which climate ap-
pears to be happily adapted to their constitutional idiosyn-
cracies."

Gradual emancipation became a growing issue. Mis-
souri was an encouraging field to start the propaganda which
Lincoln and Blair thought might hold the border. In the
first place the slave population of Missouri was comparatively
small, — 114,935 slaves of a total census of 1,182,912, about
one in ten. In the second place most of the Missouri slaves
were in contiguous counties along the Missouri river. Blair
and the other emancipationists made much of the economic
argument They urged that slave labor was holding back
the development of the State. Peter L. Foy, who had been
the correspondent of the Missouri Democrat at Jefferson
City and in Washington, wrote a series of articles on the
unfair competition of black labor with white labor. These
articles aroused the white labor. Mr. Lincoln made Mr. Foy
postmaster at St. Louis soon after his inauguration. B. Gratz
Brown was elected to the Legislature about the same time that



LINCOLN AND MISSOURI. 67

Frank Blair became a Member of Congress. Brown made an
emancipation speech in the Legislature which caused agita-
tion throughout the State. Henry A. Clover and S. H. Gard-
ner supported Brown's emancipation argument.

The gradual emancipationists were strong enough in St.
Louis to elect their candidates for mayor, — John M. Wimer in
1857, and O. D. Filley in 1858. William Hyde was a reporter
on the Missouri Republican at this time. He was sent to
Springfield to report the Illinois Legislature. In his reminis-
cences, given the Globe-Democrat after he retired from the
editorship of the Republican, Mr. Hyde wrote:

"Mr. Francis Preston Blair, who became the universally
recognized leader of the emancipation party, and Messrs.
Edward Bates, B. Gratz Brown, Dr. Linton, John D.
Stevenson, John How, O. D. Filley and other conspicuous
members were not believers in immediate emancipation.
They proposed and advocated a gradual system — a fixed
time after which children born of slave parents would be
free, and a further fixed time in the life of each slave when all
should be free. Deportation and colonization was a dream
of this Utopia, involving compensation to slave owners who
might demand the same for the term of service cut oflf by
the act of emancipation as nearly as it could be calculated."

"It was a sufficient indorsement of Frank Blair in a par-
tisan sense," continued Mr. Hyde," that the political career
of Abraham Lincoln, from the time of the repeal of the Mis-
souri Compromise, was patterned on his model. In all their
public discussions both were anxious that the agitation of
the slavery question should not imperil the Union."

When he took his outspoken position, Mr. Blair began
freeing his own slaves. In 1859 he went into the St. Louis
circuit court and "in consideration of faithful services
and for divers other good and sufficient reasons moving me
thereto," set free Sarah Dupe and her three daughters. He
had previously freed the husband and father, Henry Dupe.

In the Illinois senatorial campaign of 1858 the relation-
ship of Lincoln and the Missouri emancipationists had its
part. The Missouri Democrat supported Lincoln stren-



68 MISSOURI HISTORICAL REVIEW.

uously. The paper's correspondent at Springfield was John
Hay, who was then reading law in Mr. Lincoln's office. John
G. Nicolay, a country editor and one of Mr. Lincoln's polit-
ical lieutenants, was at the same time traveling correspond-
ent for the Democrat. Hay attended the Lincoln-Douglas
joint debates and sent graphic and extended reports to the
Democrat. Nicolay also attended the meetings and took
subscriptions to the Democrat. He sent in lists of hundreds
of names.

Frank Blair went to Illinois and participated in the
campaign. At Springfield and at Jacksonville, Lincoln and
Blair rode together in the procession and according to the
Missouri Democrat were given a reception "cordial and
magnificent." The Democrat contained impressions made
upon Blair as he rode through Central Illinois with Lincoln:

"No resident of a slave State could pass through the
splendid farms of Sangamon and Morgan, without per-
mitting an envious sigh to escape him at the evident superior-
ity of free labor. In the slave States, it would seem that
man and the soil which he cultivates are enemies. It would
seem that he must extort its produce as the tax-gatherer
extorts tribute from a conquered but hostile people. In the
free States, on the contrary, the soil seems to shower its
wealth upon the cultivator with a most generous and royal
bounty. It brings forth kindly all abundance, and smiles
upon him in all the four seasons. The dumb earth itself
seems to wear a cheerless aspect, and to yield its wealth
charily and reluctantly to slave labor."

After the senatorial campaign Lincoln's relations with
the Missouri emancipationists became still closer. Hay con-
tinued his connection with the Democrat. His correspond-
ence went from Lincoln's office. It was frequently inspired
directly by Mr. Lincoln. Tradition has it that Mr. Lincoln
wrote some of the articles to appear in the Democrat. Mr.
Lincoln had the same strong appreciation for close press
connection that Benton had. At different periods he had
written much for the Springfield Journal. Now he cultivated
this relationship with the Missouri Democrat for a double



LINCOLN AND MISSOURI. 69

reason. St. Louis was a city mucli larger and more important
than Chicago. But more than that, the St. Louis newspaper
connection was a strong factor in the border states campaign
of 1860 for which Lincoln and Blair had laid the basis in
1857.

Lincoln's nomination.

Into this intimate relationship of Lincoln and Missouri
entered a personality not publicly conspicuous at the time
but of great influence. Blair and Brown and other young
men were in the foreground carrying the banners of free soil,
free democracy, gradual emancipation, white labor, coloniza-
tion and the like. In the background was Edward Bates
counseling and encouraging. He had seen the great Whig
party go to pieces. He was in sympathy with the work of
new party construction which Lincoln was doing in Illinois.
He was not openly active in the Lincoln movement. He
was the wise adviser. When the time came to send a dele-
gation from Missouri to the Republican nominating con-
vention at Chicago in 1860, Mr. Bates permitted his name
to be used as the ostensible candidate of his State. The
delegation went instructed for him, but, as Mr. Bates after-
wards explained, this was not with the expectation on his
or the delegation's part that he would be nominated. The
well understood purpose was to hold the delegation intact
against an eastern candidate, — William H. Seward or any
other who might develop strength. Lincoln was the choice
of the Missourians and the vote was to be given to him when
it would do the most good. The border states plan, which
Blair and the other gradual emancipationists had been
organizing, was not to be revealed by publicly committing
Missouri to Lincoln.

When the delegates came together in Chicago it ap-
peared that the organization, — the machine as it would be
called now, — was for Seward. The New Yorkers came with
much beating of drums. The delegates were accompanied
by a small army of shouters, and as the latter marched and
countermarched they were headed by John C. Heenan, the



70 MISSOURI HISTORICAL REVIEW.

Benicia boy, the champion American pugilist, as their stand-
ard bearer. Seemingly the support of the other candidates
was local and not impressive upon the uninstructed delegates.
Then came the surprise which Blair and the other border
states men had prepared.

The youngest delegate in that convention was A. G.
Proctor. He was a member of the Kansas delegation. The
Illinois Historical Society preserves in its collection at Spring-
field Mr. Proctor's personal recollections of the influences
and arguments which turned Kansas and other uninstructed
States to Lincoln and made his nomination certain. The
delegates according to Mr. Proctor were about equally
divided into two elements:

"The element represented largely by the eastern people who
were of that great moral upheaval against slavery as an institution,
who hated it for its hateful self.

"The element willing to tolerate slavery within limits where
it existed and seemed to belong, but determined to prevent its
extension into the free northwest at every hazard, even to the in-
voking of civil war."

"The first element," said Mr. Proctor, "wanted Seward. The
second element was looking for a leader. At this juncture there
came to the front, from sources not before taken into consideration,
a movement led by the men of the border States. This body of
resolute men from Maryland, from the mountains of Virginia, from
Eastern Tennessee, from Kentucky and from all over Missouri had
organized and selected Cassius M. Clay as leader and spokesman.
They were a group of men as earnest as I have ever met. They
asked for a conference with us, which we arranged without delay.
The Kansas delegation was the first to receive them. It may have
occurred to them that Kansas was awake to what was coming, and
would more likely appreciate the full force of their logic. The com-
pany completely filled our room. There was something about the
atmosphere of that meeting that seemed to mean business. Mr.
Clay was a man of strong personality. He had all of the manner-
isms of a real Kentucky 'colonel' — very courtly, very earnest, very
eloquent in address.

" 'Gentlemen,' he said in beginning, 'we are on the verge of a
great civU war.'

"One of our Kansas delegates said, 'Mr. Clay, we have heard
that before.'

"Clay straightened himself and, with a real oratorical pose,
exclaimed 'Sir, you undoubtedly have heard that before. But,



LINCOLN AND MISSOURI. 71

sir, you will soon have it flashed to you in a tone that will carry cer-
tain conviction.' He went on: 'We are from the South. We
know our people well. I say to you the South is getting ready for
war. In that great strip of border land, reaching from the eastern
shore of Maryland to the western border of Missouri, stands a body
of resolute men, determined that this Union shall not be destroyed
without resistance. We are not pro-slavery men. We are not
anti-slavery men, but Union Republicans, ready and willing to take
up arms for the defense of the border. We are intensely in earnest.
It means very much — what you do here — to you and to us. Our
homes and all we possess are in peril. We want to hold this Union
strength for a Union army. We want to work with you for a nomi-
nation which will give us courage and confidence. We want you
to nominate Abraham Lincoln. Mr. Lincoln was born among us,
and we believe in him. Give us Lincoln for a leader and I promise
you we will push back the disloyal hordes of secession and transfer
the line of border warfare from the Ohio to the regions beyond the
Tennessee, where it belongs. We will make war upon the enemies
of our country at home and join you in driving secession to its lair.
Do this for us, and let us go home and prepare for the conflict.'

"No one could give a satisfactory report of that appeal. It
was the most impressive talk that I had ever listened to. That
delegation of border men, headed by Mr. Clay, made this appeal
to most of the delegations of the different States. The effect was
instantly felt. There was getting together of those who felt the
Lincoln sentiment aU along the line. This movement formed the
group around which the earnest Lincoln men rallied and organized
their forces. I honestly believe that this was the movement that
gave Mr. Lincoln his nomination. It was the turning point. It
awoke all to a realization of what was before us and compelled
recognition of a new element on which might rest great results for
good or evil. In short, this action of the bordermen set us thinking."

Lincoln was nominated. One of the earliest and strong-
est and most effective indorsements of the nomination came
from Edward Bates. In a letter to O. H. Browning, Mr.
Bates not only declared for Lincoln but he pointed out in
his convincing way the peculiar fitness of Mr. Lincoln for
the conditions confronting the country. He considered Mr.
Lincoln stronger than the platform.

"As to the platform," Mr. Bates wrote, "I have little to say,
because whether good or bad, that will not constitute the ground
of my support of Mr. Lincoln."

"I consider Mr. Lincoln a sound, safe, national man. He
could not be sectional if he tried. His birth, the habits of his life



72 MISSOURI HISTORICAL REVIEW.

and his geographical position compel him to be national. All his
feelings and interests are identified with the great valley of the Mis-
sissippi, near whose center he has spent his whole life. That valley
is not a section, but conspicuously the body of the nation, and,
large as it is, it is not capable of being divided into sections, for the
great river cannot be divided. It is one and indivisible and the north
and the south are alike necessary to its comfort and prosperity.
Its people, too, in all their interests and affections, are as broad and
generous as the regions they inhabit. They are emigrants, a mixed
multitude, coming from every State in the Union, and from most
countries in Europe. They are unwilling, therefore, to submit to
any one petty local standard. They love the nation as a whole,
and they love all its parts, for they are bound to them all, not only
by a feeling of common interest and mutual dependence, but also
by the recollections of childhood and youth, by blood and friend-
ship, and by all those social and domestic charities which sweeten
life, and make this world worth living in. The valley is beginning
to feel its power, and will soon be strong enough to dictate the law
of the land. Whenever that state of things shall come to pass, it
wUl be most fortunate for the nation to find the powers of the
government lodged in the hands of men whose habits of thought,
whose position and surrounding circumstances constrain them to
use those powers for general and not sectional ends."

With such broad and statesmanlike views of the situa-
tion, Mr. Bates led up to his personal and intimate estimate
of Mr. Lincoln:

"I have known Mr. Lincoln for more than twenty years, and
therefore have a right to speak of him with some confidence. As
an individual he has earned a high reputation for truth, courage,
candor, morals and amiability, so that as a man he is most trust-
worthy. And in this particular he is more entitled to our esteem
than some other men, his equals, who had far better opportunities
and aids in early life. His talents and the will to use them to the
best advantage are unquestionable; and the proof is found in the
fact that, in every position in life, from his humble beginning to his
present well earned elevation, he has more than fulfilled the best
hopes of his friends. And now in the full vigor of his manhood
and in the honest pride of having made himself what he is, he is the
peer of the first men of the nation, well able to sustain himself and
advance his cause against any adversary, and in any field where
mind and knowledge are the weapons used. In politics he has acted
out the principles of his own moral and intellectual character. He
has not concealed his thoughts or hidden his light under a bushel.
With the boldness of conscious rectitude and the frankness of



LINCOLN AND MISSOURI. 73

downright honesty, he has not failed to avow his opinions of public
officers upon all fitting occasions. I give my opinion freely in favor
of Mr. Lincoln and I hope that for the good of the whole country
he may be elected."

LINCOLN AND THE BLAIRS.

Lincoln was elected. Missouri gave him only 17,028
votes out of more than 165,000. But Missouri divided hope-
lessly the great bulk of the vote in large sections among three
other Presidential tickets. The effect of the campaign,
which the gradual emancipationists had carried on in Mis-
souri after the Lincoln-Blair conference at Springfield in
1857, was not to be judged by the Lincoln vote of 17,028. It
was to be traced in the disintegration of the great majority
into helpless factions. Missouri polled that year one vote
for every six white persons in the population. Nearly the
entire voting strength was brought to the polls by the in-
tense interest felt. Douglas carried the State, but by only
one-third of the vote cast. He led the Constitutional Union
party by fewer than 600 votes. The disturbing influence
of the slavery issue raised by Lincoln and the Missouri
emancipationists had done its worst for Missouri. It had
broken party lines. It had shattered the Democratic or-
ganization.

Lincoln was elected. Edward Bates had declined a
place in the Fillmore cabinet a few years previously. So
much concerned about the national situation was he now that
he accepted the appointment of Attorney General in the
Lincoln cabinet. Montgomery Blair, brother of Frank
Blair, was appointed Postmaster General. This was equiv-
alent to giving Missouri two of the seven places in the cabinet
for Montgomery Blair had lived fifteen years in Missouri and
had moved to Washington only a short time before. Here
is more evidence of what his relationship with Missouri
meant in the mind of President Lincoln. Other proofs came
in quick succession. Frank Blair made trips to Springfield
between the election in November and the departure of
Lincoln for Washington in February. He kept the President-
elect informed of every step in that game that was going on



74 MISSOURI HISTORICAL REVIEW.

for the possession of the St. Louis arsenal with its 60,000
muskets and munitions of war, more than there was in all
of the other slave States. He told Mr. Lincoln that if the
southern rights administration of Missouri gained control of
the arsenal and its contents the State would be carried into
the Confederacy and with Missouri the other border States
would be lost. Blair was in Springfield the latter part of
February and from there he hurried to Washington to report
the rumor that the secessionists would attempt to seize the
arsenal on the day of Lincoln's inauguration and to urge
President Buchanan to put Lyon in charge. The Minute
Men allowed the 4th of March to pass without the threatened
attack. Nine days later President Lincoln gave Lyon com-
mand of the arsenal and the opportunity of the state govern-
ment was lost.

Fort Sumpter fell on the 13th of April. The President
called for 75,000 men, of which Missouri's quota was four
regiments of infantry. Governor Claiborne F. Jackson re-
plied to the President's call:

"Not one man williMissouri furnish to carry on such an
unholy crusade."

Frank Blair arrived in St. Louis from Washington the
day Governor Jackson sent the foregoing message. He had
in his pocket an order on the arsenal for 5,000 muskets "to
arm loyal citizens," another indication of what "Lincoln and
Missouri" meant. Blair telegraphed to Washington:

"Send order at once for mustering men into service to
Captain N. Lyon. It will then be surely executed, and we
will fill your requisition in two days."

The order came, "muster into service four regiments."
This was done. A week later, on the 30th of April, Mr.
Lincoln gave expression to his extraordinary relationship
with Missouri in the following, addressed to Captain Lyon:

"The President of the United States directs that you
enroll in the military service of the United States the loyal
citizens of St. Louis and vicinity, not exceeding with those


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Online LibraryWalter B. (Walter Barlow) StevensLincoln and Missouri → online text (page 1 of 8)