Abraham Lincoln.

Abraham Lincoln; complete works, comprising his speeches, letters, state papers, and miscellaneous writings; online

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per year of $730 ; and also an aUowanee for expenses traveling to
and from Washington, and while there, of $1022, being at the rate
per year of $1793.

Fifth. And yet during the little portion of the time which lies
between the 1st of January, 1822, and the 29th of May, 1822, he was
paid in seven different capacities ; that is to say, the six last men-
tioned, and also, at the rate of $1500 per year, for the Piqua, Fort
Wayne, and Chicago service, as mentioned above.

These accounts have already been discussed some here ; but when
we are amongst them, as when we are in the Patent Office, we must
peep about a good deal before we can see all the curiosities. I shall
not be tedious with them. As to the large item of $1500 per year —


amounting in the aggregate to $26,715 — for office rent, clerk hire,
fuel, etc., I bai'ely wish to remark that so far as I can diweover in
the public documents, there is no evidence, by word or inference,
either from any disinterested witness or of General Cass himself,
that he ever rented or kept a separate office, ever hired or kept a
clerk, or even used any extra amount of fuel, etc., in consequence of
his Indian services. Indeed, General Cass's entire silence in regard
to these items, in his two long letters urging his claims upon the
government, is, to my mind, almost conclusive that no such claims
had any real existence.

But I have introduced General Cass's accounts here chiefly to show
the wonderful physical capacities of the man. They show that he
not only did the labor of several men at the same time, but that he
often did it at several places, many hundreds of miles apart, at the
same time. And at eating, too, his capacities are shown to be quite
as wonderful. From October, 1821, to May, 1822, he eat ten rations
a day in Michigan, ten rations a day here in Washington, and near
five dollars' worth a day on the road between the two places ! And
then there is an important discovery in his example — the art of being
paid for what one eats, instead of having to pay for it. Hereafter
if any nice young man should owe a bill which he cannot pay iu any
other way, he can just board it out. Mr. Speaker, we have all heard
of the animal standing in doubt between two stacks of hay and starv-
ing to death. The like of that would never happen to General Cass.
Place the stacks a thousand miles apart, he would stand stock-still
midway between them, and eat them both at once, and the green
grass along the line would be apt to suffer some, too, at the same
time. By all means make him President, gentlemen. He will feed
you bounteously — if — if there is any left after he shall have helped

TTie Whigs and the War.

But, as General Taylor is, par excellence, the hero of the Mexican
War, and as you Democrats say we Whigs have always opposed the
war, you think it must be very awkward and embarrassing for us
to go for General Taylor. The declaration that we have always
opposed the war is tnie or false, according as one may understand
the term " oppose the war." If to say " the war was unnecessarily
and unconstitutionally commenced by the President" be opposing
the war, then the Whigs have very generally opposed it. Whenever
they have spoken at all, they have said this ; and they have said it
on what has appeared good reason to them. The marching an army
into the midst of a peaceful Mexican settlement, frightening the in-
habitants away, leaving their growing crops and other property to
destruction, to you may appear a perfectly amiable, peaceful, unpro-
voking procedure ; but it does not appear so to us. So to caU such
an act, to us appears no other than a naked, impudent absurdity,
and we speak of it accordingly. But if, when the war had begun,
and had become the cause of the country, the giving of our money and
our blood, in common with yours, was support of the war, then
it is not true that we have always opposed the war. With few
Vol. I.— 10.


individual exceptions, you have constantly had our votes here for
aU the necessary supplies. And, more than this, you have had
the services, the" blood, and the lives of our political brethren in
every trial and on every field. The beardless boy and the ma-
ture man, the humble and the distinguished — you have had them.
Through suffering and death, by disease and in battle, they have en-
dured and fought and fell with you. Clay and Webster each gave
a son, never to be returned. From the State of my own residence,
besides other worthy but less known Whig names, we sent Marshall,
Morrison, Baker, and Hardin ; they aU fought, and one fell, and in
the fall of that one we lost our best Whig man. Nor were the
Whigs few in number, or laggard in the day of danger. In that
fearful, bloody, breathless struggle at Buena Vista, where each man's
hard task was to beat back five foes or die himself, of the five high
ofB.cers who perished, four were Whigs.

In speaking of this, I mean no odious comparison between the
lion-hearted Whigs and the Democrats who fought there. On other
occasions, and among the lower officers and privates on that occa-
sion, I doubt not the proportion was different. I wish to do jus-
tice to all. I think of aU. those brave men as Americans, in whose
proud fame, as an American, I too have a share. Many of them,
Whigs and Democrats, are my constituents and personal friends;
and I thank them, — more than thank them, — one and all, for
the high imperishable honor they have conferred on our common

But the distinction between the cause of the President in begin-
ning the war, and the cause of the country after it was begun, is a dis-
tinction which you cannot perceive. To you the President and the
country seem to be all one. You are interested to see no distinction
between them ; and I venture to suggest that probably your interest
blinds you a little. We see the distinction, as we think, clearly
enough ; and om- friends who have fought in the war have no dif-
ficulty in seeing it also. What those who have fallen would say,
were they alive and here, of course we can never know ; but with
those who have returned there is no difficulty. Colonel Haskell and
Major Gaines, members here, both fought in the war, and one of
them underwent extraordinary perils and hardships ; still they, like
all other Whigs here, vote, on the record, that the war was unneces-
sarily and unconstitutionally commenced by the President. And
even General Taylor himseK, the noblest Roman of them all, has
declared that as a citizen, and particularly as a soldier, it is suffi-
cient for him to know that his country is at war with a foreign
nation, to do all in his power to bring it to a speedy and honorable
termination by the most vigorous and energetic operations, without
inquiry about its justice, or anything else connected with it.

Mr. Speaker, let our Democratic friends be comforted with the as-
surance that we are content with our position, content with our com-
pany, and content with our candidate ; and that although they, in
their generous sympathy, think we ought to be miserable, we really
are not, and that they may dismiss the great anxiety they have on
our account.


Mr. Speaker, I see I have but three minutes left, and this forces
me to throw out one whole branch of my subject. A single word
on still another. The Democrats are keen enough to frequently re-
mind us that we have some dissensions in our ranks. Our good
friend from Baltimore immediately before nie [Mr. McLaneJ ex-
pressed some doubt the other day as to which branch of our party
General Taylor would ultimately fall into the hands of. That was a
new idea to me. I knew we had dissenters, but I did not know they
were trying to get our candidate away from us. I would like to say
a word to our dissenters, but I have not the time. Some such we
certainly have; have you none, gentlemen Democrats? Is it all
union and harmony in your ranks ? no bickerings ? no divisions 1
If there be doubt as to which of our divisions wall get our candi-
date, is there no doubt as to which of your candidates wUl get your
party 1

Divided Gangs of Hogs !

I have heard some things from New York ; and if they are true,
one might well say of your party there, as a drunken fellow once
said when he heard the reading of an indictment for hog-stealing.
The clerk read on till he got to and through the words, " did ste^,
take, and carry away ten boars, ten sows, ten shoats, and ten pigs,"
at which he exclaimed, " Well, by golly, that is the most equally
divided gang of hogs I ever did hear of!" If there is any other
gang of hogs more equally divided than the Democrats of New
York are about this time, I have not heard of it.

December 24, 1848. — Letter to Thomas Lincoln.

Washington, December 24, 1848.

My dear Father : Your letter of the 7th was received night be-
fore last. I very cheerfully send you the twenty dollars, which
sum you say is necessary to save your land from sale. It is singu-
lar tliat you should have forgotten a judgment against you ; and it
is more singular that the plaintiff should have let you forget it so
long, particularly as I suppose you always had property enough to
satisfy a judgment of that amount. Before you pay it, it would be
well to be sure you have not paid, or at least that you cannot prove
that you have paid it.

Give my love to mother and aU the connections. Affectionately
your son, A. Lincoln.

January 16, 1849. — Bill to Abolish Slavery in the District

OF Columbia.

On January 16, 1849, Mr. Lincoln moved the following amendment
in the House of Representatives in Congress, instructing the proper
committee to report a bill for the abolition of slavery in the District
of Columbia, with the consent of the voters of the District, and with
compensation to owners :


Sesohed, That the Committee on the District of Columbia be instructed
to report a bill in substance as follows:

Sec. 1. Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the
United States, in Congress assembled, That no person not now within the
District of Columbia, nor now owned by any person or persons now resi-
dent within it, nor hereafter born within it, shall ever be held in slavery
within said District.

Sec. 2. That no person now within said District, or now owned by any
person or persons now resident within the same, or hereafter born within
it, shall ever be held in slavery without the limits of said District : Provided,
That of&cers of the Government of the United States, being citizens of the
slaveholding States, coming into said District on public business, and re-
maining only so long as may be reasonably necessary for that object, may
be attended into and out of said District, and while there, by the necessary
servants of themselves and their families, without their right to hold such
servants in service being thereby impaired.

Sec. 3. That aU children bom of slave mothers within said District, on
or after the first day of January, in the year of our Lord eighteen hundred
and fifty, shall be free ; but shall be reasonably supported and educated by
the respective owners of their mothers, or by their heirs or representatives,
and shall owe reasonable service as apprentices to such owners, heirs, or

representatives, until they respectively arrive at the age of years^ when

they shall be entirely free; and the municipal authorities of Washmgton
and Georgetown, within their respective jurisdictional limits, are hereby
empowered and required to make all suitable and necessary provision for
enforcing obedience to this section, on the part of both masters and ap-

Sec. 4. That all persons now within this District, lawfully held as slaves,
or now owned by any person or persons now residient within said District,
shall remain such at the wiU of their respective owners, their heirs, and legal
representatives : Provided, That such owner, or his legal representative,
may at any time receive from the Treasury of the United States the full
value of his or her slave, of the class in this section mentioned, upon which
such slave shall be forthwith and forever free : And provided further. That
the President of the United States, the Secretary of State, and the Secre-
tary of the Treasury shall be a board for determining the value of such
slaves as their owners may desire to emancipate under this section, and whose
duty it shall be to hold a session for the purpose on the first Monday of each
calendar month, to receive all applications, and, on satisfactory evidence in
each case that the person presented for valuation is a slave, and of the class
in this section mentioned, and is owned by the applicant, shall value such
slave at his or her f uU cash value, and give to the appHoant an order on the
Treasury for the amount, and also to such slave a certificate of freedom.

Sec. 5. That the municipal authorities of Washington and Georgetown,
within their respective jurisdictional limits, are hereby empowered and re-
quired to provide active and efficient means to arrest and deliver up to their
owners aU fugitive slaves escaping into said District.

Sec. 6. That the election officers within said District of Columbia are
hereby empowered and required to open poUs, at aU the usual places of
holding elections, on the first Monday of April next, and receive the vote
of every free white male citizen above the age of twenty-one years, haviog
resided within said District for the period of one year or more next preced-
ing the time of such voting for or against this act, to proceed in taking said
votes, in aU respects not herein specified, as at elections under the muni-
cipal laws, and with as little delay as possible to transmit correct statements
of the votes so cast to the President of the United States ; and it shall be the
duty of the President to canvass said votes immediately, and if a majority of


them be found to be for this act, to forthwith issue his proclanifition giving
notice of tlie fact; and this act shall only be iu full force and ittcd on and
after the day of such proclamation.

Sec. 7. That invohmtary servitude for the punishment of crime, whorcof
the party shall have been duly convicted, shall in no wise be prolii))it(Ml by
this act.

Sec. 8. That for all the purposes of this act, the jurisdictional limits of
Washington are extended to all parts of the District of Columbia not now
included within the present Umits of Georgetown.

February 2, 1849. — Letter to Schooler.

Washington, February 2, 1849.

Friend ScJiooler: In these days of Cabinet making, we out West
are awake as well as otters. The accompanying article is from
the "Illinois Journal," our leading Whig paper: and while it ex-
presses what all the Whigs of the legislatures of Illinois, Iowa, and
Wisconsin have expressed, — a preference for Colonel Baker, — I
think it is fair and magnanimous to the other Western aspirants ;
and, on the whole, shows by sound argument that the West is not
only entitled to, but is in need of, one member of the Cabinet. De-
siring to turn public attention in some measure to this point, I shall
be obliged if you will give the article a place in your paper, with or
without comments, according to your own sense of propriety.

Our acquaintance, though short, has been very cordial, and I
therefore venture to hope you will not consider my request pre-
sumptuous, whether you shall or shall not think proper to grant it.
This I intend as private and confidential. Yours truly,

A. Lincoln.

February 13, 1849. — Remarks m the United States
House op Representatives.

On the Bill Granting Lands to the States to MaTee Railroads and Canals.

Mr. Lincoln said he had not risen for the purpose of making a
speech, but only for the purpose of meeting some of the objections
to the biU. If he understood those objections, the first was that
if the bill were to become a law, it would be used to lock large por-
tions of the public lands from sale, without at last effecting the
ostensible object of the bill — the construction of railroads in the new
States ; and secondly, that Congress would be forced to the aban-
donment of large portions of the public lands to the States for which
they might be reserved, without their paying for them. This he
understood to be the substance of the objections of the gentleman
from Ohio to the passage of the bill.

If he could get the attention of the House for a few minutes, he
would ask gentlemen to tell us what motive could induce any State
legislature, or individual, or company of individuals, of the new
States, to expend money in surveying roads which they might know


they could not make? [A voice: They are not required to make
the road.]

Mr. Lincoln continued : That was not the ease he was making.
What motive would tempt any set of men to go into an extensive
survey of a railroad which they did not intend to make 1 What
good would it do ? Did men act without motive ? Did business
men commonly go into an expenditure of money which could be of
no account to them ? He generally found that men who have money
were disposed to hold on to it, uidess they could see something to
be made by its investment. He could not see what motive of ad-
vantage to the new States could be subserved by merely keeping
the public lands out of market, and preventing their settlement.
As far as he could see, the new States were whoUy without any
motive to do such a thing. This, then, he took to be a good answer
to the first objection.

In relation to the fact assumed, that after a while, the new States
having got hold of the public lands to a certain extent, they would
turn round and compel Congress to relinquish all claim to them, he
had a word to say, by way of recurring to the history of the past.
When was the time to come (he asked) when the States in which
the public lands were situated would compose a majority of the
representation in Congress, or anything like it? A majority of
Representatives would very soon reside west of the mountains, he
admitted ; but would they aU come from States in which the public
lands were situated ? They certainly would not ; for, as these West-
em States grew strong in Congress, the public lands passed away
from them, and they got on the other side of the question; and
the gentleman from Ohio [Mr. Vinton] was an example attesting
that fact.

Mr. Vinton interrupted here to say that he had stood on this
question just where he was now, for five and twenty years.

Mr. Lincoln was not making an argument for the purpose of con-
victing the gentleman of any impropriety at all. He was speaking
of a fact in history, of which his State was an example. He was
referring to a plain principle in the nature of things. The State of
Ohio had now grown to be a giant. She had a large delegation on
that floor ; but was she now in favor of granting lands to the new
States, as she used to be ? The New England States, New York, and
the Old Thirteen were all rather quiet upon the subject ; and it was
seen just now that a member from one of the new States was the
first man to rise up in opposition. And so it would be with the his-
tory of this question for the future. There never would come a
time when the people residing in the States embracing the public
lands would have the entire control of this subject ; and so it was a
matter of certainty that Congress would never do more in this
respect than what would be dictated by a just liberality. The ap-
prehension, therefore, that the public lands were in danger of being
wrested from the General Grovemment by the strength of the dele-
gation in Congress from the new States, was utterly futile. There
never could be such a thing. If we take these lands (said he) it will
not be without your consent. We can never outnumber you. The


result is that all fear of the new States turning as<aiiist the right of
Congress to the public domain must be effectually iiuoUed, as those
who are opposed to that interest must always hold a vast majority
here, and they will never surrender the whole or any part of the
public lands unless they themselves choose to do so. That was all
he desired to say.

February 20, 1849.— Letter to Joshua P. Speed.

February 20, 1849.
My dear Speed .- ... I am flattered to learn that Mr. Crittenden
has any recollection of me which is not unfavorable ; and for the
manifestation of your kindness toward me I sincerely thank you.
Still there is nothing about me to authorize me to think of a first-
class office, and a second-class one would not compensate my being
sneered at by others who want it for themselves. I believe that, so
far as the Whigs in Congress are concerned, I could have the Gen-
eral Land Office almost by common consent ; but then Sweet and
Don Morrison and Browning and Cyrus Edwards all want it, and
what is worse, while I think I could easily take it myself, I fear I
shall have trouble to get it for any other man in Illinois. The rea-
son is that McGaughey, an Indiana ex-member of Congress, is here
after it, and being personally known, he will be hard to beat by any
one who is not. . . .

March 9, 1849. — Letter to the Secretary of the Treasury.

Washington, March 9, 1849.
Hon. Secretary of the Treasury.

Dear Sir : Colonel E. D. Baker and myself are the only Whig
members of Congress from Illinois — I of the Thirtieth, and he of
the Thirty-first. We have reason to think the Whigs of that State
hold us responsible, to some extent, for the appointments which
may be made of our citizens. We do not know you personally ; and
our efforts to see you have, so far, been unavailing. I therefore
hope I am not obtrusive in saying in this way, for him and myself,
that when a citizen of Illinois is to be appointed in your depart-
ment, to an office either in or out of the State, we most respectfully
ask to be heard. Your obedient servant,

A. Lincoln.

March 10, 1849. — Letter to the Secretary of State.

Washington, March 10, 1849.
Hon. Secretary op State.

Sir: There are several applicants for the office of United States
Marshal for the District of Illinois, among the most prominent of

whom are Benjamin Bond, Esq., of Carlyle, and Thomas, Esq.,

of Galena. Mr. Bond I know to be personally every way worthy of
the office ; and he is very numerously and most respectably recom-


mended. His papers I send to you ; and I solicit for Lis claims a
full and fair consideration.

Having said this much, I add that in my individual judgment the
appointment of Mr. Thomas would be the better.

Your obedient servant, A. Lincoln.

(Indorsed on Mr. Bond's papers.)

In this and the accompanying envelop are the recommendations
of about two hundred good citizens of all parts of Illinois, that Ben-
jamin Bond be appointed marshal for that district. They include
the names of nearly all our Whigs who now are, or have ever been,
members of the State legislature, besides forty-six of the Demo-
cratic members of the present legislature, and many other good
citizens. I add that from personal knowledge I consider Mr. Bond
every way worthy of the office, and qualL&ed to fill it. Holding the
individual opinion that the appointment of a different gentleman
would be better, I ask especial attention and consideration for his
claims, and for the opinions expressed in his favor by those over
whom I can claim no superiority.

A. Lincoln.

April 7, 1849. — Letter to the Secretary of the Interior.

Springfield, Illinois, April 7, 1849.
Hon. Secretary of the Home Department.

Dear Sir : I recommend that Walter Davis be appointed Eeceiver
of the Land Office at this place, whenever there shall be a vacancy.
I cannot say that Mr. Herndon, the present incumbent, has failed in
the proper discharge of any of the duties of the office. He is a very
warm partizan, and openly and actively opposed to the election of
Greneral Taylor. I also understand that since G-eneral Taylor's elec-
tion, he has received a reappointment from Mr. Polk, his old com-
mission not having expired. Whether this is true the records of the
department will show. I may add that the Whigs here almost uni-
versally desire his removal.

I give no opinion of my own, but^ state the facts, and express the
hope that the department will act in this as in all other cases on

Online LibraryAbraham LincolnAbraham Lincoln; complete works, comprising his speeches, letters, state papers, and miscellaneous writings; → online text (page 19 of 91)