Abraham Lincoln.

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

. (page 86 of 91)
Online LibraryAbraham LincolnAbraham Lincoln; complete works, comprising his speeches, letters, state papers, and miscellaneous writings; → online text (page 86 of 91)
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tain that purpose. Yoiu* friend and servant,

A. Lincoln.

July 4, 1860. — Letter to A. G. Henry.

SpRraGPiELD, Illinois, July 4, 1860.

My dear Doctor: Your very agreeable letter of May 15th was
received three days ago. We are just now receiving the first sprink-
ling of your Oregon election returns — not enough, I think, to indi-
cate the result. We should be too happy if both Logan and Baker
should triumph.

Long before this you have learned who was nominated at Chicago.


We know not what a day may bring forth, but to-day it looks as if
the Chicago ticket will be elected. I think the chances were more
than equal that we could have beaten the Democracy united. Di-
vided as it is, its chance appears indeed very slim. But great is De-
mocracy in resources; and it may yet give its fortunes a turn. It is
under great temptation to do something; but what can it do which
was not thought of, and found impracticable, at Charleston and Bal-
timore? The signs now are that Douglas and Breckinridge will each
have a ticket in every State. They are driven to this to keep up their
bombastic claims of nationality, and to avoid the charge of section-
alism which they have so much lavished upon us.

It is an amusing fact, after all Douglas has said about nationality
and sectionalism, that I had more votes from the southern section at
Chicago than he had at Baltimore ! In fact, there was more of the
southern section represented at Chicago than in the Douglas rump
concern at Baltimore !

Our boy, in his tenth year (the baby when you left), has just had
a hard and tedious spell of scarlet fever, and he is not yet beyond all
danger. I have a headache and a sore throat upon me now, inducing
me to suspect that I have an inferior type of the same thing.

Our eldest boy, Bob, has been away from us nearly a year at
school, and will enter Harvard University this month. He promises
very well, considering we never controlled him much. Write again
when you receive this. Mary joins in sending our kindest regards
to Mrs. H., yourself, and all the family.

Your friend, as ever, A. Lincoln.

July 18, 1860. — Letter to Hannibal Hamlin.

Springfield, Illinois, July 18, 1860.
Hon, Hannibal Hamlin.

My dear Sir: It appears to me that you and I ought to be ac-
quainted, and accordingly I write this as a sort of introduction of
myself to you. You first entered the Senate during the single term
I was a member of the House of Representatives, but I have no rec-
ollection that we were introduced. I shaU be pleased to receive a
line from you.

The prospect of Republican success now appears very flattering,
so far as I can perceive. Do you see anything to the contrary ?

Yours truly, A. Lincoln.

July 20, I860.— Letter to C. M. Clay.

Springfield, Illinois, July 20, 1860.
Hon. Cassius M. Clay.

My dear Sir : I see by the papers, and also learn from Mr. Nico-
lay, who saw you at Terre Haute, that you are filling a list of speak-
ing-appointments in Indiana. I sincerely thank you for this, and I


shall be still further obliged if you wUl, at the close of the tour, drop
me a line giving your impressions of our prospects in that State.

Still more will you oblige me if you will allow me to make a list
of appointments in our State, commencing, say, at Marshall, in Clark
County, and thence south and west along over the Waliash and
Ohio River border.

In passing let me say that at Rockport you will be in the county
within which I was brought up from my eighth year, having left
Kentucky at that point of my life.

Tours very truly, A. Lincoln.

July 21, 1860. — Letter to A. Jonas.

{Gonfidential .)

Springfield, Illinois, July 21, 1860.
Hon. a. Jonas.

My dear Sir : Yours of the 20th is received. I suppose as good
or even better men than I may have been in American or Know-
nothing lodges ; but, in point of fact, I never was in one at Quincy
or elsewhere. I was never in Quincy but one day and two nights
while Know-nothing lodges were in existence, and you were with me
that day and both those nights. I had never been there before in
my life, and never afterward, till the joint debate with Douglas in
1858. It was in 1854 when I spoke in some hall there, and after the
speaking, you, with others, took me to an oyster-saloon, passed an
hour there, and you walked with me to, and parted with me at, the
Quincy House, quite late at night. I left by stage for Naples before
daylight in the morning, having come in by the same route after
dark the evening previous to the speaking, when I found you wait-
ing at the Quincy House to meet me. A few days after I was there,
Richardson, as I understood, started this same story about my having
been in a Know-nothing lodge. 'When I heard of the charge, as I
did soon after, I taxed my recollection for some incident which could
have suggested it ; and I remembered that on parting with you the
last night, I went to the office of the hotel to take my stage-passage
for the morning, was told that no stage-offiee for that line was kept
there, and that I must see the driver before retiring, to insure his
calling for me in the morning ; and a servant was sent with me to
find the driver, who, after taking me a square or two, stopped me,
and stepped perhaps a dozen steps farther, and in my hearing called
to some one, who answered him, apparently from the upper part of a
building, and promised to call with the stage for me at the Quincy
House. I returned, and went to bed, and before day the stage called
and took me. This is all.

That I never was in a Know-nothing lodge in Quincy, I should
expect could be easily proved by respectable men who were always
in the lodges and never saw me there. An affidavit of one or two
such would put the matter at rest.

And now a word of caution. Our adversaries think they can
gain a point if they could force me to openly deny the charge, by


which some degree of offense would be given to the Americans.
For this reason it must not publicly appear that I am paying any
attention to the charge. Yours truly,

A. Lincoln.

August 10, 1860. — Letter to C. M. Clay.

Springfield, Illinois, August 10, 1860.
Hon. C. M. Clay.

My dear Sir : Your very kind letter of the 6th was received yester-
day. It so happened that our State Central Committee was in session
here at the time ; and, thinking it proper to do so, I submitted the
letter to them. They were delighted with the assurance of having
your assistance. For what appear good reasons, they, however,
propose a change in the program, starting you at the same place
(Marshall in Clark County), and thence northward. This change, I
suppose, will be agreeable to you, as it will give you larger audiences,
and much easier travel — nearly all being by railroad. They will be
governed by your time, and when they shall have fully designated
the places, you will be duly notified.

As to the inaugural, I have not yet commenced getting it up ;
while it affords me great pleasure to be able to say the cliques have
not yet commenced upon me. Yours very truly,

A. Lincoln.

August 14, 1860. — Letter to T. A. Cheney.

Springfield, Illinois, August 14, 1860.
T. a. Cheney, Esq.

Bear Sir: Yours of the 10th is received, and for which I thank
you. I would cheerfully answer your questions in regard to the
fugitive-slave law were it not that I consider it would be both im-
prudent and contrary to the reasonable expectation of my friends
for me to write or speak anything upon doctrinal points now. Be-
sides this, my published speeches contain nearly all I could willingly
say. Justice and fairness to ah, is the utmost I have said, or will say.

Yours truly, A. Lincoln.

August 14, 1860. — Remarks at Springfield, Illinois.

My Fellow-citizens : I appear among you upon this occasion with
no intention of makiug a speech.

It has been my purpose since I have been placed in my present
position to make no speeches. This assemblage having been drawn
together at the place of my residence, it appeared to be the wish of
those constituting this vast assembly to see me ; and it is certainly
my wish to see all of you. I appear upon the ground here at this
time only for the purpose of affording myself the best opportunity
of seeing you, and enabling you to see me.

I confess with gratitude, be it understood, that I did not suppose
my appearance among you would create the tumult which I now


witness. I am profoundly grateful for this manifestation of your
feelings. I am grateful, because it is a tribute such as can be paid
to no man as a man : it is the evidence that four years from this
time you will give a like manifestation to the next man who is the
representative of the truth on the questions that now agitate the
public ; and it is because you will then fight for this cause as you
do now, or with even greater ardor than now, though I be dead and
gone, that I most profoundly and sincerely thank you.

Having said this much, allow me now to say that it is my wish that
you will hear this public discussion by others of our friends who are
present for the purpose of addressing you, and that you wiH kindly
let me be silent.

August 15, 18G0. — Letter to John B. Fry.

Springfield, Illinois, August 15, 1860.

My dear Sir: Yours of the 9th, inclosing the letter of Hon. John
Minor Botts, was duly received. The latter is herewith returned ac-
cording to your request. It contains one of the many assurances I
receive from the South, that in no probable event will there be any
very formidable effort to break up the Union. The people of the
South have too much of good sense and good temper to attempt the
ruin of the government rather than see it administered as it was
administered by the men who made it. At least so I hope and
believe. I thank you both for your own letter and a sight of that of
Mr. Botts. Tours very truly,

A. Lincoln.

John B. Pry, Esq.

August 17, 1860. — Letter to Thurlow "Weed.

Springfield, Illinois, August 17, 1860.

My dear Sir: Tours of the 13th was received this morning. Doug-
las is managing the Bell element with great adroitness. He has his
men in Kentucky to vote for the Bell candidate, producing a result
which has badly alarmed and damaged Breckinridge, and at the
same time has induced the Bell men to suppose that Bell will cer-
tainly be President if they can keep a few of the Northern States
away from us by throwing them to Douglas. But you, better than
I, understand all this.

I think there will be the most extraordinary effort ever made to
carry New Tork for Douglas. Tou and all others who write me
from your State think the effort cannot succeed, and I hope you are
right. Still it will require close watching and great efforts on the
other side.

Herewith I send you a copy of a letter written at New Tork,
which sufficiently explains itself, and which may or may not give
you a valuable hint. Tou have seen that Bell tickets have been put
on the track both here and in Indiana. In both cases the object has
been, I think, the same as the Hunt movement in New Tork — to


throw States to Douglas. In our State we know the thing is en-
gineered by Douglas men, and we do not believe they can make a
great deal out of it. Yours very truly,

A. Lincoln.

August 27, I860.— Letter to C. H. Fisher.
(Apparently Unfinished.)

Springfield, Illinois, August 27, 1860.
C. H. Fisher.

Bear Sir: Your second note, inclosing the supposed speech of
Mr. Dallas to Lord Brougham, is received. I have read the speech
quite through, together with the real author's introductory and
closing remarks. I have also looked through the long preface of
the book to-day. Both seem to be well written, and contain many
things with which I could agree, and some with which I could not.
A specimen of the latter is the declaration, in the closing remarks
upon the " speech," that the institution is a " necessity " imposed on
us by the negro race. That the going many thousand miles, seizing
a set of savages, bringing them here, and making slaves of them is
a necessity imposed on us by them involves a species of logic to
which my mind wiU scarcely assent.

September 4, 1860. — Letter to Hannibal Hamlin.

Springfield, Illinois, September 4, 1860.
Hon. Hannibal Hamlin.

My dear Sir : I am annoyed some by a letter from a friend in
Chicago, in which the following passage occurs: "Hamlin has
written Colfax that two members of Congress will, he fears, be lost
in Maine — the first and sixth districts ; and that "Washburne's ma-
jority for governor will not exceed six thousand."

I had heard something like this six weeks ago, but had been as-
sured since that it was not so. Your secretary of state, — Mr. Smith,
I think, — whom you introduced to me by letter, gave this assur-
ance ; more recently, Mr. Fessenden, our candidate for Congress in
one of those districts, wrote a relative here that his election was sure
by at least five thousand, and that Washburne's majority would be
from 14,000 to 17,000 ; and still later, Mr. Fogg, of New Hampshire,
now at New York serving on a national committee, wrote me that
we were having a desperate fight in Maine, which would end in a
splendid victory for us.

Such a result as you seem to have predicted in Maine, m your let-
ter to Colfax, would, I fear, put us on the down-hill track, lose us
the State elections in Pennsylvania and Indiana, and probably ruin
us on the main turn in November.

You must not allow it. Yours very truly, A. Lincoln.


September 9, 1860. — Letter to E. B. Washbuhne.

Spbingpield, Illinois, September 9, 1860.
Hon. E. B. Washburne.

My dear Sir : Yours of the 5th was received last evening. I was
right glad to see it. It contains the freshest " posting " which I now
have. It relieved me some from a little anxiety I had about Maine.
Jo Medill, on August 30th, wrote me that Colfax had a letter from
Mr. Hamlin saying we were in great danger of losing two members of
Congress in Maine, and that your brother would not have exceeding
six thousand majority for governor. I addressed you at once, at
Galena, asking for your latest information. As you are at Washing-
ton, that letter you will receive some time after the Maine election.

Yours very truly, A. Lincoln.

September 21, 1860. — Letter to John Chrisman.

Springpield, Illinois, September 21, 1860.
John Chrisman, Esq.

My dear Sir : Yours of the 13th was duly received. I have no
doubt that you and I are related. My grandfather's Christian name
was "Abraham." He had four brothers — Isaac, Jacob, John, and
Thomas. They were born in Pennsylvania, and my grandfather,
and some, if not aU, the others, in early life removed to Rockingham
County, Virginia. There my father — named Thomas — was born.
Prom there my grandfather removed to Kentucky, and was killed by
the Indians about the year 1784. His brother Thomas, who was my
father's uncle, also removed to Kentucky — to Payette County, I think
— where, as I understand, he lived and died. I close by repeating I
have no doubt you and I are related.

Yours very truly, A. Lincoln.

September 22, 1860. — Letter to A. G. Henry.

Springfield, Illinois, September 22, 1860.

Dear Doctor: Yours of July 18th was received some time ago.
When you wrote you had not learned the result of the Democratic
conventions at Charleston and Baltimore. With the two tickets in
the field I should think it possible for our friends to carry Oregon.
IBut the general result, I think, does not depend upon Oregon. No
one this side of the mountains pretends that any ticket can be elected
by the people, unless it be ours. Hence great efforts to combine
against us are being made, which, however, as yet have not had much
success. Besides what we see in the newspapers, I have a good deal
of private correspondence ; and without giving details, I wiU only
say it all looks very favorable to our success.

iMake my best respects to Mrs. Henry and the rest of your family.
Your friend, as ever, A. Lincoln.


September 22, I860.— Letter to G. Y. Tams.

(Private and confidential.)

Springfield, Illinois, September 22, 1860.
G. Yoke Tams, Esq.

My dear Sir : Your letter asking me "Are you in favor of a tariff
and protection to American industry? " is received. The convention
which nominated me, by the twelfth plank of their platform, selected
their position on this question ; and I have declared my approval of
the platform, and accepted the nomination. Now, if I were to pub-
licly shift the position by adding or subtracting anything, the con-
vention would have the right, and probably would be inclined, to
displace me as their candidate. And I feel confident that you, on re-
flection, would not wish me to give private assurances to be seen by
some and kept secret from others. I enjoin that this shall by no
means be made public. Yours respectfully,

A. Lincoln.

September 25, 1860. — Letter. to J. M. Brockman.

Springfield, Illinois, September 25, 1860.
J. M. Brockman, Esq.

Dear Sir : Yours of the 24th, asking " the best mode of obtaining
a thorough knowledge of the law," is received. The mode is very
simple, though laborious and tedious. It is only to get the books
and read and study them carefully. Begin with Blackstone's " Com-
mentaries," and after reading it carefully through, say twice,
take up Chitty's " Pleadings," Greenleaf 's " Evidence," and Story's
" Equity," etc., in succession. Work, work, work, is the main thing.

Yours very truly, A. Lincoln.

October 1, 1860. — Letter to J. H. Reed.

Springfield, Illinois, October 1, 1860.
J. H. Reed, Esq.

My dear Sir: Yours of September 21st was received some time ago,
but I could not till now find time to answer it. I never was in Mc-
Donough County till 1858. I never said anything derogatory of Mr.
Jefferson in McDonough County or elsewhere. About three weeks
ago, for the first time in my life did I ever see or hear the language
attributed to me as having been used toward Mr. Jefferson; and
then it was sent to me, as you now send, in order that I might say
whether it came from me. I never used any such language at any
time. You may rely on the truth of this, although it is my wish that
you do not publish it. Yours truly,

A. Lincoln.


October 19, 1860. — Letter to Miss Grace Bedell.


Springfield, Illinois, October 19, 1860.
Miss Grace Bedell.

My dear little Miss : Tour very agreeable letter of the 15th is re-
ceived. I regret the necessity of saying I have no daughter. I have
three sons — one seventeen, one nine, and one seven years of age.
They, with their mother, constitute my whole family. As to the
whiskers, having never worn any, do you not think people would
call it a piece of silly affectation if I were to begin it now?

Your very sincere well-wisher, A. Lincoln.

October 23, I860.— Letter to W. S. Speer.


Springfield, Illinois, October 23, 1860.
"William S. Speer, Esq.

My dear Sir: Yours of the ■13th was duly received. I appreciate
your motive when you suggest the propriety of my writing for the
public something disclaiming all intention to interfere with slaves or
slavery in the States ; but in my judgment it would do no good. I
have already done this many, many times; and it is in print, and
open to all who will read. Those who will not read or heed what I
.have already publicly said would not read or heed a repetition of it.
" If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be per-
suaded though one rose from the dead."

Yours truly, A. Lincoln.

October 29, 1860. — Letter to G. D. Prentice.

(Private and confidential.)

Springfield, Illinois, October 29, 1860.
George D. Prentice, Esq.

My dear Sir: Yours of the 26th is just received. Your suggestion
that I in a certain event shall write a letter setting forth my conser-
vative views and intentions is certainly a very worthy one. But
would it do any good? If I were to labor a month I could not
express my conservative views and intentions more clearly and
strongly than they are expressed in our platform and in my many
speeches already in print and before the public. And yet even you,
who do occasionally speak of me in terms of personal kindness, give
no prominence to these oft-repeated expressions of conservative views
and intentions, but busy yourself with appeals to all conservative men
to vote for Douglas, — to vote any way which can possibly defeat me, —
thus impressing your readers that you think I am the very worst man


living. If what I have already said has failed to convince you, no
repetition of it would convince you. The writing of your letter, now
before me, gives assurance that you would publish such a letter from
me as you suggest; but, till now, what reason had I to suppose the
" Louisville Journal," even, would publish a repetition of that which
is already at its command, and which it does not press upon the pub-
lic attention ?

And now, my friend, — for such I esteem you personally, — do not
misunderstand me. I have not decided that I will not do substan-
tially what you suggest. I wiU not forbear from doing so merely on
punctilio and pluck. If I do finally abstain, it will be because of ap-
prehension that it would do harm. For the good men of the South —
and I regard the majority of them as such — I have no objection to
repeat seventy and seven times. But I have bad men to deal with,
both North and South; men who are eager for something new upon
which to base new misrepresentations ; men who would like to
frighten me, or at least to fix upon me the character of timidity and
cowardice. They would seize upon almost any letter I could write as
being an "awful coming down." I intend keeping my eye upon
these gentlemen, and to not unnecessarily put any weapons in their
hands. Yours very truly,

A. Lincoln.

[The following indorsement appears on the back:]


The within letter was written on the day of its date, and on reflec-
tion withheld till now. It expresses the views I stiU entertain.

A. Lincoln. '

November 8, 1860. — Letter to Hannibal Hamlin.


Spkingfield, Illinois, November 8, 1860.
Hon. Hannibal Hamlin.

My dear Sir: I am anxious for a personal interview with you at as
early a day as possible. Can you, without much inconvenience, meet
me at Chicago? If you can, please name as early a day as you con-
veniently can, and telegraph me, unless there be sufficient time be-
fore the day named to communicate by mail.

Tours very truly, A. Lincoln.

November 9, I860.— Lettee to General Winpibld Scott.
Springfield, Illinois, November 9, 1860.
Lieutenant-Geneeal Scott.

Mr. Lincoln tenders his sincere thanks to General Scott for the
copy of his " views," etc., which is received; and especially for this


renewed manifestation of his patriotic purpose as a citizen, connected,
as it is, with his high official position and most distinguished char-
acter as a military captain. A. L.

November 10, 1860. — Letter to Truman Smith.

{Private and confidential.)

Springfield, Illinois, November 10, 1860.
Hon. Truman Smith.

My dear Sir: This is intended as a strictly private letter to you,

and not as an answer to yours brought me by Mr. . It is with

the most profound appreciation of your motive, and highest respect
for your judgment, too, that I feel constrained, for the present at
least, to make no declaration for the public.

First. I could say nothing which I have not already said, and
which is in print, and open for the inspection of all. To press a
repetition of this upon those who have listened, is useless; to press
it upon those who have refused to listen, and still refuse, would be
wanting in self-respect, and would have an appearance of sycophancy
and timidity which would excite the contempt of good men and en-
courage bad ones to clamor the more loudly.

I am not insensible to any commercial or financial depression that
may exist, but nothing is to be gained by fawning around the " re-
spectable scoundrels " who got it up. Let them go to work and re-
pair the mischief of their own making, and then perhaps they will
be less greedy to do the like again.

Online LibraryAbraham LincolnAbraham Lincoln; complete works, comprising his speeches, letters, state papers, and miscellaneous writings; → online text (page 86 of 91)