Abraham Lincoln.

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

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Yours very truly, A. Lincoln.

November 13, 1860. — Letter to Samuel Hatcraft.

{Private and confidential.)

Springfield, Illinois, November 13, 1860.
Hon. Samuel Haycrapt.

My dear Sir : Yours of the 9th is just received. I can only answer
briefly. Rest fully assured that the good people of the South who
wiU put themselves in the same temper and mood toward me which
you do, will find no cause to complain of me.

Yours very truly, A. Lincoln.

November 16, I860.— Letter to N. P. Paschall.

{Private and confidential.)

Springpield, Illinois, November 16, 1860.
N. P. Paschall, Esq.

Mtj dear Sir : Mr. Ridgely showed me a letter of yours in which
you manifest some anxiety that I should make some public declara-


tion with a view to favorably affect the business of the country. I
said to Mr. Eidgely I would write you to-day, which I now do.

I could say nothing which I have not already said, and which is .
in print, and accessible to the public. Please pardon me for suggest-
ing that if the papers like yours, which heretofore have persistently
ga,rbled and misrepresented what I have said, will now fully and
fairly place it before their readers, there can be no further misunder-
standing. I be^ you to believe me sincere when I declare I do not
say this in a spirit of complaint or resentment ; but that I urge it as
the true cure for any real uneasiness in the country that my course
may be other than conservative. The Republican newspapers now
and for some time past are and have been republishing copious ex-
tracts from my many published speeches, which would at once reach
the whole public if your class of papers would also publish them. I
am not at liberty to shift my ground — that is out of the question.
If I thought a repetition would do any good, I would make it. But
in my judgment it would do positive harm. The secessionists per se,
believing they had alarmed me, would clamor all the louder.

Yours, etc., A. Lincoln.

November 20, 1860. — Remarks at the Meeting at Springfield,
Illinois, to celebrate Lincoln's Election.

Friends and Fellow-citizens: Please excuse me on this occasion
from making a speech. I thank you in common with all those who
have thought fit by their votes to indorse the Republican cause. I
rejoice with you in the success which has thus far attended that
cause. Yet in all our rejoicings, let us neither express nor cherish
any hard feelings toward any citizen who by his vote has differed
with us. Let us at all times remember that all American citizens
are brothers of a common country, and should dwell together in the
bonds of fraternal feeling. Let me again beg you to accept my
thanks, and to excuse me from further speaking at this time.

November 27, 1860. — Letter to Hannibal Hamlin.

Springpield, Illinois, November 27, 1860.
Hon. Hannibal Hamlin.

My dear Sir: On reaching home I find- 1 have in charge for you
the inclosed letter.

I deem it proper to advise you that I also find letters here from
very strong and unexpected quarters in Pennsylvania, urging the
appointment of General Cameron to a place in the cabinet.

Let this be a profound secret, even though I do think best to let
you know it. Yours very sincerely,

A. Lincoln,


November 28, 1860. — Letter to Henry J. Raymond.

(Private and confidential.)

Springfield, Illinois, November 28, 1860.
Hon, Henry J. Raymond.

My dear Sir : Yours of the 14th was received in due course. I
have delayed so long to answer it, because my reasons for not com-
ing before the public in any form just now had substantially ap-
peared in your paper (the " Times "), and hence I feared they were
not deemed sufficient by you, else you would not have written me as
you did. I now think we have a demonstration in favor of my view.
On the 20th instant Senator Trumbull made a short speech, which
I suppose you have both seen and approved. Has a single news-
paper, heretofore against us, urged that speech upon its readers with
a purpose to quiet public anxiety? Not one, so far as I know. On
the contrary, the " Boston Courier" and its class hold me responsible
for that speech, and endeavor to inflame the North with the belief
that it foreshadows an abandonment of Republican ground by the
incoming administration; while the Washington "Constitution"
and its class hold the same speech up to the South as an open dec-
laration of war against them. This is just as I expected, and just
what would happen with any declaration I could make. These po-
litical fiends are not half sick enough yet. Party malice, and not
public good, possesses them entirely. " They seek a sign, and no
sign shall be given them." At least such is my present feeling and
purpose. Tours very truly,

A. Lincoln.

November 30, I860.— Letter to A. H. Stephens.

Springpield, Illinois, November 30, 1860.
Hon. Alexander H. Stephens.

My dear Sir : I have read in the newspapers your sjjeech recently
delivered (I think) before the Georgia legislature, or its assembled
members. If you have revised it, as is probable, I shall be much ob-
liged if you will send me a copy. Yours very truly,

A. Lincoln.

December 8, 1860. — Letter to Hannibal Hamlin.


Springfield, Illinois, December 8, 1860.
Hon. Hannibal Hamlin.

My dear Sir: Tours of the 4th was duly received. The inclosed
to Governor Seward covers two notes to him, copies of which you
find open for your inspection. Consult with Judge Trumbull; and
if you and he see no reason to the contrary, deliver the letter to Gov-


ernor Seward at once. If you see reason to the contrary, write me
at once.

I have had an intimation that Governor Banks would yet accept a
place in the cabinet. Please ascertain and write me how this is.

Tours very truly, A. Lincoln.

December 8, 1860. — Letters to W. H. Seward.

Springfield, Illinois, December 8, 1860.
My dear Sir: "With your permission I shall at the proper time
nominate you to the Senate for confirmation as Secretary of State
for the United States. Please let me hear from you at your own
earliest convenience. Your friend and obedient servant,

A. Lincoln.
Hon. William H. Seward, "Washington, D. C.

{Private and confidential.)

Springpield, Illinois, December 8, 1860.

Ml/ dear Sir: In addition to the accompanying and more formal
note inviting you to take charge of the State Department, I deem it
proper to address you this. Rumors have got into the newspapers
to the effect that the department named above would be tendered
you as a compliment, and with the expectation that you would de-
cline it. I beg you to be assured that I have said nothing to justify
these rumors. On the contrary, it has been my purpose, from the
day of the nomination at Chicago, to assign you, by your leave, this
place in the administration. I have delayed so long to communicate
that purpose in deference to what appeared to me a proper caution
in the case. Nothing has been developed to change my view in the
premises ; and I now offer you the place in the hope that you will
accept it, and with the belief that your position in the public eye,
your integrity, ability, learning, and great experience, all combine to
render it an appointment preeminently fit to be made.

One word more. In regard to the patronage sought with so much
eagerness and jealousy, I have prescribed for myself the maxim,
" Justice to aU " ; and I earnestly beseech your cooperation in keep-
ing the maxim good. Your friend and obedient servant,

A. Lincoln.

Hon. William H. Seward, Washington, D. 0.

December 11, 1860. — Reply to a Letter prom William Kellogg,
M. C, asking Advice.

Entertain no proposition for a compromise in regard to the exten-
sion of slavery. The instant you do they have us under again : all
our labor is lost, and sooner or later must be done over. Douglas
is sure to be again trying to bring in his "popular sovereignty."
Vol. I.— 42.


Have none of it. The tug has to come, and better now than later.
You know I think the fugitive-slave clause of the Constitution ought
to be enforced — to put it in its mildest form, ought not to be resisted.

December 12, 1860. — Short Editorial printed in the
"Illinois Journal."

"We hear such frequent allusions to a supposed purpose on the
part of Mr. Lincoln to call into his cabinet two or three Southern
gentlemen from the parties opposed to him politically, that we ai-e
prompted to ask a few questions.

First. Is it known that any such gentleman of character would
accept a place in the cabinet ?

Second. If yea, on what terms does he surrender to Mr. Lincoln, or
Mr. Lincoln to him, on the political differences between them ; or do
they enter upon the administration in open opposition to each other ?

• December 13, 1860. — Letter to E. B. "Washburne.
{Private and Confidential.)
Springfield, Illinois, December 13, 1860.
Hon. E. B. Washburne.

My dear Sir : Your long letter received. Prevent, as far as possi-
ble, any of our friends from demoralizing themselves and our cause
by entertaining propositions for compromise of any sort on " slavery
extension." There is no possible compromise upon it but which puts
us under again, and leaves all our work to do over again. Whether
it be a Missouri line or Eli Thayer's popular sovereignty, it is all the
same. Let either be done, and immediately filibustering and extend-
ing slavery recommences. On that point hold firm, as with a chain
of steel. Yours as ever, A. Lincoln.

December 15, I860.— Letter to John A. Gilmer.
{Strictly confidential.)
Springfield, Illinois, December 15, 1860.
Hon. John A. Gilmer.

My dear Sir : Yours of the 10th is received. I am greatly disin-
clined to write a letter on the subject embraced in yours; and I
would not do so, even privately as I do, were it not that I fear you
might misconstrue my silence. Is it desired that I shall shift the
ground upon which I have been elected ? I cannot do it. You need
only to acquaint yourself with that ground, and press it on the at-
tention of the South. It is all in print and easy of access. May I
be pardoned if I ask whether even you have ever attempted to pro-
cure the reading of the Republican platform, or my speeches, by the
Southern people ? If not, what reason have I to expect that any
additional production of mine would meet a better fate 1 It would
make me appear as if I repented for the crime of having been elected,


and was anxious to apologize and beg forgiveness. To so represent
me would be the principal use made of any letter I might now thrust
upon the public. My old record cannot be so used ; and that is pre-
cisely the reason that some new declaration is so much sought.

Now, my dear sir, be assured that I am not questioning your can-
dor ; I am only pointing out that while a new letter would hurt the
cause which I think a just one, you can quite as well effect every
patriotic object with the old record. Carefully read pages 18, 19, 74,
75, 88, 89, aud 267 of the volume of joint debates between Senator
Douglas and myself, with the Republican platform adopted at
Chicago, and all your questions will be substantially answered. I
have no thought of recommending the abolition of slavery in the
District of Columbia, nor th.e slave-trade among the slave States,
even on the conditions indicated ; and if I were to make such rec-
ommendation, it is quite clear Congress would not follow it.

As to employing slaves in arsenals and dock-yards, it is a thing I
never thought of in my life, to my recollection, till I saw your letter ;
and I may say of it precisely as I have said of the two points above.

As to the use of patronage in the slave States, where there are
few or no Republicans, I do not expect to inquire for the politics of
the appointee, or whether he does or not own slaves. I intend in
that matter to accommodate the people in the several localities, if they
themselves wiU allow me to accommodate them. In one word, I never
have been, am not now, and probably never shall be in a mood of
harassing the people either North or South.

On the territorial question I am inflexible, as you see my position in
the book. On that there is a difference between you and us ; and it is
the only substantial difference. You think slavery is right and ought
to be extended ; we think it is wrong and ought to be restricted.
For this neither has any just occasion to be angry with the other.

As to the State laws, mentioned in your sixth question, I really
know very little of them. I never have read one. If any of them
are in conflict with the fugitive-slave clause, or any other part of
the Constitution, I certainly shall be glad of their repeal ; but I could
hardly be justified, as a citizen of Illinois, or as President of the
United States, to recommend the repeal of a statute of Vermont or
South Carolina.

With the assurance of my highest regards, I subscribe myself.
Your obedient servant, A. Lincoln.

P. S. The documents referred to I suppose you will readily find
in Washington. A. L.

December 17, 1860. — Letter to Thurlow Weed.

Springfield, Illinois, December 17, 1860.
Thurlow Weed, Esq.

My dear Sir: Yours of the lltb was received two days ago.
Should the convocation of governors of which you speak seem
desirous to know my views on the present aspect of things, tell
them you judge from my speeches that I wiU be inflexible on the


territorial question ; that I probably think either the Missouri line
extended, or Douglas's and Eli Thayer's popular sovereignty, would
lose us everything we gain by the election ; that filibustering for aU
south of us and making slave States of it would foUow, in spite of
us, in either case ; also that I probably think all opposition, real and
apparent, to the fugitive-slave clause of the Constitution ought to
be withdrawn.

I believe you can pretend to find but little, if anything, in my
speeches about secession. But my opinion is, that no State can in
any way lawfully get out of the Union without the consent of the
others; and that it is the duty of the President and other govern-
ment functionaries to run the machine as it is.

Truly yours, A. LnsrcoLN.

December 18, 1860. — Letter to Edward Bates.
SpRiNGPtELD, Illinois, December 18, 1860.
My dear Sir: Tours of to-day is just received. Let a little edi-
torial appear in the " Missouri Democrat " in about these words :

" We have the permission of both Mr. Lincoln and Mr. Bates
to say that the latter wUl be offered, and wiU accept, a place in
the new cabinet, subject, of course, to the action of the Senate. It
is not yet definitely settled which department wUl be assigned to
Mr. Bates."

Let it go just as above, or with any modification which may seem
proper to you. Yours very truly,

Hon. Edward Bates. A. Ld^coln.

December 21, 1860. — Letter to E. B. Washburne.
Springfield, Illinois, December 21, 1860.
Hon. B. B. Washburne.

My dear Sir : Last night I received your letter giving an account
of your interview with General Scott, and for which I thank you.
Please present my respects to the general, and tell him, confiden-
tially, I shall.be obliged to him to be as well prepared as he can to
either hold or retake the forts, as the case may require, at and after
the inauguration. Yours as ever,

A. Lincoln.

December 22, I860.— Letter to A. H. Stephens.
(For your own eye only.)
Springpield, Illinois, December 22, 1860.
Hon. Alexander H. Stephens.

My dear Sir: Your obliging answer to my short note is just re-
ceived, and for w^ifV; please accept my thanks. I fully appreciate


the present peril the country is in, and the weight of responsibility
on me. Do the people of the South really entertain fears that a
Republican administration would, directly or indirectly, interfere
with the slaves, or with them about the slaves 1 If they do, I wish
to assiire you, as once a friend, and still, I hope, not an enemy, that
there is no cause for such fears. The South would be in no more
danger in this respect than it was in the days of Washington. I
suppose, however, this does not meet the case. You think slavery is
right and ought to be extended, while we think it is wrong and ought
to be restricted. That, I suppose, is the rub. It certainly is the only
substantial di£Eerence between us. Yours very truly,

A. Lincoln.

December 24, 1860. — Letter to Hannibal Hamlin.

Springfield, Illinois, December 24, 1860.
Hon. Hannibal Hamlin.

My dear Sir: I need a man of Democratic antecedents from New
England. I cannot get a fair share of that element in without.
This stands in the way of Mr. Adams. I think of Governor Banks,
Mr. Welles, and Mr. Tuck. Which of them do the New England
delegation prefer 1 Or shall I decide for myself ? Yours as ever,

A. Lincoln.

December 28, 1860. — Letter to Lyman Trumbull.

Springfield, Illinois, December 28, 1860.
Hon. Lyman Trumbull.

My dear Sir: General Duff Green is out here endeavoring to draw
a letter out of me. I have written one which herewith I inclose to
you, and which I believe could not be used to our disadvantage.
Still, if on consultation with our discreet friends you conclude that
it may do us harm, do not deliver it. You need not mention that the
second clause of the letter is copied from the Chicago platform. If,
on consultation, our friends, including yourself, think it can do no
harm, keep a copy and deliver the letter to General Green.

Yours as ever, A. Lincoln.

Springfield, Illinois, December 28, 1860.
General Duff Green.

My dear Sir : I do not desire any amendment of the Constitution.
Recognizing, however, that questions of such amendment rightfully
belong to the American people, I should not feel justified nor in-
clined to withhold from them, if I could, a fair opportunity of ex-
pressing their will thereon through either of the modes prescribed
in the instrument.

In addition I declare that the maintenance inviolate of the rights
of the States, and especially the right of each State to order and


control its own domestic institutions according to its own judgment
exclusively, is essential to that balance of powers on which the per-
fection and endurance of our political fabric depend ; and I denounce
the lawless invasion by armed force of the soil of any State or Ter-
ritory, no matter under what pretext, as the gravest of crimes.

I am greatly averse to writing anything for the public at this
time ; and I consent to the publication of this only upon the condi-
tion that six of the twelve United States senators for the States of
Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Florida, and Texas shall
sign their names to what is written on this sheet below my name,
and allow the whole to be published together.

Tours truly, A. Lincoln.

"We recommend to the people of the States we represent respec-
tively, to suspend all action for dismemberment of the Union, at
least until some act deemed to be violative of our rights shall be
done by the incoming administration.

December 29, 1860. — Lbttbe to W. C. Bryant.

Springfield, Illinois, December 29, 1860.
Hon. William Cullen Bryant.

My dear Sir : Yours of the 25th is duly received. The "weU-
known politician " to whom I understand you to allude did write
me, but did not press upon me any such compromise as you seem to
suppose, or, in fact, any compromise at all.

As to the matter of the cabinet, mentioned by you, I can only say
I shall have a great deal of trouble, do the best I can. I promise
you that I shall unselfishly try to deal fairly with all men and aU
shades of opinion among our friends.

Yours very truly, A. Lincoln.

December 31, 1860. — Letter to Salmon P. Chase.

Springfield, Illinois, December 31, 1860.
Hon. Salmon P. Chase.

My dear Sir: In these troublous times I would much like a con-
ference with you. Please visit me here at once.

Yours very truly, A. Lincoln.

December 31, 1860. — Letter to Simon Cameron.

Springfield, Illinois, December 31, 1860.
Hon. Simon Cameron.

My dear Sir : I think fit to notify you now that by your permis-
sion I shall at the proper time nominate you to the United States
Senate for confirmation as Secretary of the Treasury, or as Secre-


tary of "War— which of the two I have not yet definitely decided.
Please answer at your earliest convenience.

Your obedient servant, A. Lincoln.

January 3, 1861. — Letter to W. H. Seward.


Springfield, Illinois, January 3, 1861.
Hon. "W. H. Seward.

My dear Sir: Yours without signature was received last night. I
have been considering your suggestions as to my reaching Wash-
ington somewhat earlier than is usual. It seems to me the inaugu-
ration is not the most dangerous point for us. Our adversaries have
us now clearly at disadvantage. On the second Wednesday of Feb-
ruary, when the votes should be ofi&cially counted, if the two Houses
refuse to meet at all, or meet without a quorum of each, where shall
we be ? I do not think that this counting is constitutionally essen-
tial to the election; but how are we to proceed in absence of it?

In view of this, I think it best for me not to attempt appearing in
Washington till the result of that ceremony is known. It certainly
would be of some advantage if you could know who are to be at the
heads of the War and Navy departments; but until I can ascertain
definitely whether I can get any suitable men from the South, and
who, and how many, I cannot well decide. As yet I have no word
from Mr. GrUmer in answer to my request for an interview with him.
I look for something on the subject, through you, before long.

Yours very truly, A. Lincoln.

Januasy 3, 1861. — Letter to Simon Cameron.


Springfield, Illinois, January 3, 1861.
Hon. Simon Cameron.

My dear Sir: Since seeing you things have developed which make
it impossible for me to take you into the cabinet. You will say this
comes of an interview with McClure ; and this is partly, but not
wholly, true. The more potent matter is wholly outside of Pennsyl-
vania; and yet I am not at liberty to specify it. Enough that it ap-
pears to me to be sufficient. And now I suggest that you write me
declining the appointment, in which case I do not object to its being
known that it was tendered you. Better do this at once, before
things so change that you cannot honorably decline, and I be com-
pelled to openly recall the tender. No person living knows or has
an intimation that I write this letter. Yours truly,

A. Lincoln.

P. S. Telegraph me instantly on receipt of this, saying, "All
right." ^- L.


January 11, 1861. — Letter to General Winfield Scott.

Springfield, Illinois, January 11, 1861.
Lieutenant-General Winfield Scott,

My dear Sir : I herewith beg leave to acknowledge the receipt of
your communication of the 4th instant, inclosing (documents Nos. 1, 2,
3, 4, 5, and 6) copies of correspondence and notes of conversation with
the President of the United States and the Secretary of War concern-
ing various military movements suggested by yourself for the better
protection of the government and the maintenance of public order.

Permit me to renew to you the assurance of my high appreciation
of the many past services you have rendered the Union, and of my
deep gratification at this evidence of your present active exertions
to maintain the integrity and honor of the nation.

I shall be highly pleased to receive from time to time such com-
munications from yourself as you may deem it proper to make to me.
Very truly joxw obedient servant, A. Lincoln.

January 11, 1861. — Letter to J. T. Hale.

Springfield, Illinois, January 11, 1861.
Hon. J. T. Hale.

My dear Sir : Yours of the 6th is received. I answer it only be-
cause I fear you would misconstrue my silence. What is our present
condition ? We have just carried an election on principles fairly
stated to the people. Now we are told in advance the government
shall be broken up unless we surrender to those we have beaten, be-
fore we take the oflces. In this they are either attempting to play
upon us or they are in dead earnest. Either way, if we surrender,
it is the end of us and of the government. They will repeat the ex-

Online LibraryAbraham LincolnAbraham Lincoln; complete works, comprising his speeches, letters, state papers, and miscellaneous writings; → online text (page 87 of 91)