Abraham Lincoln.

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

. (page 88 of 91)
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periment upon us ad libitum. A year will not pass till we shall have
to take Cuba as a condition upon which they will stay in the Union.
They now have the Constitution under which we have lived over
seventy years, and acts of Congress of their own framing, with no
prospect of their being changed ; and they can never have a more
shallow pretext for breaking np the government, or extorting a com-
promise, than now. There is in my judgment but one compromise
which would really settle the slavery question, and that would be a
prohibition against acquiring any more territory.

Yours very truly, A. Lincoln.

January 12, 1861. — Letter to W. H. Seward.
Springfield, Illinois, January 12, 1861.
Hon. W. H. Seward.

My dear Sir : Yours of the 8th received. I still hope Mr. Gilmer
will, on a fair understanding with us, consent to take a place in the


cabinet. The preference for him over Mr. Hunt or Mr. Gentry is
that, up to date, he has a living position in the South, while they
have not. He is only better than Winter Davis in that he is farther
South. I fear if we could get we could not safely take more than
one such man — that is, not more than one who opposed us in the
election, the danger being to lose the confidence of our own friends.

Your selection for the State Department having become public, I
am happy to find scarcely any objection to it. I shall have trouble
with every other Northern cabinet appointment, so much so that I
shall have to defer them as long as possible, to avoid being teased to
insanity to make changes. Your obedient servant,

A. Lincoln.

Januaiy 13, 1861. — Letters to Simon Cameron.
{Private and confidential.)

Speingpield, Illinois, January 13, 1861.
Hon. Simon Cameron.

Mtj dear Sir : At the suggestion of Mr. Sanderson, and with hearty
good- will besides, I herewith send you a letter dated January 3 —
the same in date as the last you received from me. I thought best
to give it that date, as it is in some sort to take the place of that let-
ter. I learn, both by a letter from Mr. Swett and from Mr. Sander-
son, that your feelings were wounded by the terms of my letter
really of the 3d. I wrote that letter under great anxiety, and per-
haps I was not so guarded in its terms as I should have been ; but I
beg you to be assured I intended no offense. My great object was
to have you act quickly, if possible before the matter should be com-
plicated with the Pennsylvania senatorial election. Destroy the of-
fensive letter, or return it to me

I say to you now I have not doubted that you would perform the
duties of a department ably and faithfully. Nor have I for a mo-
ment intended to ostraci^ie your friends. If I should make a cabi-
net appointment for Pennsylvania before I reach "Washington, I will
not do so without consulting you, and giving aU the weight to your
views and wishes which I consistently can. This I have always
intended. Yours truly,

A. Lincoln.

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

My dear Sir : When you were here, about the last of December, I
handed you a letter saying I should at the proper time nominate you
to the Senate for a place in the cabinet. It is due to you and to
truth for me to say you were here by my invitation, and not upon
any suggestion of your own. You have not as yet signified to me
whether you would accept the appointment, and with much pain I
now say to you that you will relieve me from great embarrassment
by allowing me to recall the offer. This springs from an unexpected
complication, and not from any change of my view as to the ability
or faithfulness with which you would discharge the duties of the


place. I now think I will not definitely fix upon any appointment
for Pennsylvania until I reach Washington.

Your obedient servant, A. Lincoln.

January 14, 1861. — Lbttee to Geneeal John E. Wool.

Springpield, Illestois, January 14, 1861.
General John E. Wool.

My dear Sir: Many thanks for your patriotic and generous letter
of the 11th instant. As to how far the military force of the govern-
ment may become necessary to the preservation of the Union, and
more particularly how that force can best be directed to the object,
I must chiefiy rely upon General Scott and yourself. It affords me
the profoundest satisfaction to know that with both of you judg-
ment and feeling go heartily with your sense of professional and
ofl&cial duty to the work.

It is true that I have given but little attention to the military de-
partment of government ; but, be assured, I cannot be ignorant as to
who General Wool is, or what he has done. With my highest esteem
and gratitude, I subscribe myself

Your obedient servant, A. Lincoln.

January 23, 1861. — Letter to General Edwin C. Wilson.

Springpield, Illinois, January 23, 1861,
General Edwin 0. Wilson.

Dear Sir: Your ofiicial communication of the 31st ultimo, ad-
dressed to Hon. A. Lincoln, was duly received.

Mr. Lincoln desires me to answer that while he does not now deem
it necessary to avail himself of the services you so kindly offer him,
he is nevertheless gratified to have this assurance from yourself that
the militia of the State of Pennsylvania is loyal to the Constitution
and the Union, and stands ready to rally to their support and main-
tenance in the event of trouble or danger. Yours truly,

Jno. G. Nicolat.

January 26, 1861. — Letter to R. A. Cameron and Others,


Springpield, January 26, 1861.
Messes. Cameron, Marsh, and Branham, Committee.

Gentlemen : I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt, by your
hands, of a copy of a joint resolution adopted by the legislature of
the State of Indiana, on the 15th instant, inviting me to visit that
honorable body on my way to the Federal capital.


Expressing my profound gratitude for this flattering testimonial
of their regard and esteem, be pleased to bear to them my acceptance
of their kind invitation, and inform them that I will endeavor to
visit them, in accordance with their expressed desire, on the 12th of
February next.

With feelings of high consideration, I remain

Your humble servant, A. Lincoln.

January 28, 1861. — Letter to James Sulgrove and Others,


Springfield, Illinois, January 28, 1861.
Messrs. James Sulgrove, Brie Locke, William Wallace, and
John T. Wood, Committee.
Gentlemen : I received to-day from the hands of Mr. Locke a
transcript of the resolutions passed at a meeting of the citizens of
Indianapolis, inviting me to visit that city on my route to Wash-

Permit me to express to the citizens of Indianapolis, through you,
their committee, my cordial thanks for the honor shown me. I ac-
cept with great pleasure the invitation so kindly tendered, and will
be in your city on the 12th day of February next.

Your obedient servant, A. Lincoln.

Januaiy 28, 1861. — Letter to J. W. Tillman.

Springeield, Illinois, January 28, 1861.
J. W. TiLLiMAN, Esq.

Dear Sir ; Your letter of the 24th instant addressed to Hon. A.
Lincoln, inviting him, on behalf of the State Central Committee
of Michigan, to pass through that State on his journey to Wash-
ington, has been received.

He desires me to reply, with profound thanks for the honor thus
cordially tendered him, that having accepted similar invitations
to pass' through the capitals of the States of Indiana and Ohio,
he regrets that it will be out of his power to accept the courtesies
and hospitalities of the people of Michigan so kindly proffered
him through yourself and the committee.

Yours truly, Jno. G. Nicolay.

January 28, 1861. — Letter to Edvtard Bates.

Springfield, Illinois, January 28, 1861.
Hon. Edward Bates.

Bear Sir: Hon. A. Lincoln desires me to write to you that he
has determined on starting from here for Washington city on
the 11th of February. He will go through Indianapolis, Colum-


bus, Pittsburg, Albany, New York, Philadelphia, Harrisburg, and

Albany, New York, and Philadelphia are not finally decided
upon, though it is probable that he will also take them in his route.
The journey will occupy twelve or fifteen days.

Yours truly, Jno. G. Nicolay.

February 1, 1861. — Letter to E. D. Morgan.

SpRraGFiELD, Illinois, February 1, 18G1.
Hon. B. D. Morgan.

Bear Sir : Your letter of the 19th ultimo addressed to Hon. A,
Lincoln, was duly received, in which you invite him to visit Albany
on his route to Washington, and tender him the hospitalities of the
State and your home.

In accordance with the answer just sent to the telegraphic mes-
sage received from yourself a few minutes since, Mr. Lincoln desires
me to write that it has for some little time been his purpose to pass
through Albany, and that he would have answered you to that same
effect before this, but for the fact that as the legislatures of Indiana,
Ohio, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania had by resolution invited him to
visit them, he thought it probable that a similar resolution would be
adopted by the legislature of New York, and he had therefore waited
to reply to both invitations together.

He will cheerfully accede to any- arrangements yourself and the
citizens of Albany may make for his stay, providing only no formal
ceremonies wasting any great amount of time be adopted.

Yours truly, Jno. G. Nicolay.

February 1, 1861. — Letter to W. H. Seward.
{Private and confidential.)
Springfield, Illinois, February 1, 1861.
Hon. W. H. Seward.

My dear Sir : On the 21st ult. Hon. "W. Kellogg, a Republican
member of Congress of this State, whom you probably know, was
here in a good deal of anxiety seeking to ascertain to what extent I
would be consenting for our friends to go in the way of compromise
on the now vexed question. While he was with me I received a de-
spatch from Senator Trumbull, at Washington, alluding to the same
question and telling me to await letters. I therefore told Mr. Kel-
logg that when I should receive these letters posting me as to the
state of affairs at Washington, I would write to you, requesting you
to let him see my letter. To my surprise, when the letters men-
tioned by Judge Trumbull came they made no allusion to the " vexed
question." This baffled me so much that I was near not writing you
at all, in compliance to what I have said to Judge Kellogg. I say
now, however, as I have all the while said, that on the territorial


question — that is, the question of extending slavery under the
national auspices — I am inflexible. I am for no compromise which
assists or permits the extension of the institution on soil owned bj^
the nation. And any trick by which the nation is to acquire terri-
tory, and then allow some local authority to spread slavery over it,
is as obnoxious as any other. I take it that to effect some such re-
sult as this, and to put us again on the highroad to a slave empire,
is the object of all these proposed compromises. I am against it.
As to fugitive slaves. District of Columbia, slave-trade among the
slave States, and whatever springs of necessity from the fact that
the institution is amongst us, I care but little, so that what is done
be comely and not altogether outrageous. Nor do I care much about
New Mexico, if further extension were hedged against.

Yours very truly, A. Lincoln.

February 4, 1861. — Letter to Thuelow Weed.

Springfield, Illinois, February 4, 1861.'
Dear Sir: I have both your letter to myself and that to Judge
Davis, in relation to a certain gentleman in your State claiming to
dispense patronage in my name, and also to be authorized to use my
name to advance the chances of Mr. Greeley for an election to the
United States Senate.

It is very strange that such things should be said by any one. The
gentleman you mention did speak to me of Mr. Greeley in connec-
tion with the senatorial election, and I replied in terms of kindness
toward Mr. Greeley, which I really feel, but always with an expressed
protest that my name must not be used in the senatorial election in
favor of, or against, any one. Any other representation of me is a

As to the matter of dispensing patronage, it perhaps wiU surprise
you to learn that I have information that you claim to have my au-
thority to arrange that matter in New York. I do not believe that
you have so claimed ; but still so some men say. On that subject
you know all I have said to you is " Justice to aU," and I have said
nothing more particular to any one. I say this to reassure you that
I have not changed my position. In the hope, however, that you
will not use my name in the matter, I am

Yours truly, A. Lincoln.

February 4, 1861. — Letter to E. D. Morgan.

Spbingpield, Illinois, February 4, 1861.

Sir: Your letter of the 30th ultimo, inviting me on behalf of the
legislature of New York to pass through that State on my way to
Washington, and tendering me the hospitalities of her authorities
and people, has been duly received.

With feelings of deep gratitude to you and them for this testimo-


nial of regard and esteem, I beg you to notify them that I accept the
invitation so kindly extended. Your obedient servant,

A. Lincoln.
His Excellency Edwin D. Morgan,

Governor of New York.
P. S. Please let ceremonies be only such as to take the least time
possible. A. L.

February 5, 1861. — Letter to Edward Bates.

Springfield, Illinois, February 5, 1861.
Hon. Edward Bates.

Bear Sir : Hon. A. Lincoln directs me to say to you that in case
you intend going to Washington about the time he proposes to start
(the 11th instant), he would be pleased to have you accompany him
on the trip he contemplates.

He does not desire to have you do this, however, at the cost of any
inconvenience to yourself, or the derangement of any plans you may
have already formed. Yours truly,

Jno. G-. Nicolay.
P. S. Mr. Lincoln intended to have said this to you himself when
you were here, but in his hurry it escaped his attention.

J. G. N.

February 6, 1861. — Letter to Charles S. Olden.

Springfield, Illinois, February 6, 1861.
Sir: Your letter of the 1st instant inviting me, in compliance with
the request of the legislature of New Jersey, to visit your State cap-
ital while on my journey to Washington, has been duly received.

I accept the in\'itation, with much gratitude to you and them for
the kindness and honor thus offered. Your obedient servant,

A. Lincoln.
His Excellency Charles S. Olden,

Governor of New Jersey.
P. S. Please arrange no ceremonies that will waste time.

February 7, 1861. — Letter to the Governor and the Legisla-
ture OP Massachusetts.

Springfield, Illinois, February 7, 1861.

His Excellency the Governor, the President of the Senate,

AND the Speaker of the House op Representatives for

THE Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

Gentlemen : Your kind letter of February 1, with a copy of the

resolutions of the General Court, inviting me, in the name of the

government and people of Massachusetts, to visit the State and

accept its hospitality previous to the time of the presidential in-


auguration, is gratefully received by the hand of Colonel Horace
Binney Sargent; and, in answer, I am constrained to say want of
time denies me the pleasure of accepting the invitation so gener-
ously tendered. Tour obedient servant,

A. Lincoln.

February 7, 1861. — Letter to WiLLLi.M Dennison.

Speinqfield, Illinois, February 7, 1861.
Sir : Your letter of the 31st ultimo, inviting me, on behalf of the
legislature of Ohio, to visit Columbus on my way to Washington,
has been duly received.

"With profound gratitude for the mark of respect and honor thus
cordially tendered me by you and them, I accept the invitation.
Tour obedient servant, A. Lincoln.

His Excellency William Dennison,

Governor of Ohio.
Please arrange no ceremonies which will waste time.

February 7, 1861. — Letter to J. G. Lowe and Others,

Springfield, Illinois, February 7, 1861.

Gentlemen : Tour note of to-day, inviting me while on my way to
Washington to pass through the town and accept the hospitalities
of the citizens of Dayton, Ohio, is before me.

A want of the necessary time makes it impossible for me to stop
in. your town. If it will not retard my arrival at or departure from
the city of Columbus, I will endeavor to pass through and at least
bow to the friends there; if, however, it would in any wise delay me,
they must not even expect this, but be content instead to receive
through you my warmest thanks for the kindness and cordiality
with which they have tendered this invitation.

Tour obedient servant, A, Lincoln.

Messrs. J. G-. Lowe, T. A. Phillips,

AND W. H. Gillespie, Committee.

February 8, 1861. — Letter to George B. Senter and Others,


Springfield, Illinois, February 8, 1861.
George B. Senter and Others, Committee.

Gentlemen : Tours of the 6th, inviting me, in compliance with a
resolution of the city council of the city of Cleveland, Ohio, to visit
that city on my contemplated journey to Washington , is duly at hand,
and in answer I have the honor to accept the invitation. The time of
arrival and other details are subject to future arrangement.

Tour obedient servant, A. Lincoln.


February 8, 1861. — Letter to A. D. Finney and Others,


Springfield, Illinois, February 8, 1861.
Hon. a. D. Finney and Others, Committee.

Qentlemen : Tours of the 4th, inviting me on behalf of the legis-
lature of Pennsylvania to visit Harrisburg on my way to the Federal
capital, is received ; and, in answer, allow me to say I gratefully ac-
cept the tendered honor.

The time of arrival, and other details, are subject to future arrange-
ments. Your obedient servant,

A. Lincoln.

/ ' February 11, 1861. — Farewell Address at Springfield,


My Friends : No one, not in my situation, can appreciate my feel-
ing of sadness at this parting. To this place, and the kindness of
these people, I owe everything. Here I have lived a quarter of a
century, and have passed from a young to an old man. Here my
children have been born, and one is buried. I now leave, not know-
ing when or whether ever I may return, with a task before me
greater than that which rested upon Washington. Without the
assistance of that Divine Being who ever attended him, I cannot
succeed. With that assistance, I cannot faU. Trusting in Him
who can go with me, and remain with you, and be everywhere for
good, let us confidently hope that all will yet be well. To His care
commending you, as I hope in your prayers you will commend me,
I bid. you an affectionate farewell.

February 11, 1861. — Reply to the Address of Welcome at
Indianapolis, Indiana.

Governor Morton and Fellow-citizens of the State of Indiana : Most
heartily do I thank you for this magnificent reception ; and while
I cannot take to myself any share of the compliment thus paid, more
than that which pertains to a mere instrument — an accidental in-
strument perhaps I should say — of a great cause, I yet must look
upon it as a magnificent reception, and as such most heartily do I
thank you for it. Ton have been pleased to address yourself to me
chiefly in behalf of this glorious Union in which we live, in all of
which you have my hearty sympathy, and, as far as may be within
my power, will have, one and inseparably, my hearty cooperation.
While I do not expect, upon this occasion, or until I get to Washing-
ton, to attempt any lengthy speech, I will only say that to the salva-
tion of the Union there needs but one single thing^ the hearts of a
people like yours. When the people rise in mass m behalf of the


Union and the liberties of this country, truly may it be said, "The
gates of hell cannot prevail against them." In aU trying posi-
tions in which I shall be placed, and doubtless I shall be placed
m manv such, my reliance will be upon you and the people of the
United States ; and I wish you to remember, now and forever, that
it is your business, and not mine ; that if the union of these States
and the liberties of this people shall be lost, it is but little to any one
man of fifty-two years of age, but a great deal to the thirty millions
of people who inhabit these United States, and to their posterity in
all coming time. It is your business to rise up and preserve the Union
and liberty for yourselves, and not for me. I appeal to you again
to constantly bear in mind that not with politicians, not with Pres-
idents, not with oflace-seekers, but with you, is the question : Shall
the Union and shall the liberties of this country be preserved to
the latest generations?

February 12 1861. — ^Address to the Legislature op Indiana

AT Indianapolis.

Fellow-citizens of the State of Indiana : I am here to thank you
much for this magnificent welcome, and still more for the generous
support given by your State to that political cause which I think is
the true and just cause of the whole country and the whole world.
Solomon says there is " a time to keep silence," and when men wrangle
by the month with no certainty that they mean the same thing, while
using the same word, it perhaps were as well if they would keep
silence. The words " coercion " and " invasion " are much used in
these days, and often with some temper and hot blood. Let us
make sure, if we can, that we do not misunderstand the meaning of
those who use them. Let us get exact definitions of these words,
not from dictionaries, but from the men themselves, who certainly
deprecate the things they would represent by the use of words.
What, then, is "coercion"? What is "invasion"? Would the
marching of an army into South Carolina without the consent of
her" people, and with hostile intent toward them, be "invasion"! I
certainly think it would ; and it would be " coercion " also if the
South Carolinians were forced to submit. But if the United States
should merely hold and retake its own forts and other property, and
collect the duties on foreign importations, or even withhold the
mails from places where they were habitually violated, would any
or all of these things be "invasion" or "coercion"? Do our pro-
fessed lovers of the Union, but who spitefully resolve that they will
resist coercion and invasion, understand that such things as these
on the part of the United States woidd be coercion or invasion of a
State ? If so, their idea of means to preserve the object of their
great affection would seem to be exceedingly thin and airy. If sick,
the little pills of the homeopathist would be much too large for them
to swallow. In their view, the Union as a family relation would
seem to be no regular marriage, but rather a sort of " free-love " ar-
rangement, to be maintained only on "passional attraction." By
Vol. L— 43.


the way, in what consists the special sacredness of a State ? I speak
not of the position assigned to a State in the Union by the Constitu-
tion; for that, by the bond, we all recognize. That position, how-
ever, a State cannot carry out of the Union with it. I speak of that
assumed primary right of a State to rule all which is less than itself,
and ruin all which is larger than itself. If a State and a county, in
a given case, should be equal in extent of territory, and equal in
number of inhabitants, in what, as a matter of principle, is the State
better than the county? Would an exchange of names be an ex-
change of rights upon principle? On what rightful principle may
a State, being not more than one fiftieth part of the nation in soil
and population, break up the nation and then coerce a proportion-
ally larger subdivision of itself in the most arbitrary way ? What
mysterious right to play tyrant is conferred on a district of country
with its people, by merely calling it a State ? FeUow-citlzens, I am
not asserting anything ; I am merely asking questions for you to
consider. And now allow me to bid you farewell.

February 12, 1861. — Address to the Mayor and Citizens
OF Cincinnati, Ohio.

Mr. Mayor, Ladies, and Gentlemen : Twenty -four hours ago, at the
capital of Indiana, I said to myself I have never seen so many peo-
ple assembled together in winter weather. I am no longer able to

Online LibraryAbraham LincolnAbraham Lincoln; complete works, comprising his speeches, letters, state papers, and miscellaneous writings; → online text (page 88 of 91)