The Writings of Abraham Lincoln Vol. 1-7


iSpeech

I have made this explanation to you as a friend; but I wish no
explanation made to our enemies. What they want is a squabble and a
fuss, and that they can have if we explain; and they cannot have it
if we don't.

When I returned through New York from New England, I was told by the
gentlemen who sent me the Check that a drunken vagabond in the club,
having learned something about the two hundred dollars, made the
exhibition out of which The Herald manufactured the article quoted by
The Press of your town.

My judgment is, and therefore my request is, that you give no denial
and no explanation.

Thanking you for your kind interest in the matter, I remain,
Yours truly,

A. LINCOLN.

TO H. TAYLOR.

SPRINGFIELD, ILL., April 21, 1860.

HAWKINS TAYLOR, Esq.

DEAR SIR:--Yours of the 15th is just received. It surprises me that
you have written twice, without receiving an answer. I have answered
all I ever received from you; and certainly one since my return from
the East.

Opinions here, as to the prospect of Douglas being nominated, are
quite conflicting--some very confident he will, and others that he
will not be. I think his nomination possible, but that the chances
are against him.

I am glad there is a prospect of your party passing this way to
Chicago. Wishing to make your visit here as pleasant as we can, we
wish you to notify us as soon as possible whether you come this way,
how many, and when you will arrive.

Yours very truly,

A. LINCOLN

TELEGRAM TO A MEMBER OF THE ILLINOIS DELEGATION
AT THE CHICAGO CONVENTION.
SPRINGFIELD, May 17? 1860.

I authorize no bargains and will be bound by none.

A. LINCOLN.

REPLY TO THE COMMITTEE SENT BY THE CHICAGO CONVENTION TO INFORM
LINCOLN OF HIS
NOMINATION,

MAY 19, 1860.

Mr. CHAIRMAN AND GENTLEMEN OF THE COMMITTEE:--I tender to you, and
through you to the Republican National Convention, and all the people
represented in it, my profoundest thanks for the high honor done me,
which you now formally announce. Deeply and even painfully sensible
of the great responsibility which is inseparable from this high
honor--a responsibility which I could almost wish had fallen upon
some one of the far more eminent men and experienced statesmen whose
distinguished names were before the convention--I shall, by your
leave, consider more fully the resolutions of the convention,
denominated their platform, and without any unnecessary or
unreasonable delay respond to you, Mr. Chairman, in writing--not
doubting that the platform will be found satisfactory, and the
nomination gratefully accepted.

And now I will not longer defer the pleasure of taking you, and each
of you, by the hand.

ACCEPTANCE OF NOMINATION AS REPUBLICAN CANDIDATE
FOR PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES

TO GEORGE ASHMUN AND OTHERS.

SPRINGFIELD ILLINOIS, May 23, 1860

HON. GEORGE ASHMUN,
President of Republican National Convention.

SIR:--I accept the nomination tendered me by the convention over
which you presided, and of which I am formally apprised in the letter
of yourself and others, acting as a committee of the convention for
that purpose.

The declaration of principles and sentiments which accompanies your
letter meets my approval; and it shall be my care not to violate or
disregard it in any part.

Imploring the assistance of Divine Providence, and with due regard to
the views and feelings of all who were represented in the convention,
to the rights of all the States and Territories and people of the
nation, to the inviolability of the Constitution, and the perpetual
union, harmony, and prosperity of all--I am most happy to co-operate
for the practical success of the principles declared by the
convention.

Your obliged friend and fellow-citizen,

A. LINCOLN.

To C. B. SMITH.

SPRINGFIELD, ILL., May 26, 1860.

HON. C. B. SMITH.

MY DEAR SIR:-Yours of the 21st was duly received, but have found no
time until now to say a word in the way of answer. I am indeed much
indebted to Indiana; and, as my home friends tell me, much to you
personally. Your saying, you no longer consider Ia. a doubtful State
is very gratifying. The thing starts well everywhere--too well, I
almost fear, to last. But we are in, and stick or go through must be
the word.

Let me hear from Indiana occasionally.

Your friend, as ever,

A. LINCOLN.

FORM OF REPLY PREPARED BY MR. LINCOLN, WITH WHICH HIS PRIVATE
SECRETARY WAS INSTRUCTED TO ANSWER A NUMEROUS CLASS OF LETTERS IN
THE CAMPAIGN OF 1860.

(Doctrine.)

SPRINGFIELD, ILLINOIS, _______, 1860

DEAR SIR:--Your letter to Mr. Lincoln of and by which you seek to
obtain his opinions on certain political points, has been received by
him. He has received others of a similar character, but he also has
a greater number of the exactly opposite character. The latter class
beseech him to write nothing whatever upon any point of political
doctrine. They say his positions were well known when he was
nominated, and that he must not now embarrass the canvass by
undertaking to shift or modify them. He regrets that he cannot
oblige all, but you perceive it is impossible for him to do so.

Yours, etc.,

JNO. J. NICOLAY.

TO E. B. WASHBURNE.

SPRINGFIELD, ILLINOIS,
MAY 26, 1860

HON. E. B. WASHBURNE.

MY DEAR SIR:--I have several letters from you written since the
nomination, but till now have found no moment to say a word by way of
answer. Of course I am glad that the nomination is well received by
our friends, and I sincerely thank you for so informing me. So far
as I can learn, the nominations start well everywhere; and, if they
get no back-set, it would seem as if they are going through. I hope
you will write often; and as you write more rapidly than I do, don't
make your letters so short as mine.

Yours very truly,

A. LINCOLN.

TO S. HAYCRAFT.

SPRINGFIELD, ILL., June 4, 1860.

HON. SAMUEL HAYCRAFT.

MY DEAR SIR:--Like yourself I belonged to the old Whig party from its
origin to its close. I never belonged to the American party
organization, nor ever to a party called a Union party; though I hope
I neither am or ever have been less devoted to the Union than
yourself or any other patriotic man.

Yours very truly,

A. LINCOLN.

ABRAHAM OR "ABRAM"

TO G. ASHMUN.

SPRINGFIELD, ILL. June 4, 1860

HON. GEORGE ASHMUN.

MY DEAR SIR:--It seems as if the question whether my first name is
"Abraham" or "Abram" will never be settled. It is "Abraham," and if
the letter of acceptance is not yet in print, you may, if you think
fit, have my signature thereto printed "Abraham Lincoln." Exercise
your judgment about this.

Yours as ever,

A. LINCOLN.

UNAUTHORIZED BIOGRAPHY

TO S. GALLOWAY.

SPRINGFIELD, ILL., June 19, 1860

HON. SAM'L GALLOWAY.

MY DEAR SIR:--Your very kind letter of the 15th is received. Messrs.
Follett, Foster, & Co.'s Life of me is not by my authority; and I
have scarcely been so much astounded by anything, as by their public
announcement that it is authorized by me. They have fallen into some
strange misunderstanding. I certainly knew they contemplated
publishing a biography, and I certainly did not object to their doing
so, upon their own responsibility. I even took pains to facilitate
them. But, at the same time, I made myself tiresome, if not hoarse,
with repeating to Mr. Howard, their only agent seen by me, my protest
that I authorized nothing--would be responsible for nothing. How
they could so misunderstand me, passes comprehension. As a matter
wholly my own, I would authorize no biography, without time and
opportunity [sic] to carefully examine and consider every word of it
and, in this case, in the nature of things, I can have no such time
and Opportunity [sic]. But, in my present position, when, by the
lessons of the past, and the united voice of all discreet friends, I
can neither write nor speak a word for the public, how dare I to send
forth, by my authority, a volume of hundreds of pages, for
adversaries to make points upon without end? Were I to do so, the
convention would have a right to re-assemble and substitute another
name for mine.

For these reasons, I would not look at the proof sheets--I am
determined to maintain the position of [sic] truly saying I never saw
the proof sheets, or any part of their work, before its publication.

Now, do not mistake me--I feel great kindness for Messrs. F., F., &
Co.--do not think they have intentionally done wrong. There may be
nothing wrong in their proposed book--I sincerely hope there will
not. I barely suggest that you, or any of the friends there, on the
party account, look it over, and exclude what you may think would
embarrass the party bearing in mind, at all times, that I authorize
nothing--will be responsible for nothing.

Your friend, as ever,

A. LINCOLN.

[The custom then, and it may be a good one, was for the Presidential
candidate to do no personal canvassing or speaking--or as we have it
now "running for election." He stayed at home and kept his mouth
shut. D.W.]

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 acquainted,
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 recollection
that we were introduced. I shall 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.

TO A. JONAS.

(Confidential.)

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 waiting 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-office 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 offence 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.

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
according 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.

Yours very truly,

A. LINCOLN.

TO THURLOW WEED

SPRINGFIELD, ILL. August 17 1860.

MY DEAR SIR:--Yours of the 13th was received this morning. Douglas
is managing the Bell element with great adroitness. He had his men
in Kentucky to vote for the Bell candidate, producing a result which
has badly alarmed and damaged Breckenridge, and at the same time has
induced the Bell men to suppose that Bell will certainly 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 York for Douglas. You 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 York, which
sufficiently explains itself, and which may or may not give you a
valuable hint. You 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 York--to throw States to
Douglas. In our State, we know the thing is engineered by Douglas
men, and we do not believe they can make a great deal out of it.

Yours very truly,

A. LINCOLN.

SLOW TO LISTEN TO CRIMINATIONS

TO HON. JOHN ______________

(Private.)

SPRINGFIELD, ILL., Aug. 31, 1860

MY DEAR SIR:--Yours of the 27th is duly received. It consists almost
exclusively of a historical detail of some local troubles, among some
of our friends in Pennsylvania; and I suppose its object is to guard
me against forming a prejudice against Mr. McC___________, I have not
heard near so much upon that subject as you probably suppose; and I
am slow to listen to criminations among friends, and never expose
their quarrels on either side. My sincere wish is that both sides
will allow bygones to be bygones, and look to the present and future
only.

Yours very truly,

A. LINCOLN.

TO HANNIBAL HAMLIN

SPRINGFIELD, ILLINOIS, September 4, 1860

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