The Writings of Abraham Lincoln Vol. 1-7


iSpeech

Upon these let the proud fabric of freedom rest, as the rock of
its basis; and as truly as has been said of the only greater
institution, "the gates of hell shall not prevail against it."

PROTEST IN THE ILLINOIS LEGISLATURE ON THE
SUBJECT OF SLAVERY.

March 3, 1837.

The following protest was presented to the House, which was read
and ordered to be spread in the journals, to wit:

"Resolutions upon the subject of domestic slavery having passed
both branches of the General Assembly at its present session, the
undersigned hereby protest against the passage of the same.

"They believe that the institution of slavery is founded on both
injustice and bad policy, but that the promulgation of abolition
doctrines tends rather to increase than abate its evils.

"They believe that the Congress of the United States has no power
under the Constitution to interfere with the institution of
slavery in the different States.

"They believe that the Congress of the United States has the
power, under the Constitution, to abolish slavery in the District
of Columbia, but that the power ought not to be exercised, unless
at the request of the people of the District.

"The difference between these opinions and those contained in the
said resolutions is their reason for entering this protest.

"DAN STONE,
"A. LINCOLN,
"Representatives from the County of Sangamon."

TO MISS MARY OWENS.

SPRINGFIELD, May 7, 1837.

MISS MARY S. OWENS.

FRIEND MARY:--I have commenced two letters to send you before
this, both of which displeased me before I got half done, and so
I tore them up. The first I thought was not serious enough, and
the second was on the other extreme. I shall send this, turn out
as it may.

This thing of living in Springfield is rather a dull business,
after all; at least it is so to me. I am quite as lonesome here
as I ever was anywhere in my life. I have been spoken to by but
one woman since I have been here, and should not have been by her
if she could have avoided it. I 've never been to church yet,
and probably shall not be soon. I stay away because I am
conscious I should not know how to behave myself.

I am often thinking of what we said about your coming to live at
Springfield. I am afraid you would not be satisfied. There is a
great deal of flourishing about in carriages here, which it would
be your doom to see without sharing it. You would have to be
poor, without the means of hiding your poverty. Do you believe
you could bear that patiently? Whatever woman may cast her lot
with mine, should any ever do so, it is my intention to do all in
my power to make her happy and contented; and there is nothing I
can imagine that would make me more unhappy than to fail in the
effort. I know I should be much happier with you than the way I
am, provided I saw no signs of discontent in you. What you have
said to me may have been in the way of jest, or I may have
misunderstood you. If so, then let it be forgotten; if
otherwise, I much wish you would think seriously before you
decide. What I have said I will most positively abide by,
provided you wish it. My opinion is that you had better not do
it. You have not been accustomed to hardship, and it may be more
severe than you now imagine. I know you are capable of thinking
correctly on any subject, and if you deliberate maturely upon
this subject before you decide, then I am willing to abide your
decision.

You must write me a good long letter after you get this. You
have nothing else to do, and though it might not seem interesting
to you after you had written it, it would be a good deal of
company to me in this "busy wilderness." Tell your sister I don't
want to hear any more about selling out and moving. That gives
me the "hypo" whenever I think of it. Yours, etc.,

LINCOLN

TO JOHN BENNETT.

SPRINGFIELD, ILL., Aug. 5, 1837.

JOHN BENNETT, ESQ.

DEAR SIR:-Mr. Edwards tells me you wish to know whether the act
to which your own incorporation provision was attached passed
into a law. It did. You can organize under the general
incorporation law as soon as you choose.

I also tacked a provision onto a fellow's bill to authorize the
relocation of the road from Salem down to your town, but I am not
certain whether or not the bill passed, neither do I suppose I
can ascertain before the law will be published, if it is a law.
Bowling Greene, Bennette Abe? and yourself are appointed to make
the change. No news. No excitement except a little about the
election of Monday next.

I suppose, of course, our friend Dr. Heney stands no chance in
your diggings.

Your friend and humble servant,

A. LINCOLN.

TO MARY OWENS.

SPRINGFIELD,
Aug. 16, 1837

FRIEND MARY:
You will no doubt think it rather strange that I should write you
a letter on the same day on which we parted, and I can only
account for it by supposing that seeing you lately makes me think
of you more than usual; while at our late meeting we had but few
expressions of thoughts. You must know that I cannot see you, or
think of you, with entire indifference; and yet it may be that
you are mistaken in regard to what my real feelings toward you
are.

If I knew you were not, I should not have troubled you with this
letter. Perhaps any other man would know enough without
information; but I consider it my peculiar right to plead
ignorance, and your bounden duty to allow the plea.

I want in all cases to do right; and most particularly so in all
cases with women.

I want, at this particular time, more than any thing else to do
right with you; and if I knew it would be doing right, as I
rather suspect it would, to let you alone I would do it. And,
for the purpose of making the matter as plain as possible, I now
say that you can drop the subject, dismiss your thoughts (if you
ever had any) from me for ever and leave this letter unanswered
without calling forth one accusing murmur from me. And I will
even go further and say that, if it will add anything to your
comfort or peace of mind to do so, it is my sincere wish that you
should. Do not understand by this that I wish to cut your
acquaintance. I mean no such thing. What I do wish is that our
further acquaintance shall depend upon yourself. If such further
acquaintance would contribute nothing to your happiness, I am
sure it would not to mine. If you feel yourself in any degree
bound to me, I am now willing to release you, provided you wish
it; while on the other hand I am willing and even anxious to bind
you faster if I can be convinced that it will, in any
considerable degree, add to your happiness. This, indeed, is the
whole question with me. Nothing would make me more miserable
than to believe you miserable, nothing more happy than to know
you were so.

In what I have now said, I think I cannot be misunderstood; and
to make myself understood is the only object of this letter.

If it suits you best not to answer this, farewell. A long life
and a merry one attend you. But, if you conclude to write back,
speak as plainly as I do. There can neither be harm nor danger
in saying to me anything you think, just in the manner you think
it. My respects to your sister.

Your friend,

LINCOLN

LEGAL SUIT OF WIDOW v.s. Gen. ADAMS

TO THE PEOPLE.

"SANGAMON JOURNAL," SPRINGFIELD, ILL.,
Aug. 19, 1837.

In accordance with our determination, as expressed last week, we
present to the reader the articles which were published in hand-
bill form, in reference to the case of the heirs of Joseph
Anderson vs. James Adams. These articles can now be read
uninfluenced by personal or party feeling, and with the sole
motive of learning the truth. When that is done, the reader can
pass his own judgment on the matters at issue.

We only regret in this case, that the publications were not made
some weeks before the election. Such a course might have
prevented the expressions of regret, which have often been heard
since, from different individuals, on account of the disposition
they made of their votes.

To the Public:

It is well known to most of you, that there is existing at this
time considerable excitement in regard to Gen. Adams's titles to
certain tracts of land, and the manner in which he acquired them.
As I understand, the Gen. charges that the whole has been gotten
up by a knot of lawyers to injure his election; and as I am one
of the knot to which he refers, and as I happen to be in
possession of facts connected with the matter, I will, in as
brief a manner as possible, make a statement of them, together
with the means by which I arrived at the know1edge of them.

Sometime in May or June last, a widow woman, by the name of
Anderson, and her son, who resides in Fulton county, came to
Springfield, for the purpose as they said of selling a ten acre
lot of ground lying near town, which they claimed as the property
of the deceased husband and father.

When they reached town they found the land was c1aimed by Gen.
Adams. John T. Stuart and myself were employed to look into the
matter, and if it was thought we could do so with any prospect of
success, to commence a suit for the land. I went immediately to
the recorder's office to examine Adams's title, and found that
the land had been entered by one Dixon, deeded by Dixon to
Thomas, by Thomas to one Miller, and by Miller to Gen. Adams.
The oldest of these three deeds was about ten or eleven years
old, and the latest more than five, all recorded at the same
time, and that within less than one year. This I thought a
suspicious circumstance, and I was thereby induced to examine the
deeds very closely, with a view to the discovery of some defect
by which to overturn the title, being almost convinced then it
was founded in fraud. I discovered that in the deed from Thomas
to Miller, although Miller's name stood in a sort of marginal
note on the record book, it was nowhere in the deed itself. I
told the fact to Talbott, the recorder, and proposed to him that
he should go to Gen. Adams's and get the original deed, and
compare it with the record, and thereby ascertain whether the
defect was in the original or there was merely an error in the
recording. As Talbott afterwards told me, he went to the
General's, but not finding him at home, got the deed from his
son, which, when compared with the record, proved what we had
discovered was merely an error of the recorder. After Mr.
Talbott corrected the record, be brought the original to our
office, as I then thought and think yet, to show us that it was
right. When he came into the room he handed the deed to me,
remarking that the fault was all his own. On opening it, another
paper fell out of it, which on examination proved to be an
assignment of a judgment in the Circuit Court of Sangamon County
from Joseph Anderson, the late husband of the widow above named,
to James Adams, the judgment being in favor of said Anderson
against one Joseph Miller. Knowing that this judgment had some
connection with the land affair, I immediately took a copy of it,
which is word for word, letter for letter and cross for cross as
follows:

"Joseph Anderson,
vs.
Joseph Miller.

Judgment in Sangamon Circuit Court against Joseph Miller obtained
on a note originally 25 dolls and interest thereon accrued.
I assign all my right, title and interest to James Adams which is
in consideration of a debt I owe said Adams.

his
JOSEPH x ANDERSON.
mark."

As the copy shows, it bore date May 10, 1827; although the
judgment assigned by it was not obtained until the October
afterwards, as may be seen by any one on the records of the
Circuit Court. Two other strange circumstances attended it which
cannot be represented by a copy. One of them was, that the date
"1827" had first been made "1837" and, without the figure "3,"
being fully obliterated, the figure "2" had afterwards been made
on top of it; the other was that, although the date was ten years
old, the writing on it, from the freshness of its appearance, was
thought by many, and I believe by all who saw it, not to be more
than a week old. The paper on which it was written had a very
old appearance; and there were some old figures on the back of it
which made the freshness of the writing on the face of it much
more striking than I suppose it otherwise might have been. The
reader's curiosity is no doubt excited to know what connection
this assignment had with the land in question. The story is
this: Dixon sold and deeded the land to Thomas; Thomas sold it to
Anderson; but before he gave a deed, Anderson sold it to Miller,
and took Miller's note for the purchase money. When this note
became due, Anderson sued Miller on it, and Miller procured an
injunction from the Court of Chancery to stay the collection of
the money until he should get a deed for the land. Gen. Adams
was employed as an attorney by Anderson in this chancery suit,
and at the October term, 1827, the injunction was dissolved, and
a judgment given in favor of Anderson against Miller; and it was
provided that Thomas was to execute a deed for the land in favor
of Miller and deliver it to Gen. Adams, to be held up by him till
Miller paid the judgment, and then to deliver it to him. Miller
left the county without paying the judgment. Anderson moved to
Fulton county, where he has since died When the widow came to
Springfield last May or June, as before mentioned, and found the
land deeded to Gen. Adams by Miller, she was naturally led to
inquire why the money due upon the judgment had not been sent to
them, inasmuch as he, Gen. Adams, had no authority to deliver
Thomas's deed to Miller until the money was paid. Then it was
the General told her, or perhaps her son, who came with her, that
Anderson, in his lifetime, had assigned the judgment to him, Gen.
Adams. I am now told that the General is exhibiting an
assignment of the same judgment bearing date "1828" and in other
respects differing from the one described; and that he is
asserting that no such assignment as the one copied by me ever
existed; or if there did, it was forged between Talbott and the
lawyers, and slipped into his papers for the purpose of injuring
him. Now, I can only say that I know precisely such a one did
exist, and that Ben. Talbott, Wm. Butler, C.R. Matheny, John
T. Stuart, Judge Logan, Robert Irwin, P. C. Canedy and S. M.
Tinsley, all saw and examined it, and that at least one half of
them will swear that IT WAS IN GENERAL ADAMS'S HANDWRITING !! And
further, I know that Talbott will swear that he got it out of the
General's possession, and returned it into his possession again.
The assignment which the General is now exhibiting purports to
have been by Anderson in writing. The one I copied was signed
with a cross.

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