The Writings of Abraham Lincoln Vol. 1-7


iSpeech

I am told that Gen. Neale says that he will swear that he heard
Gen. Adams tell young Anderson that the assignment made by his
father was signed with a cross.

The above are 'facts, as stated. I leave them without comment.
I have given the names of persons who have knowledge of these
facts, in order that any one who chooses may call on them and
ascertain how far they will corroborate my statements. I have
only made these statements because I am known by many to be one
of the individuals against whom the charge of forging the
assignment and slipping it into the General's papers has been
made, and because our silence might be construed into a
confession of its truth. I shall not subscribe my name; but I
hereby authorize the editor of the Journal to give it up to any
one that may call for it."

LINCOLN AND TALBOTT IN REPLY TO GEN. ADAMS.

"SANGAMON JOURNAL," SPRINGFIELD, ILL., Oct. 28, 1837.

In the Republican of this morning a publication of Gen. Adams's
appears, in which my name is used quite unreservedly. For this I
thank the General. I thank him because it gives me an
opportunity, without appearing obtrusive, of explaining a part of
a former publication of mine, which appears to me to have been
misunderstood by many.

In the former publication alluded to, I stated, in substance,
that Mr. Talbott got a deed from a son of Gen. Adams's for the
purpose of correcting a mistake that had occurred on the record
of the said deed in the recorder's office; that he corrected the
record, and brought the deed and handed it to me, and that on
opening the deed, another paper, being the assignment of a
judgment, fell out of it. This statement Gen. Adams and the
editor of the Republican have seized upon as a most palpable
evidence of fabrication and falsehood. They set themselves
gravely about proving that the assignment could not have been in
the deed when Talbott got it from young Adams, as he, Talbott,
would have seen it when he opened the deed to correct the record.
Now, the truth is, Talbott did see the assignment when he opened
the deed, or at least he told me he did on the same day; and I
only omitted to say so, in my former publication, because it was
a matter of such palpable and necessary inference. I had stated
that Talbott had corrected the record by the deed; and of course
he must have opened it; and, just as the General and his friends
argue, must have seen the assignment. I omitted to state the
fact of Talbott's seeing the assignment, because its existence
was so necessarily connected with other facts which I did state,
that I thought the greatest dunce could not but understand it.
Did I say Talbott had not seen it? Did I say anything that was
inconsistent with his having seen it before? Most certainly I did
neither; and if I did not, what becomes of the argument? These
logical gentlemen can sustain their argument only by assuming
that I did say negatively everything that I did not say
affirmatively; and upon the same assumption, we may expect to
find the General, if a little harder pressed for argument, saying
that I said Talbott came to our office with his head downward,
not that I actually said so, but because I omitted to say he came
feet downward.

In his publication to-day, the General produces the affidavit of
Reuben Radford, in which it is said that Talbott told Radford
that he did not find the assignment in the deed, in the recording
of which the error was committed, but that he found it wrapped in
another paper in the recorder's office, upon which statement the
Genl. comments as follows, to wit:
"If it be true as stated by Talbott to Radford, that he found the
assignment wrapped up in another paper at his office, that
contradicts the statement of Lincoln that it fell out of the
deed."

Is common sense to be abused with such sophistry? Did I say what
Talbott found it in? If Talbott did find it in another paper at
his office, is that any reason why he could not have folded it in
a deed and brought it to my office? Can any one be so far duped
as to be made believe that what may have happened at Talbot's
office at one time is inconsistent with what happened at my
office at another time?

Now Talbott's statement of the case as he makes it to me is this,
that he got a bunch of deeds from young Adams, and that he knows
he found the assignment in the bunch, but he is not certain which
particular deed it was in, nor is he certain whether it was
folded in the same deed out of which it was taken, or another
one, when it was brought to my office. Is this a mysterious
story? Is there anything suspicious about it?

"But it is useless to dwell longer on this point. Any man who is
not wilfully blind can see at a flash, that there is no
discrepancy, and Lincoln has shown that they are not only
inconsistent with truth, but each other"--I can only say, that I
have shown that he has done no such thing; and if the reader is
disposed to require any other evidence than the General's
assertion, he will be of my opinion.

Excepting the General's most flimsy attempt at mystification, in
regard to a discrepance between Talbott and myself, he has not
denied a single statement that I made in my hand-bill. Every
material statement that I made has been sworn to by men who, in
former times, were thought as respectable as General Adams. I
stated that an assignment of a judgment, a copy of which I gave,
had existed--Benj. Talbott, C. R. Matheny, Wm. Butler, and
Judge Logan swore to its existence. I stated that it was said to
be in Gen. Adams's handwriting--the same men swore it was in his
handwriting. I stated that Talbott would swear that he got it
out of Gen. Adams's possession--Talbott came forward and did
swear it.

Bidding adieu to the former publication, I now propose to examine
the General's last gigantic production. I now propose to point
out some discrepancies in the General's address; and such, too,
as he shall not be able to escape from. Speaking of the famous
assignment, the General says: "This last charge, which was their
last resort, their dying effort to render my character infamous
among my fellow citizens, was manufactured at a certain lawyer's
office in the town, printed at the office of the Sangamon
Journal, and found its way into the world some time between two
days just before the last election." Now turn to Mr. Keys'
affidavit, in which you will find the following, viz.: "I certify
that some time in May or the early part of June, 1837, I saw at
Williams's corner a paper purporting to be an assignment from
Joseph Anderson to James Adams, which assignment was signed by a
mark to Anderson's name," etc. Now mark, if Keys saw the
assignment on the last of May or first of June, Gen. Adams tells
a falsehood when he says it was manufactured just before the
election, which was on the 7th of August; and if it was
manufactured just before the election, Keys tells a falsehood
when he says he saw it on the last of May or first of June.
Either Keys or the General is irretrievably in for it; and in the
General's very condescending language, I say "Let them settle it
between them."

Now again, let the reader, bearing in mind that General Adams has
unequivocally said, in one part of his address, that the charge
in relation to the assignment was manufactured just before the
election, turn to the affidavit of Peter S. Weber, where the
following will be found viz.: "I, Peter S. Weber, do certify
that from the best of my recollection, on the day or day after
Gen. Adams started for the Illinois Rapids, in May last, that I
was at the house of Gen. Adams, sitting in the kitchen, situated
on the back part of the house, it being in the afternoon, and
that Benjamin Talbott came around the house, back into the
kitchen, and appeared wild and confused, and that he laid a
package of papers on the kitchen table and requested that they
should be handed to Lucian. He made no apology for coming to the
kitchen, nor for not handing them to Lucian himself, but showed
the token of being frightened and confused both in demeanor and
speech and for what cause I could not apprehend."

Commenting on Weber's affidavit, Gen. Adams asks, "Why this
fright and confusion?" I reply that this is a question for the
General himself. Weber says that it was in May, and if so, it is
most clear that Talbott was not frightened on account of the
assignment, unless the General lies when he says the assignment
charge was manufactured just before the election. Is it not a
strong evidence, that the General is not traveling with the pole-
star of truth in his front, to see him in one part of his address
roundly asserting that the assignment was manufactured just
before the election, and then, forgetting that position,
procuring Weber's most foolish affidavit, to prove that Talbott
had been engaged in manufacturing it two months before?

In another part of his address, Gen. Adams says: "That I hold an
assignment of said judgment, dated the 20th of May, 1828, and
signed by said Anderson, I have never pretended to deny or
conceal, but stated that fact in one of my circulars previous to
the election, and also in answer to a bill in chancery." Now I
pronounce this statement unqualifiedly false, and shall not rely
on the word or oath of any man to sustain me in what I say; but
will let the whole be decided by reference to the circular and
answer in chancery of which the General speaks. In his circular
he did speak of an assignment; but he did not say it bore date
20th of May, 1828; nor did he say it bore any date. In his
answer in chancery, he did say that he had an assignment; but he
did not say that it bore date the 20th May, 1828; but so far from
it, he said on oath (for he swore to the answer) that as well as
recollected, he obtained it in 1827. If any one doubts, let him
examine the circular and answer for himself. They are both
accessible.

It will readily be observed that the principal part of Adams's
defense rests upon the argument that if he had been base enough
to forge an assignment he would not have been fool enough to
forge one that would not cover the case. This argument he used
in his circular before the election. The Republican has used it
at least once, since then; and Adams uses it again in his
publication of to-day. Now I pledge myself to show that he is
just such a fool that he and his friends have contended it was
impossible for him to be. Recollect--he says he has a genuine
assignment; and that he got Joseph Klein's affidavit, stating
that he had seen it, and that he believed the signature to have
been executed by the same hand that signed Anderson's name to the
answer in chancery. Luckily Klein took a copy of this genuine
assignment, which I have been permitted to see; and hence I know
it does not cover the case. In the first place it is headed
"Joseph Anderson vs. Joseph Miller," and heads off "Judgment in
Sangamon Circuit Court." Now, mark, there never was a case in
Sangamon Circuit Court entitled Joseph Anderson vs. Joseph
Miller. The case mentioned in my former publication, and the
only one between these parties that ever existed in the Circuit
Court, was entitled Joseph Miller vs. Joseph Anderson, Miller
being the plaintiff. What then becomes of all their sophistry
about Adams not being fool enough to forge an assignment that
would not cover the case? It is certain that the present one does
not cover the case; and if he got it honestly, it is still clear
that he was fool enough to pay for an assignment that does not
cover the case.

The General asks for the proof of disinterested witnesses. Whom
does he consider disinterested? None can be more so than those
who have already testified against him. No one of them had the
least interest on earth, so far as I can learn, to injure him.
True, he says they had conspired against him; but if the
testimony of an angel from Heaven were introduced against him, he
would make the same charge of conspiracy. And now I put the
question to every reflecting man, Do you believe that Benjamin
Talbott, Chas. R. Matheny, William Butler and Stephen T.
Logan, all sustaining high and spotless characters, and justly
proud of them, would deliberately perjure themselves, without any
motive whatever, except to injure a man's election; and that,
too, a man who had been a candidate, time out of mind, and yet
who had never been elected to any office?

Adams's assurance, in demanding disinterested testimony, is
surpassing. He brings in the affidavit of his own son, and even
of Peter S. Weber, with whom I am not acquainted, but who, I
suppose, is some black or mulatto boy, from his being kept in the
kitchen, to prove his points; but when such a man as Talbott, a
man who, but two years ago, ran against Gen. Adams for the office
of Recorder and beat him more than four votes to one, is
introduced against him, he asks the community, with all the
consequence of a lord, to reject his testimony.

I might easily write a volume, pointing out inconsistencies
between the statements in Adams's last address with one another,
and with other known facts; but I am aware the reader must
already be tired with the length of this article. His opening
statements, that he was first accused of being a Tory, and that
he refuted that; that then the Sampson's ghost story was got up,
and he refuted that; that as a last resort, a dying effort, the
assignment charge was got up is all as false as hell, as all this
community must know. Sampson's ghost first made its appearance
in print, and that, too, after Keys swears he saw the assignment,
as any one may see by reference to the files of papers; and Gen.
Adams himself, in reply to the Sampson's ghost story, was the
first man that raised the cry of toryism, and it was only by way
of set-off, and never in seriousness, that it was bandied back at
him. His effort is to make the impression that his enemies first
made the charge of toryism and he drove them from that, then
Sampson's ghost, he drove them from that, then finally the
assignment charge was manufactured just before election. Now,
the only general reply he ever made to the Sampson's ghost and
tory charges he made at one and the same time, and not in
succession as he states; and the date of that reply will show,
that it was made at least a month after the date on which Keys
swears he saw the Anderson assignment. But enough. In
conclusion I will only say that I have a character to defend as
well as Gen. Adams, but I disdain to whine about it as he does.
It is true I have no children nor kitchen boys; and if I had, I
should scorn to lug them in to make affidavits for me.

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