The Writings of Abraham Lincoln Vol. 1-7


Yours as ever,


P. S Will you write me again?


April 14, 1843.


I have heard it intimated that Baker has been attempting to get
you or Miles, or both of you, to violate the instructions of the
meeting that appointed you, and to go for him. I have insisted,
and still insist, that this cannot be true. Surely Baker would
not do the like. As well might Hardin ask me to vote for him in
the convention. Again, it is said there will be an attempt to
get up instructions in your county requiring you to go for Baker.
This is all wrong. Upon the same rule, Why might not I fly from
the decision against me in Sangamon, and get up instructions to
their delegates to go for me? There are at least twelve hundred
Whigs in the county that took no part, and yet I would as soon
put my head in the fire as to attempt it. Besides, if any one
should get the nomination by such extraordinary means, all
harmony in the district would inevitably be lost. Honest Whigs
(and very nearly all of them are honest) would not quietly abide
such enormities. I repeat, such an attempt on Baker's part
cannot be true. Write me at Springfield how the matter is.
Don't show or speak of this letter.



SPRINGFIELD, May 11, 1843.


Butler informs me that he received a letter from you, in which
you expressed some doubt whether the Whigs of Sangamon will
support you cordially. You may, at once, dismiss all fears on
that subject. We have already resolved to make a particular
effort to give you the very largest majority possible in our
county. From this, no Whig of the county dissents. We have many
objects for doing it. We make it a matter of honor and pride to
do it; we do it because we love the Whig cause; we do it because
we like you personally; and last, we wish to convince you that we
do not bear that hatred to Morgan County that you people have so
long seemed to imagine. You will see by the journals of this
week that we propose, upon pain of losing a barbecue, to give you
twice as great a majority in this county as you shall receive in
your own. I got up the proposal.

Who of the five appointed is to write the district address? I
did the labor of writing one address this year, and got thunder
for my reward. Nothing new here.

Yours as ever,


P. S.--I wish you would measure one of the largest of those
swords we took to Alton and write me the length of it, from tip
of the point to tip of the hilt, in feet and inches. I have a
dispute about the length.

A. L.

End of Etext of The Writings of Abraham Lincoln, Vol 1




SPRINGFIELD, May 18, 1843.

DEAR SPEED:--Yours of the 9th instant is duly received, which I
do not meet as a "bore," but as a most welcome visitor. I will
answer the business part of it first.

In relation to our Congress matter here, you were right in
supposing I would support the nominee. Neither Baker nor I,
however, is the man, but Hardin, so far as I can judge from
present appearances. We shall have no split or trouble about the
matter; all will be harmony. In relation to the "coming events"
about which Butler wrote you, I had not heard one word before I
got your letter; but I have so much confidence in the judgment of
Butler on such a subject that I incline to think there may be
some reality in it. What day does Butler appoint? By the way,
how do "events" of the same sort come on in your family? Are you
possessing houses and lands, and oxen and asses, and men-servants
and maid-servants, and begetting sons and daughters? We are not
keeping house, but boarding at the Globe Tavern, which is very
well kept now by a widow lady of the name of Beck. Our room (the
same that Dr. Wallace occupied there) and boarding only costs us
four dollars a week. Ann Todd was married something more than a
year since to a fellow by the name of Campbell, and who, Mary
says, is pretty much of a "dunce," though he has a little money
and property. They live in Boonville, Missouri, and have not
been heard from lately enough for me to say anything about her
health. I reckon it will scarcely be in our power to visit
Kentucky this year. Besides poverty and the necessity of
attending to business, those "coming events," I suspect, would be
somewhat in the way. I most heartily wish you and your Fanny
would not fail to come. Just let us know the time, and we will
have a room provided for you at our house, and all be merry
together for a while. Be sure to give my respects to your mother
and family; assure her that if ever I come near her, I will not
fail to call and see her. Mary joins in sending love to your
Fanny and you.

Yours as ever,




SPRINGFIELD, May 21, 1844.

Knowing that you have correspondents enough, I have forborne to
trouble you heretofore; and I now only do so to get you to set a
matter right which has got wrong with one of our best friends.
It is old Uncle Thomas Campbell of Spring Creek--(Berlin P.O.).
He has received several documents from you, and he says they are
old newspapers and documents, having no sort of interest in them.
He is, therefore, getting a strong impression that you treat him
with disrespect. This, I know, is a mistaken impression; and you
must correct it. The way, I leave to yourself. Rob't W.
Canfield says he would like to have a document or two from you.

The Locos (Democrats) here are in considerable trouble about Van
Buren's letter on Texas, and the Virginia electors. They are
growing sick of the Tariff question; and consequently are much
confounded at V.B.'s cutting them off from the new Texas
question. Nearly half the leaders swear they won't stand it. Of
those are Ford, T. Campbell, Ewing, Calhoun and others. They
don't exactly say they won't vote for V.B., but they say he will
not be the candidate, and that they are for Texas anyhow.

As ever yours,




TO Gen. J. J. HARDIN, SPRINGFIELD, Jany. 19, 1845.


I do not wish to join in your proposal of a new plan for the
selection of a Whig candidate for Congress because:

1st. I am entirely satisfied with the old system under which you
and Baker were successively nominated and elected to Congress;
and because the Whigs of the district are well acquainted with
the system, and, so far as I know or believe, are well satisfied
with it. If the old system be thought to be vague, as to all the
delegates of the county voting the same way, or as to
instructions to them as to whom they are to vote for, or as to
filling vacancies, I am willing to join in a provision to make
these matters certain.

2d. As to your proposals that a poll shall be opened in every
precinct, and that the whole shall take place on the same day, I
do not personally object. They seem to me to be not unfair; and
I forbear to join in proposing them only because I choose to
leave the decision in each county to the Whigs of the county, to
be made as their own judgment and convenience may dictate.

3d. As to your proposed stipulation that all the candidates
shall remain in their own counties, and restrain their friends in
the same it seems to me that on reflection you will see the fact
of your having been in Congress has, in various ways, so spread
your name in the district as to give you a decided advantage in
such a stipulation. I appreciate your desire to keep down
excitement; and I promise you to "keep cool" under all

4th. I have already said I am satisfied with the old system
under which such good men have triumphed and that I desire no
departure from its principles. But if there must be a departure
from it, I shall insist upon a more accurate and just
apportionment of delegates, or representative votes, to the
constituent body, than exists by the old, and which you propose
to retain in your new plan. If we take the entire population of
the counties as shown by the late census, we shall see by the old
plan, and by your proposed new plan,

Morgan County, with a population 16,541, has but ....... 8 votes
While Sangamon with 18,697--2156 greater has but ....... 8 "
So Scott with 6553 has ................................. 4 "
While Tazewell with 7615 1062 greater has but .......... 4 "
So Mason with 3135 has ................................. 1 vote
While Logan with 3907, 772 greater, has but ............ 1 "

And so on in a less degree the matter runs through all the
counties, being not only wrong in principle, but the advantage of
it being all manifestly in your favor with one slight exception,
in the comparison of two counties not here mentioned.

Again, if we take the Whig votes of the counties as shown by the
late Presidential election as a basis, the thing is still worse.

It seems to me most obvious that the old system needs adjustment
in nothing so much as in this; and still, by your proposal, no
notice is taken of it. I have always been in the habit of
acceding to almost any proposal that a friend would make and I am
truly sorry that I cannot in this. I perhaps ought to mention
that some friends at different places are endeavoring to secure
the honor of the sitting of the convention at their towns
respectively, and I fear that they would not feel much
complimented if we shall make a bargain that it should sit

Yours as ever,


TO _________ WILLIAMS,

SPRINGFIELD, March 1, 1845.


The Supreme Court adjourned this morning for the term. Your
cases of Reinhardt vs. Schuyler, Bunce vs. Schuyler, Dickhut vs.
Dunell, and Sullivan vs. Andrews are continued. Hinman vs. Pope
I wrote you concerning some time ago. McNutt et al. vs. Bean and
Thompson is reversed and remanded.

Fitzpatrick vs. Brady et al. is reversed and remanded with leave
to complainant to amend his bill so as to show the real
consideration given for the land.

Bunce against Graves the court confirmed, wherefore, in
accordance with your directions, I moved to have the case
remanded to enable you to take a new trial in the court below.
The court allowed the motion; of which I am glad, and I guess you

This, I believe, is all as to court business. The canal men have
got their measure through the Legislature pretty much or quite in
the shape they desired. Nothing else now.

Yours as ever,




SPRINGFIELD, October 3, 1845

When I saw you at home, it was agreed that I should write to you
and your brother Madison. Until I then saw you I was not aware
of your being what is generally called an abolitionist, or, as
you call yourself, a Liberty man, though I well knew there were
many such in your country.

I was glad to hear that you intended to attempt to bring about,
at the next election in Putnam, a Union of the Whigs proper and
such of the Liberty men as are Whigs in principle on all
questions save only that of slavery. So far as I can perceive,
by such union neither party need yield anything on the point in
difference between them. If the Whig abolitionists of New York
had voted with us last fall, Mr. Clay would now be President,
Whig principles in the ascendant, and Texas not annexed; whereas,
by the division, all that either had at stake in the contest was
lost. And, indeed, it was extremely probable, beforehand, that
such would be the result. As I always understood, the Liberty
men deprecated the annexation of Texas extremely; and this being
so, why they should refuse to cast their votes [so] as to prevent
it, even to me seemed wonderful. What was their process of
reasoning, I can only judge from what a single one of them told
me. It was this: "We are not to do evil that good may come."
This general proposition is doubtless correct; but did it apply?
If by your votes you could have prevented the extension, etc., of
slavery would it not have been good, and not evil, so to have
used your votes, even though it involved the casting of them for
a slaveholder? By the fruit the tree is to be known. An evil
tree cannot bring forth good fruit. If the fruit of electing Mr.
Clay would have been to prevent the extension of slavery, could
the act of electing have been evil?

But I will not argue further. I perhaps ought to say that
individually I never was much interested in the Texas question.
I never could see much good to come of annexation, inasmuch as
they were already a free republican people on our own model. On
the other hand, I never could very clearly see how the annexation
would augment the evil of slavery. It always seemed to me that
slaves would be taken there in about equal numbers, with or
without annexation. And if more were taken because of
annexation, still there would be just so many the fewer left
where they were taken from. It is possibly true, to some extent,
that, with annexation, some slaves may be sent to Texas and
continued in slavery that otherwise might have been liberated.
To whatever extent this may be true, I think annexation an evil.
I hold it to be a paramount duty of us in the free States, due to
the Union of the States, and perhaps to liberty itself (paradox
though it may seem), to let the slavery of the other States
alone; while, on the other hand, I hold it to be equally clear
that we should never knowingly lend ourselves, directly or
indirectly, to prevent that slavery from dying a natural death--
to find new places for it to live in when it can no longer exist
in the old. Of course I am not now considering what would be our
duty in cases of insurrection among the slaves. To recur to the
Texas question, I understand the Liberty men to have viewed
annexation as a much greater evil than ever I did; and I would
like to convince you, if I could, that they could have prevented
it, if they had chosen. I intend this letter for you and Madison
together; and if you and he or either shall think fit to drop me
a line, I shall be pleased.

Yours with respect,



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