The Writings of Abraham Lincoln Vol. 1-7

I know that this is very desirable with me, as with everybody else,
that all the elements of the opposition shall unite in the next
Presidential election and in all future time. I am anxious that that
should be; but there are things seriously to be considered in
relation to that matter. If the terms can be arranged, I am in favor
of the union. But suppose we shall take up some man, and put him
upon one end or the other of the ticket, who declares himself against
us in regard to the prevention of the spread of slavery, who turns up
his nose and says he is tired of hearing anything more about it, who
is more against us than against the enemy, what will be the issue?
Why, he will get no slave States, after all,–he has tried that
already until being beat is the rule for him. If we nominate him
upon that ground, he will not carry a slave State; and not only so,
but that portion of our men who are high-strung upon the principle we
really fight for will not go for him, and he won’t get a single
electoral vote anywhere, except, perhaps, in the State of Maryland.
There is no use in saying to us that we are stubborn and obstinate
because we won’t do some such thing as this. We cannot do it. We
cannot get our men to vote it. I speak by the card, that we cannot
give the State of Illinois in such case by fifty thousand. We would
be flatter down than the “Negro Democracy” themselves have the heart
to wish to see us.

After saying this much let me say a little on the other side. There
are plenty of men in the slave States that are altogether good enough
for me to be either President or Vice-President, provided they will
profess their sympathy with our purpose, and will place themselves on
the ground that our men, upon principle, can vote for them. There
are scores of them, good men in their character for intelligence and
talent and integrity. If such a one will place himself upon the
right ground, I am for his occupying one place upon the next
Republican or opposition ticket. I will heartily go for him. But
unless he does so place himself, I think it a matter of perfect
nonsense to attempt to bring about a union upon any other basis; that
if a union be made, the elements will scatter so that there can be no
success for such a ticket, nor anything like success. The good old
maxims of the Bible axe applicable, and truly applicable, to human
affairs, and in this, as in other things, we may say here that he who
is not for us is against us; he who gathereth not with us,
scattereth. I should be glad to have some of the many good and able
and noble men of the South to place themselves where we can confer
upon them the high honor of an election upon one or the other end of
our ticket. It would do my soul good to do that thing. It would
enable us to teach them that, inasmuch as we select one of their own
number to carry out our principles, we are free from the charge that
we mean more than we say.

But, my friends, I have detained you much longer than I expected to
do. I believe I may do myself the compliment to say that you have
stayed and heard me with great patience, for which I return you my
most sincere thanks.



CLINTON, October 11, 1859


MY DEAR SIR:–I am here just now attending court. Yesterday, before
I left Springfield, your brother, Dr. William S. Wallace, showed me a
letter of yours, in which you kindly mention my name, inquiring for
my tariff views, and suggest the propriety of my writing a letter
upon the subject. I was an old Henry-Clay-Tariff Whig. In old times
I made more speeches on that subject than any other.

I have not since changed my views. I believe yet, if we could have a
moderate, carefully adjusted protective tariff, so far acquiesced in
as not to be a perpetual subject of political strife, squabbles
changes, and uncertainties, it would be better for us. Still it is
my opinion that just now the revival of that question will not
advance the cause itself, or the man who revives it.

I have not thought much on the subject recently, but my general
impression is that the necessity for a protective tariff will ere
long force its old opponents to take it up; and then its old friends
can join in and establish it on a more firm and durable basis. We,
the Old Whigs, have been entirely beaten out on the tariff question,
and we shall not be able to re-establish the policy until the absence
of it shall have demonstrated the necessity for it in the minds of
men heretofore opposed to it. With this view, I should prefer to not
now write a public letter on the subject. I therefore wish this to
be considered confidential. I shall be very glad to receive a
letter from you.

Yours truly,



SPRINGFIELD, November, 2, 1859.


DEAR SIR:–Yours of October 27 is received. When a mortgage is given
to secure two notes, and one of the notes is sold and assigned, if
the mortgaged premises are only sufficient to pay one note, the one
assigned will take it all. Also, an execution from a judgment on the
assigned note may take it all; it being the same thing in substance.
There is redemption on execution sales from the United States Court
just as from any other court.

You did not mention the name of the plaintiff or defendant in the
suit, and so I can tell nothing about it as to sales, bids, etc.
Write again.

Yours truly,



…………. But you Democrats are for the Union; and you greatly
fear the success of the Republicans would destroy the Union. Why? Do
the Republicans declare against the Union? Nothing like it. Your own
statement of it is that if the Black Republicans elect a President,
you “won’t stand it.” You will break up the Union. If we shall
constitutionally elect a President, it will be our duty to see that
you submit. Old John Brown has been executed for treason against a
State. We cannot object, even though he agreed with us in thinking
slavery wrong. That cannot excuse violence, bloodshed and treason.
It could avail him nothing that he might think himself right. So, if
we constitutionally elect a President, and therefore you undertake to
destroy the Union, it will be our duty to deal with you as old John
Brown has been dealt with. We shall try to do our duty. We hope and
believe that in no section will a majority so act as to render such
extreme measures necessary.


SPRINGFIELD, Dec. 14, 1859


GENT.:–Your favor of the 12th is at hand, and it gives me pleasure
to be able to answer it. It is not my intention to take part in any
of the rivalries for the gubernatorial nomination; but the fear of
being misunderstood upon that subject ought not to deter me from
doing justice to Mr. Judd, and preventing a wrong being done to him
by the use of nay name in connection with alleged wrongs to me.

In answer to your first question, as to whether Mr. Judd was guilty
of any unfairness to me at the time of Senator Trumbull’s election, I
answer unhesitatingly in the negative; Mr. Judd owed no political
allegiance to any party whose candidate I was. He was in the Senate,
holding over, having been elected by a Democratic Constituency. He
never was in any caucus of the friends who sought to make me U. S.
Senator, never gave me any promises or pledges to support me, and
subsequent events have greatly tended to prove the wisdom,
politically, of Mr. Judd’s course. The election of Judge Trumbull
strongly tended to sustain and preserve the position of that lion of
the Democrats who condemned the repeal of the Missouri Compromise,
and left them in a position of joining with us in forming the
Republican party, as was done at the Bloomington convention in 1856.

During the canvass of 1858 for the senatorship my belief was, and
still is, that I had no more sincere and faithful friend than Mr.
Judd–certainly none whom I trusted more. His position as chairman
of the State Central Committee led to my greater intercourse with
him, and to my giving him a larger share of my confidence, than with
or to almost any other friend; and I have never suspected that that
confidence was, to any degree, misplaced.

My relations with Mr. Judo since the organization of the Republican
party, in, our State, in 1856, and especially since the adjournment
of the Legislature in Feb., 1857, have been so very intimate that I
deem it an impossibility that he could have been dealing
treacherously with me. He has also, at all times, appeared equally
true and faithful to the party. In his position as chairman of the
committee, I believe he did all that any man could have done. The
best of us are liable to commit errors, which become apparent by
subsequent developments; but I do not know of a single error, even,
committed by Mr. Judd, since he and I have acted together

I, had occasionally heard these insinuations against Mr. Judd, before
the receipt of your letter; and in no instance have I hesitated to
pronounce them wholly unjust, to the full extent of my knowledge and
belief. I have been, and still am, very anxious to take no part
between the many friends, all good and true, who are mentioned as
candidates for a Republican gubernatorial nomination; but I can not
feel that my own honor is quite clear if I remain silent when I hear
any one of them assailed about matters of which I believe I know more
than his assailants.

I take pleasure in adding that, of all the avowed friends I had in
the canvass of last year, I do not suspect any of having acted
treacherously to me, or to our cause; and that there is not one of
them in whose honesty, honor, and integrity I, today, have greater
confidence than I have in those of Mr. Judd.

I dislike to appear before the public in this matter; but you are at
liberty to make such use of this letter as you may think justice

Yours very truly,



SPRINGFIELD, ILLINOIS, December 19, 1859.


GENTLEMEN:–Your letter of the 7th instant, accompanied by a similar
one from the governor-elect, the Republican State officers, and the
Republican members of the State Board of Equalization of Ohio, both
requesting of me, for publication in permanent form, copies of the
political debates between Senator Douglas and myself last year, has
been received. With my grateful acknowledgments to both you and them
for the very flattering terms in which the request is communicated, I
transmit you the copies. The copies I send you are as reported and
printed by the respective friends of Senator Douglas and myself, at
the time–that is, his by his friends, and mine by mine. It would be
an unwarrantable liberty for us to change a word or a letter in his,
and the changes I have made in mine, you perceive, are verbal only,
and very few in number. I wish the reprint to be precisely as the
copies I send, without any comment whatever.

Yours very truly,




SPRINGFIELD, December 20, 1859.

J. W. FELL, Esq.

MY DEAR SIR:–Herewith is a little sketch, as you requested. There
is not much of it, for the reason, I suppose, that there is not much
of me. If anything be made out of it, I wish it to be modest, and
not to go beyond the material. If it were thought necessary to
incorporate anything from any of my speeches I suppose there would be
no objection. Of course it must not appear to have been written by

Yours very truly,


I was born February 12, 1809, in Hardin County, Kentucky. My parents
were both born in Virginia, of undistinguished families–second
families, perhaps I should say. My mother, who died in my tenth
year, was of a family of the name of Hanks, some of whom now reside
in Adams, and others in Macon County, Illinois. My paternal
grandfather, Abraham Lincoln, emigrated from Rockingham County,
Virginia, to Kentucky about 1781 or 1782, where a year or two later
he was killed by the Indians, not in battle, but by stealth, when he
was laboring to open a farm in the forest. His ancestors, who were
Quakers, went to Virginia from Berks County, Pennsylvania. An effort
to identify them with the New England family of the same name ended
in nothing more definite than a similarity of Christian names in both
families, such as Enoch, Levi, Mordecai, Solomon, Abraham, and the

My father, at the death of his father, was but six years of age, and
he grew up literally without education. He removed from Kentucky to
what is now Spencer County, Indiana, in my eighth year. We reached
our new home about the time that State came into the Union. It was a
wild region, with many bears and other wild animals still in the
woods. There I grew up. There were some schools, so called, but no
qualification was ever required of a teacher beyond “readin’,
writin’, and cipherin”‘ to the Rule of Three. If a straggler
supposed to understand Latin happened to sojourn in the neighborhood
he was looked upon as a wizard. There was absolutely nothing to
excite ambition for education. Of course, when I came of age I did
not know much. Still, somehow, I could read, write, and cipher to
the Rule of Three, but that was all. I have not been to school
since. The little advance I now have upon this store of education I
have picked up from time to time under the pressure of necessity.

I was raised to farm work, which I continued till I was twenty-two.
At twenty-one I came to Illinois, Macon County. Then I got to New
Salem, at that time in Sangamon, now in Menard County, where I
remained a year as a sort of clerk in a store. Then came the Black
Hawk war; and I was elected a captain of volunteers, a success which
gave me more pleasure than any I have had since. I went the
campaign, was elected, ran for the Legislature the same year (1832),
and was beaten–the only time I ever have been beaten by the people.
The next and three succeeding biennial elections I was elected to the
Legislature. I was not a candidate afterward. During this
legislative period I had studied law, and removed to Springfield to
practice it. In 1846 I was once elected to the lower House of
Congress. Was not a candidate for re-election. From 1849 to 1854,
both inclusive, practiced law more assiduously than ever before.
Always a Whig in politics; and generally on the Whig electoral
tickets, making active canvasses. I was losing interest in politics
when the repeal of the Missouri Compromise aroused me again. What I
have done since then is pretty well known.

«- Previous | 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 95 96 97 98 99 100 101 102 103 104 105 106 107 108 109 110 111 112 113 114 115 116 117 118 119 120 121 122 123 124 125 126 127 128 129 130 131 132 133 134 135 136 137 138 139 140 141 142 143 144 145 146 147 148 149 150 151 152 153 154 155 156 157 158 159 160 161 162 163 164 165 166 167 168 169 170 171 172 173 174 175 176 177 178 179 180 181 182 183 184 185 186 187 188 189 190 191 192 193 194 195 196 197 198 199 200 201 202 203 | View All | Next -»