The Entire Writings of Lincoln
Abraham Lincoln

Part 3 out of 36

thither on business, were in many instances subjected to the same
fate. Thus went on this process of hanging, from gamblers to
negroes, from negroes to white citizens, and from these to
strangers, till dead men were seen literally dangling from the
boughs of trees upon every roadside, and in numbers almost
sufficient to rival the native Spanish moss of the country as a
drapery of the forest.

Turn then to that horror-striking scene at St. Louis. A single
victim only was sacrificed there. This story is very short, and
is perhaps the most highly tragic of anything of its length that
has ever been witnessed in real life. A mulatto man by the name
of McIntosh was seized in the street, dragged to the suburbs of
the city, chained to a tree, and actually burned to death; and
all within a single hour from the time he had been a freeman
attending to his own business and at peace with the world.

Such are the effects of mob law, and such are the scenes becoming
more and more frequent in this land so lately famed for love of
law and order, and the stories of which have even now grown too
familiar to attract anything more than an idle remark.

But you are perhaps ready to ask, "What has this to do with the
perpetuation of our political institutions?" I answer, It has
much to do with it. Its direct consequences are, comparatively
speaking, but a small evil, and much of its danger consists in
the proneness of our minds to regard its direct as its only
consequences. Abstractly considered, the hanging of the gamblers
at Vicksburg was of but little consequence. They constitute a
portion of population that is worse than useless in any
community; and their death, if no pernicious example be set by
it, is never matter of reasonable regret with any one. If they
were annually swept from the stage of existence by the plague or
smallpox, honest men would perhaps be much profited by the
operation. Similar too is the correct reasoning in regard to the
burning of the negro at St. Louis. He had forfeited his life by
the perpetration of an outrageous murder upon one of the most
worthy and respectable citizens of the city, and had he not died
as he did, he must have died by the sentence of the law in a very
short time afterwards. As to him alone, it was as well the way
it was as it could otherwise have been. But the example in
either case was fearful. When men take it in their heads to-day
to hang gamblers or burn murderers, they should recollect that in
the confusion usually attending such transactions they will be as
likely to hang or burn some one who is neither a gambler nor a
murderer as one who is, and that, acting upon the example they
set, the mob of to-morrow may, and probably will, hang or burn
some of them by the very same mistake. And not only so: the
innocent, those who have ever set their faces against violations
of law in every shape, alike with the guilty fall victims to the
ravages of mob law; and thus it goes on, step by step, till all
the walls erected for the defense of the persons and property of
individuals are trodden down and disregarded. But all this,
even, is not the full extent of the evil. By such examples, by
instances of the perpetrators of such acts going unpunished, the
lawless in spirit are encouraged to become lawless in practice;
and having been used to no restraint but dread of punishment,
they thus become absolutely unrestrained. Having ever regarded
government as their deadliest bane, they make a jubilee of the
suspension of its operations, and pray for nothing so much as its
total annihilation. While, on the other hand, good men, men who
love tranquillity, who desire to abide by the laws and enjoy
their benefits, who would gladly spill their blood in the defense
of their country, seeing their property destroyed, their families
insulted, and their lives endangered, their persons injured, and
seeing nothing in prospect that forebodes a change for the
better, become tired of and disgusted with a government that
offers them no protection, and are not much averse to a change in
which they imagine they have nothing to lose. Thus, then, by the
operation of this mobocratic spirit which all must admit is now
abroad in the land, the strongest bulwark of any government, and
particularly of those constituted like ours, may effectually be
broken down and destroyed--I mean the attachment of the people.
Whenever this effect shall be produced among us; whenever the
vicious portion of population shall be permitted to gather in
bands of hundreds and thousands, and burn churches, ravage and
rob provision-stores, throw printing presses into rivers, shoot
editors, and hang and burn obnoxious persons at pleasure and with
impunity, depend on it, this government cannot last. By such
things the feelings of the best citizens will become more or less
alienated from it, and thus it will be left without friends, or
with too few, and those few too weak to make their friendship
effectual. At such a time, and under such circumstances, men of
sufficient talent and ambition will not be wanting to seize the
opportunity, strike the blow, and overturn that fair fabric which
for the last half century has been the fondest hope of the lovers
of freedom throughout the world.

I know the American people are much attached to their government;
I know they would suffer much for its sake; I know they would
endure evils long and patiently before they would ever think of
exchanging it for another,--yet, notwithstanding all this, if the
laws be continually despised and disregarded, if their rights to
be secure in their persons and property are held by no better
tenure than the caprice of a mob, the alienation of their
affections from the government is the natural consequence; and to
that, sooner or later, it must come.

Here, then, is one point at which danger may be expected.

The question recurs, How shall we fortify against it? The answer
is simple. Let every American, every lover of liberty, every
well-wisher to his posterity swear by the blood of the Revolution
never to violate in the least particular the laws of the country,
and never to tolerate their violation by others. As the patriots
of seventy-six did to the support of the Declaration of
Independence, so to the support of the Constitution and laws let
every American pledge his life, his property, and his sacred
honor. Let every man remember that to violate the law is to
trample on the blood of his father, and to tear the charter of
his own and his children's liberty. Let reverence for the laws
be breathed by every American mother to the lisping babe that
prattles on her lap; let it be taught in schools, in seminaries,
and in colleges; let it be written in primers, spelling books,
and in almanacs; let it be preached from the pulpit, proclaimed
in legislative halls, and enforced in courts of justice. And, in
short, let it become the political religion of the nation; and
let the old and the young, the rich and the poor, the grave and
the gay of all sexes and tongues and colors and conditions,
sacrifice unceasingly upon its altars.

While ever a state of feeling such as this shall universally or
even very generally prevail throughout the nation, vain will be
every effort, and fruitless every attempt, to subvert our
national freedom.

When, I so pressingly urge a strict observance of all the laws,
let me not be understood as saying there are no bad laws, or that
grievances may not arise for the redress of which no legal
provisions have been made. I mean to say no such thing. But I
do mean to say that although bad laws, if they exist, should be
repealed as soon as possible, still, while they continue in
force, for the sake of example they should be religiously
observed. So also in unprovided cases. If such arise, let
proper legal provisions be made for them with the least possible
delay, but till then let them, if not too intolerable, be borne

There is no grievance that is a fit object of redress by mob law.
In any case that may arise, as, for instance, the promulgation of
abolitionism, one of two positions is necessarily true--that is,
the thing is right within itself, and therefore deserves the
protection of all law and all good citizens, or it is wrong, and
therefore proper to be prohibited by legal enactments; and in
neither case is the interposition of mob law either necessary,
justifiable, or excusable.

But it may be asked, Why suppose danger to our political
institutions? Have we not preserved them for more than fifty
years? And why may we not for fifty times as long?

We hope there is no sufficient reason. We hope all danger may be
overcome; but to conclude that no danger may ever arise would
itself be extremely dangerous. There are now, and will hereafter
be, many causes, dangerous in their tendency, which have not
existed heretofore, and which are not too insignificant to merit
attention. That our government should have been maintained in
its original form, from its establishment until now, is not much
to be wondered at. It had many props to support it through that
period, which now are decayed and crumbled away. Through that
period it was felt by all to be an undecided experiment; now it
is understood to be a successful one. Then, all that sought
celebrity and fame and distinction expected to find them in the
success of that experiment. Their all was staked upon it; their
destiny was inseparably linked with it. Their ambition aspired
to display before an admiring world a practical demonstration of
the truth of a proposition which had hitherto been considered at
best no better than problematical--namely, the capability of a
people to govern themselves. If they succeeded they were to be
immortalized; their names were to be transferred to counties, and
cities, and rivers, and mountains; and to be revered and sung,
toasted through all time. If they failed, they were to be called
knaves) and fools, and fanatics for a fleeting hour; then to sink
and be forgotten. They succeeded. The experiment is successful,
and thousands have won their deathless names in making it so.
But the game is caught; and I believe it is true that with the
catching end the pleasures of the chase. This field of glory is
harvested, and the crop is already appropriated. But new reapers
will arise, and they too will seek a field. It is to deny what
the history of the world tells us is true, to suppose that men of
ambition and talents will not continue to spring up amongst us.
And when they do, they will as naturally seek the gratification
of their ruling passion as others have done before them. The
question then is, Can that gratification be found in supporting
and in maintaining an edifice that has been erected by others?
Most certainly it cannot. Many great and good men, sufficiently
qualified for any task they should undertake, may ever be found
whose ambition would aspire to nothing beyond a seat in Congress,
a Gubernatorial or a Presidential chair; but such belong not to
the family of the lion, or the tribe of the eagle. What! think
you these places would satisfy an Alexander, a Caesar, or a
Napoleon? Never! Towering genius disdains a beaten path. It
seeks regions hitherto unexplored. It sees no distinction in
adding story to story upon the monuments of fame erected to the
memory of others. It denies that it is glory enough to serve
under any chief. It scorns to tread in the footsteps of any
predecessor, however illustrious. It thirsts and burns for
distinction; and if possible, it will have it, whether at the
expense of emancipating slaves or enslaving freemen. Is it
unreasonable, then, to expect that some man possessed of the
loftiest genius, coupled with ambition sufficient to push it to
its utmost stretch, will at some time spring up among us? And
when such an one does it will require the people to be united
with each other, attached to the government and laws, and
generally intelligent, to successfully frustrate his designs.

Distinction will be his paramount object, and although he would
as willingly, perhaps more so, acquire it by doing good as harm,
yet, that opportunity being past, and nothing left to be done in
the way of building up, he would set boldly to the task of
pulling down.

Here then is a probable case, highly dangerous, and such an one
as could not have well existed heretofore.

Another reason which once was, but which, to the same extent, is
now no more, has done much in maintaining our institutions thus
far. I mean the powerful influence which the interesting scenes
of the Revolution had upon the passions of the people as
distinguished from their judgment. By this influence, the
jealousy, envy, and avarice incident to our nature, and so common
to a state of peace, prosperity, and conscious strength, were for
the time in a great measure smothered and rendered inactive,
while the deep-rooted principles of hate, and the powerful motive
of revenge, instead of being turned against each other, were
directed exclusively against the British nation. And thus, from
the force of circumstances, the basest principles of our nature
were either made to lie dormant, or to become the active agents
in the advancement of the noblest of causes--that of establishing
and maintaining civil and religious liberty.

But this state of feeling must fade, is fading, has faded, with
the circumstances that produced it.

I do not mean to say that the scenes of the Revolution are now or
ever will be entirely forgotten, but that, like everything else,
they must fade upon the memory of the world, and grow more and
more dim by the lapse of time. In history, we hope, they will be
read of, and recounted, so long as the Bible shall be read; but
even granting that they will, their influence cannot be what it
heretofore has been. Even then they cannot be so universally
known nor so vividly felt as they were by the generation just
gone to rest. At the close of that struggle, nearly every adult
male had been a participator in some of its scenes. The
consequence was that of those scenes, in the form of a husband, a
father, a son, or a brother, a living history was to be found in
every family--a history bearing the indubitable testimonies of
its own authenticity, in the limbs mangled, in the scars of
wounds received, in the midst of the very scenes related--a
history, too, that could be read and understood alike by all, the
wise and the ignorant, the learned and the unlearned. But those
histories are gone. They can be read no more forever. They were
a fortress of strength; but what invading foeman could never do
the silent artillery of time has done--the leveling of its walls.
They are gone. They were a forest of giant oaks; but the all-
restless hurricane has swept over them, and left only here and
there a lonely trunk, despoiled of its verdure, shorn of its
foliage, unshading and unshaded, to murmur in a few more gentle
breezes, and to combat with its mutilated limbs a few more ruder
storms, then to sink and be no more.

They were pillars of the temple of liberty; and now that they
have crumbled away that temple must fall unless we, their
descendants, supply their places with other pillars, hewn from
the solid quarry of sober reason. Passion has helped us, but can
do so no more. It will in future be our enemy. Reason cold,
calculating, unimpassioned reason--must furnish all the materials
for our future support and defense. Let those materials be
moulded into general intelligence, sound morality, and in
particular, a reverence for the Constitution and laws; and that
we improved to the last, that we remained free to the last, that
we revered his name to the last, that during his long sleep we
permitted no hostile foot to pass over or desecrate his resting
place, shall be that which to learn the last trump shall awaken
our Washington.

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."


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.

"Representatives from the County of Sangamon."


SPRINGFIELD, May 7, 1837.


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

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.,



SPRINGFIELD, ILL., Aug. 5, 1837.


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,



Aug. 16, 1837

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

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,




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

"Joseph Anderson,
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.


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.

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."



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

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

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.

A. LINCOLN, September 6, 1837.



"SANGAMON JOURNAL," Springfield, Ill, Oct.28, 1837.

Such is the turn which things have taken lately, that when Gen.
Adams writes a book, I am expected to write a commentary on it.
In the Republican of this morning he has presented the world with
a new work of six columns in length; in consequence of which I
must beg the room of one column in the Journal. It is obvious
that a minute reply cannot be made in one column to everything
that can be said in six; and, consequently, I hope that
expectation will be answered if I reply to such parts of the
General's publication as are worth replying to.

It may not be improper to remind the reader that in his
publication of Sept. 6th General Adams said that the assignment
charge was manufactured just before the election; and that in
reply I proved that statement to be false by Keys, his own
witness. Now, without attempting to explain, he furnishes me
with another witness (Tinsley) by which the same thing is proved,
to wit, that the assignment was not manufactured just before the
election; but that it was some weeks before. Let it be borne in
mind that Adams made this statement--has himself furnished two
witnesses to prove its falsehood, and does not attempt to deny or
explain it. Before going farther, let a pin be stuck here,
labeled "One lie proved and confessed." On the 6th of September
he said he had before stated in the hand-bill that he held an
assignment dated May 20th, 1828, which in reply I pronounced to
be false, and referred to the hand-bill for the truth of what I
said. This week he forgets to make any explanation of this. Let
another pin be stuck here, labelled as before. I mention these
things because, if, when I convict him in one falsehood, he is
permitted to shift his ground and pass it by in silence, there
can be no end to this controversy.

The first thing that attracts my attention in the General's
present production is the information he is pleased to give to
"those who are made to suffer at his (my) hands."

Under present circumstances, this cannot apply to me, for I am
not a widow nor an orphan: nor have I a wife or children who
might by possibility become such. Such, however, I have no
doubt, have been, and will again be made to suffer at his hands!
Hands! Yes, they are the mischievous agents. The next thing I
shall notice is his favorite expression, "not of lawyers, doctors
and others," which he is so fond of applying to all who dare
expose his rascality. Now, let it be remembered that when he
first came to this country he attempted to impose himself upon
the community as a lawyer, and actually carried the attempt so
far as to induce a man who was under a charge of murder to
entrust the defence of his life in his hands, and finally took
his money and got him hanged. Is this the man that is to raise a
breeze in his favor by abusing lawyers? If he is not himself a
lawyer, it is for the lack of sense, and not of inclination. If
he is not a lawyer, he is a liar, for he proclaimed himself a
lawyer, and got a man hanged by depending on him.

Passing over such parts of the article as have neither fact nor
argument in them, I come to the question asked by Adams whether
any person ever saw the assignment in his possession. This is an
insult to common sense. Talbott has sworn once and repeated time
and again, that he got it out of Adams's possession and returned
it into the same possession. Still, as though he was addressing
fools, he has assurance to ask if any person ever saw it in his

Next I quote a sentence, "Now my son Lucian swears that when
Talbott called for the deed, that he, Talbott, opened it and
pointed out the error." True. His son Lucian did swear as he
says; and in doing so, he swore what I will prove by his own
affidavit to be a falsehood. Turn to Lucian's affidavit, and you
will there see that Talbott called for the deed by which to
correct an error on the record. Thus it appears that the error
in question was on the record, and not in the deed. How then
could Talbott open the deed and point out the error? Where a
thing is not, it cannot be pointed out. The error was not in the
deed, and of course could not be pointed out there. This does
not merely prove that the error could not be pointed out, as
Lucian swore it was; but it proves, too, that the deed was not
opened in his presence with a special view to the error, for if
it had been, he could not have failed to see that there was no
error in it. It is easy enough to see why Lucian swore this.
His object was to prove that the assignment was not in the deed
when Talbott got it: but it was discovered he could not swear
this safely, without first swearing the deed was opened--and if
he swore it was opened, he must show a motive for opening it, and
the conclusion with him and his father was that the pointing out
the error would appear the most plausible.

For the purpose of showing that the assignment was not in the
bundle when Talbott got it, is the story introduced into Lucian's
affidavit that the deeds were counted. It is a remarkable fact,
and one that should stand as a warning to all liars and
fabricators, that in this short affidavit of Lucian's he only
attempted to depart from the truth, so far as I have the means of
knowing, in two points, to wit, in the opening the deed and
pointing out the error and the counting of the deeds,--and in
both of these he caught himself. About the counting, he caught
himself thus--after saying the bundle contained five deeds and a
lease, he proceeds, "and I saw no other papers than the said deed
and lease." First he has six papers, and then he saw none but
two; for "my son Lucian's" benefit, let a pin be stuck here.

Adams again adduces the argument, that he could not have forged
the assignment, for the reason that he could have had no motive
for it. With those that know the facts there is no absence of
motive. Admitting the paper which he has filed in the suit to be
genuine, it is clear that it cannot answer the purpose for which
he designs it. Hence his motive for making one that he supposed
would answer is obvious. His making the date too old is also
easily enough accounted for. The records were not in his hands,
and then, there being some considerable talk upon this particular
subject, he knew he could not examine the records to ascertain
the precise dates without subjecting himself to suspicion; and
hence he concluded to try it by guess, and, as it turned out,
missed it a little. About Miller's deposition I have a word to
say. In the first place, Miller's answer to the first question
shows upon its face that he had been tampered with, and the
answer dictated to him. He was asked if he knew Joel Wright and
James Adams; and above three-fourths of his answer consists of
what he knew about Joseph Anderson, a man about whom nothing had
been asked, nor a word said in the question--a fact that can only
be accounted for upon the supposition that Adams had secretly
told him what he wished him to swear to.

Another of Miller's answers I will prove both by common sense and
the Court of Record is untrue. To one question he answers,
"Anderson brought a suit against me before James Adams, then an
acting justice of the peace in Sangamon County, before whom he
obtained a judgment.

"Q.--Did you remove the same by injunction to the Sangamon
Circuit Court? Ans.--I did remove it."

Now mark--it is said he removed it by injunction. The word
"injunction" in common language imports a command that some
person or thing shall not move or be removed; in law it has the
same meaning. An injunction issuing out of chancery to a justice
of the peace is a command to him to stop all proceedings in a
named case until further orders. It is not an order to remove
but to stop or stay something that is already moving. Besides
this, the records of the Sangamon Circuit Court show that the
judgment of which Miller swore was never removed into said Court
by injunction or otherwise.

I have now to take notice of a part of Adams's address which in
the order of time should have been noticed before. It is in
these words: "I have now shown, in the opinion of two competent
judges, that the handwriting of the forged assignment differed
from mine, and by one of them that it could not be mistaken for
mine." That is false. Tinsley no doubt is the judge referred
to; and by reference to his certificate it will be seen that he
did not say the handwriting of the assignment could not be
mistaken for Adams's--nor did he use any other expression
substantially, or anything near substantially, the same. But if
Tinsley had said the handwriting could not be mistaken for
Adams's, it would have been equally unfortunate for Adams: for it
then would have contradicted Keys, who says, "I looked at the
writing and judged it the said Adams's or a good imitation."

Adams speaks with much apparent confidence of his success on
attending lawsuits, and the ultimate maintenance of his title to
the land in question. Without wishing to disturb the pleasure of
his dream, I would say to him that it is not impossible that he
may yet be taught to sing a different song in relation to the

At the end of Miller's deposition, Adams asks, Will Mr. Lincoln
now say that he is almost convinced my title to this ten acre
tract of land is founded in fraud?" I answer, I will not. I will
now change the phraseology so as to make it run--I am quite
convinced, &c. I cannot pass in silence Adams's assertion that
he has proved that the forged assignment was not in the deed when
it came from his house by Talbott, the recorder. In this,
although Talbott has sworn that the assignment was in the bundle
of deeds when it came from his house, Adams has the unaccountable
assurance to say that he has proved the contrary by Talbott. Let
him or his friends attempt to show wherein he proved any such
thing by Talbott.

In his publication of the 6th of September he hinted to Talbott,
that he might be mistaken. In his present, speaking of Talbott
and me he says "They may have been imposed upon." Can any man of
the least penetration fail to see the object of this? After be
has stormed and raged till he hopes and imagines he has got us a
little scared he wishes to softly whisper in our ears, "If you'l1
quit I will." If he could get us to say that some unknown,
undefined being had slipped the assignment into our hands without
our knowledge, not a doubt remains but that be would immediately
discover that we were the purest men on earth. This is the
ground he evidently wishes us to understand he is willing to
compromise upon. But we ask no such charity at his hands. We
are neither mistaken nor imposed upon. We have made the
statements we have because we know them to be true and we choose
to live or die by them.

Esq. Carter, who is Adams's friend, personal and political, will
recollect, that, on the 5th of this month, he (Adams), with a
great affectation of modesty, declared that he would never
introduce his own child as a witness. Notwithstanding this
affectation of modesty, he has in his present publication
introduced his child as witness; and as if to show with how much
contempt he could treat his own declaration, he has had this same
Esq. Carter to administer the oath to him. And so important a
witness does he consider him, and so entirely does the whole of
his entire present production depend upon the testimony of his
child, that in it he has mentioned "my son," "my son Lucian,"
"Lucian, my son," and the like expressions no less than fifteen
different times. Let it be remembered here, that I have shown
the affidavit of "my darling son Lucian" to be false by the
evidence apparent on its own face; and I now ask if that
affidavit be taken away what foundation will the fabric have left
to stand upon?

General Adams's publications and out-door maneuvering, taken in
connection with the editorial articles of the Republican, are not
more foolish and contradictory than they are ludicrous and
amusing. One week the Republican notifies the public that Gen.
Adams is preparing an instrument that will tear, rend, split,
rive, blow up, confound, overwhelm, annihilate, extinguish,
exterminate, burst asunder, and grind to powder all its
slanderers, and particularly Talbott and Lincoln--all of which is
to be done in due time.

Then for two or three weeks all is calm--not a word said. Again
the Republican comes forth with a mere passing remark that
"public" opinion has decided in favor of Gen. Adams, and
intimates that he will give himself no more trouble about the
matter. In the meantime Adams himself is prowling about and, as
Burns says of the devil, "For prey, and holes and corners
tryin'," and in one instance goes so far as to take an old
acquaintance of mine several steps from a crowd and, apparently
weighed down with the importance of his business, gravely and
solemnly asks him if "he ever heard Lincoln say he was a deist."

Anon the Republican comes again. "We invite the attention of the
public to General Adams's communication," &c. "The victory is a
great one, the triumph is overwhelming." I really believe the
editor of the Illinois Republican is fool enough to think General
Adams leads off--"Authors most egregiously mistaken) &c. Most
woefully shall their presumption be punished," &c. (Lord have
mercy on us.) "The hour is yet to come, yea, nigh at hand--(how
long first do you reckon ?)--when the Journal and its junto shall
say, I have appeared too early." "Their infamy shall be laid bare
to the public gaze." Suddenly the General appears to relent at
the severity with which he is treating us and he exclaims: "The
condemnation of my enemies is the inevitable result of my own
defense." For your health's sake, dear Gen., do not permit your
tenderness of heart to afflict you so much on our account. For
some reason (perhaps because we are killed so quickly) we shall
never be sensible of our suffering.

Farewell, General. I will see you again at court if not before--
when and where we will settle the question whether you or the
widow shall have the land.

October 18, 1837.



SPRINGFIELD, April 1, 1838.

DEAR MADAM:--Without apologizing for being egotistical, I shall
make the history of so much of my life as has elapsed since I saw
you the subject of this letter. And, by the way, I now discover
that, in order to give a full and intelligible account of the
things I have done and suffered since I saw you, I shall
necessarily have to relate some that happened before.

It was, then, in the autumn of 1836 that a married lady of my
acquaintance, and who was a great friend of mine, being about to
pay a visit to her father and other relatives residing in
Kentucky, proposed to me that on her return she would bring a
sister of hers with her on condition that I would engage to
become her brother-in-law with all convenient despatch. I, of
course, accepted the proposal, for you know I could not have done
otherwise had I really been averse to it; but privately, between
you and me, I was most confoundedly well pleased with the
project. I had seen the said sister some three years before,
thought her intelligent and agreeable, and saw no good objection
to plodding life through hand in hand with her. Time passed on;
the lady took her journey and in due time returned, sister in
company, sure enough. This astonished me a little, for it
appeared to me that her coming so readily showed that she was a
trifle too willing, but on reflection it occurred to me that she
might have been prevailed on by her married sister to come
without anything concerning me ever having been mentioned to her,
and so I concluded that if no other objection presented itself, I
would consent to waive this. All this occurred to me on hearing
of her arrival in the neighborhood--for, be it remembered, I had
not yet seen her, except about three years previous, as above
mentioned. In a few days we had an interview, and, although I
had seen her before, she did not look as my imagination had
pictured her. I knew she was over-size, but she now appeared a
fair match for Falstaff. I knew she was called an "old maid,"
and I felt no doubt of the truth of at least half of the
appellation, but now, when I beheld her, I could not for my life
avoid thinking of my mother; and this, not from withered
features,--for her skin was too full of fat to permit of its
contracting into wrinkles,--but from her want of teeth, weather-
beaten appearance in general, and from a kind of notion that ran
in my head that nothing could have commenced at the size of
infancy and reached her present bulk in less than thirty-five or
forty years; and in short, I was not at all pleased with her.
But what could I do? I had told her sister that I would take her
for better or for worse, and I made a point of honor and
conscience in all things to stick to my word especially if others
had been induced to act on it which in this case I had no doubt
they had, for I was now fairly convinced that no other man on
earth would have her, and hence the conclusion that they were
bent on holding me to my bargain.

"Well," thought I, "I have said it, and, be the consequences what
they may, it shall not be my fault if I fail to do it." At once I
determined to consider her my wife; and, this done, all my powers
of discovery were put to work in search of perfections in her
which might be fairly set off against her defects. I tried to
imagine her handsome, which, but for her unfortunate corpulency,
was actually true. Exclusive of this no woman that I have ever
seen has a finer face. I also tried to convince myself that the
mind was much more to be valued than the person; and in this she
was not inferior, as I could discover, to any with whom I had
been acquainted.

Shortly after this, without coming to any positive understanding
with her, I set out for Vandalia, when and where you first saw
me. During my stay there I had letters from her which did not
change my opinion of either her intellect or intention, but on
the contrary confirmed it in both.

All this while, although I was fixed, "firm as the surge-
repelling rock," in my resolution, I found I was continually
repenting the rashness which had led me to make it. Through
life, I have been in no bondage, either real or imaginary, from
the thraldom of which I so much desired to be free. After my
return home, I saw nothing to change my opinions of her in any
particular. She was the same, and so was I. I now spent my time
in planning how I might get along through life after my
contemplated change of circumstances should have taken place, and
how I might procrastinate the evil day for a time, which I really
dreaded as much, perhaps more, than an Irishman does the halter.

After all my suffering upon this deeply interesting subject, here
I am, wholly, unexpectedly, completely, out of the "scrape"; and
now I want to know if you can guess how I got out of it----out,
clear, in every sense of the term; no violation of word, honor,
or conscience. I don't believe you can guess, and so I might as
well tell you at once. As the lawyer says, it was done in the
manner following, to wit: After I had delayed the matter as long
as I thought I could in honor do (which, by the way, had brought
me round into the last fall), I concluded I might as well bring
it to a consummation without further delay; and so I mustered my
resolution, and made the proposal to her direct; but, shocking to
relate, she answered, No. At first I supposed she did it through
an affectation of modesty, which I thought but ill became her
under the peculiar circumstances of her case; but on my renewal
of the charge, I found she repelled it with greater firmness than
before. I tried it again and again but with the same success, or
rather with the same want of success.

I finally was forced to give it up; at which I very unexpectedly
found myself mortified almost beyond endurance. I was mortified,
it seemed to me, in a hundred different ways. My vanity was
deeply wounded by the reflection that I had been too stupid to
discover her intentions, and at the same time never doubting that
I understood them perfectly, and also that she, whom I had taught
myself to believe nobody else would have, had actually rejected
me with all my fancied greatness. And, to cap the whole, I then
for the first time began to suspect that I was really a little in
love with her. But let it all go. I'll try and outlive it.
Others have been made fools of by the girls, but this can never
with truth be said of me. I most emphatically in this instance,
made a fool of myself. I have now come to the conclusion never
again to think of marrying, and for this reason: I can never be
satisfied with any one who would be blockhead enough to have me.

When you receive this, write me a long yarn about something to
amuse me. Give my respects to Mr. Browning.

Your sincere friend,




Mr. Lincoln, from Committee on Finance, to which the subject was
referred, made a report on the subject of purchasing of the
United States all the unsold lands lying within the limits of the
State of Illinois, accompanied by resolutions that this State
propose to purchase all unsold lands at twenty-five cents per
acre, and pledging the faith of the State to carry the proposal
into effect if the government accept the same within two years.

Mr. Lincoln thought the resolutions ought to be seriously
considered. In reply to the gentleman from Adams, he said that
it was not to enrich the State. The price of the lands may be
raised, it was thought by some; by others, that it would be
reduced. The conclusion in his mind was that the representatives
in this Legislature from the country in which the lands lie would
be opposed to raising the price, because it would operate against
the settlement of the lands. He referred to the lands in the
military tract. They had fallen into the hands of large
speculators in consequence of the low price. He was opposed to a
low price of land. He thought it was adverse to the interests of
the poor settler, because speculators buy them up. He was
opposed to a reduction of the price of public lands.

Mr. Lincoln referred to some official documents emanating from
Indiana, and compared the progressive population of the two
States. Illinois had gained upon that State under the public
land system as it is. His conclusion was that ten years from
this time Illinois would have no more public land unsold than
Indiana now has. He referred also to Ohio. That State had sold
nearly all her public lands. She was but twenty years ahead of
us, and as our lands were equally salable--more so, as he
maintained--we should have no more twenty years from now than she
has at present.

Mr. Lincoln referred to the canal lands, and supposed that the
policy of the State would be different in regard to them, if the
representatives from that section of country could themselves
choose the policy; but the representatives from other parts of
the State had a veto upon it, and regulated the policy. He
thought that if the State had all the lands, the policy of the
Legislature would be more liberal to all sections.

He referred to the policy of the General Government. He thought
that if the national debt had not been paid, the expenses of the
government would not have doubled, as they had done since that
debt was paid.

TO _________ ROW.

SPRINGFIELD, June 11, 1839


Mr. Redman informs me that you wish me to write you the
particulars of a conversation between Dr. Felix and myself
relative to you. The Dr. overtook me between Rushville and

He, after learning that I had lived at Springfield, asked if I
was acquainted with you. I told him I was. He said you had
lately been elected constable in Adams, but that you never would
be again. I asked him why. He said the people there had found
out that you had been sheriff or deputy sheriff in Sangamon
County, and that you came off and left your securities to suffer.
He then asked me if I did not know such to be the fact. I told
him I did not think you had ever been sheriff or deputy sheriff
in Sangamon, but that I thought you had been constable. I
further told him that if you had left your securities to suffer
in that or any other case, I had never heard of it, and that if
it had been so, I thought I would have heard of it.

If the Dr. is telling that I told him anything against you
whatever, I authorize you to contradict it flatly. We have no
news here.

Your friend, as ever,




SPRINGFIELD, ILLINOIS, December 20, 1839.

FELLOW-CITIZENS:--It is peculiarly embarrassing to me to attempt
a continuance of the discussion, on this evening, which has been
conducted in this hall on several preceding ones. It is so
because on each of those evenings there was a much fuller
attendance than now, without any reason for its being so, except
the greater interest the community feel in the speakers who
addressed them then than they do in him who is to do so now. I
am, indeed, apprehensive that the few who have attended have done
so more to spare me mortification than in the hope of being
interested in anything I may be able to say. This circumstance
casts a damp upon my spirits, which I am sure I shall be unable
to overcome during the evening. But enough of preface.

The subject heretofore and now to be discussed is the subtreasury
scheme of the present administration, as a means of collecting,
safe-keeping, transferring, and disbursing, the revenues of the
nation, as contrasted with a national bank for the same purposes.
Mr. Douglas has said that we (the Whigs) have not dared to meet
them (the Locos) in argument on this question. I protest against
this assertion. I assert that we have again and again, during
this discussion, urged facts and arguments against the
subtreasury which they have neither dared to deny nor attempted
to answer. But lest some may be led to believe that we really
wish to avoid the question, I now propose, in my humble way, to
urge those arguments again; at the same time begging the audience
to mark well the positions I shall take and the proof I shall
offer to sustain them, and that they will not again permit Mr.
Douglas or his friends to escape the force of them by a round and
groundless assertion that we "dare not meet them in argument."

Of the subtreasury, then, as contrasted with a national bank for
the before-enumerated purposes, I lay down the following
propositions, to wit: (1) It will injuriously affect the
community by its operation on the circulating medium. (2) It
will be a more expensive fiscal agent. (3) It will be a less
secure depository of the public money. To show the truth of the
first proposition, let us take a short review of our condition
under the operation of a national bank. It was the depository of
the public revenues. Between the collection of those revenues
and the disbursement of them by the government, the bank was
permitted to and did actually loan them out to individuals, and
hence the large amount of money actually collected for revenue
purposes, which by any other plan would have been idle a great
portion of the time, was kept almost constantly in circulation.
Any person who will reflect that money is only valuable while in
circulation will readily perceive that any device which will keep
the government revenues in constant circulation, instead of being
locked up in idleness, is no inconsiderable advantage. By the
subtreasury the revenue is to be collected and kept in iron boxes
until the government wants it for disbursement; thus robbing the
people of the use of it, while the government does not itself
need it, and while the money is performing no nobler office than
that of rusting in iron boxes. The natural effect of this change
of policy, every one will see, is to reduce the quantity of money
in circulation. But, again, by the subtreasury scheme the
revenue is to be collected in specie. I anticipate that this
will be disputed. I expect to hear it said that it is not the
policy of the administration to collect the revenue in specie.
If it shall, I reply that Mr. Van Buren, in his message
recommending the subtreasury, expended nearly a column of that
document in an attempt to persuade Congress to provide for the
collection of the revenue in specie exclusively; and he concludes
with these words:

"It may be safely assumed that no motive of convenience to the
citizens requires the reception of bank paper." In addition to
this, Mr. Silas Wright, Senator from New York, and the political,
personal and confidential friend of Mr. Van Buren, drafted and
introduced into the Senate the first subtreasury bill, and that
bill provided for ultimately collecting the revenue in specie.
It is true, I know, that that clause was stricken from the bill,
but it was done by the votes of the Whigs, aided by a portion
only of the Van Buren senators. No subtreasury bill has yet
become a law, though two or three have been considered by
Congress, some with and some without the specie clause; so that I
admit there is room for quibbling upon the question of whether
the administration favor the exclusive specie doctrine or not;
but I take it that the fact that the President at first urged the
specie doctrine, and that under his recommendation the first bill
introduced embraced it, warrants us in charging it as the policy
of the party until their head as publicly recants it as he at
first espoused it. I repeat, then, that by the subtreasury the
revenue is to be collected in specie. Now mark what the effect
of this must be. By all estimates ever made there are but
between sixty and eighty millions of specie in the United States.
The expenditures of the Government for the year 1838--the last
for which we have had the report--were forty millions. Thus it
is seen that if the whole revenue be collected in specie, it will
take more than half of all the specie in the nation to do it. By
this means more than half of all the specie belonging to the
fifteen millions of souls who compose the whole population of the
country is thrown into the hands of the public office-holders,
and other public creditors comprising in number perhaps not more
than one quarter of a million, leaving the other fourteen
millions and three quarters to get along as they best can, with
less than one half of the specie of the country, and whatever
rags and shinplasters they may be able to put, and keep, in
circulation. By this means, every office-holder and other public
creditor may, and most likely will, set up shaver; and a most
glorious harvest will the specie-men have of it,--each specie-
man, upon a fair division, having to his share the fleecing of
about fifty-nine rag-men. In all candor let me ask, was such a
system for benefiting the few at the expense of the many ever
before devised? And was the sacred name of Democracy ever before
made to indorse such an enormity against the rights of the

I have already said that the subtreasury will reduce the quantity
of money in circulation. This position is strengthened by the
recollection that the revenue is to be collected in Specie, so
that the mere amount of revenue is not all that is withdrawn, but
the amount of paper circulation that the forty millions would
serve as a basis to is withdrawn, which would be in a sound state
at least one hundred millions. When one hundred millions, or
more, of the circulation we now have shall be withdrawn, who can
contemplate without terror the distress, ruin, bankruptcy, and
beggary that must follow? The man who has purchased any article--
say a horse--on credit, at one hundred dollars, when there are
two hundred millions circulating in the country, if the quantity
be reduced to one hundred millions by the arrival of pay-day,
will find the horse but sufficient to pay half the debt; and the
other half must either be paid out of his other means, and
thereby become a clear loss to him, or go unpaid, and thereby
become a clear loss to his creditor. What I have here said of a
single case of the purchase of a horse will hold good in every
case of a debt existing at the time a reduction in the quantity
of money occurs, by whomsoever, and for whatsoever, it may have
been contracted. It may be said that what the debtor loses the
creditor gains by this operation; but on examination this will be
found true only to a very limited extent. It is more generally
true that all lose by it--the creditor by losing more of his
debts than he gains by the increased value of those he collects;
the debtor by either parting with more of his property to pay his
debts than he received in contracting them, or by entirely
breaking up his business, and thereby being thrown upon the world
in idleness.

The general distress thus created will, to be sure, be temporary,
because, whatever change may occur in the quantity of money in
any community, time will adjust the derangement produced; but
while that adjustment is progressing, all suffer more or less,
and very many lose everything that renders life desirable. Why,
then, shall we suffer a severe difficulty, even though it be but
temporary, unless we receive some equivalent for it?

What I have been saying as to the effect produced by a reduction
of the quantity of money relates to the whole country. I now
propose to show that it would produce a peculiar and permanent
hardship upon the citizens of those States and Territories in
which the public lands lie. The land-offices in those States and
Territories, as all know, form the great gulf by which all, or
nearly all, the money in them is swallowed up. When the quantity
of money shall be reduced, and consequently everything under
individual control brought down in proportion, the price of those
lands, being fixed by law, will remain as now. Of necessity it
will follow that the produce or labor that now raises money
sufficient to purchase eighty acres will then raise but
sufficient to purchase forty, or perhaps not that much; and this
difficulty and hardship will last as long, in some degree, as any
portion of these lands shall remain undisposed of. Knowing, as I
well do, the difficulty that poor people now encounter in
procuring homes, I hesitate not to say that when the price of the
public lands shall be doubled or trebled, or, which is the same
thing, produce and labor cut down to one half or one third of
their present prices, it will be little less than impossible for
them to procure those homes at all....

Well, then, what did become of him? (Postmaster General Barry)
Why, the President immediately expressed his high disapprobation
of his almost unequaled incapacity and corruption by appointing
him to a foreign mission, with a salary and outfit of $18,000 a
year! The party now attempt to throw Barry off, and to avoid the
responsibility of his sins. Did not the President indorse those
sins when, on the very heel of their commission, he appointed
their author to the very highest and most honorable office in his
gift, and which is but a single step behind the very goal of
American political ambition?

I return to another of Mr. Douglas's excuses for the expenditures
of 1838, at the same time announcing the pleasing intelligence
that this is the last one. He says that ten millions of that
year's expenditure was a contingent appropriation, to prosecute
an anticipated war with Great Britain on the Maine boundary
question. Few words will settle this. First, that the ten
millions appropriated was not made till 1839, and consequently
could not have been expended in 1838; second, although it was
appropriated, it has never been expended at all. Those who heard
Mr. Douglas recollect that he indulged himself in a contemptuous
expression of pity for me. "Now he's got me," thought I. But
when he went on to say that five millions of the expenditure of
1838 were payments of the French indemnities, which I knew to be
untrue; that five millions had been for the post-office, which I
knew to be untrue; that ten millions had been for the Maine
boundary war, which I not only knew to be untrue, but supremely
ridiculous also; and when I saw that he was stupid enough to hope
that I would permit such groundless and audacious assertions to
go unexposed,--I readily consented that, on the score both of
veracity and sagacity, the audience should judge whether he or I
were the more deserving of the world's contempt.

Mr. Lamborn insists that the difference between the Van Buren
party and the Whigs is that, although the former sometimes err in
practice, they are always correct in principle, whereas the
latter are wrong in principle; and, better to impress this
proposition, he uses a figurative expression in these words: "The
Democrats are vulnerable in the heel, but they are sound in the
head and the heart." The first branch of the figure--that is,
that the Democrats are vulnerable in the heel--I admit is not
merely figuratively, but literally true. Who that looks but for
a moment at their Swartwouts, their Prices, their Harringtons,
and their hundreds of others, scampering away with the public
money to Texas, to Europe, and to every spot of the earth where a
villain may hope to find refuge from justice, can at all doubt
that they are most distressingly affected in their heels with a
species of "running itch"? It seems that this malady of their
heels operates on these sound-headed and honest-hearted creatures
very much like the cork leg in the comic song did on its owner:
which, when he had once got started on it, the more he tried to
stop it, the more it would run away. At the hazard of wearing
this point threadbare, I will relate an anecdote which seems too
strikingly in point to be omitted. A witty Irish soldier, who
was always boasting of his bravery when no danger was near, but
who invariably retreated without orders at the first charge of an
engagement, being asked by his captain why he did so, replied:
"Captain, I have as brave a heart as Julius Caesar ever had; but,
somehow or other, whenever danger approaches, my cowardly legs
will run away with it." So with Mr. Lamborn's party. They take
the public money into their hand for the most laudable purpose
that wise heads and honest hearts can dictate; but before they
can possibly get it out again, their rascally "vulnerable heels"
will run away with them.

Seriously this proposition of Mr. Lamborn is nothing more or less
than a request that his party may be tried by their professions
instead of their practices. Perhaps no position that the party
assumes is more liable to or more deserving of exposure than this
very modest request; and nothing but the unwarrantable length to
which I have already extended these remarks forbids me now
attempting to expose it. For the reason given, I pass it by.

I shall advert to but one more point. Mr. Lamborn refers to the
late elections in the States, and from their results confidently
predicts that every State in the Union will vote for Mr. Van
Buren at the next Presidential election. Address that argument
to cowards and to knaves; with the free and the brave it will
effect nothing. It may be true; if it must, let it. Many free
countries have lost their liberty, and ours may lose hers; but if
she shall, be it my proudest plume, not that I was the last to
desert, but that I never deserted her. I know that the great
volcano at Washington, aroused and directed by the evil spirit
that reigns there, is belching forth the lava of political
corruption in a current broad and deep, which is sweeping with
frightful velocity over the whole length and breadth of the land,
bidding fair to leave unscathed no green spot or living thing;
while on its bosom are riding, like demons on the waves of hell,
the imps of that evil spirit, and fiendishly taunting all those
who dare resist its destroying course with the hopelessness of
their effort; and, knowing this, I cannot deny that all may be
swept away. Broken by it I, too, may be; bow to it I never will.
The probability that we may fall in the struggle ought not to
deter us from the support of a cause we believe to be just; it
shall not deter me. If ever I feel the soul within me elevate
and expand to those dimensions not wholly unworthy of its
almighty Architect, it is when I contemplate the cause of my
country deserted by all the world beside, and I standing up
boldly and alone, and hurling defiance at her victorious
oppressors. Here, without contemplating consequences, before
high heaven and in the face of the world, I swear eternal
fidelity to the just cause, as I deem it, of the land of my life,
my liberty, and my love. And who that thinks with me will not
fearlessly adopt the oath that I take? Let none falter who thinks
he is right, and we may succeed. But if, after all, we shall
fail, be it so. We still shall have the proud consolation of
saying to our consciences, and to the departed shade of our
country's freedom, that the cause approved of our judgment, and
adored of our hearts, in disaster, in chains, in torture, in
death, we never faltered in defending.


SPRINGFIELD, December 23, 1839.


Dr. Henry will write you all the political news. I write this
about some little matters of business. You recollect you told me
you had drawn the Chicago Masark money, and sent it to the
claimants. A hawk-billed Yankee is here besetting me at every
turn I take, saying that Robert Kinzie never received the eighty
dollars to which he was entitled. Can you tell me anything about
the matter? Again, old Mr. Wright, who lives up South Fork
somewhere, is teasing me continually about some deeds which he
says he left with you, but which I can find nothing of. Can you
tell me where they are? The Legislature is in session and has
suffered the bank to forfeit its charter without benefit of
clergy. There seems to be little disposition to resuscitate it.

Whenever a letter comes from you to Mrs._____________
I carry it to her, and then I see Betty; she is a tolerable nice
"fellow" now. Maybe I will write again when I get more time.

Your friend as ever,

P. S.--The Democratic giant is here, but he is not much worth
talking about.




January [1?], 1840.

To MESSRS _______

GENTLEMEN:--In obedience to a resolution of the Whig State
convention, we have appointed you the Central Whig Committee of
your county. The trust confided to you will be one of
watchfulness and labor; but we hope the glory of having
contributed to the overthrow of the corrupt powers that now
control our beloved country will be a sufficient reward for the
time and labor you will devote to it. Our Whig brethren
throughout the Union have met in convention, and after due
deliberation and mutual concessions have elected candidates for
the Presidency and Vice-Presidency not only worthy of our cause,
but worthy of the support of every true patriot who would have
our country redeemed, and her institutions honestly and
faithfully administered. To overthrow the trained bands that are
opposed to us whose salaried officers are ever on the watch, and
whose misguided followers are ever ready to obey their smallest
commands, every Whig must not only know his duty, but must firmly
resolve, whatever of time and labor it may cost, boldly and
faithfully to do it. Our intention is to organize the whole
State, so that every Whig can be brought to the polls in the
coming Presidential contest. We cannot do this, however, without
your co-operation; and as we do our duty, so we shall expect you
to do yours. After due deliberation, the following is the plan
of organization, and the duties required of each county

(1) To divide their county into small districts, and to appoint
in each a subcommittee, whose duty it shall be to make a perfect
list of all the voters in their respective districts, and to
ascertain with certainty for whom they will vote. If they meet
with men who are doubtful as to the man they will support, such
voters should be designated in separate lines, with the name of
the man they will probably support.

(2) It will be the duty of said subcommittee to keep a constant
watch on the doubtful voters, and from time to time have them
talked to by those in whom they have the most confidence, and
also to place in their hands such documents as will enlighten and
influence them.

(3) It will also be their duty to report to you, at least once a
month, the progress they are making, and on election days see
that every Whig is brought to the polls.

(4) The subcommittees should be appointed immediately; and by the
last of April, at least, they should make their first report.

(5) On the first of each month hereafter we shall expect to hear
from you. After the first report of your subcommittees, unless
there should be found a great many doubtful voters, you can tell
pretty accurately the manner in which your county will vote. In
each of your letters to us, you will state the number of certain
votes both for and against us, as well as the number of doubtful
votes, with your opinion of the manner in which they will be

(6) When we have heard from all the counties, we shall be able to
tell with similar accuracy the political complexion of the State.
This information will be forwarded to you as soon as received.

(7) Inclosed is a prospectus for a newspaper to be continued
until after the Presidential election. It will be superintended
by ourselves, and every Whig in the State must take it. It will
be published so low that every one can afford it. You must raise
a fund and forward us for extra copies,--every county ought to
send--fifty or one hundred dollars,--and the copies will be
forwarded to you for distribution among our political opponents.
The paper will be devoted exclusively to the great cause in which
we are engaged. Procure subscriptions, and forward them to us

(8) Immediately after any election in your county, you must
inform us of its results; and as early as possible after any
general election we will give you the like information.

(9) A senator in Congress is to be elected by our next
Legislature. Let no local interests divide you, but select
candidates that can succeed.

(10) Our plan of operations will of course be concealed from
every one except our good friends who of right ought to know

Trusting much in our good cause, the strength of our candidates,
and the determination of the Whigs everywhere to do their duty,
we go to the work of organization in this State confident of
success. We have the numbers, and if properly organized and
exerted, with the gallant Harrison at our head, we shall meet our
foes and conquer them in all parts of the Union.

Address your letters to Dr. A. G. Henry, R. F, Barrett; A.
Lincoln, E. D. Baker, J. F. Speed.


March 1, 1840


I have never seen the prospects of our party so bright in these
parts as they are now. We shall carry this county by a larger
majority than we did in 1836, when you ran against May. I do not
think my prospects, individually, are very flattering, for I
think it probable I shall not be permitted to be a candidate; but
the party ticket will succeed triumphantly. Subscriptions to the
"Old Soldier" pour in without abatement. This morning I took
from the post office a letter from Dubois enclosing the names of
sixty subscribers, and on carrying it to Francis I found he had
received one hundred and forty more from other quarters by the
same day's mail. That is but an average specimen of every day's
receipts. Yesterday Douglas, having chosen to consider himself
insulted by something in the Journal, undertook to cane Francis
in the street. Francis caught him by the hair and jammed him
back against a market cart where the matter ended by Francis
being pulled away from him. The whole affair was so ludicrous
that Francis and everybody else (Douglass excepted) have been
laughing about it ever since.

I send you the names of some of the V.B. men who have come out
for Harrison about town, and suggest that you send them some

Moses Coffman (he let us appoint him a delegate yesterday), Aaron
Coffman, George Gregory, H. M. Briggs, Johnson (at Birchall's
Bookstore), Michael Glyn, Armstrong (not Hosea nor Hugh, but a
carpenter), Thomas Hunter, Moses Pileher (he was always a Whig
and deserves attention), Matthew Crowder Jr., Greenberry Smith;
John Fagan, George Fagan, William Fagan (these three fell out
with us about Early, and are doubtful now), John M. Cartmel,
Noah Rickard, John Rickard, Walter Marsh.

The foregoing should be addressed at Springfield.

Also send some to Solomon Miller and John Auth at Salisbury.
Also to Charles Harper, Samuel Harper, and B. C. Harper, and T.
J. Scroggins, John Scroggins at Pulaski, Logan County.

Speed says he wrote you what Jo Smith said about you as he passed
here. We will procure the names of some of his people here, and
send them to you before long. Speed also says you must not fail
to send us the New York Journal he wrote for some time since.

Evan Butler is jealous that you never send your compliments to
him. You must not neglect him next time.

Your friend, as ever,


November 28, 1840.

In the Illinois House of Representatives, November 28, 1840, Mr.
Lincoln offered the following:

Resolved, That so much of the governor's message as relates to
fraudulent voting, and other fraudulent practices at elections,
be referred to the Committee on Elections, with instructions to
said committee to prepare and report to the House a bill for such
an act as may in their judgment afford the greatest possible
protection of the elective franchise against all frauds of all
sorts whatever.


December 2, 1840.

Resolved, That the Committee on Education be instructed to
inquire into the expediency of providing by law for the
examination as to the qualification of persons offering
themselves as school teachers, that no teacher shall receive any
part of the public school fund who shall not have successfully
passed such examination, and that they report by bill or


December 4, 1840

In the House of Representatives, Illinois, December 4, 1840, on
presentation of a report respecting petition of H. N. Purple,
claiming the seat of Mr. Phelps from Peoria, Mr. Lincoln moved
that the House resolve itself into Committee of the Whole on the
question, and take it up immediately. Mr. Lincoln considered the
question of the highest importance whether an individual had a
right to sit in this House or not. The course he should propose
would be to take up the evidence and decide upon the facts

Mr. Drummond wanted time; they could not decide in the heat of
debate, etc.

Mr. Lincoln thought that the question had better be gone into
now. In courts of law jurors were required to decide on
evidence, without previous study or examination. They were
required to know nothing of the subject until the evidence was
laid before them for their immediate decision. He thought that
the heat of party would be augmented by delay.

The Speaker called Mr. Lincoln to order as being irrelevant; no
mention had been made of party heat.

Mr. Drummond said he had only spoken of debate. Mr. Lincoln
asked what caused the heat, if it was not party? Mr. Lincoln
concluded by urging that the question would be decided now better
than hereafter, and he thought with less heat and excitement.

(Further debate, in which Lincoln participated.)


December 4, 1840.

In the Illinois House of Representatives, December 4, 1840,House
in Committee of the Whole on the bill providing for payment of
interest on the State debt,--Mr. Lincoln moved to strike out the
body and amendments of the bill, and insert in lieu thereof an
amendment which in substance was that the governor be authorized
to issue bonds for the payment of the interest; that these be
called "interest bonds"; that the taxes accruing on Congress
lands as they become taxable be irrevocably set aside and devoted
as a fund to the payment of the interest bonds. Mr. Lincoln went
into the reasons which appeared to him to render this plan
preferable to that of hypothecating the State bonds. By this
course we could get along till the next meeting of the
Legislature, which was of great importance. To the objection
which might be urged that these interest bonds could not be
cashed, he replied that if our other bonds could, much more could
these, which offered a perfect security, a fund being irrevocably
set aside to provide for their redemption. To another objection,
that we should be paying compound interest, he would reply that
the rapid growth and increase of our resources was in so great a
ratio as to outstrip the difficulty; that his object was to do
the best that could be done in the present emergency. All agreed
that the faith of the State must be preserved; this plan appeared
to him preferable to a hypothecation of bonds, which would have
to be redeemed and the interest paid. How this was to be done, he
could not see; therefore he had, after turning the matter over in
every way, devised this measure, which would carry us on till the
next Legislature.

(Mr. Lincoln spoke at some length, advocating his measure.)

Lincoln advocated his measure, December 11, 1840.

December 12, 1840, he had thought some permanent provision ought
to be made for the bonds to be hypothecated, but was satisfied
taxation and revenue could not be connected with it now.



SPRINGFIELD, Jan 23, 1841

I am now the most miserable man living. If what I feel were
equally distributed to the whole human family, there would not be
one cheerful face on earth. Whether I shall ever be better, I
cannot tell; I awfully forbode I shall not. To remain as I am is
impossible. I must die or be better, as it appears to me....
I fear I shall be unable to attend any business here, and a
change of scene might help me. If I could be myself, I would
rather remain at home with Judge Logan. I can write no more.


January 23, 1841

In the House of Representatives January 23, 1841, while
discussing the continuation of the Illinois and Michigan Canal,
Mr. Moore was afraid the holders of the "scrip" would lose.

Mr. Napier thought there was no danger of that; and Mr. Lincoln
said he had not examined to see what amount of scrip would
probably be needed. The principal point in his mind was this,
that nobody was obliged to take these certificates. It is
altogether voluntary on their part, and if they apprehend it will
fall in their hands they will not take it. Further the loss, if
any there be, will fall on the citizens of that section of the

This scrip is not going to circulate over an extensive range of
country, but will be confined chiefly to the vicinity of the


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