The Writings of Abraham Lincoln, v1
Part 4 out of 5
us to take care of ourselves; we are willing to run the risk.
And this is reasonable; we must suppose they are competent to
protect their own interests, and it is only fair to let them do
CIRCULAR FROM WHIG COMMITTEE.
February 9, 1841.
Appeal to the People of the State of Illinois.
FELLOW-CITIZENS:--When the General Assembly, now about
adjourning, assembled in November last, from the bankrupt state
of the public treasury, the pecuniary embarrassments prevailing
in every department of society, the dilapidated state of the
public works, and the impending danger of the degradation of the
State, you had a right to expect that your representatives would
lose no time in devising and adopting measures to avert
threatened calamities, alleviate the distresses of the people,
and allay the fearful apprehensions in regard to the future
prosperity of the State. It was not expected by you that the
spirit of party would take the lead in the councils of the State,
and make every interest bend to its demands. Nor was it expected
that any party would assume to itself the entire control of
legislation, and convert the means and offices of the State, and
the substance of the people, into aliment for party subsistence.
Neither could it have been expected by you that party spirit,
however strong its desires and unreasonable its demands, would
have passed the sanctuary of the Constitution, and entered with
its unhallowed and hideous form into the formation of the
At the early period of the session, measures were adopted by the
dominant party to take possession of the State, to fill all
public offices with party men, and make every measure affecting
the interests of the people and the credit of the State operate
in furtherance of their party views. The merits of men and
measures therefore became the subject of discussion in caucus,
instead of the halls of legislation, and decisions there made by
a minority of the Legislature have been executed and carried into
effect by the force of party discipline, without any regard
whatever to the rights of the people or the interests of the
State. The Supreme Court of the State was organized, and judges
appointed, according to the provisions of the Constitution, in
1824. The people have never complained of the organization of
that court; no attempt has ever before been made to change that
department. Respect for public opinion, and regard for the
rights and liberties of the people, have hitherto restrained the
spirit of party from attacks upon the independence and integrity
of the judiciary. The same judges have continued in office since
1824; their decisions have not been the subject of complaint
among the people; the integrity and honesty of the court have not
been questioned, and it has never been supposed that the court
has ever permitted party prejudice or party considerations to
operate upon their decisions. The court was made to consist of
four judges, and by the Constitution two form a quorum for the
transaction of business. With this tribunal, thus constituted,
the people have been satisfied for near sixteen years. The same
law which organized the Supreme Court in 1824 also established
and organized circuit courts to be held in each county in the
State, and five circuit judges were appointed to hold those
courts. In 1826 the Legislature abolished these circuit courts,
repealed the judges out of office, and required the judges of the
Supreme Court to hold the circuit courts. The reasons assigned
for this change were, first, that the business of the country
could be better attended to by the four judges of the Supreme
Court than by the two sets of judges; and, second, the state of
the public treasury forbade the employment of unnecessary
officers. In 1828 a circuit was established north of the
Illinois River, in order to meet the wants of the people, and a
circuit judge was appointed to hold the courts in that circuit.
In 1834 the circuit-court system was again established throughout
the State, circuit judges appointed to hold the courts, and the
judges of the Supreme Court were relieved from the performance of
circuit court duties. The change was recommended by the then
acting governor of the State, General W. L. D. Ewing, in the
"The augmented population of the State, the multiplied number of
organized counties, as well as the increase of business in all,
has long since convinced every one conversant with this
department of our government of the indispensable necessity of an
alteration in our judiciary system, and the subject is therefore
recommended to the earnest patriotic consideration of the
Legislature. The present system has never been exempt from
serious and weighty objections. The idea of appealing from the
circuit court to the same judges in the Supreme Court is
recommended by little hopes of redress to the injured party
below. The duties of the circuit, too, it may be added, consume
one half of the year, leaving a small and inadequate portion of
time (when that required for domestic purposes is deducted) to
erect, in the decisions of the Supreme Court, a judicial monument
of legal learning and research, which the talent and ability of
the court might otherwise be entirely competent to."
With this organization of circuit courts the people have never
complained. The only complaints which we have heard have come
from circuits which were so large that the judges could not
dispose of the business, and the circuits in which Judges Pearson
and Ralston lately presided.
Whilst the honor and credit of the State demanded legislation
upon the subject of the public debt, the canal, the unfinished
public works, and the embarrassments of the people, the judiciary
stood upon a basis which required no change--no legislative
action. Yet the party in power, neglecting every interest
requiring legislative action, and wholly disregarding the rights,
wishes, and interests of the people, has, for the unholy purpose
of providing places for its partisans and supplying them with
large salaries, disorganized that department of the government.
Provision is made for the election of five party judges of the
Supreme Court, the proscription of four circuit judges, and the
appointment of party clerks in more than half the counties of the
State. Men professing respect for public opinion, and
acknowledged to be leaders of the party, have avowed in the halls
of legislation that the change in the judiciary was intended to
produce political results favorable to their party and party
friends. The immutable principles of justice are to make way for
party interests, and the bonds of social order are to be rent in
twain, in order that a desperate faction may be sustained at the
expense of the people. The change proposed in the judiciary was
supported upon grounds so destructive to the institutions of the
country, and so entirely at war with the rights and liberties of
the people, that the party could not secure entire unanimity in
its support, three Democrats of the Senate and five of the House
voting against the measure. They were unwilling to see the
temples of justice and the seats of independent judges occupied
by the tools of faction. The declarations of the party leaders,
the selection of party men for judges, and the total disregard
for the public will in the adoption of the measure, prove
conclusively that the object has been not reform, but
destruction; not the advancement of the highest interests of the
State, but the predominance of party.
We cannot in this manner undertake to point out all the
objections to this party measure; we present you with those
stated by the Council of Revision upon returning the bill, and we
ask for them a candid consideration.
Believing that the independence of the judiciary has been
destroyed, that hereafter our courts will be independent of the
people, and entirely dependent upon the Legislature; that our
rights of property and liberty of conscience can no longer be
regarded as safe from the encroachments of unconstitutional
legislation; and knowing of no other remedy which can be adopted
consistently with the peace and good order of society, we call
upon you to avail yourselves of the opportunity afforded, and, at
the next general election, vote for a convention of the people.
S. H. LITTLE,
E. D. BAKER,
J. J. HARDIN,
E. B. WEBS,
Committee on behalf of the Whig members of the Legislature.
EXTRACT FROM A PROTEST IN THE ILLINOIS LEGISLATURE AGAINST THE
REORGANIZATION OF THE JUDICIARY.
February 26, 1841
For the reasons thus presented, and for others no less apparent,
the undersigned cannot assent to the passage of the bill, or
permit it to become a law, without this evidence of their
disapprobation; and they now protest against the reorganization
of the judiciary, because--(1) It violates the great principles
of free government by subjecting the judiciary to the
Legislature. (2) It is a fatal blow at the independence of the
judges and the constitutional term of their office. (3) It is a
measure not asked for, or wished for, by the people. (4) It will
greatly increase the expense of our courts, or else greatly
diminish their utility. (5) It will give our courts a political
and partisan character, thereby impairing public confidence in
their decisions. (6) It will impair our standing with other
States and the world. (7)It is a party measure for party
purposes, from which no practical good to the people can possibly
arise, but which may be the source of immeasurable evils.
The undersigned are well aware that this protest will be
altogether unavailing with the majority of this body. The blow
has already fallen, and we are compelled to stand by, the
mournful spectators of the ruin it will cause.
[Signed by 35 members, among whom was Abraham Lincoln.]
TO JOSHUA F. SPEED--MURDER CASE
SPRINGFIELD June 19, 1841.
DEAR SPEED:--We have had the highest state of excitement here for
a week past that our community has ever witnessed; and, although
the public feeling is somewhat allayed, the curious affair which
aroused it is very far from being even yet cleared of mystery.
It would take a quire of paper to give you anything like a full
account of it, and I therefore only propose a brief outline. The
chief personages in the drama are Archibald Fisher, supposed to
be murdered, and Archibald Trailor, Henry Trailor, and William
Trailor, supposed to have murdered him. The three Trailors are
brothers: the first, Arch., as you know, lives in town; the
second, Henry, in Clary's Grove; and the third, William, in
Warren County; and Fisher, the supposed murdered, being without a
family, had made his home with William. On Saturday evening,
being the 29th of May, Fisher and William came to Henry's in a
one-horse dearborn, and there stayed over Sunday; and on Monday
all three came to Springfield (Henry on horseback) and joined
Archibald at Myers's, the Dutch carpenter. That evening at
supper Fisher was missing, and so next morning some ineffectual
search was made for him; and on Tuesday, at one o'clock P.M.,
William and Henry started home without him. In a day or two
Henry and one or two of his Clary-Grove neighbors came back for
him again, and advertised his disappearance in the papers. The
knowledge of the matter thus far had not been general, and here
it dropped entirely, till about the 10th instant, when Keys
received a letter from the postmaster in Warren County, that
William had arrived at home, and was telling a very mysterious
and improbable story about the disappearance of Fisher, which
induced the community there to suppose he had been disposed of
unfairly. Keys made this letter public, which immediately set
the whole town and adjoining county agog. And so it has
continued until yesterday. The mass of the people commenced a
systematic search for the dead body, while Wickersham was
despatched to arrest Henry Trailor at the Grove, and Jim Maxcy to
Warren to arrest William. On Monday last, Henry was brought in,
and showed an evident inclination to insinuate that he knew
Fisher to be dead, and that Arch. and William had killed him.
He said he guessed the body could be found in Spring Creek,
between the Beardstown road and Hickox's mill. Away the people
swept like a herd of buffalo, and cut down Hickox's mill-dam
nolens volens, to draw the water out of the pond, and then went
up and down and down and up the creek, fishing and raking, and
raking and ducking and diving for two days, and, after all, no
dead body found.
In the meantime a sort of scuffling-ground had been found in the
brush in the angle, or point, where the road leading into the
woods past the brewery and the one leading in past the brick-yard
meet. From the scuffle-ground was the sign of something about
the size of a man having been dragged to the edge of the thicket,
where it joined the track of some small-wheeled carriage drawn by
one horse, as shown by the road-tracks. The carriage-track led
off toward Spring Creek. Near this drag-trail Dr. Merryman found
two hairs, which, after a long scientific examination, he
pronounced to be triangular human hairs, which term, he says,
includes within it the whiskers, the hair growing under the arms
and on other parts of the body; and he judged that these two were
of the whiskers, because the ends were cut, showing that they had
flourished in the neighborhood of the razor's operations. On
Thursday last Jim Maxcy brought in William Trailor from Warren.
On the same day Arch. was arrested and put in jail. Yesterday
(Friday) William was put upon his examining trial before May and
Lovely. Archibald and Henry were both present. Lamborn
prosecuted, and Logan, Baker, and your humble servant defended.
A great many witnesses were introduced and examined, but I shall
only mention those whose testimony seemed most important. The
first of these was Captain Ransdell. He swore that when William
and Henry left Springfield for home on Tuesday before mentioned
they did not take the direct route,--which, you know, leads by
the butcher shop,--but that they followed the street north until
they got opposite, or nearly opposite, May's new house, after
which he could not see them from where he stood; and it was
afterwards proved that in about an hour after they started, they
came into the street by the butcher shop from toward the brick-
yard. Dr. Merryman and others swore to what is stated about the
scuffle-ground, drag-trail, whiskers, and carriage tracks. Henry
was then introduced by the prosecution. He swore that when they
started for home they went out north, as Ransdell stated, and
turned down west by the brick-yard into the woods, and there met
Archibald; that they proceeded a small distance farther, when he
was placed as a sentinel to watch for and announce the approach
of any one that might happen that way; that William and Arch.
took the dearborn out of the road a small distance to the edge of
the thicket, where they stopped, and he saw them lift the body of
a man into it; that they then moved off with the carriage in the
direction of Hickox's mill, and he loitered about for something
like an hour, when William returned with the carriage, but
without Arch., and said they had put him in a safe place; that
they went somehow he did not know exactly how--into the road
close to the brewery, and proceeded on to Clary's Grove. He also
stated that some time during the day William told him that he and
Arch. had killed Fisher the evening before; that the way they
did it was by him William knocking him down with a club, and
Arch. then choking him to death.
An old man from Warren, called Dr. Gilmore, was then introduced
on the part of the defense. He swore that he had known Fisher
for several years; that Fisher had resided at his house a long
time at each of two different spells--once while he built a barn
for him, and once while he was doctored for some chronic disease;
that two or three years ago Fisher had a serious hurt in his head
by the bursting of a gun, since which he had been subject to
continued bad health and occasional aberration of mind. He also
stated that on last Tuesday, being the same day that Maxcy
arrested William Trailor, he (the doctor) was from home in the
early part of the day, and on his return, about eleven o'clock,
found Fisher at his house in bed, and apparently very unwell;
that he asked him how he came from Springfield; that Fisher said
he had come by Peoria, and also told of several other places he
had been at more in the direction of Peoria, which showed that he
at the time of speaking did not know where he had been wandering
about in a state of derangement. He further stated that in about
two hours he received a note from one of Trailor's friends,
advising him of his arrest, and requesting him to go on to
Springfield as a witness, to testify as to the state of Fisher's
health in former times; that he immediately set off, calling up
two of his neighbors as company, and, riding all evening and all
night, overtook Maxcy and William at Lewiston in Fulton County;
that Maxcy refusing to discharge Trailor upon his statement, his
two neighbors returned and he came on to Springfield. Some
question being made as to whether the doctor's story was not a
fabrication, several acquaintances of his (among whom was the
same postmaster who wrote Keys, as before mentioned) were
introduced as sort of compurgators, who swore that they knew the
doctor to be of good character for truth and veracity, and
generally of good character in every way.
Here the testimony ended, and the Trailors were discharged, Arch.
and William expressing both in word and manner their entire
confidence that Fisher would be found alive at the doctor's by
Galloway, Mallory, and Myers, who a day before had been
despatched for that purpose; which Henry still protested that no
power on earth could ever show Fisher alive. Thus stands this
curious affair. When the doctor's story was first made public,
it was amusing to scan and contemplate the countenances and hear
the remarks of those who had been actively in search for the dead
body: some looked quizzical, some melancholy, and some furiously
angry. Porter, who had been very active, swore he always knew
the man was not dead, and that he had not stirred an inch to hunt
for him; Langford, who had taken the lead in cutting down
Hickox's mill-dam, and wanted to hang Hickox for objecting,
looked most awfully woebegone: he seemed the "victim of
unrequited affection," as represented in the comic almanacs we
used to laugh over; and Hart, the little drayman that hauled
Molly home once, said it was too damned bad to have so much
trouble, and no hanging after all.
I commenced this letter on yesterday, since which I received
yours of the 13th. I stick to my promise to come to Louisville.
Nothing new here except what I have written. I have not seen
_____ since my last trip, and I am going out there as soon as I
mail this letter.
STATEMENT ABOUT HARRY WILTON.
June 25, 1841
It having been charged in some of the public prints that Harry
Wilton, late United States marshal for the district of Illinois,
had used his office for political effect, in the appointment of
deputies for the taking of the census for the year 1840, we, the
undersigned, were called upon by Mr. Wilton to examine the papers
in his possession relative to these appointments, and to
ascertain therefrom the correctness or incorrectness of such
charge. We accompanied Mr. Wilton to a room, and examined the
matter as fully as we could with the means afforded us. The only
sources of information bearing on the subject which were
submitted to us were the letters, etc., recommending and opposing
the various appointments made, and Mr. Wilton's verbal statements
concerning the same. From these letters, etc., it appears that
in some instances appointments were made in accordance with the
recommendations of leading Whigs, and in opposition to those of
leading Democrats; among which instances the appointments at
Scott, Wayne, Madison, and Lawrence are the strongest. According
to Mr. Wilton's statement of the seventy-six appointments we
examined, fifty-four were of Democrats, eleven of Whigs, and
eleven of unknown politics.
The chief ground of complaint against Mr. Wilton, as we had
understood it, was because of his appointment of so many
Democratic candidates for the Legislature, thus giving them a
decided advantage over their Whig opponents; and consequently our
attention was directed rather particularly to that point. We
found that there were many such appointments, among which were
those in Tazewell, McLean, Iroquois, Coles, Menard, Wayne,
Washington, Fayette, etc.; and we did not learn that there was
one instance in which a Whig candidate for the Legislature had
been appointed. There was no written evidence before us showing
us at what time those appointments were made; but Mr. Wilton
stated that they all with one exception were made before those
appointed became candidates for the Legislature, and the letters,
etc., recommending them all bear date before, and most of them
long before, those appointed were publicly announced candidates.
We give the foregoing naked facts and draw no conclusions from
BEND. S. EDWARDS, A. LINCOLN.
TO MISS MARY SPEED--PRACTICAL SLAVERY
BLOOMINGTON, ILL., September 27, 1841.
Miss Mary Speed, Louisville, Ky.
By the way, a fine example was presented on board the boat for
contemplating the effect of condition upon human happiness. A
gentleman had purchased twelve negroes in different parts of
Kentucky, and was taking them to a farm in the South. They were
chained six and six together. A small iron clevis was around the
left wrist of each, and this fastened to the main chain by a
shorter one, at a convenient distance from the others, so that
the negroes were strung together precisely like so many fish upon
a trotline. In this condition they were being separated forever
from the scenes of their childhood, their friends, their fathers
and mothers, and brothers and sisters, and many of them from
their wives and children, and going into perpetual slavery where
the lash of the master is proverbially more ruthless and
unrelenting than any other where; and yet amid all these
distressing circumstances, as we would think them, they were the
most cheerful and apparently happy creatures on board. One,
whose offence for which he had been sold was an overfondness for
his wife, played the fiddle almost continually, and the others
danced, sang, cracked jokes, and played various games with cards
from day to day. How true it is that 'God tempers the wind to
the shorn lamb,' or in other words, that he renders the worst of
human conditions tolerable, while he permits the best to be
nothing better than tolerable. To return to the narrative: When
we reached Springfield I stayed but one day, when I started on
this tedious circuit where I now am. Do you remember my going to
the city, while I was in Kentucky, to have a tooth extracted, and
making a failure of it? Well, that same old tooth got to paining
me so much that about a week since I had it torn out, bringing
with it a bit of the jawbone, the consequence of which is that my
mouth is now so sore that I can neither talk nor eat.
Your sincere friend,
TO JOSHUA F. SPEED--ON MARRIAGE
January 3?, 1842.
MY DEAR SPEED:--Feeling, as you know I do, the deepest solicitude
for the success of the enterprise you are engaged in, I adopt
this as the last method I can adopt to aid you, in case (which
God forbid!) you shall need any aid. I do not place what I am
going to say on paper because I can say it better that way than I
could by word of mouth, but, were I to say it orally before we
part, most likely you would forget it at the very time when it
might do you some good. As I think it reasonable that you will
feel very badly some time between this and the final consummation
of your purpose, it is intended that you shall read this just at
such a time. Why I say it is reasonable that you will feel very
badly yet, is because of three special causes added to the
general one which I shall mention.
The general cause is, that you are naturally of a nervous
temperament; and this I say from what I have seen of you
personally, and what you have told me concerning your mother at
various times, and concerning your brother William at the time
his wife died. The first special cause is your exposure to bad
weather on your journey, which my experience clearly proves to be
very severe on defective nerves. The second is the absence of
all business and conversation of friends, which might divert your
mind, give it occasional rest from the intensity of thought which
will sometimes wear the sweetest idea threadbare and turn it to
the bitterness of death. The third is the rapid and near
approach of that crisis on which all your thoughts and feelings
If from all these causes you shall escape and go through
triumphantly, without another "twinge of the soul," I shall be
most happily but most egregiously deceived. If, on the contrary,
you shall, as I expect you will at sometime, be agonized and
distressed, let me, who have some reason to speak with judgment
on such a subject, beseech you to ascribe it to the causes I have
mentioned, and not to some false and ruinous suggestion of the
"But," you will say, "do not your causes apply to every one
engaged in a like undertaking?" By no means. The particular
causes, to a greater or less extent, perhaps do apply in all
cases; but the general one,--nervous debility, which is the key
and conductor of all the particular ones, and without which they
would be utterly harmless,--though it does pertain to you, does
not pertain to one in a thousand. It is out of this that the
painful difference between you and the mass of the world springs.
I know what the painful point with you is at all times when you
are unhappy; it is an apprehension that you do not love her as
you should. What nonsense! How came you to court her? Was it
because you thought she deserved it, and that you had given her
reason to expect it? If it was for that why did not the same
reason make you court Ann Todd, and at least twenty others of
whom you can think, and to whom it would apply with greater force
than to her? Did you court her for her wealth? Why, you know she
had none. But you say you reasoned yourself into it. What do
you mean by that? Was it not that you found yourself unable to
reason yourself out of it? Did you not think, and partly form the
purpose, of courting her the first time you ever saw her or heard
of her? What had reason to do with it at that early stage? There
was nothing at that time for reason to work upon. Whether she
was moral, amiable, sensible, or even of good character, you did
not, nor could then know, except, perhaps, you might infer the
last from the company you found her in.
All you then did or could know of her was her personal appearance
and deportment; and these, if they impress at all, impress the
heart, and not the head.
Say candidly, were not those heavenly black eyes the whole basis
of all your early reasoning on the subject? After you and I had
once been at the residence, did you not go and take me all the
way to Lexington and back, for no other purpose but to get to see
her again, on our return on that evening to take a trip for that
express object? What earthly consideration would you take to find
her scouting and despising you, and giving herself up to another?
But of this you have no apprehension; and therefore you cannot
bring it home to your feelings.
I shall be so anxious about you that I shall want you to write by
every mail. Your friend,
TO JOSHUA F. SPEED.
SPRINGFIELD, ILLINOIS, February 3, 1842.
DEAR SPEED:--Your letter of the 25th January came to hand to-day.
You well know that I do not feel my own sorrows much more keenly
than I do yours, when I know of them; and yet I assure you I was
not much hurt by what you wrote me of your excessively bad
feeling at the time you wrote. Not that I am less capable of
sympathizing with you now than ever, not that I am less your
friend than ever, but because I hope and believe that your
present anxiety and distress about her health and her life must
and will forever banish those horrid doubts which I know you
sometimes felt as to the truth of your affection for her. If
they can once and forever be removed (and I almost feel a
presentiment that the Almighty has sent your present affliction
expressly for that object), surely nothing can come in their
stead to fill their immeasurable measure of misery. The death-
scenes of those we love are surely painful enough; but these we
are prepared for and expect to see: they happen to all, and all
know they must happen. Painful as they are, they are not an
unlooked for sorrow. Should she, as you fear, be destined to an
early grave, it is indeed a great consolation to know that she is
so well prepared to meet it. Her religion, which you once
disliked so much, I will venture you now prize most highly. But
I hope your melancholy bodings as to her early death are not well
founded. I even hope that ere this reaches you she will have
returned with improved and still improving health, and that you
will have met her, and forgotten the sorrows of the past in the
enjoyments of the present. I would say more if I could, but it
seems that I have said enough. It really appears to me that you
yourself ought to rejoice, and not sorrow, at this indubitable
evidence of your undying affection for her. Why, Speed, if you
did not love her although you might not wish her death, you would
most certainly be resigned to it. Perhaps this point is no
longer a question with you, and my pertinacious dwelling upon it
is a rude intrusion upon your feelings. If so, you must pardon
me. You know the hell I have suffered on that point, and how
tender I am upon it. You know I do not mean wrong. I have been
quite clear of "hypo" since you left, even better than I was
along in the fall. I have seen ______ but once. She seemed very
cheerful, and so I said nothing to her about what we spoke of.
Old Uncle Billy Herndon is dead, and it is said this evening that
Uncle Ben Ferguson will not live. This, I believe, is all the
news, and enough at that unless it were better. Write me
immediately on the receipt of this. Your friend, as ever,
TO JOSHUA F. SPEED--ON DEPRESSION
SPRINGFIELD, ILLINOIS, February 13, 1842.
DEAR SPEED:--Yours of the 1st instant came to hand three or four
days ago. When this shall reach you, you will have been Fanny's
husband several days. You know my desire to befriend you is
everlasting; that I will never cease while I know how to do
anything. But you will always hereafter be on ground that I have
never occupied, and consequently, if advice were needed, I might
advise wrong. I do fondly hope, however, that you will never
again need any comfort from abroad. But should I be mistaken in
this, should excessive pleasure still be accompanied with a
painful counterpart at times, still let me urge you, as I have
ever done, to remember, in the depth and even agony of
despondency, that very shortly you are to feel well again. I am
now fully convinced that you love her as ardently as you are
capable of loving. Your ever being happy in her presence, and
your intense anxiety about her health, if there were nothing
else, would place this beyond all dispute in my mind. I incline
to think it probable that your nerves will fail you occasionally
for a while; but once you get them firmly guarded now that
trouble is over forever. I think, if I were you, in case my mind
were not exactly right, I would avoid being idle. I would
immediately engage in some business, or go to making preparations
for it, which would be the same thing. If you went through the
ceremony calmly, or even with sufficient composure not to excite
alarm in any present, you are safe beyond question, and in two or
three months, to say the most, will be the happiest of men.
I would desire you to give my particular respects to Fanny; but
perhaps you will not wish her to know you have received this,
lest she should desire to see it. Make her write me an answer to
my last letter to her; at any rate I would set great value upon a
note or letter from her. Write me whenever you have leisure.
P. S.--I have been quite a man since you left.
TO G. B. SHELEDY.
SPRINGFIELD, ILL., Feb. 16, 1842.
G. B. SHELEDY, ESQ.:
Yours of the 10th is duly received. Judge Logan and myself are
doing business together now, and we are willing to attend to your
cases as you propose. As to the terms, we are willing to attend
each case you prepare and send us for $10 (when there shall be no
opposition) to be sent in advance, or you to know that it is
safe. It takes $5.75 of cost to start upon, that is, $1.75 to
clerk, and $2 to each of two publishers of papers. Judge Logan
thinks it will take the balance of $20 to carry a case through.
This must be advanced from time to time as the services are
performed, as the officers will not act without. I do not know
whether you can be admitted an attorney of the Federal court in
your absence or not; nor is it material, as the business can be
done in our names.
Thinking it may aid you a little, I send you one of our blank
forms of Petitions. It, you will see, is framed to be sworn to
before the Federal court clerk, and, in your cases, will have
[to] be so far changed as to be sworn to before the clerk of your
circuit court; and his certificate must be accompanied with his
official seal. The schedules, too, must be attended to. Be sure
that they contain the creditors' names, their residences, the
amounts due each, the debtors' names, their residences, and the
amounts they owe, also all property and where located.
Also be sure that the schedules are all signed by the applicants
as well as the Petition. Publication will have to be made here
in one paper, and in one nearest the residence of the applicant.
Write us in each case where the last advertisement is to be sent,
whether to you or to what paper.
I believe I have now said everything that can be of any
advantage. Your friend as ever,
TO GEORGE E. PICKETT--ADVICE TO YOUTH
February 22, 1842.
I never encourage deceit, and falsehood, especially if you have
got a bad memory, is the worst enemy a fellow can have. The fact
is truth is your truest friend, no matter what the circumstances
are. Notwithstanding this copy-book preamble, my boy, I am
inclined to suggest a little prudence on your part. You see I
have a congenital aversion to failure, and the sudden
announcement to your Uncle Andrew of the success of your "lamp
rubbing" might possibly prevent your passing the severe physical
examination to which you will be subjected in order to enter the
Military Academy. You see I should like to have a perfect
soldier credited to dear old Illinois--no broken bones, scalp
wounds, etc. So I think it might be wise to hand this letter
from me in to your good uncle through his room-window after he
has had a comfortable dinner, and watch its effect from the top
of the pigeon-house.
I have just told the folks here in Springfield on this 111th
anniversary of the birth of him whose name, mightiest in the
cause of civil liberty, still mightiest in the cause of moral
reformation, we mention in solemn awe, in naked, deathless
splendor, that the one victory we can ever call complete will be
that one which proclaims that there is not one slave or one
drunkard on the face of God's green earth. Recruit for this
Now, boy, on your march, don't you go and forget the old maxim
that "one drop of honey catches more flies than a half-gallon of
gall." Load your musket with this maxim, and smoke it in your
ADDRESS BEFORE THE SPRINGFIELD WASHINGTONIAN
TEMPERANCE SOCIETY, FEBRUARY 22, 1842.
Although the temperance cause has been in progress for near
twenty years, it is apparent to all that it is just now being
crowned with a degree of success hitherto unparalleled.
The list of its friends is daily swelled by the additions of
fifties, of hundreds, and of thousands. The cause itself seems
suddenly transformed from a cold abstract theory to a living,
breathing, active, and powerful chieftain, going forth
"conquering and to conquer." The citadels of his great adversary
are daily being stormed and dismantled; his temple and his
altars, where the rites of his idolatrous worship have long been
performed, and where human sacrifices have long been wont to be
made, are daily desecrated and deserted. The triumph of the
conqueror's fame is sounding from hill to hill, from sea to sea,
and from land to land, and calling millions to his standard at a
For this new and splendid success we heartily rejoice. That that
success is so much greater now than heretofore is doubtless owing
to rational causes; and if we would have it continue, we shall do
well to inquire what those causes are.
The warfare heretofore waged against the demon intemperance has
somehow or other been erroneous. Either the champions engaged or
the tactics they adopted have not been the most proper. These
champions for the most part have been preachers, lawyers, and
hired agents. Between these and the mass of mankind there is a
want of approachability, if the term be admissible, partially, at
least, fatal to their success. They are supposed to have no
sympathy of feeling or interest with those very persons whom it
is their object to convince and persuade.
And again, it is so common and so easy to ascribe motives to men
of these classes other than those they profess to act upon. The
preacher, it is said, advocates temperance because he is a
fanatic, and desires a union of the Church and State; the lawyer
from his pride and vanity of hearing himself speak; and the hired
agent for his salary. But when one who has long been known as a
victim of intemperance bursts the fetters that have bound him,
and appears before his neighbors "clothed and in his right mind,"
a redeemed specimen of long-lost humanity, and stands up, with
tears of joy trembling in his eyes, to tell of the miseries once
endured, now to be endured no more forever; of his once naked and
starving children, now clad and fed comfortably; of a wife long
weighed down with woe, weeping, and a broken heart, now restored
to health, happiness, and a renewed affection; and how easily it
is all done, once it is resolved to be done; how simple his
language! there is a logic and an eloquence in it that few with
human feelings can resist. They cannot say that he desires a
union of Church and State, for he is not a church member; they
cannot say he is vain of hearing himself speak, for his whole
demeanor shows he would gladly avoid speaking at all; they cannot
say he speaks for pay, for he receives none, and asks for none.
Nor can his sincerity in any way be doubted, or his sympathy for
those he would persuade to imitate his example be denied.
In my judgment, it is to the battles of this new class of
champions that our late success is greatly, perhaps chiefly,
owing. But, had the old-school champions themselves been of the
most wise selecting, was their system of tactics the most
judicious? It seems to me it was not. Too much denunciation
against dram-sellers and dram-drinkers was indulged in. This I
think was both impolitic and unjust. It was impolitic, because
it is not much in the nature of man to be driven to anything;
still less to be driven about that which is exclusively his own
business; and least of all where such driving is to be submitted
to at the expense of pecuniary interest or burning appetite.
When the dram-seller and drinker were incessantly told not in
accents of entreaty and persuasion, diffidently addressed by
erring man to an erring brother, but in the thundering tones of
anathema and denunciation with which the lordly judge often
groups together all the crimes of the felon's life, and thrusts
them in his face just ere he passes sentence of death upon him
that they were the authors of all the vice and misery and crime
in the land; that they were the manufacturers and material of all
the thieves and robbers and murderers that infest the earth; that
their houses were the workshops of the devil; and that their
persons should be shunned by all the good and virtuous, as moral
pestilences--I say, when they were told all this, and in this
way, it is not wonderful that they were slow to acknowledge the
truth of such denunciations, and to join the ranks of their
denouncers in a hue and cry against themselves.
To have expected them to do otherwise than they did to have
expected them not to meet denunciation with denunciation,
crimination with crimination, and anathema with anathema--was to
expect a reversal of human nature, which is God's decree and can
never be reversed.
When the conduct of men is designed to be influenced, persuasion,
kind, unassuming persuasion, should ever be adopted. It is an
old and a true maxim that "a drop of honey catches more flies
than a gallon of gall." So with men. If you would win a man to
your cause, first convince him that you are his sincere friend.
Therein is a drop of honey that catches his heart, which, say
what he will, is the great highroad to his reason; and which,
when once gained, you will find but little trouble in convincing
his judgment of the justice of your cause, if indeed that cause
really be a just one. On the contrary, assume to dictate to his
judgment, or to command his action, or to mark him as one to be
shunned and despised, and he will retreat within himself, close
all the avenues to his head and his heart; and though your cause
be naked truth itself, transformed to the heaviest lance, harder
than steel, and sharper than steel can be made, and though you
throw it with more than herculean force and precision, you shall
be no more able to pierce him than to penetrate the hard shell of
a tortoise with a rye straw. Such is man, and so must he be
understood by those who would lead him, even to his own best
On this point the Washingtonians greatly excel the temperance
advocates of former times. Those whom they desire to convince
and persuade are their old friends and companions. They know
they are not demons, nor even the worst of men; they know that
generally they are kind, generous, and charitable even beyond the
example of their more staid and sober neighbors. They are
practical philanthropists; and they glow with a generous and
brotherly zeal that mere theorizers are incapable of feeling.
Benevolence and charity possess their hearts entirely; and out of
the abundance of their hearts their tongues give utterance; "love
through all their actions runs, and all their words are mild."
In this spirit they speak and act, and in the same they are heard
and regarded. And when such is the temper of the advocate, and
such of the audience, no good cause can be unsuccessful. But I
have said that denunciations against dramsellers and dram-
drinkers are unjust, as well as impolitic. Let us see. I have
not inquired at what period of time the use of intoxicating
liquors commenced; nor is it important to know. It is sufficient
that, to all of us who now inhabit the world, the practice of
drinking them is just as old as the world itself that is, we have
seen the one just as long as we have seen the other. When all
such of us as have now reached the years of maturity first opened
our eyes upon the stage of existence, we found intoxicating
liquor recognized by everybody, used by everybody, repudiated by
nobody. It commonly entered into the first draught of the infant
and the last draught of the dying man. From the sideboard of the
parson down to the ragged pocket of the houseless loafer, it was
constantly found. Physicians proscribed it in this, that, and
the other disease; government provided it for soldiers and
sailors; and to have a rolling or raising, a husking or
"hoedown," anywhere about without it was positively insufferable.
So, too, it was everywhere a respectable article of manufacture
and merchandise. The making of it was regarded as an honorable
livelihood, and he who could make most was the most enterprising
and respectable. Large and small manufactories of it were
everywhere erected, in which all the earthly goods of their
owners were invested. Wagons drew it from town to town; boats
bore it from clime to clime, and the winds wafted it from nation
to nation; and merchants bought and sold it, by wholesale and
retail, with precisely the same feelings on the part of the
seller, buyer, and bystander as are felt at the selling and
buying of ploughs, beef, bacon, or any other of the real
necessaries of life. Universal public opinion not only tolerated
but recognized and adopted its use.
It is true that even then it was known and acknowledged that many
were greatly injured by it; but none seemed to think the injury
arose from the use of a bad thing, but from the abuse of a very
good thing. The victims of it were to be pitied and
compassionated, just as are the heirs of consumption and other
hereditary diseases. Their failing was treated as a misfortune,
and not as a crime, or even as a disgrace. If, then, what I have
been saying is true, is it wonderful that some should think and
act now as all thought and acted twenty years ago? and is it just
to assail, condemn, or despise them for doing so? The universal
sense of mankind on any subject is an argument, or at least an
influence, not easily overcome. The success of the argument in
favor of the existence of an overruling Providence mainly depends
upon that sense; and men ought not in justice to be denounced for
yielding to it in any case, or giving it up slowly, especially
when they are backed by interest, fixed habits, or burning
Another error, as it seems to me, into which the old reformers
fell, was the position that all habitual drunkards were utterly
incorrigible, and therefore must be turned adrift and damned
without remedy in order that the grace of temperance might
abound, to the temperate then, and to all mankind some hundreds
of years thereafter. There is in this some thing so repugnant to
humanity, so uncharitable, so cold-blooded and feelingless, that
it, never did nor ever can enlist the enthusiasm of a popular
cause. We could not love the man who taught it we could not hear
him with patience. The heart could not throw open its portals to
it, the generous man could not adopt it--it could not mix with
his blood. It looked so fiendishly selfish, so like throwing
fathers and brothers overboard to lighten the boat for our
security, that the noble-minded shrank from the manifest meanness
of the thing. And besides this, the benefits of a reformation to
be effected by such a system were too remote in point of time to
warmly engage many in its behalf. Few can be induced to labor
exclusively for posterity, and none will do it enthusiastically.
--Posterity has done nothing for us; and, theorize on it as we
may, practically we shall do very little for it, unless we are
made to think we are at the same time doing something for
What an ignorance of human nature does it exhibit to ask or to
expect a whole community to rise up and labor for the temporal
happiness of others, after themselves shall be consigned to the
dust, a majority of which community take no pains whatever to
secure their own eternal welfare at no more distant day! Great
distance in either time or space has wonderful power to lull and
render quiescent the human mind. Pleasures to be enjoyed, or
pains to be endured, after we shall be dead and gone are but
little regarded even in our own cases, and much less in the cases
of others. Still, in addition to this there is something so
ludicrous in promises of good or threats of evil a great way off
as to render the whole subject with which they are connected
easily turned into ridicule. "Better lay down that spade you are
stealing, Paddy; if you don't you'll pay for it at the day of
judgment." "Be the powers, if ye 'll credit me so long I'll take
By the Washingtonians this system of consigning the habitual
drunkard to hopeless ruin is repudiated. They adopt a more
enlarged philanthropy; they go for present as well as future
good. They labor for all now living, as well as hereafter to
live. They teach hope to all-despair to none. As applying to
their cause, they deny the doctrine of unpardonable sin; as in
Christianity it is taught, so in this they teach--"While--While
the lamp holds out to burn, The vilest sinner may return." And,
what is a matter of more profound congratulation, they, by
experiment upon experiment and example upon example, prove the
maxim to be no less true in the one case than in the other. On
every hand we behold those who but yesterday were the chief of
sinners, now the chief apostles of the cause. Drunken devils are
cast out by ones, by sevens, by legions; and their unfortunate
victims, like the poor possessed who were redeemed from their
long and lonely wanderings in the tombs, are publishing to the
ends of the earth how great things have been done for them.
To these new champions and this new system of tactics our late
success is mainly owing, and to them we must mainly look for the
final consummation. The ball is now rolling gloriously on, and
none are so able as they to increase its speed and its bulk, to
add to its momentum and its magnitude--even though unlearned in
letters, for this task none are so well educated. To fit them
for this work they have been taught in the true school. They
have been in that gulf from which they would teach others the
means of escape. They have passed that prison wall which others
have long declared impassable; and who that has not shall dare to
weigh opinions with them as to the mode of passing?
But if it be true, as I have insisted, that those who have
suffered by intemperance personally, and have reformed, are the
most powerful and efficient instruments to push the reformation
to ultimate success, it does not follow that those who have not
suffered have no part left them to perform. Whether or not the
world would be vastly benefited by a total and final banishment
from it of all intoxicating drinks seems to me not now an open
question. Three fourths of mankind confess the affirmative with
their tongues, and, I believe, all the rest acknowledge it in
Ought any, then, to refuse their aid in doing what good the good
of the whole demands? Shall he who cannot do much be for that
reason excused if he do nothing? "But," says one, "what good can
I do by signing the pledge? I never drank, even without
signing." This question has already been asked and answered more
than a million of times. Let it be answered once more. For the
man suddenly or in any other way to break off from the use of
drams, who has indulged in them for a long course of years and
until his appetite for them has grown ten or a hundredfold
stronger and more craving than any natural appetite can be,
requires a most powerful moral effort. In such an undertaking he
needs every moral support and influence that can possibly be
brought to his aid and thrown around him. And not only so, but
every moral prop should be taken from whatever argument might
rise in his mind to lure him to his backsliding. When he casts
his eyes around him, he should be able to see all that he
respects, all that he admires, all that he loves, kindly and
anxiously pointing him onward, and none beckoning him back to his
former miserable "wallowing in the mire."
But it is said by some that men will think and act for
themselves; that none will disuse spirits or anything else
because his neighbors do; and that moral influence is not that
powerful engine contended for. Let us examine this. Let me ask
the man who could maintain this position most stiffly, what
compensation he will accept to go to church some Sunday and sit
during the sermon with his wife's bonnet upon his head? Not a
trifle, I'll venture. And why not? There would be nothing
irreligious in it, nothing immoral, nothing uncomfortable--then
why not? Is it not because there would be something egregiously
unfashionable in it? Then it is the influence of fashion; and
what is the influence of fashion but the influence that other
people's actions have on our actions--the strong inclination each
of us feels to do as we see all our neighbors do? Nor is the
influence of fashion confined to any particular thing or class of
things; it is just as strong on one subject as another. Let us
make it as unfashionable to withhold our names from the
temperance cause as for husbands to wear their wives' bonnets to
church, and instances will be just as rare in the one case as the
"But," say some, "we are no drunkards, and we shall not
acknowledge ourselves such by joining a reformed drunkard's
society, whatever our influence might be." Surely no Christian
will adhere to this objection. If they believe as they profess,
that Omnipotence condescended to take on himself the form of
sinful man, and as such to die an ignominious death for their
sakes, surely they will not refuse submission to the infinitely
lesser condescension, for the temporal, and perhaps eternal,
salvation of a large, erring, and unfortunate class of their
fellow-creatures. Nor is the condescension very great. In my
judgment such of us as have never fallen victims have been spared
more by the absence of appetite than from any mental or moral
superiority over those who have. Indeed, I believe if we take
habitual drunkards as a class, their heads and their hearts will
bear an advantageous comparison with those of any other class.
There seems ever to have been a proneness in the brilliant and
warm-blooded to fall into this vice--the demon of intemperance
ever seems to have delighted in sucking the blood of genius and
of generosity. What one of us but can call to mind some
relative, more promising in youth than all his fellows, who has
fallen a sacrifice to his rapacity? He ever seems to have gone
forth like the Egyptian angel of death, commissioned to slay, if
not the first, the fairest born of every family. Shall he now be
arrested in his desolating career? In that arrest all can give
aid that will; and who shall be excused that can and will not?
Far around as human breath has ever blown he keeps our fathers,
our brothers, our sons, and our friends prostrate in the chains
of moral death. To all the living everywhere we cry, "Come sound
the moral trump, that these may rise and stand up an exceeding
great army." "Come from the four winds, O breath! and breathe
upon these slain that they may live." If the relative grandeur
of revolutions shall be estimated by the great amount of human
misery they alleviate, and the small amount they inflict, then
indeed will this be the grandest the world shall ever have seen.
Of our political revolution of '76 we are all justly proud. It
has given us a degree of political freedom far exceeding that of
any other nation of the earth. In it the world has found a
solution of the long-mooted problem as to the capability of man
to govern himself. In it was the germ which has vegetated, and
still is to grow and expand into the universal liberty of
mankind. But, with all these glorious results, past, present,
and to come, it had its evils too. It breathed forth famine,
swam in blood, and rode in fire; and long, long after, the
orphan's cry and the widow's wail continued to break the sad
silence that ensued. These were the price, the inevitable price,
paid for the blessings it bought.
Turn now to the temperance revolution. In it we shall find a
stronger bondage broken, a viler slavery manumitted, a greater
tyrant deposed; in it, more of want supplied, more disease
healed, more sorrow assuaged. By it no Orphans starving, no
widows weeping. By it none wounded in feeling, none injured in
interest; even the drammaker and dram-seller will have glided
into other occupations so gradually as never to have felt the
change, and will stand ready to join all others in the universal
song of gladness. And what a noble ally this to the cause of
political freedom, with such an aid its march cannot fail to be
on and on, till every son of earth shall drink in rich fruition
the sorrow-quenching draughts of perfect liberty. Happy day
when-all appetites controlled, all poisons subdued, all matter
subjected-mind, all-conquering mind, shall live and move, the
monarch of the world. Glorious consummation! Hail, fall of
fury! Reign of reason, all hail!
And when the victory shall be complete, when there shall be
neither a slave nor a drunkard on the earth, how proud the title
of that land which may truly claim to be the birthplace and the
cradle of both those revolutions that shall have ended in that
victory. How nobly distinguished that people who shall have
planted and nurtured to maturity both the political and moral
freedom of their species.
This is the one hundred and tenth anniversary of the birthday of
Washington; we are met to celebrate this day. Washington is the
mightiest name of earth long since mightiest in the cause of
civil liberty, still mightiest in moral reformation. On that
name no eulogy is expected. It cannot be. To add brightness to
the sun or glory to the name of Washington is alike impossible.
Let none attempt it. In solemn awe pronounce the name, and in its
naked deathless splendor leave it shining on.
TO JOSHUA F. SPEED.
SPRINGFIELD, February 25, 1842.
DEAR SPEED:--Yours of the 16th instant, announcing that Miss
Fanny and you are "no more twain, but one flesh," reached me this
morning. I have no way of telling you how much happiness I wish
you both, though I believe you both can conceive it. I feel
somewhat jealous of both of you now: you will be so exclusively
concerned for one another, that I shall be forgotten entirely.
My acquaintance with Miss Fanny (I call her this, lest you should
think I am speaking of your mother) was too short for me to
reasonably hope to long be remembered by her; and still I am sure
I shall not forget her soon. Try if you cannot remind her of that
debt she owes me--and be sure you do not interfere to prevent her
I regret to learn that you have resolved to not return to
Illinois. I shall be very lonesome without you. How miserably
things seem to be arranged in this world! If we have no friends,
we have no pleasure; and if we have them, we are sure to lose
them, and be doubly pained by the loss. I did hope she and you
would make your home here; but I own I have no right to insist.
You owe obligations to her ten thousand times more sacred than
you can owe to others, and in that light let them be respected
and observed. It is natural that she should desire to remain with
her relatives and friends. As to friends, however, she could not
need them anywhere: she would have them in abundance here.
Give my kind remembrance to Mr. Williamson and his family,
particularly Miss Elizabeth; also to your mother, brother, and
sisters. Ask little Eliza Davis if she will ride to town with me
if I come there again. And finally, give Fanny a double
reciprocation of all the love she sent me. Write me often, and
P. S. Poor Easthouse is gone at last. He died awhile before day
this morning. They say he was very loath to die....
TO JOSHUA F. SPEED--ON MARRIAGE CONCERNS
SPRINGFIELD, February 25,1842.
DEAR SPEED:--I received yours of the 12th written the day you
went down to William's place, some days since, but delayed
answering it till I should receive the promised one of the 16th,
which came last night. I opened the letter with intense anxiety
and trepidation; so much so, that, although it turned out better
than I expected, I have hardly yet, at a distance of ten hours,
I tell you, Speed, our forebodings (for which you and I are
peculiar) are all the worst sort of nonsense. I fancied, from
the time I received your letter of Saturday, that the one of
Wednesday was never to come, and yet it did come, and what is
more, it is perfectly clear, both from its tone and handwriting,
that you were much happier, or, if you think the term preferable,
less miserable, when you wrote it than when you wrote the last
one before. You had so obviously improved at the very time I so
much fancied you would have grown worse. You say that something
indescribably horrible and alarming still haunts you. You will
not say that three months from now, I will venture. When your
nerves once get steady now, the whole trouble will be over
forever. Nor should you become impatient at their being even
very slow in becoming steady. Again you say, you much fear that
that Elysium of which you have dreamed so much is never to be
realized. Well, if it shall not, I dare swear it will not be the
fault of her who is now your wife. I now have no doubt that it
is the peculiar misfortune of both you and me to dream dreams of
Elysium far exceeding all that anything earthly can realize. Far
short of your dreams as you may be, no woman could do more to
realize them than that same black-eyed Fanny. If you could but
contemplate her through my imagination, it would appear
ridiculous to you that any one should for a moment think of being
unhappy with her. My old father used to have a saying that "If
you make a bad bargain, hug it all the tighter"; and it occurs to
me that if the bargain you have just closed can possibly be
called a bad one, it is certainly the most pleasant one for
applying that maxim to which my fancy can by any effort picture.
I write another letter, enclosing this, which you can show her,
if she desires it. I do this because she would think strangely,
perhaps, should you tell her that you received no letters from
me, or, telling her you do, refuse to let her see them. I close
this, entertaining the confident hope that every successive
letter I shall have from you (which I here pray may not be few,
nor far between) may show you possessing a more steady hand and
cheerful heart than the last preceding it.
As ever, your friend,
TO JOSHUA F. SPEED.
SPRINGFIELD, March 27, 1842
DEAR SPEED:--Yours of the 10th instant was received three or four
days since. You know I am sincere when I tell you the pleasure
its contents gave me was, and is, inexpressible. As to your farm
matter, I have no sympathy with you. I have no farm, nor ever
expect to have, and consequently have not studied the subject
enough to be much interested with it. I can only say that I am
glad you are satisfied and pleased with it. But on that other
subject, to me of the most intense interest whether in joy or
sorrow, I never had the power to withhold my sympathy from you.
It cannot be told how it now thrills me with joy to hear you say
you are "far happier than you ever expected to be." That much I
know is enough. I know you too well to suppose your expectations
were not, at least, sometimes extravagant, and if the reality
exceeds them all, I say, Enough, dear Lord. I am not going
beyond the truth when I tell you that the short space it took me
to read your last letter gave me more pleasure than the total sum
of all I have enjoyed since the fatal 1st of January, 1841.
Since then it seems to me I should have been entirely happy, but
for the never-absent idea that there is one still unhappy whom I
have contributed to make so. That still kills my soul. I cannot
but reproach myself for even wishing to be happy while she is
otherwise. She accompanied a large party on the railroad cars to
Jacksonville last Monday, and on her return spoke, so that I
heard of it, of having enjoyed the trip exceedingly. God be
praised for that.
You know with what sleepless vigilance I have watched you ever
since the commencement of your affair; and although I am almost
confident it is useless, I cannot forbear once more to say that I
think it is even yet possible for your spirits to flag down and
leave you miserable. If they should, don't fail to remember that
they cannot long remain so. One thing I can tell you which I
know you will be glad to hear, and that is that I have seen--and
scrutinized her feelings as well as I could, and am fully
convinced she is far happier now than she has been for the last
fifteen months past.
You will see by the last Sangamon Journal, that I made a
temperance speech on the 22d of February, which I claim that
Fanny and you shall read as an act of charity to me; for I cannot
learn that anybody else has read it, or is likely to.
Fortunately it is not very long, and I shall deem it a sufficient
compliance with my request if one of you listens while the other
As to your Lockridge matter, it is only necessary to say that
there has been no court since you left, and that the next
commences to-morrow morning, during which I suppose we cannot
fail to get a judgment.
I wish you would learn of Everett what he would take, over and
above a discharge for all the trouble we have been at, to take
his business out of our hands and give it to somebody else. It
is impossible to collect money on that or any other claim here
now; and although you know I am not a very petulant man, I
declare I am almost out of patience with Mr. Everett's
importunity. It seems like he not only writes all the letters he
can himself, but gets everybody else in Louisville and vicinity
to be constantly writing to us about his claim. I have always
said that Mr. Everett is a very clever fellow, and I am very
sorry he cannot be obliged; but it does seem to me he ought to
know we are interested to collect his claim, and therefore would
do it if we could.
I am neither joking nor in a pet when I say we would thank him to
transfer his business to some other, without any compensation for
what we have done, provided he will see the court cost paid, for
which we are security.
The sweet violet you inclosed came safely to hand, but it was so
dry, and mashed so flat, that it crumbled to dust at the first
attempt to handle it. The juice that mashed out of it stained a
place in the letter, which I mean to preserve and cherish for the
sake of her who procured it to be sent. My renewed good wishes
to her in particular, and generally to all such of your relations
who know me.
TO JOSHUA F. SPEED.
SPRINGFIELD, ILLINOIS, July 4, 1842.
DEAR SPEED:--Yours of the 16th June was received only a day or
two since. It was not mailed at Louisville till the 25th. You
speak of the great time that has elapsed since I wrote you. Let
me explain that. Your letter reached here a day or two after I
started on the circuit. I was gone five or six weeks, so that I
got the letters only a few weeks before Butler started to your
country. I thought it scarcely worth while to write you the news
which he could and would tell you more in detail. On his return
he told me you would write me soon, and so I waited for your
letter. As to my having been displeased with your advice, surely
you know better than that. I know you do, and therefore will not
labor to convince you. True, that subject is painful to me; but
it is not your silence, or the silence of all the world, that can
make me forget it. I acknowledge the correctness of your advice
too; but before I resolve to do the one thing or the other, I
must gain my confidence in my own ability to keep my resolves
when they are made. In that ability you know I once prided
myself as the only or chief gem of my character; that gem I lost-
-how and where you know too well. I have not yet regained it;
and until I do, I cannot trust myself in any matter of much
importance. I believe now that had you understood my case at the
time as well as I understand yours afterward, by the aid you
would have given me I should have sailed through clear, but that
does not now afford me sufficient confidence to begin that or the
like of that again.
You make a kind acknowledgment of your obligations to me for your
present happiness. I am pleased with that acknowledgment. But a
thousand times more am I pleased to know that you enjoy a degree
of happiness worthy of an acknowledgment. The truth is, I am not
sure that there was any merit with me in the part I took in your
difficulty; I was drawn to it by a fate. If I would I could not
have done less than I did. I always was superstitious; I believe
God made me one of the instruments of bringing your Fanny and you
together, which union I have no doubt He had fore-ordained.
Whatever He designs He will do for me yet. "Stand still, and see
the salvation of the Lord" is my text just now. If, as you say,
you have told Fanny all, I should have no objection to her seeing
this letter, but for its reference to our friend here: let her
seeing it depend upon whether she has ever known anything of my
affairs; and if she has not, do not let her.
I do not think I can come to Kentucky this season. I am so poor
and make so little headway in the world, that I drop back in a
month of idleness as much as I gain in a year's sowing. I should
like to visit you again. I should like to see that "sis" of
yours that was absent when I was there, though I suppose she
would run away again if she were to hear I was coming.
My respects and esteem to all your friends there, and, by your
permission, my love to your Fanny.
A LETTER FROM THE LOST TOWNSHIPS
Article written by Lincoln for the Sangamon Journal in ridicule
of James Shields, who, as State Auditor, had declined to receive
State Bank notes in payment of taxes. The above letter purported
to come from a poor widow who, though supplied with State Bank
paper, could not obtain a receipt for her tax bill. This, and
another subsequent letter by Mary Todd, brought about the
August 27, 1842.
DEAR Mr. PRINTER:
I see you printed that long letter I sent you a spell ago. I 'm
quite encouraged by it, and can't keep from writing again. I
think the printing of my letters will be a good thing all round--
it will give me the benefit of being known by the world, and give
the world the advantage of knowing what's going on in the Lost
Townships, and give your paper respectability besides. So here
comes another. Yesterday afternoon I hurried through cleaning up
the dinner dishes and stepped over to neighbor S_______ to see if
his wife Peggy was as well as mout be expected, and hear what
they called the baby. Well, when I got there and just turned
round the corner of his log cabin, there he was, setting on the
doorstep reading a newspaper. "How are you, Jeff?" says I. He
sorter started when he heard me, for he hadn't seen me before.
"Why," says he, "I 'm mad as the devil, Aunt 'Becca!" "What
about?" says I; "ain't its hair the right color? None of that
nonsense, Jeff; there ain't an honester woman in the Lost
Townships than..." --"Than who?" says he; "what the mischief are
you about?" I began to see I was running the wrong trail, and so
says I, "Oh! nothing: I guess I was mistaken a little, that's
all. But what is it you 're mad about?"
"Why," says he, "I've been tugging ever since harvest, getting
out wheat and hauling it to the river to raise State Bank paper
enough to pay my tax this year and a little school debt I owe;
and now, just as I 've got it, here I open this infernal Extra
Register, expecting to find it full of 'Glorious Democratic
Victories' and 'High Comb'd Cocks,' when, lo and behold! I find a
set of fellows, calling themselves officers of the State, have
forbidden the tax collectors, and school commissioners to receive
State paper at all; and so here it is dead on my hands. I don't
now believe all the plunder I've got will fetch ready cash enough
to pay my taxes and that school debt."
I was a good deal thunderstruck myself; for that was the first I
had heard of the proclamation, and my old man was pretty much in
the same fix with Jeff. We both stood a moment staring at one
another without knowing what to say. At last says I, "Mr.
S______ let me look at that paper." He handed it to me, when I
read the proclamation over.
"There now," says he, "did you ever see such a piece of impudence
and imposition as that?" I saw Jeff was in a good tune for saying
some ill-natured things, and so I tho't I would just argue a
little on the contrary side, and make him rant a spell if I
could. "Why," says I, looking as dignified and thoughtful as I
could, "it seems pretty tough, to be sure, to have to raise
silver where there's none to be raised; but then, you see, 'there
will be danger of loss' if it ain't done."
"Loss! damnation!" says he. "I defy Daniel Webster, I defy King
Solomon, I defy the world--I defy--I defy--yes, I defy even you,
Aunt 'Becca, to show how the people can lose anything by paying
their taxes in State paper."
"Well," says I, "you see what the officers of State say about it,
and they are a desarnin' set of men. But," says I, "I guess you
're mistaken about what the proclamation says. It don't say the
people will lose anything by the paper money being taken for
taxes. It only says 'there will be danger of loss'; and though
it is tolerable plain that the people can't lose by paying their
taxes in something they can get easier than silver, instead of
having to pay silver; and though it's just as plain that the
State can't lose by taking State Bank paper, however low it may
be, while she owes the bank more than the whole revenue, and can
pay that paper over on her debt, dollar for dollar;--still there
is danger of loss to the 'officers of State'; and you know, Jeff,
we can't get along without officers of State."
"Damn officers of State!" says he; "that's what Whigs are always
"Now, don't swear so, Jeff," says I, "you know I belong to the
meetin', and swearin' hurts my feelings."
"Beg pardon, Aunt 'Becca," says he; "but I do say it's enough to
make Dr. Goddard swear, to have tax to pay in silver, for
nothing only that Ford may get his two thousand a year, and
Shields his twenty-four hundred a year, and Carpenter his sixteen
hundred a year, and all without 'danger of loss' by taking it in
State paper. Yes, yes: it's plain enough now what these officers
of State mean by 'danger of loss.' Wash, I s'pose, actually lost
fifteen hundred dollars out of the three thousand that two of
these 'officers of State' let him steal from the treasury, by
being compelled to take it in State paper. Wonder if we don't
have a proclamation before long, commanding us to make up this
loss to Wash in silver."
And so he went on till his breath run out, and he had to stop. I
couldn't think of anything to say just then, and so I begun to
look over the paper again. "Ay! here's another proclamation, or
something like it."
"Another?" says Jeff; "and whose egg is it, pray?"
I looked to the bottom of it, and read aloud, "Your obedient
servant, James Shields, Auditor."
"Aha!" says Jeff, "one of them same three fellows again. Well
read it, and let's hear what of it."
I read on till I came to where it says, "The object of this
measure is to suspend the collection of the revenue for the
"Now stop, now stop!" says he; "that's a lie a'ready, and I don't
want to hear of it."
"Oh, maybe not," says I.
"I say it-is-a-lie. Suspend the collection, indeed! Will the
collectors, that have taken their oaths to make the collection,
dare to end it? Is there anything in law requiring them to
perjure themselves at the bidding of James Shields?
"Will the greedy gullet of the penitentiary be satisfied with
swallowing him instead of all of them, if they should venture to
obey him? And would he not discover some 'danger of loss,' and be
off about the time it came to taking their places?
"And suppose the people attempt to suspend, by refusing to pay;
what then? The collectors would just jerk up their horses and
cows, and the like, and sell them to the highest bidder for
silver in hand, without valuation or redemption. Why, Shields
didn't believe that story himself; it was never meant for the
truth. If it was true, why was it not writ till five days after
the proclamation? Why did n't Carlin and Carpenter sign it as
well as Shields? Answer me that, Aunt 'Becca. I say it's a lie,
and not a well told one at that. It grins out like a copper
dollar. Shields is a fool as well as a liar. With him truth is
out of the question; and as for getting a good, bright, passable
lie out of him, you might as well try to strike fire from a cake
of tallow. I stick to it, it's all an infernal Whig lie!"
"A Whig lie! Highty tighty!"
"Yes, a Whig lie; and it's just like everything the cursed
British Whigs do. First they'll do some divilment, and then
they'll tell a lie to hide it. And they don't care how plain a
lie it is; they think they can cram any sort of a one down the
throats of the ignorant Locofocos, as they call the Democrats."
"Why, Jeff, you 're crazy: you don't mean to say Shields is a
"Yes, I do."
"Why, look here! the proclamation is in your own Democratic
paper, as you call it."
"I know it; and what of that? They only printed it to let us
Democrats see the deviltry the Whigs are at."
"Well, but Shields is the auditor of this Loco--I mean this
"So he is, and Tyler appointed him to office."
"Tyler appointed him?"
"Yes (if you must chaw it over), Tyler appointed him; or, if it
was n't him, it was old Granny Harrison, and that's all one. I
tell you, Aunt 'Becca, there's no mistake about his being a Whig.
Why, his very looks shows it; everything about him shows it: if I
was deaf and blind, I could tell him by the smell. I seed him
when I was down in Springfield last winter. They had a sort of a
gatherin' there one night among the grandees, they called a fair.
All the gals about town was there, and all the handsome widows
and married women, finickin' about trying to look like gals, tied
as tight in the middle, and puffed out at both ends, like bundles
of fodder that had n't been stacked yet, but wanted stackin'
pretty bad. And then they had tables all around the house
kivered over with [------] caps and pincushions and ten
thousand such little knick-knacks, tryin' to sell 'em to the
fellows that were bowin', and scrapin' and kungeerin' about 'em.
They would n't let no Democrats in, for fear they'd disgust the
ladies, or scare the little gals, or dirty the floor. I looked
in at the window, and there was this same fellow Shields floatin'
about on the air, without heft or earthly substances, just like a
lock of cat fur where cats had been fighting.
"He was paying his money to this one, and that one, and t' other
one, and sufferin' great loss because it was n't silver instead
of State paper; and the sweet distress he seemed to be in,--his
very features, in the ecstatic agony of his soul, spoke audibly
and distinctly, 'Dear girls, it is distressing, but I cannot
marry you all. Too well I know how much you suffer; but do, do
remember, it is not my fault that I am so handsome and so
"As this last was expressed by a most exquisite contortion of his
face, he seized hold of one of their hands, and squeezed, and
held on to it about a quarter of an hour. 'Oh, my good fellow!'
says I to myself, 'if that was one of our Democratic gals in the
Lost Townships, the way you 'd get a brass pin let into you would
be about up to the head.' He a Democrat! Fiddlesticks! I tell
you, Aunt 'Becca, he's a Whig, and no mistake; nobody but a Whig
could make such a conceity dunce of himself."
"Well," says I, "maybe he is; but, if he is, I 'm mistaken the
worst sort. Maybe so, maybe so; but, if I am, I'll suffer by it;
I'll be a Democrat if it turns out that Shields is a Whig,
considerin' you shall be a Whig if he turns out a Democrat."
"A bargain, by jingoes!" says he; "but how will we find out?"
"Why," says I, "we'll just write and ax the printer."
"Agreed again!" says he; "and by thunder! if it does turn out
that Shields is a Democrat, I never will __________"
"What do you want, Peggy?"
"Do get through your everlasting clatter some time, and bring me
a gourd of water; the child's been crying for a drink this
"Let it die, then; it may as well die for water as to be taxed to
death to fatten officers of State."
Jeff run off to get the water, though, just like he hadn't been
saying anything spiteful, for he's a raal good-hearted fellow,
after all, once you get at the foundation of him.
I walked into the house, and, "Why, Peggy," says I, "I declare we
like to forgot you altogether."
"Oh, yes," says she, "when a body can't help themselves,
everybody soon forgets 'em; but, thank God! by day after to-
morrow I shall be well enough to milk the cows, and pen the
calves, and wring the contrary ones' tails for 'em, and no thanks
"Good evening, Peggy," says I, and so I sloped, for I seed she
was mad at me for making Jeff neglect her so long.
And now, Mr. Printer, will you be sure to let us know in your
next paper whether this Shields is a Whig or a Democrat? I don't
care about it for myself, for I know well enough how it is
already; but I want to convince Jeff. It may do some good to let
him, and others like him, know who and what these officers of
State are. It may help to send the present hypocritical set to
where they belong, and to fill the places they now disgrace with
men who will do more work for less pay, and take fewer airs while
they are doing it. It ain't sensible to think that the same men
who get us in trouble will change their course; and yet it's
pretty plain if some change for the better is not made, it's not
long that either Peggy or I or any of us will have a cow left to
milk, or a calf's tail to wring.
INVITATION TO HENRY CLAY.
SPRINGFIELD, ILL., Aug 29, 1842.
HON. HENRY CLAY, Lexington, Ky.
DEAR SIR:--We hear you are to visit Indianapolis, Indiana, on the
5th Of October next. If our information in this is correct we
hope you will not deny us the pleasure of seeing you in our
State. We are aware of the toil necessarily incident to a
journey by one circumstanced as you are; but once you have
embarked, as you have already determined to do, the toil would
not be greatly augmented by extending the journey to our capital.
The season of the year will be most favorable for good roads, and
pleasant weather; and although we cannot but believe you would be
highly gratified with such a visit to the prairie-land, the
pleasure it would give us and thousands such as we is beyond all
question. You have never visited Illinois, or at least this
portion of it; and should you now yield to our request, we
promise you such a reception as shall he worthy of the man on
whom are now turned the fondest hopes of a great and suffering
Please inform us at the earliest convenience whether we may
Very respectfully your obedient servants,
A. G. HENRY, A. T. BLEDSOE,
C. BIRCHALL, A. LINCOLN,
G. M. CABANNISS, ROB'T IRWIN,
P. A. SAUNDERS, J. M. ALLEN,
F. N. FRANCIS.
Executive Committee "Clay Club."
(Clay's answer, September 6, 1842, declines with thanks.)
CORRESPONDENCE ABOUT THE LINCOLN-SHIELDS DUEL.
TREMONT, September 17, 1842.
ABRA. LINCOLN, ESQ.:--I regret that my absence on public business
compelled me to postpone a matter of private consideration a
little longer than I could have desired. It will only be
necessary, however, to account for it by informing you that I
have been to Quincy on business that would not admit of delay. I
will now state briefly the reasons of my troubling you with this
communication, the disagreeable nature of which I regret, as I
had hoped to avoid any difficulty with any one in Springfield
while residing there, by endeavoring to conduct myself in such a
way amongst both my political friends and opponents as to escape
the necessity of any. Whilst thus abstaining from giving
provocation, I have become the object of slander, vituperation,
and personal abuse, which were I capable of submitting to, I
would prove myself worthy of the whole of it.
In two or three of the last numbers of the Sangamon Journal,
articles of the most personal nature and calculated to degrade me
have made their appearance. On inquiring, I was informed by the
editor of that paper, through the medium of my friend General
Whitesides, that you are the author of those articles. This
information satisfies me that I have become by some means or
other the object of your secret hostility. I will not take the
trouble of inquiring into the reason of all this; but I will take
the liberty of requiring a full, positive, and absolute
retraction of all offensive allusions used by you in these
communications, in relation to my private character and standing
as a man, as an apology for the insults conveyed in them.
This may prevent consequences which no one will regret more than
Your obedient servant, JAS. SHIELDS.
TO J. SHIELDS.
TREMONT, September 17, 1842
JAS. SHIELDS, ESQ.:--Your note of to-day was handed me by General
Whitesides. In that note you say you have been informed, through
the medium of the editor of the Journal, that I am the author of
certain articles in that paper which you deem personally abusive
of you; and without stopping to inquire whether I really am the
author, or to point out what is offensive in them, you demand an
unqualified retraction of all that is offensive, and then proceed
to hint at consequences.
Now, sir, there is in this so much assumption of facts and so
much of menace as to consequences, that I cannot submit to answer
that note any further than I have, and to add that the
consequences to which I suppose you allude would be matter of as
great regret to me as it possibly could to you.
TO A. LINCOLN FROM JAS. SHIELDS
TREMONT, September 17, 1842.
ABRA. LINCOLN, ESQ.:--In reply to my note of this date, you
intimate that I assume facts and menace consequences, and that
you cannot submit to answer it further. As now, sir, you desire
it, I will be a little more particular. The editor of the
Sangamon Journal gave me to understand that you are the author of
an article which appeared, I think, in that paper of the 2d
September instant, headed "The Lost Townships," and signed
Rebecca or 'Becca. I would therefore take the liberty of asking
whether you are the author of said article, or any other over the
same signature which has appeared in any of the late numbers of
that paper. If so, I repeat my request of an absolute retraction
of all offensive allusions contained therein in relation to my
private character and standing. If you are not the author of any
of these articles, your denial will he sufficient. I will say
further, it is not my intention to menace, but to do myself
Your obedient servant,
MEMORANDUM OF INSTRUCTIONS TO E. H. MERRYMAN,
September 19, 1842.
In case Whitesides shall signify a wish to adjust this affair
without further difficulty, let him know that if the present
papers be withdrawn, and a note from Mr. Shields asking to know
if I am the author of the articles of which he complains, and
asking that I shall make him gentlemanly satisfaction if I am the
author, and this without menace, or dictation as to what that
satisfaction shall be, a pledge is made that the following answer
shall be given:
"I did write the 'Lost Townships' letter which appeared in the
Journal of the 2d instant, but had no participation in any form
in any other article alluding to you. I wrote that wholly for
political effect--I had no intention of injuring your personal or
private character or standing as a man or a gentleman; and I did
not then think, and do not now think, that that article could
produce or has produced that effect against you; and had I
anticipated such an effect I would have forborne to write it.
And I will add that your conduct toward me, so far as I know, had
always been gentlemanly; and that I had no personal pique against
you, and no cause for any."
If this should be done, I leave it with you to arrange what shall
and what shall not be published. If nothing like this is done,
the preliminaries of the fight are to be--
First. Weapons: Cavalry broadswords of the largest size,
precisely equal in all respects, and such as now used by the
cavalry company at Jacksonville.
Second. Position: A plank ten feet long, and from nine to twelve
inches broad, to be firmly fixed on edge, on the ground, as the
line between us, which neither is to pass his foot over upon
forfeit of his life. Next a line drawn on the ground on either
side of said plank and parallel with it, each at the distance of
the whole length of the sword and three feet additional from the
plank; and the passing of his own such line by either party
during the fight shall be deemed a surrender of the contest.
Third. Time: On Thursday evening at five o'clock, if you can get
it so; but in no case to be at a greater distance of time than
Friday evening at five o'clock.
Fourth. Place: Within three miles of Alton, on the opposite side
of the river, the particular spot to be agreed on by you.
Any preliminary details coming within the above rules you are at
liberty to make at your discretion; but you are in no case to
swerve from these rules, or to pass beyond their limits.
TO JOSHUA F. SPEED.
SPRINGFIELD, October 4, 1842.
DEAR SPEED:--You have heard of my duel with Shields, and I have
now to inform you that the dueling business still rages in this
city. Day before yesterday Shields challenged Butler, who
accepted, and proposed fighting next morning at sunrise in Bob
Allen's meadow, one hundred yards' distance, with rifles. To
this Whitesides, Shields's second, said "No," because of the law.
Thus ended duel No. 2. Yesterday Whitesides chose to consider
himself insulted by Dr. Merryman, so sent him a kind of quasi-
challenge, inviting him to meet him at the Planter's House in St.
Louis on the next Friday, to settle their difficulty. Merryman
made me his friend, and sent Whitesides a note, inquiring to know
if he meant his note as a challenge, and if so, that he would,
according to the law in such case made and provided, prescribe
the terms of the meeting. Whitesides returned for answer that if
Merryman would meet him at the Planter's House as desired, he
would challenge him. Merryman replied in a note that he denied
Whitesides's right to dictate time and place, but that he
(Merryman) would waive the question of time, and meet him at
Louisiana, Missouri. Upon my presenting this note to Whitesides
and stating verbally its contents, he declined receiving it,
saying he had business in St. Louis, and it was as near as
Louisiana. Merryman then directed me to notify Whitesides that
he should publish the correspondence between them, with such
comments as he thought fit. This I did. Thus it stood at
bedtime last night. This morning Whitesides, by his friend
Shields, is praying for a new trial, on the ground that he was
mistaken in Merryman's proposition to meet him at Louisiana,
Missouri, thinking it was the State of Louisiana. This Merryman
hoots at, and is preparing his publication; while the town is in
a ferment, and a street fight somewhat anticipated.
But I began this letter not for what I have been writing, but to
say something on that subject which you know to be of such
infinite solicitude to me. The immense sufferings you endured
from the first days of September till the middle of February you
never tried to conceal from me, and I well understood. You have
now been the husband of a lovely woman nearly eight months. That
you are happier now than the day you married her I well know, for
without you could not be living. But I have your word for it,
too, and the returning elasticity of spirits which is manifested
in your letters. But I want to ask a close question, "Are you
now in feeling as well as judgment glad that you are married as
you are?" From anybody but me this would be an impudent question,
not to be tolerated; but I know you will pardon it in me. Please
answer it quickly, as I am impatient to know. I have sent my
love to your Fanny so often, I fear she is getting tired of it.
However, I venture to tender it again.
TO JAMES S. IRWIN.
November 2, 1842.
JAS. S. IRWIN ESQ.:
Owing to my absence, yours of the 22nd ult. was not received
till this moment. Judge Logan and myself are willing to attend
to any business in the Supreme Court you may send us. As to
fees, it is impossible to establish a rule that will apply in
all, or even a great many cases. We believe we are never accused
of being very unreasonable in this particular; and we would
always be easily satisfied, provided we could see the money--but
whatever fees we earn at a distance, if not paid before, we have
noticed, we never hear of after the work is done. We, therefore,
are growing a little sensitive on that point.
RESOLUTIONS AT A WHIG MEETING AT SPRINGFIELD,
ILLINOIS, MARCH 1, 1843.
The object of the meeting was stated by Mr. Lincoln of
Springfield, who offered the following resolutions, which were
Resolved, That a tariff of duties on imported goods, producing
sufficient revenue for the payment of the necessary expenditures
of the National Government, and so adjusted as to protect
American industry, is indispensably necessary to the prosperity
of the American people.
Resolved, That we are opposed to direct taxation for the support
of the National Government.
Resolved, That a national bank, properly restricted, is highly
necessary and proper to the establishment and maintenance of a
sound currency, and for the cheap and safe collection, keeping,
and disbursing of the public revenue.
Resolved, That the distribution of the proceeds of the sales of
the public lands, upon the principles of Mr. Clay's bill, accords
with the best interests of the nation, and particularly with
those of the State of Illinois.
Resolved, That we recommend to the Whigs of each Congressional
district of the State to nominate and support at the approaching
election a candidate of their own principles, regardless of the
chances of success.
Resolved, That we recommend to the Whigs of all portions of the
State to adopt and rigidly adhere to the convention system of
Resolved, That we recommend to the Whigs of each Congressional
district to hold a district convention on or before the first
Monday of May next, to be composed of a number of delegates from
each county equal to double the n tuber of its representatives in
the General Assembly, provided, each county shall have at least
one delegate. Said delegates to be chosen by primary meetings of
the Whigs, at such times and places as they in their respective
counties may see fit. Said district conventions each to nominate
one candidate for Congress, and one delegate to a national
convention for the purpose of nominating candidates for President
and Vice-President of the United States. The seven delegates so
nominated to a national convention to have power to add two
delegates to their own number, and to fill all vacancies.
Resolved, That A. T. Bledsoe, S. T. Logan, and A. Lincoln be
appointed a committee to prepare an address to the people of the
Resolved, That N. W. Edwards, A. G. Henry, James H. Matheny, John
C. Doremus, and James C. Conkling be appointed a Whig Central
State Committee, with authority to fill any vacancy that may
occur in the committee.
CIRCULAR FROM WHIG COMMITTEE.
Address to the People of Illinois.
FELLOW-CITIZENS:-By a resolution of a meeting of such of the
Whigs of the State as are now at Springfield, we, the
undersigned, were appointed to prepare an address to you. The
performance of that task we now undertake.
Several resolutions were adopted by the meeting; and the chief
object of this address is to show briefly the reasons for their
The first of those resolutions declares a tariff of duties upon
foreign importations, producing sufficient revenue for the
support of the General Government, and so adjusted as to protect
American industry, to be indispensably necessary to the
prosperity of the American people; and the second declares direct
taxation for a national revenue to be improper. Those two
resolutions are kindred in their nature, and therefore proper and
convenient to be considered together. The question of protection
is a subject entirely too broad to be crowded into a few pages
only, together with several other subjects. On that point we
therefore content ourselves with giving the following extracts
from the writings of Mr. Jefferson, General Jackson, and the
speech of Mr. Calhoun:
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