The Writings of Abraham Lincoln, v2
Abraham Lincoln

Part 2 out of 6

before, are since taking ground, some for Scott and some for
McLean. Who will be nominated neither I nor any one else can
tell. Now, let me pray to you in turn. My prayer is that you
let nothing discourage or baffle you, but that, in spite of every
difficulty, you send us a good Taylor delegate from your circuit.
Make Baker, who is now with you, I suppose, help about it. He is
a good hand to raise a breeze.

General Ashley, in the Senate from Arkansas, died yesterday.
Nothing else new beyond what you see in the papers.

Yours truly,




WASHINGTON, May 21, 1848.


....Not in view of all the facts. There are facts which you have
kept out of view. It is a fact that the United States army in
marching to the Rio Grande marched into a peaceful Mexican
settlement, and frightened the inhabitants away from their homes
and their growing crops. It is a fact that Fort Brown, opposite
Matamoras, was built by that army within a Mexican cotton-field,
on which at the time the army reached it a young cotton crop was
growing, and which crop was wholly destroyed and the field itself
greatly and permanently injured by ditches, embankments, and the
like. It is a fact that when the Mexicans captured Captain
Thornton and his command, they found and captured them within
another Mexican field.

Now I wish to bring these facts to your notice, and to ascertain
what is the result of your reflections upon them. If you deny
that they are facts, I think I can furnish proofs which shall
convince you that you are mistaken. If you admit that they are
facts, then I shall be obliged for a reference to any law of
language, law of States, law of nations, law of morals, law of
religions, any law, human or divine, in which an authority can be
found for saying those facts constitute "no aggression."

Possibly you consider those acts too small for notice. Would you
venture to so consider them had they been committed by any nation
on earth against the humblest of our people? I know you would
not. Then I ask, is the precept "Whatsoever ye would that men
should do to you, do ye even so to them" obsolete? of no force?
of no application?

Yours truly,




WASHINGTON, June 12, 1848.

DEAR WILLIAMS:--On my return from Philadelphia, where I had been
attending the nomination of "Old Rough," (Zachary Taylor) I found
your letter in a mass of others which had accumulated in my
absence. By many, and often, it had been said they would not
abide the nomination of Taylor; but since the deed has been done,
they are fast falling in, and in my opinion we shall have a most
overwhelming, glorious triumph. One unmistakable sign is that
all the odds and ends are with us--Barnburners, Native Americans,
Tyler men, disappointed office-seeking Locofocos, and the Lord
knows what. This is important, if in nothing else, in showing
which way the wind blows. Some of the sanguine men have set down
all the States as certain for Taylor but Illinois, and it as
doubtful. Cannot something be done even in Illinois? Taylor's
nomination takes the Locos on the blind side. It turns the war
thunder against them. The war is now to them the gallows of
Haman, which they built for us, and on which they are doomed to
be hanged themselves.

Excuse this short letter. I have so many to write that I cannot
devote much time to any one.

Yours as ever,



JUNE 20, 1848.

In Committee of the Whole on the State of the Union, on the Civil
and Diplomatic Appropriation Bill:

Mr. CHAIRMAN:--I wish at all times in no way to practise any
fraud upon the House or the committee, and I also desire to do
nothing which may be very disagreeable to any of the members. I
therefore state in advance that my object in taking the floor is
to make a speech on the general subject of internal improvements;
and if I am out of order in doing so, I give the chair an
opportunity of so deciding, and I will take my seat.

The Chair: I will not undertake to anticipate what the gentleman
may say on the subject of internal improvements. He will,
therefore, proceed in his remarks, and if any question of order
shall be made, the chair will then decide it.

Mr. Lincoln: At an early day of this session the President sent
us what may properly be called an internal improvement veto
message. The late Democratic convention, which sat at Baltimore,
and which nominated General Cass for the Presidency, adopted a
set of resolutions, now called the Democratic platform, among
which is one in these words:

"That the Constitution does not confer upon the General
Government the power to commence and carry on a general system of
internal improvements."

General Cass, in his letter accepting the nomination, holds this

"I have carefully read the resolutions of the Democratic national
convention, laying down the platform of our political faith, and
I adhere to them as firmly as I approve them cordially."

These things, taken together, show that the question of internal
improvements is now more distinctly made--has become more intense
--than at any former period. The veto message and the Baltimore
resolution I understand to be, in substance, the same thing; the
latter being the more general statement, of which the former is
the amplification the bill of particulars. While I know there
are many Democrats, on this floor and elsewhere, who disapprove
that message, I understand that all who voted for General Cass
will thereafter be counted as having approved it, as having
indorsed all its doctrines.

I suppose all, or nearly all, the Democrats will vote for him.
Many of them will do so not because they like his position on
this question, but because they prefer him, being wrong on this,
to another whom they consider farther wrong on other questions.
In this way the internal improvement Democrats are to be, by a
sort of forced consent, carried over and arrayed against
themselves on this measure of policy. General Cass, once
elected, will not trouble himself to make a constitutional
argument, or perhaps any argument at all, when he shall veto a
river or harbor bill; he will consider it a sufficient answer to
all Democratic murmurs to point to Mr. Polk's message, and to the
Democratic platform. This being the case, the question of
improvements is verging to a final crisis; and the friends of
this policy must now battle, and battle manfully, or surrender
all. In this view, humble as I am, I wish to review, and contest
as well as I may, the general positions of this veto message.
When I say general positions, I mean to exclude from
consideration so much as relates to the present embarrassed state
of the treasury in consequence of the Mexican War.

Those general positions are: that internal improvements ought not
to be made by the General Government--First. Because they would
overwhelm the treasury Second. Because, while their burdens
would be general, their benefits would be local and partial,
involving an obnoxious inequality; and Third. Because they would
be unconstitutional. Fourth. Because the States may do enough
by the levy and collection of tonnage duties; or if not--Fifth.
That the Constitution may be amended. "Do nothing at all, lest
you do something wrong," is the sum of these positions is the sum
of this message. And this, with the exception of what is said
about constitutionality, applying as forcibly to what is said
about making improvements by State authority as by the national
authority; so that we must abandon the improvements of the
country altogether, by any and every authority, or we must resist
and repudiate the doctrines of this message. Let us attempt the

The first position is, that a system of internal improvements
would overwhelm the treasury. That in such a system there is a
tendency to undue expansion, is not to be denied. Such tendency
is founded in the nature of the subject. A member of Congress
will prefer voting for a bill which contains an appropriation for
his district, to voting for one which does not; and when a bill
shall be expanded till every district shall be provided for, that
it will be too greatly expanded is obvious. But is this any more
true in Congress than in a State Legislature? If a member of
Congress must have an appropriation for his district, so a member
of a Legislature must have one for his county. And if one will
overwhelm the national treasury, so the other will overwhelm the
State treasury. Go where we will, the difficulty is the same.
Allow it to drive us from the halls of Congress, and it will,
just as easily, drive us from the State Legislatures. Let us,
then, grapple with it, and test its strength. Let us, judging of
the future by the past, ascertain whether there may not be, in
the discretion of Congress, a sufficient power to limit and
restrain this expansive tendency within reasonable and proper
bounds. The President himself values the evidence of the past.
He tells us that at a certain point of our history more than two
hundred millions of dollars had been applied for to make
improvements; and this he does to prove that the treasury would
be overwhelmed by such a system. Why did he not tell us how much
was granted? Would not that have been better evidence? Let us
turn to it, and see what it proves. In the message the President
tells us that "during the four succeeding years embraced by the
administration of President Adams, the power not only to
appropriate money, but to apply it, under the direction and
authority of the General Government, as well to the construction
of roads as to the improvement of harbors and rivers, was fully
asserted and exercised." This, then, was the period of greatest
enormity. These, if any, must have been the days of the two
hundred millions. And how much do you suppose was really
expended for improvements during that four years? Two hundred
millions? One hundred? Fifty? Ten? Five? No, sir; less than
two millions. As shown by authentic documents, the expenditures
on improvements during 1825, 1826, 1827, and 1828 amounted to one
million eight hundred and seventy-nine thousand six hundred and
twenty-seven dollars and one cent. These four years were the
period of Mr. Adams's administration, nearly and substantially.
This fact shows that when the power to make improvements "was
fully asserted and exercised," the Congress did keep within
reasonable limits; and what has been done, it seems to me, can be
done again.

Now for the second portion of the message--namely, that the
burdens of improvements would be general, while their benefits
would be local and partial, involving an obnoxious inequality.
That there is some degree of truth in this position, I shall not
deny. No commercial object of government patronage can be so
exclusively general as to not be of some peculiar local
advantage. The navy, as I understand it, was established, and is
maintained at a great annual expense, partly to be ready for war
when war shall come, and partly also, and perhaps chiefly, for
the protection of our commerce on the high seas. This latter
object is, for all I can see, in principle the same as internal
improvements. The driving a pirate from the track of commerce on
the broad ocean, and the removing of a snag from its more narrow
path in the Mississippi River, cannot, I think, be distinguished
in principle. Each is done to save life and property, and for
nothing else.

The navy, then, is the most general in its benefits of all this
class of objects; and yet even the navy is of some peculiar
advantage to Charleston, Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York, and
Boston, beyond what it is to the interior towns of Illinois. The
next most general object I can think of would be improvements on
the Mississippi River and its tributaries. They touch thirteen
of our States-Pennsylvania, Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee,
Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana,
Ohio, Wisconsin, and Iowa. Now I suppose it will not be denied
that these thirteen States are a little more interested in
improvements on that great river than are the remaining
seventeen. These instances of the navy and the Mississippi River
show clearly that there is something of local advantage in the
most general objects. But the converse is also true. Nothing is
so local as to not be of some general benefit. Take, for
instance, the Illinois and Michigan Canal. Considered apart from
its effects, it is perfectly local. Every inch of it is within
the State of Illinois. That canal was first opened for business
last April. In a very few days we were all gratified to learn,
among other things, that sugar had been carried from New Orleans
through this canal to Buffalo in New York. This sugar took this
route, doubtless, because it was cheaper than the old route.
Supposing benefit of the reduction in the cost of carriage to be
shared between seller and the buyer, result is that the New
Orleans merchant sold his sugar a little dearer, and the people
of Buffalo sweetened their coffee a little cheaper, than before,-
-a benefit resulting from the canal, not to Illinois, where the
canal is, but to Louisiana and New York, where it is not. In
other transactions Illinois will, of course, have her share, and
perhaps the larger share too, of the benefits of the canal; but
this instance of the sugar clearly shows that the benefits of an
improvement are by no means confined to the particular locality
of the improvement itself. The just conclusion from all this is
that if the nation refuse to make improvements of the more
general kind because their benefits may be somewhat local, a
State may for the same reason refuse to make an improvement of a
local kind because its benefits may be somewhat general. A State
may well say to the nation, "If you will do nothing for me, I
will do nothing for you." Thus it is seen that if this argument
of "inequality" is sufficient anywhere, it is sufficient
everywhere, and puts an end to improvements altogether. I hope
and believe that if both the nation and the States would, in good
faith, in their respective spheres do what they could in the way
of improvements, what of inequality might be produced in one
place might be compensated in another, and the sum of the whole
might not be very unequal.

But suppose, after all, there should be some degree of
inequality. Inequality is certainly never to be embraced for its
own sake; but is every good thing to be discarded which may be
inseparably connected with some degree of it? If so, we must
discard all government. This Capitol is built at the public
expense, for the public benefit; but does any one doubt that it
is of some peculiar local advantage to the property-holders and
business people of Washington? Shall we remove it for this
reason? And if so, where shall we set it down, and be free from
the difficulty? To make sure of our object, shall we locate it
nowhere, and have Congress hereafter to hold its sessions, as the
loafer lodged, "in spots about"? I make no allusion to the
present President when I say there are few stronger cases in this
world of "burden to the many and benefit to the few," of
"inequality," than the Presidency itself is by some thought to
be. An honest laborer digs coal at about seventy cents a day,
while the President digs abstractions at about seventy dollars a
day. The coal is clearly worth more than the abstractions, and
yet what a monstrous inequality in the prices! Does the
President, for this reason, propose to abolish the Presidency?
He does not, and he ought not. The true rule, in determining to
embrace or reject anything, is not whether it have any evil in
it, but whether it have more of evil than of good. There are few
things wholly evil or wholly good. Almost everything, especially
of government policy, is an inseparable compound of the two; so
that our best judgment of the preponderance between them is
continually demanded. On this principle the President, his
friends, and the world generally act on most subjects. Why not
apply it, then, upon this question? Why, as to improvements,
magnify the evil, and stoutly refuse to see any good in them?

Mr. Chairman, on the third position of the message the
constitutional question--I have not much to say. Being the man I
am, and speaking, where I do, I feel that in any attempt at an
original constitutional argument I should not be and ought not to
be listened to patiently. The ablest and the best of men have
gone over the whole ground long ago. I shall attempt but little
more than a brief notice of what some of them have said. In
relation to Mr. Jefferson's views, I read from Mr. Polk's veto

"President Jefferson, in his message to Congress in 1806,
recommended an amendment of the Constitution, with a view to
apply an anticipated surplus in the treasury 'to the great
purposes of the public education, roads, rivers, canals, and such
other objects of public improvement as it may be thought proper
to add to the constitutional enumeration of the federal powers';
and he adds: 'I suppose an amendment to the Constitution, by
consent of the States, necessary, because the objects now
recommended are not among those enumerated in the Constitution,
and to which it permits the public moneys to be applied.' In
1825, he repeated in his published letters the opinion that no
such power has been conferred upon Congress."

I introduce this not to controvert just now the constitutional
opinion, but to show that, on the question of expediency, Mr.
Jefferson's opinion was against the present President; that this
opinion of Mr. Jefferson, in one branch at least, is in the hands
of Mr. Polk like McFingal's gun--"bears wide and kicks the owner

But to the constitutional question. In 1826 Chancellor Kent
first published his Commentaries on American law. He devoted a
portion of one of the lectures to the question of the authority
of Congress to appropriate public moneys for internal
improvements. He mentions that the subject had never been
brought under judicial consideration, and proceeds to give a
brief summary of the discussion it had undergone between the
legislative and executive branches of the government. He shows
that the legislative branch had usually been for, and the
executive against, the power, till the period of Mr. J.Q. Adams's
administration, at which point he considers the executive
influence as withdrawn from opposition, and added to the support
of the power. In 1844 the chancellor published a new edition of
his Commentaries, in which he adds some notes of what had
transpired on the question since 1826. I have not time to read
the original text on the notes; but the whole may be found on
page 267, and the two or three following pages, of the first
volume of the edition of 1844. As to what Chancellor Kent seems
to consider the sum of the whole, I read from one of the notes:

"Mr. Justice Story, in his Commentaries on the Constitution of
the United States, Vol. II., pp. 429-440, and again pp. 519-538,
has stated at large the arguments for and against the proposition
that Congress have a constitutional authority to lay taxes and to
apply the power to regulate commerce as a means directly to
encourage and protect domestic manufactures; and without giving
any opinion of his own on the contested doctrine, he has left the
reader to draw his own conclusions. I should think, however,
from the arguments as stated, that every mind which has taken no
part in the discussion, and felt no prejudice or territorial bias
on either side of the question, would deem the arguments in favor
of the Congressional power vastly superior."

It will be seen that in this extract the power to make
improvements is not directly mentioned; but by examining the
context, both of Kent and Story, it will be seen that the power
mentioned in the extract and the power to make improvements are
regarded as identical. It is not to be denied that many great
and good men have been against the power; but it is insisted that
quite as many, as great and as good, have been for it; and it is
shown that, on a full survey of the whole, Chancellor Kent was of
opinion that the arguments of the latter were vastly superior.
This is but the opinion of a man; but who was that man? He was
one of the ablest and most learned lawyers of his age, or of any
age. It is no disparagement to Mr. Polk, nor indeed to any one
who devotes much time to politics, to be placed far behind
Chancellor Kent as a lawyer. His attitude was most favorable to
correct conclusions. He wrote coolly, and in retirement. He was
struggling to rear a durable monument of fame; and he well knew
that truth and thoroughly sound reasoning were the only sure
foundations. Can the party opinion of a party President on a law
question, as this purely is, be at all compared or set in
opposition to that of such a man, in such an attitude, as
Chancellor Kent? This constitutional question will probably
never be better settled than it is, until it shall pass under
judicial consideration; but I do think no man who is clear on the
questions of expediency need feel his conscience much pricked
upon this.

Mr. Chairman, the President seems to think that enough may be
done, in the way of improvements, by means of tonnage duties
under State authority, with the consent of the General
Government. Now I suppose this matter of tonnage duties is well
enough in its own sphere. I suppose it may be efficient, and
perhaps sufficient, to make slight improvements and repairs in
harbors already in use and not much out of repair. But if I have
any correct general idea of it, it must be wholly inefficient for
any general beneficent purposes of improvement. I know very
little, or rather nothing at all, of the practical matter of
levying and collecting tonnage duties; but I suppose one of its
principles must be to lay a duty for the improvement of any
particular harbor upon the tonnage coming into that harbor; to do
otherwise--to collect money in one harbor, to be expended on
improvements in another--would be an extremely aggravated form of
that inequality which the President so much deprecates. If I be
right in this, how could we make any entirely new improvement by
means of tonnage duties? How make a road, a canal, or clear a
greatly obstructed river? The idea that we could involves the
same absurdity as the Irish bull about the new boots. "I shall
niver git 'em on," says Patrick, "till I wear 'em a day or two,
and stretch 'em a little." We shall never make a canal by
tonnage duties until it shall already have been made awhile, so
the tonnage can get into it.

After all, the President concludes that possibly there may be
some great objects of improvement which cannot be effected by
tonnage duties, and which it therefore may be expedient for the
General Government to take in hand. Accordingly he suggests, in
case any such be discovered, the propriety of amending the
Constitution. Amend it for what? If, like Mr. Jefferson, the
President thought improvements expedient, but not constitutional,
it would be natural enough for him to recommend such an
amendment. But hear what he says in this very message:

"In view of these portentous consequences, I cannot but think
that this course of legislation should be arrested, even were
there nothing to forbid it in the fundamental laws of our Union."

For what, then, would he have the Constitution amended? With him
it is a proposition to remove one impediment merely to be met by
others which, in his opinion, cannot be removed, to enable
Congress to do what, in his opinion, they ought not to do if they

Here Mr. Meade of Virginia inquired if Mr. Lincoln understood the
President to be opposed, on grounds of expediency, to any and
every improvement.

Mr. Lincoln answered: In the very part of his message of which I
am speaking, I understand him as giving some vague expression in
favor of some possible objects of improvement; but in doing so I
understand him to be directly on the teeth of his own arguments
in other parts of it. Neither the President nor any one can
possibly specify an improvement which shall not be clearly liable
to one or another of the objections he has urged on the score of
expediency. I have shown, and might show again, that no work--no
object--can be so general as to dispense its benefits with
precise equality; and this inequality is chief among the
"portentous consequences" for which he declares that improvements
should be arrested. No, sir. When the President intimates that
something in the way of improvements may properly be done by the
General Government, he is shrinking from the conclusions to which
his own arguments would force him. He feels that the
improvements of this broad and goodly land are a mighty interest;
and he is unwilling to confess to the people, or perhaps to
himself, that he has built an argument which, when pressed to its
conclusions, entirely annihilates this interest.

I have already said that no one who is satisfied of the
expediency of making improvements needs be much uneasy in his
conscience about its constitutionality. I wish now to submit a
few remarks on the general proposition of amending the
Constitution. As a general rule, I think we would much better
let it alone. No slight occasion should tempt us to touch it.
Better not take the first step, which may lead to a habit of
altering it. Better, rather, habituate ourselves to think of it
as unalterable. It can scarcely be made better than it is. New
provisions would introduce new difficulties, and thus create and
increase appetite for further change. No, sir; let it stand as
it is. New hands have never touched it. The men who made it
have done their work, and have passed away. Who shall improve on
what they did?

Mr. Chairman, for the purpose of reviewing this message in the
least possible time, as well as for the sake of distinctness, I
have analyzed its arguments as well as I could, and reduced them
to the propositions I have stated. I have now examined them in
detail. I wish to detain the committee only a little while
longer with some general remarks upon the subject of
improvements. That the subject is a difficult one, cannot be
denied. Still it is no more difficult in Congress than in the
State Legislatures, in the counties, or in the smallest municipal
districts which anywhere exist. All can recur to instances of
this difficulty in the case of county roads, bridges, and the
like. One man is offended because a road passes over his land,
and another is offended because it does not pass over his; one is
dissatisfied because the bridge for which he is taxed crosses the
river on a different road from that which leads from his house to
town; another cannot bear that the county should be got in debt
for these same roads and bridges; while not a few struggle hard
to have roads located over their lands, and then stoutly refuse
to let them be opened until they are first paid the damages.
Even between the different wards and streets of towns and cities
we find this same wrangling and difficulty. Now these are no
other than the very difficulties against which, and out of which,
the President constructs his objections of "inequality,"
"speculation," and "crushing the treasury." There is but a
single alternative about them: they are sufficient, or they are
not. If sufficient, they are sufficient out of Congress as well
as in it, and there is the end. We must reject them as
insufficient, or lie down and do nothing by any authority. Then,
difficulty though there be, let us meet and encounter it.
"Attempt the end, and never stand to doubt; nothing so hard, but
search will find it out." Determine that the thing can and shall
be done, and then we shall find the way. The tendency to undue
expansion is unquestionably the chief difficulty.

How to do something, and still not do too much, is the
desideratum. Let each contribute his mite in the way of
suggestion. The late Silas Wright, in a letter to the Chicago
convention, contributed his, which was worth something; and I now
contribute mine, which may be worth nothing. At all events, it
will mislead nobody, and therefore will do no harm. I would not
borrow money. I am against an overwhelming, crushing system.
Suppose that, at each session, Congress shall first determine how
much money can, for that year, be spared for improvements; then
apportion that sum to the most important objects. So far all is
easy; but how shall we determine which are the most important?
On this question comes the collision of interests. I shall be
slow to acknowledge that your harbor or your river is more
important than mine, and vice versa. To clear this difficulty,
let us have that same statistical information which the gentleman
from Ohio [Mr. Vinton] suggested at the beginning of this
session. In that information we shall have a stern, unbending
basis of facts--a basis in no wise subject to whim, caprice, or
local interest. The prelimited amount of means will save us from
doing too much, and the statistics will save us from doing what
we do in wrong places. Adopt and adhere to this course, and, it
seems to me, the difficulty is cleared.

One of the gentlemen from South Carolina [Mr. Rhett] very much
deprecates these statistics. He particularly objects, as I
understand him, to counting all the pigs and chickens in the
land. I do not perceive much force in the objection. It is true
that if everything be enumerated, a portion of such statistics
may not be very useful to this object. Such products of the
country as are to be consumed where they are produced need no
roads or rivers, no means of transportation, and have no very
proper connection with this subject. The surplus--that which is
produced in one place to be consumed in another; the capacity of
each locality for producing a greater surplus; the natural means
of transportation, and their susceptibility of improvement; the
hindrances, delays, and losses of life and property during
transportation, and the causes of each, would be among the most
valuable statistics in this connection. From these it would
readily appear where a given amount of expenditure would do the
most good. These statistics might be equally accessible, as they
would be equally useful, to both the nation and the States. In
this way, and by these means, let the nation take hold of the
larger works, and the States the smaller ones; and thus, working
in a meeting direction, discreetly, but steadily and firmly, what
is made unequal in one place may be equalized in another,
extravagance avoided, and the whole country put on that career of
prosperity which shall correspond with its extent of territory,
its natural resources, and the intelligence and enterprise of its



WASHINGTON, June 22, 1848.

DEAR WILLIAM:--Last night I was attending a sort of caucus of the
Whig members, held in relation to the coming Presidential
election. The whole field of the nation was scanned, and all is
high hope and confidence. Illinois is expected to better her
condition in this race. Under these circumstances, judge how
heartrending it was to come to my room and find and read your
discouraging letter of the 15th. We have made no gains, but have
lost "H. R. Robinson, Turner, Campbell, and four or five more."
Tell Arney to reconsider, if he would be saved. Baker and I used
to do something, but I think you attach more importance to our
absence than is just. There is another cause. In 1840, for
instance, we had two senators and five representatives in
Sangamon; now we have part of one senator and two
representatives. With quite one third more people than we had
then, we have only half the sort of offices which are sought by
men of the speaking sort of talent. This, I think, is the chief
cause. Now, as to the young men. You must not wait to be
brought forward by the older men. For instance, do you suppose
that I should ever have got into notice if I had waited to be
hunted up and pushed forward by older men? You young men get
together and form a "Rough and Ready Club," and have regular
meetings and speeches. Take in everybody you can get. Harrison
Grimsley, L. A. Enos, Lee Kimball, and C. W. Matheny will do
to begin the thing; but as you go along gather up all the shrewd,
wild boys about town, whether just of age, or a little under age,
Chris. Logan, Reddick Ridgely, Lewis Zwizler, and hundreds such.
Let every one play the part he can play best,--some speak, some
sing, and all "holler." Your meetings will be of evenings; the
older men, and the women, will go to hear you; so that it will
not only contribute to the election of "Old Zach," but will be an
interesting pastime, and improving to the intellectual faculties
of all engaged. Don't fail to do this.

You ask me to send you all the speeches made about "Old Zach,"
the war, etc. Now this makes me a little impatient. I have
regularly sent you the Congressional Globe and Appendix, and you
cannot have examined them, or you would have discovered that they
contain every speech made by every man in both houses of
Congress, on every subject, during the session. Can I send any
more? Can I send speeches that nobody has made? Thinking it
would be most natural that the newspapers would feel interested
to give at least some of the speeches to their readers, I at the
beginning of the session made arrangements to have one copy of
the Globe and Appendix regularly sent to each Whig paper of the
district. And yet, with the exception of my own little speech,
which was published in two only of the then five, now four, Whig
papers, I do not remember having seen a single speech, or even
extract from one, in any single one of those papers. With equal
and full means on both sides, I will venture that the State
Register has thrown before its readers more of Locofoco speeches
in a month than all the Whig papers of the district have done of
Whig speeches during the session.

If you wish a full understanding of the war, I repeat what I
believe I said to you in a letter once before, that the whole, or
nearly so, is to be found in the speech of Dixon of Connecticut.
This I sent you in pamphlet as well as in the Globe. Examine and
study every sentence of that speech thoroughly, and you will
understand the whole subject. You ask how Congress came to
declare that war had existed by the act of Mexico. Is it
possible you don't understand that yet? You have at least twenty
speeches in your possession that fully explain it. I will,
however, try it once more. The news reached Washington of the
commencement of hostilities on the Rio Grande, and of the great
peril of General Taylor's army. Everybody, Whigs and Democrats,
was for sending them aid, in men and money. It was necessary to
pass a bill for this. The Locos had a majority in both houses,
and they brought in a bill with a preamble saying: Whereas, War
exists by the act of Mexico, therefore we send General Taylor
money. The Whigs moved to strike out the preamble, so that they
could vote to send the men and money, without saying anything
about how the war commenced; but being in the minority, they were
voted down, and the preamble was retained. Then, on the passage
of the bill, the question came upon them, Shall we vote for
preamble and bill together, or against both together? They did
not want to vote against sending help to General Taylor, and
therefore they voted for both together. Is there any difficulty
in understanding this? Even my little speech shows how this was;
and if you will go to the library, you may get the Journal of
1845-46, in which you will find the whole for yourself.

We have nothing published yet with special reference to the
Taylor race; but we soon will have, and then I will send them to
everybody. I made an internal-improvement speech day before
yesterday, which I shall send home as soon as I can get it
written out and printed,--and which I suppose nobody will read.

Your friend as ever,



JUNE 28, 1848.

Discussion as to salary of judge of western Virginia:--Wishing to
increase it from $1800 to $2500.

Mr. Lincoln said he felt unwilling to be either unjust or
ungenerous, and he wanted to understand the real case of this
judicial officer. The gentleman from Virginia had stated that he
had to hold eleven courts. Now everybody knew that it was not
the habit of the district judges of the United States in other
States to hold anything like that number of courts; and he
therefore took it for granted that this must happen under a
peculiar law which required that large number of courts to be
holden every year; and these laws, he further supposed, were
passed at the request of the people of that judicial district.
It came, then, to this: that the people in the western district
of Virginia had got eleven courts to be held among them in one
year, for their own accommodation; and being thus better
accommodated than neighbors elsewhere, they wanted their judge to
be a little better paid. In Illinois there had been until the
present season but one district court held in the year. There
were now to be two. Could it be that the western district of
Virginia furnished more business for a judge than the whole State
of Illinois?


JULY, 1848,


The question of a national bank is at rest. Were I President, I
should not urge its reagitation upon Congress; but should
Congress see fit to pass an act to establish such an institution,
I should not arrest it by the veto, unless I should consider it
subject to some constitutional objection from which I believe the
two former banks to have been free.



WASHINGTON, July 10, 1848.


Your letter covering the newspaper slips was received last night.
The subject of that letter is exceedingly painful to me, and I
cannot but think there is some mistake in your impression of the
motives of the old men. I suppose I am now one of the old men;
and I declare on my veracity, which I think is good with you,
that nothing could afford me more satisfaction than to learn that
you and others of my young friends at home were doing battle in
the contest and endearing themselves to the people and taking a
stand far above any I have ever been able to reach in their
admiration. I cannot conceive that other men feel differently.
Of course I cannot demonstrate what I say; but I was young once,
and I am sure I was never ungenerously thrust back. I hardly
know what to say. The way for a young man to rise is to improve
himself every way he can, never suspecting that anybody wishes to
hinder him. Allow me to assure you that suspicion and jealousy
never did help any man in any situation. There may sometimes be
ungenerous attempts to keep a young man down; and they will
succeed, too, if he allows his mind to be diverted from its true
channel to brood over the attempted injury. Cast about and see
if this feeling has not injured every person you have ever known
to fall into it.

Now, in what I have said I am sure you will suspect nothing but
sincere friendship. I would save you from a fatal error. You
have been a studious young man. You are far better informed on
almost all subjects than I ever have been. You cannot fail in
any laudable object unless you allow your mind to be improperly
directed. I have some the advantage of you in the world's
experience, merely by being older; and it is this that induces me
to advise. You still seem to be a little mistaken about the
Congressional Globe and Appendix. They contain all of the
speeches that are published in any way. My speech and Dayton's
speech which you say you got in pamphlet form are both word for
word in the Appendix. I repeat again, all are there.

Your friend, as ever,



JULY 27, 1848.

Mr. SPEAKER, our Democratic friends seem to be in a great
distress because they think our candidate for the Presidency
don't suit us. Most of them cannot find out that General Taylor
has any principles at all; some, however, have discovered that he
has one, but that one is entirely wrong. This one principle is
his position on the veto power. The gentleman from Tennessee
[Mr. Stanton] who has just taken his seat, indeed, has said there
is very little, if any, difference on this question between
General Taylor and all the Presidents; and he seems to think it
sufficient detraction from General Taylor's position on it that
it has nothing new in it. But all others whom I have heard speak
assail it furiously. A new member from Kentucky [Mr. Clark], of
very considerable ability, was in particular concerned about it.
He thought it altogether novel and unprecedented for a President
or a Presidential candidate to think of approving bills whose
constitutionality may not be entirely clear to his own mind. He
thinks the ark of our safety is gone unless Presidents shall
always veto such bills as in their judgment may be of doubtful
constitutionality. However clear Congress may be on their
authority to pass any particular act, the gentleman from Kentucky
thinks the President must veto it if he has doubts about it. Now
I have neither time nor inclination to argue with the gentleman
on the veto power as an original question; but I wish to show
that General Taylor, and not he, agrees with the earlier
statesmen on this question. When the bill chartering the first
Bank of the United States passed Congress, its constitutionality
was questioned. Mr. Madison, then in the House of
Representatives, as well as others, had opposed it on that
ground. General Washington, as President, was called on to
approve or reject it. He sought and obtained on the
constitutionality question the separate written opinions of
Jefferson, Hamilton, and Edmund Randolph,--they then being
respectively Secretary of State, Secretary of the Treasury, and
Attorney general. Hamilton's opinion was for the power; while
Randolph's and Jefferson's were both against it. Mr. Jefferson,
after giving his opinion deciding only against the
constitutionality of the bill, closes his letter with the
paragraph which I now read:

"It must be admitted, however, that unless the President's mind,
on a view of everything which is urged for and against this bill,
is tolerably clear that it is unauthorized by the Constitution,--
if the pro and con hang so even as to balance his judgment, a
just respect for the wisdom of the legislature would naturally
decide the balance in favor of their opinion. It is chiefly for
cases where they are clearly misled by error, ambition, or
interest, that the Constitution has placed a check in the
negative of the President.
"February 15, 1791."

General Taylor's opinion, as expressed in his Allison letter, is
as I now read:

"The power given by the veto is a high conservative power; but,
in my opinion, should never be exercised except in cases of clear
violation of the Constitution, or manifest haste and want of
consideration by Congress."

It is here seen that, in Mr. Jefferson's opinion, if on the
constitutionality of any given bill the President doubts, he is
not to veto it, as the gentleman from Kentucky would have him do,
but is to defer to Congress and approve it. And if we compare
the opinion of Jefferson and Taylor, as expressed in these
paragraphs, we shall find them more exactly alike than we can
often find any two expressions having any literal difference.
None but interested faultfinders, I think, can discover any
substantial variation.

But gentlemen on the other side are unanimously agreed that
General Taylor has no other principles. They are in utter
darkness as to his opinions on any of the questions of policy
which occupy the public attention. But is there any doubt as to
what he will do on the prominent questions if elected? Not the
least. It is not possible to know what he will or would do in
every imaginable case, because many questions have passed away,
and others doubtless will arise which none of us have yet thought
of; but on the prominent questions of currency, tariff, internal
improvements, and Wilmot Proviso, General Taylor's course is at
least as well defined as is General Cass's. Why, in their
eagerness to get at General Taylor, several Democratic members
here have desired to know whether, in case of his election, a
bankrupt law is to be established. Can they tell us General
Cass's opinion on this question?

[Some member answered, "He is against it."]

Aye, how do you know he is? There is nothing about it in the
platform, nor elsewhere, that I have seen. If the gentleman
knows of anything which I do not know he can show it. But to
return. General Taylor, in his Allison letter, says:

"Upon the subject of the tariff, the currency, the improvement of
our great highways, rivers, lakes, and harbors, the will of the
people, as expressed through their representatives in Congress,
ought to be respected and carried out by the executive."

Now this is the whole matter. In substance, it is this: The
people say to General Taylor, "If you are elected, shall we have
a national bank?" He answers, "Your will, gentlemen, not mine.
"What about the tariff?" "Say yourselves." "Shall our rivers
and harbors be improved?" "Just as you please. If you desire a
bank, an alteration of the tariff, internal improvements, any or
all, I will not hinder you. If you do not desire them, I will
not attempt to force them on you. Send up your members of
Congress from the various districts, with opinions according to
your own, and if they are for these measures, or any of them, I
shall have nothing to oppose; if they are not for them, I shall
not, by any appliances whatever, attempt to dragoon them into
their adoption."

Now can there be any difficulty in understanding this? To you
Democrats it may not seem like principle; but surely you cannot
fail to perceive the position plainly enough. The distinction
between it and the position of your candidate is broad and
obvious, and I admit you have a clear right to show it is wrong
if you can; but you have no right to pretend you cannot see it at
all. We see it, and to us it appears like principle, and the
best sort of principle at that--the principle of allowing the
people to do as they please with their own business. My friend
from Indiana (C. B. Smith) has aptly asked, "Are you willing to
trust the people?" Some of you answered substantially, "We are
willing to trust the people; but the President is as much the
representative of the people as Congress." In a certain sense,
and to a certain extent, he is the representative of the people.
He is elected by them, as well as Congress is; but can he, in the
nature of things know the wants of the people as well as three
hundred other men, coming from all the various localities of the
nation? If so, where is the propriety of having a Congress?
That the Constitution gives the President a negative on
legislation, all know; but that this negative should be so
combined with platforms and other appliances as to enable him,
and in fact almost compel him, to take the whole of legislation
into his own hands, is what we object to, is what General Taylor
objects to, and is what constitutes the broad distinction between
you and us. To thus transfer legislation is clearly to take it
from those who understand with minuteness the interests of the
people, and give it to one who does not and cannot so well
understand it. I understand your idea that if a Presidential
candidate avow his opinion upon a given question, or rather upon
all questions, and the people, with full knowledge of this, elect
him, they thereby distinctly approve all those opinions. By
means of it, measures are adopted or rejected contrary to the
wishes of the whole of one party, and often nearly half of the
other. Three, four, or half a dozen questions are prominent at a
given time; the party selects its candidate, and he takes his
position on each of these questions. On all but one his
positions have already been indorsed at former elections, and his
party fully committed to them; but that one is new, and a large
portion of them are against it. But what are they to do? The
whole was strung together; and they must take all, or reject all.
They cannot take what they like, and leave the rest. What they
are already committed to being the majority, they shut their
eyes, and gulp the whole. Next election, still another is
introduced in the same way. If we run our eyes along the line of
the past, we shall see that almost if not quite all the articles
of the present Democratic creed have been at first forced upon
the party in this very way. And just now, and just so,
opposition to internal improvements is to be established if
General Cass shall be elected. Almost half the Democrats here
are for improvements; but they will vote for Cass, and if he
succeeds, their vote will have aided in closing the doors against
improvements. Now this is a process which we think is wrong. We
prefer a candidate who, like General Taylor, will allow the
people to have their own way, regardless of his private opinions;
and I should think the internal-improvement Democrats, at least,
ought to prefer such a candidate. He would force nothing on them
which they don't want, and he would allow them to have
improvements which their own candidate, if elected, will not.

Mr. Speaker, I have said General Taylor's position is as well
defined as is that of General Cass. In saying this, I admit I do
not certainly know what he would do on the Wilmot Proviso. I am
a Northern man or rather a Western Free-State man, with a
constituency I believe to be, and with personal feelings I know
to be, against the extension of slavery. As such, and with what
information I have, I hope and believe General Taylor, if
elected, would not veto the proviso. But I do not know it. Yet
if I knew he would, I still would vote for him. I should do so
because, in my judgment, his election alone can defeat General
Cass; and because, should slavery thereby go to the territory we
now have, just so much will certainly happen by the election of
Cass, and in addition a course of policy leading to new wars, new
acquisitions of territory and still further extensions of
slavery. One of the two is to be President. Which is

But there is as much doubt of Cass on improvements as there is of
Taylor on the proviso. I have no doubt myself of General Cass on
this question; but I know the Democrats differ among themselves
as to his position. My internal-improvement colleague [Mr.
Wentworth] stated on this floor the other day that he was
satisfied Cass was for improvements, because he had voted for all
the bills that he [Mr. Wentworth] had. So far so good. But Mr.
Polk vetoed some of these very bills. The Baltimore convention
passed a set of resolutions, among other things, approving these
vetoes, and General Cass declares, in his letter accepting the
nomination, that he has carefully read these resolutions, and
that he adheres to them as firmly as he approves them cordially.
In other words, General Cass voted for the bills, and thinks the
President did right to veto them; and his friends here are
amiable enough to consider him as being on one side or the other,
just as one or the other may correspond with their own respective
inclinations. My colleague admits that the platform declares
against the constitutionality of a general system of
improvements, and that General Cass indorses the platform; but he
still thinks General Cass is in favor of some sort of
improvements. Well, what are they? As he is against general
objects, those he is for must be particular and local. Now this
is taking the subject precisely by the wrong end. Particularity
expending the money of the whole people for an object which will
benefit only a portion of them--is the greatest real objection to
improvements, and has been so held by General Jackson, Mr. Polk,
and all others, I believe, till now. But now, behold, the
objects most general--nearest free from this objection--are to be
rejected, while those most liable to it are to be embraced. To
return: I cannot help believing that General Cass, when he wrote
his letter of acceptance, well understood he was to be claimed by
the advocates of both sides of this question, and that he then
closed the door against all further expressions of opinion
purposely to retain the benefits of that double position. His
subsequent equivocation at Cleveland, to my mind, proves such to
have been the case.

One word more, and I shall have done with this branch of the
subject. You Democrats, and your candidate, in the main are in
favor of laying down in advance a platform--a set of party
positions--as a unit, and then of forcing the people, by every
sort of appliance, to ratify them, however unpalatable some of
them may be. We and our candidate are in favor of making
Presidential elections and the legislation of the country
distinct matters; so that the people can elect whom they please,
and afterward legislate just as they please, without any
hindrance, save only so much as may guard against infractions of
the Constitution, undue haste, and want of consideration. The
difference between us is clear as noonday. That we are right we
cannot doubt. We hold the true Republican position. In leaving
the people's business in their hands, we cannot be wrong. We are
willing, and even anxious, to go to the people on this issue.

But I suppose I cannot reasonably hope to convince you that we
have any principles. The most I can expect is to assure you that
we think we have and are quite contented with them. The other
day one of the gentlemen from Georgia [Mr. Iverson], an eloquent
man, and a man of learning, so far as I can judge, not being
learned myself, came down upon us astonishingly. He spoke in
what the 'Baltimore American' calls the "scathing and withering
style." At the end of his second severe flash I was struck blind,
and found myself feeling with my fingers for an assurance of my
continued existence. A little of the bone was left, and I
gradually revived. He eulogized Mr. Clay in high and beautiful
terms, and then declared that we had deserted all our principles,
and had turned Henry Clay out, like an old horse, to root. This
is terribly severe. It cannot be answered by argument--at least
I cannot so answer it. I merely wish to ask the gentleman if the
Whigs are the only party he can think of who sometimes turn old
horses out to root. Is not a certain Martin Van Buren an old
horse which your own party have turned out to root? and is he
not rooting a little to your discomfort about now? But in not
nominating Mr. Clay we deserted our principles, you say. Ah! In
what? Tell us, ye men of principle, what principle we violated.
We say you did violate principle in discarding Van Buren, and we
can tell you how. You violated the primary, the cardinal, the
one great living principle of all democratic representative
government--the principle that the representative is bound to
carry out the known will of his constituents. A large majority
of the Baltimore convention of 1844 were, by their constituents,
instructed to procure Van Buren 's nomination if they could. In
violation--in utter glaring contempt of this, you rejected him;
rejected him, as the gentleman from New York [Mr. Birdsall] the
other day expressly admitted, for availability--that same
"general availability" which you charge upon us, and daily chew
over here, as something exceedingly odious and unprincipled. But
the gentleman from Georgia [Mr. Iverson] gave us a second speech
yesterday, all well considered and put down in writing, in which
Van Buren was scathed and withered a "few" for his present
position and movements. I cannot remember the gentleman's
precise language; but I do remember he put Van Buren down, down,
till he got him where he was finally to "stink" and "rot."

Mr. Speaker, it is no business or inclination of mine to defend
Martin Van Buren in the war of extermination now waging between
him and his old admirers. I say, "Devil take the hindmost"--and
the foremost. But there is no mistaking the origin of the
breach; and if the curse of "stinking" and "rotting" is to fall
on the first and greatest violators of principle in the matter, I
disinterestedly suggest that the gentleman from Georgia and his
present co-workers are bound to take it upon themselves. But the
gentleman from Georgia further says we have deserted all our
principles, and taken shelter under General Taylor's military
coat-tail, and he seems to think this is exceedingly degrading.
Well, as his faith is, so be it unto him. But can he remember no
other military coat-tail under which a certain other party have
been sheltering for near a quarter of a century? Has he no
acquaintance with the ample military coat tail of General
Jackson? Does he not know that his own party have run the five
last Presidential races under that coat-tail, and that they are
now running the sixth under the same cover? Yes, sir, that coat-
tail was used not only for General Jackson himself, but has been
clung to, with the grip of death, by every Democratic candidate
since. You have never ventured, and dare not now venture, from
under it. Your campaign papers have constantly been "Old
Hickories," with rude likenesses of the old general upon them;
hickory poles and hickory brooms your never-ending emblems; Mr.
Polk himself was "Young Hickory," or something so; and even now
your campaign paper here is proclaiming that Cass and Butler are
of the true "Hickory stripe." Now, sir, you dare not give it up.
Like a horde of hungry ticks you have stuck to the tail of the
Hermitage Lion to the end of his life; and you are still sticking
to it, and drawing a loathsome sustenance from it, after he is
dead. A fellow once advertised that he had made a discovery by
which he could make a new man out of an old one, and have enough
of the stuff left to make a little yellow dog. Just such a
discovery has General Jackson's popularity been to you. You not
only twice made President of him out of it, but you have had
enough of the stuff left to make Presidents of several
comparatively small men since; and it is your chief reliance now
to make still another.

Mr. Speaker, old horses and military coat-tails, or tails of any
sort, are not figures of speech such as I would be the first to
introduce into discussions here; but as the gentleman from
Georgia has thought fit to introduce them, he and you are welcome
to all you have made, or can make by them. If you have any more
old horses, trot them out; any more tails, just cock them and
come at us. I repeat, I would not introduce this mode of
discussion here; but I wish gentlemen on the other side to
understand that the use of degrading figures is a game at which
they may not find themselves able to take all the winnings.

["We give it up!"]

Aye, you give it up, and well you may; but for a very different
reason from that which you would have us understand. The point--
the power to hurt--of all figures consists in the truthfulness of
their application; and, understanding this, you may well give it
up. They are weapons which hit you, but miss us.

But in my hurry I was very near closing this subject of military
tails before I was done with it. There is one entire article of
the sort I have not discussed yet,--I mean the military tail you
Democrats are now engaged in dovetailing into the great
Michigander [Cass]. Yes, sir; all his biographies (and they are
legion) have him in hand, tying him to a military tail, like so
many mischievous boys tying a dog to a bladder of beans. True,
the material they have is very limited, but they drive at it
might and main. He invaded Canada without resistance, and he
outvaded it without pursuit. As he did both under orders, I
suppose there was to him neither credit nor discredit in them;
but they constitute a large part of the tail. He was not at
Hull's surrender, but he was close by; he was volunteer aid to
General Harrison on the day of the battle of the Thames; and as
you said in 1840 Harrison was picking huckleberries two miles off
while the battle was fought, I suppose it is a just conclusion
with you to say Cass was aiding Harrison to pick huckleberries.
This is about all, except the mooted question of the broken
sword. Some authors say he broke it, some say he threw it away,
and some others, who ought to know, say nothing about it.
Perhaps it would be a fair historical compromise to say, if he
did not break it, he did not do anything else with it.

By the way, Mr. Speaker, did you know I am a military hero? Yes,
sir; in the days of the Black Hawk war I fought, bled, and came
away. Speaking of General Cass's career reminds me of my own. I
was not at Stiliman's defeat, but I was about as near it as Cass
was to Hull's surrender; and, like him, I saw the place very soon
afterward. It is quite certain I did not break my sword, for I
had none to break; but I bent a musket pretty badly on one
occasion. If Cass broke his sword, the idea is he broke it in
desperation; I bent the musket by accident. If General Cass went
in advance of me in picking huckleberries, I guess I surpassed
him in charges upon the wild onions. If he saw any live,
fighting Indians, it was more than I did; but I had a good many
bloody struggles with the mosquitoes, and although I never
fainted from the loss of blood, I can truly say I was often very
hungry. Mr. Speaker, if I should ever conclude to doff whatever
our Democratic friends may suppose there is of black-cockade
federalism about me, and therefore they shall take me up as their
candidate for the Presidency, I protest they shall not make fun
of me, as they have of General Cass, by attempting to write me
into a military hero.

While I have General Cass in hand, I wish to say a word about his
political principles. As a specimen, I take the record of his
progress in the Wilmot Proviso. In the Washington Union of March
2, 1847, there is a report of a speech of General Cass, made the
day before in the Senate, on the Wilmot Proviso, during the
delivery of which Mr. Miller of New Jersey is reported to have
interrupted him as follows, to wit:

"Mr. Miller expressed his great surprise at the change in the
sentiments of the Senator from Michigan, who had been regarded as
the great champion of freedom in the Northwest, of which he was a
distinguished ornament. Last year the Senator from Michigan was
understood to be decidedly in favor of the Wilmot Proviso; and as
no reason had been stated for the change, he [Mr. Miller] could
not refrain from the expression of his extreme surprise."

To this General Cass is reported to have replied as follows, to

"Mr. Cass said that the course of the Senator from New Jersey was
most extraordinary. Last year he [Mr. Cass] should have voted
for the proposition, had it come up. But circumstances had
altogether changed. The honorable Senator then read several
passages from the remarks, as given above, which he had committed
to writing, in order to refute such a charge as that of the
Senator from New Jersey."

In the "remarks above reduced to writing" is one numbered four,
as follows, to wit:

"Fourth. Legislation now would be wholly inoperative, because no
territory hereafter to be acquired can be governed without an act
of Congress providing for its government; and such an act, on its
passage, would open the whole subject, and leave the Congress
called on to pass it free to exercise its own discretion,
entirely uncontrolled by any declaration found on the statute-

In Niles's Register, vol. lxxiii., p. 293, there is a letter of
General Cass to _______Nicholson, of Nashville, Tennessee, dated
December 24, 1847, from which the following are correct extracts:

"The Wilmot Proviso has been before the country some time. It
has been repeatedly discussed in Congress and by the public
press. I am strongly impressed with the opinion that a great
change has been going on in the public mind upon this subject,--
in my own as well as others',--and that doubts are resolving
themselves into convictions that the principle it involves should
be kept out of the national legislature, and left to the people
of the confederacy in their respective local governments....
Briefly, then, I am opposed to the exercise of any jurisdiction
by Congress over this matter; and I am in favor of leaving the
people of any territory which may be hereafter acquired the right
to regulate it themselves, under the general principles of the
Constitution. Because--'First. I do not see in the Constitution
any grant of the requisite power to Congress; and I am not
disposed to extend a doubtful precedent beyond its necessity,--
the establishment of territorial governments when needed,--
leaving to the inhabitants all the right compatible with the
relations they bear to the confederation."

These extracts show that in 1846 General Cass was for the proviso
at once; that in March, 1847, he was still for it, but not just
then; and that in December, 1847, he was against it altogether.
This is a true index to the whole man. When the question was
raised in 1846, he was in a blustering hurry to take ground for
it. He sought to be in advance, and to avoid the uninteresting
position of a mere follower; but soon he began to see glimpses of
the great Democratic ox-goad waving in his face, and to hear
indistinctly a voice saying, "Back! Back, sir! Back a little!" He
shakes his head, and bats his eyes, and blunders back to his
position of March, 1847; but still the goad waves, and the voice
grows more distinct and sharper still, "Back, sir! Back, I say!
Further back!"--and back he goes to the position of December,
1847, at which the goad is still, and the voice soothingly says,
"So! Stand at that!"

Have no fears, gentlemen, of your candidate. He exactly suits
you, and we congratulate you upon it. However much you may be
distressed about our candidate, you have all cause to be
contented and happy with your own. If elected, he may not
maintain all or even any of his positions previously taken; but
he will be sure to do whatever the party exigency for the time
being may require; and that is precisely what you want. He and
Van Buren are the same "manner of men"; and, like Van Buren, he
will never desert you till you first desert him.

Mr. Speaker, I adopt the suggestion of a friend, that General
Cass is a general of splendidly successful charges--charges, to
be sure, not upon the public enemy, but upon the public treasury.
He was Governor of Michigan territory, and ex-officio
Superintendent of Indian Affairs, from the 9th of October, 1813,
till the 31st of July, 1831--a period of seventeen years, nine
months, and twenty-two days. During this period he received from
the United States treasury, for personal services and personal
expenses, the aggregate sum of ninety-six thousand and twenty
eight dollars, being an average of fourteen dollars and seventy-
nine cents per day for every day of the time. This large sum was
reached by assuming that he was doing service at several
different places, and in several different capacities in the same
place, all at the same time. By a correct analysis of his
accounts during that period, the following propositions may be

First. He was paid in three different capacities during the
whole of the time: that is to say--(1) As governor a salary at
the rate per year of $2000. (2) As estimated for office rent,
clerk hire, fuel, etc., in superintendence of Indian affairs in
Michigan, at the rate per year of $1500. (3) As compensation and
expenses for various miscellaneous items of Indian service out of
Michigan, an average per year of $625.

Second. During part of the time--that is, from the 9th of
October, 1813, to the 29th of May, 1822 he was paid in four
different capacities; that is to say, the three as above, and, in
addition thereto, the commutation of ten rations per day,
amounting per year to $730.

Third. During another part of the time--that is, from the
beginning of 1822 to the 31st of July, '83 he was also paid in
four different capacities; that is to say, the first three, as
above (the rations being dropped after the 29th of May, 1822),
and, in addition thereto, for superintending Indian Agencies at
Piqua, Ohio; Fort Wayne, Indiana; and Chicago, Illinois, at the
rate per year of $1500. It should be observed here that the last
item, commencing at the beginning of 1822, and the item of
rations, ending on the 29th of May, 1822, lap on each other
during so much of the time as lies between those two dates.

Fourth. Still another part of the time--that is, from the 31st
of October, 1821, to the 29th of May, 1822--he was paid in six
different capacities; that is to say, the three first, as above;
the item of rations, as above; and, in addition thereto, another
item of ten rations per day while at Washington settling his
accounts, being at the rate per year of $730; and also an
allowance for expenses traveling to and from Washington, and
while there, of $1022, being at the rate per year of $1793.

Fifth. And yet during the little portion of the time which lies
between the 1st of January, 1822, and the 29th of May, 1822, he
was paid in seven different capacities; that is to say, the six
last mentioned, and also, at the rate of $1500 per year, for the
Piqua, Fort Wayne, and Chicago service, as mentioned above.

These accounts have already been discussed some here; but when we
are amongst them, as when we are in the Patent Office, we must
peep about a good deal before we can see all the curiosities. I
shall not be tedious with them. As to the large item of $1500
per year--amounting in the aggregate to $26,715 for office rent,
clerk hire, fuel, etc., I barely wish to remark that, so far as I
can discover in the public documents, there is no evidence, by
word or inference, either from any disinterested witness or of
General Cass himself, that he ever rented or kept a separate
office, ever hired or kept a clerk, or even used any extra amount
of fuel, etc., in consequence of his Indian services. Indeed,
General Cass's entire silence in regard to these items, in his
two long letters urging his claims upon the government, is, to my
mind, almost conclusive that no such claims had any real

But I have introduced General Cass's accounts here chiefly to
show the wonderful physical capacities of the man. They show
that he not only did the labor of several men at the same time,
but that he often did it at several places, many hundreds of
miles apart, at the same time. And at eating, too, his
capacities are shown to be quite as wonderful. From October,
1821, to May, 1822, he eat ten rations a day in Michigan, ten
rations a day here in Washington, and near five dollars' worth a
day on the road between the two places! And then there is an
important discovery in his example--the art of being paid for
what one eats, instead of having to pay for it. Hereafter if any
nice young man should owe a bill which he cannot pay in any other
way, he can just board it out. Mr. Speaker, we have all heard of
the animal standing in doubt between two stacks of hay and
starving to death. The like of that would never happen to
General Cass. Place the stacks a thousand miles apart, he would
stand stock-still midway between them, and eat them both at once,
and the green grass along the line would be apt to suffer some,
too, at the same time. By all means make him President,
gentlemen. He will feed you bounteously--if--if there is any
left after he shall have helped himself.

But, as General Taylor is, par exellence, the hero of the Mexican
War, and as you Democrats say we Whigs have always opposed the
war, you think it must be very awkward and embarrassing for us to
go for General Taylor. The declaration that we have always
opposed the war is true or false, according as one may understand
the term "oppose the war." If to say "the war was unnecessarily
and unconstitutionally commenced by the President" by opposing
the war, then the Whigs have very generally opposed it. Whenever
they have spoken at all, they have said this; and they have said
it on what has appeared good reason to them. The marching an
army into the midst of a peaceful Mexican settlement, frightening
the inhabitants away, leaving their growing crops and other
property to destruction, to you may appear a perfectly amiable,
peaceful, unprovoking procedure; but it does not appear so to us.
So to call such an act, to us appears no other than a naked,
impudent absurdity, and we speak of it accordingly. But if, when
the war had begun, and had become the cause of the country, the
giving of our money and our blood, in common with yours, was
support of the war, then it is not true that we have always
opposed the war. With few individual exceptions, you have
constantly had our votes here for all the necessary supplies.
And, more than this, you have had the services, the blood, and
the lives of our political brethren in every trial and on every
field. The beardless boy and the mature man, the humble and the
distinguished--you have had them. Through suffering and death,
by disease and in battle they have endured and fought and fell
with you. Clay and Webster each gave a son, never to be
returned. From the State of my own residence, besides other
worthy but less known Whig names, we sent Marshall, Morrison,
Baker, and Hardin; they all fought, and one fell, and in the fall
of that one we lost our best Whig man. Nor were the Whigs few in
number, or laggard in the day of danger. In that fearful,
bloody, breathless struggle at Buena Vista, where each man's hard
task was to beat back five foes or die himself, of the five high
officers who perished, four were Whigs.

In speaking of this, I mean no odious comparison between the
lion-hearted Whigs and the Democrats who fought there. On other
occasions, and among the lower officers and privates on that
occasion, I doubt not the proportion was different. I wish to do
justice to all. I think of all those brave men as Americans, in
whose proud fame, as an American, I too have a share. Many of
them, Whigs and Democrats are my constituents and personal
friends; and I thank them,--more than thank them,--one and all,
for the high imperishable honor they have conferred on our common

But the distinction between the cause of the President in
beginning the war, and the cause of the country after it was
begun, is a distinction which you cannot perceive. To you the
President and the country seem to be all one. You are interested
to see no distinction between them; and I venture to suggest that
probably your interest blinds you a little. We see the
distinction, as we think, clearly enough; and our friends who
have fought in the war have no difficulty in seeing it also.
What those who have fallen would say, were they alive and here,
of course we can never know; but with those who have returned
there is no difficulty. Colonel Haskell and Major Gaines,
members here, both fought in the war, and both of them underwent
extraordinary perils and hardships; still they, like all other
Whigs here, vote, on the record, that the war was unnecessarily
and unconstitutionally commenced by the President. And even
General Taylor himself, the noblest Roman of them all, has
declared that as a citizen, and particularly as a soldier, it is
sufficient for him to know that his country is at war with a
foreign nation, to do all in his power to bring it to a speedy
and honorable termination by the most vigorous and energetic
operations, without inquiry about its justice, or anything else
connected with it.

Mr. Speaker, let our Democratic friends be comforted with the
assurance that we are content with our position, content with our
company, and content with our candidate; and that although they,
in their generous sympathy, think we ought to be miserable, we
really are not, and that they may dismiss the great anxiety they
have on our account.

Mr. Speaker, I see I have but three minutes left, and this forces
me to throw out one whole branch of my subject. A single word on
still another. The Democrats are keen enough to frequently
remind us that we have some dissensions in our ranks. Our good
friend from Baltimore immediately before me [Mr. McLane]
expressed some doubt the other day as to which branch of our
party General Taylor would ultimately fall into the hands of.
That was a new idea to me. I knew we had dissenters, but I did
not know they were trying to get our candidate away from us. I
would like to say a word to our dissenters, but I have not the
time. Some such we certainly have; have you none, gentlemen
Democrats? Is it all union and harmony in your ranks? no
bickerings? no divisions? If there be doubt as to which of our
divisions will get our candidate, is there no doubt as to which
of your candidates will get your party? I have heard some things
from New York; and if they are true, one might well say of your
party there, as a drunken fellow once said when he heard the
reading of an indictment for hog-stealing. The clerk read on
till he got to and through the words, "did steal, take, and carry
away ten boars, ten sows, ten shoats, and ten pigs," at which he
exclaimed, "Well, by golly, that is the most equally divided gang
of hogs I ever did hear of!" If there is any other gang of hogs
more equally divided than the Democrats of New York are about
this time, I have not heard of it.

SEPT. 12, 1848.

(From the Boston Advertiser.)

Mr. Kellogg then introduced to the meeting the Hon. Abram
Lincoln, Whig member of Congress from Illinois, a representative
of free soil.

Mr. Lincoln has a very tall and thin figure, with an intellectual
face, showing a searching mind, and a cool judgment. He spoke in
a clear and cool and very eloquent manner, for an hour and a
half, carrying the audience with him in his able arguments and
brilliant illustrations--only interrupted by warm and frequent
applause. He began by expressing a real feeling of modesty in
addressing an audience "this side of the mountains," a part of
the country where, in the opinion of the people of his section,
everybody was supposed to be instructed and wise. But he had
devoted his attention to the question of the coming Presidential
election, and was not unwilling to exchange with all whom he
might the ideas to which he had arrived. He then began to show
the fallacy of some of the arguments against Gen. Taylor, making
his chief theme the fashionable statement of all those who oppose
him ("the old Locofocos as well as the new") that he has no
principles, and that the Whig party have abandoned their
principles by adopting him as their candidate. He maintained
that Gen. Taylor occupied a high and unexceptionable Whig
ground, and took for his first instance and proof of this the
statement in the Allison letter--with regard to the bank, tariff,
rivers and harbors, etc.--that the will of the people should
produce its own results, without executive influence. The
principle that the people should do what--under the Constitution-
-as they please, is a Whig principle. All that Gen. Taylor is not
only to consent to, but appeal to the people to judge and act for
themselves. And this was no new doctrine for Whigs. It was the
"platform" on which they had fought all their battles, the
resistance of executive influence, and the principle of enabling
the people to frame the government according to their will. Gen.
Taylor consents to be the candidate, and to assist the people to
do what they think to be their duty, and think to be best in
their national affairs, but because he don't want to tell what we
ought to do, he is accused of having no principles. The Whigs
here maintained for years that neither the influence, the duress,
or the prohibition of the executive should control the
legitimately expressed will of the people; and now that, on that
very ground, Gen. Taylor says that he should use the power given
him by the people to do, to the best of his judgment, the will of
the people, he is accused of want of principle, and of
inconsistency in position.

Mr. Lincoln proceeded to examine the absurdity of an attempt to
make a platform or creed for a national party, to all parts of
which all must consent and agree, when it was clearly the
intention and the true philosophy of our government, that in
Congress all opinions and principles should be represented, and
that when the wisdom of all had been compared and united, the
will of the majority should be carried out. On this ground he
conceived (and the audience seemed to go with him) that Gen.
Taylor held correct, sound republican principles.

Mr. Lincoln then passed to the subject of slavery in the States,
saying that the people of Illinois agreed entirely with the
people of Massachusetts on this subject, except perhaps that they
did not keep so constantly thinking about it. All agreed that
slavery was an evil, but that we were not responsible for it and
cannot affect it in States of this Union where we do not live.
But the question of the extension of slavery to new territories
of this country is a part of our responsibility and care, and is
under our control. In opposition to this Mr. L. believed that
the self-named "Free Soil" party was far behind the Whigs. Both
parties opposed the extension. As he understood it the new party
had no principle except this opposition. If their platform held
any other, it was in such a general way that it was like the pair
of pantaloons the Yankee pedlar offered for sale, "large enough
for any man, small enough for any boy." They therefore had taken
a position calculated to break down their single important
declared object. They were working for the election of either
Gen. Cass or Gen. Taylor. The speaker then went on to show,
clearly and eloquently, the danger of extension of slavery,
likely to result from the election of Gen. Cass. To unite with
those who annexed the new territory to prevent the extension of
slavery in that territory seemed to him to be in the highest
degree absurd and ridiculous. Suppose these gentlemen succeed in
electing Mr. Van Buren, they had no specific means to prevent the
extension of slavery to New Mexico and California, and Gen.
Taylor, he confidently believed, would not encourage it, and
would not prohibit its restriction. But if Gen. Cass was
elected, he felt certain that the plans of farther extension of
territory would be encouraged, and those of the extension of
slavery would meet no check. The "Free Soil" mart in claiming
that name indirectly attempts a deception, by implying that Whigs
were not Free Soil men. Declaring that they would "do their duty
and leave the consequences to God" merely gave an excuse for
taking a course they were not able to maintain by a fair and full
argument. To make this declaration did not show what their duty
was. If it did we should have no use for judgment, we might as
well be made without intellect; and when divine or human law does
not clearly point out what is our duty, we have no means of
finding out what it is but by using our most intelligent judgment
of the consequences. If there were divine law or human law for
voting for Martin Van Buren, or if a, fair examination of the
consequences and just reasoning would show that voting for him
would bring about the ends they pretended to wish--then he would
give up the argument. But since there was no fixed law on the
subject, and since the whole probable result of their action
would be an assistance in electing Gen. Cass, he must say that
they were behind the Whigs in their advocacy of the freedom of
the soil.

Mr. Lincoln proceeded to rally the Buffalo convention for
forbearing to say anything--after all the previous declarations
of those members who were formerly Whigs--on the subject of the
Mexican War, because the Van Burens had been known to have
supported it. He declared that of all the parties asking the
confidence of the country, this new one had less of principle
than any other.

He wondered whether it was still the opinion of these Free Soil
gentlemen, as declared in the "whereas" at Buffalo, that the Whig
and Democratic parties were both entirely dissolved and absorbed
into their own body. Had the Vermont election given them any
light? They had calculated on making as great an impression in
that State as in any part of the Union, and there their attempts
had been wholly ineffectual. Their failure was a greater success
than they would find in any other part of the Union.

Mr. Lincoln went on to say that he honestly believed that all
those who wished to keep up the character of the Union; who did
not believe in enlarging our field, but in keeping our fences
where they are and cultivating our present possessions, making it
a garden, improving the morals and education of the people,
devoting the administrations to this purpose; all real Whigs,
friends of good honest government--the race was ours. He had
opportunities of hearing from almost every part of the Union from
reliable sources and had not heard of a county in which we had
not received accessions from other parties. If the true Whigs
come forward and join these new friends, they need not have a
doubt. We had a candidate whose personal character and
principles he had already described, whom he could not eulogize
if he would. Gen. Taylor had been constantly, perseveringly,
quietly standing up, doing his duty and asking no praise or
reward for it. He was and must be just the man to whom the
interests, principles, and prosperity of the country might be
safely intrusted. He had never failed in anything he had
undertaken, although many of his duties had been considered
almost impossible.

Mr. Lincoln then went into a terse though rapid review of the
origin of the Mexican War and the connection of the
administration and General Taylor with it, from which he deduced
a strong appeal to the Whigs present to do their duty in the
support of General Taylor, and closed with the warmest
aspirations for and confidence in a deserved success.

At the close of his truly masterly and convincing speech, the
audience gave three enthusiastic cheers for Illinois, and three
more for the eloquent Whig member from the State.



WASHINGTON, Dec. 24, 1848.

MY DEAR FATHER:--Your letter of the 7th was received night before
last. I very cheerfully send you the twenty dollars, which sum
you say is necessary to save your land from sale. It is singular
that you should have forgotten a judgment against you; and it is
more singular that the plaintiff should have let you forget it so
long; particularly as I suppose you always had property enough to
satisfy a judgment of that amount. Before you pay it, it would
be well to be sure you have not paid, or at least, that you
cannot prove you have paid it.

Give my love to mother and all the connections. Affectionately
your son,




Resolved, That the Committee on the District of Columbia be
instructed to report a bill in substance as follows:

Sec. 1. Be it enacted by the Senate and House of
Representatives of the United States, in Congress assembled, That
no person not now within the District of Columbia, nor now owned
by any person or persons now resident within it, nor hereafter
born within it, shall ever be held in slavery within said

Sec. 2. That no person now within said District, or now owned
by any person or persons now resident within the same, or
hereafter born within it, shall ever be held in slavery without
the limits of said District: Provided, That officers of the
Government of the United States, being citizens of the
slaveholding States, coming into said District on public
business, and remaining only so long as may be reasonably
necessary for that object, may be attended into and out of said
District, and while there, by the necessary servants of
themselves and their families, without their right to hold such
servants in service being thereby impaired.

Sec. 3. That all children born of slave mothers within said
District, on or after the first day of January, in the year of
our Lord eighteen hundred and fifty, shall be free; but shall be
reasonably supported and educated by the respective owners of
their mothers, or by their heirs or representatives, and shall
owe reasonable service as apprentices to such owners, heirs, or
representatives, until they respectively arrive at the age of __
years, when they shall be entirely free; and the municipal
authorities of Washington and Georgetown, within their respective
jurisdictional limits, are hereby empowered and required to make
all suitable and necessary provision for enforcing obedience to
this section, on the part of both masters and apprentices.

Sec. 4. That all persons now within this District, lawfully
held as slaves, or now owned by any person or persons now
resident within said District, shall remain such at the will of
their respective owners, their heirs, and legal representatives:
Provided, That such owner, or his legal representative, may at
any time receive from the Treasury of the United States the full
value of his or her slave, of the class in this section
mentioned, upon which such slave shall be forthwith and forever
free: And provided further, That the President of the United
States, the Secretary of State, and the Secretary of the Treasury
shall be a board for determining the value of such slaves as
their owners may desire to emancipate under this section, and
whose duty it shall be to hold a session for the purpose on the
first Monday of each calendar month, to receive all applications,
and, on satisfactory evidence in each case that the person
presented for valuation is a slave, and of the class in this
section mentioned, and is owned by the applicant, shall value
such slave at his or her full cash value, and give to the
applicant an order on the Treasury for the amount, and also to
such slave a certificate of freedom.

Sec. 5. That the municipal authorities of Washington and
Georgetown, within their respective jurisdictional limits, are
hereby empowered and required to provide active and efficient
means to arrest and deliver up to their owners all fugitive
slaves escaping into said District.

Sec. 6. That the election officers within said District of
Columbia are hereby empowered and required to open polls, at all
the usual places of holding elections, on the first Monday of
April next, and receive the vote of every free white male citizen
above the age of twenty-one years, having resided within said
District for the period of one year or more next preceding the
time of such voting for or against this act, to proceed in taking
said votes, in all respects not herein specified, as at elections
under the municipal laws, and with as little delay as possible to
transmit correct statements of the votes so cast to the President
of the United States; and it shall be the duty of the President
to canvass said votes immediately, and if a majority of them be
found to be for this act, to forthwith issue his proclamation
giving notice of the fact; and this act shall only be in full
force and effect on and after the day of such proclamation.

Sec. 7. That involuntary servitude for the punishment of crime,
whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall in no
wise be prohibited by this act.

Sec. 8. That for all the purposes of this act, the
jurisdictional limits of Washington are extended to all parts of
the District of Columbia not now included within the present
limits of Georgetown.


FEBRUARY 13, 1849.

Mr. Lincoln said he had not risen for the purpose of making a
speech, but only for the purpose of meeting some of the
objections to the bill. If he understood those objections, the
first was that if the bill were to become a law, it would be used
to lock large portions of the public lands from sale, without at
last effecting the ostensible object of the bill--the
construction of railroads in the new States; and secondly, that
Congress would be forced to the abandonment of large portions of
the public lands to the States for which they might be reserved,
without their paying for them. This he understood to be the
substance of the objections of the gentleman from Ohio to the
passage of the bill.

If he could get the attention of the House for a few minutes, he
would ask gentlemen to tell us what motive could induce any State
Legislature, or individual, or company of individuals, of the new
States, to expend money in surveying roads which they might know
they could not make.

(A voice: They are not required to make the road.)

Mr. Lincoln continued: That was not the case he was making. What
motive would tempt any set of men to go into an extensive survey
of a railroad which they did not intend to make? What good would
it do? Did men act without motive? Did business men commonly go
into an expenditure of money which could be of no account to
them? He generally found that men who have money were disposed
to hold on to it, unless they could see something to be made by
its investment. He could not see what motive of advantage to the
new States could be subserved by merely keeping the public lands
out of market, and preventing their settlement. As far as he
could see, the new States were wholly without any motive to do
such a thing. This, then, he took to be a good answer to the
first objection.

In relation to the fact assumed, that after a while, the new
States having got hold of the public lands to a certain extent,
they would turn round and compel Congress to relinquish all claim
to them, he had a word to say, by way of recurring to the history
of the past. When was the time to come (he asked) when the
States in which the public lands were situated would compose a
majority of the representation in Congress, or anything like it?
A majority of Representatives would very soon reside west of the
mountains, he admitted; but would they all come from States in
which the public lands were situated? They certainly would not;
for, as these Western States grew strong in Congress, the public
lands passed away from them, and they got on the other side of
the question; and the gentleman from Ohio [Mr. Vinton] was an
example attesting that fact.

Mr. Vinton interrupted here to say that he had stood on this
question just where he was now, for five and twenty years.

Mr. Lincoln was not making an argument for the purpose of
convicting the gentleman of any impropriety at all. He was
speaking of a fact in history, of which his State was an example.
He was referring to a plain principle in the nature of things.
The State of Ohio had now grown to be a giant. She had a large
delegation on that floor; but was she now in favor of granting
lands to the new States, as she used to be? The New England
States, New York, and the Old Thirteen were all rather quiet upon
the subject; and it was seen just now that a member from one of
the new States was the first man to rise up in opposition. And
such would be with the history of this question for the future.
There never would come a time when the people residing in the
States embracing the public lands would have the entire control
of this subject; and so it was a matter of certainty that
Congress would never do more in this respect than what would be
dictated by a just liberality. The apprehension, therefore, that
the public lands were in danger of being wrested from the General
Government by the strength of the delegation in Congress from the
new States, was utterly futile. There never could be such a
thing. If we take these lands (said he) it will not be without
your consent. We can never outnumber you. The result is that
all fear of the new States turning against the right of Congress
to the public domain must be effectually quelled, as those who
are opposed to that interest must always hold a vast majority
here, and they will never surrender the whole or any part of the
public lands unless they themselves choose to do so. That was
all he desired to say.



WASHINGTON, March 9, 1849.


DEAR SIR: Co1onel R. D. Baker and myself are the only Whig
members of Congress from Illinois of the Thirtieth, and he of the
Thirty-first. We have reason to think the Whigs of that State
hold us responsible, to some extent, for the appointments which
may be made of our citizens. We do not know you personally, and
our efforts to you have so far been unavailing. I therefore hope
I am not obtrusive in saying in this way, for him and myself,
that when a citizen of Illinois is to be appointed in your
department, to an office either in or out of the State, we most
respectfully ask to be heard.

Your obedient servant,




WASHINGTON, March 10, 1849.


SIR:--There are several applicants for the office of United
States Marshal for the District of Illinois. Among the most
prominent of them are Benjamin Bond, Esq., of Carlyle, and
Thomas, Esq., of Galena. Mr. Bond I know to be personally every
way worthy of the office; and he is very numerously and most
respectably recommended. His papers I send to you; and I solicit
for his claims a full and fair consideration.

Having said this much, I add that in my individual judgment the
appointment of Mr. Thomas would be the better.

Your obedient servant,


(Indorsed on Mr. Bond's papers.)

In this and the accompanying envelope are the recommendations of
about two hundred good citizens of all parts of Illinois, that
Benjamin Bond be appointed marshal for that district. They
include the names of nearly all our Whigs who now are, or have
ever been, members of the State Legislature, besides forty-six of
the Democratic members of the present Legislature, and many other
good citizens. I add that from personal knowledge I consider Mr.
Bond every way worthy of the office, and qualified to fill it.
Holding the individual opinion that the appointment of a
different gentleman would be better, I ask especial attention and
consideration for his claims, and for the opinions expressed in
his favor by those over whom I can claim no superiority.





DEAR SIR:--I recommend that Walter Davis be appointed receiver of
the land-office at this place, whenever there shall be a vacancy.
I cannot say that Mr. Herndon, the present incumbent, has failed
in the proper discharge of any of the duties of the office. He
is a very warm partisan, and openly and actively opposed to the
election of General Taylor. I also understand that since General
Taylor's election he has received a reappointment from Mr. Polk,
his old commission not having expired. Whether this is true the
records of the department will show. I may add that the Whigs
here almost universally desire his removal.

I give no opinion of my own, but state the facts, and express the
hope that the department will act in this as in all other cases
on some proper general rule.

Your obedient servant,


P. S.--The land district to which this office belongs is very
nearly if not entirely within my district; so that Colonel Baker,
the other Whig representative, claims no voice in the
A. L.




DEAR SIR:--I recommend that Turner R. King, now of Pekin,
Illinois, be appointed register of the land-office at this place
whenever there shall be a vacancy.

I do not know that Mr. Barret, the present incumbent, has failed
in the proper discharge of any of his duties in the office. He
is a decided partisan, and openly and actively opposed the
election of General Taylor. I understand, too, that since the
election of General Taylor, Mr. Barret has received a
reappointment from Mr. Polk, his old commission not having
expired. Whether this be true, the records of the department
will show.

Whether he should be removed I give no opinion, but merely
express the wish that the department may act upon some proper
general rule, and that Mr. Barret's case may not be made an
exception to it.

Your obedient servant,


P. S.-The land district to which this office belongs is very
nearly if not entirely within my district; so that Colonel Baker,
the other Whig representative, claims no voice in the
A. L.




DEAR Sir:--I recommend that Abner Y. Ellis be appointed
postmaster at this place, whenever there shall be a vacancy. J.
R. Diller, the present incumbent, I cannot say has failed in the
proper discharge of any of the duties of the office. He,
however, has been an active partisan in opposition to us.

Located at the seat of government of the State, he has been, for
part if not the whole of the time he has held the office, a
member of the Democratic State Central Committee, signing his
name to their addresses and manifestoes; and has been, as I
understand, reappointed by Mr. Polk since General Taylor's
election. These are the facts of the case as I understand them,
and I give no opinion of mine as to whether he should or should
not be removed. My wish is that the department may adopt some
proper general rule for such cases, and that Mr. Diller may not
be made an exception to it, one way or the other.

Your obedient servant,


P. S.--This office, with its delivery, is entirely within my
district; so that Colonel Baker, the other Whig representative,
claims no voice in the appointment.L.


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