Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln. Volume 3.
Lincoln, Abraham, 1809-1865.

Speech at Meredosia, Illinois [1]

October 18, 1858

On Monday night last he addressed a small meeting at Meredosia. His object was to convert two or three Germans at that place to the republican faith. To effect this object, we are informed he took for his text the Declaration of Independence and labored for an hour to prove by that instrument that the negro was born with rights equal with the whites; thus by implication assailing the Constitution of the United States, which protects the institution of negro servitude in the slave states.

In the course of his speech he remarked that, while at Naples on the preceding [2] day he had noticed about a dozen Irishmen on the levee, and it had occurred to him that those Irishmen had been imported expressly to vote him down.

Doubtless Mr. Lincoln entertains a holy horror of all Irishmen and other adopted citizens who have sufficient self-respect to believe themselves superior to the negro. What right have adopted citizens to vote Mr. Lincoln and his negro equality doctrines down? He would doubtless disfranchise every one of them if he had the power. His reference to the danger of his being voted down by foreigners, was a cue to his followers, similar in character to the intimationPage  329 of the Chicago Press a few days since, that the republicans of the interior counties should protect their rights; in other words, that under the pretext of protecting their rights, they should keep adopted citizens from the polls. We hope no adopted citizen will attempt to put in an illegal vote; yet every adopted citizen, be a democrat or republican, should have his vote. And every foreigner in old Morgan who is a legal voter, will have his vote in spite of Mr. Lincoln.

The effect produced by Mr. Lincoln's significant reference to the danger he apprehended from the foreign vote, was manifested before the close of the meeting. Dr. Wackly, [3] a highly respectable merchant of Meredosia, who is an influential German, and also a German speaker of considerable talent, a few evenings before, in a speech had expressed the opinion that Mr. Lincoln was a knownothing. Mr. Lincoln referred to this charge, and retorted on to the Dr. in severe, personal manner.


[1]   Jacksonville Sentinel, October 22, 1858.

[2]   Lincoln stopped at Naples on the way to Meredosia on the same day.

[3]   Probably an error for Dr. W.J. Wackerle of Meredosia.