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

To William A. Ross [1]

Wm. A. Ross, Esq: Lincoln, Logan Co. Ills.
My dear Sir: March 26---1859---

Yours of the 18th. was received a week ago. I would really be pleased with a publication substantially as you propose. But I would suggest a few variations from your plan. I would not include the Republican platform; because that would give the work a onesided & party cast, unless the democratic platform was also included.

I would not take all the speeches from the Press & Tribune; but

Page  373I would take mine from that paper; and those of Judge Douglas from the Chicago Times. This would represent each of us, as reported by his own friends, and thus be mutual, and fair. I would take the speeches alone; rigidly excluding all comments of the newspapers.

I would include the correspondence between Judge Douglas and myself which led to the joint discussions.

I would call the thing ``Illinois political canvass of 1858''; and, as falling within the title, I would select and include half a dozen of the National Democratic speeches.

Last autumn and winter I got up a Scrap-book precisely on the plan I have stated. The parts stand in the order following---

My speech at Springfield, at the Republican convention, June 16, 1858.

Douglas' speech at Chicago, July 9, 1858

My speech at Chicago July 10, 1858---

Douglas' speech at Bloomington July 16, 1858

Douglas' speech at Springfield, July 17, 1858.

My speech at Springfield, July 17, 1858---

The correspondence which led to the joint discussions.

The joint discussions, in the order in which they occurred.

The National Democratic speeches, to come in after the others, in the order among themselves in which they were delivered.

In my own speeches I have corrected only a few small typographical errors. The other speeches I have not touched; but merely pasted them in from the papers in which they were reported.

Judge Douglas would have the right to correct typographical errors in his, if he desired; but I think the necessity, in his case, would be less than in mine; because he had two hired reporters travelling with him, and probably revised their manuscripts before they went to press; while I had no reporter of my own, but depended on a very excellent one sent by the Press & Tribune; but who never waited to show me his notes or manuscripts; so that the first I saw of my speeches, after delivering them, was in the Press & Tribune precisely as they now stand.

My Scrap-book would be the best thing to print from; still, as it cost me a good deal of labor to get it up, and as I am very desirous to preserve the substance of it permanently, I would not let it go out of my own control. If an arrangement could be made to print it in Springfield, under my own supervision, I would allow the Scrap-book to be used, and would claim no share in any profit that could be made out of the publication.

Page  374I am here now, attending court; and seize a moment to answer yours, which I ought to have done sooner. Let me hear from you again. Yours with respect A. LINCOLN---


[1]   ALS, IHi. William A. Ross wrote from Washington, Illinois. Replying to Lincoln's letter on April 2, Ross proposed to go ahead with publication (DLCRTL), but there is no record of further negotiations.