ADf, DLC-RTL. Two drafts are preserved in the Lincoln Papers. The first is in pencil and bears the date as given above. The second is in ink, without date, and is probably the finished copy which Lincoln intended to send, but which he never dated, signed, or sent. The letter from Democratic editor of the Green Bay, Wisconsin, Advocate, Charles D. Robinson, dated August 7, 1864, which First Assistant Postmaster General Alexander W. Randall (formerly governor of Wisconsin) handed to Lincoln on August 16, is as follows:
``I am a War Democrat, and the editor of a Democratic paper. I have sustained your Administration . . . because it is the legally constituted government. I have sustained its war policy, not because I endorsed it entire, but because it presented the only available method of putting down the rebellion. . . . It was alleged that because I and my friends sustained the Emancipation measure, we had become abolitionized. We replied that we regarded the freeing of the negroes as sound war policy, in that the depriving the South of its laborers weakened the . . . Rebellion. That was a good argument. . . . It was solid ground on which we could stand, and still maintain our position as Democrats. We were greatly comforted and strengthened also by your assurance that if your could save the Union without freeing any slave, you would do it; if you could save it by freeing the slaves, you would do it; and if you could do it by freeing some, and leaving others alone, you would also do that.
``The Niagara Falls `Peace' movement was of no importance whatever, except that it resulted in bringing out your declaration, as we understand it, that no steps can be taken towards peace . . . unless accompanied with an abandonment of slavery. This puts the whole war question on a new basis, and takes us War Democrats clear off our feet, leaving us no ground to stand upon. If we sustain the war and war policy, does it not demand the changing of our party politics?
``I venture to write you this letter . . . not for the purpose of finding fault with your policy . . . but in the hope that you may suggest some interpretation of it, as will . . . make it tenable ground on which we War Democrats may stand---preserve our party consistently support the government---and continue to carry also to its support those large numbers of our old political friends who have stood by us up to this time.
``I beg to assure you that this is not written for the purpose of using it, or its possible reply, in a public way. And I . . . send it through my friend Gov. Randall in the belief that he will guarantee for me entire good faith.'' (DLC-RTL).
The interview of Randall, Judge Joseph T. Mills, and William P. Dole, with Lincoln on August 19 (infra) presumably dealt with Lincoln's reply to Robinson, although Judge Mills' report of the interview does not mention the letter. In any event, Randall wrote Lincoln on August 22:
``I have been reflecting upon the clause of your letter to Col. Robinson toPage 502 which Mr Dole objected and think there is force in his objection on the score of its policy. While the idea of that part is a correct one, it is unnecessary to say it, I think, because what you say in the balance of the letter will be entirely sufficient for Robinsons purposes. It is not designed for publication it is true, and Mr. Robinson will not publish it. Some accident might get its contents before the public. I presume respectfully to make these suggestions for your consideration.'' (Ibid.).
It seems probable, there being no further reference to the letter and no reply from Robinson, that Lincoln decided against sending the letter at all.
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