Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln. Volume 1.
Lincoln, Abraham, 1809-1865.

To William Butler [1]

Friend Butler: Vandalia, Feb: 1. 1839

Your letter enclosing one to Mr. Baker, was received on yesterday evening. [2] There is no necessity for any bad feeling between Baker & yourself. Your first letter to him was written while you were in a state of high excitement, and therefore ought not to have been construed as an emination of deliberate malice. Unfortunately however it reached Baker while he was writhing under a severe tooth-ache, and therefore he at that time was incapable of exercising that patience and reflection which the case required. The note he sent you was written while in that state of feeling, and for that reason I think you ought not to pay any serious regard to it. It is always magnanamous to recant whatever we may have said in passion; and when you and Baker shall have done this, I am sure there will no difficulty be left between you. I write this without Bakers knowledge; and I do it because nothing would be more painful to me than to see a difficulty between two of my most particular friends.

About your dissatisfaction in relation to the South East county I will now say that I all the while laboured under a mistake. When I wrote to Frink & Murphy [3] that I would go for their county, I only meant that I would go for giving them a county as against Springfield & the old county; and it never occurred to me that I was pledging myself to one party of the new-county men against another, for I did not then know they were divided into parties. When I consented for the lines to approach Springfield nearer than the petition asked, I really thought I was confering a favour upon the new-county. And, by the way, if you will compare Frink's petition with the lines as they now stand, you will see that there is but three quarters of a township more taken from Sangamon county than the petition asked for; and as to the part from Montgomery, I have before told you we could not control that.

No news here now. Your friend as ever A. LINCOLN


[1]   ALS, ICHi.

[2]   A copy of Butler's letter to Baker, January 29, which is preserved with the letters from Lincoln to Butler, makes apology and explains that the letter ofPage  142

January 26 had been written under misapprehension. Butler continued, ``. . . it was not my intention to insult you or any one of my friends though under the misapprehension I felt myself badly treated. . .'' Baker was apparently not satisfied, however, for a further letter from Butler, February 28, professed ``I am willing to meet you as we parted at which time I hope for such mutual concessions as will enable us to remain as we ever have been if you still persist in a different co[u]rse I can regret it.''

[3]   William S. Frink and Jesse Murphy of the Allenton community.