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


[1]   Pamphlet (Monaghan 2), IHi. Also, Sangamo Journal, March 6, 1840. The pamphlet provides a superior text; it was printed in January or February, 1840, and received wide distribution during the ensuing campaign. The date upon which this speech was delivered has been a matter of some uncertainty, but it appears to be settled by a communication dated December 27, 1839, published in the Quincy Whig, January 4, 1840, which specifies that Lincoln spoke ``last night in the Hall of the House of Representatives at Springfield, Illinois.''

[2]   There had been a debate held in November in which Lincoln took part. Again in December the debate was resumed, with many prominent Whigs and Democrats taking part, during Christmas week. Interest may have lagged by the time Lincoln's turn came to conclude the Whig argument on December 26, but certainly the day after Christmas was not calculated to draw many from their fire-sides who were not inveterate politicians.

[3]   Lincoln's footnote at this point is as follows:

``On the 4th of January 1839, the Senate of the United States passed the following resolution, to wit:

`` `Resolved, That the Secretary of the Treasury be directed to communicate to the Senate any information he may recently have received in respect to the mode of collecting, keeping and disbursing public monies in foreign countries.'

``Under this resolution the Secretary communicated to the Senate, a letter, the following extract from which, clearly shows that the collection of the revenue in specie, will establish a sound currency for the office holders, and a depreciated one for the people; and that the officeholders and other public creditors will turn shavers upon all the rest of the community. Here is the extract from the letter, being all of it that relates to the question:

`` `HAGUE, October 12, 1838.

`` `The financial system of Hamburg is, as far as is known, very simple, as may be supposed, from so small a territory.

`` `The whole amount of Hamburg coined money is about four and a half millions of marks current, or one million two hundred and eighty-two thousand five hundred dollars; and except under very extraordinary circumstances, not more than one half that amount is in circulation, and all duties, taxes, and excise, must be paid in Hamburg currency. The consequence is that it invariably commands a premium of one to three per centum. Every year one Senator and ten citizens are appointed to transact the whole of the financial concern, both as to receipt and disbursement of the funds, which is always in cash, and is every day deposited in the bank, to the credit of the chancery; and on being paid out the citizen to whose department the payment belongs must appear personally with the check or order, stating the amount and to whom to be paid. The person receiving very seldom keeps the money, preferring to dispose of it to a money changer at a premium, and taking other coin at a discount, of which there is a great variety and too large amount constantly in circulation, and on which in his daily payment he loses nothing, and those who have payments to make to the Government apply to the money changers again for Hamburg currency, which keeps it in constant motion; and I believe it frequently occurs that the bags which are sealed and labelled with the amount, are returned again to the bank without being opened.

`` `With great respect, your obedient servant,


`` `To the Hon. LEVI WOODBURY,

Secretary of the Treasury, Washington, D.C.' ''

``This letter is found in Senate Document, p. 113, of the session of 1838-'39.''

[4]   William Cabell Rives, senator from Virginia, approved the removal of United States funds from the Bank.

[5]   Of these defalcators, Samuel Swartwout was collector at New York City; and William J. Linn, brother-in-law of Governor Duncan of Illinois, was receiver at Vandalia and Illinois State Bank Commissioner. The others were William M. Price of New York, W. P. Harris of Columbus, Mississippi, and L. Hawkins of Helena, Arkansas.

[6]   John Calhoun, Democrat of Sangamon County, who was to answer Lincoln's speech on Saturday night, December 28.

[7]   Josiah Lamborn, Democrat, who had spoken earlier in the week.

[8]   Resolution sponsored by Thomas H. Benton (Missouri Democrat) in January, 1837, which erased from the journal of the Senate the resolution of censure against the administration for the removal of the bank deposits.

[9]   William Taylor Barry, appointed by President Jackson in March, 1829, resigned the office on April 10, 1835, under pressure of critics.