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

To William G. Anderson [1]

W.G. Anderson Lawrenceville, Oct. 31st. 1840.

Dear Sir Your note of yesterday is received. [2] In the difficulty between us, of which you speak, you say you think I was the aggressor. I do not think I was. You say my ``words imported insult.'' I meant them as a fair set-off to your own statements, and not otherwise; and in that light alone I now wish you to understand them. You ask for my ``present'' feelings on the subject.'' I entertain no unkind feeling to you, and none of any sort upon the subject, except a sincere regret that I permitted myself to get into such an altercation. Yours, &c A. LINCOLN


[1]   ALS, THi. William G. Anderson, Democrat; representative, Wabash County, 1832, and Lawrence County 1842, 1844.

[2]   This letter is also in the library of the Tennessee Historical Society. The background of the altercation is obscure. Lincoln was actively campaigning for the Whig ticket in the southern counties of Illinois during the latter half of October. Doubtless in a political discussion on October 28, sharp words passed between the two partisans, for Anderson wrote as follows:

A. Lincoln Esqr. Lawrenceville, Oct. 30- 1840-

Dr. sir: On our first meeting on Wednesday last, a difficulty in words, ensued between us, which I deem it my duty to notice further. I think you were the aggressor. Your words imported insult; and whether you meant them as such is for you to say. You will therefore please inform me on this point and if you designed to offend me, please communicate to me your present feelings on the subject, and whether you persist in the stand you took. Your obt. servt.