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

To Benjamin F. James [1]

Dear James: Springfield, Feb. 9. 1846

You have seen, or will see what I am inclined to think you will regard as rather an extraordinary communication in the Morgan Journal. [2] The ``excessive modesty'' of it's tone is certainly admirable. As an excuse for getting before the public, the writer sets out with a pretence of answering an article which I believe appearedPage  366 in the Lacon paper some time since; taking the ground that the Pekin convention had settled the rotation principle. Now whether the Pekin convention did or did not settle that principle, I care not. If I am not, in what I have done, and am able to do, for the party, near enough the equal of Genl. Hardin, to entitle me to the nomination, now that he has one, I scorn it on any and all other grounds.

So far then, as this Morgan Journal commun[ic]ation may relate to the Pekin convention, I rather prefer that your paper shall let it ``stink and die'' unnoticed.

There is, however, as you will see, another thing in the communication which is, an attempt to injure me because of my declining to recommend the adoption of a new plan, for the selecting a candidate. The attempt is to make it appear that I am unwilling to have a fair expression of the whigs of the District upon our respective claims. Now, nothing can be more false in fact; and if Genl. Hardin, had chosen, to furnish his friend with my written reason for declining that part of his plan; and that friend had chosen to publish that reason, instead of his own construction of the act, the falsehood of his insinuation would have been most apparant. That written reason was as follows, towit:

``As to your proposals that a poll shall be opened in every precinct, and that the whole shall take place on the same day, I do not personally object. They seem to me to not be unfair; and I forbear to join in proposing them, only because I rather choose to leave the decision in each county, to the whigs of the county, to be made as their own judgment and convenience may dictate.'' [3]

I send you this as a weapon with which to demolish, what I can not but regard as a mean insinuation against me. You may use it as you please; I prefer however that you should show it to some of our friends, and not publish it, unless in your judgment it becomes rather urgently necessary.

The reason I want to keep all points of controversy out of the papers, so far as possible, is, that it will be just all we can do, to keep out of a quarrel---and I am resolved to do my part to keep peace. Yours truly A. LINCOLN


[1]   ALS, MH.

[2]   February 6, 1846.

[3]   See letter to Hardin, January 19, 1846.