Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln. Volume 2.
Lincoln, Abraham, 1809-1865.

To Henry Asbury [1]

Henry Asbury, Esq Springfield,
My dear Sir July 31. 1858.

Yours of the 28th. is received. The points you propose to press upon Douglas, he will be very hard to get up to. But I think you labor under a mistake when you say no one cares how he answers. This implies that it is equal with him whether he is injured here or at the South. That is a mistake. He cares nothing for the South---he knows he is already dead there. He only leans Southward now to keep the Buchanan party from growing in Illinois. You shall have hard work to get him directly to the point whether a teritorial Legislature has or has not the power to exclude slavery. But if you succeed in bringing him to it, though he will be compelled to say it possesses no such power; he will instantly take ground that slavery can not actually exist in the teritories, unless the people desire it, and so give it protective teritorial legislation. If this offends the South he will let it offend them; as at all events he means to hold on to his chances in Illinois. You will soon learn by the papers that both the Judge and myself, are to be in

Page  531Quincy on the 13th. of October, when & where I expect the pleasure of seeing you. Yours very truly A. LINCOLN.


[1]   ALS, ORB. Henry Asbury was an attorney of Quincy, Illinois. Accompanying the original letter is a signed statement by Asbury dated July, 1883, stating that, ``The main Question I had urged Mr. Lincoln to put to Judge Douglas . . . was the Question 2 at Freeport `Can the people of a United States territory in any lawful way against the wish of any citizen of the united States exclude Slavery from its limits prior to the formation of a state constitution.' ''