Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln. Volume 3.
Lincoln, Abraham, 1809-1865.

To Mark W. Delahay [1]

M. W. Delahay, Esq Springfield Ills
My Dear Sir May 14 1859

I find it impossible for me to attend your Republican convention at Ossawatan [Ossawatomie] on the 18th. It would havePage  379 afforded me much personal gratification to see your fine new country, and to meet the good people who have cast their lot there; and still more, if I could thereby contribute any thing to the Republican cause. You probably will adopt resolutions in the nature of a platform; and, as I think, the only danger will be the temptation to lower the Republican Standard in order to gather recruits. In my judgement such a step would be a serious mistake---would open a gap through which more would pass out than pass in. And this would be the same, whether the letting down should be in deference to Douglasism, or to the southern opposition element. Either would surrender the o[b]ject of the Republican organization---the preventing the spread and nationalization of Slavery. This object surrendered, the organization would go to pieces. I do not mean by this, that no southern man must be placed upon our Republican National ticket for 1860. There are many men in the slave states for any one of whom I would cheerfully vote to be either President or Vice President provided he would enable [2] me to do so with safety to the Republican cause---without lowering the Republican Standard. This is the indispensable condition of a union with us. It is idle to think of any other. Any other would be as fruitless to the South, as distasteful to the North, the whole ending in common defeat. Let a union be attempted on the basis of ignoring the Slavery question, and magnifying other questions which the people just now are really caring nothing about, and it will result in gaining no single electorial vote in the South and losing ev[e]ry one in the North. Yours very truly



[1]   LS, IHi. Delahay's name and the close and signature are in Lincoln's handwriting.

[2]   ``Allow'' deleted and ``enable'' inserted in Elmer Ellsworth handwriting.