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

To Edward Wallace [1]

Dr. Edward Wallace: Clinton,
My dear Sir: Oct. 11th. 1859

I am here, just now, attending court. Yesterday, before I left Springfield, your brother, Dr. William S. Wallace, showed me aPage  487 letter of yours, in which you kindly mention my name, inquire for my tariff views; and suggest the propriety of my writing a letter upon the subject. I was an old Henry Clay tariff whig. In old times I made more speeches on that subject, than on any other. I have not since changed my views. I believe yet, if we could have a moderate, carefully adjusted, protective tariff, so far acquiesed in, as to not be a perpetual subject of political strife, squabbles, charges, and uncertainties, it would be better for us. Still, it is my opinion that, just now, the revival of that question, will not advance the cause itself, or the man who revives it. I have not thought much upon the subject recently; but my general impression is, that the necessity for a protective tariff will, ere long, force it's old opponents to take it up; and then it's old friends can join in, and establish it on a more firm and durable basis. We, the old whigs, have been entirely beaten out on the tariff question; and we shall not be able to re-establish the policy, until the absence of it, shall have demonstrated the necessity for it, in the minds of men heretofore opposed to it.

With this view, I should prefer, to not now, write a public letter upon the subject. I therefo[re] wish this to be considered confidential.

I shall be very glad to receive a letter from you. Yours truly



[1]   ALS, owned by Mrs. H. A. Reninger, Allentown, Pennsylvania. Dr. Edward Wallace was a physician at Reading, Pennsylvania. His reply concurs with Lincoln's views and expresses the opinion that a Western presidential candidate with protective views would be most acceptable to Pennsylvania (October 17, 1859, DLC-RTL).