Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln. Volume 4 [Mar. 5, 1860-Oct. 24, 1861].

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Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln. Volume 4 [Mar. 5, 1860-Oct. 24, 1861].
Lincoln, Abraham, 1809-1865.
New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers University Press

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"Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln. Volume 4 [Mar. 5, 1860-Oct. 24, 1861]." In the digital collection Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln. University of Michigan Library Digital Collections. Accessed June 13, 2024.


Page 172

To James T. Hale1Jump to section

Confidential. Hon. J. T. Hale Springfield, Ill. Jan'y. 11th 1861.

My dear Sir---Yours of the 6th is received. I answer it only because I fear you would misconstrue my silence. What is our present condition? We have just carried an election on principles fairly stated to the people. Now we are told in advance, the government shall be broken up, unless we surrender to those we have beaten, before we take the offices. In this they are either attempting to play upon us, or they are in dead earnest. Either way, if we surrender, it is the end of us, and of the government. They will repeat the experiment upon us ad libitum. A year will not pass, till we shall have to take Cuba as a condition upon which they will stay in the Union. They now have the Constitution, under which we have lived over seventy years, and acts of Congress of their own framing, with no prospect of their being changed; and they can never have a more shallow pretext for breaking up the government, or extorting a compromise, than now. There is, in my judgment, but one compromise which would really settle the slavery question, and that would be a prohibition against acquiring any more territory. Yours very truly, A. LINCOLN.


[1]   Copy, DLC-RTL. James T. Hale, Republican congressman from Bellefonte, Pennsylvania, wrote January 6 as a member of a committee of congressmen from the border states, recommending an amendment to the Constitution denying the right of Congress to abolish slavery in the states, a joint resolution declaring that abolition could not take place in the District of Columbia without consent of Maryland and citizens of the District, an amendment of the fugitive slave law and that states repeal all personal liberty bills, and that the U.S. be divided at 36(deg) 30', all territories north of that line to be free and all those south of it to be free or slave as they chose (DLC-RTL).

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