Following the American Civil War Sesquicentennial with day by day writings of the time, currently 1863.

The Complete Works of Abraham Lincoln

Letter to Professor Gardner

SPRINGFIELD, ILL., September 28, 1860.

Dear Sir: Some specimens of your Soap have been used at our house and Mrs. L. declares it is a superior article. She at the same time protests that I have never given sufficient attention to the “soap question” to be a competent judge.                                     Yours very truly,


SPRINGFIELD, ILLINOIS, September 22, 1860.

Dear Doctor: Yours of July 18th was received some time ago. When you wrote you had not learned the result of the Democratic conventions at Charleston and Baltimore. With the two tickets in the field I should think it possible for our friends to carry Oregon. But the general result, I think, does not depend upon Oregon. No one this side of the mountains pretends that any ticket can be elected by the people, unless it be ours. Hence great efforts to combine against us are being made, which, however, as yet have not had much success. Besides what we see in the newspapers, I have a good deal of private correspondence; and without giving details, I will only say it all looks very favorable to our success.

Make my best respects to Mrs. Henry and the rest of your family.

Your friend, as ever,



Dear Sir: Your second note, inclosing the supposed speech of Mr. Dallas to Lord Brougham, is received. I have read the speech quite through, together with the real author’s introductory and closing remarks. I have also looked through the long preface of the book to-day. Both seem to be well written, and contain many things with which I could agree, and some with which I could not. A specimen of the latter is the declaration, in the closing remarks upon the “speech,” that the institution is a “necessity” imposed on us by the negro race. That the going many thousand miles, seizing a set of savages, bringing them here, and making slaves of them is a necessity imposed on us by them involves a species of logic to which my mind will scarcely assent.

(Apparently unfinished.)


My dear Sir: Yours of the 9th, inclosing the letter of Hon. John Minor Botts, was duly received. The latter is herewith returned according to your request. It contains one of the many assurances I receive from the South, that in no probable event will there be any very formidable effort to break up the Union. The people of the South have too much of good sense and good temper to attempt the ruin of the government rather than see it administered as it was administered by the men who made it. At least so I hope and believe. I thank you both for your own letter and a sight of that of Mr. Botts.

Yours very truly,


August 14, 1860.

My Fellow-citizens: I appear among you upon this occasion with no intention of making a speech.

It has been my purpose since I have been placed in my present position to make no speeches. This assemblage having been drawn together at the place of my residence, it appeared to be the wish of those constituting this vast assembly to see me; and it is certainly my wish to see all of you. I appear upon the ground here at this time only for the purpose of affording myself the best opportunity of seeing you, and enabling you to see me.

I confess with gratitude, be it understood, that I did not suppose my appearance among you would create the tumult which I now witness. I am profoundly grateful for this manifestation of your feelings. I am grateful, because it is a tribute such as can be paid to no man as a man; it is the evidence that four years from this time you will give a like manifestation to the next man who is the representative of the truth on the questions that now agitate the public; and it is because you will then fight for this cause as you do now, or with even greater ardor than now, though I be dead and gone, that I most profoundly and sincerely thank you.

Having said this much, allow me now to say that it is my wish that you will hear this public discussion by others of our friends who are present for the purpose of addressing you, and that you will kindly let me be silent.

SPRINGFIELD, ILLINOIS, August 14., 1860.

Dear Sir: Yours of the 10th is received, and for which I thank you. I would cheerfully answer your questions in regard to the fugitive-slave law were it not that I consider it would be both imprudent and contrary to the reasonable expectation of my friends for me to write or speak anything upon doctrinal points now. Besides this, my published speeches contain nearly all I could willingly say. Justice and fairness to all, is the utmost I have said, or will say.                                     Yours truly,



My dear Sir: It appears to me that you and I ought to be acquainted, and accordingly I write this as a sort of introduction of myself to you. You first entered the Senate during the single term I was a member of the House of Representatives, but I have no recollection that we were introduced. I shall be pleased to receive a line from you.

The prospect of Republican success now appears very flattering, so far as I can perceive. Do you see anything to the contrary?

Yours truly,

A. Lincoln


My dear Doctor: Your very agreeable letter of May 25th was received three days ago. We are just now receiving the first sprinkling of your Oregon election returns—not enough, I think, to indicate the result. We should be too happy if both Logan and Baker should triumph.

Long before this you have learned who was nominated at Chicago. We know not what a day may bring forth, but to-day it looks as if the Chicago ticket will be elected. I think the chances were more than equal that we could have beaten the Democracy united. Divided as it is, its chance appears indeed very slim. But great is Democracy in resources; and it may yet give its fortunes a turn. It is under great temptation to do something; but what can it do which was not thought of, and found impracticable, at Charleston and Baltimore? The signs now are that Douglas and Breckinridge will each have a ticket in every State. They are driven to this to keep up their bombastic claims of nationality, and to avoid the charge of sectionalism which they have so much lavished upon us.

It is an amusing fact, after all Douglas has said about nationality and sectionalism, that I had more votes from the southern section at Chicago than he had at Baltimore. In fact, there was more of the southern section represented at Chicago than in the Douglas rump concern at Baltimore!

Our boy, in his tenth year (the baby when you left), has just had a hard and tedious spell of scarlet fever, and he is not yet beyond all danger. I have a headache and a sore throat upon me now, inducing me to suspect that I have an inferior type of the same thing.

Our eldest boy, Bob, has been away from us nearly a year at school, and will enter Harvard University this month. He promises very well, considering we never controlled him much.

Write again when you receive this. Mary joins in sending our kindest regards to Mrs. H., yourself, and all the family. Your friend as ever,


(Especially confidential.)


My dear Sir: Your very kind letter of the 15th is received. Messrs. Follet, Foster & Co.’s Life of me is not by my authority; and I have scarcely been so much astounded by anything, as their public announcement that it is authorized by me. They have fallen into some strange misunderstanding. I certainly knew they contemplated publishing a biography, and I certainly did not object to their doing so, upon their own responsibility. I even took pains to facilitate them. But, at the same time, I made myself tiresome, if not hoarse, with repeating to Mr. Howard, their only agent seen by me, my protest that I authorized nothing—would be responsible for nothing. How they could so misunderstand me, passes comprehension. As a matter, wholly my own, I would authorize no biography, without time and opportunity to carefully examine and consider every word of it; and, in this case, in the nature of things, I can have no such time and opportunity. But, in my present position, when, by the lessons of the past, and the united voice of all discreet friends, I can neither write nor speak a word for the public, how dare I to send forth, by my authority, a volume of hundreds of pages, for adversaries to make points upon without end? Were I to do so, the Convention would have a right to re-assemble, and substitute another name for mine.

For these reasons, I would not look at the proof sheets. I am determined to maintain the position of truly saying I never saw the proof sheets, or any part of their work, before its publication.

Now, do not mistake me. I feel great kindness for Messrs. F., F. & Co.—do not think they have intentionally done wrong. There may be nothing wrong in their proposed book. I sincerely hope there will not. I barely suggest that you, or any of the friends there, on the party account, look it over, and exclude what you may think would embarrass the party, bearing in mind, at all times, that I authorize nothing—will be responsible for nothing.

Your friend as ever,                                        A. LINCOLN.