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

Letters to W. H. Seward

December 8, 2010

The Complete Works of Abraham Lincoln

SPRINGFIELD, ILLINOIS, December 8, 1860.

My dear Sir: With your permission I shall at the proper time nominate you to the Senate for confirmation as Secretary of State for the United States. Please let me hear from you at your own earliest convenience.

Your friend and obedient servant,


(Private and confidential.)

SPRINGFIELD, ILLINOIS, December 8, 186o.

My dear Sir: In addition to the accompanying and more formal note inviting you to take charge of the State Department, I deem it proper to address you this. Rumors have got into the newspapers to the effect that the department named above would be tendered you as a compliment, and with the expectation that you would decline it. I beg you to be assured that I have said nothing to justify these rumors. On the contrary, it has been my purpose, from the day of the nomination at Chicago, to assign you, by your leave, this place in the administration. I have delayed so long to communicate that purpose in deference to what appeared to me a proper caution in the case. Nothing has been developed to change my view in the premises; and I now offer you the place in the hope that you will accept it, and with the belief that your position in the public eye, your integrity, ability, learning, and great experience, all combine to render it an appointment preëminently fit to be made.

One word more. In regard to the patronage sought with so much eagerness and jealousy, I have prescribed for myself the maxim, “Justice to all”; and I earnestly beseech your coöperation in keeping the maxim good.

Your friend and obedient servant,


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