Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper, November 3, 1860

The landing of the St. Mary’s Forces, under the command of W. D. Porter, at the railroad depot at Panama, to protect the property of American citizens, during the recent extensive negro insurrection, Sept. 27, 1860 – From a sketch by W.G. Overend, U.S.N.



New York Times, November 2, 1860

Correspondence of the Louisville Democrat.

LAMAR Co., Texas, Sept., 1860.

Seeing that the many Rumors and reports which were circulated through our State a few months since, as to Abolition emissaries, insurrections, etc., are being published and accredited by many of the papers in the older States, I desire, through the columns of your paper, to say to my friends in Kentucky, and to the public generally, that all such rumors are altogether unfounded. It is true, that during the exceedingly hot and dry weather of the past Summer, there were many destructive fires in the State of Texas. The town of Henderson was nearly destroyed – that of Dallas greatly damaged, and some houses burned in other towns in different parts of the State. But the origin of these fires, as far as yet ascertained, was either from the ignition of matches or some other accidental cause. I have not been able to learn of a single instance in which there was the slightest evidence that it was the work of an Abolition emissary – in fact, I don’t believe there is one in the State, though there are some characters nearly as bad.

As to the reports that poison had been found in the possession of negroes in various and sundry parts of the country, and in wells, &c., they are all false, as far as I have been able to learn. I have not met with a single man who knows of an authenticated instance. Yet these reports were published by all the papers in the State, and accredited by many, and the people in many parts were excited almost to desperation. Who originated these reports, and for what purpose, are the questions that have perplexed the good citizens of our State for some time past. Such reports are certainly calculated to injure the State, and keep away such emigrants as desire to come. Why, then, should the people of Texas circulate and give credit to them?

It is the opinion of many of our best citizens, after mature deliberation and thorough investigation of the subject, that these reports had their origin in the minds of scheming politicians, and are a part of that great plan concocted and being put in execution to “nerve the Southern arm and excite the Southern mind, preparatory to precipitating the cotton States into a revolution.” R.B.D.


Washington, November 1, 1860.

Commanding Fort Moultrie, Charleston, S.C.:

SIR: I transmit herewith a copy of a letter addressed by me to the Secretary of War, which has been approved by him, and which I submit to you for your views as to the expediency or propriety of placing arms in the hands of hired men for the purpose indicated.

Should you approve the measure I will thank you to request Military Storekeeper Humphreys to make the issue indicated in said letter, and to report the fact to this office that it may be covered by an order for supplies.

Respectfully, &c.,

Colonel of Ordnance.


October 31, 1860.

Hon. J. B. FLOYD,
Secretary of War:

SIR: There is at Fort Sumter, Charleston Harbor, now in course of construction, besides a part of its armament, a considerable quantity of  ammunition, &c., and it has been suggested by the Engineer officer in charge of the work that a few small-arms placed in the hands of his workmen for the protection of the Government property there might be a useful precaution. If the measure should, on being communicated, meet with the concurrence of the commanding officer of the troops in the harbor, I recommend that I may be authorized to issue forty muskets to the Engineer officer.

With much respect,


Colonel of Ordnance.


October 31, 1860.


Secretary of War.


Washington, D. C., November 1, 1860.

Lieut. Gen. WINFIELD SCOTT, General-in-Chief U. S. Army:

GENERAL: The Secretary of War requests that you will please give the necessary orders for the company of Second Artillery now at Fort Hamilton, N. Y., to proceed to Fayetteville, N. C., and take post at the North Carolina Arsenal.

…………I am, sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,



October 31, 1860.

Hon. J. B. FLOYD,
Secretary of War:

SIR: There is at Fort Sumter, Charleston Harbor, now in course of construction, besides a part of its armament, a considerable quantity of  ammunition, &c., and it has been suggested by the Engineer officer in charge of the work that a few small-arms placed in the hands of his workmen for the protection of the Government property there might be a useful precaution. If the measure should, on being communicated, meet with the concurrence of the commanding officer of the troops in the harbor, I recommend that I may be authorized to issue forty muskets to the Engineer officer.

With much respect,

Colonel of Ordnance.


October 31, 1860.



Secretary of War.

1 comment
No. 16
General Orders

Department of Texas,
San Antonio,
October 30th, 1860

The Colonel commanding takes pleasure in publishing to the Department a statement of the combats of the troops in Texas, which have not been previously noticed in orders, either from General or Department Head Quarters.

Many scouts and expeditions in which high soldierly qualities were evinced are not mentioned, it being the purpose to notice only those in which actual conflicts took place.

First.  On the 29th of September, 1859, Lieut. Wm. B. Hazen, 8th Infantry, with two non-commissioned officers and eight men of Company F, 8th Infantry, left Fort Inge in pursuit of a party of Indians that had carried away two negro boys, and driven off a large number of horses belonging to Mr. H. Ragsdale on the Frio.  The pursuit was commenced at tattoo on the evening of the 29th September, and, notwithstanding a heavy rainand chilling norther, was prosecuted with so much vigor that the Indians were overtaken at the head of the Nueces river, and immediately charged.  The Indians attempted to escape, but were brought to bay after a rapid chase, — one of their number killed and one wounded, — when they again took flight over a broken country, and eluded pursuit by dashing down the precipitous bank of a ravine and into a dense cedar brake.  Had not the Indians been mounted on fleet American horses, the attack would have resulted more disastrously to them.  One of the negro boys (the other had been killed by the Indians), and one hundred and thirty horses were recovered.

Excerpt from “Colonel Lee’s Report on Indian Combats in Texas,” as published in  Southwestern Historical Quarterly Online, Volume 39, July 1935, pages 22 to 31.

For the rest of the report visit Colonel Lee’s Report on Indian Combats in Texas at the Texas State Historical Association web site.


(Private and confidential.)

SPRINGFIELD, ILLINOIS, October 29, 1860.

My dear Sir: Yours of the 26th is just receieved. Your suggestion that I in a certain event shall write a letter setting forth my conservative views and intentions is certainly a very worthy one. But would it do any good? If I were to labor a month I could not express my conservative views and intentions more clearly and strongly than they are expressed in our platform and in my many speeches already in print and before the public. And yet even you, who do occasionally speak of me in terms of personal kindness, give no prominence to these oft-repeated expressions of conservative views and intentions, but busy yourself with appeals to all conservative men to vote for Douglas,—to vote any way which can possibly defeat me,—thus impressing your readers that you think I am the very worst man living. If what I have already said has failed to convince you, no repetition of it would convince you. The writing of your letter, now before me, gives assurance that you would publish such a letter from me as you suggest; but, till now, what reason had I to suppose the “Louisville Journal,” even, would publish a repetition of that which is already at its command, and which it does not press upon the public attention?

And now, my friend,—for such I esteem you personally,—do not misunderstand me. I have not decided that I will not do substantially what you suggest. I will not forbear from doing so merely on punctilio and pluck. If I do finally abstain, it will be because of apprehension that it would do harm. For the good men of the South—and I regard the majority of them as such—I have no objection to repeat seventy and seven times. But I have bad men to deal with, both North and South; men who are eager for something new upon which to base new misrepresentations; men who would like to frighten me, or at least to fix upon me the character of timidity and cowardice. They would seize upon almost any letter I could write as being an “awful coming down.” I intend keeping my eye upon these gentlemen, and to not unnecessarily put any weapons in their hands.

Yours truly,                                                                 A. LINCOLN.

[The following indorsement appears on the back:]


The within letter was written on the day of its date, and on reflection withheld till now. It expresses the views I still entertain.



City of New York.
Astor House, Oct 28, 1860

Dear Sir:

John D. DefreesI am here on business, but shall be at home in a few days.

Inclosed I send you a letter written by me and the comments upon it by the Herald of this city. In its endeavor to make something out of it the Herald assigns to me the position of a “confidential friend” to you.– There is nothing in the letter intimating that such a relation exists between us, and, certainly, no act or word of mine, on any occasion, could give rise to such an impression. I write you this for fear that you might, possibly, think I had said or done something to create such an impression, trusting believing, at the same time, that your acquaintance with me is sufficient to answer you that I could not stoop to an such an act.

The letter itself is but a plain statement of the “Republican Gospel” as I understand it; and, I think it will meet the approval of the Bishops of our Church everywhere!

You notice that Cobb1 and others have been here to try to create a panic among the money capitalists so as to affect the election in this State! It will give us strength instead of weakness. Our majority in this State will be over 80.000! In Pennsylvania it will be over 50.000! Our State will be over 20.000. In short we will have all the free States except possibly California.

I saw Wigfall,2 Senator from Texas, yesterday. He said that S. Carolina, Alabama & Mississippi would be out of the Union in less than 30 days! He is as rabid as a lunatic. They will cool off before the 4th of March next.

Yours truly,

Jno. D. Defrees


¹ Howell Cobb, a prominent Georgia politician, was a member of the U.S. House of Representaives (1845-51, 1855-57), governor of his state (1853-55) and Secretary of the Treasury in James Buchanan’s cabinet (1857-60). Though he favored sectional compromise and the preservation of the Union during the 1850s, Cobb became an advocate of secession after Lincoln’s election and resigned from his cabinet post a few days after issuing a public letter in which he urged secession. Cobb helped organize the Confederate government and served in the Confederate army, where he rose to the rank of major general.

² Louis Wigfall had been an advocate of secession since 1844 and moved from his native South Carolina to Texas in 1848. Wigfall was active in state politics and elected to the U.S. Senate in 1859, where he advocated a federal slave code for the territories and supported Breckinridge in the 1860 presidential campaign. During the Civil War, Wigfall attained the rank of brigadier general in the Confederate army and served in the Confederate Senate.


WAR DEPARTMENT, October 27, 1860.

Hon. ARCHIBALD MCLEAN, Mayor, Fayetteville, N.C.

SIR: I have received your communication of the 25th instant at the hands of Mr. Fuller, and at once reply by saying that the guard you desire shall be furnished as soon as it can be done. There may be delay in meeting your wishes in consequence of the difficulty of finding troops that are available at once.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant

Secretary of War.


(Private and confidential.)

SPRINGFIELD, ILLINOIS, October 26, 1860.

My dear Sir: Your very kind letter of the 10th was duly received, for which please accept my thanks. I have another letter, from a writer unknown to me, saying the officers of the army at Fort Kearny have determined, in case of Republican success at the approaching presidential election, to take themselves, and the arms at that point, South, for the purpose of resistance to the government. While I think there are many chances to one that this is a humbug, it occurs to me that any real movement of this sort in the army would leak out and become known to you. In such case, if it would not be unprofessional or dishonorable (of which you are to be judge), I shall be much obliged if you will apprise me of it.                                  Yours very truly,



October 25,   1860.

Hon. J. B. Floyd, Secretary of War

SIR : In accordance with their wishes I indorse the request submitted to me by a number of our most respectable citizens, setting forth their reasons for asking that troops may be put in charge of the United States Arsenal at this place. Concurring generally in the view that wherever there is a large depository of arms and munition there should be adequate force for their protection, I respectfully submit the petition for your consideration. I may mention that the subject has been presented to the worthy officer in command, and I beg to refer you to the inclosed copies of the correspondence between us.
Hoping the subject may command your early attention,

……… I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,



Conditions of Affairs at the Navy-Yards.

Matters at the different Navy-Yards, notwithstanding the number of vessels ordered for sea, are comparatively dull. This arises from the small appropriations made by Congress for purely yard work. At New-York, (the sum granted for which was $20,000,) there is hardly anything doing except on ships. The launching-ways are receiving a few finishing touches, a sewer is being sunk, and a small shot-rack is building behind the marine barracks. The Vandalia occupies a large gang, and so does the Wabash, which is still in dock. The Roanoke, North Carolina, Perry, Brandywine and Potomac are in statu quo.

At Boston the Mississippi is in hands, and will be reported ready for further orders in a few weeks. The Colorado is in a state of thorough readiness for sea-going preparations; the Minnesota is nearly in the same state; the Franklin takes up her old quarters, waiting the “conversion” process, and the Ohio and Virginia remain as they have been for years. There is little other than ship work going on at the premises. The Boston appropriation was $15,000.

Philadelphia is not remarkably dull, owing to the variety of things to be done for the corvettes Jamestown and Saratoga. There are about 400 men employed in the Yard, and the disbursements for labor do not probably exceed $30,000 monthly. The St. Lawrence frigate, flagship of the Brazil squadron in 1857-8-9; and the steamer Princeton, are the other craft in the stream. Philadelphia got $15,000 also for the year’s yard expenses.

At Norfolk, since the departure of the Richmond, the Pensacola and Germantown afford work for a fair force. The Merrimack steamer, line-of-battle-ships Columbus, New-York, (not launched,) Pennsylvania, Delaware, frigates Raritan and Columbia are in ordinary. The Norfolk yard has $69,000 to dispose of in the twelve months ending next July.

At Portsmouth there is little doing, and little funds to do it with. The corvette Cumberland is in commission, and will leave for New-York in a few days. The Santee is on the stocks. $10,000 was considered a sufficient sum for Portsmouth. The sloops Macedonian and Marion, recently returned from sea, are in the river.

At Washington the machinery of the Pensacola is the chief business going on. The removal of the Naval Monument occupied the hands of the Yard for a short time recently. The $17,000 given for work at the Washington Station would seem too liberal.

The laborers at Pensacola are mostly idle. The Fulton is the only vessel likely to give them anything to do, $10,000 were laid aside for this Yard. At Sackett’s Harbor and Mare Island nothing of interest is going on.

The Washington correspondent of an “enterprising” cotemporary says that our account of the doings of the Naval Board, showing that almost without exception none but line-of-battle ships would be recommended for conversion into steamers, was unfounded. When the official report appears “Jenkins” will find that he is mistaken.


Washington, October 24, 1860.

Hon. John B. Floyd,

Secretary of War:

Sir : Being about to furnish the President with some statistics in reference to the unprecedented drought which has afflicted Kansas Territory for more than fourteen months, I have to request that you will favor me with replies to the following queries, viz:

1st. What amount of rain has fallen in that Territory during the last fourteen months?

2d. What has been the state of the atmosphere ?

Together with such comments as you may deem proper to submit as to the causes of the existing famine in said Territory.

I have the honor to be, sir, very respectfully,



Letter To J. C. Lee


Springfield, Illinois, October 24, 1860.

Dear Sir: Yours of the 14th was received some days ago, and should have been answered sooner.

I never gave fifty dollars, nor one dollar, nor one cent, for the object you mention, or any such object.

I once subscribed twenty-five dollars, to be paid whenever Judge Logan would decide it was necessary to enable the people of Kansas to defend themselves against any force coming against them from without the Territory, and not by authority of the United States. Logan never made the decision, and I never paid a dollar on the subscription. The whole of this can be seen in the files of the “Illinois Journal,” since the first of June last.

Yours truly,

A. Lincoln



SPRINGFIELD, ILLINOIS, October 23, 1860.

My dear Sir: Yours of the 13th was duly received. I appreciate your motive when you suggest the propriety of my writing for the public something disclaiming all intention to interfere with slaves or slavery in the States; but in my judgment it would do no good. I have already done this many, many times; and it is in print, and open to all who will read. Those who will not read or heed what I have already publicly said would not read or heed a repetition of it. “If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rose from the dead.”

Yours truly,


Update note:  This Abraham Lincoln letter was also posted today on The American Civil War blog at

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FAYETTEVILLE, N. C., October 23, 1860.

A. MCLEAN, Esq., Mayor

SIR : We, the undersigned, having appended our names to a request to you as mayor of our town, to make application to the War Department at Washington for a company of United States soldiers to act as a guard to the U. S. Arsenal located at this place, and having seen the correspondence that took place between Capt. J. A. J. Bradford, the highly worthy officer in command there, and yourself in relation to the matter, we wish most respectfully to add in this paper some of the reasons moving us in the course we have pursued. Captain Bradford mentions in his note to you that the petitioners do not state to him that the works are menaced from any quarter, and further, that beyond that he has never heard of any. We grant all that. We know of no open attack that is meditated upon the arsenal. If we did, we, as citizens of Fayetteville and North Carolina, would know how to meet it. The raid at Harper’s Ferry, and all subsequent events in the South, teach us that all mischief comes (and is to be especially dreaded on that account) without menace. If any attempt is made on lives and property, it will not be made with light of day and with a warning beforehand, but at the dead hour of night, when all are unsuspecting. And when we look about to know what means the assassin has at hand to enable him to carry out his dreadful designs, we find them stored up in immense quantities at our very doors, in the shape of United States muskets. swords, pistols, &c., with, as we are informed, large quantities of powder, with one single man standing as guard. We think our request not an unreasonable one, when we place it purely on the assumption that you place it—where there are arms there should be a guard to protect them, without any reference whatever to any peculiar state of affairs. It is hardly necessary to say in the close that these views of things grow out of the events most especially that had taken place within a year all over the South, and that all these unfortunate untoward events have come at all times without a menace.

Entertaining these views, we respectfully request that you make application to the War Department for a company of soldiers as before suggested.

………..Very respectfully, yours,

W. G. MATTHEWS et al.


Daily Advocate, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, October 22, 1860

We are glad to see the people of our State everywhere preparing for the crisis which is at hand. As an offset to the “Wide-Awakes” of the North, “Minute Men” are organizing in all the principal districts of South Carolina. Their object is to form an armed body of men, and to join in with our fellow citizens, now forming in this and our sister States as “Minute Men,” whose duty is to arm, equip and drill, and be ready for any emergency that may arise in the present perilous position of the Southern States. In Kershaw, Abbeville and Richland Districts the organization is already complete and powerful, embracing the flower of the youth, and led on by the most influential citizens. The badge adopted is a blue rosette, two and a half inches in diameter, with a military button in the centre, to be worn upon the side of the hat. Let the important work go bravely on, and let every son of Carolina prepare to mount the blue cockade.

Update note: This article was also published by Seven Score and Ten today. Seven Score and Ten is another blog taking a sesquicentennial journey through the civil war.  While there may be a few identical postings, as time progresses and the nation moves closer to and into actual conflict, this will become less common as more material from 150 years ago becomes available to publish.


Fayetteville, October 22, 1860.

ARCHIBALD MCLEAN,  Esq., Mayor of the Town of Fayetteville:

SIR: I have the honor to acknowledge your communication, dated the 20th instant, accompanying a request from many citizens of the town that a company of troops might be ordered to this post to guard the public property in deposit here. Neither in the paper of request nor in your communication is there intimation of any menace against my post, nor have I intimation of any. I can see no necessity, therefore, for the presence of troops here at this time.

…….With much respect, I am, sir, your obedient servant,

Captain, Commanding.


JACKSON, TENN., SUNDAY, October 21, 1860.

DEAR BROTHER—You may be surprised to learn that I am in Tennessee, but you have possibly heard already that I had gone to Illinois. I got Judge Wright and Bob Sims both to fill my place in Murray, and started from Atlanta to Centralia last Friday morning. It had rained nearly all the night before, and continued to rain until we got to Chattanooga. Within a half mile of the depot, at Chattanooga, our engine ran off the track. We would have lost the connection but for the Memphis train waiting for us. They had, however, already waited so long that they could not wait for us to get supper; and as I was quite hungry, and didn’t relish the prospect of riding all night without eating, and as I furthermore didn’t like to pass through the region of land-slides and impending rocks in such a wet and dark time, I staid all night in Chattanooga. Yesterday morning, I started again and got to the “Grand Junction” last night about 10 o’clock. There I had to stay all night for a train. This morning, the train came and I took it at 8 o’clock, and arrived here about 11. This place is forty-eight miles from the Grand Junction. It is now about 3½ o’clock in the afternoon. I am to leave here at 9:45 tonight, and, with good luck, shall reach Centralia at 9½ in the morning, in time for the grand gathering there to-morrow. You will readily conjecture that my present detention at this place is owing to its being Sunday. You will readily imagine that it has been a weary, heavy day to me.

I am an utter stranger here, in face and in name. The landlord at the Junction evidently knew me from reputation, but this one does not. I am all alone here; but I am wearing through the day better than you would imagine.

I think Douglas is strong in this part of Tennessee, but I have no doubt but that Bell will carry the State. Douglas is to speak at this place on Tuesday.

And now for the reason of this unexpected trip on my part: When I got to Atlanta, Dr. Hambleton showed me a dispatch, which he had just got from Mr. Douglas, inquiring when you would meet him in Illinois, and Hambleton told me that it was published in the papers that you were going to Illinois. Hambleton was afraid that the “when” in Douglas’ dispatch implied that he expected you with certainty at sometime, and he might wait for you, and so give up his Georgia appointments. The truth is, he seemed very uneasy, lest Douglas might not go to Georgia at all, unless you or I should meet him, as Hambleton had promised him one of us would do. He did not acknowledge to me in terms that he had made such a promise, but I became perfectly satisfied that he made some such promise. The only doubt I have is as to what the exact promise was. I think it was that you would meet Mr. Douglas; but it is possible that it was in the alternative—you or I. At all events, he begged me to come and I came. When I got to Atlanta, I found that Ben Hill had spoken to a very large crowd there the night before, and had got resolutions passed for a fusion of all parties in Georgia, so as to run a ticket which should be pledged to neither of the candidates, but pledged only to vote for that one who would have the best chance to beat Lincoln when the vote should be cast. The Douglas men and Bell men were all for it, and a number of the Breckinridge men also. I am inclined to think that if it is well managed, it may be a strong, wise and successful movement. I am afraid that it may be distasteful to Douglas men in some parts of the State, because it is inaugurated by Bell men; but I hope not I find that there is great apprehension in the public mind from the prospect of Lincoln’s election. The almost universal expectation seems to be that Carolina will secede; that the General Government will try to force her back, and that the whole South will make common cause with her. I say this seems to be the expectation, and it also seems to be the sentiment, of the people—Douglas men, Bell men and all. I really look upon that as the probable result. I do not know whether I shall speak to-morrow or not. I certainly shall not do so unless I am satisfied that Mr. Douglas really desires it. I feel, however, that, if circumstances should be favorable, I could give the Illinois men a talk which may do them good. My sheet is out. I have no envelope. Good-bye. You will not hear from me again until you see me in Atlanta. May God preserve us all!

Linton Stephens to his brother, from Biographical sketch of Linton Stephens (Late Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of Georgia), published 1877


OCTOBER 20, 1860

J. A. J. BRADFORD, Captain, U. S. Army,

……….Commanding U.S. Arsenal at Fayetteville, N. C.:

DEAR SIR: I inclose a copy of a paper presented to me this morning asking that application be made for a company of United States soldiers to be in charge at the arsenal under your command. The high standing in point of respectability and influence of the parties whose names appear to the paper entitles it to every respect, and induces me to submit the subject to your consideration.

In submitting the application I beg to call your attention to an excited state of feeling in the community, originating, as is alleged, in a sense of insecurity because of the large amount of arms and munition at your post, without adequate force for their protection. This fact strongly suggests that something should be done to allay apprehensions certainly existing, whether with or without sufficient cause. I suppose it is the expectation of the applicants that I communicate directly with the Department at Washington on the subject. I deemed it proper, and certainly rcspectful, to submit the request to you as the officer in command at the post referred to, for the reason that the Department would most likely consult your judgment as to the necessity of the force asked for, and for the further reason that by so doing it would be most likely to insure a more speedy reply to the application.

Hoping I may be enabled through you to give a satisfactory reply to the applicants as early as the nature of the business will allow,

………. I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,



FAYETTEVILLE, October 20, 1860.

ARCHIBALD. MCLEAN, Esq., Mayor of the Town of Fayetteville:

SIR: The undersigned deem it important that there should be a company of United States soldiers in charge of the United States Arsenal at this place, and desire that you make the necessary application for them as soon as practicable.

S. J. HINSDALE et al.



Letter to Miss Grace Bedell


SPRINGFIELD, ILLINOIS, October 19, 186o.

My dear little Miss: Your very agreeable letter of the 15th is received. I regret the necessity of saying I have no daughter. I have three sons—one seventeen, one nine, and one seven years of age. They, with their mother, constitute my whole family. As to the whiskers, having never worn any, do you not think people would call it a piece of silly affectation if I were to begin it now?

Your very sincere well-wisher,



Copy of letter advising Lincoln how to handle sectional crisis

Washington 18th Oct 1860

My dear Sir

I address you on what I consider a very important subject — and beg your careful attention, even at the expense of a little time and trouble in decyphering my hieroglyphics.

There is no shadow of a doubt but the Union is in a critical a very critical situation, owing to the excitement of general disunion feeling at the South, and particularly in South Carolina & Georgia where the disunionist are completely in full power, having the whole State government in their possession, & perfectly able and willing to precipitate matters by overt acts from which they will not indeed could not undo & which they will carry into effect in case Mr Lincoln is elected & which can only be prevented by some change in public opinion there & by showing to the people the utter absurdity, and injurious effects of such a proceeding

Mr Lincoln was nominated as a conservative man & because he was conservative, & Mr Seward was thrown overboard because he was too ultra Mr L is a perfectly safe man for the South & so they would find him if they would only remain quiet under him, & in three months he would be highly popular at the South. But even were it otherwise how ridiculous would are these pretended fears when it is recollected that the Senate will be in opposition, that the House is already anti-republican, under the recent State elections & will be more so from the elections yet to take place, which will probably give an anti-republican majority, — in the House, of from 20 to 30 The Supreme Court is in opposition to any anti-slavery movement — all the officers at the South — Marshalls — District Attornies, Collectors Post-masters &c will be southern men, & on the top of all, even if Mr Lincoln is elected, he will be chosen against the votes of 2 two thirds of the people of the United States — for two-fifths of the votes are of the South — all of which are against him &, of the three fifths in the free States, one half, or nearly so, are in opposition to him; but by our system of choosing by electoral colleges, with only one third of the votes in of the whole Union in his favor, he will still be elected, as in the case of Mr Fillmore who received 900,000 votes, & yet only had eight electoral votes

Now, even admitting Mr Lincoln was ultra in his slavery views, what harm could he do to the South, under the above state of the case, as he would be in irons & double irons, with the Legislature & Judiciary branches of & two-thirds of the entire population dead opposed to him, & checking every movement. If he was a Garrison or a Wendell Phillips, he could not do any harm, and it is therefore doubly absurd, when Mr L instead of being an ultra is highly conservative & would be a perfectly safe man for the South, even if he had both Houses of Congress and a majority of the whole people in his favor & support– The fact, however, is patent and cannot be denied, that a disunion movement is intended & will be essayed and it will require the utmost discretion & judgment on the part of Mr L in its management & suppression — for a false step on his part, or the shedding of one drop of blood & the whole South would be in flames & beyond all control

With this long preamble, let me now come to the gist of my letter, which is that you will make it a point, to visit Mr Lincoln in person, & without delay & urge upon him the necessity, the moment he ascertains that he is elected, which will be in 48 hours after the day of election, to issue an address to his Southern fellow-citizens, stating his intended course in conducting public affairs — & putting his conservative views in the strongest posible light, disavowing the ultra sentiments which some of his stump speakers & Republican Journals have put forward all of which are being constantly reproduced at the South, & announcing, as he has on former occasions done, that he will enforce the fugitive slave law, — is opposed to the abolition of slavery in the District of Columbia — is not opposed to the sale & migration of slaves between the States — nor to the admission of more States with slavery in their constitutions — that he will, particularly in his Cabinet, give a full share of the appointments to the South & all of them, in Southern States, to Southern men, & put everything as regards slavery on a footing that will be — at least ought to be, satisfactory to the South — which I am convinced he is willing to do, & intends to do.

Now, my dear Sir, you cannot render a more valuable service to your Country, than by taking this matter in hand promptly & zealously, & going at once to Mr L, & urging it on him to prepare the address at once & in proper language. I neither know Mr L nor he me, & probably he has never heard my name. It would be useless therefore for me to address him, but he [armed?] that danger is imminent, & I hear & see more & from various quarters here than you possibly can. I know there is a good deal of the brag game in it at the South but there is also quite too much of the reality. It is beginning to be realized in our large cities, for in New York & Philadelphia it has already paralized real estate, of which no sales can be made, & here it is still worse, where the value of real estate is actually affected 25 to 33 per cent This Union once dissolved by the permanent secession of even one State could no more ever again be re-united — than could a glass vase which had been dashed to pieces on a stone pavement. To the South, a dissolution would be the knell of slavery; but you cannot persuade them to that. But I understand it is already affecting the value of slaves there, & if they only once realize that, it will do more to suppress disunion than the most labored arguments

The enclosed slip gives you a true view of the state of feeling at the South. I have seen similar letters & talked with cool Union loving men from that quarter, all using the same language & expressing their great regret at the state of feeling existing there

All, to whom I have suggested the plan of an address from Mr Lincoln, highly approve of it. It would greatly strengthen the hands of the Union men at the South, & would tend to check any precipitate movement — would calm the timid men there, who think Mr Lincoln intends to liberate all their slaves — & be a check & a curb on the reckless & fool-hardy.

I was recently in New York where I found the moderate & leading Republicans censuring Mr Seward for the ultra speeches he has recently been making, & in reply to my question to one of his personal friends & a very distinguished politician of the Republican party — what was Mr Seward’s motive, he promptly replied “to embarrass & injure Lincoln” — & expressed his high dissatisfaction at Mr Seward’s course. He has done great mischief at the South by those speeches & I have no doubt his friend truly appreciated his motive–

I am pleased to see that you have again consented to run & have been successful

Very truly

(signed) Wm L Hodge


Cleveland O. Oct. 17, 1860

Honble Abraham Lincoln


Dr. Sir

I send you the Cleveland Leader of Sep. 28 1859 containing a letter over my signature addressed to S. A Douglas and Judge Ranney, the latter of whom of this city was the Dem. candidate for our Governorship last fall. I considered their quotations made in public speeches from the Constitution that it and the laws passed in pursuance thereof by Congress shall be the Supreme law of the land, in the application of both the Constitution and the act of Congress, relative to the ordinance of 1787. The proprietor and Editor of the Cleveland Plain Dealer a warm advocate of Douglas remarked to a friend of mine soon after reading this letter that Douglas was “demolished.”

I have taken a deep interest in the Ordinance and last winter prepared a lengthy memorial of myself to our Legislature to get laws passed in accordance with that great instrument. In that memorial of 35 pages I recited chronologically and numerically the acts of Congress from 1789 to 1859, thirty five instances, approved by the several administrations, where the ordinance is quoted in organising new Territories, and passing enabling acts and admission of new States. I urged to have the Petition printed that the historical facts touching the ordinance and the Acts of Congress might have wider dissemination, but the committee reported adverse to printing. I recited from the Dred Scott decision some passages of Taney’s opinion fully endorsing the obligations of the ordinance, and in which he recited from the Constitution that “all debts, contracts, and engagements entered into before the adoption of this Constitution shall be as valid” &c I quoted also from Justice Catron in the same decision as to the binding ” engagement” of the Ordinance unter the 6th Art. of the Constitution and the act of Congress Augt. 7. 1789.–

In my investigations I found that the Ordinance by virtue of Acts of Congress is as binding in Dacotah as it ever was here — and this by an unbroken chain of title. In the act annexing to Michigan Territory the country west of the Mississippi embracing Iowa, Minnesota and Dacotah, the remainder of Minnesota Territory, the same rights and laws are granted and imposed as had always prevailed from the beginning in the N. W. Territory. This fact was entirely new to our ablest jurists and leading republicans. When early last session a bill originated in the Senate to organise the Ty. of Dacotah I related these things to some members in my communications in which I suggested to have inserted in the bill the same rights and laws to continue in Dacotah as had prevailed there at the erection of of the State of Minnesota — then would we still continue the force of the ordinance there. Douglas evaded any recitations from the Ordinance in the act admitting Minnesota — yet the chain of title is perfect as to Dacotah. But congressional action as to Territories was blocked–

There is another point of great force to my mind which this investigation developed and that was, that Dred Scott should have been declared free by the operation of the Ordinance at Ft. Snelling under several Acts of Congress. This was a point not raised by counsel and not referred to by the court save a short sentence of Justice Curtis in the last paragraph but two of his opinion. The U. S. Supreme Court say that the Supreme Court of Missouri was not bound in comity to regard slave prohibition of Illinois constitution and so Dred’s residence at Rock Island availed nothing — but at Ft. Snelling he was in a Territory of the U. S. where by act of Congress slavery was prohibited — as above detailed, independent of the restrictions in the Louisiana Purchase–

Do I presume too much in presenting these matters to your discriminating mind?

Things are becoming more hopeful– The Republicans in unison with a Wide Awake demonstration here last night were very enthusiastic in a time of rejoicing, speeches, bonfires and illuminations.

May a kind Providence long spare your life.

With great respect

Yr Ob Svt

A. Penfield

P. S. I send also a copy of the Cleveland Herald of Oct. 4th containing “Wm. H. Seward’s tour in the old N. W. Territory”. You see I am full of the ordinance, and I am pleased to observe that the Republican Central Committee of Ohio in their late congratulatory address refer to the ordinance.

A. P.


Washington D.C.

Octr. 16, 1860

To James Buchanan

President of the U.S.A. Sir:

Having just returned from the Territory of Kansas, where I have been an eyewitness to the deplorable and starving condition of that scorched and famine stricken land, I come to implore of the Executive as an act of clemency in behalf of its suffering inhabitants, that all Government lands now offered for sale in that Territory may be witheld from market, and more especially those lands embraced in (proclamation No 669) what is known as the New York Indian Reserve.

You need be informed Sir, of but half the desolations and heart rending scenes I have witnessed among that heroic & industrious but unfortunate people to arouse your utmost sympathies.

Thousands of once thrifty and prosperous American Citizens are now perishing of want. winter is upon them. of clothing they are nearly bereft. food they have not to last them through the cold season that is approaching. of over a hundred thousand people upon Kansas soil six months ago, at last one quarter or a third have left. of the remainder it is safe to say that 40,000 at this moment see nothing but exodus or starvation at the end of the sixty days now just before them. from 10 to 20 thousand look with only despairing eyes upon November. thousands cannot subsist a month longer unaided. other thousands are living upon the little which their neighbors deprive themselves of to give to them; neighbors equally unfortunate, and with whom the starvation is merely a question of but a few days longer. while still other thousands if not at once relieved must perish from hunger or the diseases that follow in its train. Some have already died. others are daily dying.

While the hours grow darker and the days wax longer for the living to whom relief comes not, and whose eyes are aching with watchings for the succor that delays.

In confirmation of these frightful statements I refer your Excellency to the accompanying extracts from my diary while in Kansas recently, and from numerous letters sent to me from various districts of the famine land.

Had the blood of this poor people in 1860 been as valuable for coinage into votes as it was in 1856 your Department would have long since been made aware of their miseries, and it would not have remained for the discharge of a mere mechanical duty to have brought to your notice the sickening fact that the more discharge of the duty was in its terrible workings a practical cruelty, such as no Despotism on Earth would intentionally be guilty of, and such as being once brought to the notice of your Department it cannot but rejoice to have escaped committing.

Commending these facts to your careful consideration, I have the honor Sir, to subscribe myself

Very Respectfully Yours

Thaddeus Hyatt


Westfield, Chatauqua Co. NY
Oct 15, 1860

Hon. A. B. Lincoln

Dear Sir,


My father has just home from the fair and brought home your picture and Mr. Hamlin’s.  I am a little girl only eleven years old, but want you should be President of the United States very much so I hope you won’t think me very bold to write to such a great man as you are.  Have you any little girls about as large as I am if so give them my love and tell her to write me if you cannot answer this letter.  I have got 4 brothers and part of them will vote for you anyway and if you will let your whiskers grow I will try and get the rest of them to vote for you you would look a great deal better for your face is so thin.  All the ladies like whiskers and they would tease their husbands to vote for you and then you would be President.  My father is a going to vote for you and if I was a man I would vote for you to but I will try and get everyone to vote for you that I can.  I think that rail fence around your picture looks very pretty.  I have got a little baby sister she is nine weeks old and just as cunning as can be.  When you direct your letter direct to Grace Bedell Westfield, Chatauqua County, New York.  I must not write any more answer this letter right off


Good bye


Grace Bedell


Abraham Lincoln Letters and Documents at the Detroit Public Library

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