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explanation any quotations from the "Rebecca papers;" also not to make public the terms of reconciliation, and to unite with them in defending the honorable character of the adjustment.
Gen. W., in his publication, says, "The friends of both parties agreed to withdraw the papers (temporarily) to give the friends of Mr. Lincoln an opportunity to explain." This I deny. I say the papers were withdrawn to enable Mr. Shields's friends to ask an explanation; and I appeal to the documents for proof of my position.
By looking over these documents, it will be seen that Mr. Shields had not before asked for an explanation, but had all the time been dictatorily insisting on a retraction.
Gen. Whiteside, in his communication, brings to light much of Mr. Shields's manifestations of bravery behind the scenes. I can do nothing of the kind for Mr. Lincoln. He took his stand when I first met him at Tremont, and maintained it calmly to the last, without difficulty or difference between himself and his friends.
I cannot close this article, lengthy as it is, without testifying to the honorable and gentlemanly conduct of Gen. Ewing and Dr. Hope, nor indeed can I say that I saw any thing objectionable in the course of Gen. Whiteside up to the time of his communication. This This is so replete with prevarication and misrepresentation, that I cannot accord to the General that candor which I once supposed him to possess. He complains that I did not procrastinate time according to agreement. He forgets that by his own act he cut me off from that chance in inducing me, by promise, not to communicate our secret contract to Mr. Lincoln. Moreover, I could see no consistency in wishing for an extension of time at that stage of the affair, when in the outset they were in so precipitate a hurry, that they could not wait three days for Mr. Lincoln to return from Tremont, but must hasten there, apparently with the intention of bringing the matter to a speedy issue. He complains, too, that, after inviting him to take a seat in my buggy, I never broached the subject to him on our route here. But was I, the defendant in the case, with a challenge hanging over me, to make advances, and beg a reconciliation? Absurd! Moreover, the valorous general forgets that he beguiled the tedium of the journey by recounting to me his exploits in many a well-fought battle, — dangers by "flood and field" in which I don't believe he ever participated, doubtless with a view to produce a salutary effect on my nerves, and impress me with a proper notion of his fire-eating propensities.
One more main point of his argument, and I have done. The General seems to be troubled with a convenient shortness of memory on some occasions. He does not remember that any explanations were offered at any time, unless it were a paper read when the "broadsword proposition" was tendered, when his mind was so confused by the anticipated clatter of broadswords, or something else, that he did "not know fully what it purported to be." The truth is, that by unwisely refraining from mentioning it
to his principal, he placed himself in a dilemma which he is now endeavoring to shuffle out of. By his inefficiency, and want of knowledge of those laws which govern gentlemen in matters of this kind, he has done great injustice to his principal, a gentleman who I believe is ready at all times to vindicate his honor manfully, but who has been unfortunate in the selection of his friend; and this fault he is now trying to wipe out by doing an act of still greater injustice to Mr. Lincoln.
E. H. MERRYMAN.
And so Mr. Lincoln acknowledged himself to have been the author of one of the " Lost Township Letters." Whether he was or not, was known only perhaps to Miss Todd and himself. At the time of their date, he was having secret meetings with her at Mr. Francis's house, and endeavoring to nerve himself to the duty of marrying her, with what success the letters to Speed are abundant evidence. It is probable that Mary composed them fresh from these stolen. conferences; that some of Mr. Lincoln's original conceptions and peculiarities of style unwittingly crept into them, and that here and there he altered and amended the manuscript before it went to the printer. Such a connection with a lady's productions made it obligatory upon him to defend them. But why avow one, and disavow the rest? It is more than likely that he was determined to take just enough responsibility to fight upon, provided Shields should prove incorrigible, and not enough to prevent a peaceful issue, if the injured gentleman should be inclined to accept an apology.
After his marriage, Mr. Lincoln took up his residence at the "Globe Tavern," where he had a room and boarding for man and wife for the moderate sum of four dollars per week. But, notwithstanding cheap living, he was still as poor as ever, and gave " "poverty" as one of his reasons for not paying a friendly visit which seemed to be expected of him.
At the bar and in political affairs he continued to work with as much energy as before, although his political prospects seem just now to have suffered an unexpected eclipse. In 1843, Lincoln, Hardin, and Baker were candidates for the Whig congressional nomination; but between Hardin and
Baker there was "bitter hostility," and between Baker and Lincoln "suspicion and dislike." The contest was long and fierce; but, before it was over, Lincoln reluctantly withdrew in favor of Baker. He had had a hard time of it, and had been compelled to meet accusations of a very strange character. Among other things, he was charged with being an aristocrat; with having deserted his old friends, the people, by marrying a proud woman on account of her blood and family. This hurt him keenly, and he took great pains to disprove it; but this was not all. He was called an infidel by some, a Presbyterian here, an Episcopalian there; so that by turns he incurred the hostility of all the most powerful religious societies in the district.
On the 24th of March, he wrote to Mr. Speed as follows:
Springfield, March 24, 1843.
We had a meeting of the Whigs of the county here on last Monday to appoint delegates to a district convention; and Baker beat me, and got the delegation instructed to go for him. The meeting, in spite of my attempt to decline it, appointed me one of the delegates; so that, in getting Baker the nomination, I shall be fixed a good deal like a fellow who is made a groomsman to a man that has cut him out, and is marrying his own dear "gal." About the prospects of your having a namesake at our town, can't say exactly yet.
He was now a Baker delegate, pledged to get him the nomination if he could; and yet he was far from giving up the contest in his own behalf. Only two days after the letter to Speed, he wrote to Mr. Morris :
Springfield, ILL., March 26, 1843. FRIEND MORris, Your letter of the 23d was received on yesterday morning, and for which (instead of an excuse, which you thought proper to ask) I tender you my sincere thanks. It is truly gratifying to me to learn, that, while the people of Sangamon have cast me off, my old friends of Menard, who have known me longest and best, stick to me. It would astonish, if not amuse, the older citizens (a stranger, friendless, uneducated, penniless boy, working on a flat-boat at ten dollars per month) to learn that I have been put down here as the candidate of pride, wealth, and aristocratic family distinction. Yet so, chiefly, it was. There was, too, the strangest
combination of church-influence against me. Baker is a Campbellite; and therefore, as I suppose, with few exceptions, got all that church.
My wife has some relations in the Presbyterian churches, and some with the Episcopal churches; and therefore, wherever it would tell, I was set down as either the one or the other, while it was everywhere contended that no Christian ought to go for me, because I belonged to no church, was suspected of being a deist, and had talked about fighting a duel. With all these things, Baker, of course, had nothing to do. Nor do I complain of them. As to his own church going for him, I think that was right enough; and as to the influences I have spoken of in the other, though they were very strong, it would be grossly untrue and unjust to charge that they acted upon them in a body, or were very near so. I only mean that those influences levied a tax of a considerable per cent upon my strength throughout the religious controversy. But enough of this.
You say, that, in choosing a candidate for Congress, you have an equal right with Sangamon; and in this you are undoubtedly earnest. In agreeing to withdraw if the Whigs of Sangamon should go against me, I did not mean that they alone were worth consulting, but that if she, with her heavy delegation, should be against me, it would be impossible for me to succeed; and therefore I had as well decline. And in relation to Menard having rights, permit me fully to recognize them, and to express the opinion, that, if she and Mason act circumspectly, they will in the convention be able so far to enforce their rights as to decide absolutely which one of the candidates shall be successful. Let me show the reason of this. Hardin, or some other Morgan candidate, will get Putnam, Marshall, Woodford, Tazewell, and Logan, make sixteen. Then you and Mason, having three, can give the victory to either side.
You say you shall instruct your delegates for me, unless I object. I certainly shall not object. That would be too pleasant a compliment for me to tread in the dust. And besides, if any thing should happen (which, however, is not probable) by which Baker should be thrown out of the fight, I would be at liberty to accept the nomination if I could get it. I do, however, feel myself bound not to hinder him in any way from getting the nomination. I should despise myself were I to attempt it. I think, then, it would be proper for your meeting to appoint three delegates, and to instruct them to go for some one as a first choice, some one else as a second, and perhaps some one as a third; and, if in those instructions I were named as the first choice, it would gratify me very much.
If you wish to hold the balance of power, it is important for you to attend to and secure the vote of Mason also. You should be sure to have men appointed delegates that you know you can safely confide in. If yourself and James Short were appointed for your county, all would be safe; but whether Jim's woman affair a year ago might not be in the way of his appointment is a question. I don't know whether you know it, but I know him
to be as honorable a man as there is in the world. You have my permission, and even request, to show this letter to Short; but to no one else, unless it be a very particular friend, who you know will not speak of it.
Dear SPEED, —Yours of the 9th inst. is duly received, which I do not meet as a "bore," but as a most welcome visitor. I will answer the business part of it first.
In relation to our Congress matter here, you were right in supposing I would support the nominee. Neither Baker nor I, however, is the man, but Hardin, so far as I can judge from present appearances. We shall have no split or trouble about the matter, — all will be harmony. In relation to the "coming events "about which Butler wrote you, I had not heard one word before I got your letter; but I have so much confidence in the judgment of a Butler on such a subject, that I incline to think there may be some reality in it. What day does Butler appoint? By the way, how do "events" of the same sort come on in your family? Are you possessing houses and lands, and oxen and asses, and men-servants and maid-servants, and begetting sons and daughters? We are not keeping house, but boarding at the Globe Tavern, which is very well kept now by a widow lady of the name of Beck. Our room (the same Dr. Wallace occupied there) and boarding only costs us four dollars a week. Ann Todd was married something more than a year since to a fellow by the name of Campbell, and who, Mary says, is pretty much of a “dunce,” though he has a little money and property. They live in Boonville, Mo., and have not been heard from lately enough for me to say any thing about her health. I reckon it will scarcely be in our power to visit Kentucky this year. Besides poverty and the necessity of attending to business, those "coming events," I suspect, would be somewhat in the way. I most heartily wish you and your Fanny would not fail to come. Just let us know the time, and we will have a room provided for you at our house, and all be merry together for a while. Be sure to give my respects to your mother and family: assure her, that, if I ever come near her, I will not fail to call and see her. Mary joins in sending love to your Fanny and you. Yours as ever,