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Letter to Alexander H. Stephens

(For your own eye only.)
SPRINGFIELD, ILLINOIS, December 22, 1860.

My dear Sir: Your obliging answer to my short note is just received, and for which please accept my thanks. I fully appreciate the present peril the country is in, and the weight of responsibility on me. Do the people of the South really entertain fears that a Republican administration would, directly or indirectly, interfere with the slaves, or with them about the slaves? If they do, I wish to assure you, as once a friend, and still, I hope, not an enemy, that there is no cause for such fears. The South would be in no more danger in this respect than it was in the days of Washington. I suppose, however, this

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does not meet the case. You think slavery is right and ought to be extended, while we think it is wrong and ought to be restricted. That, I suppose, is the rub. It certainly is the only substantial difference between us.

Yours very truly,
A. LINCOLN.

nts

Notes

1. This letter was written two days after the South Carolina convention had unanimously declared the union existing between it and the other States dissolved. Two months later than the date of this letter the Confederate States of America framed a Provisional government with Jefferson Davis as President and Stephens as Vice-President. Stephens described the new government as "founded on the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery, subordination to the superior race his natural and normal condition."