163. Robert Boal to William H. Herndon.

Peoria March 5th 1866

Dear Sir

Hon E. N. Powell of this City Called on me a few days since and requested me to Communicate to you, all the facts within My Knowledge, with regard to the discussions between Mr Lincoln and Judge Douglas in 1854.

I then resided at Lacon in Marshall County, — Mr Douglas had an appointment to speak there and Mr Lincoln's friends having heard that he was to meet the Judge at Peoria the day previous, were anxious that he should also meet him at Lacon — accordingly Silas Ramsey Esqr and myself came to Peoria to see Mr Lincoln and obtain his Consent to Meet Judge Douglas, the following day — He agreed to accompany us to Lacon — Mr Lincoln Mr Ramsay and Myself, went up in a Carriage, while Judge Douglas went by way of the River —

When we arrived at Lacon, we found Judge D, already there, and a large portion of the people of the County assembled to hear him and Mr Lincoln — The Circuit Court then in Session adjourned for the same purpose — Soon after our Arrival, Mr Lincoln saw Judge Douglas — who informed him that he was very hoarse and felt unable to speak — Mr Lincoln then informed his friends that he would not take advantage of the Judge's indisposition, and would not address the people. His friends insisted upon a speech, but he refused to yield to their solicitations, and with his accumstomed magnanimity declared that it would be unfair and ungenerous in him to present his views to the people, unless Judge Douglas was able to reply — Consequently no discussion took place at Lacon. Mr Lincoln left that evening for Bloomington — On the following morning, Judge Douglas started with a gentleman in a Buggy, and went to Princeton, where he made a speech, to which either Mr. (now Chief Justice) Chase or Mr Lovejoy replied —

No agreement to my knowledge was ever entered into between Mr Lincoln and Judge Douglas with respect to any other discussion, than the one at Lacon — It is true, they did not meet afterwards in Public debate during that Canvass, but it was owing to the near approach of the election more than to any formal agreement to abandon the discussion of the Nebraska bill and its Kindred issues, I conversed freely with Mr Lincoln during our ride from Peoria to Lacon and subsequently, and I do not remember to have heard him allude to any agreement with Judge Douglas on that point — Had any such been made at that time I think I should have Known it —

It may not be improper to state that Judge Douglas was not aware that Mr Lincoln was to meet him at Lacon untill he was informed of the fact by a gentleman of Peoria (Hon E N. Powell) who was on the boat with him on the trip from Peoria to Lacon — Judge Douglas did not then allude to any agreement between Mr Lincoln and himself, to abandon the Canvass when he heard that Mr Lincoln


would meet him at Lacon — Had it existed, he Certainly would have spoken of it to Judge Powell —

Yours truly
Robert Boal

Library of Congress: Herndon-Weik Collection. Manuscript Division. Library of Congress. Washington, D.C.2513 — 14; Huntington Library: LN2408, 2:321 — 23



1. See Angle. For other testimony relating to the "Peoria Truce," see the index.