Lyman Trumbull to Abraham Lincoln, January 3, 1858

    Source citation
    Lyman Trumbull to Abraham Lincoln, January 3, 1858, Washington, DC, Abraham Lincoln Papers at the Library of Congress,
    Date Certainty
    Transcribed by the Lincoln Studies Center, Knox College, Galesburg, IL
    Adapted by Don Sailer, Dickinson College
    The following transcript has been adapted from the Abraham Lincoln Papers at the Library of Congress.
    Washington, Jany. 3-- 1858.

    My Dear Sir,

    I am just in receipt of yours from Bloomington-- I have seen the difficulty which the laudation of Douglas by Republicans was likely to occasion us in Ills & have remonstrated with some of our friends about it; but his course was so unexpected to many & was looked upon as such a God send that they could not refrain from giving him more credit than he deserves-- Our friends, specially Gov. Seward & some others were so anxious for a split among the so-called democracy, that they have been for holding back on our side & letting him take the lead so as to get him committed.

    I made a few remarks on the message the day it was delivered against the expressed opinion of Gov. S. as you will see by looking at the Globe-- He got the floor before me & hoped the discussion would be left to the other side &c. I was glad afterwards that I said something, for Douglas the next day in his set speech was compelled to follow out the line of argument I had suggested-- Some of our friends here act like fools in running after & flattering Douglas-- He encourages it & invites such men as Wilson, Seward, Burlingame, Parrot &c to come & confer with him & they seem wonderfully pleased to go-- I have had no conversation with him about his course & thought it would be time enough to do so, when it was known what it would be. I will see the correspondent of the Tribune & endeavor to get him to pursue a different course--

    My own notion is that the aspect of things will change after we get a practical question before the Senate. The speaking thus far has been on the message & Douglas has monopolized the whole thing on our side. The Republican Senators will take hold of the matter when the Lecompton Constitution gets here, & I presume Douglas will not be permitted to lead the opposition-- If he is disposed to go with us well & good, but he must come in to our measures not we into his-- Different men look at his present attitude very differently. F. P. Blair, Esq. the old Gentleman says he is politically ruined let him do what he will-- That the South will now cast him off, & that he can do nothing but join the Republicans, who will not of course put him in the lead-- Mr. B. thinks it idle to suppose that Douglas can keep up a party opposed alike to the Administration & the Republicans-- This I doubt not is his aim, but it will fail even in Ills. as I think. So far as I am concerned, I have no sort of idea of making Douglas our leader either here or in Ills He has done nothing as yet to commend him to any honest Republican-- He still endorses the Dred Scott decision & no man who does so ought to be thought of as deserving Republican support. But suppose he does repent of his political sins & become a zealous Republican, is he to be rewarded by us for bringing the country to the verge of civil war & stirring up a sectional strife which has nearly dissolved the Union? The idea is preposterous-- If the Lecompton Constitution is forced through Congress as it probably will be, it seems to me that will be the end of Douglas politically. The result will then be apparent that by repealing the Missouri Compromise he has got a slave state into the Union, & the people will not forgive him for setting the house on fire, even if he did try to quench the flames before it was entirely consumed-- Douglas will only carry Stuart, & Broderick with him in the Senate so far as I can ascertain-- Pugh will I think, though it is not certainly known, go with the administration--

    The unexpected course of Douglas has taken us all somewhat by surprise & we must wait for further developments before we can exactly tell what the effect is to be-- I did not believe he would go so far as to offend the South till he did it, & even now he may yet unite with them upon some compromise-- Should he do so, he will have made nothing by his present move--

    I have written you freely & just as I feel, & presume it is unnecessary for me to assure you that I shall continue to labor for the success of the Republican cause in Ills -- & the advancement at the next election to the place now occupied by Douglas of that Friend, who was instrumental in promoting my own.

    Yours very truly,

    Lyman Trumbull

    My wife who is sitting by me says you are too modest to understand whom I mean by "that friend", but he who magnanimously requested his friends just at the right moment to cast their votes for me, & without which I could not have been elected will, I think understand it
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