President Lincoln Worries about Arkansas Election

March 16, 1864

Arkansas Governor Isaac Murphy telegraphs President Lincoln regarding Arkansas election: “Polls close tonight twelve (12) M. We are confident of victory a heavy vote here, not counted, will send results as soon as known.”  He was responding to Lincoln’s inquiry: “What of your election on the 14th.?”

Kentuckian Edward Taylor wrote: “I am now geting to be an old man being in my 65th year and I apprehend am about trying to do a very foolish and pointless thing in expressing my opinion about matters in relation to our distracted & bleeding Country Which makes me sad to think of– I will start by saying that ever since I have a vote I have been What with us is called the Old Clay or Whig party I have never given a Democratic vote & have no affiliation with the party as such I am against any dissolution of this glorious Union against the States rights doctrine of Calhoun1 & his party beleiving their doctrine would lead to cuting up our Union into many little Confederacies like the German States– But I am also for you confining your self in Constitutional limits and not converting our Union into a Military despotism by [blundering?] unconstitutional acts under the plea of a Military Necessity– To speak plainly I do not believe those that have your ear and are your political advisors have any intention or desire to have this War Closed until they can entirely destroy the institutions of the South as reggards Slavery. And I am sure not from any Philanthropic love of the Negro or for good. If this had been their object, their true policy admiting that they had any right to interfere in this respect the true policy would have been to have the Constitution of the United States so amended As to have had a gradual emancipation System adopted and the Constitution of the several States so amended by them as to conform If you have ever read the Constitution of Kentucky you would find that it would take from 5 to 7 years to make any change in it Any other way would be revolutionary and we would be involved in the same dificulties that occured in the Door war in Rhode Island– Now I am no Politician am not in the habit of writing as you can see by this [dissulary?] letter– I will say that I firmly believe that Kentucky at least three fourth of it are the most Union loving Constitutional and loyal people in this whole union– But as a Sober thinking an observing man I must tell you the Administration by its recent order directing the enrolment of Negroes in our State may lead to untold difficulties and the prolonging of this War You cannot but admit that there is a most very large and influential party in all the North West States against the policy of the Administration Also in New York Pensylvania & other Eastern States Now notwithstanding What you may read in the Ultra Sheets of Cincinnati and learn from Officials & parasites in our own State I tell you that there are not 5000 abolitionists in our State and that Anderson G Clay Smith & Randall unless at the point of the bayonet will neither of them be raised to Congress–3 The two latter were elected before on the [ illegible] platform and the [first?] also together with Military intimidation — Your policy will make our State the Theatre of the war I fear in less than two months I am almost sure that Longstreet with Breckinridge & Buckner4 are now combining all their strength to strike for Kenty and Ohio where together with Indiana & Illinois your own State will in large numbers rally around them and a new idea is just started, that may lead to untold of troubles with the abolitionists themselves It is that the South should proclaim — that they will abandon their efforts at a disolution upon being assured that these States shall be restored as they were and rally around them all opposed to the Ultra views of the abolitions– If this step should be taken I don’t see how any one could doubt the result– The next Presidential Chair will in Constitutionaly way be filled by a conservative man otherwise we will have a Military government I have no doubt you have ere this read the proceedings at a late meeting in Lexington at a Sword presentation to Col Woolford5 and his denunciatory speech of your acts at said meeting and that he will be dismissed the Service for the same I think I know the man well enough to say he cares not about what course may be taken with No one doubts his patriotism that he is a union man every wit has done more service in puting down this rebellion than any one man in the State has risked his life without stint was the first in the State to raise troops to put down this rebellion And you may think it strange but it is the fact that there is few slaves in the district of Country where he lives the Mountains than any portion of our State but Still no man has more [unbounded?] popularity or control over his people but he cant be made a Rebel but he will denounce fearlessly what he may think violations of our Constitutional rights– I again repeat there is no abolitional or negro equality party in Keny worth speaking of– Now I don’t want to withhold anything as to myself– I am a Slave holder individually care nothing except for their sakes I own 15 Slaves but one would come under the drafting use The balance are women & children not able to take care of themselves Eight of them belonging to a son of mine were about being sold under execution to pay his debts to save them from being seperated I paid the debt– having no use for them Now who who cared more for the Negro the abolitionist or my [Self?]. There are hundreds of such cases in Keny– I know G Clay Smith & Brutus Clay6 for whom I voted at the last election & have no objection of your sharing this if you think its worth being done My Sheet is [out?] or would add more

Indiana Senator Joseph Wright, a War Democrat, writes President Lincoln: “Yesterday I met your old friend Dr William Patton of New Haven Conn. You will remember I handed you a pamphlet of the Drs on the subject of Slavery in connexion with the Evangelical Alliance, and urged his appointment as a most suitable person to advanse our cause in Europe. The Dr. is going to Europe the last of April, and I do hope it will be found expedient to make him Bearer of Despatches to England, France & Rome whereby his expenses may be made.

I have known Dr Patton for seven years, met him in Prussia in 1857.– He was in Europe when this infamous rebellion commenced. He presided at meetings, delivered addresses, wrote for the press, and worked most faithfully to instruct the English-mind in regard to our difficulties.– Mr Beecher well said on his return, that he found the fruit ripe and all he had to do was to shake the bushes. In this he referred to the labors of Rev. Dr Patton.

I know he remained abroad after this Rebellion commenced as long as his private means would permit him to do. He is your warm friend. Has done good service and his blows are strong telling wherever they fall.

The Doctor will return in time to do his duty at the Fall Election. I do hope you will find it within your duties to give him position (if only temporary) by which his expenses will be paid.

His labors will tell upon the cause all loyal men have at heart and will increase a good influence on his return.

I go to Connecticut tomorrow and expect to visit many portions of the State before the Election. Next Month, I go West. Trusting that it will be in your power to aid Dr Patton in the way indicated — should be happy to receive any information relative thereto.

You may address me if this application meets with favor, as I should be greatly pleased to surprise the Doctor with your favorable response.

Mrs Wright unites with me in the kindest regards to Mrs Lincoln. And I pray you, dear Sir, to accept assurances of highest regard of yours most

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