The Writings of Abraham Lincoln, Volume 5 by Abraham Lincoln
Opinion on Secession, to Thurlow Weed
SPRINGFIELD, ILLINOIS, DECEMBER 17, 1860
MY DEAR SIR:--Yours of the 11th was received two days ago. Should the convocation of governors of which you speak seem desirous to know my views on the present aspect of things, tell them you judge from my speeches that I will be inflexible on the territorial question; but I probably think either the Missouri line extended, or Douglas's and Eli Thayer's popular sovereignty would lose us everything we gain by the election; that filibustering for all south of us and making slave States of it would follow in spite of us, in either case; also that I probably think all opposition, real and apparent, to the fugitive slave clause of the Constitution ought to be withdrawn.
I believe you can pretend to find but little, if anything, in my speeches, about secession. But my opinion is that no State can in any way lawfully get out of the Union without the consent of the others; and that it is the duty of the President and other government functionaries to run the machine as it is.