The Writings of Abraham Lincoln, Volume 5 by Abraham Lincoln
To A. H. Stephens.
(For your own eye only)
SPRINGFIELD, ILLINOIS, DECEMBER 22, 1860
HON. ALEXANDER STEVENS
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 fear 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 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,