Jun 21, 2018 - Sale 2483

Sale 2483 - Lot 180

Price Realized: $ 3,120
?Final Price Realized includes Buyer’s Premium added to Hammer Price
Estimate: $ 1,500 - $ 2,500
"THE OLD DEEP-SEATED INTOLERANT FEELING IN FAVOR OF SLAVERY IS FAST GIVING WAY" (LINCOLN, ABRAHAM.) SPEED, JAMES. Autograph Letter Signed, as KY Senator, to President Abraham Lincoln, sending an affidavit [not present]. 3 pages, 9 1/2x7 3/4 inches, on one folding sheet with docketing on terminal page; repaired full separations along two folds, otherwise minor wear. Louisville, KY, 25 January 1864

Additional Details

James Speed (1812-1887) was an old friend of Lincoln's, who would soon be appointed as Attorney General by Lincoln. In this letter, he forwards an affidavit by one Joseph Combs, who sought a presidential pardon. Speed explains to Lincoln that "I believe Combs has ever been a Union man. He has offended under the moral coercion that induces a man to cling to his money rather than his country. He hoped to save both, altho to one not interested, it was plain he could not do so. I have no doubt he will live up to the conditions of the pardon. The fact that he has taken the oath & accepted such a pardon will do good here."
Speed then moves from the specific to the general, reporting on the sloppy enforcement of loyalty oaths in Kentucky--and the slow progress of the battle for hearts and minds: "The military are not requiring this oath from deserters and returning citizens. They should be made to take it. Congress should provide for the recording & keeping the oaths to be taken. . . . We are not progressing as rapidly in Ky. as I hoped. The old deep-seated intolerant feeling in favor of slavery is fast giving way. Now and then I hear of a rebel turning abolitionist. I can now see that we are to have more trouble in Kentucky with men who have been Union men for the sake of slavery, than with those who have been rebels or rebel sympathizers for the sake of slavery."