To A. Lincoln, President-Elect of the United States

St. Louis Daily Missouri Republican, November 21, 1860

Sir: A little over two weeks have elapsed since, at the quadrennial election, provided for by the Constitution, you received a majority of the electoral votes for President. All that now remains is for the electors to meet in their several colleges, on the first Wednesday of next month, there to declare their votes for you, and on the 4th day of March next, to take upon yourself the administration of the Government of what may yet be termed the United States. You were elected by extraordinary means and influences. Fifteen of the States gave you their votes, and a majority of the electoral colleges. One State—New Jersey—with a decided majority of the people against you, yet gave you four votes, leaving three others to Mr. DOUGLAS. Two more of those so-called Free States—California and Oregon—are in doubt, and one at least may have gone against you. Still, you are elected President by the forms of the Constitution, though little more than a third of the popular vote can be shown in your favor. You are, what is infinitely worse, a Sectional President, elected by Free States alone, on an issue made up to suit your case, and to accommodate the fanaticism of the peculiar elements composing the population of those States—elements of an extraordinary character, strongly and strangely intermingled, and representing the Puritan and the Infidel, in large bodies, and comprising the worst features of the intolerance of each class. Seizing hold of the Negro Question, with no hope of getting an electoral vote in any other State, and even when thus banded, meeting with the opposition, at home, of a million of Democrats, you have triumphed, and now behold the result.

Instead of finding, as has always been the case in former elections, a steady, if reluctant, acquiescence in the decision of the people at the polls, look at the condition of the country. When the gallant HARRY CLAY was stricken down and defeated in the race with POLK, God knows there was anguish and heartburnings at the result all over the land, but there was also a manly acquiescence on the part of his friends and the country. He had more ardent friends than any man who ever lived, and you were one of them, and they all yielded to the popular voice. And why? Because these States were not then divided by sectional lines—because appeals were not then made to the people of the Free States, as such, nor to those of the Slave States—because no such party then existed as the one of which you are now the representative —and because the battle was fought upon higher, nobler grounds, than any that have been presented by you in this contest.

But now look at the result of the late election. Little over two weeks have passed, and you find one State on the point of secession from the Union. You find another deliberating upon the course which honor and duty demands of her. You find the Legislatures of three States summoned to meet at unusual periods, to determine what course they shall adopt in this grave conjuncture of affairs. A show of military parade, the gathering of volunteers, the enrolling of minute men, the concentration of arms, and munitions of war—all these things are going on in all those States, with an energy which must satisfy you that they are in earnest. Meanwhile, the conservative States—Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Missouri—are anxiously looking for the time when they can, by judicious action, restore peace to the Union. But be not deceived. Those States, while they are devoted to the Union—while they believe that ours is yet too good a Government to be destroyed now—will not stand idly by and see their sister States—bone of their bone and flesh of their flesh—trampled in the dust. They will not do it.

Need we ask you to look at the other calamity which this election has brought upon us—the total disruption of confidence between man and man—not in the South nor in the West alone, but in the East and the North—a calamity threatening bankruptcy to the whole country. Is it not an alarming crisis? And ought not something to be done to stay its cruel, blasting effects? It may be said that you are powerless in this matter; that you are not yet even elected, and that you will not take office, at the head, possibly, of a sundered Union, until the 4th of March next. Granted that this is true. Yet you must be aware that some action on your part—some assurances from the free States must be given, of a change in their relations towards the South and the slave States, or all hope for a perpetuation of the Union is at an end. You tell us that you are a conservative man, that your administration will be conducted with reference to the best interests of the whole country—and you cite us to your speeches as enunciating the principles upon which your official course will be based. So say all your friends, Mr. LINCOLN. But we warn you that they will not satisfy fifteen States of the Union now, nor in the future. They ask, and they have a right to ask, new pledges and new guarantees. They ask, and will continue to ask, that the Fugitive Slave Law shall be executed by you with fidelity. The Constitution and the Law require it at your hands. They ask, and they will insist upon, as preliminary to any adjustment of this question, that all laws passed by the free States, designed to avoid or prevent the execution of this law, shall be absolutely and unconditionally repealed, and that no acts, intended to despoil the people of the Slave States of their property, shall ever be passed. Mr. LINCOLN, in your own State, almost under your own eye, a slave was last week rescued from the proper officers of the law, and carried into Canada. Not only was the majesty of the law set at naught by men who have just voted for you, but the owner of the slave was insulted and abused by the mob. Think you, that outrages of this kind will longer be submitted to? If you do, you are greatly mistaken. No amount of force—not the whole North combined—can coerce the people of the Slave States to submit to these indignities—these constant, repeated and open violations of the Constitution—any longer. The Free States have nullified this law for years, and this is the cause of complaint, and for which the dissolution of the Union is now threatened—not that your election affords ground for any such extreme act. We warn you of the danger which menaces the country. The vast majority of the People of the Slave States are true, loyal friends of the Union. They will fight for it as long as it is worth preserving. They will not give up hope, nor go out of the Union, until they are satisfied that the rights of the South will not be respected by the North. They are in all respects the equal of the North, and whether in or out of the Union they will command respect.

Go to work, then, Mr. LINCOLN, and counsel and insist upon the repeal of all these obnoxious laws, and avow your determination to execute the Fugitive Slave Law, and all may yet be well. Short of this, and in the present temper of the People, we see nothing but ruin and desolation to the whole country.