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Transcript: Judge David Davis Letter

Bloomington, Illinois

March 4th, 1855

Dear Rockwell,

In expectation of meeting you this past winter in Massachusetts, I have postponed writing you the letter which I promised myself that I would soon after I hard of the last fall election in Massachusetts. I should have gone East & probably my wife had it not have been for the effectual stop put to travelling by the excessive snow storms of the last of January and forepart of Febry. The storms and the sufferings by railroad travel are greatly exaggerated in the papers, but I reckon that it is hardly worth while to point them out. We rec’d letters last night from George Walker. Danl Williams & Mr. Sedgwick, & the evening before received one from our son. We want to see our child very much. George & Danl thinks he improves very much. He is lamentably deficient in writing–both composition & penmanship. I do not despair quite in the matter as yet, though I must confess that it is quite mortifying. The winter with us has been excessively cold since the 21st of January. Today, however, it is very mild, and Spring promises to open soon.

If we are all alive and well, we expect to be in Mass-tts in June. This memorable congress adjourned I suppose last night–Peace be with them. Since the snow storms we have had no mails, occasionally flashes of telegraph, & there is no knowing what has been done. I saw by the papers that you vacated your seat about the 10th of February. The resolution in Massachusetts last fall was past my comprehension. It would not have seemed strange in one of these western states, but that an entire people educated & enlightened as they are in Mass-tts should have done so is passing strange. There certainly has been nothing like it in the history of politics. And then again, your members of Congress had unanimously approved the Nebraska iniquity. They were again before the people. They were defeated leaving the Southern people to say (see speech of Stevens of Georgia) that Massachusetts had not spoken against that measure.

I never supposed that there was a prophet of Illinois politics being better than Mass-tts, but such promises to be, & in fact is now the case. The free Soil party of Mass-tts, by going over body & soul to the Know Nothings sink so low that the hand of resurrection it don’t seem to me could ever reach them. Their candidate for Governor & now U.S. Senator is a beautiful specimen of a great man. By the way, why did Mr. Everett resign. His health must have been a mere subterfuge.

Although Judge Trumbull is elected United States Senator in place of Genl. Shields, & I believe is to be relied on in his opposition to Nebraska, yet I don’t feel satisfied with his election. He has been a Democrat all his life, dyed in the wool, as ultra as he could be. His antecedents don’t suit me, though I hope that it will all go right. I have sent you one or two papers giving an account of the election, & I now cut you out a slip from one of our newspapers, which seems pretty authentic. Mr. Lincoln ought to have been elected. There were 51 anti Nebraska members of the Legislature, 30 Whigs (being every Whig in the Legislature but one) 16 elected as republicans and 5 men elected as anti Nebraska Democrats. Now the republicans & whigs were all for Lincoln and but 5 men wanted Trumbull. The 5 would not yield, and the Whigs & Republicans rather than let the election pass over and a Nebraska man be elected voted for Trumbull. The members would not do it until Lincoln urged them to do so. I had spent a good deal of time at Springfield getting things arranged for Lincoln and it was supposed that his election was certain. I was necessarily absent the day of the election & have been since glad of it for I reckon that Trumbull[‘]s election is better than the matter should have passed over. But if I had been there, there were ten members of the Legislature who would have fully appreciated the fact that 46 men should not yield their preferences to 5. But let it pass. You will see it mentioned in the papers that Trumbull met Douglass on the Stump in this State. It is not so. Nobody met Douglass-but Lincoln–& Lincoln discussed the subject with Douglass everywhere–At Peoria, Springfield, & Lacon. They had lengthy discussions, and Lincoln[‘]s friends thought he had the best of the fight. Let it all pass. I feel pretty certain that slavery will light on Kansas, and that when she applies for admission she into the Union, it will be as a Slave State. Then will come the tug of War.

Sarah & baby are well. Baby talks a great deal. She is very fat & irresistible as she can be. Sarah sends love in which I join her to Lucy & all the children.

For all your kindness & attention to George we are thankful, & hope that we may have the opportunity to repay you someday when your children shall come out to see us.

I shall be glad to hear from you


David Davis

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  October 14, 2010
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