Alexander Stephens letter to Abraham Lincoln (Alexander Stephens would become Vice-President of the Confederate States of America a few months later).

Crawfordville, Georgia,
30th December, 1860.

Dear Sir,---

. . . Washington, Jefferson, and other Presidents are generally admitted to have been anti-slavery in sentiment. But in those days anti-slavery did not enter as an element into party organizations.

. . . But now this subject . . . is made the 'central idea' in the platform of principles announced by the triumphant party. The leading object seems to be simply, and wantonly, if, you please, to put the institutions of nearly half the States under the ban of public opinion and national condemnation. This, upon general principles, is quite enough of itself to arouse a spirit not only of general indignation, but of revolt on the part of the proscribed.

. . . We at the South do think African slavery, as it exists with us, both morally and politically right. This opinion is founded upon the inferiority of the black race. You, however, and perhaps a majority of the North, think it wrong. Admit the difference of opinion.

. . . This is what creates our discontent and apprehension. You will also allow me to say that it is neither unnatural nor unreasonable, especially when we see the extent to which this reckless spirit has already gone. Such, for instance, as the avowed disregard and breach of the Constitution in the passage of the statutes in a number of the Northern States against the rendition of fugitives from service, and such exhibitions of madness as the John Brown raid into Virginia, which has received so much sympathy from many, and no open condemnation from any of the leading men of the present dominant party. . . .

I entreat you be not deceived as to the nature and extent of the danger, nor as to the remedy. Conciliation and harmony, in my judgement, can never be established by force. . . .

. . . Excuse me for giving you these views. Excuse the strong language used. Nothing but the deep interest I feel in prospect of the most alarming dangers now threatening our common country could induce me to do it. Consider well what I write . . .

Yours respectfully,

Alexander H. Stephen