Complete Works

Author: Abraham Lincoln  | Date: 1894

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No Extension of Slavery (1860–1861)



[February 1, 1861.] . . . ON the 21st ult. Hon. W. Kellogg, a Republican member of Congress of this State, whom you probably know, was here in a good deal of anxiety seeking to ascertain to what extent I would be consenting for our friends to go in the way of compromise on the now vexed question. While he was with me I received a despatch from Senator Trumbull, at Washington, alluding to the same question and telling me to await letters. I therefore told Mr. Kellogg that when I should receive these letters posting me as to the state of affairs at Washington, I would write to you, requesting you to let him see my letter. To my surprise, when the letters mentioned by Judge Trumbull came they made no allusion to the "vexed question." This baffled me so much that I was near not writing you at all, in compliance to what I have said to Judge Kellogg. I say now, however, as I have all the while said, that on the territorial question—that is, the question of extending slavery under the national auspices—I am inflexible. I am for no compromise which assists or permits the extension of the institution on soft owned by the nation. And any trick by which the nation is to acquire territory, and then allow some local authority to spread slavery over it, is as obnoxious as any other. I take it that to effect some such result as this, and to put us again on the highroad to a slave empire, is the object of all these proposed compromises. I am against it. As to fugitive slaves, District of Columbia, slave-trade among the slave States, and whatever springs of necessity from the fact that the institution is amongst us, I care but little, so that what is done be comely and not altogether outrageous. Nor do I care much about New Mexico, if further extension were hedged against.

Abraham Lincoln, (edited by John G. Nicolay and John Hay, New York, 1894), I, 657–669 passim.


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Chicago: Abraham Lincoln, "No Extension of Slavery (1860– 1861)," Complete Works, ed. John G. Nicolay and John Hay in American History Told by Contemporaries, ed. Albert Bushnell Hart (New York: The Macmillan Company, 1903), Original Sources, accessed May 23, 2022,

MLA: Lincoln, Abraham. "No Extension of Slavery (1860– 1861)." Complete Works, edited by John G. Nicolay and John Hay, Vol. I, in American History Told by Contemporaries, edited by Albert Bushnell Hart, Vol. 4, New York, The Macmillan Company, 1903, Original Sources. 23 May. 2022.

Harvard: Lincoln, A, 'No Extension of Slavery (1860– 1861)' in Complete Works, ed. . cited in 1903, American History Told by Contemporaries, ed. , The Macmillan Company, New York. Original Sources, retrieved 23 May 2022, from