Tuesday, November 27, 1860
While Abraham Lincoln was accused in much of the south of being an abolitionist who wanted to free all the slaves immediately, at least one Mississippi plantation owner didn’t get that impression.
The planter wanted to buy some more “negroes” for his plantation, but with all the excitement going on in the south and the general depreciation in the value of slaves, he was a bit concerned that his investment in human flesh might not be such a good idea, financially.
He supposedly brought up his concerns with Lincoln and in turn, the President-Elect told him “that he was opposed to any interference with slavery in the States, or with the inter-State slave trade; that he was opposed to abolishing or interfering with slavery in the District of Columbia; and that he was only opposed to its extension in the Territories, but added, ‘that was only an opinion of his.'”1
Wishing to know more, the planter asked what Lincoln planned to do if South Carolina left the Union. He claimed that Lincoln would “let her go, if Congress did not pass a ‘Force Bill.'” He continued to say that South Carolina’s expense for delivering mail would go to the people of that state.
“He concluded by advising the Mississippian to purchase as many negroes as he needed, and expressed the opinion that in twelve months slave property would be worth more than it ever had been. Upon these assurances, the gentleman was, on Saturday, making his way to Virginia to purchase more negroes.”2
There is, of course, zero corroboration for this letter. Likely, it is a complete fabrication. Lincoln did very little letter writing, especially to random Mississippians, in the months leading up to his inauguration. Additionally, as we saw a few days ago, he complemented Vice-President-Elect Hamlin on his anti-slavery speeches.