Political Debates Between Hon. Abraham Lincoln and Hon. Stephen Douglas, In the Celebrated Campaign of 1858, in Illinois.

“THE MOST IMPORTANT SERIES OF AMERICAN POLITICAL DEBATES”: Exceedingly rare first edition, first issue of The Lincoln-Douglas Debates; inscribed by Abraham Lincoln long-time political supporter and friend Martin S. Morris and accompanied by the table from the Morris household that Lincoln sat at, shared apples with Morris, and signed the book

Political Debates Between Hon. Abraham Lincoln and Hon. Stephen Douglas, In the Celebrated Campaign of 1858, in Illinois.

LINCOLN, Abraham .


Item Number: 138634

Columbus: Follett, Foster and Company, 1860.

First edition, first issue of the most famous debates in American history which cemented Lincoln as a national presidential candidate; inscribed by Lincoln to close friend Martin S. Morris and accompanied by the table from the Morris household that Lincoln sat at, shared apples with Morris, and signed the book. Octavo, original cloth stamped in blind. First issue, with no advertisements, no rule above the publisher’s imprint on the copyright page, and with numeral 2 at the bottom of page 17. Association copy, inscribed by Abraham Lincoln on the front free endpaper, “M. S. Morris Esq A. Lincoln.” The recipient, Martin S. Morris, was was a long-time political supporter and friend of Abraham Lincoln from Menard County, Illinois. In March 1843, Lincoln wrote to Morris, “It is truly gratifying to me to learn that while the people of Sangamon have cast me off, my friends of Menard who have known me longest and best of any, still retain their confidence in me.” Morris was selected as one of the delegates from Menard County to attend the Whig convention in Pekin in May 1843, but was detained by an illness and Francis Regnier attended in his place. The convention selected John J. Hardin rather than Lincoln as the Whig candidate for Congress from that district. In June 1852, Morris’s close friend Whig Congressman (and later Illinois governor) Richard Yates wrote to him from Washington regarding the 1852 presidential election. The Democratic National Convention was then underway in Baltimore, and after 32 ballots by the convention, Yates believed the chances of receiving the nomination were against U.S. Senator Stephen A. Douglas of Illinois unless “his almost never failing good luck may avail him.” Ultimately on the 49th ballot, the Convention nominated Franklin Pierce, who had received no votes until the 35th ballot. Laid in is Yates’ letter to Morris which reads in part, “Washington June 4, 1852 Dear Morris, I thank you kindly… The Democratic Convention is now in session in Baltimore. The 32nd ballot has been had, and no nomination. Douglass does not appear to have as much strength as anticipated, and if we were to judge from present indications the chances are against him. How far his almost never failing good luck may avail him remains to be seen… The contest between Fillmore & Scott, it is now believed, will be very close. Some of the knowing ones, (who have not much to do but make calculations) say that the vote of Illinois will decide the question. We do not know how the Illinois delegation stands but we suppose nearly equal for Scott and for Fillmore.. Fillmore and his friends will, (if necessary to defeat Gen’l Scott), cast their vote for Mr. Webster… My opinion, and it is only an opinion is that Gen’l Scott will receive the nomination. Of one thing I feel pretty sure that either Scott or Fillmore will be supported most cheerfully by the Whigs, and what is better the Whigs here and throughout the Union have an abiding confidence that they will again gloriously triumph in November. Such was not the case at the beginning of the session. There was more or less of despondency then, but the skies are bright ahead now and (be the result what it may), the Whigs will march up to the work with unfaltering purpose and in the confident hope of victory… Your friend Richard Yates.” The Whig National Convention met a few weeks later, also in Baltimore, and the contest remained close between Winfield Scott and incumbent president Millard Fillmore, with Daniel Webster running a distant third, until Scott finally received the nomination on the 53rd ballot. In his letter to Morris, Yates was confident of a Whig victory in November, but Pierce went on to defeat Scott with 51 percent of the vote to Scott’s 44 percent, and an overwhelming 254-to-42 victory in the Electoral College. In May 1858, Morris wrote to Lincoln that he and other Republicans in Menard County “are up and doing” and “though we are in a minority, we nevertheless intend to give them [the Democrats] the best fight we can.” Four months later, he again wrote to “Friend Lincoln”: “If there is any reliance to be placed on the papers which I read, you are certainly making a very successful electioneering tour through the state, and whether you are elected to the senate or not, you certainly have reason to congratulate yourself and feel proud of the manifestations of confidence every where shown you by the people I have said and believed ever since Douglass repealed the MO. Com. That you would be his successor the first chance the people had to vote in matter, that was a most rascally thing and I believe would and know it ought to politically damn him and all who had anything to do with it, at least in the north…. But my object is not to write a dissertation on politicks knowing well that I could say nothing But which you already know, But merely to inform you by way of adding to the encouragement which I believe you are every where receiving, the good news, that you may calculate with a very great degree of certainty on a vote from Menard & Cass. We are glad that you have made an appointment to speak here and will endeavor to get you a large crowd.” Contrary to Morris’s assurances, in the race for state representative from Cass and Menard, Democrat William Engle defeated Republican James W. Judy for a seat in the legislature, where he dutifully voted for Stephen A. Douglas for the U.S. Senate. In September 1859, Morris was a delegate from Menard County to the Republican Congressional Convention for the Sixth Congressional District in Springfield. At the Convention, Morris was elected to the District Central Committee, which consisted of one delegate from each county. Among the resolutions passed by the Convention were, “Resolved, That the Territories of the United States are the common property of all the free white citizens of the whole Union, but that the institution of Slavery has no right or heritage therein…but at the same time, we strenuously oppose every attempt to interfere with slavery in the States where it now exists.” and “Resolved, That Freedom is universal and Slavery sectional, and cannot exist where it is not authorized by virtue of special local legislation; and that the Government of the United States, in the exercise of its powers, whether executive, legislative or judicial, is bound to adhere, in substance and in form, to the generous and noble spirit of these important maxims.” 6 Less than a month later, John Brown did “interfere with slavery in the States where it now exists” by seizing the federal arsenal in Harpers Ferry, Virginia. In 1862, Morris wrote to President Lincoln on behalf of his friend Henry Clay Denison, who was serving as a commissary clerk in the 14th Illinois Infantry regiment. Denison wanted a position as assistant quartermaster or assistant commissary in the army. Morris stressed that Denison was “a descendant of a good Whig family of the good old Whig state of Vermont his native place being Woodstock…. He is also as good a Republican as lives, and if he didn’t do as much he tried as hard as any one else to bring about your nomination &election.” President Lincoln dutifully forwarded the letter to the War Department. With Yates’ June 1852 letter to Morris laid in and with the ownership inscription of Morris’ great granddaughter beneath Lincoln’s inscription, “Property of Pauline Madgett Welton Lincoln’s signature (above).” Provenance: kept in the Morris family for over six generations (Martin S. Morris (1816-1884), husband of Elizabeth Waggoner Morris (1820-1901); Their daughter, Jane Eliza Morris Nance (1857-1927), wife of Benjamin Franklin Nance (1853-1914); Their daughter, Pauline E. Nance Madgett (1879-1971), wife of William P. Madgett (1875-1951); Their daughter, Pauline Helen Madgett Welton (1908-1978), wife of Claude R. Welton (1908-1978); Their son, William R. Welton (1939-2014); Welton family. Ownership inscription of Pauline Helen Madgett Welton. In very good condition. Housed in a custom half morocco clamshell box. Exceptionally rare signed by Lincoln with no other signed copies traced at auction. Accompanied by the original pedestal table from the Morris household that, according to generations of family lore, Lincoln sat at with Morris, signed the book, and ate apples as well as an oil portrait of Martin S. Morris which hung by the table. With a letter of provenance signed by a descendant of Pauline Helen Madgett Welton attesting to the provenance of the book, table and a portrait. According to Rae Katherine Eighmey, Abraham Lincoln in the Kitchen: A Culinary View (2014), fellow lawyer Charles S. Zane recalled Lincoln at a circuit town inn: “There was a ‘large basket of apples in the sitting room and we were invited to help ourselves. Mr. Lincoln was a great eater of apples. He said to me once that a man should eat and drink only that which is conducive to his own health. “Apples,” he said, “agree with me.”‘” (p. 131, citing Zane’s article in the Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society in 1921). According to Eighmey, Herndon wrote of Lincoln: “He loved best the vegetable world generally…and especially did he love apples.”

Running as a little-known candidate for the Illinois senatorship in 1858, Lincoln challenged incumbent and Democratic leader Stephen Douglas to a series of debates. The result was a memorable chain of lively arguments in front of cheering crowds. Though Lincoln lost the senatorial race, “he began collecting a scrapbook of his best speeches, particularly those from the just-concluded campaign against Douglas, for possible inclusion in a book. Assiduously pasting newspaper accounts of the debates into the scrapbook, Lincoln cast about for a publisher. Initial efforts failed, mainly because Lincoln wanted the book printed in Springfield, which had no local publishing or printing facilities. Eventually, however, the Columbus, Ohio, firm of Follett, Foster & Company showed interest, and he began preparing the first edition… Somewhat surprisingly for an attorney, Lincoln did not seek Douglas’ permission to publish a book of their combined speeches, although Douglas was later given the last-minute opportunity—he declined—to make corrections to his own remarks” (Morris, 121).

Add to cart Ask a Question SHIPPING & GUARANTEE