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Correspondence About the Lincoln-Shields Duel


TREMONT, September 7, 1842.

A. Lincoln, Esq.: I regret that my absence on public business compelled me to postpone a matter of private consideration a little longer than I could have desired. It will only be necessary, however, to account for it by informing you that I have been to Quincy on business that would not admit of delay. I will now state briefly the reasons of my troubling you with this communication, the disagreeable nature of which I regret, as I had hoped to avoid any difficulty with any one in Springfield while residing there, by endeavoring to conduct myself in such a way amongst both my political friends and opponents as to escape the necessity of any. Whilst thus abstaining from giving provocation,


I have become the object of slander, vituperation, and personal abuse, which, were I capable of submitting to, I would prove myself worthy of the whole of it.

In two or three of the last numbers of "The Sangamon Journal," articles of the most personal nature and calculated to degrade me have made their appearance. On inquiring, I was informed by the editor of that paper, through the medium of my friend General Whitesides, that you are the author of those articles. This information satisfies me that I have become by some means or other the object of your secret hostility. I will not take the trouble of inquiring into the reason of all this; but I will take the liberty of requiring a full, positive, and absolute retraction of all offensive allusions used by you in these communications, in relation to my private character and standing as a man, as an apology for the insults conveyed in them.

This may prevent consequences which no one will regret more than myself.
Your obedient servant,

TREMONT, September 17, 1842.
Jas. Shields, Esq.: Your note of to-day was handed me by General Whitesides. In that note you say you have been informed, through the


medium of the editor of "The Journal," that I am the author of certain articles in that paper which you deem personally abusive of you; and without stopping to inquire whether I really am the author or to point out what is offensive in them, you demand an unqualified retraction of all that is offensive, and then proceed to hint at consequences.

Now, sir, there is in this so much assumption of facts and so much of menace as to consequences, that I cannot submit to answer that note any further than I have, and to add that the consequences to which I suppose you allude would be matter of as great regret to me as it possibly could to you.


TREMONT, September 17, 1842.
A. Lincoln, Esq.: In reply to my note of this date, you intimate that I assume facts and menace consequences, and that you cannot submit to answer it further. As now, sir, you desire it, I will be a little more particular. The editor of "The Sangamon Journal" gave me to understand that you are the author of an article which appeared, I think, in that paper of the 2d September instant headed "The Lost Townships," and signed Rebecca or 'Becca. I would therefore take the liberty of asking whether you


are the author of said article, or any other over the same signature which has appeared in any of the late numbers of that paper. If so, I repeat my request of an absolute retraction of all offensive allusion contained therein in relation to my private character and standing. If you are not the author of any of these articles, your denial will be sufficient. I will say further, it not my intention to menace, but to do myself justice.

Your obedient servant,