Letter from Lincoln to Lyman Trumbull, December 21, 1860

Lincoln’s Suggestions

On the same day that South Carolina seceded, Lincoln met with Thurlow Weed, close advisor to New York Senator William H. Seward. Lincoln’s confidential letter to Illinois Senator Lyman Trumbull reveals that he gave Weed three “short resolutions” to be introduced by Seward to a Senate committee addressing the secession crisis. As Lincoln notes, his resolutions did not “touch the territorial question” but they did suggest amending the Fugitive Slave law to grant a jury trial to escapees while stipulating that the Constitution should never be altered to authorize Congress to abolish or interfere with slavery where it existed.