Abraham Lincoln had been elected to the Illinois legislature for the second time and was living in Vandalia, the state capital. Mary Owens was a Kentucky girl who had visited Lincoln three years before on the advice of a matchmaker. When his life in Vandalia became too dull, he turned to Mary.

Vandalia, December 13, 1836                                


I have been sick ever since my arrival here, or I should have written sooner. It is but little difference, however, as I have very little even yet to write. And more, the longer I can avoid the mortification of looking in the post office for your letter and not finding it, the better. You see I am mad about that old letter yet. I don't like very well to risk you again. I'll try you once more anyhow.

The new State House is not yet finished, and consequently the legislature is doing little or nothing. The Governor delivered an inflamatory political message, and it is expected there will be some sparring between the parties about it as soon as the two houses get to business. Taylor delivered up his petitions for the new county to one of our members this morning. I am told that he despairs of its success on account of all the members from Morgan County opposing it. There are names enough on the petition, I think, to justify the members from our county in going for it; but if the members from Morgan oppose it, which they say they will, the chance will be bad.

Our chance to take the seat of government to Springfield is better than I expected. An internal improvement convention was held here since we met, which recommended a loan of several millions of dollars on the faith of the state to construct railroads. Some of the legislature are for it, and some against it; which has the majority I cannot tell. There is great strife and struggling for the office of U.S. Senator here at this time. It is probable we shall ease their pains in a few days. The opposition men have no candidate of their own, and consequently they smile as complacently at the angry snarls of the contending Van Buren candidates and their respective friends, as the Christian does at Satan's rage. You recollect I mentioned in the outset of this letter that I had been unwell. That is the fact, though I believe I am about well now; but that, with other things I cannot account for, have conspired and have gotten my spirits so low, that I feel that I would rather be any place in the world than here. I really cannot endure the thought of staying here ten weeks. Write back as soon as you get this, and if possible say something that will please me, for really I have not been pleased since I left you. This letter is so dry and stupid that I am ashamed to send it, but with my present feelings I cannot do any better. Give my respects to Mr. and Mrs. Abell and family. Your Friend,

A. Lincoln                                

This document is a copy of the unedited text of a written work by Abraham Lincoln. Some typographical errors which were present in the original text appear here as well. This document was copied in its entirety from The Living Lincoln, edited by Paul M. Angle and Earl Schenck Miers, published by Marboro Books Corp.

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