Future U. S. Congressman mentions Mason and Slidell Affair

Date Written

Dec. 18, 1861

History Referenced

William McKendree Springer was 25 years old when this was written.
The recipient, Rebecca Rutter Springer, was 29 when it was received.

William McKendree Springer died 41 years, 11 months, 16 days after writing this.
It was written 161 years, 9 months, 5 days ago.
It was a Wednesday.

Lincoln, Illinois
December 18, 1861

My Precious Wife,

Your dear little letter of last Friday was received yesterday. I was glad to hear from you but very sorry to hear that you had been so sick. I have been anxious about you for fear that you might have a serious time. I do hope you are better by this time and that you will soon begin to recruit again. I suppose Bro. Moore is with you by this time as it is now passed the middle of the month. It is only a week now until Christmas and my Better will not be with me to spend the holidays. I will not go to Springfield before the 1st of January as the Convention does not meet until the 7th. I may not go down until the 3d or 4th.

I have received many letters from delegates and others favorable to my case. I think I will succeed in getting the Secretaryship. At least things look that way now. My old friends in the Legislature are doing me all the good they can and with their aid, I hope to succeed. But I intend to make some money down there in any event. There are more ways than one to make a raise and I will discover some new plan after I get down there in case I do not succeed in my present objects.

We have been having spring weather for a week or so. The buds are actually swelling and the grass has taken a new growth. It is remarkable for the time of year.

The measles are still prevalent here. Nearly all the children in the vicinity have had them or are having them. Emma has them now. She has been staying at Dr. Miller’s and caught them from his children. I have heard of no deaths from them yet and they are not serious at all. I am in no danger as I have had them once.

You of course do not read the papers but I suppose they tell you some of the news. England is making a fuss over the arrest of Mason & Slidell and I would not be surprised is a war should break out with that nation. If so, the South will succeed beyond a doubt and the Union is forever dissolved. Unless our government gives up Mason & Slidell, there will be a war with England. But it will not be in Canada or along the Northern border but on the high seas. It will be a naval war principally, and the object will be to break the Southern Blockade, and to blockade the Northern ports. The South will then be recognized & will have the cooperation of England and France. The question then will be whether our government will have the madness and folly to contend long against such fearful odds. Passion and pride will tell us that we can whip the world. But reason and discretion will call aloud for peace!
What does Dr. Smith think now? The English news creates a good deal of excitement here. But I do not participate in public matters and do not intend to.

Judge Campbell was over last night and sat until bed-time. Hence I did not write you last night. Mr. Austin still keeps very feeble. He is now at Waverly to recruit if possible his health. He will hardly be able to do much at Springfield this winter. He will not live long, I fear.

My regards to Dr. Smith and all my friends in the Cure. I sent the “pins” some time ago in a newspaper. Have you received it yet?

May God bless you ever, my precious wife, and bring you soon to me. Forever only yours,


Scans of Letter