Abraham Lincoln to Josephus Hewett, 13 February 18481
Dear Hewett:
Your whig representative from Mississippi P. W– Tompkins, has just shown me a letter of yours to him–2 I am jealous because you did not write to me– Perhaps you have forgotten me– Dont you remember a long black fellow who rode on horseback with you from Tremont to Springfield nearly ten years ago, swiming your horses over the Mackinaw on the trip? Well, I am that same one fellow yet– I was once of your opinion, expressed in your letter, that presidential electors should be dispensed ^with;^ but a more thorough knowledge of the causes that first introduced them, has made me doubt– Those causes were briefly these– The convention that framed the constitution had this difficulty: the small states wished to so frame the new government as that they might be equal to the large ones regardless of the inequality of population; the large ones insisted on equality in proportion to population– They compromised it, by basing the House of Representatives on population, and the Senate on states regardless of population; and the executive on both principles, by electors in each state, equal in
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numbers to her senators and representatives– Now, throw away the machinery of electors, and the compromise is broken up, and the whole yielded to the principle of the large states–3 There is one thing more– In the slave states, you have representatives, and consequently, electors, partly upon the basis of your black population, which would be swept away by the change you seem to think desireable– Have you ever reflected on these things?4
But to come to the main point, I wish you to know that I have made a speech ^in^ Congress, and that I want you to be enlightened by reading it; to further which object, I send you a copy of the speech by this mail–5
For old acquaintance sake, if for nothing else, be sure to write me on receiving this– I was very near forgetting to tell you that on my being introduced to Genl Quitman, and telling him I was from Springfield, Illinois, he at once remarked "Then ^you^ are acquainted with my valued friend Hewett of Natchez", and on being assured I was, he said just such things about you as I like to hear ^said^ about my own valued friends–
Yours as everA. Lincoln
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Free A. Lincoln M. C[Member Congress]FREE
WASHINGTON D.C.[District of Columbia]
FEB[February] 14
Josephus Hewett Esq.[Esquire]NatchezMiss–
1Abraham Lincoln wrote and signed this letter. He wrote the address lines on the accompanying envelope.
2Patrick W. Tompkins and Abraham Lincoln were both residents of Ann G. Sprigg’s boarding house during their tenures in the House of Representatives.
William H. Townsend, Lincoln and the Bluegrass: Slavery and Civil War in Kentucky (Lexington: The University Press of Kentucky, 1955), 141; Albert J. Beveridge, Abraham Lincoln 1809-1858 (Boston and New York: Houghton and Mifflin, 1928), 1:404, n4.
3The Constitutional Convention’s so-called Great Compromise is embodied in article one, sections two and three of the Constitution. Provisions for the Electoral College is in article two, section one.
Alfred H. Kelly, “Constitution of the United States,” Dictionary of American History, rev. ed. (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1976), 2:194; U.S. Const. art. I, § 1, 2; art. II, § 1.
4Lincoln references the three-fifths compromise embodied in article one, section two, of the Constitution.
U.S. Const. art. I, § 2; William Starr Myers, “Compromises of the U.S. Constitution,” Dictionary of American History, rev. ed. (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1976), 2:151.
5Lincoln references his speech on the Mexican War delivered on January 12, 1848.

Autograph Letter Signed, 3 page(s), Bradford Brinton Memorial and Museum (Big Horn, WY).