The Real Cause of the U.S. Civil War

Robert Hosea to Abraham Lincoln, February 7, 1861

Page 6

The conspirators have artfully brought about

this condition of things to cloak and hide from

view their ulterior objects; they do not

apprehend your administration doing any

harm to slavery; but hate you as a

whig of the old Henry Clay stamp, and

fear a protective tariff more than they do

aggression against slavery, for they know

as long as they retain this institution, they

must always remain an agricultural people,

without any hope of attaining any importance in

manufactures. Here lies the trouble, and here

the danger they apprehend from you; they

are now in an agony of fear lest you appoint

for your secretary of the Treasury a representative

high tariff man from a state largely interested

in Protection, such a man as Gen Cameron from

such a state as Pennsylvania. The tariff question

not "slavery" will be the dead point of danger

in your administration. But as long as "the

most general good for the benefit of the largest

portion of the people," is the rule for statesmen

to apply to public measures, you need have

no fear, the country will sustain you.

The Pennsylvanians are too jubilant I fear,

and may demand too much protection, should

this occur, it will create a serious division

even in Northern states, especially in the Western

states, where agriculture, not manufactures,

is the basis of our wealth.

But to the conspirators again,

their agent informs me, as we all know,

Hosea Letter Page 6