I believe that Lincoln really never tried to hide his true feelings and yet throughout the readings on his war directed to the Southern States, Lincoln has been protected by his loyal followers, whether blindly or purposefully.
“While I was at the hotel to-day an elderly gentleman called upon me to know whether I was really in favor of producing perfect equality between the negroes and white people. While I had not proposed to myself on this occasion to say much on that subject, yet, as the question was asked me, I thought I would occupy perhaps five minutes in saying something in regard to it. I will say, then, that I am not, nor ever have been, in favor of bringing about in any way the social and political equality of the white and black races; that I am not, nor ever have been, in favor of making voters or jurors of negroes, nor of qualifying them to hold office, or intermarry with the white people; and I will say in addition to this that there is a physical difference between the white and black races which I believe will forever forbid the two races living together on terms of social and political equality. And inasmuch as they can not so live, while they do remain together there must be the position of superior and inferior, and I, as much as any other man, am in favor of having the superior position assigned to the white race. - ”Arthur Brooks Lapsley, The Writings Of Abraham Lincoln, Volume 5 (G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1906), 19. civil war
“I have said that the separation of the races is the only perfect preventive of amalgamation. I have no right to say all the members of the Republican party are in favor of this, nor to say that as a party they are in favor of it. There is nothing in their platform directly on the subject. ... Such separation, if ever effected at all, must be effected by colonization; and no political party, as such, is now doing anything directly for colonization. Party operations at present only favor or retard colonization incidentally. The enterprise is a difficult one; but ‘where there is a will there is a way,’ and what colonization needs most is a hearty will. Will springs from the two elements of moral sense and self-interest. Let us be brought to believe it is morally right, and at the same time favorable to, or at least not against, our interest to transfer the African to his native clime, and we shall find a way to do it, however great the task may be. - ” Arthur Brooks Lapsley, The Writings Of Abraham Lincoln, Volume 2 (New York: The Lamb Publishing Company, 1905), 306.
“God knows I would be one. Yes, God knows I would be one were I convinced that Christianity is true, but not convinced of its truth, I am an unbeliever. - ”John E. Remsburg, Abraham Lincoln: Was He A Christian (New York: The Truth Seeker Company, 1893), 46.
“Newton Bateman, Superintendent of Public Instruction for the State of Illinois, occupied a room adjoining and opening into the Executive Chamber. Frequently this door was open during Mr. Lincoln s receptions; and throughout the seven months or more of his occupation Mr. Bateman saw him nearly every day. ... Often when Mr. Lincoln was tired he closed his door against all intrusion, and called Mr. Bateman into his room for a quiet talk. ... toward the close of October, and only a few days before the election. Calling Mr. Bateman to a seat at his side, having previously locked all the doors, he said: ‘let us look over this book. I wish particularly to see how the ministers of Springfield are going to vote.’ In that manner they went through the book, and then he closed it and sat silently and for some minutes regarding a memorandum in pencil which lay before him. At length he turned to Mr. Bateman with a face full of sadness, and said: ‘Here are twenty-three ministers, of different denominations, and all of them are against me but three; and here are a great many prominent members of the churches, a very large majority of whom are against me. Mr. Bateman, I am not a Christian God knows I would be one but I have carefully read the Bible, and I do not so understand this book...’” - J. G. Holland, The Life Of Abraham Lincoln (Springfield, Mass.: Gurdon Bill, 1866) 236-237.