Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln. Volume 1.
Lincoln, Abraham, 1809-1865.
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To Martin S. Morris [1]

Friend Morris: Springfield March 26th. 1843

Your letter of the 23rd. was received on yesterday morning, and for which (instead of an excuse which you thought proper to ask)

Page  320I tender you my sincere thanks. It is truly gratifying to me to learn that while the people of Sangamon have cast me off, my old friends of Menard who have known me longest and best of any, still retain there confidence in me. It would astonish if not amuse, the older citizens of your County who twelve years ago knew me a strange[r], friendless, uneducated, penniless boy, working on a flat boat---at ten dollars per month to learn that I have been put down here as the candidate of pride, wealth, and arristocratic family distinction. Yet so chiefly it was. There was too the strangest combination of church influence against me. Baker is a Campbellite, and therefore as I supose, with few acceptions got all that church. My wife has some relatives in the Presbyterian and some in the Episcopal Churches, and therefore, whereever it would tell, I was set down as either the one or the other, whilst it was every where contended that no ch[r]istian ought to go for me, because I belonged to no church, was suspected of being a deist, and had talked about fighting a duel. With all these things Baker, of course had nothing to do. Nor do I complain of them. As to his own church going for him, I think that was right → enough, and as to the influences I have spoken of in the other, though they were very strong, it would be grossly untrue and unjust to charge that they acted upon them in a body or even very nearly so. I only mean that those influences levied a tax of a considerable per cent. upon my strength throughout the religious comunity.

But enough of this. You say that in choosing a candidate for Congress you have an equal right → with Sangamon, and in this you are undoubtedly correct. In agreeing to withdraw if the whigs of Sangamon should go against me I did not mean that they alone were worth consulting; but that if she with her heavy delegation should be against me, it would be impossible for me to succeed---and therefore I had as well decline. And in relation to Menard having rights, permit me to fully recognize them---and to express the opinion that if she and Mason act circumspectly they will in the convention be able so far to enforce there rights as to decide absolutely which one of the candidates shall be successful. Let me show you the reason of this. Hardin or some other Morgan Candidate will get Morgan, Scott, & Cass---14 Baker has Sangamon already, and he or he and some [one] else not the Morgan man will get Putnam, Marshall, Woodford, Taz[e]well & Logan---which with Sangamon make 16. Then you & Mason having three, can give the victory to either man. You say you shall instruct your delegates to go for me unless I object. I certainly shall not object. That would be too plesant a compliment for me to tread in the dust. And besides if any thingPage  321 should hapen (which however is not probable) by which Baker should be thrown out of the fight, I would be at liberty to accept the nomination if I could get it. I do however feell myself bound not to hinder him in any way from getting the nomination. [2] I should dispise myself were I to attempt it. I think it would be proper for your meeting to appoint three delegates, and instruct them to go for some one as first choice, some one else as second choice, and perhaps some one as third---and if in those instructions I were named as the first choice, it would gratify me very much. If you wish to hold the ballance of power, it is important for you to attend too, and secure the vote of Mason also. You should be sure to have men appointed delegates, that you know you can safely confide in. If yourself & James Short [3] were appointed for your County all would be safe. But whether Jims woman afair a year ago might not be in the way of his appointment is a question. I dont know whether you know it, but I know him to be as honorable a man as there is in the world. You have my permission and even request to show this letter to Short; but to no one else unless it be a very particular friend who you know will not speak of it. Yours as ever

A. LINCOLN

P.S. Will you write me again? A. L---

Annotation

[1]   Copy, DLC-HW. Martin Sims Morris of Petersburg was one of two delegates from Menard County. The county convention instructed delegates to vote first for Lincoln and second for Hardin. The other Menard delegate was George U. Miles. Morris, rather than Lincoln, is responsible for the errors in spelling which appear in the copy.

[2]   Neither Edward D. Baker nor Lincoln were successful. John J. Hardin was nominated at the Pekin convention on May 1.

[3]   An old friend who lived on a farm near New Salem.

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