Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln. Volume 1.
Lincoln, Abraham, 1809-1865.

To Benjamin F. James [1]

Friend James: Springfield, Jany. 14- 1846.

Yours of the 10th. was not received until this morning. I can not but be pleased with it's contents. I saw Henry's communication [2] in your paper, as also your editorial remarks, neither of which, in my opinion, was in any way misjudged---both quite the thing. I think just as you do concerning the dictation of the course of the Alton paper, and also, concerning it's utter harmlessness.

As to the proposition to hold the convention at Petersburg, I will at once tell you all I know, and all I feel. A good friend of ours there, John Bennett, wrote me that he thought it would do good with the whigs of Menard, to see a respectable convention conducted in good style. They are a little disinclined, to adopt the convention system; & Bennett thinks some of their prejudices would be done away by their having the convention amongst them. At his request, therefore I had the little paragraph put in the Journal. [3] This is all I know. Now, as to what I feel,---I feel a desire that theyPage  354 of Petersburg should be gratified, if it can be done without a sacrafice of the wishes of others, and without detriment to the cause---nothing more. I can gain nothing in the contest by having it there. I showed your letter to Stuart, and he thinks there is something in your suggestion of holding it at your town. I should be pleased if I could concur with you in the hope that my name would be the only one presented to the convention---but I can not. Hardin is a man of desparate energy and perseverance; and one that never backs out; and, I fear, to think otherwise, is to be deceived in the character of our adversary.

I would rejoice to be spared the labour of a contest; but ``being in'' I shall go it thoroughly, and to the bottom. As to my being able to make a break in the lower counties, I tell you that I can possibly get Cass, but I do not think I will. Morgan & Scott are beyond my reach. Menard is safe to me. Mason---neck and neck. Logan is mine. To make the matter sure, your entire Senatorial District must be secured. Of this I suppose Tazewell is safe; and I have much done in both the other counties. In Woodford I have Davenport, [4] Simms, Willard, [5] Bracken, [6] Perry[,] [7] Travis, [8] Dr. Hazzard [sic], [9] and the Clarks [sic], [10] & some others all specially committed. At Lacon, in Marshall the very most active friend I have in the District (If I except yourself) is at work. [11] Through him I have procured their names, and written to three or four of the most active whigs in each precinct of the county. Still I wish you all in Tazewell, to keep your eyes continually on Woodford and Marshall. Let no oppertunity of making a mark escape. When they shall be safe, all will be safe---I think.

The Beardstown paper [12] is entirely in the hands of my friends. The editor is a whig, and personally dislikes Hardin. When this Supreme court shall adjourn, (which it is thought will be about the 15th. of February) it is my intention to take a quiet trip through the towns and neighbourhoods of Logan county, Delevan [sic], Tremont, [13] and on to & through the upper counties. Dont speak of this, or let it relax any of your vigilance.

When I shall reach Tremont, we will talk over every thing at large. Yours truly

A. LINCOLN

Annotation

[1]   ALS, MH.

[2]   Dr. Anson G. Henry who was then a resident of Pekin, Illinois; the communication favoring Lincoln was signed ``A Whig,'' and appeared in the Tazewell Whig, December 27, 1845.

[3]   ``A whig of Menard county, speaking on behalf of himself and others, expresses a wish, that the Convention for the nomination of a Whig candidate for Congress in this District, be held at Petersburgh. We know no reason why it should not; and if others are agreed, so are we.'' Sangamo Journal, January 1, 1846.

[4]   Reverend William Davenport, minister of the Christian Church.Page  355

[5]   Peter H. Willard, prominent merchant at Metamora, Illinois.

[6]   Matthew Bracken, of Walnut Grove.

[7]   John J. Perry.

[8]   Daniel Travis.

[9]   Dr. John Hazard.

[10]   Henry J. and Robert M. Clark.

[11]   Dr. Robert Boal.

[12]   Gazette, edited by Sylvester Emmons.

[13]   Delavan and Tremont are in Tazewell County.