Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln. Volume 1.
Lincoln, Abraham, 1809-1865.
Dear Genl. [2] Springfield, Jany. 19th. 1846

I do not wish to join in your proposal [3] of a new plan for the selection of a whig candidate for congress, because

1st. I am entirely satisfied with the old system [4] under which you and Baker were successively nominated and elected to congress; and because the whigs of the District are well acquainted with that system, and, so far as I know or believe, are universally satisfied with it. If the old system be thought to be vague, as to all the delegates of a county, voting the same, way; or as to instructions to them, as to whom they are to vote for; or as to filling vacancies, I am willing to join in a provision to make these matters certain.

2nd. As to your proposals that a poll shall be opened in every precinct, and that the whole shall take place on the same day, I do not personally object. They seem to me to not be unfair; and I forbear to join in proposing them, only because I rather choose to leave the decision in each county to the whigs of the county, to be made as their own judgment and convenience may dictate.

3rd. As to your proposed stipulation that all the candidates shall remain in their own counties, and restrain their friends to the same, it seems to me that on reflection you will see, the fact of your having been in congress, has, in various ways, so spread your name in the district, as to give you a decided advantage in such a stipulation. I appreciate your desire to keep down excitement; and I promise you to ``keep cool'' under all circumstances.

4th. I have already said I am satisfied with the old system,Page  357 under which such good men have triumphed; and that I desire no departure from its principles. But if there must be a departure from it, I shall insist upon a more accurate and just apportionment of delegates, or representative votes, to the constituent body, than exists by the old; and which you propose to retain in your new plan.

If we take the entire population of the counties as shown by the late census, we shall see that by the old plan, and by your proposed new plan

Morgan county with a population of 16.541 has 8 votes

while Sangamon with 18.697---2156 greater has but 8 do

So, Scott, with 6553---has 4 do

while Tazewell with 7615---1062 greater--- has but 4 do---

So, Mason with 3135 has 1. do

while Logan with 3907---772 greater has but 1. do---

And so, in a less degree, the matter runs through all the counties; being not only wrong in principle, but the advantage of it being all manifestly in your favour, with one slight exception in the comparison of two counties not here mentioned.

Again: If we take the whig votes of the counties as shown by the late presidential election as a basis, the thing is still worse. Take a comparison of the same six counties---

Morgan, with her 1443 whig votes has 8 votes

Sangamon with her 1837--- 394 greater only 8 do.

Mason with her 255--- has 1 do

Logan do do 310--- 55 greater only. 1. do

Scott do do 670--- has 4. do

Tazewell do do 1011. 341 greater---only 4. do---

It seems to me most obvious that the old system needs adjustment in nothing so much as in this; and still by your proposal, no notice is taken of it.

I have always been in the habit of acceeding to almost any proposal that a friend would make; and I am truly sorry I can not in this.

I perhaps ought to mention that some friends at different places, are endeavouring to secure the honor of the sitting of a convention at their towns respectively; and I fear they would not feel much complimented, if we were to make a bargain that it shall sit no where. Yours as ever A. LINCOLN