ALS copy, DLC-RTL, and Debates Scrapbook, ORB. Douglas' letter of the 24th (DLC-RTL) is as follows:
To Hon. A. Lincoln Chicago,
Dear Sir: July 24th, 1858
Your note of this date, in which you inquire if it would be agreeable to me to make an arrangement to divide the time and address the same audiences during the present canvass was handed me by Mr Judd.
Recent events have interposed difficulties in the way of such an arrangement. I went to Springfield last week for the purpose of conferring with the Democratic State Central committee upon the mode of conducting the canvass and with them and under their advice, made a list of appointments covering the entire period until late in October. The people of the several localities have been notified of the time and places of the meetings. These appointments have all been made for Democratic meetings and arrangements have been made by which the Democratic candidates for congress, for the Legislature and other offices will be present and address the people. It is evident, therefore, that these various candidates, in connection with myself, will occupy the whole time of the day and evening and leave no opportunity for other speeches.
Besides, there is another consideration which should be kept in mind. It has been suggested recently that an arrangement had been made to bring out a third candidate for the U. S. Senate, who, with yourself, should canvass the state in opposition to me, and with no other purpose than to insure my defeat by dividing the Democratic party for your benefit. If I should make this arrangement with you, it is more than probable that this other candidate, who has a common object with you, would desire to become a party to it and claim the right to speak from the same stand; so that he and you in concert might be able to take the opening and closing speech in every case.
I cannot refrain from expressing my surprise, if it was your original intention to invite such an arrangement that you should have waited until after I had made my appointments, inasmuch as we were both here in Chicago together for several days after my arrival, and again at Bloomington, Atlanta, Lincoln and Springfield, where it was well known I went for the purpose of consulting with the State Central Committee and agreeing upon the plan of campaign.
While under these circumstances I do not feel at liberty to make any arrangement which would deprive the Democratic candidates for congress, State officers and the Legislature from participating in the discussion at the various meetings designated by the Democratic State Central Committee, I will, in order to accommodate you as far as it is in my power to do so, take the responsibility of making an arrangement with you for a discussion between us at one prominent point in each congressional district in the state, excepting the second and sixth districts, where we have both spoken and in each of which cases you had the concluding speech. If agreeable to you I will indicate the following places as those most suitable in the several congressional districts at which we should speak, to wit, Freeport, Ottawa, Galesburg, Quincy, Alton, Jonesboro and Charleston.
I will confer with you at the earliest convenient opportunity in regard to the mode of conducting the debate and the times of meeting at the several places subject to the condition that where appointments have already been made by the Democratic State Central Committee at any of those places I must insist upon your meeting me at the times specified. Very respectfully, Your Obd't Servant S. A. DOUGLAS.
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