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

To the Editor of the Chicago American [1]

Mr Editor, Springfield June 24th. 1839

From present indications we have every reason to believe that Mr. Douglass [2] will contest the right of Mr Stuart [3] to a seat in Congress. We deem it a matter of great importance to the Whig party of this District that they should be prepared to meet such contest. The importance of the decision of that contest is increased by the doubt which at present exists as to which party will have the ascendency in the next Congress. In this state of uncertainty one vote may become of the utmost importance to the sustaining of those great principles for which the Whig party are now contending. To prepare ourselves for this contest and to solicit your aid in so doing by engaging your assistance in the collection of proofs to the following facts, are the objects of this communication

1st. Whether there are any mistakes for or against Mr Stuart in the addition of colum[n]s or otherwise, apparant on the face of the Poll Books of your County?

2nd. Whether any persons voted for Mr Douglass in your County who were minors, or who had not been Residents of the state six months preceeding the Election?

3rd. Whether any unnaturalized foreigners voted for Mr Douglass in your County?

After you shall have examined into the preceeding questions, we will thank you to write us the result without delay together with the names of the illegal voters refered to in the two last questions: the names of the individuals by whom the fact of their illegality can be proved and the name and the residence of a Justice of the Peace before whom Depositions can be taken and a proper place to take them. When informed by you of the fact we will immediately take steps to procure the proofs. We would suggest the propriety of your consulting the political Friends you may think proper in your County and solicit their assistance in procuring the above facts: or the appointment of precinct committees as you may think the most advisable. Respectfully yours &c.

Joshua F. Speed James H. Matheny

E. D. Baker A. Lincoln

Milton Hay

Page  152N.B. Would it not be as well to keep the knowledge of this investigation as well as any discoveries you may make, confined to as few as possible

P.S. Let letters on this subject, be addressed to ``Stuart & Lincoln,'' as business letters.


[1]   LS, RPB. This seems to have been a form letter which may have been sent to other Whig editors as well. The body of the letter is not in Lincoln's hand, but the date and salutation are partly in Lincoln's hand; the close and signatures, postscript, and envelope (addressed to the ``Editor of the Chicago American'' who was then William Stuart), are entirely in Lincoln's hand.

[2]   In this early period Stephen A. Douglas spelled his name with the double ``s.''

[3]   John Todd Stuart, with whom Lincoln's association in the legislature had resulted in a law partnership which lasted until April, 1841.