Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln. Volume 2.
Lincoln, Abraham, 1809-1865.

To Lyman Trumbull [1]

Hon: Lyman Trumbull Springfield, June 7, 1856

My dear Sir: The news of Buchanan's [2] nomination came yesterday; and a good many whigs, of conservative feelings, and slight pro-slavery proclivities, withal, are inclining to go for him, and will do it, unless the Anti-Nebraska nomination shall be such as to divert them. The man to effect that object is Judge McLean; [3] and his nomination would save every whig, except such as have already gone over hook and line, as Singleton, [4] Morrison, [5] Constable, [6] & others. J. T. Stuart, Anthony Thornton, James M. Davis (the old settler) and others like them, will heartily go for McLean, but will every one go for Buchanan, as against Chase, Banks, Seward, Blair or Fremont. [7] I think they would stand Blair or Fremont for Vice-President---but not more.

Page  343Now there is a grave question to be considered. Nine tenths of the Anti-Nebraska votes have to come from old whigs. In setting stakes, is it safe to totally disregard them? Can we possibly win, if we do so? So far they have been disregarded. I need not point out the instances.

I think I may trust you to believe I do not say this on my own personal account. I am in, and shall go for any one nominated unless he be ``platformed'' expressly, or impliedly, on some ground which I may think wrong.

Since the nomination of Bissell we are in good trim in Illinois, save at the point I have indicated. If we can save pretty nearly all the whigs, we shall elect him, I think, by a very large majority.

I address this to you, because your influence in the Anti-Nebraska nomination will be greater than that of any other Illinoi[s]an.

Let this be confidential. Yours very truly A. LINCOLN


[1]   ALS, CSmH.

[2]   James Buchanan had been nominated at Cincinnati following Douglas' withdrawal on the night of June 5.

[3]   Justice John McLean had come recently into sharp political focus with the unauthorized announcement in the press of his avowed intention to dissent in the event the Supreme Court decided against Dred Scott, and with publication of his letter of May 13 to Lewis Cass, in which he stated ``I never doubted that Congress had this power [to prohibit slavery in a territory], and I could never have expressed doubt on the subject.''

[4]   James W. Singleton.

[5]   James L. D. Morrison.

[6]   Charles H. Constable.

[7]   Salmon P. Chase, Nathaniel P. Banks, William H. Seward, and Francis P. Blair were not really available. Both Blair and Banks were promoting John C. Fremont, Seward was not interested, and Chase was too radical.