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

To Elihu B. Washburne [1]

Hon. E. B. Washburne, Urbana, Ills.
My dear Sir: April 26. 1858.

I am rather a poor correspondent, but I think perhaps I ought to write you a letter just now. I am here at this time; but I was at home during the sitting of the two democratic conventions. [2] The day before the [3] conventions I received a letter from Chicago having, among other things, on other subjects, the following in it:

``A reliable republican, but an old line whig lawyer, in this city told me to-day that he himself had seen a letter from one of our republican congressmen, advising us all to go for the re-election of

Page  444Judge Douglass. He said he was injoined to keep the author a secret & he was going to do so. From him I learnt that he was not an old line democrat, or abolitionist. This narrows the contest down to the congressmen from the Galena and Fulton Dists.''

The above is a litteral copy of all the letter contained on that subject. The morning of the conventions Mr. Herndon showed me your letter of the 15th. to him, which convinced me that the story in the letter from Chicago was based upon some mistake, misconstruction of language, or the like. Several of our friends were down from Chicago, and they had something of the same story amongst them, some half suspecting that you were inclined to favor Douglas, and others thinking there was an effort to wrong you.

I thought neither was exactly the case; that the whole had originated in some misconstruction, coupled with a high degree of sensitiveness on the point, and that the whole matter was not worth another moment's consideration.

Such is my opinion now, and I hope you will have no concern about it. I have written this because Charley Wilson [4] told me he was writing you, and because I expect Dr. Ray, [5] (who was a little excited about the matter) has also written you; and because I think, I perhaps, have taken a calmer view of the thing than they may have done. I am satisfied you have done no wrong, and no-body has intended any wrong to you.

A word about the conventions. The democracy parted in not a very encouraged state of mind.

On the contrary, our friends, a good many of whom were present, parted in high spirits. They think if we do not triumph the fault will be our own, and so I really think. Your friend as ever



[1]   ALS, IHi.

[2]   Both the Douglas Democrats and the Buchanan Democrats held conventions at Springfield on April 21.

[3]   Lincoln wrote ``the.'' Another hand has changed the word to ``these.''

[4]   Charles L. Wilson, publisher of the Chicago Daily Journal.

[5]   Charles H. Ray, editor of the Chicago Tribune and Republican state chairman, wrote to Washburne, May 2, 1858, explaining that the trouble came out of Wilson's showing a letter of Washburne's to Samuel L. Baker of Chicago, ``. . . a d---d stupid ass, who went to Wentworth who then wrote to Lincoln.'' (DLC-Washburne Papers)