Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln. Volume 3.
Lincoln, Abraham, 1809-1865.

To Lyman Trumbull [1]

Hon. L. Trumbull: Springfield,
My dear Sir Decr. 11. 1858

Your letter of the 7th. inclosing one from Mr. Underwood, [2] is received. I have not the slightest thought of being a candidate for

Page  345Congress in this District. I am not spoken of in that connection; and I can scarcely conceive what has misled Mr. Underwood in regard to the matter.

As to what we shall do, the Republicans are a little divided. The Danites say if we will stand out of the way, they will run a man, and divide the democratic forces with the Douglasites; and some of our friends are in favor of this course. Others think such a course would demoralize us, and hurt us in the future; and they, of course, are in favor of running a man of our own at all events. This latter view will probably prevail.

Since you left, Douglas has gone South, making characteristic speeches, and seeking to re-instate himself in that section. The majority of the democratic politicians of the nation mean to kill him; but I doubt whether they will adopt the aptest way to do it. Their true way is to present him with no new test, let him into the Charleston Convention, and then outvote him, and nominate another. In that case, he will have no pretext for bolting the nomination, and will be as powerless as they can wish. On the other hand, if they push a Slave code upon him, as a test, he will bolt at once, turn upon us, as in the case of Lecompton, and claim that all Northern men shall make common cause in electing him President as the best means of breaking down the Slave power. In that case, the democratic party go into a minority inevitably; and the struggle in the whole North will be, as it was in Illinois last summer and fall, whether the Republican party can maintain it's identity, or be broken up to form the tail of Douglas' new kite. Some of our great Republican doctors will then have a splendid chance to swallow the pills they so eagerly prescribed for us last Spring. Still I hope they will not swallow them; and although I do not feel that I owe the said doctors much, I will help them, to the best of my ability, to reject the said pills. The truth is, the Republican principle can, in no wise live with Douglas; and it is arrant folly now, as it was last Spring, to waste time, and scatter labor already performed, in dallying with him. Your friend as ever



[1]   ALS, CSmH.

[2]   John C. Underwood of the Emigrant Aid and Homestead Company in New York City had been driven out of Virginia for attending the Fremont convention in 1856. His letter to Trumbull, December 6, expressed his belief in the importance of Lincoln's election to Congress to fill the vacancy caused by the death of Thomas L. Harris after the November election (DLC-RTL).