Proposal of a Barbecue, 11 May 18431
We have a proposition to make to our friends of Morgan, that, in case the locos run a candidate for Congress in that county at the August election, the majority of votes in SANGAMON COUNTY for Hardin shall DOUBLE the number of his majority in MORGAN COUNTY.2 The losing County shall give a free BARBACUE to the whigs of the other county—the said Barbacue to be provided at some place most convenient for the accommodation of the whigs of the two Counties.
Whigs of Morgan, will you go it?3
1In the winter of 1842-43, Abraham Lincoln sought nomination to run as a Whig for the congressional seat in the Seventh District. Edward D. Baker, however, got the endorsement of the Sangamon County Whigs. At the district convention in May, John J. Hardin would defeat Baker for the nomination.
In a letter to Hardin written on May 11, Lincoln stated that he “got up the proposal,” likely in an effort to galvanize Whig voters who would have preferred the nomination of Baker.
Abraham Lincoln to Joshua F. Speed; Abraham Lincoln to Martin S. Morris; Proceedings of Whig Convention at Pekin, Illinois regarding Candidates for Congress; Illinois Register (Springfield), 17 March 1843, 1:6; 24 March 1843, 2:4; Sangamo Journal (Springfield, IL), 6 April 1843, 2:4; Michael Burlingame, Abraham Lincoln: A Life (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2008), 1:215-18.
2Morgan and Sangamon counties were both in the Seventh Congressional District, along with nine other west-central Illinois counties. The Democrats did run a candidate, selecting James A. McDougall to challenge Hardin. At the election on August 7, 1843, Hardin earned 167 votes more than McDougall in Morgan County and 504 votes more than McDougall in Sangamon County.
“An Act to Establish Seven Congressional Districts,” 1 March 1843, Laws of Illinois (1843), 71-72; Theodore C. Pease, ed., Illinois Election Returns, 1818-1848, vol. 18 of Collections of the Illinois State Historical Library (Springfield: Illinois State Historical Library, 1923), 141.
3The Whigs of Morgan County went for it and paid the bet by hosting a barbecue in Jacksonville on October 6.
Printed Document, 1 page(s), Sangamo Journal (Springfield, IL), 11 May 1843, 2:2