Abraham Lincoln to John J. Hardin, 21 May 18441Springfield, May 21, 1844.Dear Hardin:
Knowing that you have correspondents enough, I have forborne to trouble you heretofore; and I now only do so, to get you to set a matter right which has got wrong with one of our best friends. It is old uncle Thomas Campbell of Spring Creek—(Berlin P. O.[Post Office]) He has received several documents from you, and he says they are old newspapers and documents, having no sort of interest in them.2 He is, therefore, getting a strong impression that you treat him with disrespect. This, I know, is a mistaken impression; and you must correct it. The way, I leave to yourself. Rob't W. Canfield, says he would like to have a document or two from you.3
The Locos here are in considerable trouble about Van Buren's letter on Texas, and the Virginia electors.4 They are growing sick of the Tariff question; and consequently are much confounded at V. B.'s cutting them off from the new Texas question. Nearly half the leaders swear they wont stand it. Of those are Ford, T.As ever yours,A. Lincoln.
<Page 2>Campbell, Ewing, Calhoun and others. They don't exactly say they won't vote for V. B., but they say he will not be the candidate, and that they are for Texas anyhow.5
1No handwritten version of this letter has been located. This transcription is taken from a transcription in Ida M. Tarbell’s The Life of Abraham Lincoln (1900).
2As a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, John J. Hardin was serving as the member of Congress for Campbell’s district.
3 The documents Lincoln mentions were likely issues of the Congressional Globe or reports of Congressional sessions from other sources.
4On April 27, 1844, Martin Van Buren wrote a letter to William H. Hammett, a Democratic congressman from Mississippi, rejecting the potential annexation of Texas, which was highly popular among Democrats. This letter prompted Virginia’s delegation to the Democratic National Convention to withdraw their support for Van Buren’s nomination for president in 1844.
Amy S. Greenberg, A Wicked War: Polk, Clay, Lincoln, and the 1846 U.S. Invasion of Mexico (New York: Vintage Books, 2013), 19; John Niven, Martin Van Buren: The Romantic Age of American Politics (New York: Oxford University Press, 1983), 526-32.
5Previously the frontrunner for the Democratic nomination for president in 1844, Van Buren’s letter to Hammett led to his rejection at the Democratic National Convention in Baltimore. On May 28, 1844, the Democrats nominated pro-annexation James K. Polk as their candidate for president.
Amy S. Greenberg, A Wicked War: Polk, Clay, Lincoln, and the 1846 U.S. Invasion of Mexico, 38-41; David Niven, Martin Van Buren: The Romantic Age of American Politics, 530-42.
Printed Transcription, 2 page(s), Ida M. Tarbell, The Life of Abraham Lincoln, 2 vols. (New York: Doubleday & McClure, 1900), 2:290-91