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Abraham Lincoln to Robert Boal, 7 January 18461
Dear Doctor
Since I saw you last fall, I have often thought of writing you as it was then understood I would, but on reflection I have always found that I had nothing new to tell you– All has happened as I then told you I expected it would– Baker's declining, Hardins taking the track, and so on2
If Hardin and I stood precisely equal—that is, if neither of us had been to congress, or if we both had—it would only accord with what I have always done, for the sake of peace, to give way to him; and I expect I should do it– That I can voluntarily postpone my pretentions, when they are no more than equal to those to which they are postponed, you have yourself seen– But to yield to Hardin under present circumstances seems to me – as nothing else than yielding to one who would gladly sacrifice me altogether– This I would rather not submit to– That Hardin is talented, energetic, usually generous and magnanimous, I have, before this, affirmed to you and do not now deny– You know that my only argument is that "turn about is fair play''– This he, practically at least, denies–
If it would not be taxing you too much, I wish you would write me, telling the aspect of things in your county, or rather your district; and also send the names of some of your whig neighbours, to whom I might, with propriety write– Unless I can get some one to do this, Hardin with his old franking list, will have the advantage of me– My reliance for a fair shake (and I want nothing more) in your county is chiefly on you, because of your position and standing, and because I am acquainted with so few others– Let this, be strictly confidential, ^&^ any letter you may write me shall be the same if you desire– Let me hear from you soon–3
Yours trulyA. Lincoln
1Abraham Lincoln wrote and signed the letter.
2At a Whig convention in Pekin in May 1843, an agreement was made between Lincoln, Edward D. Baker, and John J. Hardin that seemed to establish a one-term limit on the prospective Whig congressmen. Hardin and Baker having already served, Lincoln believed that the 1846 nomination should have been his. While Hardin delayed officially announcing his candidacy, Lincoln set out to solidify his own support.
Michael Burlingame, Abraham Lincoln: A Life (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2008), 2:218, 231; Abraham Lincoln to Henry E. Dummer.
3If Robert Boal responded to Lincoln, the letter has not been located.

Copy of Autograph Letter Signed, 1 page(s), Abraham Lincoln Association Files, Lincoln Collection, Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum (Springfield, IL)