Abraham Lincoln to John Bennett, 15 January 18461Springfield, Jany 15– 1846Friend John:
Nathan Dresser is here, and speaks as though the contest between Hardin & me is to be doubtful in Menard county–2 I know he is candid, and this alarms me some– I asked him to tell me the names of the men that were going strong for Hardin; he said Morris was about as strong as any– Now tell me, is Morris going it openly?– You remember you wrote me, that he would be neutral– Nathan also said that some man (who he could not remember) had said lately, that Menard county was again to decide the contest; and that that made the contest very doubtful– Do you know who that was?–
Dont fail to write me instantly on receiving this, telling me all— particularly the names of those who are going strong against me–3Yours as everA. Lincoln
1Abraham Lincoln wrote and signed the letter. It was enclosed inside Abraham Lincoln to John Bennett.
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. In September 1845, Lincoln inquired of Hardin’s plans, but Hardin would not answer definitively one way or the other. While Hardin delayed officially announcing his candidacy, Lincoln set out to solidify his own support.
Lincoln and Hardin were vying to represent the Seventh Congressional District, which included the counties of Cass, Logan, Marshall, Mason, Menard, Morgan, Putnam, Sangamon, Scott, Tazewell, and Woodford.
Michael Burlingame, Abraham Lincoln: A Life (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2008), 1:218, 231; Abraham Lincoln to Henry E. Dummer; Howard W. Allen and Vincent A. Lacey, eds., Illinois Elections, 1818-1990 (Carbondale and Edwardsville: Southern Illinois University Press, 1992), 126.
Autograph Letter Signed, 1 page(s), Gilder Lehrman Collection (New York, New York)