Abraham Lincoln to Northcup J. Rockwell, 21 January 18461Springfield, January 21, 1846.N. J. Rockwell:Dear Sir:
You perhaps know that General Hardin and I have a contest for the Whig nomination for Congress for this district.2 He has had a turn and my argument is "Turn about is fair play." I shall be pleased if this strikes you as a sufficient argument.Yours truly,A. Lincoln.
1This document is not extant and no image of the document has been located. This transcription is taken from the earliest published transcription of the document, in Ida Tarbell’s, The Life of Abraham Lincoln (New York: Doubleday & McClure, 1900), 2:295. Tarbell presumably had access to the original, and presumably it was written and signed by Abraham Lincoln.
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. In response, Hardin proposed that the convention system for the nomination be thrown out in favor of a primary election between himself and Lincoln. On January 19, Lincoln refused to agree to the change, and on February 16, Hardin announced he would not seek the nomination.
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, 233; Sangamo Journal (Springfield, IL), 26 February 1846, 2:1-2; Howard W. Allen and Vincent A. Lacey, eds., Illinois Elections, 1818-1990 (Carbondale and Edwardsville: Southern Illinois University Press, 1992), 126.
Printed Transcription, 1 page(s), Ida M. Tarbell, “Appendix,” The Life of Abraham Lincoln (New York: Doubleday & McClure, 1900), 2:295