Abraham Lincoln to Thaddeus Stevens, 3 September 18481Washington, Sept 3. 1848Hon: Thaddeus StevensDear Sir:
You may possibly remember seeing me at the Philadelphia Convention—introduced to you as the lone whig star of Illinois–2 Since the adjournment, I have remained here, so long, in the Whig document room– I am now about to start for home;3 and I desire the undisguised opinion of some experienced and sagacious Pennsylvania politician, as to how the vote of that state, for governor, and president, is likely to go– In casting about for such a man, I have settled upon you; and I shall be much obliged if you will write me at Springfield, Illinois–4
The news we are receiving here now, by letters from all quarters is steadily on the rise; we have none lately of a discouraging character– This is the sum, without giving particulars–Yours trulyA Lincoln
Free.A Lincoln M C[Member Congress]
Paid5Hon Thaddeus StevensLancasterPa–FREE
WASHINGTON D.C.[District of Columbia]
1Abraham Lincoln wrote and signed this letter. Lincoln also authored the address on the back page, which was folded to create an envelope for mailing.
2As a prelude to the presidential election of 1848, the Whig Party held its national convention in Philadelphia from June 7-9. On June 9, Lincoln telegraphed Simeon Francis that the convention had nominated Zachary Taylor for president--the first telegraphic message sent by Lincoln.
Michael F. Holt, Michael F. Holt, The Rise and Fall of the American Whig Party: Jacksonian Politics and the Onset of the Civil War (New York: Oxford University Press, 1999), 320-30; Beverly Wilson Palmer and Holly Byers Ochoa, eds., The Selected Papers of Thaddeus Stevens (Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 1997), 1:102.
3Shortly after writing this letter, Lincoln spent eleven days in Massachusetts stumping for Taylor. He then returned to Illinois via the Great Lakes and the Illinois River, arriving in Chicago on October 5.
Michael Burlingame, Abraham Lincoln: A Life (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2008), 1:280-84; The Lincoln Log: A Daily Chronology of the Life of Abraham Lincoln, 23 September 1848, http://www.thelincolnlog.org/Results.aspx?type=CalendarDay&day=1848-09-23; 5 October 1848, http://www.thelincolnlog.org/Results.aspx?type=CalendarDay&day=1848-10-05.
4In August 1848, Stevens won a seat as a Whig in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Stevens responded to Lincoln on September 7.
In the presidential race, Taylor captured Pennsylvania and its twenty-six electoral votes with 50.3 percent of the vote to 46.7 percent for Lewis Cass, the Democratic Party nominee. In the gubernatorial contest, Whig candidate William F. Johnston defeated his Democratic challenger by a scant 297 votes.
Hans L. Trefousse, Thaddeus Stevens: Nineteenth-Century Egalitarian (Chapel Hill and London: The University of North Carolina Press, 1997), 75; John L. Moore, Jon P. Preimesberger, and David R. Tarr, eds., Congressional Quarterly’s Guide to U.S. Elections, 4th ed. (Washington, DC: CQ Press, 2001), 1:650, 733, 2:1460.
Autograph Letter Signed, 2 page(s), Abraham Lincoln Papers, Library of Congress (Washington, DC).