Abraham Lincoln to Richard Yates, 18 August 18541Springfield, Aug: 18. 1854Hon: R. YatesJacksonville, Ills–My dear Sir:
I am disappointed at not having seen or heard from you, since I met you more than a week ago, at the Railroad depot here–2 I wish to have the matter we spoke of settled, and working to its consummation– I understand that our friend B. S. Edwards is entirely satisfied now; and when I can assure myself of this perfectly I would like, by your leave, to get an aditional paragraph into the Journal, about as follows:
“To day we place the name of ^Hon^ Richard Yates, Esq, at the head of our columns, for re-election, as the Whig candidate for this congressional District– We do this, without consultation with him, and subject to the decision of a Whig convention, ^should^ if the holding of one be deemed necessary; hoping, however, there may be unanamous acquiescence, without a convention”
May I do this? Answer by return mail–3Your as everA. Lincoln
2Lincoln met Richard Yates on August 9, 1854 when Yates was returning to his home in Jacksonville from Washington, DC.
The Lincoln Log: A Daily Chronology of the Life of Abraham Lincoln, 9 August 1854, http://www.thelincolnlog.org/Results.aspx?type=CalendarDay&day=1854-08-09.
3Instead of writing back, Richard Yates visited Lincoln in Springfield on August 21, 1854. On August 22, the Illinois Daily Journal announced Yates’ candidacy: “HON. RICHARD YATES Has yielded to the solicitation of his friends and consented to be a candidate for re-election to Congress, subject to the decision of a convention should one be held.” No convention was held.
Yates sought reelection as representative of the Sixth Congressional District. The Democrats nominated Thomas L. Harris as his opponent. Lincoln wrote Yates about the electoral campaign against him in October 1854. In the general election held in November 1854, Harris defeated Yates by 200 votes, garnering 50.5 percent of the vote to Yates’ 49.5 percent.
The Lincoln Log: A Daily Chronology of the Life of Abraham Lincoln, 21 August 1854, http://www.thelincolnlog.org/Results.aspx?type=CalendarDay&day=1854-08-21; Illinois Daily Journal (Springfield), 22 August 1854, 2:1; Howard W. Allen and Vincent A. Lacey, eds., Illinois Elections, 1818-1990 (Carbondale and Edwardsville: Southern Illinois University Press, 1992), 10.
Copy of Autograph Letter Signed, 1 page(s), Abraham Lincoln Association Files, Lincoln Collection, Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum (Springfield, IL).