Abraham Lincoln to Charles Hoyt, 10 November 18541Clinton, DeWitt, Co. Nov: 10. 1854Mr Charles HoytDear Sir:
You used to express a good deal of partiality for me; and if you are still so, now is the time–2 Some friends here are really for me, for the U.S. Senate; and I should be very gratified if you could make a mark for me among your members– Please write me at all events, giving me the names, post-offices, and "political position" of members round about you– Direct to Springfield–
Let this be confidential–3Yours trulyA. Lincoln–
2Lincoln knew Charles Hoyt at least as early as 1849, as Lincoln was one of three attorneys representing Hoyt in the case Parker v. Hoyt, which went to trial in the U.S. Circuit Court, District of Illinois in July 1850. Zebulon Parker had sued Hoyt for violating Parker’s patent, obtained in October 1829, for a reaction percussion waterwheel. The case was still in progress when Lincoln wrote this letter.
Grant Goodrich to Abraham Lincoln; For additional information on the case, see Parker v. Hoyt, Martha L. Benner and Cullom Davis et al., eds., The Law Practice of Abraham Lincoln: Complete Documentary Edition, 2d edition (Springfield: Illinois Historic Preservation Agency, 2009), http://www.lawpracticeofabrahamlincoln.org/Details.aspx?case=137697.
3Lincoln wrote similar letters to other political allies in November and December of 1854.
Passage of the Kansas-Nebraska Act and its effective repeal of the Missouri Compromise reawakened Lincoln’s passion for politics, and he threw himself into the congressional election campaign in the fall of 1854, crisscrossing Illinois to deliver speeches against the Kansas-Nebraska Act and in support of anti-Nebraska candidates. He even allowed himself to become a candidate for the Illinois General Assembly (albeit unwillingly at first). As the election campaign reached its climax, Lincoln’s name began to circulate as a possible nominee for one of the state’s U.S. Senate seats.
In his reply to Lincoln on November 20, Hoyt provided Lincoln with the names of Kane County’s representatives in the Illinois General Assembly and his opinion whether they would vote for Lincoln in the Senate election. Augustus Adams and Benjamin Hackney represented Kane County in the Illinois Senate and House of Representatives, respectfully, during the Nineteenth General Assembly.
Hoyt later wrote at least two more letters to Lincoln on the topic of Lincoln’s candidacy for the U.S. Senate.
Lincoln won election to the Illinois General Assembly, but, in late-November 1854, declined to serve in order to run for the U.S. Senate. Ultimately, Lincoln did not win election to the U.S. Senate; the Illinois General Assembly selected anti-Nebraska Democrat Lyman Trumbull instead. See the 1854 Federal Election.
Charles Hoyt to Abraham Lincoln; Charles Hoyt to Abraham Lincoln; Abraham Lincoln to Hugh Lamaster; Abraham Lincoln to Joseph Gillespie; Abraham Lincoln to Herbert W. Fay; David Herbert Donald, Lincoln (New York: Touchstone, 1995), 167-73; Autobiography of Abraham Lincoln Written for John L. Scripps; William H. Randolph to Abraham Lincoln; Abraham Lincoln to Noah W. Matheny; Michael Burlingame, Abraham Lincoln: A Life (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2008), 1:392, 401-2; John Clayton, comp., The Illinois Fact Book and Historical Almanac, 1673-1968 (Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 1970), 220-21; Illinois Daily Journal (Springfield), 10 November 1854, 2:5.
Copy of Autograph Letter Signed, 1 page(s), Abraham Lincoln Association Files, Lincoln Collection, Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum (Springfield, IL).