[ endorsement ]
Washburne Copy.
Abraham Lincoln to Elihu B. Washburne, 19 December 18542
Hon. E. B. Washburne.My dear Sir:
Yours of the 12th just received. The objection of your friend at Winnebago rather astonishes me.3
For a Senator to be the impartial representative of his whole State, is so plain a duty, that I pledge myself to the observance of it without hesitation; but not without some mortification that any one should suspect me of an inclination to the contrary. I was eight years a representative of Sangamon County in the Legislature;4 and, although, in a conflict of interests between that and other counties, it perhaps would have been my duty to stick to Old Sangamon; yet it is not within my recollection that the Northern members ever wanted my vote for any interest of theirs, without getting it. My distinct recollection is, that the Northern members, and Sangamon members, were always on good terms, and always co-operating on measures of policy. The cause ^Canal^ was then the great Northern measure, and it, from first to last, had our votes as readily as the votes of the North itself. Indeed, I shall be surprized if it can be pointed out that in any instance, the North sought our aid, and failed to get it.
Again, I was a member of Congress one term—5 the term when Mr. Turner was the legal member, and you were a lobby member from your then District.6 Now I think I might appeal to Mr. Turner and yourself whether you did not always have my feeble service for the asking. In the case of conflict, I might without blame, have preferred my own District. As a Senator, I should claim no right, as I should feel no inclination to give the central portion of the
<Page 2>
State any preference over the North, or any other portion of it.7
Very truly yours friend,A. Lincoln.
1An unknown person wrote this endorsement.
2This letter is a copy typed on a typewriter. The original in Abraham Lincoln’s hand has not been located.
3Lincoln references opposition to his candidacy for the U.S. Senate. 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 November and December 1854, Lincoln wrote confidential letters to political allies seeking support for his candidacy and information about his prospects. Lincoln won election to the Illinois House of Representatives in the 1854 election, but declined the seat in late November in order to run for U.S. Senate.
Elihu B. Washburne was among those assisting Lincoln. Washburne wrote Lincoln on December 12, that an unspecified friend from Winnebago County opposed Lincoln’s candidacy because Lincoln was from Springfield. “The objection to you is that it is alledged that the Springfield influence has always been against us in the north, and that if you should be elected the north would be overlooked for the center and south part of the State.”
David Herbert Donald, Lincoln (New York: Touchstone, 1995), 167-73; William H. Randolph to Abraham Lincoln; Autobiography of Abraham Lincoln Written for John L. Scripps; Abraham Lincoln to Hugh Lamaster; Abraham Lincoln to Joseph Gillespie; Abraham Lincoln to Horace W. Fay; Elihu B. Washburne to Abraham Lincoln; Illinois Daily Journal (Springfield), 10 November 1854, 2:5.
4Lincoln served in the Illinois House of Representatives, representing Sangamon County, between 1834 and 1842.
Louis L. Emmerson, ed., Blue Book of the State of Illinois, 1923-1924 (Springfield: Illinois State Journal, 1923), 670-73.
5Lincoln represented the Seventh Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives from December 1847 until March 1849.
Michael Burlingame, Abraham Lincoln: A Life (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2008), 1:241, 284; Howard W. Allen and Vincent A. Lacey, eds., Illinois Elections, 1818-1990 (Carbondale and Edwardsville: Southern Illinois University Press, 1992), 8.
6Thomas J. Turner served as a Democratic member of the U.S. House of Representatives in the Thirtieth Congress for the Sixth Congressional District, which at the time included Jo Daviess County, where Washburne resided. Washburne was a lobby member from the same district. Jo Daviess County remained in the Sixth Congressional District until 1852, when Congress reorganized the districts, placing Jo Daviess County in the First Congressional District.
Biographical Directory of the American Congress 1774-1996 (Alexandria, VA: CQ Staff Directories, 1997), 1970, 2018; Louis L. Emmerson, ed., Blue Book of the State of Illinois, 1923-1924, 641; Howard W. Allen and Vincent A. Lacey, eds., Illinois Elections, 1818-1990, 118-20, 134.
7Lincoln was among the leading contenders when the Illinois General Assembly met in joint session on February 8, 1855, to elect a U.S. Senator. After ten rounds of balloting, the General Assembly elected Lyman Trumbull as Illinois’s new U.S. Senator. See the 1854 Federal Election.

Typed Transcription, 2 page(s), Abraham Lincoln Papers, Library of Congress (Washington, DC).