Abraham Lincoln to John Van Dyke, 27 June 18561Springfield, Ills. June 27/56.Hon. John VandykeMy dear Sir:
When you meet Judge Dayton, present my respects; and tell him I think him a far better man than I for the position he is in; and that I shall support both him & Col. Fremont most cordially–3Yours trulyA. Lincoln–
. . . the North— the only . . . listening to the voice . . . Conservatism, as . . . [
...?]^a^ . . . unerrin. . .5
2The Republican Party held its first national convention in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania during the third week in June. At the convention, John Allison nominated Lincoln to be the party’s candidate for vice president of the United States. John Palmer seconded the nomination. During an informal vote, Lincoln received the second highest number of votes: 110 to William L. Dayton’s 253. In the end, after discussion and a formal vote, the convention’s delegates unanimously nominated Dayton as the Republican Party’s candidate for vice president.
After Dayton won the nomination, John Van Dyke addressed the convention and complimented several of the nominees—including Lincoln. Of Lincoln, Van Dyke said, “I knew Abraham Lincoln in Congress well, and for months I sat by his side. I knew him all through, and knew him to be a first-rate man in every respect; and if it had not been the will and pleasure of the Convention to have selected William L. Dayton, I know with what perfect alacrity I would have gone for him.” Van Dyke and Lincoln had served together in the Thirtieth Congress, from 1847 to 1849.
In a letter to Lincoln dated June 21, 1856, William B. Archer noted that it was he who prompted Allison to nominate Lincoln as the party’s vice presidential candidate. However, Nathaniel G. Wilcox later claimed that he had been the one to propose to the Illinois delegation that Lincoln should be nominated for vice president, and that he had convinced Archer to support the choice.
Proceedings of the First Three Republican National Conventions of 1856, 1860 and 1864 (Minneapolis, MN: Charles W. Johnson, 1893), 15, 59, 61, 62, 64, 66, 71; Biographical Directory of the American Congress 1774-1996 (Alexandria, VA: CQ Staff Directories, 1997), 1395, 1983.
3Delegates to the national convention nominated John C. Fremont as the Republican party’s candidate for president.
Proceedings of the First Three Republican National Conventions of 1856, 1860 and 1864, 54.
4Ultimately, in the 1856 Federal Election, Democrat James Buchanan won the presidency. In Illinois, Buchanan won 44.1 percent of the vote to Fremont’s 40.2 percent and Millard Fillmore’s 15.7 percent.
Howard W. Allen and Vincent A. Lacey, eds., Illinois Elections, 1818-1990 (Carbondale and Edwardsville: Southern Illinois University Press, 1992), 10.
Autograph Letter Signed, 2 page(s), Andre De Coppet Collection, Princeton University (Princeton, NJ).