Abraham Lincoln to Lyman Trumbull, 11 August 18561Springfield, Aug: 11. 1856Hon: L. Trumbull:My dear Sir
I have just returned from speaking at Paris and Grandview in Edgar county— & Charleston and Shelbyville, in Coles and Shelby counties–2 Our whole trouble along there has been & is Fillmoreism–3 It loosened considerably during the week, not under my preaching, but under the election returns from Mo Ky. Ark. & N. C.4 I think we shall ultimately get all the Fillmore men, who are realy anti-slavery extension— the rest will probably go to Buchanan where they rightfully belong; if they do not, so much the better for us– The great difficulty with anti-slavery extension Fillmore men, is that they suppose Fillmore as good ^as Fremont^ on that question; and it is a delicate point to argue them out of it, they are so ready to think you are abusing Mr Fillmore–5
Mr Conkling showed me a letter of yours, from which I infer you will not be in Ills. till 11th Sept[September]– But for that I was going to write you to make appointments at Paris, Charleston, Shelbyville, Hillsboro, &C[etc.] immediately after the adjournment–6 They were tolerably well satisfied with my work along there; but they believe with me, that you can touch some points that I can not; and they are very anxious to have you do it–7Yours as everA. Lincoln
2Lincoln delivered more than fifty speeches throughout Illinois as he canvassed on behalf of John C. Fremont, the Republican Party’s candidate for president, and other Republican candidates during the 1856 Federal Election campaign. He spoke in Paris on August 6, 1856 and in Grand View on August 7. He also stumped in Charleston on August 8 and delivered an address in Shelbyville on August 9. See the 1856 Federal Election.
Michael Burlingame, Abraham Lincoln: A Life (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2008), 1:425; Philip G. Auchampaugh, “Campaign of 1856,” Dictionary of American History, rev. ed. (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1976), 1:420-21; The Lincoln Log: A Daily Chronology of the Life of Abraham Lincoln, 6 August 1856, http://thelincolnlog.org/Results.aspx?type=CalendarDay&day=1856-08-06; 7 August 1856, http://thelincolnlog.org/Results.aspx?type=CalendarDay&day=1856-08-07; 8 August 1856, http://thelincolnlog.org/Results.aspx?type=CalendarDay&day=1856-08-08; 9 August 1856, http://thelincolnlog.org/Results.aspx?type=CalendarDay&day=1856-08-09.
3This is a reference to the supporters of Millard Fillmore, the American Party’s candidate for president in 1856. James Buchanan was the Democratic Party candidate.
Philip G. Auchampaugh, “Campaign of 1856,” Dictionary of American History, 1:420-21.
4Thomas A. Marshall, who had urged Lincoln to speak in Charleston, wrote Lyman Trumbull that he thought the stumping for Fremont had made a positive impact on Fillmore supporters.
Missouri, Kentucky, and Arkansas held their state elections for 1856 on August 4. North Carolina held its on August 7. The Democratic Party won strong majorities in each state.
The Lincoln Log, 7 August 1856, http://thelincolnlog.org/Results.aspx?type=CalendarDay&day=1856-08-07; Daily Illinois State Journal (Springfield), 4 August 1856, 3:1; 18 August 1856, 2:1.
5Fremont was against the extension of slavery. Fillmore, however, tried to remain cordial with southern slaveholding Whigs during the 1856 election, and wanted to set aside slavery as a national issue and compromise with the South. While stumping on behalf of the Republican Party, Lincoln argued that Fillmore’s position on the Kansas-Nebraska Act and the expansion of slavery was “precisely like Buchanan’s.”
David M. Potter and Don E. Fehrenbacher, The Impending Crisis, 1848-1861 (New York: Harper & Row, 1976), 237; Pamela Herr, “Frémont, John Charles,” American National Biography, ed. by John A. Garraty and Mark C. Carnes (New York: Oxford University Press, 1999), 8:461; Tyler Anbinder, “Fillmore, Millard,” American National Biography, ed. by John A. Garraty and Mark C. Carnes, 7:911; Report of Speech at Kalamazoo, Michigan.
6At the time of this letter, Lyman Trumbull was representing Illinois in the U.S. Senate during the first session of the Thirty-Fourth U.S. Congress. The first session concluded August 18. The second session began August 21 and adjourned August 30. The third session did not begin until December 1.
Biographical Directory of the American Congress 1774-1996 (Alexandria, VA: CQ Staff Directories, 1997), 151; David Osborn, “Trumbull, Lyman,” American National Biography, ed. by John A. Garraty and Mark C. Carnes, 21:877-79.
7Trumbull’s reply, if he wrote one, has not been located. Although Lincoln and Trumbull exchanged multiple letters regarding the election of 1856, no further correspondence has been located between the two men for the remainder of 1856, nor in early-1857.
As Lincoln later noted in an August 19 letter to Jesse K. Dubois, Trumbull was to begin canvassing Illinois on September 11.
In the end, Buchanan triumphed over Fillmore and Fremont. In Illinois, Buchanan won 44.1 percent of the total vote to Fillmore’s 15.7 percent and Fremont’s 40.2 percent.
Philip G. Auchampaugh, “Campaign of 1856,” Dictionary of American History, 1:420-21; Abraham Lincoln to Lyman Trumbull; Lyman Trumbull to Abraham Lincoln; Abraham Lincoln to Lyman Trumbull; Lyman Trumbull to Abraham Lincoln; Howard W. Allen and Vincent A. Lacey, eds., Illinois Elections, 1818-1990 (Carbondale and Edwardsville: Southern Illinois University Press, 1992), 10.
Autograph Letter Signed, 3 page(s), Huntington Library (San Marino, CA).