Abraham Lincoln to Robert Boal, 25 December 18561
Dr R. BoalDear Sir:
Yours of the 22nd is just received–2 I suppose the “Chenery House” is likely to be the Republican Head Quarters– I find the best that can be done then is to give you the room you had two years ago, or one like it, at $21 per week, with fire and light, for the two persons–3 I do not believe you can do better, at any of the Hotels– If you conclude to take it, Mr Chenery wishes you to write him immediately–4
When I was at Chicago two weeks ago I saw Mr Arnold;5 and from a remark of his, I inferred he was thinking of the Speakership, though I think he was not anxious about it– He seemed most anxious for harmony generally, and particularly that the contested seats from Peoria and McDonough ^might be rightly determined–^6
Since I came home I had a talk with Cullom, one of our American representatives here; and he says he is for you for Speaker, and also that he thinks, all the Americans will be for you, unless it be Gorin of Macon, of whom he can not speak– If you would like to be Speaker go right up and see Arnold–7 He is talented, a practiced dep debater; and, I think, would do himself more credit
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on the floor, than in the Speaker’s seat– Go and see him; and if you think fit, show him this letter–
Your friend as everA. Lincoln
1Abraham Lincoln wrote and signed this letter.
2Robert Boal’s letter to Lincoln of December 22, 1856, has not been located.
3Boal became a member of the Illinois House of Representatives in 1854 and won re-election in 1856. The regular session of the House commenced on January 5, 1857. In December 1854, Boal had requested Lincoln’s assistance in finding accommodations for his wife and himself in Springfield.
Louis L. Emmerson, ed., Blue Book of the State of Illinois, 1923-1924 (Springfield: Illinois State Journal, 1923), 681-82; Illinois House Journal. 1857. 20th G. A., 1st sess., 3.
4This could either be William D. Chenery or John W. Chenery, who were co-proprietors of the Chenery House.
B. Winters, Springfield City Directory for 1857-'58 (Springfield, IL: S. H. Jameson, 1857), 41-42.
5Lincoln spoke at a Republican gathering at the Tremont House in Chicago on December 10, 1856.
The Lincoln Log: A Daily Chronology of the Life of Abraham Lincoln, 10 December 1856, http://www.thelincolnlog.org/Results.aspx?type=CalendarDay&day=1856-12-10.
6In state elections of 1856, Democrat Martin Shallenberger won the contest to represent Peoria and Stark counties in the Illinois House, but Republicans contested the outcome. Shallenberger garnered 3,067 votes and Calvin L. Eastman, his Republican opponent and nearest challenger, received 2,796 votes. One “Calvin M. Eastman,” however, received 280 votes. Republicans insisted that the typographical error cost Eastman the seat and argued that the 280 votes were intended for Calvin L. Eastman. In McDonough County, Democrat George Hire received a majority, but Republicans questioned his win on account of “a deficiency in a pole list.” Both Hire and Shallenberger took their seats at the start of the new session of the House on January 5, 1857. According to the Illinois State Journal, the House thus comprised thirty-eight Democrats, thirty-one Republicans, and six Know-Nothings. In February, the House rejected a resolution declaring Shallenberger not elected and his seat vacant.
The Illinois State Journal (Springfield), 3 December 1856, 1:1; Daily Illinois State Journal (Springfield), 5 January 1857, 2:2; 19 February 1857, 2:1; Illinois House Journal. 20th G. A., 3-4, 5, 985-86.
7Issac N. Arnold, Shelby M. Cullom, and Samuel Holmes were nominated for the position of Speaker of the House in the Twentieth Illinois General Assembly. Holmes, a Democrat from Adams County, won the election on the first ballot, garnering thirty-six votes to twenty-eight for Arnold and four for Cullom.
Louis L. Emmerson, ed., Blue Book of the State of Illinois, 1923-1924, 681; Illinois House Journal. 20th G. A., 5; Daily Illinois State Journal (Springfield), 5 January 1857, 2:2.

Autograph Letter Signed, 2 page(s), Bradley University (Peoria, IL).