Abraham Lincoln to Charles D. Gilfillan, 9 May 18571
C. D. Gilfillan, Chairman &c.[etc.]2Dear Sir:
Your letter of the 1st Inst inviting me to visit your Teritory, and to give such assistance as I might be able, to the Republican cause, during your approaching political struggles, is received–3 I have no great faith in the success of my efforts; still it is with some regret I have to say I can not visit you before the June election; and I can not, as yet, say I will be able to do so in the summer or fall– Having devoted the most of last year to politics, it is a necessity with me to devote this, to my private affairs–4
I have learned that our Republican Senator, Judge Trumbull, will be with you– You will find him a true and an able man–5
May the God of the right, give you the victory now, as He surely will in the end–6
Your Obt Servt[Obedient Servant]A. Lincoln
1Abraham Lincoln wrote and signed this letter.
2Charles D. Gilfillan served as the first chairman of the Minnesota Republican Central Committee, a position he held for four years.
Franklyn Curtiss-Wedge, The History of Redwood County Minnesota (Chicago: H. C. Cooper Jr., 1916), 2:626.
3The letter of Gilfillan to Lincoln has not been found.
On June 1, 1857, Minnesota voted for the delegates they would send to their constitutional convention.
“An Act to Authorize the People of the Territory of Minnesota to Form a Constitution and State Government, Preparatory to Their Admission in the Union on an Equal Footing with the Original States,” 26 February 1857, Statutes at Large of the United States 11 (1859):166; William Anderson and Albert J. Lobb, A History of the Constitution of Minnesota: With the First Verified Text (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota, 1921), 70.
4Between July and November 1856, Lincoln crisscrossed Illinois canvassing on behalf of Republican Party candidates for political office. He delivered over fifty speeches in support of the Republican cause. See the 1856 Federal Election.
Michael Burlingame, Abraham Lincoln: A Life (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2008), 1:425; The Lincoln Log: A Daily Chronology of the Life of Abraham Lincoln, 1 November 1856, http://www.thelincolnlog.org/Results.aspx?type=CalendarDay&day=1856-11-01.
5Lyman Trumbull visited the Minnesota Territory the week before the election on June 1. He arrived on May 22 and addressed a large crowd in St. Paul on May 23. Trumbull also spoke at several other places in the Territory.
Daily Illinois State Journal (Springfield), 23 May 1857, 2:2; 2 June 1857, 2:4.
6In a hotly contested race which the St. Paul Pioneer and Democrat called a battle between “White Supremacy against Negro Equality!,” both Democrats and Republicans claimed victory. Efforts to assemble a convention in July 1857 proved futile, as Democrats and Republicans sparred over the seating of delegates. Democrats and Republicans held competing conventions until the leaders of both conventions agreed on a compromise committee to resolve differences in their respective draft constitutions. Minnesota eventually joined the United States as a free state in May 1858.
William E. Lass, Minnesota: A History, 2nd ed. (New York: W. W. Norton, 1998), 124-25; Paul W. Gates, History of Public Land Law Development (Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1968), 62:307-8; “An Act for the Admission of the State of Minnesota into the Union,” 11 May 1858, Statutes at Large of the United States 11 (1859):285.

Copy of Autograph Letter Signed, 1 page(s), Minnesota Historical Society (St. Paul, MN).