Abraham Lincoln to Owen Lovejoy, 8 March 18581
Hon: O. Lovejoy.Dear Sir
I have just returned from court in one of the counties of your District,2 where I had an inside view that few will have who correspond with you; and I feel it rather a duty to say a word to you about it–
Your danger has been that democracy would wheedle some republican to run against you without a nomination, relying merely on democratic votes– I have seen the strong men who could make the most trouble in that way, and found that they view the thing in the proper light, and will not consent to be so used– But they have been urgently tempted by the enemy; and I think it is still the point for you to guard most vigilantly– I think it is not expected that you can be beaten for a nomination; but do not let what I say, as to that, lull you–
Now, let this be strictly confidential; not that there is anything wrong in it; but that I have some highly valued friends who would not like me any the better for writing it–3
Yours very trulyA. LincolnP.S. Be glad to hear from you.4

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Hon: O. LovejoyWashingtonD.C.
1Abraham Lincoln wrote and signed this letter. He also wrote the name and address on the envelope shown in the second image.
2Lincoln was in Clinton, Illinois attending to legal cases in the DeWitt County Circuit Court from March 1 until March 8, returning to Springfield, Illinois, later in the day on March 8. DeWitt County was part of Third Illinois Congressional District.
The Lincoln Log: A Daily Chronology of the Life of Abraham Lincoln, March 1858, http://thelincolnlog.org/Results.aspx?type=CalendarMonth&year=1858&month=3; Howard W. Allen and Vincent A. Lacey, eds., Illinois Elections, 1818-1990 (Carbondale and Edwardsville: Southern Illinois University Press, 1992), 142.
3Owen Lovejoy was up for reelection in 1858 for his seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. Some conservative Republicans, disgruntled with Lovejoy’s abolitionism and encouraged by the recent rift that Stephen A. Douglas’ criticism of President James Buchanan’s support for the Lecompton Constitution caused in the Democratic Party, sought a third candidate to unseat Lovejoy. Some of Lincoln’s friends—including T. Lyle Dickey, Ward Hill Lamon, and Leonard Swett—supported this scheme, hoping to capitalize on the votes of both conservative Republicans and pro-Douglas Democrats. Lincoln argued that support for an independent candidate would only aid the Democratic Party.
In the end, Lovejoy won reelection, defeating anti-Lecompton George W. Armstrong as well as Buchanan Democrat David Leroy with 57.7 percent of the vote to Armstrong’s 38.8 percent and Leroy’s 3.4 percent. Dickey subsequently left the Republican Party and became a Democrat; other conservative Republicans were similarly disaffected.
Michael Burlingame, Abraham Lincoln: A Life (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2008), 1:445-46, 456-57; Howard W. Allen and Vincent A. Lacey, eds., Illinois Elections, 1818-1990, 11, 142; Daily Illinois Journal, (Springfield), 13 September 1858, 2:3; Abraham Lincoln to Ward H. Lamon.
4Lovejoy’s reply, if he wrote one, has not been located.

Autograph Letter Signed, 2 page(s), Huntington Library (San Marino, CA).