Abraham Lincoln to Jediah F. Alexander, 15 May 18581
J. F. Alexander, Esq[Esquire]Greenville, Ills.My dear Sir
I reached home a week ago and found yours of the 1st inviting me to name a time to meet and address a political meeting in Bond county– It is too early, considering that when I once begin making political speeches I shall have no respite till November–2 The labor of that I might endure, but I really can not spare the time from my business–3
Nearer the time I will try to meet the people of Bond, if they desire–4
I will only say now that, as I understand, there remains all the difference there ever was between Judge Douglas & the Republicans5 they insisting that congress shall, and he insisting that congress shall not, keep slavery out of the Teritories before & up to the time they form State constitutions– No republican has ever
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contended that, when a constitution is to be formed, any but the people of the teritory shall form it– Republican's have never contended that congress should dictate a constitution to any state or teritory; but that they have contended that the people should be perfectly free to form the constitution in their own way— as perfectly free from the presence of slavery amongst them, as from every other improper influence–
In voting together in opposition to a constitution being forced upon the people of Kansas, neither Judge Douglas nor the Republicans, has conceded anything which was ever in dispute between them–
Yours very trulyA. Lincoln6
1Abraham Lincoln wrote and signed this letter.
2The 1858 Federal Election occurred on November 2.
The Lincoln Log: A Daily Chronology of the Life of Abraham Lincoln, 2 November 1858, http://www.thelincolnlog.org/Results.aspx?type=CalendarDay&day=1858-11-02.
3Lincoln is referring to his law practice.
4Lincoln gave a speech in Greenville on September 13.
5Abraham Lincoln was the Republican candidate from Illinois for the U.S. Senate. In the summer and fall of 1858, he crisscrossed Illinois delivering speeches and campaigning on behalf of Republican candidates for the Illinois General Assembly. At this time the Illinois General Assembly elected the state’s representatives in the U.S. Senate, thus the outcome of races for the Illinois House of Representatives and Illinois Senate were of importance to Lincoln’s campaign. He ran against, and lost to, Democrat Stephen A. Douglas, the incumbent. See the 1858 Illinois Republican Convention; 1858 Federal Election.
Michael Burlingame, Abraham Lincoln: A Life (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2008), 1:457-85, 557; Allen C. Guelzo, “Houses Divided: Lincoln, Douglas, and the Political Landscape of 1858,” The Journal of American History 94 (September 2007), 392.
6Alexander's response to this letter, if he penned one, has not been located. Alexander and Lincoln corresponded in July and August 1858 concerning Lincoln's appearance in Bond County.

Copy of Autograph Letter Signed, 2 page(s), Abraham Lincoln Association Files, Lincoln Collection, Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum (Springfield, IL).