Abraham Lincoln to William H. Gray, 4 June 18581
M. H. Gray, Esq.[Esquire]2Dear Sir—
Yours of the 31st of May, accompanied by a printed notice of your Clinton county meeting, is just received. The U.S. court commences its summer term here the day before your meeting, and morally speaking, it is impossible for me to leave.3 I hope and believe you will not be without able and interesting speakers. The delegates you appoint will meet a large and good convention here on the 11th.4 Our prospects appear cheering everywhere. I think it only needs that those who feel that our position is right should stand firm, and be active, when action is needed.5

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Thanking you for your kind invitation, allow me to subscribe myself,
Your friend,A. Lincoln.
1This letter is attributed to Abraham Lincoln, but the original document in his hand has not been located.
2Emanuel Hertz identified the recipient as "M. H. Gray." Roy P. Basler, editor of the Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln, corrected Hertz, citing William H. Gray's letter to Lincoln dated May 31, 1858. The editors have concurred with Basler on William H. Gray as the recipient.
Emanuel Hertz, Abraham Lincoln: A New Portrait (New York: Horace Liveright, 1931), 2:708; Roy P. Basler, ed., The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln (New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 1953), 2:457.
3The first day of the summer term of the U.S. Circuit Court, Southern District of Illinois was Monday, June 7. Lincoln appeared in court that day representing George C. Tallman in an action of ejectment against John F. Harvey.
The Lincoln Log: A Daily Chronology of the Life of Abraham Lincoln, 7 June 1858, http://www.thelincolnlog.org/Results.aspx?type=CalendarDay&day=1858-06-07; Daily Illinois State Journal (Springfield), 7 June 1858, 3:1; Tallman v. Harvey, Martha L. Benner and Cullom Davis et al., eds., The Law Practice of Abraham Lincoln: Complete Documentary Edition, 2d edition (Springfield: Illinois Historic Preservation Agency, 2009), https://www.lawpracticeofabrahamlincoln.org/Details.aspx?case=137633.
4Lincoln references the 1858 Illinois Republican Convention, which was scheduled, and held, on June 16, 1858.
In his letter to Lincoln, Gray had requested that Lincoln address Clinton CountyRepublicans at a meeting to select delegates for the state convention. The meeting was to be held in conjunction with a special session of the Clinton County Circuit Court. Clinton County sent eight delegates, including Gray, to the state convention.
Daily Illinois State Journal (Springfield), 17 June 1858, 2:2-5.
5The 1858 Illinois Republican Convention adopted an anti-slavery platform and adopted a resolution nominating Lincoln for U.S. senator. Lincoln ran against, and lost to, Stephen A. Douglas, the incumbent. See 1858 Federal Election.
Michael Burlingame, Abraham Lincoln: A Life (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2008), 1:457-85, 547, 557.

Printed Transcription, 2 page(s), Emanuel Hertz, Abraham Lincoln: A New Portrait, 2 vols. (New York: Horace Liveright, 1931), 2:708-9.