Abraham Lincoln to William H. Hanna, 15 July 18581
W. U. ^H.^ Hanna, Esq.[Esquire]My dear Sir:
Reaching home yesterday evening I found your letter of the 13th.2 No accident preventing, I will be with you Friday afternoon and evening. I do not know that there will be any opening for me, but I shall try to be on the grounds to take the chances- -3
Your friend, as everA. Lincoln
1This letter is attributed to Abraham Lincoln. The original in his hand is owned by a private collector.
2Lincoln had just returned from Chicago, Illinois, where he had been since July 9. He attended court that day, then listened to Stephen A. Douglas launch his U.S. Senate reelection campaign with a speech. The next day, Lincoln delivered his own opening campaign address at the Tremont House. Lincoln was the Republican Party’s candidate running against Douglas in the 1858 Federal Election.
The Lincoln Log: A Daily Chronology of the Life of Abraham Lincoln, 9 July 1858, https://thelincolnlog.org/Results.aspx?type=CalendarDay&day=1858-07-09; 10 July 1858, https://thelincolnlog.org/Results.aspx?type=CalendarDay&day=1858-07-10; Michael Burlingame, Abraham Lincoln: A Life (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2008), 1:458, 467-69; For newspaper coverage of Lincoln’s Chicago address, see Report of Speech at Chicago, Illinois; Report of Speech at Chicago, Illinois; Report of Speech at Chicago, Illinois.
3Lincoln indeed traveled to Bloomington, Illinois, where he listened to Douglas speak on the evening of Friday, July 16. When Douglas concluded his speech, the crowd called for Lincoln to deliver a reply. He declined, stating that since the meeting was “called by the friends of Judge Douglas . . . it would be improper for me to address it.” Lincoln delivered a campaign address in Bloomington before a mostly Republican crowd on September 4.
In the end, in the local elections of 1858 Republicans won a majority of all votes cast in Illinois, but pro-Douglas Democrats retained control of the Illinois General Assembly. At the time, members of the General Assembly voted for and elected the state’s representatives in the U.S. Senate and ultimately, Douglas won reelection to the U.S. Senate. Through the campaign, however, and in particular through his participation in the Lincoln-Douglas Debates, Lincoln gained national recognition as well as standing within the Republican Party.
The Daily Pantagraph (Bloomington, IL), 17 July 1858, 3:2; 6 September 1858, 2:2; Report of Remarks at Bloomington, Illinois; Report of Remarks at Bloomington, Illinois; Report of Speech at Bloomington, Illinois; Allen C. Guelzo, “Houses Divided: Lincoln, Douglas, and the Political Landscape of 1858,” The Journal of American History 94 (September 2007), 394, 414-16; Michael Burlingame, Abraham Lincoln: A Life, 1:483-85, 556-57.

Autograph Letter Signed, 2 page(s), Private Collection. Shapell Manuscript Foundation (Los Angeles, CA)