Abraham Lincoln to Henry E. Dummer, 5 August 18581
Friend Dummer
Yours, not dated, just received– No accident preventing, I shall be at Beardstown on the 12th2I thank you for the contents of your letter generally– I have not time now to notice the various points you suggest; but I will say I do not understand the Republican party to be committed to the proposition "No more slave States"– I think they are not so committed– Most certainly they prefer there should be no more; but I know there are many of them who think we are under obligation to admit slave states from Texas, if such shall be presented for admission; but I think the party, as such is not committed either way–3
Your friend as everA. Lincoln

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A. Lincoln
Aug 5. 18584
1Abraham Lincoln wrote and signed this letter.
2Lincoln delivered a campaign address in Beardstown, Illinois on August 12. At the time, he was running as the Illinois Republican Party’s candidate to replace Democratic incumbent Stephen A. Douglas in the U.S. Senate. See 1858 Illinois Republican Convention; 1858 Federal Election.
As noted in Dummer’s letter to Lincoln, Dummer had arranged for Lincoln to collect a legal fee while in Beardstown related to the case Sprague v. Illinois River RR et al. For full details on this case, see Sprague v. Illinois River RR et al., 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), http://www.lawpracticeofabrahamlincoln.org/Details.aspx?case=137976.
Michael Burlingame, Abraham Lincoln: A Life (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2008), 1:458; The Lincoln Log: A Daily Chronology of the Life of Abraham Lincoln, 12 August 1858, https://www.thelincolnlog.org/Results.aspx?type=CalendarDay&day=1858-08-12; Report of Speech at Beardstown, Illinois; Summary of Speech at Beardstown, Illinois.
3Texas was admitted into the United States as a state in 1845, but the U.S. Congress stipulated that “New states, of convenient size, not exceeding four in number, in addition to said State of Texas, and having sufficient population, may hereafter, by the consent of said State, be formed out of the territory thereof, which shall be entitled to admission under the provisions of the federal constitution.” All additional states south of 36°30′, the line dividing prospective free and slave states according to the Missouri Compromise , could enter the Union as slave states if the citizens so desired--a provision that promised the South additional power in Congress.
In his letter to Lincoln, Dummer suggested that Lincoln “disclaim the position” that the Republican Party was opposed to the admission of another slave state and instead focus on opposing “the admission of slavery into territory where it does not exist.” Dummer cited Texas as a case that the Republicans should grant an exception for—“if Texas should be divided & a new State formed”—because “slavery has gone to Texas with the common understanding that that territory was open to slavery.”
The charge that the Republican Party’s platform declared that it “was pledged never to admit another slave State into the Union” was one that Douglas later repeated during the Lincoln-Douglas Debates. In reality, during the 1858 Illinois Republican Convention, although the Illinois Republican Party passed a number of resolutions, none either called for or committed the party’s representatives to vote against the admission of another slave state into the Union. Instead, the party passed a resolution opposed to the extension of slavery into U.S. territories and criticized the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision in the Dred Scott case as “political heresy” for the Court’s assertion that U.S. Congress had no authority to regulate slavery within the territories.
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, in the 1858 Federal Election, Douglas won reelection. Through the campaign, however, and in particular through his participation in the Lincoln-Douglas Debates, Lincoln gained recognition as well as standing within the national Republican Party.
“Joint Resolution for Annexing Texas to the United States,” 1 March 1845, Statutes at Large of the United States 5 (1856):798; Michael F. Holt, The Rise and Fall of the American Whig Party: Jacksonian Politics and the Onset of the Civil War (New York: Oxford University Press, 1999), 220; Sixth Debate with Stephen A. Douglas at Quincy, Illinois; Sixth Debate with Stephen A. Douglas, at Quincy, Illinois; Sixth Debate with Stephen A. Douglas, at Quincy, Illinois; Daily Illinois State Journal (Springfield), 17 June 1858, 2:2-6; Michael Burlingame, Abraham Lincoln: A Life, 1:556-57; Allen C. Guelzo, “Houses Divided: Lincoln, Douglas, and the Political Landscape of 1858,” The Journal of American History 94 (September 2007), 394, 414-16.
4An unknown person wrote this docketing.

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