Thaddeus Stevens to Abraham Lincoln, 7 September 18481Lancaster Sept 7. th 48 Dear sir
It is extremely difficult to say how Penna will go at either of the coming elections–2 FreeSolism puzzles us all– The whigs adopt it in full (except its candidates) and support Genl Taylor on that Ground in this region–3 If they should do it all over the state I trust it will aid, rather than hurt us. But it puts all our calculations at fault– I have some, but not strong, hopes of Penna[Pennsylvania] If the Phila Whigs had common sense we could carry the State, because we could get the 15,000 natives of the city & county–4 But I have never found those Whigs regard any thing but the city government; & I fear they will repel the natives, who wish to act with them– If they do the State is hopelessly lost–5 As to the Union—how will it be? Can we elect Taylor without Penna–? I should be much obliged to you for your opinion of several states– I fear we cannot count on either Indiania or Ohio– If so the chances are decidedly against ^us^, as I have little faith in any of the Southern States not heretofore with us– You will muchWith great respect
<Page 2>oblige me by giving your opinion of the final result, & especially of Ohio & Indiania– Of Ohio I confess I have but little hope.6 But your means of information are much better than mine–
Your obt svt[obedient servant]Thaddeus Stevens A. Lincoln Esq[Esquire]
SEP[September] 8 Hon. A. Lincoln (M. C.[Member Congress]) Springfield Illinois
1Thaddeus Stevens wrote and signed this letter. Stevens also authored the address on the back page, which was folded to create an envelope for mailing.
2Lincoln and Stevens met at the Whig convention in Philadelphia. Lincoln wrote Stevens on September 3 requesting his opinion whom Pennsylvania voters would choose in the presidential election and state gubernatorial race.
3The Free Soil Party held a convention in Buffalo in August and nominated Martin Van Buren and Charles Francis Adams for president and vice president respectively.
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), 338-39.
4“Natives” was a reference to those that embraced nativism and the American or Know Nothing Party.
5In the presidential race, Taylor captured Pennsylvania and its twenty-six electoral votes with 50.3 percent of the vote to 46.7 percent for Lewis Cass, the Democratic Party nominee. In the gubernatorial contest, Whig candidate William F. Johnston defeated his Democratic challenger by a scant 297 votes. The Whigs also won fourteen of twenty-four seats in the U.S. House of Representatives and forty-five seats in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. Included among the Pennsylvania representatives were five nativist candidates from Philadelphia.
Hans L. Trefousse, Thaddeus Stevens: Nineteenth-Century Egalitarian (Chapel Hill and London: The University of North Carolina Press, 1997), 75; John L. Moore, Jon P. Preimesberger, and David R. Tarr, eds., Congressional Quarterly’s Guide to U.S. Elections, 4th ed. (Washington, DC: CQ Press, 2001), 1:650, 733; 2:1460; Michael F. Holt, The Rise and Fall of the American Whig Party: Jacksonian Politics and the Onset of the Civil War, 367.
6If Lincoln responded, the letter has not been located
Lewis Cass won Ohio with 47 percent of the vote to 42.1 percent for Taylor and 10.8 percent for Van Buren. Cass also conquered Indiana with 49 percent of the vote to 45.7 percent for Taylor and 5.3 percent for Van Buren.
John L. Moore, Jon P. Preimesberger, and David R. Tarr, eds., Congressional Quarterly’s Guide to U.S. Elections, 1:650.
Autograph Letter Signed, 4 page(s), Volume Volume 2, Herndon-Weik Collection, Library of Congress [Washington, DC],