Petition of Jonathan K. Cooper and Others to Abraham Lincoln, 28 September 18541Peoria Sept. 28/54Hon. Abram LincolnDr[Dear] Sir–
Understanding that Judge Douglas is expected to address our citizens on the 16th of Next Month, on the principles of the Nebraska-Kansas Bill, and feeling that what he may then advance should not be supposed to pass without suitable notice— the undersigned, on behalf of themselves and the Whigs of Peoria, are exceedingly desirous that (if not too great a tax upon your time & strength) you will consent to be present, and take a convenient opportunity, after the speech of Judge D., to reply to it, and give us your own views upon the subject– Permit us to say here, that we are not unmindful of the good service you have heretofore repeatedly rendered us; nor insensible of what we already owe you on that account– But this [the?] rather encourages us to solicit & look for a renewal of the favor–
Hoping you may find it convenient to respond favorably to our wish, And that, at no distant day, it may be in our power to testify our high & warm appreciation of your patriotic & efficient public services,2We remain very truly Your friends & fellow citizens–
2Passage of the Kansas-Nebraska Act and its effective repeal of the Missouri Compromise reawakened Lincoln’s passion for politics, and he threw himself into opposing the act, crisscrossing Illinois to deliver speeches against the legislation and in support of anti-Nebraska candidates running for the U.S. House of Representatives in 1854 congressional elections. See 1854 Federal Election.
Abraham Lincoln agreed to speak in Peoria, Illinois, on October 16, 1854, ahead of the congressional elections. Stephen A. Douglas spoke for more than three hours, and, after a break, Lincoln also spoke for three hours about the repeal of the Missouri Compromise and the Kansas-Nebraska Act. A pro-Lincoln newspaper opined, “It was a powerful speech, and even the Nebraskaites acknowledge it to have been a powerful effort; and nearly every one who heard it said it was unanswerable.”
David Herbert Donald, Lincoln (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1995), 167-73; Autobiography of Abraham Lincoln Written for John L. Scripps; The Lincoln Log: A Daily Chronology of the Life of Abraham Lincoln, 16 October 1854, http://www.thelincolnlog.org/Results.aspx?type=CalendarDay&day=1854-10-16; Roy P. Basler, ed., The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln (New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 1953), 2:247-83; The Waukegan Gazette (IL), 21 October 1854, 2:5.
Autograph Document Signed, 1 page(s), SC1163, Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum (Springfield, IL).