Harvey C. Johns to Abraham Lincoln, 15 November 18541Monticello 15th NovHon A LincolnDr[Dear] Sir
Your favor was duly recd[received]2 It is true I recd a handsome majority in this District which I take as evidence of a strong anti Nebraska sentiment.3 It will be perfectly in accordance with my personal views and so far as I am able to judge, also of those who Elected me, to support you for the USS4Verry Respectfully YoursH. C. Johns
3In the election of 1854, Johns, an anti-Nebraska, pro-temperance Whig, competed with Joseph Howard, a Democrat, and David White, an anti-Nebraska, pro-temperance independent candidate, to represent the Thirty-Sixth District in the Illinois House of Representatives. The Thirty-Sixth District was composed of Macon, DeWitt, Piatt, and Champaign counties. Johns won election with 353 of the district’s votes, while Howard received 201 votes, and White just 2 votes.
DeWitt Courier (Clinton, IL), 20 October 1854, 3:3; Illinois Daily Journal (Springfield), 2 January 1855, 2:3; Urbana Union (IL), 16 November 1854, 2:2.
4Johns references Lincoln’s candidacy for a seat in the U.S. Senate. Lincoln wrote multiple letters to political allies in November and December of 1854, seeking support for his candidacy and information about his prospects.
Passage of the Kansas-Nebraska Act and its effective repeal of the Missouri Compromise had reawakened Lincoln’s passion for politics, and he threw himself into the election campaign in the fall of 1854, crisscrossing Illinois to deliver speeches against the Kansas-Nebraska Act and in support of anti-Nebraska candidates. He even allowed himself to become a candidate for the Illinois General Assembly (albeit unwillingly at first). As the election campaign reached its climax, Lincoln’s name began to circulate as a possible nominee for one of the state’s U.S. Senate seats.
The state’s voters sent an anti-Nebraska majority to the Illinois General Assembly, in which Lincoln also won a seat. However, in late-November 1854, he declined to serve in order to run for the U.S. Senate. Ultimately, Lincoln did not win election to the U.S. Senate; the Illinois General Assembly selected anti-Nebraska Democrat Lyman Trumbull instead. Johns cast his vote for Lincoln on nine ballots before switching to Trumbull in the final ballot. See the 1854 Federal Election.
Abraham Lincoln to Hugh Lamaster; Abraham Lincoln to Joseph Gillespie; Abraham Lincoln to Horace W. Fay; David Herbert Donald, Lincoln (New York: Touchstone, 1995), 167-73; Autobiography of Abraham Lincoln Written for John L. Scripps; William H. Randolph to Abraham Lincoln; Michael Burlingame, Abraham Lincoln: A Life (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2008), 1:392, 401-2; John Clayton, comp., The Illinois Fact Book and Historical Almanac, 1673-1968 (Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 1970), 220-21; Illinois Daily Journal (Springfield), 10 November 1854, 2:5; Abraham Lincoln to Noah W. Matheny; Stephen Hansen and Paul Nygard, “Stephen A. Douglas, the Know-Nothings, and the Democratic Party in Illinois, 1854-1858,” Illinois Historical Journal 87 (Summer 1994), 114; Illinois Senate Journal. 1855. 19th G. A., 242-55.
Autograph Letter Signed, 2 page(s), Abraham Lincoln Papers, Library of Congress (Washington, DC).