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James Knox to Abraham Lincoln, 17 November 18541
Hon A. LincolnDr[Dear] Sir
Yours of 10th Inst finds me with more cares on my shoulders than I can well stagger under.2 The death of my Partner, soon after my Return from Washington, leaves my business so much at loose ends that I am compelled to labor night & day to get Ready to Return.
In this Section you are favorably Known, and I have no doubt ^would^ be generally preferred to others
Samuel W. BrownGalesburg is elected in Knox

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Most of these I presume you Know nearly as well as I do.
The State Register concedes the Election of Archer which (aside from personal Regard for Yates) is a fair offset against Harris.4
So far as I am posted we shall doubtless have a majority of Anti Neb. Members in the House5 but I fear that Ranged on old Platforms the Locos may prevent the Election of a Whig Senator.
If in this Respect I should be happily disap-
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pointed, and Shields place is supplied by a Whig, I shall think better of our Sucker State than I ever expected to!6
Yours Very trulyJames Knox
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James Knox
M C[Member of Congress]
KNOXVILLE Ill.[Illinois]
NOV[November] 19
Hon. Abm LincolnSpringfieldIllinois
Hon– Jas Knox–7
Nov[November] 17/54[1854]8
1James Knox wrote and signed this letter, including the handwritten frank and the address on the envelope.
2Abraham Lincoln’s letter to Knox of November 10, 1854 has not been located, but was likely similar to others he wrote around that time requesting his allies’ help in canvassing their Illinois General Assembly members for support of his potential candidacy for a seat in the U.S. Senate.
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 congressional 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 reluctantly 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.
Abraham Lincoln to Charles Hoyt; Abraham Lincoln to J. Young Scammon; Abraham Lincoln to Jacob Harding; 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.
3Lincoln was interested in the political positions of the newly-elected members of the Illinois House of Representatives and Senate because the General Assembly was responsible for selecting the state’s U.S. senators. Lincoln himself won election to the Illinois House of Representatives in the 1854 election, but declined the seat in late November in order to run for U.S. Senate.
The General Assembly met in a joint session on February 8, 1855, to make their selection for the U.S. Senate. The members of the Illinois House of Representatives listed here by Knox represented Peoria and counties to the northwest of that city. It took ten rounds of voting in the joint session to reach a majority of votes for a single candidate. All of the members listed by Knox cast the majority of their votes over the course of the ten rounds for Lincoln, although Amos C. Babcock cast the sole vote for William Kellogg in the first round of voting, and he and Samuel W. Brown voted for Orville H. Browning in the sixth round of balloting. By the ninth round of voting, anti-Nebraska Democrat Lyman Trumbull was emerging as a compromise candidate and Babcock, William L. Lee and William C. Rice broke from Lincoln to support him in that round. For the tenth vote, Lincoln withdrew and urged his supporters to vote for Trumbull in order to ensure that an anti-Nebraska politician filled the seat. All those named here voted for Trumbull in the tenth and final round of voting in which he emerged victorious. See the 1854 Federal Election.
Illinois Daily Journal (Springfield), 10 November 1854, 2:5; U.S. Const. art. I, § 3; Illinois Senate Journal. 1855. 19th G. A., 242-55; Victor B. Howard, “The Illinois Republican Party: Part I: A Party Organizer for the Republicans in 1854,” Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society 64 (Summer 1971), 153-54; Abraham Lincoln to Elihu B. Washburne.
4Although the Illinois State Register reported that Whig William B. Archer had likely defeated incumbent Democrat James C. Allen in the race for U.S. Representative in Illinois’ Seventh Congressional District by a majority of over a thousand votes, the race was ultimately decided in Allen’s favor by one vote. Archer contested the election and Allen was forced to vacate the seat and a special election was held for the seat in 1856, which Allen won.
Whig incumbent Richard Yates had lost his bid for reelection to the U.S. House of Representatives from Illinois’ Sixth Congressional District to Democratic challenger Thomas L. Harris. Harris won by 200 votes, garnering 50.5 percent of the vote to Yates’ 49.5 percent.
Illinois State Register (Springfield), 16 November 1854, 3:1; Howard W. Allen and Vincent A. Lacey, eds., Illinois Elections, 1818-1990 (Carbondale and Edwardsville: Southern Illinois University Press, 1992), 10, 134-35; Biographical Directory of the American Congress 1774-1996 (Alexandria, VA: CQ Staff Directories, 1997), 568-69.
5The result of the November 1854 election was indeed an anti-Nebraska majority in the Illinois General Assembly, which was promising for Lincoln’s potential senate candidacy.
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.
6James Shields, the incumbent Democratic senator from Illinois lost his reelection bid to Lyman Trumbull. Shields was one of the top two vote-getters in the first six rounds of balloting in the Illinois General Assembly, but after he was unable to garner a majority of votes Democratic support ranged behind Joel A. Matteson in the seventh round of voting, after which Shields dropped out of contention. While not a Whig, the ultimate victor, Trumbull, won the senate seat with Whig support.
Illinois is known as the Sucker State and its residents as suckers.
Illinois Senate Journal. 1855. 19th G. A., 242-55; Edward Callary, Place Names of Illinois (Urbana and Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 2009), 338-39.
7Lincoln wrote this docketing.
8An unknown person wrote this docketing.

Autograph Letter Signed, 4 page(s), Abraham Lincoln Papers, Library of Congress (Washington, DC).