Elihu B. Washburne to Abraham Lincoln, 27 November 18541Galena, Illinois,
Nov. 27. 1854. My Dear Sir:
I beg leave to introduce you to Dr. Little, the member from this county and Carroll. The Doctor is a friend of mine, and a friend of yours, and feels great interest in certain matters about which I wrote you.2 I can say to you that he is a true man, and you can talk with him freely and without reserve.3I am,
Very Truly, Yrs.[Yours]E B WashburneHon. A. Lincoln.
2Washburne wrote Abraham Lincoln on November 14, 1854, sharing the names of his friends in the Illinois General Assembly who were possible supporters of Lincoln’s candidacy for the U.S. Senate. Washburne included Wallace A. Little on the list, noting that the doctor, a Free-Soil Whig, “I have no doubt will be for you.”
Passage of the Kansas-Nebraska Act and its effective repeal of the Missouri Compromise 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 ofanti-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. In November and December 1854, he wrote confidential letters to Washburne and other political allies seeking support for his candidacy and information about his prospects
David Herbert Donald, Lincoln (New York: Touchstone, 1995), 167-73, 185; Autobiography of Abraham Lincoln Written for John L. Scripps; William H. Randolph to Abraham Lincoln; Abraham Lincoln to Hugh Lamaster; Abraham Lincoln to Joseph Gillespie; Abraham Lincoln to Horace W. Fay; Abraham Lincoln to Charles Hoyt; Michael Burlingame, Abraham Lincoln: A Life (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2008), 1:392, 401-2.
3No correspondence between Lincoln and Little has been discovered. On December 5, Washburne wrote Lincoln again on the Senate election.
Illinois 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. Little cast his vote for Lincoln until the eighth ballot, when he switched to Trumbull. See the 1854 Federal Election.
Lincoln and Washburne carried on an extensive correspondence during the senatorial campaign and exchanged numerous letters related to Lincoln’s candidacy for the U.S. Senate.
Michael Burlingame, Abraham Lincoln: A Life, 1:392, 401-2; 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; 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; Illinois Senate Journal. 1855. 19th G. A., 242-55; Elihu B. Washburne to Abraham Lincoln; Elihu B. Washburne to Abraham Lincoln; Abraham Lincoln to Elihu B. Washburne; Elihu B. Washburne to Abraham Lincoln; Abraham Lincoln to Elihu B. Washburne; Abraham Lincoln to Elihu B. Washburne; Elihu B. Washburne to Abraham Lincoln; Elihu B. Washburne to Abraham Lincoln; Elihu B. Washburne to Abraham Lincoln; Elihu B. Washburne to Abraham Lincoln; Abraham Lincoln to Elihu B. Washburne; Elihu B. Washburne to Abraham Lincoln; Elihu B. Washburne to Abraham Lincoln; Elihu B. Washburne to Abraham Lincoln; Abraham Lincoln to Elihu B. Washburne
Autograph Letter Signed, 1 page(s), Abraham Lincoln Papers, Library of Congress (Washington, DC).