Charles L. Duncan to Abraham Lincoln, 8 December 18541Marshall Ills Decr 8th 1854A LincolnDr[Dear] Sir
In the absence of Col Archer I oppened your letter giving the official vote of this congressional District by which we regret to see his defeat by one vote.2 We all think, there has been fraud in the Clay County vote, we recd[received] letters from Gentlemen of standing in that county— stating the vote of Mr Allen 533 Archer 347 and now Archer vote is not changed a vote, whilst Mr Allen vote is increased sixty.3 I wish you would take the trouble to see how stands the vote between Moore and Miller in that county and let us know all the vote.4 Mr Constable who has been to Mt Vernon attending Court, came home last night, and says no one in Clay Co[County], pretends that Allen vote is more than 186 Maj[Majority]— he conversed with those who were present at the counting of the vote, and they all concur in say^ing^ 186,– Should we however be wrong in thinking there has been cheating— we have ample grounds for contesting– hoping to hear from you soon I am dr sirYours TrulyChas L Duncan
3In the 1854 congressional contest in the Illinois Seventh Congressional District, Democrat James C. Allen defeated Republican William B. Archer by a single vote, Allen receiving 8,452 votes to Archer’s 8,451. Allen received the certificate of election, but Archer contested the outcome. Congress nullified the results and left the seat vacant until a new election could be held. In August 1856, Allen defeated Archer in a special election.
In Clay County, Allen received 593 votes to 347 for Archer.
Newton Bateman and Paul Selby, eds., Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois and History of Clark County, ed. by H. C. Bell (Chicago: Middle West, 1907), 22; Howard W. Allen and Vincent A. Lacey, eds., Illinois Elections, 1818-1990 (Carbondale and Edwardsville: Southern Illinois University Press, 1992), 10, 11, 135.
4James Miller, an anti-Nebraska candidate, lost the election for Illinois Treasurer to Democrat John Moore.
Richard Lawrence Miller, Lincoln and His World: Volume 4, The Path to the Presidency, 1854-1860 (Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 2012), 60; Illinois Daily Journal (Springfield), 17 November 1854, 2:1
Autograph Letter Signed, 2 page(s), Abraham Lincoln Papers, Library of Congress (Washington, DC).