William H. Randolph to Stephen T. Logan and Abraham Lincoln, 15 December 18541Macomb Decr 15th 1854Messrs[Messiuers] Logan & LincolnGentelemen
I write you by request of Maj[Major] J. M. Walker in regard to an Ejectment suit against him It is his wish that you attend to said suit for him I told him you would be the men to employ2 that he might rely on your prompt attention Advise the Major what is necessary for his defence3 I wrote Mr L yesterday in regard to other matters I now think he will have no opposition from this side of River as Mr Williams I am told reliably is not desirious of making an effort4Resp[Respectfully] YoursWm H Randolph
<Page 2>Messrs Logan & LincolnSpringfieldIll
1William H. Randolph wrote and signed this letter, including the internal address on page two and the address on the envelope.
3No further evidence of Abraham Lincoln’s involvement in an ejectment suit against John M. Walker has been located. In American law, “ejectment” relates to an action to recover land or other real property and to collect damages.
“Ejectment,” Reference, Glossary, Martha L. Benner and Cullom Davis et al., eds., The Law Practice of Abraham Lincoln: Complete Documentary Edition, http://www.lawpracticeofabrahamlincoln.org/Reference.aspx?ref=Reference%20html%20files/Glossary.html.
4No letter from Randolph to Lincoln of December 14, 1854, has been located. Randolph did write Lincoln on December 13, 1854 regarding the Illinois House of Representatives race in McDonough County. That letter bears a Macomb postmark with a date of December 15 like this one, so presumably the two letters were mailed around the same time. The letter Randolph references here apparently discussed Lincoln’s candidacy for a seat in the U.S. Senate and the potential candidacy of Archibald Williams, as did an earlier letter Randolph wrote to Lincoln on December 4, 1854.
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. Lincoln 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. In the first round of voting, Lincoln received forty-five of the ninety-nine votes cast, but as no candidate received a majority of votes, several more rounds of balloting ensued. After the ninth vote, with his share of votes declining, Lincoln dropped out of contention and urged his remaining supporters to vote for anti-Nebraska Democrat Lyman Trumbull to ensure that an anti-Nebraska candidate would be elected. Trumbull won a majority of votes in the tenth round and became Illinois’ next U.S. Senator. Archibald Williams was nominated in the Senate election, but only received a handful of votes. Randolph was correct that Lincoln faced no serious opponent in the Senate race from west of the Illinois River. Aside from Lincoln, the candidates who received significant numbers of votes were James Shields of Belleville, Joel A. Matteson of Will County, and the ultimate victor, Trumbull, of Madison County. See the 1854 Federal Election.
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; Illinois Daily Journal (Springfield), 10 November 1854, 2:5; Illinois Senate Journal. 1855. 19th G. A., 242-55; Abraham Lincoln to Elihu B. Washburne.
Autograph Letter Signed, 3 page(s), Abraham Lincoln Papers, Library of Congress (Washington, DC).