Charles Hoyt to Abraham Lincoln, 26 December 18541
A Lincoln Esq[Esquire]SpringfieldDr[Dear] Sir
I have just had an interview with one of our members to the LegislatureWm Patten Esq, who has always been a rabid Loco— but was nominated & elected by the fusion Party.2 You may find him rather ultra in his notions, I have given him a letter to you. He thinks you stand the best chance— but think he is rather in favor of Mr Scammon of Chicago– You will govern your self accordingly3
Yours TrulyChas Hoyt
1Charles Hoyt wrote and signed this letter.
2Fusion tickets were common during the congressional election of 1854, as disaffected Whigs and Democrats banded together or “fused” with Free Soilers, Nativists, and temperance advocates, often over shared opposition to the Kansas-Nebraska Act and the extension of slavery. See the 1854 Federal Election.
Passage of the Kansas-Nebraska Act and its effective repeal of the Missouri Compromise reawakened Abraham 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 unwillingly at first). As the election campaign reached its climax, Lincoln’s name began to circulate as a possible nominee to supplant Democratic incumbent James Shields as U.S. Senator. In November and December 1854, he wrote confidential letters to political allies, including Hoyt, seeking support for his candidacy and information about his prospects.
Lincoln won election to the Illinois General Assembly, but, on November 25, 1854, officially declined to serve in order to run for the U.S. Senate. Per article three, section seven of the 1848 Illinois Constitution, state legislators were ineligible for election to the U.S. Senate.
In the election of 1854, the voters of Kane and DeKalb counties elected William Patten to the Illinois House of Representatives, placing him in a position to vote upon Illinois’ representative in the U.S. Senate. In a list of members of the Illinois General Assembly that Lincoln created around January 1855, he listed Patten as an anti-Nebraska Democrat.
Michael Burlingame, Abraham Lincoln: A Life (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2008), 1:392-93; David Herbert Donald, Lincoln (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1995), 167-73; Autobiography of Abraham Lincoln Written for John L. Scripps; Abraham Lincoln to Hugh Lamaster; Abraham Lincoln to Joseph Gillespie; Abraham Lincoln to Horace W. Fay; Abraham Lincoln to Charles Hoyt; Illinois Daily Journal (Springfield), 10 November 1854, 2:5; 2 January 1855, 2:3; Ill. Const. of 1848, art. III, § 7.
3Hoyt’s letter to Lincoln, given to Patten, has not been located. Hoyt wrote Lincoln two other letters regarding Lincoln’s candidacy for U.S. Senator prior to this December 26 letter.
Ultimately, neither J. Young Scammon nor Lincoln won election to the U.S. Senate; the Illinois General Assembly selected anti-Nebraska Democrat Lyman Trumbull instead. Patten did not vote for Lincoln; he cast his ballot for William B. Ogden, Martin P. Sweet, and Trumbull before finally committing to Trumbull in the seventh ballot. Stung and disappointed by his loss, Lincoln made no political speeches or public statements for an entire year after his defeat and reinvested his energies in his law practice.
Charles Hoyt to Abraham Lincoln; Charles Hoyt to Abraham Lincoln; Michael Burlingame, Abraham Lincoln: A Life, 1:401-2; Illinois Senate Journal. 1855. 19th G. A., 1st sess., 242-55; David Herbert Donald, Lincoln, 185.

Autograph Letter Signed, 1 page(s), Abraham Lincoln Papers, Library of Congress (Washington, DC).