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Elihu B. Washburne to Abraham Lincoln, 26 December 18541
My Dear Sir:
I received yours last night.2 I have this moment had a long talk with Giddings and he is your strongest possible friend and says he would walk clear to Illinois to elect you.3 He will do anything in the world to aid you, and he will to-day write his views fully on the whole subject to Owen Lovejoy, in order that he may present them to all the Freesoilers in the Legislature.4 He will advise them most strongly to go for you en masse.
There is great rejoicing ^among the locofocos^ in the House to-day on the report that your county has elected a locofoco Nebraskaite in your place.5 They now claim the election of Shields as certain.6 This needs explanation,
Yours Truly,E B Washburne7
1Elihu B. Washburne wrote and signed this letter.
2Abraham Lincoln’s letter to Washburne referenced here has not been located.
3Passage 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 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 for one of the state’s U.S. Senate seats. In November and December 1854, Lincoln wrote confidential letters to political allies seeking support for his candidacy and information about his prospects. 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.
When the General Assembly met in a joint session on February 8, 1855, ten rounds of voting were needed to finally determine a victor. Lincoln received a majority of the anti-Nebraska votes until the tenth and final ballot, when he withdrew and urged his supporters to vote for anti-Nebraska Democrat Lyman Trumbull in order to ensure that an anti-Nebraska politician filled the seat. With the votes of Lincoln’s supporters, Trumbull won the seat. See the 1854 Federal Election.
David Herbert Donald, Lincoln (New York: Touchstone, 1995), 167-73; William H. Randolph to Abraham Lincoln; 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; Illinois Senate Journal. 1855. 19th G. A., 242-55; Illinois Daily Journal (Springfield), 10 November 1854, 2:5; 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.
4Owen Lovejoy held more radical views on the abolition of slavery than Lincoln. One newspaper wrote, “Messrs Lovejoy and Codding are true hearted men, but we fear that no one who has been as radical as they, can get enough votes to secure an election.”
The Free West (Chicago, IL), 14 December 1854, 2:3.
5Democrat Jonathan McDaniel took over Lincoln’s seat in the Illinois House of Representatives after Lincoln resigned.
Louis L. Emmerson, ed., Blue Book of the State of Illinois, 1923-1924 (Springfield: Illinois State Journal, 1923), 681.
6Abraham Lincoln, James Shields, Lyman Trumbull, and Joel A. Matteson were the main contenders for Illinois’ next U.S. Senator.
Illinois Senate Journal. 1855. 19th G. A., 242-55.

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