Edwin T. Bridges to Abraham Lincoln, 18 May 18581
Hon. A. Lincoln,My Dear Sir:—
There are strange rumors afloat in this good Whig-republican section of the State, to the effect that the terms upon which Mr. Wentworth gives his support to you are, that in case of your election to the U.S. Senate, you and your friends in Southern Illinois are to support him for Governor. This, to you is a damaging story. Having more friends here than Mr. W. he is making capital for himself rather than advancing your chances, and as a friend of yours, who will use whatever of influence he possesses to secure the election of a member of the Assembly from this District who will not only vote for you, but likewise work for you, I have ventured to call your attention to this story.2 The selection of a candidate for the Assembly belongs to this County, and as the Republican Party here is composed of five Whigs to three Democrats, I think there will be little difficulty in getting the right kind of a man— at all events, it shall be no fault of mine if it is not done. Douglass has but few admirers in our ranks here. The sentiment seems to be that if the party has any gifts to bestow, they shall be given, first to those who have been instrumental in clothing the Party with the power of elevating her champions to place and power3

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Perhaps I should add that this same story is somewhat current in Chicago; as you can satisfy yourself4 by inquiring of your friends.5
Trusting that I shall see you in Springfield on the 16th of June,6
I remain, as Ever
Truly Yours
E. T. Bridges

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FULTON Ill.[Illinois]
MAY 19 1858
Hon Abram LincolnSpringfieldIll
[ docketing ]
[ docketing ]
E. T. Bridges
1Edwin T. Bridges wrote and signed this letter.
2Fulton, Illinois is in Whiteside County, which, in 1858, was part of Illinois’ Second Congressional District.
At the time, members of the Illinois General Assembly voted for and elected the state’s representatives in the U.S. Senate; therefore, the races for the Illinois House of Representatives and Illinois Senate were highly relevant to the outcome of the state’s U.S. Senate race.
Edward Callary, Place Names of Illinois (Urbana and Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 2009), 130; Howard W. Allen and Vincent A. Lacey, eds., Illinois Elections, 1818-1990 (Carbondale and Edwardsville: Southern Illinois University Press, 1992), 142; Allen C. Guelzo, “Houses Divided: Lincoln, Douglas, and the Political Landscape of 1858,” The Journal of American History 94 (September 2007), 394.
3“power” changed to “influence”
4“yourselves” changed to “yourself”
5Bridges is discussing one of the rumors circulating at the time regarding John Wentworth: that Wentworth was publicly supporting Lincoln’s 1858 candidacy for the U.S. Senate in exchange for Lincoln’s support for Wentworth becoming governor of Illinois. Another rumor was that Wentworth was secretly promoting himself as the Republican Party’s candidate for the U.S. Senate seat. The Chicago Times, a pro-Stephen A. Douglas newspaper, publicized these rumors, and several of Lincoln’s other political allies also wrote him letters warning him of the rumored schemes. In a June 1 letter to Charles L. Wilson, however, Lincoln asserted that Wentworth gave him no indication that he wanted to be governor and Lincoln denied that he was “directly or indirectly committed to any one [sic]” for the governorship.
Charles H. Ray to Abraham Lincoln; Elihu B. Washburne to Abraham Lincoln; Charles L. Wilson to Abraham Lincoln; Lyman Trumbull to Abraham Lincoln; Michael Burlingame, Abraham Lincoln: A Life (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2008), 1:452.
6Bridges is referring to the 1858 Illinois Republican Convention. In a June 23 letter to Lyman Trumbull, Lincoln wrote that, during the convention, the party unanimously nominated him for the U.S. Senate “more for the object of closing down upon this everlasting croaking about Wentworth, than anything else.”
The voters of Whiteside County elected two Republicans to the Illinois General Assembly in 1858: R. F. Adams, to the Illinois Senate, and William Prothrow, to the Illinois House. Ultimately, Douglas won reelection to the U.S. Senate. Through the campaign, however, and in particular through his participation in the Lincoln-Douglas debates, Lincoln gained recognition as well as standing within the national Republican Party. Wentworth did not compete in this race, nor did he run for governor in 1860.
Daily Illinois State Journal (Springfield), 17 June 1858, 2:5; 13 November 1858, 2:3; Michael Burlingame, Abraham Lincoln: A Life, 1:556-57; Howard W. Allen and Vincent A. Lacey, eds., Illinois Elections, 1818-1990, 11.
7Lincoln wrote this docketing in pencil as well as the docketing in pencil just below it, on the right side of the envelope shown in the third image..

Autograph Letter Signed, 3 page(s), Abraham Lincoln Papers, Library of Congress (Washington, DC).