Lyman Trumbull to Abraham Lincoln, 16 June 18581
Hon. A. Lincoln,My Dear Sir,
It is quite a disappointment to me not to be at Springfield to-day, but I could not do so without leaving before the business was through– The Senate is now in Executive session acting on some unimportant appointments– The special session seems to have been called without any important object–2
I hope the convention is well attended & that all may go off harmoniously–3 Douglas made one of his characteristic speeches yesterday, denouncing the late Buchanan convention as attempt of a few office
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holders & traitors to the Democracy of Illinois to bring about its defeat he denounced the men engaged in it as bolters, & charged that they were acting in alliance with the Republicans to defeat him; that the common object of both was to beat Douglas, as if he was the only object of party organizations in Ills4 On the same principle all the Buchanan & Fremont men were in alliance at the last election to defeat Filmore, because both were opposed to him–5 Douglas was very severe on Dr Leib & also made some allusion to Wentworth asserting that the only hope6 of defeating him was by getting up a division among the Democracy & opposing its regular nominations–7 I took occasion to say in a pleasant way that the Republicans of Ill. intended to
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beat all the factions of the Democracy whether single or united, & that Republicans had no affiliations or alliances with Leib & Co[Company]–8 This speech of Douglas will no doubt be extensively circulated in Ill.[Illinois] & indicates what his line of policy is to be–9 He will seek to obtain Republican support by charging that some Republicans for the sake of beating him are in alliance with the Lecompton office holders, & wil by charge10 that there is a combination to put him down for opposing the Lecompton iniquity & in that way get up if he can sympathy in his favor– I do not know how much the Buchanan movement in Ill. may amount to, but Douglas certainly means to make war upon it– I shall remain here a short time & shall be glad to hear from you–11
Very truly YoursLyman Trumbull

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L. TrumbullWASHINGTON CyD. C .
JUN[JUNE] 16 1858
Hon. A. Lincoln,Springfield,Ills
1Lyman Trumbull wrote and signed this letter. He also wrote Abraham Lincoln's name and address on the envelope shown in the fourth image.
2In his previous letter to Lincoln on June 12, Trumbull expressed regret at not being able to attend the 1858 Illinois Republican Convention. The Thirty-Fifth U.S. Congress was set to adjourn when President James Buchanan sent the members of Congress a message on the morning of Saturday, June 12 recommending that they postpone adjourning their ongoing session until appropriation bills then under consideration were passed and the condition of the U.S. Treasury was assessed and secured. The first session of the Thirty-Fifth Congress eventually adjourned on Monday, June 14. That day, however, President Buchanan issued a proclamation declaring that an “extraordinary occasion” required the U.S. Senate to convene for a special session on June 15. The Senate convened for the special session on Tuesday, June 15 and adjourned Wednesday, June 16.
Cong. Globe, 35th Cong., First Sess., 2981, 3048-50 (1858); Cong. Globe, 35th Cong., Special Sess., 3051, 3061 (1858).
3Although flooding and damage to bridges and roads in the state prevented some Republicans from attending the 1858 Illinois Republican Convention, the Daily Illinois State Journal estimated that roughly 2,000 people attended in total and noted that the attendees filled the hall of the Illinois House of Representatives to such an extent that many were forced to stand throughout the event. Despite Stephen A. Douglas’ efforts to court Republican votes, the convention's delegates quickly passed their party platform and were united on Lincoln as their candidate to replace Douglas as U.S. Senator.
Daily Illinois State Journal (Springfield), 4 June 1858, 3:1; 8 June 1858, 1:1; 11 June 1858, 3:1; 17 June 1858, 2:1; James W. Somers to Abraham Lincoln; Michael Burlingame, Abraham Lincoln: A Life (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2008), 1:447-48, 456-57.
4Trumbull references a speech Douglas gave in the U.S. Senate on June 15.
The Democratic Party had held its state convention in Springfield on April 21. Tensions were high within the party due to President Buchanan’s recent support of the Lecompton Constitution and Douglas’ denunciation of the constitution as well as Buchanan. Pro-Buchanan delegates bolted the April convention and held their own convention on June 9, during which they strongly denounced Douglas. Douglas, in turn, denounced this pro-Buchanan “bolter” convention, asserting that it was not a legitimate Democratic political convention.
Cong. Globe, 35th Cong., Special Sess., 3055-58 (1858); Daily Illinois State Journal (Springfield), 10 June 1858, 2:2-5; Michael Burlingame, Abraham Lincoln: A Life, 1:445, 454-55.
5Trumbull references the 1856 presidential election. Douglas made no such inference in his speech in the U.S. Senate. See Cong. Globe, 35th Cong., 5th Sess., 3055-58 (1858).
6"hoping" changed to "hope"
7Douglas claimed in his aforementioned speech that Charles Leib was acting on behalf of the Republican Party and pressuring Democratic postmasters throughout Illinois to back Lincoln over Douglas for U.S. senator in the upcoming election of 1858. Douglas claimed Leib was insinuating that any Democratic postmasters who supported Douglas would be removed from their posts by President Buchanan.
Although it is unclear whether a formal alliance ever existed between Leib and his pro-Buchanan political allies and Lincoln, specifically, or the Illinois Republican Party in general, Leib was outspoken in his disdain for Douglas and actively promoted pro-Buchanan interests within the Illinois Democratic political establishment—including among patronage appointees such as postmasters. Furthermore, in the aftermath of the controversy regarding the Lecompton Constitution, President Buchanan did, in fact, purge many Douglas supporters from federal patronage appointments throughout Illinois as part of a concerted effort to politically punish Douglas for his opposition to the Lecompton Constitution and public criticism of Buchanan. William Herndon claimed that some Republicans encouraged factionalism among Democrats but deliberately kept Lincoln ignorant of such efforts. Douglas claimed that John Wentworth hoped to replace him as U.S. Senator for Illinois in the upcoming election of 1858. Douglas and his supporters, including the editors of the Chicago Times, also promoted rumors that Wentworth publicly supported Lincoln’s candidacy for the U.S. Senate in exchange for Lincoln’s support for Wentworth becoming the next governor of Illinois. Lincoln denied these rumors and stated that he believed that Wentworth’s public support for his candidacy for the U.S. Senate was genuine.
Cong. Globe, 35th Cong., Special Sess., 3056, 3058 (1858); Abraham Lincoln to Charles L. Wilson; Michael Burlingame, Abraham Lincoln: A Life, 1:445, 452, 455-56; Allen C. Guelzo, “House Divided: Lincoln, Douglas, and the Political Landscape of 1858,” The Journal of American History 94 (September 2007), 395-96; Rodney O. Davis, "Dr. Charles Leib: Lincoln's Mole?," Journal of the Abraham Lincoln Association 24 (Summer 2003): 24-27.
8Trumbull spoke briefly in the U.S. Senate after Douglas. See Cong. Globe, 35th Cong., Special Sess., 3058 (1858).
9On June 24, the Daily Illinois State Register reported that it had received a copy of Douglas’ speech in pamphlet form. On June 25, the paper reprinted a full copy of the speech for its readers. Other papers in Illinois also covered the speech and printed excerpts.
Daily Illinois State Register (Springfield), 24 June 1858, 2:2; 25 June 1858, 2:2-6; Daily Illinois State Journal (Springfield), 21 June 1858, 2:1; 24 June 1858, 2:1; Chicago Daily Tribune (Chicago, IL), 19 June 1858, 2:3.
10"charging" changed to "charge"
11Lincoln’s reply has not been located. However, Herndon claimed that he saw Lincoln’s reply to Trumbull and that Lincoln denied any alliance between the Republican Party and either the pro-Buchanan or pro-Douglas camps of the Democratic Party. Lincoln and Trumbull exchanged at least seven more letters related to the election of 1858 after this letter.
Douglas ultimately won reelection to the U.S. Senate in the election of 1858. Through the campaign, however, and in particular through his participation in the Lincoln-Douglas Debates, Lincoln gained national recognition as well as standing within the Republican Party.
Rodney O. Davis, "Dr. Charles Leib: Lincoln's Mole?,” 26-27; Abraham Lincoln to Lyman Trumbull; Lyman Trumbull to Abraham Lincoln; Lyman Trumbull to Abraham Lincoln; Lyman Trumbull to Abraham Lincoln; Lyman Trumbull to Abraham Lincoln; Abraham Lincoln to Lyman Trumbull; Lyman Trumbull to Abraham Lincoln; Allen C. Guelzo, “House Divided: Lincoln, Douglas, and the Political Landscape of 1858,” 416-17; Michael Burlingame, Abraham Lincoln: A Life, 1:556-57.

Autograph Letter Signed, 4 page(s), Abraham Lincoln Papers, Library of Congress (Washington, DC).