John L. Scripps to Abraham Lincoln, 3 July 18581
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Hon A. LincolnMy Dear Sir
Mr Medill has just shown me a letter from you in which you express the desire that nothing shall be said by the Republican papers of the State to anticipate your charge of conspiracy against Douglas when you next meet him on the stump.2
I regret exceedingly that I did not earlier know your wishes upon this subject. I had been reading upon it at odd intervals for some months, and, after two or three office consultations, prefaced three articles upon it, one of which appeared on Saturday morning last, the second this morning.3 The third article has reference to what has yet to be done to complete the object of the conspirators— viz to carry slavery into the free states.
While I do not flatter myself that my humble efforts to elucidate the subject can in the least interfere with your line of argument or render it any the less new and interesting to the public, still if I had

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the slightest wishes ^intimation^ of your wishes in the premises, I certainly would not have said a word on the subject in advance of your meeting with Douglas.4
Will you please communicate freely with us upon any subject on which you have a preference to the line of policy we should pursue. We shall receive any suggestions from you as a special favor.
Your speech at Springfield has given the most unbounded satisfaction to Republicans generally. Douglas must be met with positive and direct charges of recreancy, and be held up as the traitor to freedom that he is.5
Very sincerely Your friendJ. L. Scripps

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CHICAGO Ill[Illinois]
AUG[AUGUST] 4 1858
Hon. A. LincolnSpringfieldIllinois
[ docketing ]
J. L. Scripps–6
1John L. Scripps wrote and signed this letter. He also wrote Abraham Lincoln’s name and address on the envelope shown in the third image.
2This letter has not been located, although Lincoln corresponded with Joseph Medill multiple times during 1858.
In the 1858 Federal Election, Lincoln was running as the Illinois Republican Party’s candidate to supplant incumbent Stephen A. Douglas in the U.S. Senate. During his nomination at the 1858 Illinois Republican Convention, Lincoln delivered an address—widely known as his “House Divided” speech—in which he charged that Douglas was part of a plot or conspiracy to nationalize slavery. Lincoln argued that the plot began with Douglas’ Kansas-Nebraska bill, which President Franklin Pierce supported, then was advanced by both the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in the Dred Scott case—handed down by Chief Justice Roger B. Taney—and by President James Buchanan’s call to support the court’s decision. Lincoln warned his audience that, if Douglas were not defeated and the slave power not overthrown, another Supreme Court ruling could build upon the Dred Scott decision and proclaim that the U.S. Constitution prohibited states from excluding slavery within their own borders.
Joseph Medill to Abraham Lincoln; Abraham Lincoln to Joseph Medill; Ray, Medill & Company to Abraham Lincoln; Joseph Medill to Abraham Lincoln; Joseph Medill to Abraham Lincoln; Michael Burlingame, Abraham Lincoln: A Life (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2008), 1:458-61; Report of Speech at Springfield, Illinois; Report of Speech at Springfield, Illinois; Fragment of A House Divided Speech at Springfield, Illinois; Report of Speech at Springfield, Illinois; David Herbert Donald, Lincoln (New York: Touchstone, 1995), 206-9.
3The articles Scripps references appeared in the June 26 and July 3 editions of the Chicago Press and Tribune. Each article contains an attack upon Douglas and/or his “co laborers” [sic], including an assertion that Douglas was, “one whose whole course in Congress has been in favor of a breach of national faith.”
The paper had also endorsed Lincoln’s arguments regarding a conspiracy to nationalize slavery in its June 19 issue, as part of the paper’s initial coverage of Lincoln’s House Divided address.
Chicago Daily Tribune (IL), 19 June 1858, 2:1; 26 June 1858, 2:3; Chicago Daily Press and Tribune (IL), 3 July 1858, 2:2.
4This is another reference to Lincoln meeting Douglas on the campaign trail. For the first part of the election campaign of 1858, Lincoln often followed Douglas on the trail, delivering speeches either later in the evening after Douglas finished, or the next day. It was not until late-July that Lincoln challenged Douglas to a series of formal debates. Douglas eventually agreed, and these became the famous Lincoln-Douglas Debates.
5If Lincoln replied to this letter, his response has not been located. He and Scripps previously exchanged at least three other letters related to the 1858 Federal Election.
Lincoln repeated his charges of Douglas being part of a plot to nationalize slavery throughout the 1858 campaign—both in speeches and during the Lincoln-Douglas Debates.
In the local elections of 1858, Republicans won a majority of all votes cast in Illinois, but pro-Douglas Democrats retained control of the Illinois General Assembly. At the time, members of the General Assembly voted for and elected the state’s representatives in the U.S. Senate, and Douglas won reelection. 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.
John L. Scripps to Abraham Lincoln; Abraham Lincoln to John L. Scripps; John L. Scripps to Abraham Lincoln; Speech at Springfield, Illinois; Report of Speech at Springfield, Illinois; Report of Speech at Springfield, Illinois; Report of Speech at Clinton, Illinois; Report of Speech at Beardstown, Illinois; Report of Speech at Havana, Illinois; Summary of Speech at Augusta, Illinois; Summary of Speech at Monmouth, Illinois; Allen C. Guelzo, “Houses Divided: Lincoln, Douglas, and the Political Landscape of 1858,” The Journal of American History 94 (September 2007), 394, 414-16; Michael Burlingame, Abraham Lincoln: A Life, 1:492-540, 556-57.
6Lincoln wrote this docketing vertically on the left side of the envelope shown in the third image.

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