James H. Reed to Abraham Lincoln, 9 July 18581
Hon. A. Lincoln:Dear Sir:
Your note came to hand yesterday, and I would say in reply that our Convention ^will be^ on Wednesday, Sept.[September] 1st, and I am exceedingly anxious that ^you^ will be here,,2 Col. Henderson informs me that he has written you in relation to a visit to Oquawka, and I hope that you will go there, for I regard that district more doubtful, even, than this,,3 You could be in Oquawka on Tuesday evening, and we will see that you have a conveyance to this place on Wednesday morning,, On Thursday morning you can go to Monmouth, speaking there on Thursday evening, or any other arrangement you may think proper
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which will allow you to be here on Wednesday.4
If you cannot possibly make this arrangement, come at some subsequent period, and advise me of the time.5 Douglas will visit Oquawka, I am quite sure, and I regard it as quite important that you do the same.6
I cannot pos admit agree with ^your^ injunction that we "must not admit of a doubt" that this district will elect other than a good Republican Representative,, I never allow myself to take an event for granted when there is a single contingency,, This county has been in the habit of dividing the local offices with the democracy while it has a good nominal Republican majority. Local questions and personal
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prejudices have been very influential in previous elections. I came here one year ago with a determination to set these matters right, and if I fail it will not be for want of prudence and hard work,,7
It is not my prerogative to dictate your course, most certainly, but as I have an unutterable anxiety that Douglas may be ousted, I must be pardoned in suggesting that those counties which a pretty nearly equally ballanced either in ^the^ number of voters, or by the influence of surrounding local circumstances, are the proper fields of labor.
Many counties in the State will go right with out special effort, while others will go wrong in spite of all that can be done, and it is
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not worth the while to waste much time or labor from abroad upon either.
My reference to the election of Senator was, of course a lapsus pennae8, but I think it is true that the district in which Oquawka is situate is to elect one, and I presume that Rose will be the Douglas candidate.9
I do hope that you will conclude to be at our convention, and I think I may safely promise you a good reception.
In haste
Yours Truly
J. H. Reed

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Hon. Abram LincolnSpringfieldIll's
[ docketing ]
J. H. Reed.10
1James H. Reed wrote and signed this document, including the address on the envelope.
2Abraham Lincoln's letter to Reed has not been located; however, it was most likely in response to Reed's letter of June 25 inviting Lincoln to a "Republican Mass Meeting" in early September.
3Oquawka, in Henderson County, Illinois, belonged to the Fifth Congressional District in 1858. Aledo, in Mercer County, was a member of the Fourth Congressional District. In the 1858 Federal Election, Mercer County, a Republican stronghold, helped William Kellogg win re-election to the U.S. House of Representatives representing the Fourth District. Henderson County gave a large majority of its voters to Jackson Grimshaw, the Republican candidate in the Fifth District, but it was not enough for Grimshaw to defeat Isaac N. Morris, the Democratic incumbent, who retained the seat.
"Illinois Congressional Districts, 1858," House Divided: The Civil War Research Engine at Dickinson College, https://hd.housedivided.dickinson.edu/node/16278, accessed 8 August 2023; History of Mercer County (Chicago: H. H. Hill, 1882), 539, 542; Newton Bateman and Paul Selby, eds., Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois and History of Henderson County, ed. by James W. Gordon (Chicago: Munsell, 1911), 2:623; Howard W. Allen and Vincent A. Lacey, eds., Illinois Elections, 1818-1990 (Carbondale and Edwardsville: Southern Illinois University Press, 1992), 10, 11, 142.
4Lincoln was the Republican candidate from Illinois for the U.S. Senate. In the summer and fall of 1858, he crisscrossed Illinois delivering speeches and campaigning on behalf of Republican candidates for the Illinois General Assembly. At this time the Illinois General Assembly elected the state’s representatives in the U.S. Senate, thus the outcome of races for the Illinois House of Representatives and Illinois Senate were of importance to Lincoln’s campaign. He ran against, and lost to, Democrat Stephen A. Douglas, the incumbent. See the 1858 Illinois Republican Convention; 1858 Federal Election.
On Tuesday, August 31, Lincoln was in Carlinville, Illinois, and delivered a speech about the future of slavery in the United States. He returned to Springfield that evening. On Wednesday, the day Reed proposed that Lincoln be in Oquawka, Lincoln traveled from Springfield to Decatur. The next day, Thursday, September 2, Lincoln continued from Decatur to Clinton for a political gathering.
The Lincoln Log: A Daily Chronology of the Life of Abraham Lincoln, 31 August 1858, https://thelincolnlog.org/Results.aspx?type=CalendarDay&day=1858-08-31; 1 September 1858, https://thelincolnlog.org/Results.aspx?type=CalendarDay&day=1858-09-01; 2 September 1858, https://thelincolnlog.org/Results.aspx?type=CalendarDay&day=1858-09-02; Allen C. Guelzo, “Houses Divided: Lincoln, Douglas, and the Political Landscape of 1858,” The Journal of American History 94 (September 2007), 392-93; Michael Burlingame, Abraham Lincoln: A Life (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2008), 1:457-85, 557.
5There is no record of Lincoln having visited Aledo in 1858. To follow Lincoln's travels during 1858, see The Lincoln Log: A Daily Chronology of the Life of Abraham Lincoln, https://thelincolnlog.org/CalendarYear.aspx?year=1858.
6Douglas spoke in Oquawka on Monday, October 4, 1858. On October 9, Lincoln visited the home of Stephen S. Phelps in Oquawka and then spoke for several hours.
Oquawka Spectator (IL), 7 October 1858, 2:1; 14 October 1858, 2:1; The Lincoln Log: A Daily Chronology of the Life of Abraham Lincoln, 9 October 1858, https://thelincolnlog.org/Results.aspx?type=CalendarDay&day=1858-10-09.
7Mercer County belonged to the Forty-Eighth Illinois House District in 1858. Republicans in the Forty-Eighth District nominated Ephraim Gilmore, Jr. for the Illinois House of Representatives in the state elections of 1858. Gilmore defeated his Democratic opponent for the seat. Gilmore voted for Lincoln in the contest for U.S. Senate.
John Clayton, comp., The Illinois Fact Book and Historical Almanac, 1673-1968 (Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 1970), 219-20, 222; Daily Illinois State Journal (Springfield), 22 September 1858, 3:2; The Illinois State Journal (Springfield), 17 November 1858, 2:4; Illinois House Journal. 1859. 21st G. A., 32.
8By lapsus pennae, Reed means an inadvertent slip of the pen.
Mercer County belonged to the Ninth Illinois Senate District in 1858. Thomas J. Henderson, a Republican and hold over from the 1856 state election, continued to represent Mercer County in the Illinois Senate in 1858. He also voted for Lincoln in the election for U.S. Senate
Bernard Dupriez, A Dictionary of Literary Devices: Gradus, A-Z, trans. and ad. Albert W. Halsall (Toronto and Buffalo: University of Toronto Press, 1991), 250; John Clayton, comp., The Illinois Fact Book and Historical Almanac, 1673-1968, 219-20, 222; Illinois House Journal. 1859. 21st G. A., 32.
9Henderson County was in the Eleventh Illinois Senate District. Although Hiram Rose was the incumbent, Democrat John P. Richmond was elected to the Illinois Senate for the Eleventh District in 1858. Richmond voted for Douglas in the election for U.S. Senate.
John Clayton, comp., The Illinois Fact Book and Historical Almanac, 1673-1968, 219, 222; Louis L. Emerson, ed., Blue Book of the State of Illinois, 1923-1924 (Springfield: Illinois State Journal, 1923), 681, 682; Illinois House Journal. 1859. 21st G. A., 32.
10Lincoln wrote this docketing.

Autograph Letter Signed, 5 page(s), Abraham Lincoln Papers, Library of Congress (Washington, DC).