William H. Hanna to Abraham Lincoln, 13 July 18581
A Lincoln Esqr[Esquire],Dear Sir,
Douglass is to pettifog before the administration drivers, on friday next at this place,2 I suppose you begin to see that the difference between Douglass & Buchanan, is a convenient method of excuse to the people of Illinois, for all the past sins of Douglass, and not a real difference, and never intended to be made one,3 Your reply at Chicago will do,4 We should be pleased to have some more of it, if it should suit your convenience,
I suppose you are posted as to the movements of Douglass, but as I am not informed how matters stand, and what your intentions are, as to the present canvass, I thought it proper to write you in order that you might surely know when Douglass would be here, and also to say that the Republicans would take it favorably if you could be here also, There is in fact no necessity for your comeing to McLean County, for it is all right here, and we will keept right & get more so, but, if you can as well come, we shall be prepared to receive you,5
Yours trulyW H. Hanna

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BLOOMI[NGT]ON Ill.[Illinois]
JUL[JULY] 13 1858
Hon. A LincolnSpringfieldIllinois
[ docketing ]
W. H. Hanna6
1William H. Hanna wrote and signed this letter. He also wrote Abraham Lincoln's name and address on the envelope in the second image.
2To pettifog is to play the part of a “small-rate lawyer,” one who is petty and uses trickery.
Samuel Johnson and John Walker, A Dictionary of the English Language (London: William Pickering, 1828), 539.
3Hanna references an ongoing dispute between Stephen A. Douglas and President James Buchanan. The dispute began after Douglas, in December 1857, spoke out against the Lecompton Constitution and criticized President Buchanan for supporting it. Some Republicans were excited by Douglas’ actions and considered supporting his bid for reelection to the U.S. Senate in the 1858 Federal Election. Although he later denied it, Douglas actively courted Republican support in order to bolster his chances for reelection. Lincoln and other Republicans were concerned by this and urged fellow party members to remain loyal in the upcoming local and federal elections.
Michael Burlingame, Abraham Lincoln: A Life (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2008), 1:445-48.
4Lincoln delivered a speech in Chicago, Illinois on July 10 in reply to Douglas, who opened his reelection campaign with a speech on July 9. Lincoln was the Republican Party’s candidate to unseat Douglas.
Michael Burlingame, Abraham Lincoln: A Life, 1:458, 467; For newspaper coverage of Lincoln’s Chicago address, see Report of Speech at Chicago, Illinois; Report of Speech at Chicago, Illinois; Report of Speech at Chicago, Illinois.
5Lincoln replied to this letter on July 15.
Douglas spoke in Bloomington, Illinois the evening of Friday, July 16. Lincoln was present. When Douglas concluded his speech, the crowd called for Lincoln to deliver a reply. Lincoln declined, stating that since the meeting was “called by the friends of Judge Douglas . . . it would be improper for me to address it.” Lincoln delivered a campaign address in Bloomington before a Republican crowd on September 4.
For a time, Lincoln followed Douglas on the campaign trail, delivering speeches either later in the evening after Douglas finished, or the next day. This posed challenges, however, as many spectators were unwilling to devote long hours or days to campaign events. Democrats also attacked Lincoln as “desperate” for following in Douglas’ footsteps. On July 24, Lincoln challenged Douglas to a series of formal debates. Douglas agreed, and these became the Lincoln-Douglas Debates.
In Illinois’ local elections of that year, the voters of McLean County awarded a healthy majority of 54.1 percent to Owen Lovejoy, the Third Congressional District’s Republican candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives. He won the district overall with 57.7 percent of the total votes cast. When the full elections results came in, Republicans won a majority of all votes cast in the state, 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. 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 national recognition as well as standing within the Republican Party.
The Daily Pantagraph (Bloomington, IL), 17 July 1858, 3:2; 6 September 1858, 2:2; Michael Burlingame, Abraham Lincoln: A Life, 1:483-85, 556-57; Report of Remarks at Bloomington, Illinois; Report of Remarks at Bloomington, Illinois; Abraham Lincoln to Stephen A. Douglas; Abraham Lincoln to Stephen A. Douglas; Stephen A. Douglas to Abraham Lincoln; Stephen A. Douglas to Abraham Lincoln; Report of Speech at Bloomington, Illinois; Howard W. Allen and Vincent A. Lacey, eds., Illinois Elections, 1818-1990 (Carbondale and Edwardsville: Southern Illinois University Press, 1992), 11, 142; Allen C. Guelzo, “Houses Divided: Lincoln, Douglas, and the Political Landscape of 1858,” The Journal of American History 94 (September 2007), 394, 414-16.
6Lincoln wrote this docketing.

Autograph Letter Signed, 2 page(s), Abraham Lincoln Papers, Library of Congress (Washington, DC).