John A. Jones to Abraham Lincoln, 7 August 18581
My dear Sir,
I am in receipt of your favor of the 2d inst. I am a supporter of you in your present struggle as you suggest2 I hope I am on the side this time, at least, that will succeed.3
If the Republicans will bring out a conservative man of moral worth, I have arrived at the deliberate conclusion after much observation & inquiry, that we can beat the Democrats by 400 possibly 500 majority.4 The Americans and Republicans are the constituent elements of the great and ever to be revered whig Party and I am pleased to find will readily and gladly unite on such a man. It is presumed the Republicans are all right. Hence I have been principally with the other party. They all agree to sustain my notion of a candidate, even Garth and Peter Menard among others, who voted for Buchanan. I have got Menard
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much interested. He is good for 40 votes, he says 100.5 It would do you and the cause no harm to drop him a few lines.6 If you can spare the time, come make us a speech. The Democrats expect Douglas here.7 They are very industrious in the charge of Abolitionism against you I find it tells well among the Fillmore men to suggest, that while the support of the Abolitionists indicates either abandonment or modification of their ultraism, it is no more conclusive against you, of that charge than of Mormonism against Douglas, the Political idol of its adherents,8 and that your remark, that these States will eventually be all free or slave &c &c[etc etc] is not the annunciation of a principle, but the mere expression of an opinion9 to which I an Anti abolitionist Subscribe and all men might subscribe without being a shadow of proof whether they were pro or antislavery and that Douglas the demagogue would be delighted to get the aid of Abolition votes

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I think that gentleman has no strength in Tazewell beyond his party, which is to be sure very active, inflated and impudent in calculation
Being one of the Sovereigns of Illinois now, I shall have it in my power to be more active than at any previous election10 So you may rely upon my poor support to its extent.
For my prolixity, you have no one to blame but yourself, you invited it
very truly
J. A. JonesHon. A. Lincoln

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PEKIN Ills[Illinois].
Hon. A. LincolnSpringfieldIlls.
[ docketing ]
J. A. Jones11
[ docketing ]
Aug 7/58[1858]12
1John A. Jones wrote and signed this letter, including the address on the envelope.
2Abraham Lincoln’s letter to Jones of August 2, 1858, has not been located. On that date, Lincoln also wrote another Tazewell County ally, Lyman Porter, soliciting his political support and asking that Porter consult with friends in regards to the Illinois House of Representatives race in that county. Lincoln also apparently wrote Thomas J. Pickett of Tazewell County on August 2 with a similar request for support during the election of 1858.
Lincoln had been nominated at the 1858 Illinois Republican Convention to run against incumbent Stephen A. Douglas to represent Illinois in the U.S. Senate. 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. Lincoln and Douglas both focused their campaign efforts on the former Whig stronghold of central Illinois, where the state legislative races were the closest. Among the former Whigs whose votes were courted were those who had moved into the American Party following the dissolution of the Whig Party.
Thomas J. Pickett to Abraham Lincoln; Allen C. Guelzo, “Houses Divided: Lincoln, Douglas, and the Political Landscape of 1858,” The Journal of American History 94 (September 2007), 394, 400-401; Michael Burlingame, Abraham Lincoln: A Life (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2008), 1: 457-58, 476-77.
3Among the previous unsuccessful political activities that Jones had engaged in was the organization alongside Lincoln of Scott Clubs in support of Whig presidential candidate Winfield Scott in the election of 1852.
Eugenia Jones Hunt, “My Personal Recollections of Abraham and Mary Todd Lincoln,” The Abraham Lincoln Quarterly 3 (March 1945), 242-43.
4David Davis wrote Lincoln shortly before the date of this letter reporting that Jones wanted Richard N. Cullom to run for the Illinois House of Representatives in Tazewell County in the election of 1858. When the Republicans of Tazewell County met at their county convention in Tremont on August 30, 1858, they selected Cullom as their candidate for the Thirty-Ninth Illinois House of Representatives District, which consisted entirely of Tazewell County. Cullom ultimately received 1,783 votes in the election, losing to Democrat Robert B. M. Wilson, who earned 1,955 votes. Tazewell County was in the Seventeenth Illinois Senate district, where Democrat Samuel W. Fuller held over in the 1858 election.
John Clayton, comp., The Illinois Fact Book and Historical Almanac, 1673-1968 (Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 1970), 219, 220, 222; Summary of Speech at Tremont, Illinois; Summary of Speech at Tremont, Illinois; Daily Illinois State Journal (Springfield), 4 November 1858, 3:2; Chicago Daily Press and Tribune (IL), 5 November 1858, 1:3; The Weekly Chicago Times (IL), 11 November 1858, 2:5.
5“50” changed to “100”.
6No correspondence between Lincoln and Peter Menard from around this time has been located.
7During the campaign of 1858 Douglas spoke twice in Tazewell County: in Washington, on September 30, and in Pekin, on October 2. Lincoln’s Tazewell County appearances during the campaign included a speech at the Tazewell County Republican meeting in Tremont on August 30, at which he was introduced by Jones who served as president of the meeting. Lincoln also spoke in Pekin on October 5.
Harry E. Pratt, The Great Debates ([Springfield, IL: Illinois State Historical Library, 1955]), 6-7; The Lincoln Log: A Daily Chronology of the Life of Abraham Lincoln, 30 August 1858,; 5 October 1858,; Summary of Speech at Tremont, Illinois; Summary of Speech at Tremont, Illinois; Summary of Speech at Pekin, Illinois; Summary of Speech at Pekin, Illinois.
8Although he lost favor with Mormons when he denounced Brigham Young in 1857, Douglas had previously been popular among the faith’s members. He had gained popularity with Mormons by courting their votes in the 1840s, ruling favorably from the bench in cases involving Mormons, acting as a contact for Mormons in the U.S. Congress, and espousing that states and territories be governed according to popular sovereignty, which appealed to Mormons in Utah Territory who sought to apply the doctrine to preserving the practice of polygamy.
John Y. Simon, “Lincoln, Douglas, and Popular Sovereignty: The Mormon Dimension,” Lincoln Revisited: New Insights from the Lincoln Forum, ed. by John Y. Simon, Harold Holzer, and Dawn Vogel (New York: Fordham University Press, 2007), 45-56; Robert W. Johannsen, Stephen A. Douglas (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1997), 105-10, 150, 161, 567-73.
9Jones is referencing Lincoln’s so-called “House Divided” speech, delivered at the Illinois Republican Convention in Springfield on June 16, 1858, in which Lincoln stated his belief that the government of the United States could not continue to exist “half slave and half free” but would eventually either fully allow or prohibit slavery.
The Lincoln Log: A Daily Chronology of the Life of Abraham Lincoln, 16 June 1858,; 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.
10Jones is apparently using the word “sovereign” to mean a mere citizen or voter, in contrast with his prior longstanding role as clerk of the Tazewell County Circuit Court. Jones had served in that office between 1837 and 1857.
William A. Craigie and James R. Hulbert, eds., A Dictionary of American English on Historical Principles (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1944), 4:2181; Daily Illinois State Register (IL), 24 July 1888, 3:4.
11Lincoln wrote this docketing.
12An unidentified person wrote this docketing.

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