James B. McKinley to Abraham Lincoln, 11 August 18581
Hon A LincolnDear sir
Yours of the 9th inst I recvd[received] this morning on my return home2 I have been for ten days in Dewitt— while there learned that Dickey had gone to the (Dev[Devil]) Douglas party3 Perhaps it is best for the Republican party As a personal friend of his I am sorry I love him very much as a man But where he is I shall be against him politically Some how it is I feel that we4 are sure of success with out him

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So far as this legislative district is concerned I think the matter is now placed clearly beyond a doubt that we will succed in electing our Candidate (Stickels) The selection of Stickels was a lucky hit.5
As I have said I have been in Dewitt for the last ten days I find it is thought that Mt Pleasant will be a very good locality to make a political demonstration The place you are aware is situate near the corner of 4 counties viz Dewitt MLean Piatt & Champaign and in a central point as to the strong hold of Americans6 The strong hold of Americans in Dewitt is at & around Marion and between Marion
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LeRoy then in Piatt south and East or in this county The strong hold is along the Sangamon Middletown &c[etc] Ma^n^y of those persons can be got to attend a convention at Mt Pleasant that would not go either to Bloomington Clinton or Urbana and there ^it^ is a locality that wants attention we want to labor this [faul?] where it will pay best Now can you not arrange it so as to appoint a meeting there about the 20 of September7 If you will agree to go there you may depend upon it there will be a great croud of people to hear from all the 4 counties
I may write you again Please let me her from you.8
yours trulyJ B McKinley9

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WES[T URBA]NA Ill.[Illinois]
Hon A LincolnSpringfieldIllinois
[ docketing ]
1James B. McKinley wrote and signed this letter, including the address on the envelope.
2Abraham Lincoln’s letter to McKinley of August 9, 1858, has not been located.
3T. Lyle Dickey was a former Henry Clay Whig turned Republican who opposed abolition and was in sympathy with Stephen A. Douglas. In part due to Owen Lovejoy’s 1858 nomination to run as the Republican candidate for reelection for the U.S. House of Representatives in the Third Congressional District of Illinois, Dickey broke with the Republican Party and announced in August of that year that he was joining the Democratic Party. During the election of 1858, in which Lincoln challenged Douglas for his seat in the U.S. Senate, Dickey denounced Lincoln for his abandonment of the Whig principles of Clay and campaigned on behalf of Douglas. See the 1858 Illinois Republican Convention.
Leonard Swett, Remembrances of T. Lyle Dickey ([Chicago]: Barnard & Gunthorp, [1885?]), 19-20; Michael Burlingame, Abraham Lincoln: A Life (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2008), 1:424, 454, 456-57, 542-44, 548.
4“wer” changed to “we”.
5McKinley lived in the Thirty-Sixth District of the Illinois House of Representatives, which included Champaign, DeWitt, Macon, and Piatt counties. The Republicans of the district selected Daniel Stickel as their candidate for the Illinois House of Representatives in the election of 1858 and he ultimately won the race, defeating Douglas Democrat candidate William N. Coler, and Buchanan Democrat candidate William Prather by several hundred votes.
The Biographical Record of Champaign County, Illinois (Chicago: S. J. Clarke, 1900), 636-37; John Clayton, comp., The Illinois Fact Book and Historical Almanac 1673-1968 (Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 1970), 220, 222; Daily Illinois State Journal (Springfield), 3 November 1858, 2:2; The Central Transcript (Clinton, IL), 28 October 1858, 2:3; Weekly Central Transcript (Clinton, IL), 12 November 1858, 1:2.
6At 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 campaigned extensively in Illinois in the summer and fall of 1858, delivering speeches and campaigning on behalf of Republican candidates for the General Assembly. He 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. Of the counties in the Thirty-Sixth Illinois House of Representatives District, Champaign County was considered safely Republican in 1858, and DeWitt, Macon, and Piatt counties were located in the former “Whig belt” of Illinois.
Allen C. Guelzo, “Houses Divided: Lincoln, Douglas, and the Political Landscape of 1858,” The Journal of American History 94 (September 2007), 392-94, 400-401; Michael Burlingame, Abraham Lincoln: A Life, 1:445-50, 457-58, 476-77.
7Lincoln did not speak in Mount Pleasant on September 20, or apparently at any other point during the election campaign of 1858. His campaign appearances in the counties of the Thirty-Sixth Illinois House District and in Champaign County in 1858 included speeches in Clinton on September 2, in Bloomington on September 4, in Monticello on September 6, in Urbana on September 24, and in Decatur on November 1. Lincoln’s Clinton, Bloomington, and Monticello speeches had been announced by the date of this letter.
Allen C. Guelzo, “Houses Divided: Lincoln, Douglas, and the Political Landscape of 1858,” 404-8; The Lincoln Log: A Daily Chronology of the Life of Abraham Lincoln, 2 September 1858, https://www.thelincolnlog.org/Results.aspx?type=CalendarDay&day=1858-09-02; 4 September 1858, https://www.thelincolnlog.org/Results.aspx?type=CalendarDay&day=1858-09-04; 6 September 1858, https://www.thelincolnlog.org/Results.aspx?type=CalendarDay&day=1858-09-06; 24 September 1858, https://www.thelincolnlog.org/Results.aspx?type=CalendarDay&day=1858-09-24; 1 November 1858, https://www.thelincolnlog.org/Results.aspx?type=CalendarDay&day=1858-11-01; Report of Speech at Clinton, Illinois; Report of Speech at Bloomington, Illinois; Daily Illinois State Journal (Springfield), 11 August 1858, 3:1.
8No response to this letter has been located, nor subsequent correspondence from McKinley to Lincoln on the subject of the 1858 election.
9McKinley wrote the closing and signature over the fold of the folio from page four and onto page one, oriented at ninety degrees to the text of the letter.
10Lincoln wrote this docketing.

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