James Berdan to Abraham Lincoln, 26 August 18581
Hon A LincolnDear Sir,
If you can so arrange it, it will be greatly to your advantage to make a speech here.2 Trumbull will have a tall crowd to-morrow and Douglas an immense gathering on the 6th September.3 In this District which is composed of Morgan & Scott, two members are to be elected, and we are inclined to look for success of the Republican candidates.4 The most untiring efforts will have to be used however until the day of election, and it is always in our calculation that we will have your own telling contribution to the work. In looking over your list of appointments for yourself and with Douglas
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we cannot see that you will have any earlier unengaged time than in the interval between Sept[September] 18 and Oct[October] 7.5 If in this interval, you can afford to come here, I have no hesitation in assuring you in behalf of all your friends here that you can better ^make^ such use of your time and talents as will probably count more in the result than even all the ardent and earnest efforts We will assuredly continue to put forth.6
We are not so unreasonable as to wish to intrude upon your wiser determinations or interfere with your better arrangements. We wish you to know however that we think we need you here and that if possible you must make an appointment
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to come. We are more concerned for your success, than we ever were before for a political triumph and must be excused for pressing upon your consideration what ^may^ seems to be a suggestion for our own benefit, but it is nothing more nor less than a deep and sincere conviction, that we are in danger here, and are more likely to be saved through your own than through our own demonstrations.
With true and unalterable friendship,
Yours &c[etc.]Jas Berdan7

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JACK[SONVILL]E Ill.[Illinois]
[AUG] 27 1858
Hon. A. Lincoln,Springfield,Ill:
1James Berdan wrote this letter, including the address on the envelope.
2Abraham Lincoln was currently on the campaign trail, having 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. See 1858 Federal Election.
Allen C. Guelzo, “Houses Divided: Lincoln, Douglas, and the Political Landscape of 1858,” The Journal of American History 94 (September 2007), 392-99, 400-401; Michael Burlingame, Abraham Lincoln: A Life (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2008), 1:457-58, 476-77.
3During the campaign of 1858 Illinois Republican U.S. Senator Lyman Trumbull spoke widely in Illinois and Indiana in favor of Lincoln and the Republican ticket and against Douglas. A letter to the Illinois State Journal reporting on Trumbull’s August 27 speech in Jacksonville claimed that thousands had attended. Newspaper descriptions of the crowd at Douglas’ speech in Jacksonville on September 6 were contradictory, with one claiming that “few over the usual number came down by the railroad” and another calling the event “One of the greatest meetings recorded yet”.
Ralph J. Roske, His Own Counsel: The Life and Times of Lyman Trumbull (Reno, NV: University of Nevada Press, 1979), 48-51; The Illinois State Journal (Springfield), 8 September 1858, 4:4-5; Chicago Daily Press and Tribune (IL), 9 September 1858, 1:2; Western Railroad Gazette and Real Estate Register (Chicago, IL), 11 September 1858, 3:1.
4Morgan and Scott counties constituted the Twenty-Seventh Illinois House of Representatives District, in which Republicans Cyrus Matthews (Mathews) and James Leighton of Morgan and Scott counties respectively were running against Douglas Democrats Cyrus Epler and Elisha B. Hitt. Epler and Hitt won the election, with the returns in Morgan County giving them an almost 300 vote-advantage, despite running behind the Republican candidates in the county’s Jacksonville precinct.
John Clayton, comp., The Illinois Fact Book and Historical Almanac 1673-1968 (Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 1970), 219, 222; Daily Illinois State Journal (Springfield), 2 October 1858, 2:4; 3 November 1858, 2:3; 4 November 1858, 2:3; Daily Galena Courier (IL), 4 November 1858, 2:3; The Weekly Chicago Times (IL), 11 November 1858, 2:5.
5Lincoln’s speaking engagements as announced in the newspaper at this time were tightly scheduled through a speech in Edwardsville on September 13. Following that, he was scheduled to participate in Lincoln-Douglas Debates on September 15 in Jonesboro and September 18 in Charleston. As Berdan here points out, Lincoln then had a longer gap in his schedule before the debate to be held in Galesburg on October 7, 1858.
Daily Illinois State Journal (Springfield), 26 August 1858, 2:1.
6Lincoln made campaign visits to Morgan and Scott counties in the interval Berdan suggested, speaking in Jacksonville on September 27, and in Winchester two days later.
The Lincoln Log: A Daily Chronology of the Life of Abraham Lincoln, 27 September 1858, https://www.thelincolnlog.org/Results.aspx?type=CalendarDay&day=1858-09-27; 29 September 1858, https://www.thelincolnlog.org/Results.aspx?type=CalendarDay&day=1858-09-29.
7No response to this letter by Lincoln, nor further correspondence between Berdan and Lincoln on the subject of the 1858 election has been located.
8Lincoln wrote this docketing.

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