Abraham Lincoln to Hampton P. Sloan, 3 August 18581
H. P. Sloan, Esq[Esquire]My dear Sir:
Your kind letter of the 12th of July, inviting me to be present at the Winnebago Co. Agricultural fair on the 22nd 23rd & 24th of September, was duly received–
I have waited so long, and still can not say whether I can be there– I shall bear it in mind, and come if I can–2
Yours very trulyA. Lincoln
1Abraham Lincoln wrote and signed this letter.
2Hampton P. Sloan replied to this letter on August 10.
In the end, Lincoln did not deliver a campaign address at the Winnebago County Agricultural Society’s 1858 fair. Although he was running against Stephen A. Douglas as the Illinois Republican Party’s candidate for the U.S. Senate, at the time, the northern counties of Illinois—such as Winnebago—were a Republican stronghold. Between September 22 and 24, he delivered campaign speeches in Danville, Illinois and Urbana, Illinois instead. Both he and Douglas focused their 1858 campaigns on central Illinois.
Ultimately, in the local elections of 1858, Republicans won a majority of all votes cast in Illinois, but pro-Douglas Democrats retained control of the Illinois General Assembly. Members of the General Assembly voted for and elected the state’s representatives in the U.S. Senate and, in the 1858 Federal Election, Douglas won reelection. 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 Lincoln Log: A Daily Chronology of the Life of Abraham Lincoln, September, https://thelincolnlog.org/Results.aspx?type=CalendarMonth&year=1858&month=9; Allen C. Guelzo, “Houses Divided: Lincoln, Douglas, and the Political Landscape of 1858,” The Journal of American History 94 (September 2007), 394, 404, 414-16; Michael Burlingame, Abraham Lincoln: A Life (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2008), 1:458, 476, 556-57.

Autograph Letter Signed, 1 page(s), Private Collection, Abraham Lincoln Book Shop (Chicago, IL)