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Elihu B. Washburne to Abraham Lincoln, 3 June 18561
My Dear Sir:
There was so much excitement, “noise and confusion” at Bloomington, I am afraid that sober business matters were somewhat over-looked.2 It seems to me the great thing with us is to look after the lower part of the State— the northern part will take care of itself.3
I would like to have your views as to what should be done for the Southern counties, and what the proper course of policy to be pursued.4
Our friends here have every confidence in carrying the election for President. If the slavery men put up Buchanan it is thought we must put up McLean.5 I hope you will be at the Phila Convention.6
Truly, Yours,E B WashburneHon. A. Lincoln.

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[Envelope]
WASHINGTON
FREE
1856
3
JUN[JUNE]
E B Washburne
M[Member] C
Hon. A. Lincoln,Springfield,Illinois
1Elihu B. Washburne wrote and signed this letter, including the address on the envelope.
2Abraham Lincoln attended the Illinois Anti-Nebraska Convention on May 29, 1856 and gave a speech to the assembled delegates.
Summary of Remarks at Bloomington, Illinois; Summary of Speech at Bloomington, Illinois.
3The Anti-Nebraska Convention in Bloomington, which essentially created the Illinois Republican Party, consisted mainly of attendees from northern and central Illinois.
Mitchell Snay, “Abraham Lincoln, Owen Lovejoy, and the Emergence of the Republican Party in Illinois,” Journal of the Abraham Lincoln Association 22 (Winter 2001), 91.
4A response from Lincoln about a possible course of action has not been located.
5In the 1856 Federal Election, the Democratic Party nominated James Buchanan to head its presidential ticket. Republicans gathered for their first national convention in Philadelphia and considered John McLean and other candidates before nominating John C. Fremont. Buchanan defeated Fremont to become the fifteenth president of the United States.
Buchanan captured Illinois with 44.09 percent of the vote to 40.23 percent for Fremont and 15.68 for Millard Fillmore, candidate for the American Party. Washburne was correct in his assessment of the northern part of Illinois: voters in the four northern congressional districts sent Republicans to the U.S. House of Representatives, including Washburne in the First Congressional District. Washburne was also right to be concerned with southern Illinois: voters in the five congressional districts in that part of the state sent Democrats the U.S. House. Illinoisans from southern Illinois also went overwhelmingly for Buchanan. Voters in the eighteen counties in the Ninth Illinois Congressional District, which encompassed most of southern Illinois, gave Buchanan 71 percent of the votes to 25 percent for Fillmore and only 4 percent for Fremont.
William E. Gienapp, The Origins of the Republican Party 1852-1856 (New York: Oxford University Press), 307-8; David M. Potter and Don E. Fehrenbacher, The Impending Crisis, 1848-1861 (New York: Harper & Row, 1976), 261, 264; Howard W. Allen and Vincent A. Lacey, eds., Illinois Elections, 1818-1990 (Carbondale and Edwardsville: Southern Illinois University Press, 1992), 10, 134-37.
6Lincoln did not attend the Republican National Convention. In June 1856, he was serving as an attorney in a special session of the Champaign County Circuit Court.
The Lincoln Log: A Daily Chronology of the Life of Abraham Lincoln, 17 June 1856, http://www.thelincolnlog.org/Results.aspx?type=CalendarDay&day=1856-06-17.

Autograph Letter Signed, 2 page(s), Volume Volume 2, Herndon-Weik Collection of Lincolniana, Library of Congress (Washington, DC).