William T. Page to Abraham Lincoln, 30 June 18561
An influential German has just dropped in & says it is important to have Mr H. here & soon.2My dear Sir
I see by the papers, that you have again taken the field and are about to engage in the turmoil of politics.3 Since my residence in this City I have kept aloof from all things of the kind & am not now much engaged in any way.4 We have in this County a large number say ⅓ German Voters, most of whom reside in & about the City. ⅞ of whom have always been old liners. ¾ of that ⅞ it is thought can be brought to vote for Fremont.5 A large number of our Germans, have
<Page 2>
knowledge of your associate on the electoral ticket Mr. Hecker & are anxious to get him here to address them, & have ^been^ applied to me as an old resident of Illinois to bring it about.6 I know no other way than through you. Will you be kind enough to write him & ascertain his views?7 He could address me a note saying when it would be convenient for him to come & the Germans could make their arrangements accordingly
It is important, I may say very important to make an impression amongst them at this point. There are in all the surrounding
<Page 3>
counties large settlements who can be reached from this point if the ball is once in motion.
The Germans with whom I have conversed seem to think Mr. H. is just the man They say he has a standing and a name, that will do wonders. It seems some of them knew him in Germany, and others have heard of him in this country. If he can come, you might give him a letter of introduction to me & I will turn him ^over^ to those who can post him up as to what is wanted. Let me hear from you as soon as possible.
I hope you will elect
<Page 4>
your ticket in Illinois8 I need not say, you should have my hearty cooperation if I lived in Ill. [Illinois] I cannot give you any information as to this state, in short I know nothing about it. My own preferences are for Fillmore, but am prepared to go for Fremont to defeat Buck.9
In answer let me know what the prospect is. &c [etc.]
Yours TrulyWm T PageA Lincoln Esq [Esquire]SpringfieldIll
1William T. Page wrote and signed this letter.
2This postscript is written perpendicularly in the left margin of the first page of this letter.
3From July 1856 onwards Abraham Lincoln gave over fifty speeches across Illinois in support of the presidential campaign of John C. Fremont and to rally the disparate elements of the emerging Republican Party. See the 1856 Federal Election.
Michael Burlingame, Abraham Lincoln: A Life (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2008), 1:425-33.
4Page had moved from Mount Carmel, Illinois to Evansville, Indiana about 1851. While a resident of Illinois in the 1840s, he had been active in the Whig Party and a supporter of Henry Clay.
U.S. Census Office, Seventh Census of the United States (1850), Mount Carmel, Wabash County, IL, 383; Edgar J. Wiley, comp., Catalogue of the Officers and Students of Middlebury College in Middlebury, Vermont (Middlebury, VT: Middlebury College, 1917), 89; Sangamo Journal (Springfield, IL), 1 February 1844, 2:6; 8 August 1844, 3:3-4.
5At the time of 1850 census, the total population of Vanderburgh County, Indiana was 11,414 people, of whom 4,482 were born outside of the United States, with 3,075 having been born in Germany.
Page is apparently using “old liners” to mean Democrats. German immigrants who settled in Vanderburgh County in the 1830s and 1840s were historically supporters of the Democratic Party. Free soil sympathies ran high among German immigrants, however, especially among German liberals who emigrated as a result of the German revolutions of 1848-1849. Passage of the Kansas-Nebraska Act in 1854 caused German-Americans who opposed the expansion of slavery to re-evaluate their political affiliations. The nascent Republican Party, with its free soil position, appealed to German immigrants and party leaders actively worked to recruit German-American voters in the 1856 election.
In the 1856 presidential election, Democrat James Buchananwon 60.8 percent of the vote in Vanderburgh County, American Party candidate Millard Fillmore27.2 percent, Fremont 12 percent.
J. D. B. DeBow, Statistical View of the United States (Washington, DC: A. O. P. Nicholson, 1854), 230-31; Gregory S. Rose, “The Distribution of Indiana’s Ethnic and Racial Minorities in 1850,” Indiana Magazine of History 87 (September 1991), 234; Zachary Stuart Garrison, German Americans on the Middle Border: From Antislavery to Reconciliation, 1830-1877 (Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 2020), 44-64; Michael J. Dubin, United States Presidential Elections, 1788-1860: The Official Results by County and State (Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 2002), 141.
6At the Illinois Anti-Nebraska Convention in Bloomington on May 29, 1856, delegates unanimously approved Lincoln and Friedrich K. F. Hecker as presidential electors for the state at large for what would ultimately become the Illinois Republican Party. Hecker was viewed as a boon to the Republican cause during the 1856 election due to his appeal among German-American voters, who were familiar with his political activities in Germany.
It is uncertain whether he came to Evansville, but Hecker gave several speeches in St. Clair and Monroe counties in Illinois on behalf of Fremont and the Republicans from June through August 1856. In the latter month, Hecker’s home burned down while he was away speaking, in what was suspected to be a deliberate political act. As he was unable to accept the numerous speaking invitations he received and was hesitant to travel following the fire, Hecker penned an “Address to the German Population of the United States by Friedrich Hecker” which was published in newspapers and in pamphlet format and expanded on the themes in his campaign speeches. Lincoln viewed Hecker’s efforts with German-American voters as indispensable to the Republican cause, and advocated raising funds to enable him to return to speaking following the destruction of his house. By October, 1856 Hecker had returned to the campaign trail and spoke at large rallies in Pennsylvania and New York.
Ezra M. Prince, ed., “Meeting of May 29, 1900 Commemorative of the Convention of May 29, 1856 that Organized the Republican Party in the State of Illinois,” Transactions of The McLean County Historical Society 3 (1900), 158; Sabine Freitag, Friedrich Hecker: Two Lives for Liberty, trans. by Steven Rowan (St. Louis: St. Louis Mercantile Library, University of Missouri–St. Louis, 2006), 168-69, 171, 174, 178-87, 189-90; Abraham Lincoln to Charles H. Ray; Abraham Lincoln to Friedrich K. F. Hecker.
7No letter from Lincoln to Hecker on the subject of Page’s request has been located, nor has any further correspondence between Lincoln and Page regarding the matter.
8The 1856 Illinois Anti-Nebraska Convention had selected as their state candidates William H. Bissell for governor, Francis A. Hoffman for lieutenant governor, Ozias M. Hatch for secretary of state, Jesse K. Dubois for auditor of public accounts, James Miller for treasurer, and William H. Powell, Sr. for superintendent of public instruction.
After Hoffman’s nomination for lieutenant governor, party leaders discovered that he was ineligible to run for state office under the 1848 Illinois Constitution. Hoffman withdrew, and in September 1856, anti-Nebraska delegates met in Springfield and nominated John Wood as their new candidate for lieutenant governor. The entire Illinois Republican ticket of Bissell, Wood, Hatch, Dubois, Miller, and Powell was elected in November 1856.
Daily Illinois State Journal (Springfield), 30 May 1856, 2:3; 25 September 1856, 2:1-2; 20 November 1856, 2:2, 3:4-6; J. H. A. Lacher, "Francis A. Hoffman of Illinois and Hans Buschbauer of Wisconsin," Wisconsin Magazine of History 13 (June 1930): 342-43
9Buchanan was ultimately the overall winner in Indiana, with 50.4 percent of the vote. Fremont earned 40.1 percent and Fillmore won 9.5 percent of the total votes cast in the state.
Michael J. Dubin, United States Presidential Elections, 1788-1860: The Official Results by County and State, 141.

Autograph Letter Signed, 4 page(s), Volume Volume 2, Herndon-Weik Collection of Lincolniana, Library of Congress (Washington, DC).