Richard Yates to Abraham Lincoln, 20 August 18561
Dear Lincoln
May we publish that you will make us a speech two weeks from Saturday? That is, on Saturday the ^Sixth^ 13th Sept. [September]2 Now Lincon we have our hearts set on your making us a speech that day. Will you do it? Please answer me immediately–3 It is of the utmost consequence for this County, Cass & Scott that you will do so:4 I hope you will say you will at once so that we may take steps for getting a big meeting–
Please answer upon the receipt of this– I fear we are losing ground here.
Your friendRichd Yates.
1Richard Yates wrote and signed this letter.
2Abraham Lincoln’s name was included in a published list of expected speakers for the September 6, 1856 meeting in Jacksonville in support of Republican candidates William H. Bissell for governor and John C. Fremont for president in the upcoming state and federal elections. Other advertised speakers included Lyman Trumbull, Gustave P. Koerner, John M. Palmer, William Kellogg, Nathan M. Knapp, Stephen T. Logan, and William H. Herndon.
Daily Illinois State Journal (Springfield), 3 September 1856, 3:1
3No response from Lincoln to this letter has been located, but Lincoln gave a speech at the meeting, which Yates claimed helped the Republican cause in the region. Yates subsequently invited Lincoln to another meeting in Jacksonville on November 1, 1856, at which he gave another speech.
From July 1856 onwards, Lincoln gave over fifty speeches across Illinois in support of Fremont’s presidential campaign and to rally the disparate elements of the emerging Republican Party. See the 1856 Federal Election.
The Lincoln Log: A Daily Chronology of the Life of Abraham Lincoln, 6 September 1856,; 1 November 1856,; Michael Burlingame, Abraham Lincoln: A Life (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2008), 1:425-33.
4While Bissell was elected the first Republican governor of Illinois in 1856, Fremont lost the race for the presidency to Democrat James Buchanan in both the state of Illinois and at the national level. In Illinois, Buchanan won 44.1 percent of the total vote to Fremont’s 40.2 percent and American Party candidate Millard Fillmore’s 15.7 percent. Both Bissell and Fremont generally had a weaker showing in Morgan, Cass, and Scott counties than their statewide average. Overall, Bissell garnered 47 percent of the vote in his race, but while he earned 48.8 percent of the vote in Morgan County, he only received 38.5 percent in Cass, and 42.4 percent in Scott. Fremont saw worse results in these counties. He only received 27.5 percent of the vote in Morgan County, 18.3 percent in Cass, and 11.7 percent in Scott. Fremont placed second to Buchanan in Morgan County, but in Cass and Scott counties Fillmore claimed second place and Fremont came in third.
Robert P. Howard, Mostly Good and Competent Men: Illinois Governors, 1818-1988 (Springfield: Illinois Issues, Sangamon State University and Illinois State Historical Society, 1988), 109; Howard W. Allen and Vincent A. Lacey, eds., Illinois Elections, 1818-1990 (Carbondale and Edwardsville: Southern Illinois University Press, 1992), 10, 135-39.

Autograph Letter Signed, 1 page(s), Volume Volume 2, Herndon-Weik Collection of Lincolniana, Library of Congress (Washington, DC).