Thomas A. Marshall to Abraham Lincoln, 17 September 18561Charleston Ill. Septr 17. 1856A Lincoln Esqr[Esquire]Dear Sir
Judge Trumbull no it was Conckling asked me to furnish you the names of about twenty Filmore men in this county whom you could probably influence by writing to–2 I append them below. Filmoreism has developed itself rather more here since I saw you than before, but I still have high hopes of carrying the County. Our friends are active in every precinct. The warmest set of fellows you ever saw, & think they are gaining ground daily– We hear cheering news too from some of the counties south of us.Yours &c[etc.]T. A Marshall
|Charles D Phelps–||Ashmore P. O[Post Office].|
|Fountain Turner||"[Ditto]||John Louthan,||Hermitage|
|Peter K Hon||Hitesville||J. M. Logan||"|
|Guilford Dudley–||Ashmore P O–||Caleb Garrett,||Bourbon|
|John McMorris||Ashby P.O.–||Malden Jones||"|
|George Giffin||" .–||Oliver Hackett,||Upper Embarrass|
|Alfred Balch||Springville–||Michael Hall||Charleston|
|Abram Highland||"||Nathan Austin,||Ashby P O|
|Thomas Threlkeld,||Mattoon||Sam. Turner,||Oakland|
2Marshall is likely responding to a letter from Abraham Lincoln similar to the one he sent Jesse A. Pickrell two days earlier. Lincoln asked for a list of supporters of Millard Fillmore for his plan to secure a win for Republican John C. Fremont in Illinois in the 1856 Federal Election.
The end of the Whig Party and the rise of the American—or “Know-Nothing”—Party added a third-party element to the 1856 election. The American Party, in its final participation in a presidential election, nominated Fillmore. Lincoln and the Republicans believed they could create an alliance with the American Party against the Democratic Party nominee James Buchanan over the issue of the extension of slavery in the territories, which the Democrats supported. Lincoln sent lithographed form letters to the names he was provided, informing the Fillmore supporters that every vote for their candidate in Illinois lessened Fillmore’s chance of becoming president.
Lincoln and his fellow Republicans failed to convince Fillmore’s supporters to unite, allowing Democrats to label their opponents as both nativists and worshippers of African Americans. Buchanan captured Illinois with 44.1 percent of the vote to 40.2 percent for Fremont and 15.7 for Fillmore, and Buchanan defeated Fremont and Fillmore to become fifteenth president of the United States. Indeed, if the votes received by Fremont and Fillmore in Illinois had been combined, Buchanan’s vote would not have been sufficient to carry the state.
Thomas F. Schwartz, “Lincoln, Form Letters, and Fillmore Men,” Illinois Historical Journal 78 (Spring 1985), 68; Roy P. Basler, ed., The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln (New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 1953), 2:374; Abraham Lincoln to Thomas Hull; Abraham Lincoln to Edward Lawrence; Abraham Lincoln to Harrison Maltby; Abraham Lincoln to William Ryan; The Dewitt Courier (Clinton, Illinois), 15 October 1856, 2:3; Michael Burlingame, Abraham Lincoln: A Life (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2008), 1:432-33; Philip G. Auchampaugh, “Campaign of 1856,” Dictionary of American History, rev. ed. (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1976), 1:420-21; Howard W. Allen and Vincent A. Lacey, eds., Illinois Elections, 1818-1990 (Carbondale and Edwardsville: Southern Illinois University Press, 1992), 10.
Autograph Letter Signed, 1 page(s), Volume Volume 2, Herndon-Weik Collection of Lincolniana, Library of Congress (Washington, DC).