William H. Herndon to Abraham Lincoln, 24 March 18581
Friend LincolnDear Sir
I am in this city of notions, and am well— very well indeed. I wrote to you a hasty letter from Washington some days ago,2 and since which time I have been in Phila BaltimoreNY & now here. I saw Greely and so far as any of our conversation is interesting to you I will relate. We talked— say 20 m[minutes]. He eventually wants Douglas sustained and sent back to the senate.3 He did not say so in so many words, yet his feelings are with Douglas. I know it from the spirit and drift of his conversation. He talked bitterly— somewhat so— against the papers in Ills— and said they were fools. I asked him this question— “Greely— do you want to see a 3d[3rd] party organized, or do you want Douglas to rise to power through the North, which Douglas ^he^ has so much abused and betrayed?” and to which he replied “Let the future alone: it will all come right– Douglas is a brave man. Forget the past and sustain the righteous”. Good God rightious, Eh!

<Page 2>
Since I have landed in Boston I have seen much that was entertaining and interesting. This morning I was introduced to Govr Banks. He and I had a conversation about Republicanism and specially about Douglas. He asked me this question— “You will sustain Douglas in Illinois— won’t you—” and to which I said, “nonever.” He affected to be much surprised and so the matter dropt and turned on Republicanism in general—Lincoln, Greely and those other sheets that laud Douglas—Harris— &C.[etc] want them sustained and will try to do it. Several persons have asked me the same question which Banks asked and evidently they get their cue— ideas or what not from Greely— Seward &C.– By-the-By, Greely remarked to me this— “The Republican standard is too high: We want something practical”–
This may not be interesting to you, but however it may be it is my duty to state what is going on so that you may head it off— counteract it in someway. I hope it can be done.4
The northern men are cold & to me somewhat repulsive
Your FriendW. H. Herndon

<Page 3>
A. Lincoln Esqr[Esquire]
[ docketing ]
W. H. Herndon to Lincoln
1William H. Herndon wrote and signed this letter. He also wrote the name and address on the envelope, as well as the docketing in pencil, shown 0n the third image.
2Herndon’s letter to Abraham Lincoln posted from Washington, DC has not been located.
3Stephen A. Douglas sought reelection to the U.S. Senate in the 1858 Federal Election. Following his criticism of President James Buchanan’s support for the Lecompton Constitution and subsequent rifts in the Democratic Party born of the dispute, Douglas courted political support from Republicans—including Horace Greeley.
Michael Burlingame, Abraham Lincoln: A Life (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2008), 1:445-46.
4Although Douglas later denied courting Republican support, he met with Greeley in person and hinted to other Republicans via correspondence that he was finished with the Democratic Party. Through the New York Tribune, Greeley urged voters in Illinois to support Douglas’ reelection campaign. He also wrote Republican leaders in Illinois to urge the same. Greeley was not alone—many Republicans in the eastern U.S. were excited by Douglas’ split with Buchanan and pro-Lecompton Democrats, and similarly urged voters to reelect Douglas. Nathaniel P. Banks and William H. Seward lauded Douglas’ actions with regard to the Lecompton Constitution, and Seward was even rumored to have struck a bargain to back Douglas’ reelection to the Senate in 1858 in exchange for Seward’s elevation to the presidency in 1860 (although Abraham Lincoln eventually concluded no such bargain had been made).
Lincoln advised his fellow Republicans to stay out of the Democrats’ battle and remain loyal to the Republican Party in the impending election. Herndon aided Lincoln in this effort by gathering information and conferring with political allies.
Michael Burlingame, Abraham Lincoln: A Life, 1:446-48; 452-54; Glyndon G. Van Deusen, William Henry Seward (New York: Oxford University Press, 1967), 191.

Autograph Letter Signed, 3 page(s), Volume Volume 2, Herndon-Weik Collection of Lincolniana, Library of Congress (Washington, DC).