Abraham Lincoln: He'll Speak Where it will do Good - Not as a Compliment to Himself

October 29, 1854

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Abraham Lincoln: He'll Speak Where it will do Good - Not as a Compliment to Himself
Autograph Letter Signed
1 page | SMC 141

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      “Dabbling in politics,” as he put it, “and of course neglecting business,” Lincoln spent much of 1854 campaigning for the state legislature and in this connection, speaking out wherever he could against the Kansas-Nebraska Act. Before 1854 he had said little in public about slavery, but now he took to the stump to denounce it as a “monstrous injustice,” and its expansion into the territories, as a repudiation of nothing less than the Declaration of Independence itself. Here Lincoln makes clear that he will speak wherever it will do the anti-slavery cause the most good; “do not announce me,” he instructs the editor of the Carlinville Whig paper, “merely as a compliment to me.”

      Whether Lincoln made the speech in Carlinville or no, he was elected to the Legislature by the largest margin of any candidate in the field. Soon he would decline election as a state representative, however, to become the Whig candidate for the U.S. State . He lost, ran again for the Senate in 1858, lost – and won the presidency two years later. The political philosophy he took with him into the White House was the same one, though, first postulated as he spoke in small towns like Carlinville, in the summer and fall of ’54.

      On this road trip, too, Lincoln visited with his Jewish friend and supporter, Abraham Jonas, on October 31st and November 1. It seems possible that he also met with another Jewish friend, Henry Rice, on October 30th, in Jacksonville. Lincoln remembered, and rewarded Rice, early in the War: he was given a lucrative contract as a sutler on December 6, 1861.
      Autograph Letter Signed, 1 page, octavo. Springfield, October 29, 1854. To Macoupon Statesman editor Jefferson L. Dugger in Carlinville, Illinois. With integral address leaf postmarked “Springfield. Nov. 1”
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      Springfield, Oct 29, 1854
      J.L. Dugger, Esq.
      My dear Sir:
      If it will probably do any good, I can speak at your town at 2 o’clock P.M[.] on Saturday, the 4th Nov"r. Perhaps it might be well for you to consult Palmer; and if he and you think it will work well, you may make an announcement accordingly. Do not announce me merely as a compliment to me; I would much prefer saving the labor, unless it promises some good. As soon as you determine whether I shall speak or not, write me at this place. 
      Very truly yours
      A. Lincoln

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      Page 2 transcript
      J.L. Dugger, Esq