NIU Libraries Digitization Projects
Lincoln/Net Prairie Fire Illinois During the Civil War Illinois During the Gilded Age Mark Twain's Mississippi Back to Digitization Projects Contact Us
BACK

Wilson, Douglas L., ed.; Davis, Rodney O., ed.; Gillespie, Joseph. 'Joseph Gillespie to William H. Herndon' in 'Herndon's Informants: Letters, Interviews, and Statements About Abraham Lincoln' . Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1998. [format: book], [genre: letter]. Permission: University of Illinois Press
Persistent link to this document: http://lincoln.lib.niu.edu/file.php?file=herndon344.html


Previous section

238. Joseph Gillespie to Wiliam H. Herndon.

Edwardsville, 19th Sept 1866

Dear Sir

yours of the 10th is recd in reply to which I have to say that I only remember the general run of the events connected with the Senatorial election in 1854 in which Mr Lincoln & Mr Trumbull were candidates and in which Trumbull succeeded We held a caucus in which all but five of the opponents of the proslavery Democracy were present and at which Lincoln was selected as our Candidate When the Houses met in joint convention Those five to wit Judd of Cook, Cook of Lasalle Palmer of Macoupin and Allen & Baker of Madison voted for Trumbull while the rest of us voted for Mr Lincoln The reason they gave according to my recollection for voting for Trumbull was that having been elected as Democrats they could not vote for any one but a Democrat for US Senator I tried hard to persuade them to go with us They stated that they had no objection to Mr Lincoln except his political antecedents but that they could not sust[ain t]hemselves at home if they were to vote for him but expressed regret that they were so circumstanced After a number of ballots I asked Mr Lincoln what he would advise us to do when he said promptly "I would go for Trumbull by all means" We understood the case to be that Shields was to be run by the Democrats at first and was then to be dropped and Joel A Matteson put up and it was calculated that certain of our men who had been elected on the free soil issue would vote for him after they had voted with us long enough to satisfy their consciences & constitutents Our object was to make an election before they got through with their programme We were savagely opposed to Matteson and so was Mr Lincoln and he said that if we did not drop in & unite upon Trumbull those men would go for Matteson & elect him which would be an everlasting disgrace to the State We reluctantly complied with Lincolns suggestions & went upon Trumbull & elected him Mr Lincoln did not appear to have any hard feelings towards Trumbull although he was of course disappointed & mortified at his own want of success This is the impression left on my memory of the event I do not [rem]ember how many ballots we had but I should think we had five or six I do not think there was much ill feeling felt or manifested amongst Lincolns friends although we looked upon it as a great misfortune to him personally that he could not succeed on that occasion but at home there was considerable bitterness displayed by some of the old Whigs who regarded it as an affront put upon men who had belonged to that party Trumbull was present when the election came off but I do not believe that he was charged with being instrumental in bringing about the result — nor do I suppose that he took any pains to prevent it or any active part in the matter one way or another I know that we — the opponents of the pro slavery party, harmonized during the rest of the session remember that judge S. T. Logan gave up Mr Lincoln with great reluctance He begged hard to try him one or two ballots more but Mr Lincoln urged us not to risk it longer I never saw Mr Lincoln more earnest and decided He said he

-- 435 --

was satisfied that he could not get the support of those five men and it would be unwise to contend any more and incur the risk of electing Matteson I know that the friends of Matteson were greveously disappointed at the result They felt sure that he would be elected in due season and appeared to be taken by surprise when we united on and elected Trumbull. These are my impessions but owing to the length of time which has elapsed and the vagueness of my recollection I would not be answerable for any thing more than their correctness in general and not in detail You are at liberty to make such use of them as you may deem proper if their publication can conduce in any way to vindicate the truth of history If not necessary I should of course prefer not to have them made public

Your friend
J Gillespie

Library of Congress: Herndon-Weik Collection. Manuscript Division. Library of Congress. Washington, D.C. 2667 — 68; Huntington Library: LN2408, 2:434 — 36

Previous section


Wilson, Douglas L., ed.; Davis, Rodney O., ed.; Gillespie, Joseph. 'Joseph Gillespie to William H. Herndon' in 'Herndon's Informants: Letters, Interviews, and Statements About Abraham Lincoln' . Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1998. [format: book], [genre: letter]. Permission: University of Illinois Press
Persistent link to this document: http://lincoln.lib.niu.edu/file.php?file=herndon344.html
Powered by PhiloLogic