general popularity were obstacles Lincoln
could not overcome; accordingly, at the last moment, Lincoln
reluctantly withdrew from the field.
In a letter to his friend Speed, dated March 24, 1843, he describes the situation as follows: “We had a meeting of the Whigs
of the county here on last Monday, to appoint delegates to a district convention; and Baker
beat me, and got the delegation instructed to go for him. The meeting, in spite of my attempt to decline it, appointed me one of the delegates; so that in getting Baker
the nomination I shall be fixed a good deal like a fellow who is made groomsman to a man that has cut him out, and is marrying his own dear gal.”
Only a few days before this he had written a friend about the Congressional matter, “Now if you should hear any one say that Lincoln
don't want to go to Congress, I wish you, as a personal friend of mine, would tell him you have reason to believe he is mistaken.
The truth is I would like to go very much.
Still, circumstances may happen which may prevent my being a candidate.
If there are any who be my friends in such an enterprise, what I now want is that they shall not throw me away just yet.”
To another friend in the adjoining county of Menard
a few days after the meeting of the Whigs
, he explains how Baker
The entire absence of any feeling of bitterness, or what the politicians call revenge, is the most striking feature of the letter.
“It is truly ”