William H. Herndon, Jesse William Weik,
Herndon's Lincoln: The True Story of a Great Life, Etiam in minimis major, The History and Personal Recollections of Abraham Lincoln by William H. Herndon, for twenty years his friend and Jesse William Weik
apparent to all, and his canvass was characterized by his usual vigor and effectiveness.
He was especially noted for his attempt to break down the strength of Fillmore, who was nominated as a third party candidate and was expected to divide the Republican vote.
He tried to wean away Fillmore's adherents by an adroit and ingenious letter1 sent
One of these letters which Lincoln wrote to counteract the Fillmore movement is still in my possession.
As it is more or less characteristic I copy it entire:
I understand you are a Fillmore man. Let me prove to you that every vote withheld from Fremont and given to Fillmore in this State actually lessens Fillmore's chance of being President.
Suppose Buchanan gets all the slave States and Pennsylvania and any other one Stale besides; then he is elected, no matter who gets all the rest.
But suppose Fillmore gets the two slave States of Maryland and Kentucky then Buchanan is not elected; Fillmore goes into the House of Representatives and may be made President by a compromise.
But suppose again Fillmore's friends throw away a few thousand votes on him in Indiana and Illinois' it Will inevitably give these States to Buchanan, which will more than compensate him for the loss of Maryland and Kentucky; it will elect him, and leave Fillmore no chance in the House of Representatives or out of it.
This is as plain as adding up the weight of three small hogs.
As Mr. Fillmore has no possible chance to carry Illinois for himself it is plainly to his interest to let Fremont take it and thus keep it out of the hands of Buchanan.
Be not deceived.
Buchanan is the hard horse to beat in this race.
Let him have Illinois, and nothing can beat him; and he will get Illinois if men persist in throwing away votes upon Mr. Fillmore.
Does some one persuade you that Mr. Fillmore can carry Illinois?
Nonsense! There are over seventy newspapers in Illinois opposing Buchanan, only three or four of which support Mr. Fillmore, all the rest going for Fremont Are not these newspapers a fair index of The proportion of the votes?
If not, tell me why.
Again, of these three or four Fillmore newspapers two at least are supported in part by the Buchanan men as I understand.
Do not they know where the shoe pinches.
They know the Fillmore movement helps them, and therefore they help it.
Do think these things over and then act according to your judgment.
Yours very truly,
[Confidential.] A. Lincoln.
The Herndon's Lincoln Pubishing Company, Springfield, Ill., 1888.
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