however, discouraged such action at that time, answering him:
As to the other matter you kindly mention, I must in candor say I do not think myself fit for the presidency.
I certainly am flattered and gratified that some partial friends think of me in that connection; but I really think it best for our cause that no concerted effort, such as you suggest, should be made.
He had given an equally positive answer to an eager Ohio
friend in the preceding July; but about Christmas, 1859, an influential caucus of his strongest Illinois
adherents made a personal request that he would permit them to use his name, and he gave his consent, not so much in any hope of becoming the nominee for President
, as in possibly reaching the second place on the ticket; or at least of making such a showing of strength before the convention as would aid him in his future senatorial ambition at home, or perhaps carry him into the cabinet of the Republican President
, should one succeed.
He had not been eager to enter the lists, but once having agreed to do so, it was but natural that he should manifest a becoming interest, subject, however, now as always, to his inflexible rule of fair dealing and honorable faith to all his party friends.
“I do not understand Trumbull
and myself to be rivals,” he wrote December 9, 1859. “You know I am pledged not to enter a struggle with him for the seat in the Senate now occupied by him; and yet I would rather have a full term in the Senate than in the presidency.”
And on February g he wrote to the same Illinois
I am not in a position where it would hurt much for me not to be nominated in the national ticket; but I