LINCOLN, Abraham. Autograph letter signed ("A. Lincoln") to Charles H. Ray, editor of The Chicago Tribune, Springfield, 8 September 1856. 1 full page, 4to, very light browning at edges.
LINCOLN'S UNREMITTING EFFORTS TO SUPPORT THE REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE, FRÉMONT
A fine letter, with an interesting proposal by Lincoln to aid a German-American who favored the Republican cause. The Republican Party, in its first national convention at Philadelphia, had nominated the well-known "Pathmaker of the West"--John C. Frémont--for President on a clear anti-slavery platform. While Lincoln had strong local support for the Vice-Presidential slot, that honor ultimately went to William Dayton. Undaunted by this disappointment, Lincoln immediately threw himself into the campaign in Illinois, making--by his own estimate--some fifty stump speeches across the state. Here, concerned about the Republican strength among the sizeable German-American voting block in Chicago, he writes:
"Have fifty copies, of the german Fremont paper sent regularly, in one bundle, to Jabez Capps, Mount Pulaski, Logan Co. Ill. Herewith is his letter [not present] to me. Another matter--Owing to Mr. Hacker's house having been burned, we can not get him out to address our german friends. This is a bad draw-back. It would be no more than just for us to raise him a thousand dollars in this emergency. Can we not do it? See our friends about it. I can find one hundred dollars towards it. Such a sum would no doubt greatly relieve him, and enable him to take the field again. We cannot spare his services..."
The paper in question was almost certainly the Staats Zeitung, established in Chicago in 1848 as a weekly, but published as a daily from 1851. The paper was supportive of the Republican campaign. Five days later, in another letter to Ray, Lincoln inquired whether the Capps's papers had yet been sent and requested another bundle of fifty be sent to W.H. Hanna: "Pray do not let either be neglected," he adds," as "last evening I was scared a little by being told that the enemy are getting the germans away from us at Chicago. Is there any truth in that?" (Basler, Supplement 10, pp.27-28).
Capps was a former Springfield merchant who was instrumental in founding the town of Mt. Pulaski, Illinois. Frederick Hecker, who played an active role in the agitations and upheavals of the unsuccessful revolution of 1848, was forced to emigrate to the U.S. He settled first in Cincinnati and quickly became a leader of the German-American community. He eventually moved to Belleville, Illinois, where he continued to be active in politics. After the war broke out, he helped enlist a regiment, the 82nd Illinois, consisting mainly of German immigrants. With the 82nd, Hecker fought at Fredericksburg, Gettysburg and Chattanooga. Later, Illinois Governor Yates urged Lincoln to promote Hecker to the rank of Brigadier General, in order to ensure the continued support of the German-American faction.
Apparently unpublished, not in Basler or supplements.