3 pages, 8vo, ruled paper." />
19 May 2006
[LINCOLN, Abraham]. HAMLIN, Hannibal (1809-1891), Vice President. Autograph letter signed ("H. Hamlin"), as Vice-presidential nominee, to G. A. Harding, Washington, 21 May 1860. 3 pages, 8vo, ruled paper.
"I HAD AS MUCH EXPECTATION OF BEING STRUCK BY LIGHTNING AS I HAD OF A NOMINATION." An amusing letter. A stunned Hannibal Hamlin issues detailed instructions concerning his affairs after learning of his nomination as Lincoln's running mate: "I presume none of you were as much surprised as myself," Hamlin writes, "at the nominations at Chicago. I had just as much expectation of being struck by lightning as I had of a nomination." Mundane arrangements must be made: "I think you will find two bee hives in my carriage house, one the hive in which Charles had a swarm, the other is Terry's Patent hive. Have that put in order & if the bees swarm, put them into it....I also enclose $10 & wish you to pay McAuliff for what work he has done in my garden...In a box in my buttery...you will find a paper of sweet German turnip seeds...have it sowed in the first of June or before. The boxes to put over my cucumbers & squashes...are over the summer kitchen...Will you see to these matters?"
An anti-slavery Democrat, Hamlin worked with John Quincy Adams in the anti-gag rule fight in the House, and he was a fervent opponent of pro-slavery measures in the 1850 Compromise, the Kansas-Nebraska Act, and the Dred Scott decision. By 1856 he abandoned the Democrats and joined the Republicans, winning election as Maine's governor, then senator. His selection for the Lincoln ticket reflected the Republican penchant for marrying the former Whig (Lincoln) and Democratic (Hamlin) wings of their young party. In office, Hamlin was frustrated by what he considered Lincoln's cautious policies on abolition, and by the President's lack of consultation on patronage. When Lincoln chose a new running mate for 1864, he opted for a War Democrat--and a Southerner--Andrew Johnson.
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