Eckley, Robert S., “Lincoln’s Intimate Friend: Leonard Swett,” Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society 92, no. 3 (Autumn 1999): 278.
Political association also started early in their friendship. Swett volunteered to assist Lincoln in both of his U.S. Senate campaigns. In 1854, he wrote Lincoln to “use me in any way…” as preparations for the contest in the legislature began to take shape. He then made an extended swing through northern Illinois to sound out support for Lincoln. Similarly, in 1858 Swett spoke extensively for Lincoln’s candidacy and ran for and was elected to the legislature in order to support Lincoln there. Early in the canvass, both Lincoln and Swett spoke at the McLean County Republican Convention on September 3, which nominated Swett, and the following day Swett introduced Lincoln for one of his major speeches in the Lincoln-Douglas campaign. Little more than a year later, Swett was one of those who met with Lincoln in the last week of January 1860 and helped make the fateful decision that Lincoln should seek the Republican nomination for the Presidency.