Abraham Lincoln, Form Letter to Fillmore men, September 8, 1856, in Roy P. Basler, ed., The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln (8 vols., New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 1953), 2: 374-375, http://quod.lib.umich.edu/l/lincoln/.
Transcription adapted from The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln (1953), edited by Roy P. Basler
Adapted by Matthew Pinsker, Dickinson College
The following text is presented here in complete form, as it originally appeared in print. Spelling and typographical errors have been preserved as in the original.
Springfield, Sept. 8, 1856
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 state 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; will elect him, and leave Fillmore no chance in the H.R. or out of it.
This is as plain as the adding up of the weights of three small hogs. As Mr. Fillmore has no possible chance to carry Illinois for himself, it is plainly 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 voters. 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.