[Philadelphia, PA.], March 30, 1860.
MY DEAR SIR: I did not think when we parted that I sh[oul]d wish to write to you so soon, but a paragraph in the Herald correspondence of this morning giving additional currency to reports which have been some days upon the street here, I am led to remark upon the rumor that friends of Mr. Hunter have been arraying a coalition with Mr. S.A. Douglas.
In the course of an imperfect canvass wh[ich] I have been making of our Delegation, I have had occasion to communicate with several of the Douglas men, who are more numerous than I supposed, if we include under the designation all who are unsound upon the slavery question. As far as I am able to ascertain, Mr. D[ougla]s’ adherents incline to consider it their chief’s interest to support you, and, what is more, I suspect one individual of having taken his cue to this effect directly from the Illinois Senator himself. They have no difficulty in understanding that, if their candidate must look to another Convention, it is his interest to have the Presidential chair filled till ’64 by a Southerner, to have a platform adopted which it will not humble him or his men to stand upon, to have an opportunity of conciliating the South by contributing to nominate its accepted favorite. I defer of course to the superior discernment of your supporters who are in Washington, and nearer Mr. Douglas than myself; but an item of intelligence from the provinces is not always without significance; and, as things look with us, there w[oul]d certainly seem to be no occasion for going half way to meet the gentleman.
I am pleased to believe that I have written thus far quite unnecessarily. I hardly doubt that your friends unite in looking upon any arrangements with Mr. Douglas as to say the least, premature. Will you permit me through you to direct their attention to a quarter in which they have it in their power to render us in Pennsylvania essential service?
Baker (the Collector, a gentleman with whom I have no personal influence) McKibber (late of Pittsburg), Hugh Clark, and a number of other delegates under their influence have been determined Cobb men. Their eyes, as you will understand, are directed to signals expected from the White House, yet they are all at present up in the wind, so to speak, since Mr. Cobb’s withdrawal, and are all in the best possible mood to be influenced in your favor. If Governor Cobb will really exert himself, I do not hesitate to say that he can effect a change of from 15 to 20 votes in the Delegation. Should not this be attended to at once? I am at a loss to see what better disposal the Governor can make of his followers.
I am tempted to write to you at great length, but it is my intention to visit Washington next week. I hope to have the pleasure of calling upon you on Wednesday evening or on Thursday morning after breakfast. I cannot help being very sanguine. The phenomenon particularly to which I adverted in conversation with you has become more strikingly apparent. Our waiters upon Providence, you may depend upon it, continue of opinion that the tide is rising.