Gustave Philipp Koerner to Abraham Lincoln, July 17, 1858

    Source citation
    Gustave Philipp Koerner to Abraham Lincoln, July 17, 1858, Belleville, IL, Abraham Lincoln Papers at the Library of Congress,
    Date Certainty
    Transcribed by the Lincoln Studies Center, Knox College, Galesburg, IL
    Adapted by Ben Lyman, Dickinson College
    The following transcript has been adapted from the Abraham Lincoln Papers at the Library of Congress.

    Belleville July 17. /58

    Dear Sir.

    I will speak to Mr. Hecker about his coming up to Springfield. But if he comes at all, not a word must be said to him about paying even his traveling expenses. He would feel very indignant. Though he lost nearly all his own fortune, which was considerable, in the revolution, yet through his wife, and by the recent death of his father, as well by his own exertions here and judicious investments, he is a man of wealth, and even if he were not, he is so disinterested that he would never claim any compensation. But, and this is strictly between ourselves, I am not inclined to think that his presence will do much good. At least this is my experience. While well calculated to animate friends, he cannot conciliate opponents, and amongst the Catholicks and even orthodox protestants he is considered as the very Anti-Christ. We lost more by his exertions in the adjoining Counties, where they only knew him by reputation, than we gained. In St. Clair, where his noble personal character is known, it was otherwise.

    I am well aware that this Douglas Demonstration in Chicago was all a sham. It was intended for effect elsewhere. I don't think that his speech will have any tendency, to induce Buchanan to let him alone. Quite the reverse. He will spent much money to get up similar pageants. And here I would say, would it not be best for us to refrain from Counter-Demonstrations. Let him have it all to himself. There is 3 or 4 Counties where we have to work. We know them and can quietely concentrate all our forces there. As for a general hurrah and big mass meetings, there is in my opinion very little need, nor can we beat him at that game. If we are quiet, his parades and ovations to him will die off. You of course will address the People at various places, and the sessions of Court will furnish you opportunities enough. We will speak on the circuit here in every County. But we will rely more in getting out judicious and invincible tickets, than on public demonstrations. If we can carry Morgan, Macoupin, St. Clair, Peoria, Randolph McDonough & one or two more, I think all is safe. We ought not to waste our ammunition, where we can accomplish nothing. Let concentration be our watchword. Perhaps the Central Committee had better meet to agree upon a general plan of campaign. I throw out these suggestions. I may be mistaken, and will cheerfully give up my views to others. Our County is perfectly safe. May be we will succeed in the Bond & Clinton District. That is a bare possibility however. Some 20.000 of your Chicago speech ought to be printed & circulated.--

    Please write me often. I think we have got them sure this time.

    Yours very truly

    G Koerner

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