Letter to B. F. James
SPRINGFIELD, January 14, 1846.
FRIEND JAMES: Yours of the 10th was not received until this morning. I cannot but be pleased with its contents. I saw Henry's communication in your paper, as also your editorial remarks, neither of which, in my opinion, was in any way misjudged,-- both quite the thing. I think just as you do concerning the dictation of the course of the Alton paper, and also concerning its utter harmlessness. As to the proposition to hold the convention at Petersburg, I will at once tell you all I know and all I feel. A good friend of ours there--John Bennett--wrote me that he thought it would do good with the Whigs of Menard to see a respectable convention conducted in good style. They are a little disinclined to adopt the convention system; and Bennett thinks some of their prejudices would be done away by their having the convention amongst them. At his request, therefore, I had the little paragraph put in the "Journal." This is all I know. Now as to what I feel. I feel a desire that they of Petersburg should be
283gratified, if it can be done without a sacrifice of the wishes of others, and without detriment to the cause--nothing more. I can gain nothing in the contest by having it there. I showed your letter to Stuart, and he thinks there is something in your suggestion of holding it at your town. I should be pleased if I could concur with you in the hope that my name would be the only one presented to the convention; but I cannot. Hardin is a man of desperate energy and perseverance, and one that never backs out; and, I fear, to think otherwise is to be deceived in the character of our adversary. I would rejoice to be spared the labor of a contest; but "being in," I shall go it thoroughly, and to the bottom. As to my being able to make a break in the lower counties, I tell you that I can possibly get Cass, but I do not think I will. Morgan and Scott are beyond my reach; Menard is safe to me; Mason, neck and neck; Logan is mine. To make the matter sure, your entire senatorial district must be secured. Of this I suppose Tazewell is safe; and I have much done in both the other counties. In Woodford I have Davenport, Simons, Willard, Bracken, Perry, Travis, Dr. Hazzard, and the Clarks and some others, all specially committed. At Lacon, in Marshall, the very most active friend I have in the district (if I except yourself) is at work. Through him
284I have procured their names, and written to three or four of the most active Whigs in each precinct of the county. Still I wish you all in Tazewell to keep your eyes continually on Woodford and Marshall. Let no opportunity of making a mark escape. When they shall be safe, all will be safe, I think.
The Beardstown paper is entirely in the hands of my friends. The editor is a Whig, and personally dislikes Hardin. When the supreme court shall adjourn (which it is thought will be about the Fifth of February), it is my intention to take a quiet trip through the towns and neighborhoods of Logan County, Delevan, Tremont, and on to and through the upper counties. Don't speak of this, or let it relax any of your vigilance. When I shall reach Tremont, we will talk over everything at large.