M. Williamson to Richard Yates


M. Williamson to Richard Yates


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Peoria Dec 30th 1864

Gov Yates

Dear Sir On my return to day I find your kind favor of the 27th inst requesting me to be in your place on the opening of the session of the legislature. This it will be impossible for me to do as I adjourned Court for one week to go to Warren & Henderson Counties. There is however but one Case set down for trial & which will take perhaps about two days. I think I can be in your place on Wednesday or Thursday & will do so or sooner if possible

I went to Monmouth on Monday last and saw Hon J Strain. I found it difficult to draw him out squarely on the senatorial question He however says he is not pledged to any one and does not intend to be. After talking some time he said he was for you. He evidently did not intend to commit himself. I could not get him to pledge himself or to commit himself as fairly and frankly as I desired. I am however satisfied from all I could draw out of him that at present he feels more favorable to you than any other. My interview

with him not having been in all respects as satisfactory as I desired and he at last holding out the idea to me that he was going for you without committing himself as fairly as I desired I then went to some others in the place whom I knew to be deeply interested in your election to have them use all efforts they could in your behalf. They told me that he had always talked in your favor but that they also feared he would fly the track. They say that there is two things wanting to secure him. 1st he wants to go for the strongest man & will not commit himself satisfactorily until he ascertains who that man is. 2nd He will probably want some favors of some kind and wants to know that the man he supports will lend him a helping hand. I left him in the hands of good men that will do all they can for you

I then went to Oquawka & saw Simpson & found him first in the same state of mind Simpson told me you were his first choice and that he knew if it was left to a vote of his constituents or to the people of the state no one would stand any show against you

I asked him then if he did not believe

it to be his duty to represent his constituents as well in the election of senator as any other measure. He replied that he supposed they expected their wishes in that to be carried out also. I told him not only did they expect their wishes carried out but that they and our brave soldiers in the field would hold him to a rigid accountability if it was not done The truth is Strain & Simpson both will expect favors if opportunity occurs and in that I believe the whole trouble lies

It is talked in Monmouth of getting up a public meeting to instruct for you. This I thought would be a good move and advised it to be done

Now Governor I have written you just what I found the truth to be and I hope you and your friends will be able to convince them both that you will be elected and if so that you will do something for them if opportunity should occur and then I think all will be well

I should like much to be in Springfield at the opening of the session and shall be there in time to do any thing I can for you

Whilst in Monmouth I saw Mr Martin representative from that district. I only however had casual conversation with him on the senatorial question for your friends assured me he is all right and determined to go for you

Hoping & believing that you will be triumphantly elected on our next United States Senator for the term of six years & as much longer as you desire that honor I remain

Yours Truly

M Williamson

P.S. As to my views of the motives of Messrs Strain and Simpson in this letter I hope you will observe as confidential


Williamson M.

Peoria Dec. 30th 1864.

Cannot be here. Has been to Monmouth & Oquawka to see Strain & Simpson. They are both uncommitted and he thinks want some favor and if you can convince them you will be elected and promise them a helping hand you can depend upon their support.



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“M. Williamson to Richard Yates,” Chronicling Illinois, accessed October 15, 2019, http://alplm-cdi.com/chroniclingillinois/items/show/23960.