Rebecca Onion in Slate looks at the changing voting processes in the nineteenth century.
And she notes that the "first congratulatory telegram" between candidates was in 1896.
"It is said an Eastern monarch once charged his wise men to invent him a sentence, to be ever in view, and which should be true and appropriate in all times and situations. They presented him the words: 'And this, too, shall pass away.' How much it expresses! How chastening in the hour of pride!—how consoling in the depths of affliction! 'And this, too, shall pass away.'" --Abraham Lincoln, 1859