Abraham Lincoln.

Abraham Lincoln; complete works, comprising his speeches, letters, state papers, and miscellaneous writings; online

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some proper general rule. Your obedient servant, ■

A. Lincoln.

P. S. The land -district to which this office belongs is very nearly
if not entirely within my district; so that Colonel Baker, -the other
Whig representative, claims no voice in the appointment.

A. L.

April 7, 1849. — Letter to the Secretary op the Interior.

Springfield, Illinois, April 7, 1849.
Hon. Secretary of the Home Department.

Bear Sir: I recommend that Turner R. King, now of Pekin, Illi-
nois, be appointed Register of the Land Office at this place when-
ever there shall be a vacancy.


I do not know that Mr. Barret, the present incumbent, has failed
in the proper discharge of any oi his duties in the offit'o. He is a
decided partizan, and openly and actively opposed the election of
General Taylor. I understand, too, that since the I'lection of Gen-
eral Taylor, Mr. Barret has i-eceived a reappointment from Mr. Polk,
his old commission not having expired. Whether this be true, the
records of the Department will show.

Whether he shonld be removed I give no opinion, but merely ex-
press the wish that the Department may act upon some proper gen-
eral rule, and that Mr. Barret's case may not be made an exception
to it. Your obedient servant,

A. Lincoln.

P. S. The land district to which this ofiice belongs is very nearly
if not entirely within my district; so that Colonel Baker, the other
Whig representative, claims no voice in the appointment.

A. L.

April 7, 1849. — Letter to the Postmaster-Genek.\.l.

Springfield, Illinois, April 7, 1849.
Hon. Postmaster-General.

Dear Sir : I recommend that Abner T. Ellis be appointed post-
master at this place, whenever there shall be a vacancy. J. R. Diller,
the present incumbent, I cannot say has failed in the proper dis-
charge of any of the duties of the office. He, however, has been an
active partizan in opposition to us.

Located at the seat of government of the State, he has been, for
part if not the whole of the time he has held the office, a member of
the Democratic State Central Committee, signing his name to their
addresses and manifestos ; and has been, as I understand, reappointed
by Mr. Polk since General Taylor's election. These are the facts of
the case as I understand them, and I give no opinion of mine as to
whether he should or should not be removed. My wish is that the
Department may adopt some proper general rule for such cases, and
that Mr. DiUer may not be made an exception to it, one way or the
other. Tour obedient servant,

A. Lincoln.

P. S. This office, with its delivery, is entirely within my district ;
so that Colonel Baker, the other Whig representative, claims no
voice in the appointment.

April 7, 1849. — Letter to W. B. Warren and others.

Springpield, Illinois, April 7, 1849.
Gentlemen: In answer to your note concerning the General Land
Office I have to say that, if the office could be secured to Illinois by
my consent to accept it, and not otherwise, I give that consent.
Some months since I gave my word to secure the appointment to
that office of Mr. Cyrus Edwards, if in my power, in case of a vacancy ;


and more recently I stipulated -with Colonel Baker that if Mr. Ed-
wards and Colonel J. L. D. Morrison could arrange with each other
for one of them to withdraw, we would jointly recommend the other.
In relation to these pledges, I must not only be chaste, but above
suspicion. If the ofElee shall be tendered to me, I must be permitted
to say: "Give it to Mr. Edwards or, if so agreed by them, to Colonel
Morrison, and I decline it; if not, I accept." With this under
standing you are at liberty to procure me the offer of the appoint-
ment if you can ; and I shall feel complimented by your effort, and
still more by its success. It should not be overlooked that Colonel
Baker's position entitles him to a large share of control in this mat-
ter: however, one of your number. Colonel Warren, knows that
Baker has at aU times been ready to recommend me, if I would con-
sent. It must also be understood that if at anytime previous to an
appointment being made I shall learn that Mr. Edwards and Colo-
nel Morrison have agreed, I shall at once carry out my stipulation
with Colonel Baker as above stated. Yours truly,

A. Lincoln.

April 7, 1849. — Letter to the Secretary of the Interior.

Springfield, Illinois, April 7, 1849.
Hon. Secretary of the Home Department,

Bear Sir : I recommend that William Butler be appointed Pen-
sion Agent for the Illinois agency, when the place shall be vacant.
Mr. Hurst, the present incumbent, I believe has performed the du-
ties very well. He is a decided partisan, and, I believe, expects to
be removed. Whether he shall, I submit to the Department. This
office is not confined to my district, but pertains to the whole State;
so that Colonel Baker has an equal right with myself to be heard
concerning it.

However, the oflBee is located here ; and I think it is not probable
that any one would desire to remove from a distance to take it.
Your obedient servant, A. Lincoln.

April 25, 1849. — Letter to Thompson.

Springfield, April 25, 1849.
Dear Thompson : A tirade is still kept up against me here for rec-
ommending T. R. King. This morning it is openly avowed that my
supposed influence at Washington shdl be broken down generally,
and King's prospects defeated in particular. Now, what I have
done in this matter I have done at the request of you and some
other friends in Tazewell ; and I therefore ask you to either admit
it is wrong, or come forward and sustain me. If the truth will per-
mit, I propose that you sustain me in the following manner : copy
the inclosed scrap in your own handwriting, and get everj'body (not
three or four, but three or four hundred) to sign it, and then send
it to me. Also have six, eight, or ten of our best-known Whig


friends there to write to me individual letters, stating the truth in
this matter as they understand it. Don't neglect or delay in the
matter. I understand information of an indictment having been
found against him about three years ago, for gaming or keeping a
gaming-house, has been sent to the Department. I shall try to take
care of it at tiie Department till your action can be had and for-
warded on. Yours, as ever,

A. Lincoln.

April 25, 1849.— Letter to J. M. Lucas.

Springfield, Illinois, April 25, 1849.
J. M. Lucas, Esq.

Bear Sir: Your letter of the 15th is just received. Like you, I
fear the Land Office is not going as it should; but I know nothing
I can do. In my letter written three days ago, I told you the De-
partment understands my wishes. As to Butterfield, he is my per-
sonal friend, and is qualified to do the duties of the office j but of
the quite one hundred Illinoisans equally well qualified, I do not
know one with less claims to it. In the first place, what you say
about Lisle Smith is the first intimation I have had of any one man
in Illinois desiring Butterfield to have any office. Now, I think if
anything be given the State, it should be so given as to gratify our
friends, and to stimulate them to future exertions. As to Mr. Clay
having recommended him, that is quid pro quo. He fought for Mr.
Clay against General Taylor to the bitter end, as I understand ; and
I do not believe I misunderstand. Lisle Smith, too, was a Clay del-
egate at Philadelphia, and against my most earnest entreaties took
the lead in filling two vacancies from my own district with Clay
men. It will now mortify me deeply if General Taylor's adminis-
tration shall trample all my wishes in the dust merely to gratify
these men. Yours, as ever,

A. Lincoln.

May [1 1], 1849. — Indorsement concerning Obvtlle Paddock.

I have already recommended "W. S. Wallace for Pension Agent at
this place. It is, however, due the truth to say that Orville Pad-
dock, above recommended, is every way qualified for the office, and
that the persons recommending him are of our business men and
best Whig citizens.

May 10, 1849. — Letter to the Secretary of the Interior.

Springfield, Illinois, May 10, 1849.
Hon. Secretary of the Interior.

Dear Sir : I regret troubling you so often in relation to the land
offices here, but I hope you will perceive the necessity of it, and ex-
cuse me. On the 7th of April I wrote you recommending Turner
R. King for Eegister, and Walter Davis for Receiver. Subsequently


I wrote you that, for a private reason, I had concluded to transpose
them. That private reason was the request of an old personal friend
who himself desired to be Receiver, but whom I felt it my duty to
refuse a recommendation. He said if I would transpose King and
Davis he would be satisfied. I thought it a whim, but, anxious to
oblige him, I consented. Immediately he commenced an assault
upon King's character, intending, as I suppose, to defeat his ap-
pointment, and thereby secure another chance for himself. This
double offense of bad faith to me and slauder upon a good man is
so totally outrageous that I now ask to have King and Davis placed
as I originally recommended,: — that is, King for Register and Davis
for Receiver.

An effort is being made now to have Mr, Barret, the present Reg-
ister, retained. I have already said he has done the duties of the office
well, and I now add he is a gentleman in the true sense. StUl, he
submits to be the instrument of his party to injure us. His high
character enables him to do it more effectually. Last year he pre-
sided at the convention which nominated the Democratic candidate
for Congress in this district, and afterward ran for the State Senate
himself, not desiring the seat, but avowedly to aid and strengthen
his party. He made speech after speech with a degree of fierceness
and coarseness against General Taylor not quite consistent with his
habitually gentlemanly deportment. At least one (and I think more)
of those who are now trying to have him retained was himself an
applicant for this very office, and, failing to get my recommendation,
now takes this turn.

In writing you a third time in relation to these offices, I stated
that I supposed charges had been forwarded to you against King,
and that I would inquire into the truth of them. I now send you
herewith what I suppose will be an ample defense against any such
charges. I ask attention to all the papers, but particularly to the
letters of Mr. David Mack, and the paper with the long list of names.
There is no mistake about King's being a good man. After the un-
just assault upon him, and considering the just claims of Tazewell
County, as indicated in the letters I inclose you, it would in my
opinion be injustice, and withal a blunder, not to appoint him, at
least as soon as any one is appointed to either of the offices here.
Your obedient servant, A. Lincoln.

May 18, 1849. — Letter to Duff Green.

Springfield, Illinois, May 18, 1849.
Dear General: I learn from Washington that a man by the name
of Butterfield will probably be appointed Commissioner of the Gen-
eral Land Office. This ought not to be. That is about the only
crumb of patronage which Illinois expects ; and I am sure the mass
of General Taylor's friends here would quite as lief see it go east of
the AUeghanies, or west of the Rocky Mountains, as into that man's
hands. They are already sore on the subject of his getting office.
In the great contest of 1840 he was not seen or heard of ; but when


the victory came, three or four old drones, including him, j;ot all the
valuable offices, through what infli^euce no one has yet been able to
teU. I believe the onlj' time he has been very active was last spring
a year ago, in opposition to General Tayloi-'s nomination.

Now, cannot you get the ear of General Taylor? Ewing is for
Butterfield, and therefore he must be avoided. Preston, I think, will
favor you. Mr. Edwards has written me offering to decline, but I
advised him not to do so. Some kind friends think I ought to be an
applicant, but I am for Mr. Edwards. Try to defeat Butterfield, and
in doing so use Mr. Edwards, J. L. D. Morrison, or myself, whichever
you can to best advantage. Write me, and let this be confidential.

Yours truly, A. Lincoln.

May 25, 1849. — Letter to E. Embree.


Springfield, Illinois, May 25, 1849.
Hon. E. Embree.

Dear Sir : I am about to ask a favor of you, — one which I hope
will not cost you much. I understand the General Land Office is
about to be given to Illinois, and that Mr. Ewing desires Justin
Butterfield, of Chicago, to be the man. I give you my word, the
appointment of Mr. Butterfield will be an egregious political blunder.
It will give offense to the whole Whig party here, and be worse
than a dead loss to the administration of so much of its patronage.
Now, if you can conscientiously do so, I wish you to write General
Taylor at once, saying that either I, or the man I recommend, should
in your opinion be appointed to that office, if any one from Illinois
shall be. I restrict my request to Illinois because you may have a
man from your own State, and I do not ask to interfere with that.
Your friend as ever, A. Lincoln.

June 5, 1849. — Letter to William H. Herndon.

Springfield, June 5, 1849.
Dear William : Your two letters were received last night. I have
a great many letters to write, and so cannot write very long ones.
There must be some mistake about Walter Davis saying I promised
him the post-office. I did not so promise him. I did teU him that
if the distribution of the offices should fall into my hands, he should
have something; and if I shall be convinced he has said any more
than this, I shall be disappointed. I said this much to him because,
as I understand, he is of good character, is one of the young men, is
of the mechanics, and always faithful and never troublesome; a
Whig, and is poor, with the support of a widow mother thrown al-
most exclusively on him by the death of his brother. If these


are wrong reasons, then I have been wrong ; but I have certainly
not been selfish in it, because in my greatest need of friends he was
against me, and for Baker, Yours as ever,

A. Lincoln.
P. S. Let the above be confidential.

June 5, 1849. — Letter Asking a Kecommendation.

Note. — In the files are a considerable number of replies transmitting ia-
dorsements, and reporting information on the progress of the contest be-
tween Mr. Liacola and Mr. Justin Butterfleld for this appointment.

Springfield, Illinois, June 5, 1849.
Bear Sir : "Would you as soon I should have the General Land
Office as any other Illinoisan 1 If you would, write me to that effect
at Washington, where I shall be soon. No time to lose.

Yours in haste, A. Lincoln.

June 8, 1849. — Letter to Nathaniel Pope.

Sprestgeield, June 8, 1849.
Hon. N. Pope.

Dear Sir : I do not know that it would, but I can well enough
conceive it might, embarrass you to now give a letter recommending
me for the General Land Office. Could you not, however, without
embarrassment or any impropriety, so far vindicate the truth of
history as to briefly state to me, in a letter, what you did say to me
last spring, on my arrival here from Washington, in relation to my
becoming an applicant for that office ? Having at last concluded to
be an applicant, I have thought it is perhaps due me to be enabled
to show the influences which brought me to the conclusion, and of
which influences the wishes and opinions you expressed were not
the least. Your obedient servant,

A. Lincoln.

September [12 ?], 1849. — Resolutions of Sympathy with the
Cause of Hungarian Freedom.

At a meeting to express sympathy with the cause of Hungarian
Freedom, Dr. Todd, Thos. Lewis, Hon. A. Lincoln, and Wm. Car-
penter were appointed a committee to present appropriate resolu-
tions, which reported through Hon. A. Lincoln the following :

Resolved, That in their present glorious struggle for liberty, the
Hungarians command our highest admiration and have our warmest

Resolved, That they have our most ardent prayers for their speedy
triumph and final success.

Resolved, That the Government of the United States should ac-
knowledge the independence of Hungary as a nation of freemen at


the very earliest moment consistent -witli our amicable relations with
the government against which thev are contending.

Resolved, That in the opinion ot this meeting, the immediate ac-
knowledgment of the independence of Hungary by our government
is due from American freemen to their struggling brethren, to the
general cause of repubhcan liberty, and not violative of the just
rights of any nation or people.

September 27, 1849. — Letter to John Addison.

Springfield, Illinois, September 27, 1849.
John Addison, Esq.

My dear Sir : Tour letter is received. I cannot but be grateful to
you and all other friends who have interested themselves in having
the governorship of Oregon offered to me ; but on as much reflec-
tion as I have had time to give the subject, I cannot consent to ac-
cept it. I have an ever abiding wish to serve you ; but as to the
secretaryship, I have already recommended our friend Simeon
Francis, of the " Journal." Please present my respects to G. T. M.
Davis generally, and my thanks especially for his kindness in the
Oregon matter. Tours as ever,

A. Lincoln.

November 21, 1849. — Letter to the Editor op the
"Chicago Journal."

Springpield, November 21, 1849.
Editor op the "Chicago Journal."

Bear Sir : Some person, probably yourself, has sent me the num-
ber of your paper containing an extract of a supposed speech of Mr.
Linder, together with your editorial comments. As my name is
mentioned both in the speech and in the comments, and as my at-
tention is directed to the article by a special mark in the paper sent
me, it is perhaps expected that I should take some notice of it. I
have to say, then, that I was absent from before the commencement
tiU after the close of the late session of the legislature, and that the
fact of such a speech having been delivered never came to my know-
ledge tin I saw a notice of your article in the " Illinois Journal," one
day before your paper reached me. Had the intention of any Whig
to deliver such a speech been known to me, I should, to the utmost
of my ability, have endeavored to prevent it. When Mr. Butterfield
was appointed Commissioner of the Land Office, I expected him to
be an able and faithful ofi&cer, and nothing has since come to my
knowledge disappointing that expectation. As to Mr. Ewing, his
position has been one of great difficulty. I believe him, too, to be
an able and faithful ofiicer. A more intimate acquaintance with
■ him would probably change the views of most of those who have
complained of him. Tour obedient servant,

A. Lincoln.


In the Illinois legislature, Mr. Linder said :

. . . He should speak not as a disappointed politician, but as an inde-
pendent working Whig, who had never applied for an office in his hfe ;
and the individual of whom he desired to speak was the Hon. Thomas Ew-
iug, of Ohio, minister of the Home Department, — a man who was unsuited
to wield the immense patronage placed in his hands, from the iact that he
was hostile to all that was popular, having no sympathies with the people,
and the people no sympathies with him; the man who disposed of the of-
fices and honors at his disposal more like a prince than the minister and ser-
vant of a republican people. I speak plainly, sir, for I want what I say to be
pubhshed, that it may reach the individual for whom it is intended, — the
man who could disregard the almost unanimous wish of the people — the
Whig people of Illinois, — and overlook the claims of such men as Lincoln,
Edwards, and Morrison, and appoint a man known as an anti-war fed-
eralist of 1812, and one who avails himself of every opportunity to express
his contempt of the people — a man who could not, as against any one of
his competitors, have obtained one twentieth of the votes of Illinois. (I re-
fer, sir, to Justin Butterfield, Commissioner of the General Land Office.)
Such a man as Ewing has no right to rule the cabinet of a repubUoan pres-
ident. He is universally odious, and stinks in the nostrils of the nation.
He is as a lump of ice, an unfeeling, unsympathizing aristocrat, a rough,
imperious, uncouth, and unamiable man. Such a minister, in a four years'
administration, would ruin the popularity of forty presidents and as many
heroes. Sir, is it wonderful that the popular elections are turning against
us ? I am not at all surprised at it. If General Taylor retains him two
years longer in his cabinet, he will find himself without a corporal's guard
in the popular branch of our national legislature.

December 15, 1849. — Letter to .

Springfield, December 15, 1849.

, Esq.

Bear Sir : On my return from Kentucky, I found Vour letter of
tbe 7th of November, and have delayed answering it till now, for the
reason I now briefly state. From the beginning of our acquain-
tance I have felt the greatest kindness for you, and had supposed it
was reciprocated on your part. Last summer, under circumstances
which I mentioned to you, I was painfully constrained to withhold a
recommendation which you desired, and shortly afterward I learned,
in such a way as to believe it, that you were indulging in open abuse
of me. . Of course my feelings were woxmded. On receiving your
last letter, the question occurred whether you were attempting to use
me at the same time you would injure me, or whether you might
not have been misrepresented to me. If the former, I ought not to
answer you; if the latter, I ought; and so I have remained in sus-
pense. 1 now inclose you the letter, which you may use if you see fit.

Yours, etc., A. LnsfCOLN.

February 23, 1850. — Letter to John D. Johnston.

Springfield, February 23, 1850. "

Dear Brother: Your letter about a mail contract was received

yesterday. I have made out a bid for you at $120, guaranteed it


myself, got onr P. M. here to certify it, and send it on. Your former
letter, concerning some man's claim for a pension, was also received.
I had the claim examined by those who are practised in such matters,
and they decide he cannot get a pension.

As yon make no mention of it, I suppose you had not learned that
■we lost our little boy. He was sick fifteen days, and died in the
morning of the first day of this month. It was not our first, but our
second child. We miss him very much. Your brother, in haste,

A. Lincoln.

To John D. Johnston.

June 3, 1850. — Resolutions on the Death of
Judge Nathaniel Pope.

Circuit and District Com-t of the U. S. in and for the State and
District of Illinois. Monday, June 3, 3850.

. . . On the opening of the Court this morning, the Hon. A.
Lincoln, a member of the Bar of this Court, suggested the detith of
the Hon. Nathaniel Pope, late a judge of this Court, since the ad-
journment of the last term ; whereupon, in token of respect for the
memory of the deceased, it is ordered that the Court do now adjourn
until to-morrow morning at ten o'clock. . . .

The Hon. Stephen T. Logan, the Hon. Norman H. Purple, the
Hon. David L. Gregg, the Hon. A. Lincoln, and George W. Meeker,
Esq., were appointed a Committee to prepare resolutions. . . .
Whereupon, the Hon. Stephen T. Logan, in behalf of the Commit-
tee, presented the following preamble and resolutions :

Whereas the Hon. Nathaniel Pope, District Judge of the United States
Court for the District of Elinois, having departed this Hfe duiing the last
vacation of said Court, and the members of the bar of said Court enter-
taining the highest veneration for his memory, a profound respect for his
abUity, great experience, and learning as a Judge, and cherishing for his
many virtues, pubhc and private, his earnest simpUcity of character and
unostentatious deportment both in his pubhc and private relations, the
most hvely and afEectionate recollections, have

Besolved, That as a manifestation of their deep sense of the loss which
has been sustained in his death, they will wear the usual badge of moum-
ing during the residue of the term.

Besolved, That the Chairman communicate to the family of the deceased
a copy of these proceedings, with an assurance of our sincere condolence

Online LibraryAbraham LincolnAbraham Lincoln; complete works, comprising his speeches, letters, state papers, and miscellaneous writings; → online text (page 20 of 91)