The Writings of Abraham Lincoln Vol. 1-7

Yours as ever,





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 excuse me. On the 7th of April I wrote you recommending
Turner R. King for register, 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 appointment, and thereby secure another
chance for himself. This double offence of bad faith to me and
slander 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
register, 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. Still, 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 presided 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 unjust 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,



SPRINGFIELD, ILL., May 19, 1849.


Butterfield will be commissioner of the Gen’l Land Office, unless
prevented by strong and speedy efforts. Ewing is for him, and he
is only not appointed yet because Old Zach. hangs fire.

I have reliable information of this. Now, if you agree with me
that this appointment would dissatisfy rather than gratify the
Whigs of this State, that it would slacken their energies in
future contests, that his appointment in ’41 is an old sore with
them which they will not patiently have reopened,–in a word that
his appointment now would be a fatal blunder to the
administration and our political men here in Illinois, write
Crittenden to that effect. He can control the matter. Were you
to write Ewing I fear the President would never hear of your
letter. This may be mere suspicion. You might write directly to
Old Zach. You will be the best judge of the propriety of that.
Not a moment’s time is to be lost.

Let this be confidential except with Mr. Edwards and a few others
whom you know I would trust just as I do you.

Yours as ever,







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 offence 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,




Application for Patent:

What I claim as my invention, and desire to secure by letters
patent, is the combination of expansible buoyant chambers placed
at the sides of a vessel with the main shaft or shafts by means
of the sliding spars, which pass down through the buoyant
chambers and are made fast to their bottoms and the series of
ropes and pulleys or their equivalents in such a manner that by
turning the main shaft or shafts in one direction the buoyant
chambers will be forced downward into the water, and at the same
time expanded and filled with air for buoying up the vessel by
the displacement of water, and by turning the shafts in an
opposite direction the buoyant chambers will be contracted into a
small space and secured against injury.



SPRINGFIELD, ILL., June 3, 1849


DEAR SIR:–Vandalia, the receiver’s office at which place is the
subject of the within, is not in my district; and I have been
much perplexed to express any preference between Dr. Stapp and
Mr. Remann. If any one man is better qualified for such an
office than all others, Dr. Stapp is that man; still, I believe a
large majority of the Whigs of the district prefer Mr. Remann,
who also is a good man. Perhaps the papers on file will enable
you to judge better than I can. The writers of the within are
good men, residing within the land district.

Your obt. servant,



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
tell 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 almost 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

Yours as ever,


P. S. Let the above be confidential.



Mr. Edwards is unquestionably offended with me in connection with
the matter of the General Land-Office. He wrote a letter against
me which was filed at the department.

The better part of one’s life consists of his friendships; and,
of them, mine with Mr. Edwards was one of the most cherished. I
have not been false to it. At a word I could have had the office
any time before the department was committed to Mr. Butterfield,
at least Mr. Ewing and the President say as much. That word I
forbore to speak, partly for other reasons, but chiefly for Mr.
Edwards’ sake, losing the office (that he might gain it) I was
always for; but to lose his friendship, by the effort for him,
would oppress me very much, were I not sustained by the utmost
consciousness of rectitude. I first determined to be an
applicant, unconditionally, on the 2nd of June; and I did so then
upon being informed by a telegraphic despatch that the question
was narrowed down to Mr. B and myself, and that the Cabinet had
postponed the appointment three weeks, for my benefit. Not
doubting that Mr. Edwards was wholly out of the question I,
nevertheless, would not then have become an applicant had I
supposed he would thereby be brought to suspect me of treachery
to him. Two or three days afterwards a conversation with Levi
Davis convinced me Mr. Edwards was dissatisfied; but I was then
too far in to get out. His own letter, written on the 25th of
April, after I had fully informed him of all that had passed, up
to within a few days of that time, gave assurance I had that
entire confidence from him which I felt my uniform and strong
friendship for him entitled me to. Among other things it says,
“Whatever course your judgment may dictate as proper to be
pursued, shall never be excepted to by me.” I also had had a
letter from Washington, saying Chambers, of the Republic, had
brought a rumor then, that Mr. E had declined in my favor, which
rumor I judged came from Mr. E himself, as I had not then
breathed of his letter to any living creature. In saying I had
never, before the 2nd of June, determined to be an applicant,
unconditionally, I mean to admit that, before then, I had said
substantially I would take the office rather than it should be
lost to the State, or given to one in the State whom the Whigs
did not want; but I aver that in every instance in which I spoke
of myself, I intended to keep, and now believe I did keep, Mr. E
above myself. Mr. Edwards’ first suspicion was that I had
allowed Baker to overreach me, as his friend, in behalf of Don
Morrison. I knew this was a mistake; and the result has proved
it. I understand his view now is, that if I had gone to open war
with Baker I could have ridden him down, and had the thing all my
own way. I believe no such thing. With Baker and some strong
man from the Military tract & elsewhere for Morrison, and we and
some strong man from the Wabash & elsewhere for Mr. E, it was not
possible for either to succeed. I believed this in March, and I
know it now. The only thing which gave either any chance was the
very thing Baker & I proposed,–an adjustment with themselves.

You may wish to know how Butterfield finally beat me. I can not
tell you particulars now, but will when I see you. In the
meantime let it be understood I am not greatly dissatisfied,–I
wish the offer had been so bestowed as to encourage our friends
in future contests, and I regret exceedingly Mr. Edwards’
feelings towards me. These two things away, I should have no
regrets,–at least I think I would not.

Write me soon.

Your friend, as ever,



At a meeting to express sympathy with the cause of Hungarian
freedom, Dr. Todd, Thos. Lewis, Hon. A. Lincoln, and Wm.
Carpenter were appointed a committee to present appropriate
resolutions, which reported through Hon. A. Lincoln the

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

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

Resolved, That the Government of the United States should
acknowledge the independence of Hungary as a nation of freemen at
the very earliest moment consistent with our amicable relations
with the government against which they are contending.

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


SPRINGFIELD, Sept. 14, 1849.

Dr. WILLIAM FITHIAN, Danville, Ill.

DEAR DOCTOR:–Your letter of the 9th was received a day or two
ago. The notes and mortgages you enclosed me were duly received.
I also got the original Blanchard mortgage from Antrim Campbell,
with whom Blanchard had left it for you. I got a decree of
foreclosure on the whole; but, owing to there being no redemption
on the sale to be under the Blanchard mortgage, the court allowed
Mobley till the first of March to pay the money, before
advertising for sale. Stuart was empowered by Mobley to appear
for him, and I had to take such decree as he would consent to, or
none at all. I cast the matter about in my mind and concluded
that as I could not get a decree we would put the accrued
interest at interest, and thereby more than match the fact of
throwing the Blanchard debt back from twelve to six per cent., it
was better to do it. This is the present state of the case.

I can well enough understand and appreciate your suggestions
about the Land-Office at Danville; but in my present condition, I
can do nothing.

Yours, as ever,


SPRINGFIELD, Dec. 15, 1849.


DEAR SIR:–On my return from Kentucky I found your letter of the
7th of November, and have delayed answering it till now for the
reason I now briefly state. From the beginning of our
acquaintance I had 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 afterwards I learned, in such a way as to believe it,
that you were indulging in open abuse of me. Of course my
feelings were wounded. 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 suspense. I
now enclose you the letter, which you may use if you see fit.

Yours, etc.,




Circuit and District Court of the U. S. in and for the State and
District of Illinois. Monday, June 3, 1850.

On the opening of the Court this morning, the Hon. A. Lincoln, a
member of the Bar of this Court, suggested the death of the Hon.
Nathaniel Pope, late a judge of this Court, since the adjournment
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.

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