Abraham Lincoln to Jesse Lynch, 10 April 18481Washington, April 10– 1848–Dear Sir:
Your letter of the 27th of March is received––2 I went to the Patent office with it this morning– They tell me that no patent has issued to any body on any application made as the late as the first of July last– Mr Jones is dead—died a few weeks ago– The officers say he was trust worthy– If you write again, mention the names of the applicants, as I have mislaid your former letter– I am almost too busy to undertake an agency, besides which, I shall have to leave before the business can be got through with; still, if you choose, I will try to get any business for you into to the hands of some one having the reputation of a faithful agent–
On the same day I received your letter, I also received one from another man in Magnolia, which contrasts very curiously with what you say about Gen: Taylor–– He says he knows ten men in Magnolia, who voted for Mr Clay, that can not be got to vote for Gen. Taylor, under any circumstances–3 I am sorry to hear what he says, and glad to hear what you say– Our only only chance is with Taylor– I go for him, not because
<Page 2>I think he would make a better president than Clay, but because I think he would make a better one than Polk, or Cass, or Buchanan, or any such creatures, one of whom is sure to be elected, if he is not–
As to what you say about the next representative of our district, I can only say that I can not become a competitor with others for the nomination–4 I have said I will not– I would deny the people nothing– but I presume there ^are^ many others who will be quite as acceptable as myself– Lest I be misunderstood, dont let any one know I have written you any thing on this subject– I should not, had you not requested it–Most truly yoursA. Lincoln–
2Jesse Lynch’s letter to Lincoln has not been located.
3Lincoln references the movement to draft Zachary Taylor as the Whig Party’s candidate in the presidential election of 1848, supplanting Henry Clay, who was the party’s standard bearer in the 1844 election and was still the nominal head of the party. Some regular Whigs condemned the movement for Taylor, a southern slaveholder who had no previous political affiliation, as an abandonment of Whig principles.
Michael Burlingame, Abraham Lincoln: A Life (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2008), 1:275-76; Holman Hamilton, Zachary Taylor: Soldier in the White House (Hamden, CT: Archon, 1966), 63-64; Michael F. Holt, The Rise and Fall of the American Whig Party: Jacksonian Politics and the Onset of the Civil War (New York: Oxford University Press, 1999), 309-10, 333-39; K. Jack Bauer, Zachary Taylor: Soldier, Planter, Statesman of the Old Southwest (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1985), 233-34.
4Lincoln represented the Seventh Congressional District, which included the counties of Cass, Logan, Marshall, Mason, Menard, Morgan, Putnam, Sangamon, Scott, Tazewell, and Woodford. He had pledged to serve only one term, but many Whigs in the district favored his renomination. Lincoln was not averse to running again, but Stephen T. Logan received the nomination. In August 1848, Logan would lose to Thomas L. Harris in a close race.
Michael Burlingame, Abraham Lincoln: A Life, 1:271; Howard W. Allen and Vincent A. Lacey, eds., Illinois Elections, 1818-1990 (Carbondale and Edwardsville: Southern Illinois University Press, 1992), 8, 126.
Autograph Letter Signed, 2 page(s), Private Collection, Shapell Manuscript Foundation (Los Angeles, CA)