Abraham Lincoln to Benjamin Kellogg Jr., 21 April 18481Washington. April 21– 1848Dear Ben:
Your letter, which I herewith return, was received two days ago– On yesterday I went to the Patent office with it, made the memorandum on it which you see on the back of it, and left it–2 Last night they returned it to me, with no other answer, than the pencil notes at the top and bottom of it, which you ^see–^ I return the letter, because I suppose you will understand their notes better by seeing them, than you ^could^ by my writing about them–3Yours as ever–A Lincoln
A Lincolns Letter 1848
2Sometime earlier, Benjamin Kellogg, Jr. had forwarded to Edmund Burke, the commissioner of patents, two deeds from William Wilcox and S. M. Whipple for the rights to Colburn’s improved iron pump. David G. Colburn was selling the rights to make or vend his invention in any part of the United States not otherwise disposed of through previously obtained rights. Kellogg had heard nothing from the Patent Office, and on April 4, he wrote Lincoln asking him to ascertain the deposition of his deeds. In his memorandum penned to Kellogg’s letter, Lincoln requested that the Patent Office examine Kellogg’s letter and return it to him with the desired information.
W. H. Starr, ed., The Farmer and Mechanic (New York, 1847), 276.
3In the pencilled notes Lincoln references, the Patent Office indicated it received the deeds on March 4, and sent them to Kellogg on April 5.
Autograph Letter Signed, 2 page(s), Benjamin Kellogg Jr. Papers, Folder 1, Manuscript Division, Library of Congress (Washington, DC).