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Abraham Lincoln to Josiah B. Herrick, 19 January 18491
Dear Doctor:
Your letter from Chicago, recommending Wm M. Black,2 for Register of the Land office at Vandalia, is received–3 Two others, both good men, have applied for the same office before–4 I have made no pledge; but if the matter falls into my hands, I shall, when the time comes, try to do right, in view of all the [lights?] then before me– I do not feel authorized to advise any one of the applicants what course to pursue–
Yours trulyA. Lincoln5
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[Envelope]
Free. A. Lincoln M C[Member of Congress]FREE
WASH[INGTON] D[.C][District of Columbia].
JAN[January] 19
Dr J. B. HerrickVandaliaIlls[Illinois]
1Abraham Lincoln wrote this letter in its entirety, including the address and frank on the envelope.
2Black could not be positively identified.
3Josiah B. Herrick’s letter has not be located.
4One of the applicants was James M. Davis; the other is unknown.
5Black did not get the appointment; James M. Davis received the job, serving as register from July 1849 until 1853.
Davis himself wrote Lincoln several letters in the spring and summer of 1849 regarding his application, urging Lincoln to respond whether he had received the application materials and whether they had been forwarded to the proper department. In a letter from Davis dated April 9, 1849, Lincoln endorsed it by writing “Ansd before written.” Lincoln’s answer, however, has not been found.
James M. Davis to Abraham Lincoln; James M. Davis to Abraham Lincoln; James M. Davis to Abraham Lincoln; James M. Davis to Abraham Lincoln; Register of all Officers and Agents, Civil, Military, and Naval, in the Service of the United States, on the Thirtieth September, 1849 (Washington, DC: Gideon, 1849), 135; Register of all Officers and Agents, Civil, Military, and Naval, in the Service of the United States, on the Thirtieth September, 1851 (Washington, DC: Gideon, 1851), 140; Register of Officers and Agents, Civil, Military, and Naval, in the Service of the United States, on the Thirtieth September, 1853 (Washington, DC: Robert Armstrong, 1853), 138; Illinois Journal (Weekly) (Springfield), 18 July 1849, 4:3.

Autograph Letter Signed, 1 page(s), Andre De Coppet Collection, Princeton University (Princeton, NJ)