Abraham Lincoln to William Schouler, 2 February 18491Washington, Feb. 2. 1849Friend Schooler:2
In these days of Cabinet making, we out West are awake as well as others– The accompanying article is from the Illinois Journal, our leading whig paper; and while it expresses what all, or at least nearly all the Illinois whigs ^of the Legislatures of Illinois, Iowa, and Wisconsin have expressed—^ feel—a preference for Col[Colonel] Baker–3 I think it is fair and magnanamous to the other Western aspirants; and, on the whole shows by sound argument, that the West is not only entitled to, but is in need of, one member of the cabinet– Desiring to turn public attention, in some measure to this point, I shall be obliged if you will give the article a place in your paper, with or without comments, according to your own sense of propriety–4
Our acquaintance, though short, has been very cordial; and I therefore venture to hope you will not consider my request presumptious, whether you shall or shall not think proper to grant it–
This I intend as private and confidential–Yours trulyA. Lincoln5
2Lincoln addresses his recipient as Schooler, but Roy P. Basler addressed it to William Schouler--though without comment or attribution. Investigation into Schouler’s background and the context of Lincoln’s letter strongly suggests Schouler as the recipient.
Roy P. Basler, The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln (New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 1953), 2:25.
3The accompanying article Lincoln references has not been located. Articles endorsing Baker for a cabinet position appeared in the Illinois Journal three times in late 1848 and early 1849: December 20, 1848, January 3, 1849, and January 24, 1849. The Illinois Journal reported on January 3 that the Illinois and Iowa Whigs in their respective general assemblies had endorsed Baker. The editors noted on January 24 that the Whigs in the Wisconsin State Legislature had similarly recommended Baker.
Illinois Journal (Springfield), 20 December 1848, 2:4; Illinois Journal (Weekly) (Springfield), 3 January 1849, 3:6; 24 January 1849, 4:1.
4In 1849, Schouler was part owner of the Boston Daily Atlas.
“Schouler, William,” James Grant Wilson and John Fiske, Appleton’s Cyclopædia of American Biography, (New York: D. Appleton, 1888), 5:427.
5President Zachary Taylor did not offer Baker a cabinet position. Like his predecessor James K. Polk, Taylor apportioned his cabinet selections geographically. Thomas Ewing of Ohio represented the “Old Northwest” as secretary of the interior.
Elbert B. Smith, The Presidencies of Zachary Taylor and Millard Fillmore (Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 1988), 52-55; Paul H. Bergeron, The Presidency of James K. Polk (Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 1987), 23-24.
Autograph Letter Signed, 1 page(s), Abraham Lincoln Papers, Library of Congress (Washington, DC),