Abraham Lincoln to Thomas Ewing, 7 April 18491
copy–Springfield ^Ills.^ April 7, 1849Hon: Secretary of the Home DepartmentDear Sir:
I recommend that Walter Davis be appointed Receiver of the Land-Office at this place, whenever there shall be a vacancy– I can not say that Mr Herndon, the present incumbent, has failed in the proper discharge of any of the duties of the office–2 He is a very warm partizan3; and openly & actively opposed the election of Gen: Taylor– I also understand that since Gen: Taylor's election, he has received a re-appointment from Mr Polk, his old commission not having expired– Whether this is true, the records of the Department will show– I may add that the whigs here almost universally desire his removal– I give no opinion of my own; but state the facts, and express the hope that the Department will act in this, as in all other such cases ^on some proper general rule–^–Your Obt Servt[Obedient Servant]A. LincolnP. S. The land district to which this office belongs, is very nearly if not entirely within my district; so that Col Baker, the other whig representative, claims no voice in the appointment–A. L.4
1Abraham Lincoln wrote and signed the letter and the postscript. This is the retained copy of the letter sent to Thomas Ewing.
2Archer G. Herndon, a Democrat, became receiver of the General Land Office in Springfield in 1842.
John Carroll Power and S. A. Power, History of the Early Settlers of Sangamon County, Illinois (Springfield, IL: Edwin A. Wilson, 1876), 373.
4Lincoln had represented the Seventh Congressional District, which included Sangamon County and Springfield. 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. In the August election, Edward D. Baker had won election in the Sixth Congressional District.
On April 13, Lincoln wrote another letter reversing himself, recommending Walter Davis for the job of register. On May 10, Lincoln reversed himself again, penning a letter recommending Davis for receiver. In June 1849, President Zachary Taylor removed Herndon and replaced him with Davis. Davis would hold the position until 1853.
Michael Burlingame, Abraham Lincoln: A Life (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2008), 1:271; Howard W. Allen and Vincent A. Lacey, eds., Illinois Elections, 1818-1990 (Carbondale and Edwardsville: Southern Illinois University Press, 1992), 8, 126; 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), 137; 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), 141; 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), 139; Abraham Lincoln to Thomas Ewing; Illinois Journal (Springfield), 6 June 1849, 2:1.
Autograph Letter Signed, 1 page(s), Abraham Lincoln Papers, Library of Congress (Washington, DC).