Abraham Lincoln to Thomas Ewing, 7 April 18491
copy–Springfield, Ills. April 7. 1849Hon: Secretary of the Home DepartmentDear Sir:
I recommend that Turner R. King, now of Pekin, Ills, be appointed Register of the Land-Office at this place, whenever there shall be a vacancy– I do not know that Mr Barret, the present incumbent, has failed in the proper discharge of any of his duties in the office–2 He is a decided partazan; and openly and actively opposed the election of Gen: Taylor– I understand too, that since the election of Gen: Taylor, Mr Barret has received a re-appointment from Mr Polk, his old commission not having expired– Whether this be true, the records of the Department will show– Whether he should be removed I give no opinion; but merely express the wish that the Department may act upon some proper general rule, and that Mr Barret's ^case^ may not be made an exception to it–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.3
1Abraham Lincoln wrote and signed the letter and the postscript. This is the retained copy of the letter sent to Thomas Ewing.
2James W. Barrett became register of the General Land Office in Springfield in 1844.
Sangamo Journal (Springfield, IL), 31 October 1844, 2:3.
3Lincoln 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.
From December 1848 to February 1849, Lincoln received several letters urging him to help Turner R. King secure a job at the U.S. General Land Office. On April 13, 1849, he wrote another letter reversing himself, recommending King for the job of receiver. On May 10, Lincoln reversed himself again, penning a letter recommending King for register. In late May, President Zachary Taylor removed Barrett and King received the appointment as register, holding the job 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; Niles’ National Register (Philadelphia, PA), 23 May 1849, 1:2; 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; Philo H. Thompson to Abraham Lincoln; Samuel R. Baker to Abraham Lincoln; William B. Doolittle to Abraham Lincoln; Richard T. Gill to Abraham Lincoln.
Autograph Letter Signed, 1 page(s), Abraham Lincoln Papers, Library of Congress (Washington, DC).