Abraham Lincoln to Philo H. Thompson, 25 April 18491Springfield April 25. 1849–Dear Thompson,
A tirade is still kept up against me here for recommending T. R. King– This morning it is openly avowed that my supposed influence at Washington shall be broken down generally and King's prospects defeated in particular– Now what I have done in this matter I have done at the request of you and some other friends in Tazewell and I therefore ask you to either admit it is wrong, or come forward and sustain me–2 If the truth will permit I propose that you sustain me in the following manner– Copy the enclosed scrap in your own hand-writing and get every body (not three or four but three or four hundred) to sign it, and then send it to me–3 Also have six, eight, or ten of our best known whig friends there to write me individual letters stating the truth in the matter, as they, understand it– Don[']t neglect, or delay, in the matter– I understand information of an indictment having been found against him about three years ago for gaming or keeping a gaming house, has been sent to the Department–4 I shall try to take care of it at the Department till your action can be had, and forwarded on–5Yours [as ever]A Lincoln
FreeA. Lincoln M. C[Member Congress] SPRINGFIELD Ill.[Illinois]
FREEP. H. Thompson, Esq[Esquire]Pekin–Ills[Illinois]–
1Abraham Lincoln wrote and signed this letter, including the address on the second sheet, which was folded to created an envelope. Lincoln is responding to Philo H. Thompson’s letter of April 23.
2In December 1848, Thompson wrote Lincoln urging him to get Turner R. King a job with the U.S. General Land Office in Springfield, Illinois. From December 1848 to February 1849, Lincoln received several letters urging him to help King secure a position with the General Land Office. On April 7, 1849, Lincoln wrote a letter to Secretary of the Interior Thomas Ewing recommending King for the job of register. On April 13, he wrote another letter reversing himself, recommending King for the job of receiver.
3The scrap of paper Lincoln references was not enclosed with this letter, and its whereabouts is unknown.
4Opponents of King’s appointment charged him with being an abolitionist, drunkard, and gambler.
5Acting on Lincoln’s request, Thompson crafted a petition denying the allegations leveled against King and secured the signatures of prominent Whigs and Democrats in Tazewell County. He enclosed the signed petition in a letter written on May 3. Between April 30 and May 7, Samuel R. Baker, Edward Jones, John W. Casey, and David Mark wrote Lincoln attesting to King’s moral character and attesting to his fitness for public office. Lincoln penned another letter to Ewing on May 10, again recommending King for the job of register. In late May, King received the appointment as register and held the job until 1853.
Samuel R. Baker to Abraham Lincoln; Edward Jones to Abraham Lincoln; John W. Casey to Abraham Lincoln; David Mark to Abraham Lincoln; David Mark to Abraham Lincoln; 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.
Autograph Letter Signed, 2 page(s), Box 3, Lincoln Collection, Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum (Springfield, IL).