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Abraham Lincoln to Duff Green, 18 May 18491
Dear General:
I learn from Washington that a man by the name of Butterfield will probably be appointed Commissioner of the General Land-Office– This ought not to be– That is about the only crumb of patronage that ^which^ Illinois expects; and I am sure the mass of Gen: Taylor's friends here, would quite as lief 2see it go East of the Alleghanies, or West of the Rocky Mountains, as into that man's hands– They are already sore on the subject of his getting office– In the great contest of /40 , he was not seen or heard of; but when the victory came, three or four old drones, including him, got all the valuable offices, through what influence no one has yet been able to tell–3 I believe the only time he has been very active, was last spring a year, in opposition to Gen: Taylor's nomination–4
Now can not you get the ear of Gen: Taylor? Ewing is for B; and therefore he must be avoided– Preston I think will favor you– Mr Edwards has written me offering to decline, but I advised him not to do so–5 Some kind friends think I ought to be an applicant; but I am for Mr Edwards– Try to defeat B; and in doing so, use Mr Edwards, J. L. D. Morrison, or myself, whichever you can to best advantage–6 Write me, and let this be confidential–7
Yours trulyA. Lincoln
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A Lincoln M, C[Member of Congress] Springfield Ill.[Illinois]
MAY 19
Gen: D. GreenWashingtonD. C
May 18. 1849.
Hon A Lincoln
Genl[General] Duff Green
1Abraham Lincoln wrote and signed this letter.
2“Lief” is an archaic word for “willing” or “desirous.”
Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, 11th ed. (Springfield, MA: Merriam-Webster, 2003), 717.
3In May 1841, Justin H. Butterfield received appointment as district attorney of the District of Illinois. He retained the job until January 1845.
Sangamo Journal (Springfield, IL), 7 May 1841, 2:7; 2 January 1845, 3:4; Register of all Officers and Agents, Civil, Military, and Naval, in the Service of the United States, from the Thirtieth September, 1841, to the Thirtieth September, 1843 (Washington, DC: J. & G. S. Gideon, 1843), 257.
4This is a reference to Butterfield’s activities in the presidential election of 1848.
5Neither Cyrus Edwards’ letter to Lincoln nor Lincoln’s letter to Edwards has been located.
6Butterfield, James L. D. Morrison, and Edwards were vying to become commissioner of the U.S. General Land Office. See the General Land Office Affair.
7Lincoln eventually became a candidate for the job, and wrote Green again on June 5, 1849, requesting Green’s endorsement of him for the position. However, neither Morrison, Edwards, nor Lincoln received the appointment; the job went to Butterfield instead. See the General Land Office Affair.

Autograph Letter Signed, 2 page(s), Huntington Library (San Marino, CA).