Abraham Lincoln to Elisha Embree, 25 May 18491
ConfidentialSpringfield, Ills. May 25– 1849Hon E. EmbreeDear Sir:
I am about to ask a favor of you— one which, I hope will not cost you much– I understand the General Land Office is about to be given to Illinois; and that Mr Ewing desires Justin Butterfield, of Chicago, to be the man–2 I give you my word, the appointment of Mr B. will be an egregious political blunder– It will give offence to the whole whig party here, and be worse than a dead loss to the administration, of so much of its’ patronage– Now, if you can conscientiously do so, I wish you to write General Taylor at once, saying that either I, or the man I recommend, should, in your opinion, be appointed to that office, if any one from Illinois shall be–3 I restrict my request to Ills[Illinois]– because you may have a man of your own, in your own state; and I do not ask to interfere with that–4Your friend as everA. Lincoln
2Justin H. Butterfield, James L. D. Morrison, and Cyrus Edwards were vying to become commissioner of the U.S. General Land Office. See the General Land Office Affair.
3Lincoln joined the competition to become commissioner of the U.S. General Land Office after learning that Butterfield was favored over Morrison and Edwards. See the General Land Office Affair.
4Lincoln wrote an almost identical letter to Richard W. Thompson the same date as this letter to Elisha Embree. Embree did not respond to this letter directly, but he did write to President Zachary Taylor in support of Lincoln for commissioner of the U.S. General Land Office. Ultimately, however, neither Morrison, Edwards, nor Lincoln received the appointment; the job went to Butterfield instead. See the General Land Office Affair.
Autograph Letter Signed, 1 page(s), Gilder Lehrman Collection (New York, New York).