View up to date information on how Illinois is handling the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) from the Illinois Department of Public Health


[docketing]
09/24/1849
Rec'd[Received] 24 Septr
Abraham Lincoln to John M. Clayton, 16 September 18491
Hon J. M. Clayton.Secretary of StateDear Sir:
I send you a paper recommending Simeon Francis for the appointment of Secretary for the Oregon Teritory2
I know I have no right to claim the disposal of the office; but I do think, under all the circumstances, that he ought to receive the appointment– If a long course of uniform and efficient action as a whig editor; if an honesty unimpeached, and qualifications undisputed; if the fact that he has advanced to the meridian of life without ever before asking for an office, be considerations of importance with the Administration, I can not but feel that the appointment, while it will do him justice, will also do honor to the Administration–3
Your Obt Servt[Obedient Servant]A. Lincoln
<Page 2>
FREE
SPRINGFIELD Ill.[Illinois]
SEP[September] 17
Hon: Secretary of StateWashingtonD.C.
[docketing]
Secy[Secretary] Oregon
Sim Francis
1Abraham Lincoln wrote and signed this letter, including the address on the last sheet, which was folded to create an envelope.
2If a paper was enclosed with this letter, it has not been located.
President Zachary Taylor had appointed Lincoln secretary of the Oregon Territory August 9, 1849, less than a month after he appointed Justin H. Butterfield commissioner of the U.S. General Land Office, a position Lincoln had sought after learning that Butterfield was favored for the job. See the General Land Office Affair. As Lincoln explained in a May 16, 1849 letter to William B. Preston, he believed the appointment of Butterfield to such a valuable patronage position would represent an affront to Whigs in Illinois who had worked so hard to get Taylor nominated and elected president. Many Illinois Whigs were indeed upset by Butterfield’s appointment and criticized both President Taylor and Secretary of the Interior Thomas Ewing. The administration hoped that by offering Lincoln the position of secretary of the Oregon Territory, it would appease any angry Illinois Whigs and prevent additional attacks upon Butterfield’s appointment. But in a letter to Secretary of State John M. Clayton dated August 21, 1849, Lincoln declined the appointment for secretary of the Oregon Territory and recommended Francis for the position instead. He subsequently sent Clayton several other letters reiterating his desire for Francis to receive the appointment.
Michael Burlingame, Abraham Lincoln: A Life (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2008), 1:306-7; Abraham Lincoln to John M. Clayton; Petition of John T. Stuart and others to John M. Clayton; Abraham Lincoln to John M. Clayton.
3In the end, President Taylor appointed Edward Hamilton of Ohio secretary of the Oregon Territory. On September 20, 1849, in a final effort to ease any tensions caused by Butterfield’s appointment, the Taylor administration also offered Lincoln appointment as governor of the Oregon Territory. After serious consideration of this offer, Lincoln also declined this position, at least in part because Mary Lincoln had no desire to live in such a remote location. Taylor appointed John P. Gaines of Virginia governor of the Oregon Territory instead.
Francis’ name does not appear in the official registers of the officers and agents of the government for 1849, 1851, 1853, 1855, 1857, or 1859, so apparently he did not receive any other appointment during this period. The 1861 official register shows Francis worked in Oregon as a printer for the U.S. government and as a paymaster for the U.S. Army. In July 1861, he also wrote Lincoln requesting appointment as commissioner of Indian Affairs. Francis did not receive this appointment, but, by 1863, he was a paymaster in Oregon.
Michael Burlingame, Abraham Lincoln: A Life, 1:307; Abraham Lincoln to Thomas Ewing; 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), 250; 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); 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); Register of Officers and Agents, Civil, Military, and Naval, in the Service of the United States, on the Thirtieth September, 1855 (Washington, DC: A. O. P. Nicholson, 1855); Register of Officers and Agents, Civil, Military, and Naval, in the Service of the United States, on the Thirtieth September, 1857 (Washington, DC: A. O. P. Nicholson, 1857); Register of Officers and Agents, Civil, Military, and Naval, in the Service of the United States, on the Thirtieth September, 1859 (Washington, DC: William A. Harris, 1859); Register of Officers and Agents, Civil, Military, and Naval, in the Service of the United States, on the Thirtieth September, 1861 (Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, 1862), 118, 199; Register of Officers and Agents, Civil, Military, and Naval, in the Service of the United States, on the Thirtieth September, 1863 (Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, 1864), 151; Register of Officers and Agents, Civil, Military, and Naval, in the Service of the United States, on the Thirtieth September, 1865 (Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, 1866), 193.

Autograph Letter Signed, 2 page(s), RG 59, Entry 760: Appointment Records, Applications and Recommendations for Office, Applications and Recommendations for Public Office, 1797-1901, NACP.