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Abraham Lincoln to John Addison, 27 September 18491
John Addison, Esq.[Esquire]My dear Sir:
Your letter is received.2 I can not but be grateful to you and all other friends who have interested themselves in having the governorship of Oregon offered to me; but on
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as much reflection as I have had time to give the subject, I cannot consent to accept it.3 I have an ever abiding wish to serve you; but as to the secretaryship, I have already recommended our friend Simeon Francis, of the “Journal.”4 Please present my respects to G. T. M. Davis generally, and my thanks especially for his kindness in the Oregon matter.5
Yours as ever,A. Lincoln.
1This letter is attributed to Lincoln, but the original letter in Lincoln’s hand is not extant.
2John Addison’s letter to Lincoln has not been located.
3On September 20, 1849, Secretary of the Interior Thomas Ewing telegraphed Lincoln to inform him that President Zachary Taylor had appointed Lincoln governor of the Oregon Territory. After serious consideration of the offer, Lincoln 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.
Abraham Lincoln to Thomas Ewing; Michael Burlingame, Abraham Lincoln: A Life (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2008), 1:307; 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.
4Prior to offering Lincoln appointment as governor of the Oregon Territory, the Taylor administration had also offered Lincoln appointment as secretary of the Oregon Territory. He also declined this appointment, recommending Simeon Francis for the position instead. The administration offered Lincoln these positions in Oregon after Taylor 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 of 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 Taylor and Ewing. The administration hoped that by offering Lincoln a political appointment in the Oregon Territory, it would appease any angry Illinois Whigs and prevent additional attacks upon Butterfield’s appointment.
In the end, Taylor appointed Edward Hamilton of Ohio secretary of the Oregon Territory. 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.
Appointment of Abraham Lincoln as Secretary of the Territory of Oregon; Abraham Lincoln to John M. Clayton; Michael Burlingame, Abraham Lincoln: A Life, 1:306-7; Register of all Officers and Agents, Civil, Military, and Naval, in the Service of the United States, on the Thirtieth September, 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.
5Since Addison’s letter to Lincoln has not been located, it is unclear what information Addison relayed about George T. M. Davis’ involvement in getting Lincoln political appointment in the Oregon Territory.

Printed Transcription, 2 page(s), John G. Nicolay and John Hay, eds., Complete Works of Abraham Lincoln, new and enlarged ed. (New York: Francis D. Tandy, 1905), 2:129-30.