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Abraham Lincoln to Thomas Ewing, 27 September 18491
Hon: T. Ewing, Secretary &C.[etc.]Dear Sir:
Some discrepancy may appear between my letter of the 23rd and my Telegraphic despatch of to-day, to explain which I write this–2 As I told you in that letter, I forwarded ^sent^ a dispatch the same day to a friend at Springfield to be forwarded to you; but that friend and some others, supposing I had decided hastily, witheld the despatch, and wrote me again–3 On receiving their letter, I came to Springfield, and now Telegraph you myself–4
You Obt Servt[Obedient Servant]A. Lincoln
1Abraham Lincoln wrote and signed this letter.
2On September 20, 1849, Secretary of the Interior Thomas Ewing sent a telegram addressed to Lincoln at Springfield informing him of his appointment as governor of the Oregon Territory. This telegram has not been located. Since Lincoln was in Tremont, Illinois at the time, on September 23 he wrote a letter to Ewing explaining that he had asked a friend in Springfield to send Ewing a telegram informing him that Lincoln respectfully declined the appointment.
The Lincoln Log: A Daily Chronology of the Life of Abraham Lincoln, 20 September 1849, http://www.thelincolnlog.org/Results.aspx?type=CalendarDay&day=1849-09-20; 25 September 1849, http://www.thelincolnlog.org/Results.aspx?type=CalendarDay&day=1849-09-25.
3This correspondence between Lincoln and his unnamed friend or friends in Springfield on the topic of Lincoln’s appointment as governor of the Oregon Territory has not been located. However, John T. Stuart later stated that Lincoln discussed the appointment with him and also wrote Joshua Speed about the position. In addition, Anson G. Henry wrote Ewing a letter on September 24, 1849 noting that although Lincoln declined the position, he remained loyal to the administration. Henry, therefore, must also have learned about the appointment sometime before Ewing received word that Lincoln had declined it.
Since Ewing did not hear back from Lincoln, he sent another telegram to Springfield on September 25, asking for a reply to President Zachary Taylor’s offer of the governorship appointment.
Michael Burlingame, ed., An Oral History of Abraham Lincoln: John G. Nicolay’s Interviews and Essays (Carbondale and Edwardsville: Southern Illinois University Press, 1996), 15; Paul I. Miller, “Lincoln and the Governorship of Oregon,” The Mississippi Valley Historical Review 23 (December 1936), 392-93.
4In the telegram Lincoln sent Ewing the same date as this letter, he reiterated that he declined appointment as governor of the Oregon Territory but that he hoped the Taylor administration would appoint Simeon Francis secretary of the territory. Prior to offering Lincoln appointment as governor of the Oregon Territory, the Taylor administration had also offered Lincoln appointment as secretary of the Oregon Territory, an appointment which Lincoln also declined but immediately recommended Francis for instead. The administration offered Lincoln both Oregon positions soon 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. Lincoln seriously considered accepting the governorship of the Oregon Territory, but ultimately declined the position, at least in part because Mary Lincoln had no desire to live in such a remote location.
In the end, Taylor appointed John P. Gaines of Virginia governor of the Oregon Territory and 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 either, 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 (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2008), 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 (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.

Autograph Letter Signed, 1 page(s), Thomas Ewing Family Papers, Box 53, Manuscript Division, Library of Congress (Washington, DC).