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Abraham Lincoln to Isaac N. Onstott, 6 November 18501
Dear Isaac:
I have been absent on the circuit seven weeks, only getting home to the election; so that I could not answer your letter of the 16th of Octr[October] till now–2 I am for you; and have written to the Department, that if the recommendations from your own county place you on very nearly equal ground with the best of your competitors, I desire that you may be appointed– I send the letter directly to the Department, thinking it may be best not to lose the time of sending it to you first–3
Your friend as ever.A. Lincoln
1Abraham Lincoln wrote and signed this letter.
2Isaac N. Onstott’s October 16, 1860 letter to Lincoln has not been located.
At least as early as September 17, 1850, Lincoln began travelling throughout central Illinois to attend trials at various Illinois circuit courts. He started back for Springfield on November 3, 1850, and arrived home November 5, 1850, in time to vote in the 1850 Federal Election.
3Since Onstott’s October 16, 1850 letter to Lincoln has not been located, some of the context for this reply Lincoln gave Onstott is missing. However, in May 1849, Onstott wrote Lincoln asking for his help removing Jonathan Dearborn from the position of postmaster of Havana, Illinois and securing the position for “your humble Servant” instead. Lincoln replied to that letter, confirming that he would support Onstott. Although President Zachary Taylor appointed Philo Noble postmaster of Havana in November 1849, in November 1850 President Millard Fillmore removed Noble and replaced him with Onstott. Onstott’s October 16, 1850 letter to Lincoln, therefore, almost certainly contained a request for a letter of recommendation from Lincoln in support of Onstott’s appointment as postmaster.
Lincoln’s letter to the U.S. Post Office Department recommending Onstott for postmaster of Havana has not been located.
Record of Appointment of Postmasters, 1832-1971, NARA Microfilm Publication, M841, 145 rolls, Records of the Post Office Department, RG 28, 1845-1855, 18:132, National Archives Building, Washington, DC; Register of all Officers and Agents, Civil, Military, and Naval, in the Service of the United States, on the Thirtieth September, 1847 (Washington, DC: J. & G. S. Gideon, 1847), *413; 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), 476*; 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), *533.

Autograph Letter Signed, 1 page(s), Gilder Lehrman Collection (New York, New York).