Abraham Lincoln to John McLean, 6 December 18541Springfield, Ills– Decr 6. 1854Hon: Justice McLean–Sir:
I understand it is in contemplation to displace the present Clerk and appoint a new one for the Circuit and District courts of Illinois– I am very friendly to the present incumbent, and both for his own sake, and that of his family, I wish him to be retained so long as it is possible for the Court to do so–
In the contingency of his removal, however, I have recommended William Butler as his successor; and I do not wish what I write now, to be taken as any abatement of that recommendation–2
William J. Black, is also an applicant for the appointment; and I write this, at the solicitation of his friends, to say that he is every way worthy of the office; and that, I doubt not, the confering it upon him, would give great satisfaction–3Your Obt Servt[Obedient Servant]A. Lincoln–
2Lincoln’s recommendation of William Butler for clerk of the U.S. Circuit Court, District of Illinois has not been located.
3No correspondence between Lincoln and anyone soliciting his support for William J. Black for clerk of the U.S. Circuit Court, District of Illinois has been located.
Neither Butler nor Black received appointment to the U.S. Circuit Court, District of Illinois; William Pope retained his position.
In 1855, the U.S. Congress divided Illinois into two judicial districts: the Northern District of Illinois and the Southern District of Illinois. William H. Bradley was appointed clerk for the U.S. Circuit Court, Northern District of Illinois. George W. Lowry was appointed clerk for the U.S. Circuit Court, Southern District of Illinois.
John Livingston, Livingston's Law Register (New York: Monthly Law Magazine, 1854), 271; "An Act to Divide the State of Illinois into Two Judicial Circuits," 13 February 1855, Statutes at Large of the United States 10 (1855):606-7; Illinois Daily Journal (Springfield), 27 March 1855, 3:1; Illinois Daily State Journal (Springfield), 9 January 1860, 3:2.
Autograph Letter Signed, 2 page(s), Box 4, Lincoln Collection, Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum (Springfield, IL).