Daniel Procter to Abraham Lincoln, [7 November 1848 - 5 March 1849]1Mr A. LincolnDear Sir
according to an understaing we had when I saw you at Mt Pulaski at Fosters Tavern I think,) I have circulated a petition and have got 36 signers (a majority of the voters of Mount hope and vicinity) for the purpose of Removing S. E. Kinyon and appointing James Murphey Esqr[Esquire] postmast[postmaster] It was the wish of the people in the first place to have Murphey appointed But the post Master at that time would not appoint a Whig and we have been compelled to wait untill a change in the Administration2 the major part of this post Rout is in your District (on Springfield District) your petitioners many of them reside in your District The office is Just over the line in McLean
We could have applied to Wentworth but it would avail us nothing, he was the means of having the present man appointed all though we wanted it other ways3
N. B.[Nota Bene] We the petitioners are all whigs and if you will do us this favor by attending to this business for us you will confer aYours in great hast and much RespectDaniel ProcterN. B. will you please write me on the rect[receipt] of this and inform me what you will or have done– Direct your letter to
<Page 2>favor on the public in this place, advance the interest of the P. O. Department and we all of us will Stand ready at any time to favor you with our votes for any office you may ask, and will be glad of the opportunity of Doing so the one reason we ask this of you is we are all Whigs or nearly so of this section and under the last administration could not get a Whig Post Master which was rather [?] to full Blooded Whigs4
Rev D. Procter
1Daniel Procter wrote and signed this letter.
The actual date of this document is uncertain. Procter himself did not date the letter. At the top of the first page appears a notation in pencil: “Feb 12th 1849.” The Library of Congress uses that as the date. This notation, however, is the only indication that is the date of the letter. Procter’s reference to “a change in the Administration” and identification of himself and the petition signers as Whigs suggests that it may have been written sometime between Zachary Taylor‘s election as president on November 7, 1848, and his inauguration on March 5, 1849. Reference to Abraham Lincoln’s “district” indicates that Lincoln was still in the House of Representatives at the time Procter wrote, adding to a long list of patronage requests Lincoln received in the aftermath of Taylor’s election. The second session of the Thirtieth Congress--Lincoln’s last in the House--ran from December 4, 1848 to March 3, 1849, lending further credence to the interregnum period between Taylor’s election and inauguration as the likely time frame for Procter’s letter.
U.S. House Journal. 1848-49. 30th Cong., 2nd sess., 3, 672; Michael F. Holt, The Rise and Fall of the American Whig Party: Jacksonian Politics and the Onset of the Civil War (New York: Oxford University Press, 1999), 368, 415.
2Procter is probably referring to Cave Johnson, postmaster general under Democratic President James K. Polk.
Federal government records show that there was no post office in Mount Hope until after October 1847. Shepherd E. Kinyon received appointment as postmaster on July 19, 1848.
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), *419; 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), 482*; Record of Appointment of Postmasters, 1832-1971, NARA Microfilm Publication, M841, 145 rolls, Records of the Post Office Department, RG 28, 1845-1855, 18:2, National Archives Building, Washington, DC.
3McLean County was part of Illinois’ Fourth Congressional District, which was represented in Congress by John Wentworth, a Democrat. Lincoln represented the Seventh Congressional District, which was contiguous to Wentworth’s district.
Theodore C. Pease, ed., Illinois Election Returns, 1818-1848, vol. 18 of Collections of the Illinois State Historical Library (Springfield: Illinois State Historical Library, 1923), 156, 159.
4The petition mentioned by Procter has not been located.
Kinyon remained postmaster until December 1852, when James Murphey replaced him. Murphey remained postmaster until at least September 1855.
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), *511; 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), 340*; Record of Appointment of Postmasters, 1832-Sept. 30, 1971, vol. 1845-1855, 118, microfilm publication M841, roll 27, 2, RG28: Records of the Post Office Department, Record of Appointment of Postmasters, 1832-1971, National Archives Building, Washington, DC.
Autograph Letter Signed, 2 page(s), Abraham Lincoln Papers, Library of Congress (Washington, DC)