George W. Rives to Abraham Lincoln, 25 April 18491Paris Edgar. County. Illinois
April 25th 1849–Hon. A. LincolnSir
Certain events and circumstances have lately taken place with me that have induced me to make some efforts to Secure an appointment or Situation connected with compte organization of some of our Teritories but more especially Minesota. Some weeks Since I Sent a communication to Secr of the Home Department on the Subject of the appointment as Indian agent or Sub, agent in the Said Teritory of Minesota or as an assistant in carrying out the treaty or stipulations made with the Mannomonee Indians made the 18th Octo–.[October] 1848. Mr E. Childs of Wisconsin is appointed as the agent of the Exploring Delegation for Said Indians– and as I understand there may be a Subagt. [Sub-Agent] appointed for the same or an assistant. I have thought proper to address you a letter on the Subject and ask the Special favor of you in making some Suggestions to the department in my behalf immediately as the situation may be disposed of if delay is made (and may be already)2
I see that Mo. and Wisconsin have Recd[Received] a large propotion over Illinois in the way of appointments in the Teritories of California, &, Minesota Colo. Prentiss I think is the only one Selected or appointed from our state.3 Sir this is not fair play. We have men in Illinois that are as Capible. faithfull Honest & True as an state in the Union. Has there been any effort made by our prominent ^men^ in behalf of our state with regard to important and honorable appointments ( I except the effort made in behalf of Col[Colonel] E D. Baker) I have lately written to the Hon Wm B. Preston Secty[Secretary] of the Navy to give me some assistance (as he is a family friend and acquaintance of mine.) But I learn from the department that the solicitations of some one or know and tried friends of the present administration are attended to more promptly than when the application is made
<Page 2>by an individual himself And Sir this is my appology to you for troubling you on this subject in my behalf
Now if the situations I refer to are all occupied or filled in Minisota or California and there is any other that you know of that is still open and which I can fill with dignity to myself & state, please present my claims or chance with [others?] I claim nothing on the score or grounds of a working whig or that I took an active and part in behalf of Old Zack. But I desire now to be an humble instrument in Sustaining the principles that I urged for the election of Old Zack– and as those offices are to be filled ^by^ some friend of the administration I am willing to take my chance with other ^more^ deserving and competent men. If you are so Situated that you can give me the assistance asked for I shall be verry thankfull and shall owe you a debt of Gratitude that shall last with life Dr. A. G. Henry Col Baker Judge Logan and others will Join you if called on by you together with all the prominent whigs of your of your City as they are my personal friends and acquaintances.
I hope Sir that you will drop me a line after you taken this under advisement and give me the result of the course that you will take and that I should take in order to be successfull as this is rather a new game to me not knowing exactly when or where to begin or for what to ask that is yet to be given or disposed4I have the honor to be Yous[Yours] Respectfully.George. W. RivesHon A Lincoln
2Negotiated and concluded at Lake Pow-aw-hay-kon-nay, near Winneconne, Wisconsin, the treaty arranged for the cession of all Menominee lands in Wisconsin to the U.S. government in exchange for $350,000 and land across the Mississippi River in the Minnesota Territory. Article six of the treaty stipulated that the U.S. government would pay the expenses of a exploring party to allow the Menominee to explore and examine the territory to which they were asked to move. Ebenezer Childs received appointment as leader of this exploring party, with William H. Bruce as sub-agent.
Charles J. Kappler, comp. and ed., Indian Affairs. Laws and Treaties. (Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, 1903), 2:423-25; Donald L. Fixico, Treaties with American Indians: An Encyclopedia of Rights, Conflicts, and Sovereignty (Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO, 2010), 1:333-34; 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), 135; David R. M. Beck, Siege and Survival: History of the Menominee Indians, 1634-1856 (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2002), 175.
3William S. Prentiss had received appointment as an Indian agent in California.
Illinois Daily Journal (Springfield), 6 April 1849, 3:1.
4Responding to Rives in a letter dated May 7, 1849, Abraham Lincoln felt that Rives overrated Lincoln’s capacity to be of service. “Not one man recommended by me has yet been appointed to any thing, little or big,” Lincoln wrote, “except a few who had no opposition.” Moreover, Lincoln had already endorsed, so far without success, Anson G. Henry for an appointment in the Minnesota Territory, and he did not feel he could promote Rives’ interests until Henry had or had not received a position. Rives’ name does not appear in the official registers of the officers and agents of the government for 1849, 1851, and 1853, so apparently he did not receive an appointment.
Register of all Officers and Agents, Civil, Military, and Naval, in the Service of the United States, on the Thirtieth September, 1849; 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).
Autograph Letter Signed, 2 page(s), Abraham Lincoln Papers, Library of Congress (Washington, DC).