Josiah M. Lucas to Abraham Lincoln, 12 April 18491Washington April 12/49Dear Sir
If I may be permitted to trespass upon your time and patience a few minutes while I urge upon you the necessity of action as regards the Commissioner of the Genl Land Office. Notwithstanding you may have an understanding with Ewing (I do not know that you have) admitting that you may have—still I believe there is danger. I do know that Butterfield is trying his best for the place, although not here in person, he is operating through friends– I know further that he is telegraphing persons here, second, who are in power, second to Cabinet stations to leave nothing undone &c[etc]. Perhaps you are aware that several of the Cabinet are for him, for something, and Ewing, I have reason to think is his friend. Some fellow once wrote that pledges made by politicians were written in sand, or
<Page 2>in that way and I think, myself few are to be trusted the fidelity of some I have proved—therefore, I would urge you to do something and that soon—delays are dangerous—and nothing is well done, 'till [until]tis[it is] done; I do think that you could get the appointment—and every whig in Illinois—with few exceptions—would say, amen–. I can't understand Baker—fo for the life of me– I disliked the idea of his throwing cold water on your case when all the Illinoians here wanted you to get the place. If there cannot be an early arrangement between Gov Edwards & Morrison—the neither will get it, Butterfield may get it, but there is much danger of the State loosing it, as Alabama, Florida & Mississippi are claiming it. If you dont get it try and get Morrison to go in for Edwards– Do something quick—any body but Butterfield, however,—he would be a mere tool, without any will of his own.2
There is no little confusion here, yet, with regard to the offices. The fine building of the sons of temperance burned last night.3 I hope that you will write me soon.4
I would like, through you, to get some prominence, with old Ewing, and Col Warren, the 2d Assistant P. M. G.[Postmaster General]– I could, perhaps, be of service to our friends in Illinois, a letter to them would set the thing right, perhaps, they will be sometimes, no doubt at a loss, and would like to have ^at times^ a Whig to consult from that our State–Respectfully yours &c[etc]J. M. LucasN. B. Tell Francis to send me his "Journal"J. M. L.5
<Page 4>WASHINGTON [CITY?] DC
10Hon. Abram LincolnSpringfieldIllinois
1Josiah M. Lucas wrote and signed the letter and postscript. He also wrote the address on the fourth page, which was folded to create an envelope.
2Abraham Lincoln eventually became a candidate for the job of commissioner of the U.S. General Land Office, but he did not receive the appointment, the job going to Justin H. Butterfield instead. See the General Land Office Affair.
3The Sons of Temperance Hall, located on E Street, between 9th and 10th streets, was destroyed in the early hours of April 10. Police and fire officials suspected arson.
Daily National Whig (Washington, DC), 11 April 1849, 3:3.
5Commissioner of the General Land Office, Richard M. Young, had appointed Lucas as a temporary clerk in the Land Office in March 1849, but Lucas was worried about his tenure with rumors swirling that Young was to be replaced. Lucas held onto his job through the spring, and he sent Lincoln a steady stream of letters informing Lincoln on the contest for commissioner and on appointments to land offices throughout Illinois. Lucas’ name does not appear in the official register of the officers and agents of the government employed as of September 30, 1849, so he must have lost his position. His name also does not appear in the official register for 1851, but he is listed in the official register for 1853 as a clerk in the U.S. General Land Office.
Abraham Lincoln to George W. Crawford; Josiah M. Lucas to Abraham Lincoln; Josiah M. Lucas to Abraham Lincoln; Josiah M. Lucas to Abraham Lincoln; Josiah M. Lucas to Abraham Lincoln; Josiah M. Lucas to Abraham Lincoln; 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); 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), 134.
Autograph Letter Signed, 4 page(s), Abraham Lincoln Papers, Library of Congress (Washington, DC).