Caleb B. Smith to Abraham Lincoln, 3 June 18491Washington 3 June 1849Dear Sir
I would have sooner answered your letter relative to the appointment of Doctor Henry, but I have postponed it until I could give you some definite informationI saw Mr Ewing immediately after I received your letter & mentioned to him that you were very anxious for his appointment, but he gave me no encouragement to believe that your wishes would be gratified A few days afterwards a Mr Lefler of Iowa was appointed Register, which was the place you preferred for Dr. Henry. I knew nothing of it until I saw it announced in the papers.
I went to see Mr Ewing again on the subject yesterday– He told me then that Lefler was appointed because he had been very strongly pressed
<Page 2>for Marshal of Iowa & his friends were disappointed by his not receiving it. To pacify them the appointment of Register in Minnesota was given to him.
Mr Ewing also informed me that he did not think that the Receiver would be removed so there seems to be but little chance for your friend2Yours TrulyCaleb B SmithHon A LincolnSpringfield Ill
I took the liberty of opening this letter thinking it might have something to do with your appointment–3 I am not by any means disappointed in the result– The only thing I hate about it is, the utter disregard that the appointment implies, of the wishes of yourself, & of Illinois generally It was very important to conciliate Iowa– Mr Ewing may want some favour from Illinois one of these days– Having the transfered my claim for the appointment of course I can have no personal interest in the matter. But it is very humiliating to my State pride— & I shant be very likely to forget it4Yours TrulyA. G. HenryJune 11th "49
2In March 1849, Abraham Lincoln had written Secretary of the Interior Thomas Ewing and Secretary of State John M. Clayton seeking an appointment for Anson G. Henry as either territorial secretary or receiver of the U.S. General Land Office in the Minnesota Territory, to no avail. Charles K. Smith of Ohio received the appointment as territorial secretary, holding the job until 1851. Nathaniel G. Wilcox, who Lincoln had recommended for a pursership in the U.S. Navy, became receiver. On March 29, Lincoln recommended Henry as “his man for register” in a letter to Secretary of the Navy William B. Preston, urging Preston to press Secretary Ewing to make the appointment. President Zachary Taylor offered the job to Isaac Leffler, but he declined the appointment. President Taylor then turned to Abraham Van Vorhes, who held the position until 1853.
Abraham Lincoln to Thomas Ewing; Abraham Lincoln to John M. Clayton; Edward D. Baker to Nathaniel G. Wilcox; 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), 136, 138, 250; 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), 141; 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), 139; Edward D. Neill, History of the Minnesota Valley (Minneapolis: North Star, 1882), 118, 123-24; Biographical Directory of the American Congress 1774-1996 (Alexandria, VA: CQ Staff Directories, 1997), 1382.
3Henry references the contest to see who would replace Richard M. Young as commissioner of the U.S. General Land Office. Justin H. Butterfield, James L. D. Morrison, and Cyrus Edwards were among the early contestants. Lincoln entered the competition after learning that Butterfield was favored over Morrison and Edwards.
Henry was among Lincoln’s friends urging him to travel to Washington, DC to personally lobby for the position. On June 9, Butterfield wrote Lincoln suggesting that neither go to Washington. Lincoln did not respond to this suggestion, and on June 10, both set out for the capital. Lincoln arrived on or before June 19.
While Lincoln was en route, Henry worked to build support for his candidacy in central and eastern Illinois. Ultimately, neither Morrison, Edwards, nor Lincoln received the appointment; the job went to Butterfield instead. See the General Land Office Affair.
Anson G. Henry to Abraham Lincoln; William H. Henderson to Abraham Lincoln; William H. Henderson to Abraham Lincoln; Josiah M. Lucas to Abraham Lincoln; The Lincoln Log: A Daily Chronology of the Life of Abraham Lincoln, 10 June 1849, http://www.thelincolnlog.org/Results.aspx?type=CalendarDay&day=1849-06-10; 19 June 1849, http://www.thelincolnlog.org/Results.aspx?type=CalendarDay&day=1849-06-19; Anson G. Henry to Abraham Lincoln; Anson G. Henry to Abraham Lincoln; Anson G. Henry to Abraham Lincoln; Anson G. Henry to Abraham Lincoln.
4Lincoln continued to recommend Henry to President Taylor and members of his administration. On June 24, 1850, Henry received the appointment of Indian agent for the Oregon Territory.
Harry C. Blair, Dr. Anson G. Henry: Physician, Politician, Friend of Abraham Lincoln (Harrogate, TN: Lincoln Memorial University, 1944), 8.
Autograph Letter Signed, 3 page(s), Abraham Lincoln Papers, Library of Congress (Washington, DC).