William W. Bishop and Alexander P. Dunbar to Abraham Lincoln, 6 June 18491
(Strictly Confidential)Charleston Ills. June 6/49Dr[Dear] sir
We the undersigned believing the facts in our possession to justify the step we here take, and feeling warmly for your personal interest, take the liberty of putting you upon your guard of ^against^ treachery in the camp.
We have this day heard U. F. L. dealing out glowing eulogies upon your competitor Butterfield and at the same time speaking very contemptuously of your friend Henry of Springfield. We also know that B. y D. M. is bussily working with U. F. L. this day and yesterday, but as he B. M. holds his hand more closely than U. F. L. we only surmise what he is about, but that surmise ^excites feelings^ is similar in character to Iago's smiles.2
If these men have not given you a written line of confidence, be assured it will be given against you, by prejudicing an honorable and high minded man, Underwood of the U.S. Senate, if not against you, in favor of Butterfield3
We have both written to you, and for you, on yesterday; at the request of Henry one of us (Bishop) wrote to the old General, the President; which letter please use, if convenient and proper in your estimation4Your FriedsW. W BishopA P DunbarAfter geting this in your mind destroy the PaperB & DA Lincoln Esqr[Esquire]Washington City
1William W. Bishop wrote the text of this letter and signed his name. He also penned the address in the bottom left-hand corner of the sheet. Alexander P. Dunbar signed his name to the letter and wrote and initialled the postscript.
2Bishop and Dunbar reference the duplicitous activities of Usher F. Linder and Byrd Monroe in 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. Abraham Lincoln entered the competition after learning that Butterfield was favored over Morrison and Edwards. See the General Land Office Affair.
3On June 3, Lincoln wrote Joseph R. Underwood seeking his support for the position.
4Bishop’s and Dunbar’s letters of June 5 have not been located.
Bishop and Dunbar addressed Lincoln in Washington, DC, because Lincoln, at the urging of William H. Henderson and Josiah Lucas, Lincoln supporters living in Washington, DC, had decided to travel to the nation’s capital 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.
Ultimately, neither Morrison, Edwards, nor Lincoln received the appointment; the job went to Butterfield instead. See the General Land Office Affair.
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.
Autograph Letter Signed, 1 page(s), Abraham Lincoln Papers, Library of Congress (Washington, DC).