Justin H. Butterfield to Abraham Lincoln, 9 June 18491Springfield June 9th 1849.Dr[Dear] Sir
situated as we are it is unpleasant to my feeling and I presume equaly so to yours to go to Washington, upon such a mission as we are embarked in=2 I would wish to avoid the imputation which such a proceeding may subject us to among friends and enemies= I therefore propose for your consideration whether it would not be better for us both to remain at home: which I am willing to do, If you are= please send an answer by the bearer:3Respectfully
your Obt Svt[Obedient Servant]J. ButterfieldHon A. Lincoln
2At the time of this letter, Butterfield and Abraham Lincoln were competing to become commissioner of the U.S. General Land Office and each planning to travel to Washington, DC to lobby for themselves. Earlier in the spring of 1849, Butterfield, James L. D. Morrison, and Cyrus Edwards were vying for the position. Lincoln only offered himself as a candidate for the job after learning that Butterfield was favored over Morrison and Edwards. In May 1849, Josiah M. Lucas and William H. Henderson urged Lincoln to go to Washington, DC as soon as possible to attempt to secure the job. See the General Land Office Affair.
3Lincoln was also in Springfield, Illinois on June 9, 1849. In an article he wrote in 1849, Thomas Ewing transcribed a letter from Levi Davis to Butterfield in which Davis states that he hand delivered Butterfield’s letter to Lincoln the evening of June 9. No reply from Lincoln is extant.
Neither Morrison, Edwards, nor Lincoln received the appointment for commissioner of the U.S. General Land Office; the job went to Butterfield instead. See the General Land Office Affair.
Thomas Ewing, “Lincoln and the General Land Office, 1849,” Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society 25 (October 1932), 143; The Lincoln Log: A Daily Chronology of the Life of Abraham Lincoln, 9 June 1849, http://thelincolnlog.org/Results.aspx?type=CalendarDay&day=1849-06-09.
Autograph Letter Signed, 1 page(s), Abraham Lincoln Papers, Library of Congress (Washington, DC).