William H. Henderson to Abraham Lincoln, 11 June 18491Washington June 11th 1849–Dear Lincoln
I have been from home so long– and my finances so low, that I cannot avail myself of the pleasure it would afford me of awaiting your arrival here, I have done what little Service I could to assist you, and regret it was so feeble– I hope on your arrival you will find all right,2 This will be handed you by my son John W– He is from the northern part of Illinois– is a member of the Legislature, and I want you to draw up a Statement of facts as Strong as you may think necessary and he will copy, & sign it in your favour– I have addressed a letter to the Commissioner, (hoping it will be yourself) which he will shew you, when this is handed to you, should you not succeed, will you have the goodness to intercede with the successful applicant for my boys Judge Young had a conversation with McDougle in my hearing– (He hails from Chicago you know–) In which McDougle said you were the choice of the State & not Butterfield– Judge Coleman also heard the same conversation–3 Judge Young does not hesitateYour friendWm H Henderson
<Page 2>to express himself in your favour on all occasions– and will give you a strong letter, or will call on in person any of the Cabinet or the President in your behalf– if you should deem it advisable– I hope and believe you will succeed and particularly if you will take advantage of your own good fame and popularity– and be not backward in urging your friends to action, Illinois looks to you, her hopes are all concentrated upon you, and let me who has suffered so much from modesty– Urge upon you as an old friend for this one time to lay it bye, and paddle your own boat– I again repeat, that I regret my inability to have served you, as my wishes dictated, I hope however the work is done all to finishing up by yourself, Lucas can tell you all, I know you will feel disposed to take care of my boys– They will not disgrace me, nor their friends– Should you succeed, I wish you to advise them, & have told them to heed your council4
<Page 4>Hon A. LincolnPresent
For My Son
2Justin H. Butterfield, James L. D. Morrison, and Cyrus Edwards were vying to become commissioner of the U.S. General Land Office. Abraham Lincoln entered the competition after learning that Butterfield was favored over Morrison and Edwards. As competition for the job intensified, Henderson and Josiah M. Lucas urged Lincoln to come 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. 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.
4Lincoln’s reply, if he wrote one, has not been located. Ultimately, neither Morrison, Edwards, nor Lincoln received the appointment; the job went to Butterfield instead. See the General Land Office Affair.
Autograph Letter Signed, 4 page(s), Abraham Lincoln Papers, Library of Congress (Washington, DC).