Edwin B. Webb to Abraham Lincoln, 11 June 18491Carmi 11 June 1849Dear Lincoln
You have never had our Mail Routes fixed up as they ought to be– the contractors shot, &c[etc.]– the consequence is we did not get yr[your] letter until friday Now by the first Eastern Mail I enclose you the answer and we will all be much gratified if it prove serviceable to you–2
Don Morrison wrote to us some time ago that the question was pending between him & Maj. Gaines of K– We enclosed him our endorsement– with a request that he wd[would] not use it to the prejudice of Cyrus Edwards who we had heard was in the lists—3 hence the preamble in the enclosed letter to the Secretary—4 our wishes & exertions are all for you, but if our documents meet on the files, by clashing they would destroy each other– therefore this is drawn so that it cannot clash–
There is trouble & dissatisfaction at Mt. Carmel about their Post Master– which all arises from that petty habit of squabbling which feeds on all villages (except Carmi) There is some fear of an attempt to reinstate Arbuthnot (the Old P. M.[Postmaster]) Any whig who shall join in this attempt will do so fromYours trulyE. B. WebbHon A. LincolnWashingtonD.C.Hon. A LincolnWashingtonD.C.
<Page 2>misplaced spite– which will wear off & all be reconciled if things are let alone Please say this to the appointing power–5
2No letter from Abraham Lincoln to Webb has been located. However, in early June 1849 Lincoln sent a series of letters to numerous people requesting letters in support of his candidacy for commissioner of the U.S. General Land Office. Presumably, Lincoln made a similar request of Webb. Originally, Justin H. Butterfield, James L. D. Morrison, and Cyrus Edwards were vying to become commissioner of the U.S. General Land Office. Lincoln entered the competition after learning that Butterfield was favored over Morrison and Edwards. See the General Land Office Affair.
Abraham Lincoln to Josiah B. Herrick; Abraham Lincoln to James M. McLean; Abraham Lincoln to Robert C. Schenck; Abraham Lincoln to Joseph R. Underwood; Abraham Lincoln to William A. Minshall and Robert S. Blackwell; Abraham Lincoln to Willie P. Mangum; Abraham Lincoln to William H. Seward; Abraham Lincoln to Duff Green; Abraham Lincoln to Unknown; Abraham Lincoln to David Rumsey; Abraham Lincoln to William Nelson; Abraham Lincoln to Nathaniel Pope.
3This is a reference to Edwards still being a candidate for the position and Edwards’ supporters not wishing to injure his chances of defeating Butterfield. In a June 3, 1849 letter to Joseph R. Underwood, Lincoln wrote that he had received a telegram informing him the position would go to Butterfield unless Lincoln entered the competition. Later, in a July 13, 1849 letter to Joseph Gillespie, Lincoln wrote that Edwards was angry with him with for competing for the job.
4The enclosed letter Webb references has not been located. Thomas Ewing was the secretary of the U.S. Department of the Interior, but President Zachary Taylor was ultimately responsible for appointing the commissioner of the U.S. General Land Office.
5William Arbuthnot was postmaster of Mount Carmel, Illinois from June 1843 until April 1849. He was replaced by Henry Stees, who served from April 1849 until to December 1853 and again from June 1862 to February 1865. No letter of recommendation by Lincoln on behalf of Stees has been located, but Second Assistant Postmaster General Fitz Henry Warren personally informed Lincoln of Stees’ appointment in a letter dated April 9, 1849.
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), 482*; Record of Appointment of Postmasters, 1832-1971 , NARA Microfilm Publication, M841, 145 rolls, Records of the Post Office Department, RG 28, 1832-1844, 12A:596; 1845-1855, 18:192; 1855-1865, 20A:140, National Archives Building, Washington, DC.
6In the winter of 1848-49, Webb wrote Lincoln two letters regarding an appointment for Charles H. Constable in President Taylor’s administration, neither of which has been located. In April 1849, Webb again wrote Lincoln a letter asking for help securing Constable an appointment. On May 3, 1849, Lincoln also received a letter from Justin Harlan soliciting his assistance on Constable’s behalf. On May 5, 1849, Constable wrote Lincoln a letter after being unable to meet with him to discuss the topic. On May 13, Lincoln wrote a letter of introduction on Constable’s behalf to Secretary of State John M. Clayton. Constable’s name does not appear in the official registers of the officers and agents of the government for 1849, 1851, and 1853, so apparently he did not receive an appointment.
As competition for the job as commissioner of the U.S. General Land Office intensified, William H. Henderson and Josiah M. Lucas, Lincoln supporters living in Washington, DC, 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. Ultimately, neither Morrison, Edwards, nor Lincoln received the appointment; the job went to Butterfield instead. See the General Land Office Affair.
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); 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, 2 page(s), Abraham Lincoln Papers, Library of Congress (Washington, DC).