Richard W. Thompson to Abraham Lincoln, 14 June 18491Indianapolis 14 June 1849Dear Lincoln
I am sorry I did not see you yesterday. I might have done so if I had known you were in town as the Sup. Ct. adjourned about the time the stage arrived.
I send you a letter from Judah and would send you one from Ellis but he has stepped out & the mail is about closing.2 He has promised me one, & I will send it tomorrow.3
I cannot now go on, but shall be there soon–4 perhaps by the last of the month– before which time I hope you will have your business all fixed to your satisfaction.
The gentleman in Washington from whom I got the information I gave you, is a citizen of Terre Haute, not now in Washington.5 If you will nurse old Zack closely you will succeed. "Faint heart never won fair lady."6 There is a universal wish in
<Page 2>all the Wabash country that you should succeed.
I shall go home tomorrow and leave for Washington so soon as I can attend to some matters that are important to be looked to before I go.
Write me, in the mean time, what is going on.7Very respectfully
Yr[Your] friendR W Thompson
2The enclosed letter from Samuel Judah that Thompson references has not been located. However, it was most likely a letter of reference for Abraham Lincoln’s appointment as commissioner of the U.S. General Land Office. In early June 1849, Lincoln sent a series of letters to numerous people requesting letters in support of his candidacy for commissioner.
Originally, only Justin H. Butterfield, James L. D. Morrison, and Cyrus Edwards were vying to become commissioner. Lincoln entered the competition after learning that Butterfield was favored over Morrison and Edwards. In late May 1849, Lincoln wrote Thompson a letter on the topic of Butterfield winning the appointment. 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.
3Thompson wrote Lincoln again June 15, 1849 regarding Abner T. Ellis’ letter of recommendation.
4This is a reference to joining Lincoln in Washington, DC. As competition for the appointment 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.
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.
5If Thompson wrote Lincoln a letter with information from a man in Terre Haute, such a letter has not been located.
6The exact origin of this quotation is unknown. Variants began appearing as early as 1390. It was the title of at least one play in the nineteenth century.
Jennifer Speake, ed., Oxford Dictionary of Proverbs, 6th ed. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2015), 103; George B. Bryan and Wolfgang Mieder, A Dictionary of Anglo-American Proverbs and Proverbial Phrases (New York: Peter Lang, 2005), 371.
7Lincoln’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, 2 page(s), Abraham Lincoln Papers, Library of Congress (Washington, DC).