Daniel Webster to Abraham Lincoln, 28 February 1Feb: 28 My Dear Sir
Mr Ewbank is yet in doubt.2 If the enclosed statement of the claim will satisfy our friends,3 I have reason to think a Patent may be obtained—4Yrtruly[Yours truly] Danl WebsterMr Lincoln
MANNER OF BOUYING VESSELS.
No. 6,469. Patented May 22, 1849.5
THE NORRIS PETERS CO. PHOTO-LITHO., WASHINGTON, D.C.6
2Possibly a reference to Thomas Ewbank’s candidacy for commissioner of patents. President Zachary Taylor would appoint him commissioner in May 1849.
Jason Emerson, Lincoln the Inventor (Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 2009), 88, n49.
4Lincoln lore posits that Lincoln sought Webster’s help in securing a patent for his invention to buoy ships over river shoals and sandbars. For many historians, this cryptic letter reinforces that postulation. While the date makes it plausible to conclude that it is referring to Lincoln’s patent application--he was actively seeking a patent during this time--there is no veritable proof. Lincoln submitted his patent application to the U.S. Patent Office on March 10, 1849, and On May 22, the Patent Office approved his application and issued him patent number 6,469.
Jason Emerson, Lincoln the Inventor, 17-18.
Autograph Letter Signed, 2 page(s), Collected Papers of Abraham Lincoln (MS 3031), Western Reserve Historical Society (Cleveland, OH)