William Thomas to Abraham Lincoln, 27 January 18491
Hon. A Lincoln.Dr Sr
I have just finished a letter to Mr Underwood asking him to use his influence (if he has any) in securing the Genl[General] Land office appointment to Cyrus Edwards. I hope you are not so commited, as to make it improper for you to use your influence in the same way.–2
I signed a paper some time since asking the removal of A Herndon Esqr[Esquire] and the appointment of W Butler,– I said at the time, "I want the rascal removed," but do not care about the successor,"– if the office is worth any thing, I would prefer, that Doct[Doctor] Todd, or some good Whig, who is poor should have it,– Butler can do well without such help,–3 I also signed a paper recommending Powell of Peoria for District Atty[Attorney] of U.S. he is not my first choice,– I see no reason why, you may not take that situation,– When you leave congress, and enter upon the professional Engagements, you will find your clients disposed of, and such an offer would aid in obtaining practice,–4
This Legislature is not likely to do much, contests about the Location of Rail Roads, never to be made, occupy more than half the time,– I send you a Report of our Deaf & Dumb Institution,–5 We are Surrounded by high water no mails for Several days,– no crossing Sangamon River.
your friendWm Thomas

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1Thomas wrote this letter in its entirety.
2After the 1848 presidential election put Zachary Taylor in the Executive Mansion, there developed a strong movement to have an Illinois Whig become commissioner of the U.S. General Land Office. Edwards was among the numerous candidates. An Illinois man would get the job of commissioner, but it would not be Edwards; Justin H. Butterfield received the appointment and held the job until 1852. Ironically, Lincoln would become embroiled in a hotly contested race in the spring and summer of 1849 to become commissioner. See the General Land Office Affair.
Nathaniel Pope to Abraham Lincoln; Abraham Lincoln to Joshua F. Speed; Levi Davis to Abraham Lincoln; 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), 128; 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), 134; Alfred Theodore Andreas, History of Chicago (New York: Arno Press, 1975), 1:434.
3Archer G. Herndon, a Democrat, became receiver of the General Land Office in Springfield in 1842. He held the office until 1849, when President Taylor replaced him with Walter Davis, who held the position until 1853. In April 1849, Lincoln wrote Secretary of Interior Thomas Ewing endorsing Davis for the job.
John Carroll Power and S. A. Power, History of the Early Settlers of Sangamon County, Illinois (Springfield, IL: Edwin A. Wilson, 1876), 373; 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), 137; 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), 141; 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), 139; Abraham Lincoln to Thomas Ewing; Abraham Lincoln to Thomas Ewing; Illinois Journal (Weekly) (Springfield), 6 June 1849, 2:1.
4Neither Lincoln nor Powell would receive the appointment; in March 1849, Archibald Williams became the U.S. district attorney for Illinois, replacing David L. Gregg. Williams would hold the job until 1853. In early March 1849, Lincoln wrote Secretary of State John M. Clayton endorsing Williams for the job.
Abraham Lincoln to John M. Clayton; Illinois Journal (Weekly) (Springfield), 28 March 1849, 3:4; 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), 247; 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), 267; 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), 259.
5Thomas was among the original incorporators of the institution.

Autograph Letter Signed, 2 page(s), Box 31, RG 48, Entry 14: Records of the Office of the Secretary of the Interior, 1833-1964, Divisional Records, 1843-1943, Records of the Appointments Division, 1817-1922, Central Office Appointment Papers, 1849-1907, NACP,