Samuel R. Baker to Abraham Lincoln, 31 January 18491Pekin Jany 31st 1849Dear Sir:
I address you in behalf of my friend T R King who wishes the place of Register or Receiver in the springfield Land office Thinking our end of the district would get a man in that post, I supposed, Tazewell may claim the man, if so, King would be much prefered over any one in the county Indeed his appointment would spread joy and gladness through the hearts of every whig I know.
He is very well qualified and a good business man. He has ever been a firm and consistent Whig–
Apart from personal and political preferences charity points to him as the man. He is unable to work and can not procure any business here and has not capital sufficient to start with He sold out some years since to a man who died very soon– and he lost all, or nearly all he had. In addition to this his health, is not good enough to enable him to prosecute out door business. Lastly his physical affliction and a very great one it is should of right appeal to your sympathies. I trust and believe you will give these things their due weight. I only
<Page 2>mention them because you are not an observor at present.2
Will you not some time when convenient send me some documents and if not too great a tax on your time write me a letter. Who will be our candidate for Congress, next time.3 Does Ned have any likelihood of being appointed one of the Cabinet. It will be much of a lift if he gets it, being in luck perhaps he may4
Hoping to hear from you soonI remain ever your friendS. R. BakerP. S.
Lest the thought may suggest itself that King could get a county office, I will say that owing to sectional difficulties at present a Pekin man could not be elected to any thing– besides a “bird in the hand is worth two in the bush”S. R. B.
2From December 1848 to February 1849, Lincoln received several letters urging him to help King secure a job at the U.S. General Land Office. On April 7, 1849, Lincoln wrote a letter to Secretary of the Interior Thomas Ewing recommending King for the job of register. On April 13, he wrote another letter reversing himself, recommending King for the job of receiver. On May 10, Lincoln reversed himself again, penning a letter recommending King for register. In late May, King received the appointment as register and held the job until 1853.
Niles’ National Register (Philadelphia, PA), 23 May 1849, 1:2; 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), 135; 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), 140; 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), 138; Philo H. Thompson to Abraham Lincoln; William B. Doolittle to Abraham Lincoln; Robert W. Briggs to Abraham Lincoln.
3Richard Yates was the Whig candidate in the election of August 1850 to represent the Seventh District in the House of Representatives. Yates would defeat Thomas L. Harris for the seat, 7,008 votes to 6,254 votes.
Howard W. Allen and Vincent A. Lacey, eds., Illinois Elections, 1818-1990 (Carbondale and Edwardsville: Southern Illinois University Press, 1992), 9.
4President Zachary Taylor did not offer Edward D. Baker a cabinet position. Like his predecessor James K. Polk, Taylor apportioned his cabinet selections geographically. Thomas Ewing of Ohio represented the “Old Northwest” as secretary of the interior.
Elbert B. Smith, The Presidencies of Zachary Taylor and Millard Fillmore (Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 1988), 52-55; Paul H. Bergeron, The Presidency of James K. Polk (Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 1987), 23-24.
Autograph Letter Signed, 2 page(s), Box 252, RG 48, Entry 15: Records of the Office of the Secretary of the Interior, 1833-1964, Divisional Records, 1843-1943, Records of the Appointments Division, 1817-1922, Field Office Appointment Papers, NACP