Edward Jones to Abraham Lincoln, 30 April 18491Pekin April 30. 1849,Hon A, LincolnDr[Dear] Sir
Among the numerous applicants for office under the new administration so far as I am informed & believe the only one presented by Tazewell County with the approbation of its citizens, is Mr Turner. R. King– It is unnecessary for me to state to you the position which old Tazewell has always occupied in the contests which have come off in this district between the two great parties and equally unnecessary would it be to remind you that in the internal strifes of our own party that Tazewell has always stood up for the Sangamon Candidate. With the whole ground before us is mortifying and irritating to think about the first application for office from Tazewell County should meet with opposition from the Citizens of Springfield– There are two offices to be disposed of, the citizens of Springfield have supplied them for twenty five years, should they not be satisfied?2 I have thus far presented the claims of Mr King as the representative of Tazewell County. I now speak of Mr King as a member of the whig party– Among the whole number of aspirants for office from Sangamon who has occupied the position which Mr King has? [
...?]– Which of them has taken the stump, which of them was competent to do so? It so hap-
<Page 2>pens that the applicants from Sangamon are well known here: We have nothing to dispute in the way of want of integrity or any thing else which would detract from their standing as Gentlemen. As to the want of Competency of two of them, and as to the fact that the other two of them are now wealthy men, there can be no dispute.
Mr King has already been presented by his neighbors as a candidate for Congress, he still has their confidence, he is eminently competent to fill either of the Land offices or any other office in the District at the disposal of the Executive, he is a thorough Whig, and of exemplary habits, not belonging to any society of reformed Drunkards, either Washingtonians or Sons of Temperancy but perfectly abstemious and [love?] of all men–
Pardon what I have in frankness said upon this subject, but be assured that justice to Tazewell as well as “looks a head”) should teach your fellow citizens not to be too Greedy–
If I have said any thing above in an intemperate manner attribute it to my indignation at hearing that your fellow citizens are not content with wishing to monopolize the offices but have very unfairly and wrongfully made charges
<Page 3>against Mr King derogatory to his character as a moral man:
He is charged with being a Drunkard– I know personally that for a very long time he has not used spirits at in any quantity, his health forbidding it–
He is charged with being a Gambler. The answer to this, I can only say that there is very little of any thing done in this place that I have not some knowledge of, and that I have not heard of any gambling done here in the last five years either by Mr King or any one else unless some such gaming as whist &c[etc] for oysters &c–
As to Mr King’s being an abolitionist I am constrained to say that I [?] he was in favor of the Wilmot Proviso for which God forgive him, but I know personally from frequent conversations long since that he has always [deprocated?] the abolition movements– Your citizens may have confounded the opinions of Mr King with those of his Brother Franklin, who I believe to be and is reputed to be an abolitionist3Yours RespectfullyEdward Jones–
<Page 4>PEKIN Il.[Illinois]
MAY [?]Hon: A. LincolnSpringfieldIllinois
Turner R. King of Pekin Illinois– For Land office at Springfield Illinois– Reftuation to charges vs, King–
1Edward Jones wrote and signed this letter, including the address on the fourth sheet, which was folded to create an envelope.
2Jones references the offices of register and receiver at the U.S. General Land Office in Springfield. Turner R. King and Walter Davis were the two leading candidates for these positions.
3This letter was part of Abraham Lincoln’s strategy to save King’s nomination for an appointment. In December 1848, Philo H. Thompson wrote Lincoln urging him to get King a job with the General Land Office. From December 1848 to February 1849, Lincoln received several letters urging him to help King secure a position. 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 April 25, Lincoln wrote Thompson that a “tirade” has erupted over his support for King, with opponents casting aspersions on King’s moral rectitude. Lincoln bemoaned that his influence in Washington had broken down and that King’s prospects for a job had diminished. Lincoln urged Thompson to find out the truth about King, and, if the charges proved false, to take measures to sustain his endorsement of King. In the meantime, Lincoln wrote Secretary Ewing attempting to head off any charges against King or his other recommendations for jobs in the Department of the Interior.
Acting on Lincoln’s request, Thompson crafted a petition denying the allegations leveled against King and secured the signatures of prominent Whigs and Democrats in Tazewell County. He enclosed the signed petition in a letter written on May 3. Between April 30 and May 7, Jones, Samuel R. Baker, John W. Casey, and David Mark wrote Lincoln attesting to King’s moral character and his fitness for public office. Lincoln penned another letter to Ewing on May 10, again recommending King for the job of register. Lincoln enclosed these letters, Thompson’s letter, and the signed petition in his letter to Ewing. In late May, King received the appointment as register and held the job until 1853. Davis received the appointment as receiver.
William B. Doolittle to Abraham Lincoln; Robert W. Briggs to Abraham Lincoln; Richard T. Gill to Abraham Lincoln; Samuel R. Baker to Abraham Lincoln; John W. Casey to Abraham Lincoln; David Mark to Abraham Lincoln; David Mark to Abraham Lincoln; 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, 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), 140, 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, 1853), 138, 139.
Autograph Letter Signed, 4 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.