David Mark to Abraham Lincoln, 7 May 18491Pekin 7 May 1849Hon A Lincoln^Sir^
Understanding that the enemies of Mr T R King are making some grave charges against him calculated to injure his character To wit That he was intemperate immoral a gambler and that he had been indicted at our court for keeping a gambling House2Now I have been acquainted with Mr King for Some Five Years and I have always known him to be a man of good habits both moral and temperate And as for the charge of keeping a gambling House it originated thus at the time spoken of I was on the grand Jury and there was considerable excitement about the dram shops about the constant gambling there Some person (through spite no doubt as Mr King never had any thing to do with a dram shop or grocery) Alledged that on a certain evening Mr King and some of his companions at his own private room had played cards for grains of corn and witnesss believed that the corn had been redeemed with money the grand Jury accordingly found bill But the whole matter appeared so ridiculous and malicious that the court took no notice of itRespectfullyDavid Mark3
<Page 2>PEKIN I[ll.]
PAIDHon A LincolnSpringfieldIllinois
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Register at Springfield Ill[Illinois]
1David Mark wrote and signed this letter, including the address on the second sheet, which was folded to create an envelope.
2The opponents of Turner R. King also charged him with being an abolitionist.
3Mark had written another letter on May 2 defending King.
Mark addressed these letters to Abraham Lincoln because Lincoln had become embroiled in a controversy over King’s application for a position in the U.S. General Land Office in Springfield, Illinois. In December 1848, Philo H. Thompson wrote Lincoln urging him to help King. 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. Whigs in Springfield were upset that Lincoln had endorsed King, who was from Tazewell County, for a plum patronage job instead of someone from Sangamon County. Hoping to scuttle King’s appointment, opponents cast 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, Mark, Samuel R. Baker, Edward Jones, and John W. Casey 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, urging Ewing to pay particular attention to Mark’s missive. In late May, King received the appointment as register and held the job until 1853.
William B. Doolittle to Abraham Lincoln; Robert W. Briggs to Abraham Lincoln; Richard T. Gill to Abraham Lincoln; Samuel R. Baker to Abraham Lincoln; Edward Jones to Abraham Lincoln; John W. Casey 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; 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.
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.