Abraham Lincoln to William A. Minshall and Robert S. Blackwell, 3 June 18491Springfield, June 3. 1849Hon. W. A. Minshall & R. S. Blackwell, Esq[Esquire].Gentlemen:
It is now certain that either Mr Butterfield, or I, will be Commissioner of the General Land-Office–2 A telegraphic despach of the day before yesterday, so informs me–3 It seems, Mr B. now, as in 1841, asks no favors of the Illinoisans about the matter;4 but Old Zach views the thing differently; and has post-poned the appointment three weeks to give us a chance– If you are willing to give me the preference, write me to that effect at Washington, whither I am going–5 There is not a moment of time to be lost–6Yours trulyA. Lincoln
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Answd[Answered] & prefer give to Lincoln
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A Lincoln Esq[Esquire]
June 3d 1849
June 3d 1849
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WM A Minshall.
1Abraham Lincoln wrote and signed this letter. He sent very similar letters to numerous people in early June 1849. Mary Lincoln also wrote and signed a similar letter on Lincoln’s behalf.
Abraham Lincoln to Josiah B. Herrick; Abraham Lincoln to Robert C. Schenck; Abraham Lincoln to Joseph R. Underwood; Abraham Lincoln to Willie P. Mangum; Abraham Lincoln to William H. Seward; Abraham Lincoln to Duff Green; Abraham Lincoln to Unknown; Abraham Lincoln to David Rumsey; Abraham Lincoln to William Nelson; Abraham Lincoln to Nathaniel Pope.
2Justin H. Butterfield, James L. D. Morrison, and Cyrus Edwards were vying to become commissioner of the U.S. General Land Office. Lincoln entered the competition after learning that Butterfield was favored over Morrison and Edwards. See the General Land Office Affair.
4In May 1841, Butterfield received appointment as district attorney of the District of Illinois. He retained the job until January 1845.
In a letter he wrote to Duff Green May 18, 1849, Lincoln wrote that Whigs in Illinois were “sore” that Butterfield did nothing to help the party in the election of 1840 yet still received a valuable appointment.
Sangamo Journal (Springfield, IL), 7 May 1841, 2:7; 2 January 1845, 3:4; Register of all Officers and Agents, Civil, Military, and Naval, in the Service of the United States, from the Thirtieth September, 1841, to the Thirtieth September, 1843 (Washington, DC: J. & G. S. Gideon, 1843), 257.
5As competition for the job intensified, William H. Henderson and Josiah M. Lucas, Lincoln supporters living in Washington, DC, urged Lincoln to come to the nation’s capital to personally lobby for the position. On June 9, Butterfield wrote Lincoln suggesting that neither go to Washington. Lincoln did not respond to this suggestion, and on June 10, both set out for the capital. Lincoln arrived on or before June 19.
William H. Henderson to Abraham Lincoln; William H. Henderson to Abraham Lincoln; Josiah M. Lucas to Abraham Lincoln; The Lincoln Log: A Daily Chronology of the Life of Abraham Lincoln, 10 June 1849, http://www.thelincolnlog.org/Results.aspx?type=CalendarDay&day=1849-06-10; 19 June 1849, http://www.thelincolnlog.org/Results.aspx?type=CalendarDay&day=1849-06-19.
6No response from either William A. Minshall or Robert S. Blackwell has been located. Ultimately, neither Morrison, Edwards, nor Lincoln received the appointment; the job went to Butterfield instead. See the General Land Office Affair.
Autograph Letter Signed, 2 page(s), Ohio History Connection (Columbus, OH).