Philo H. Thompson to Abraham Lincoln, 7 December 18481Pekin Decr 7. 1848A. Lincoln. Esq[Esquire]Dr[Dear] Sir
I did not have the pleasure of seeing you when in Pekin.2 I should have been glad to have taken you once more by the hand, and to have congratulated you upon the good impression you and your speeches made in my native state (Massachusetts) Several of my friends who heard you there, have given me glowing accounts of your pilgrimage through Yankeedom. As one of your constituents and friends I was very happy to hear of your success in creating a favorable impression in regard to our candidate; as well as yourself.3 Now that we have gloriously succeeded in electing Gen Taylor to the Presidency as usual in such cases, I suppose, there will be quite an excitement in selection to the offices to be conferred by the President. Should there be a general removal in our state as there might and should be, I wish to say that “old Tazewell” has claims in my opinion equal to, if not superior to any other county. Notwithstanding an immense foreign vote which almost universally goes against us, by the energy and activity of theYours Tr[Truly]P. H. Thompson5
<Page 2>of a few active Whigs we were enabled to give a majority for Gen Taylor in every precinct in the county with the exception of this, which gave Mr Extra Pay Cass 7 maj[majority].4 Among the most active and untiring whigs in our county is Mr Turner R King of this place. At all our Elections he has taken an active and prominent part. He is anxious to obtain Either the Register or Receivers office in Springfield. He has been unfortunate in his pecuniary business and needs the endowments of the office. The selection of Mr King I am convinced would give entire satisfaction to our Whig friends here and would be highly acceptable to him. I trust you will interest yourself in his behalf if agreeable and consistent with your duties, satisfied as I am that something is due Tazewell for her constant and unwavering support of Whig men and measures and believing as I do that the selection of Mr King would be a judicious and satisfactory one. With great regard
2Lincoln addressed a Whig meeting in Pekin on November 4, 1848.
The Lincoln Log: A Daily Chronological of the Life of Abraham Lincoln, 4 November 1848, http://www.thelincolnlog.org/Results.aspx?type=CalendarDay&day=1848-11-04.
3In September 1848, Lincoln spent eleven days in Massachusetts stumping for Zachary Taylor, Whig candidate for president in 1848.
Michael Burlingame, Abraham Lincoln: A Life (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2008), 1:280-81; Summary of Speech at Worcester, Massachusetts; Summary of Speech at Boston, Massachusetts; Summary of Speech at Boston, Massachusetts; Summary of Speech at Lowell Massachusetts; Report of Speech at Taunton, Massachusetts.
4The epithet “Extra Pay” used for Lewis Cass probably rises out of a speech delivered by Pennsylvania Representative Andrew Stewart on August 3, 1848, in which he accused Cass of obtaining $64,865.46 in extra pay while serving in various government offices, in stark comparison to Zachary Taylor, who, according to Stewart, received no extra pay. The Whigs sought to capitalize on this accusation to help Taylor in the presidential election, and the Democrats worked to refute Stewart’s charges.
Tazewell County gave Taylor 61.4 percent of its vote, Cass 33.2 percent, and Martin Van Buren, candidate of the Free Soil Party, 5.4 percent.
Andrew Stewart, Gen. Cass’s Extra Pay, $64,865 46--General Taylor Not One Cent: Proved by Documents, Officially Certified and Appended, Speech of Hon. Andrew Stewart, of Penn., Delivered in the House of Representatives, U.S., August 3, 1848 (Washington, DC: J. & G. S. Gideon, 1848); A Refutation of Andrew Stewart’s Fabrication Against General Lewis Cass: A Gross Misrepresentation of the Public Documents, by Andrew Stewart and the Whig Central Committee at Washington, Exposed (Washington, DC: S.N., 1848); Howard W. Allen and Vincent A. Lacey, eds., Illinois Elections, 1818-1990 (Carbondale and Edwardsville: Southern Illinois University Press, 1992), 123.
5From 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; Samuel R. Baker to Abraham Lincoln; William B. Doolittle to Abraham Lincoln; Robert W. Briggs to Abraham Lincoln; Richard T. Gill to Abraham Lincoln.
Autograph Letter Signed, 2 page(s), Box 405, 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, NAC.