Fragment of Abraham Lincoln to Unknown, 12 September 18491Springfield, Ills– Sept 12. 1849
. . . if I had such means, I have no right to interfere then– I will however say this much– Joseph Gillespie (brother of the Register) is a most judicious and reliable man, is, in my estimation, the principal Whig of that Land District, and one of the principal whigs of the whole state– He resides at Edwardsville, . . .2Your Obt Servt[Obedient Servant]A. Lincoln
1Abraham Lincoln wrote and signed this fragment.
Daniel Weinberg of the Abraham Lincoln Book Shop, Chicago, Illinois, received this fragment in segments. The editors agreed with Mr. Weinberg’s assessment that the segments belonged together, so they were arranged to form a single fragment.
2Matthew Gillespie, Joseph Gillespie’s brother, was register at the U.S. General Land Office in Edwardsville. In March 1849, Lincoln and Edward D. Baker recommended him for the job in a letter to Secretary of the Interior Thomas Ewing. President Zachary Taylor appointed Gillespie to the position, in which capacity he served until 1853.
Lincoln’s other correspondence in this period revolves around the scramble for patronage following the presidential election of 1848 and Taylor’s inauguration, so it seems likely that Lincoln is writing to assist Joseph Gillespie in getting an appointment. In May 1849, Lincoln wrote Gillespie asking him to write President Taylor on his behalf in his unsuccessful campaign to become commissioner of the U.S. General Land Office, and evidence suggests that Gillespie complied. Perhaps Lincoln was returning the favor. See the General Land Office Affair.
Joseph Gillespie’s name does not appear in the official registers of the officers and agents of the government for 1849, 1851, and 1853, so apparently he did not receive an appointment while the Whigs held national power.
Abraham Lincoln to Joseph Gillespie; Abraham Lincoln to Joseph Gillespie; 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), 139; 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; History of Madison County, Illinois (Edwardsville, IL: W. R. Brink, 1882), 363.
Autograph Letter Signed, 1 page(s), Private Collection, Abraham Lincoln Book Shop (Chicago, IL).