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Monday, July 9, 1849.+-

Springfield, IL.

Lincoln writes to Secretary of the Interior Thomas Ewing regarding the recent appointment of a Commissioner of the General Land Office. Lincoln had applied for the position by asking various individuals to write letters recommending him for the job. Lincoln lost out to Chicago attorney Justin Butterfield. Lincoln concedes Butterfield's appointment, but questions Ewing about some missing letters of recommendation in Lincoln's file. In particular, Lincoln mentions that he "was surprised" to learn that the letters from Richard Wigginton Thompson and Elisha Embree, "late Whig members of Congress from two of the Wabash districts in Indiana," were not among the letters in his file. Lincoln was assured by both men that they had sent letters on his behalf. The letters from Thompson and Embree, in Lincoln's estimation, represented his best chance of obtaining the appointment: "I relied upon, and valued, them more than any other two letters I had, because of the high standing of the writers, because of their location within the Public Land states, and because they did (what few other members of Congress could) speak of my character and standing at home." Lincoln notes the salient importance of the Thompson letter: "The letter of Mr. Thompson was a recantation from Mr. B. to me; so that without it, I not only lost him, but he stood in full life recommending Mr. B." Lincoln finds it curious that the Thompson and Embree letters, "in particular, happen to be missing," and he asks Ewing to reply. Abraham Lincoln to Thomas Ewing, 9 July 1849, CW 11:3-4.