Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln. Volume 2.
Lincoln, Abraham, 1809-1865.
Page  68

To the Editor of the Chicago Journal [1]

Editor of the Chicago Journal:Nov. 21, 1849.

Dear Sir---Some person, probably yourself, has sent me the number of your paper containing an extract of a supposed speech of Mr. Linder, together with your editorial comments. [2] As my name is mentioned, both in the speech and in the comments, and as my attention is directed to the article by a special mark in the paper sent me, it is perhaps expected that I should take some notice of it. I have to say, then, that I was absent, from before the commencement, till after the close of the late session of the legislature, and that the fact of such a speech having been delivered never came to my knowledge, till I saw a notice of your article, in the Illinois Journal, one day before your paper reached me. Had the intention of any whig to deliver such a speech been known to me, I should, to the utmost of my ability, have endeavored to prevent it. When Mr. Butterfield was appointed commissioner of the land office, I expected him to be a faithful and able officer, and nothing has since come to my knowledge disappointing that expectation. As to Mr. Ewing, his position has been one of great difficulty. I believe him, too, to be an able and faithful officer. A more intimate acquaintance with him, would probably change the views of most of those who have complained of him. Your ob't serv't,



[1]   Illinois State Register, December 1, 1849. The Democratic Register, in reprinting this letter, editorialized that Lincoln ``does not touch the principal point at issue . . . that Messrs. Ewing and Butterfield are popular with their own party in this state. The reverse of this assumption is too notoriously true to be deliberately disputed, by even as ardent a whig politician as Mr. Lincoln. Having been, and doubtless being, an applicant for the favors of the cabinet, he could not prudently say less than he has done in the above letter. . . . Hence his certificate amounts to nothing. . . .''

[2]   The Chicago Journal, November 14, printed a portion of a speech delivered by Usher F. Linder in the legislature on November 2, attacking Thomas Ewing as an aristocrat ``unsuited to wield the immense patronage placed in his hands.'' He expressed the general sentiment of Illinois Whigs against the appointment of Justin Butterfield as commissioner of the General Land Office in disregard of the ``almost unanimous wish of . . . the whig people of Illinois.'' The editor of the Chicago Journal was Charles L. Wilson.