Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln. Volume 8.
Lincoln, Abraham, 1809-1865.

To John Z. Goodrich [1]

Hon. John Z. Goodrich Executive Mension,
My dear Sir: Washington, March 13. 1865.

Your official term expires about this time. I know not whether you desire a re-appointment; and I am not aware of any objectionPage  352 to you personal, political, or official. Yet if it be true, as I have been informed, that the office is of no pecuniary consequence to you, it would be quite a relief to me to have it at my disposal. Yours truly



[1]   ADfS, DLC-RTL. John Z. Goodrich, collector of customs at Boston, replied on March 13:

``Your letter of the 13th was handed to me yesterday by your messenger. You say you know of no personal, political or official objection to my re-appointment. From other parts of your letter I am lead to infer that you think I may not care about being re-appointed because the office is of no pecuniary consequence to me. If this be so you would be glad to have the disposal of it, & to ascertain whether it be so is the purpose of your letter. As you are one of the frankest of men, I assume that you desire the utmost frankness from me. You desire me to state as between friends, & confidentially, precisely what the fact is on these points. . . . So understanding your letter I say frankly & truly---that I do desire a re-appointment, & one of the strong reasons for this desire . . . is that the office is a matter of `pecuniary' importance to me, and have entertained the hope that it will be. Hitherto, as I will explain, it has not been.

``I entered the office comparatively poor. I had some factory property . . . but no supplies or working capital. . . . In about a year the factory began to make money & continued to do a successful business till about six months ago. . . .

``During the time of my greatest prosperity I made a donation to Williams College. . . . I have said to my wife once or twice that if part of it had not been made, I should not make it now. . . . Part was a large Gymnasium Building which I agreed to erect, at a cost not to exceed $15,000. . . . It is now perhaps ¾ down & the cost . . . will reach $25,000. I have several times comforted myself with the hope . . . that if I should be allowed to keep my office another term, I might in that way make up this extra $10,000. . . . I say . . . that I have made nothing hitherto by my office, nor do I think there is a man in Boston who believes I have. Still I feel . . . that should the war close soon . . . I shall be fairly entitled to the pecuniary advantages of it for the remainder of another term. But of this you will judge. There is no man living I would sooner relieve from embarrassment than yourself. . . .'' (DLC-RTL).

Lincoln probably wished to find a place for retiring Vice-president Hannibal Hamlin. Charles Sumner's letter to Hamlin, August 22, 1865, explained how Hamlin got the appointment later from President Johnson:

``It seemed to [Henry] Wilson and myself that before deciding on your course you ought to know the history of the recent change at our custom-house, and we hoped for an opportunity of speaking of it freely in a personal interview. As you may not be here very soon, I will give the narrative.

``Some time ago Mr. Hooper [Representative Samuel Hooper of Boston] received a letter from the Secretary of the Treasury, stating that the administration desired to change the three officers at the custom-house whose salaries were large, and he asked him to confer with the two senators and Mr. [Alexander H.] Rice, and send him the names which we should agree upon for the places. We concluded to confine the conference to those indicated, and I invited the whole delegation to meet at my house. . . .

``At the meeting . . . I stated that, on general grounds, I was against a change---that I doubted its policy, but that I should cooperate cheerfully . . . in making the desired recommendations. I then proceeded to propose Mr. Hamlin for collector. It was evident at once that there was a strong disposition in all the delegation towards Mr. Hamlin; but it was remarked that the naval office was easier in its duties . . . the delegation overruled my proposition and recommended Mr. Hamlin for naval officer. . . . Some days later Mr. Hooper received a letterPage  353 from the secretary stating that the President wished to offer Mr. Hamlin the alternative of these two offices. This is all we know. . . .'' (Charles Eugene Hamlin, The Life and Times of Hannibal Hamlin, pp. 501-502).