May 22, 2014 - Sale 2351

Sale 2351 - Lot 134

Estimate: $ 15,000 - $ 20,000
"YOU OVERRATE MY CAPACITY TO SERVE YOU" LINCOLN, ABRAHAM. Autograph Letter Signed, "A.Lincoln," to Whig activist George W. Rives ("Hon: G.W. Rives"), replying to his request for a recommendation to a position in Minnesota, and asking whether he had sent an application for a P[ost]M[aster] position at Paris, [IL]. 3/4 page, 4to, pale blue paper; moderate dampstaining affecting signature and scattered portions of text (but still quite legible), silking overall verso. Springfield, 7 May 1849

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". . . You overrate my capacity to serve you. Not one man recommended by me has yet been appointed to any thing, little or big, except a few who had no opposition.
"Besides this, at the very inaug[u]ration I commenced trying to get a Min[n]esota appointment for Dr. Henry, and have not yet succeeded; and I would not now, lessen his chance, by recommending any living man for any thing in that Territory. It is my recollection that you sent me an application to be P.M. at Paris. Am I mistaken?"
At the time of writing, as a lame-duck freshman in the House of Representatives, Lincoln had little influence in the dispensation of offices in the Taylor administration. Lincoln had already advanced Anson G. Henry for a position in Minnesota, obliging him to decline support for Rives's application there.