• Illinois Farmer George Rives Sought Recommendation from Lincoln, Thomas Ewing for Federal Appointment

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    THOMAS EWING SR. (December 28, 1789-October 26, 1871) was a National Republican and Whig politician from Ohio. He served in the U.S. Senate, Secretary of the Treasury under Presidents William Henry Harrison and John Tyler and Secretary of the Interior under President Zachary Taylor and President Millard Fillmore. He was also foster father and later father-in-law of Civil War Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman.

    GEORGE W. RIVES was a farmer from Paris, IL. Letters have turned up at auctions documenting that he wrote to Abraham Lincoln in 1849 when Lincoln was on hiatus from politics, trying to build his legal practice in Illinois. Rives asked Lincoln to help him get an appointment as Indian Agent. Lincoln complied but Rives was denied the appointment.  Rives was undeterred and wrote to Lincoln again. Rives had made unfavorable statements about Lincoln, which Lincoln was aware of.  Lincoln wrote a coy letter to Rives, letting him know that he was aware of the statements. Lincoln nonetheless endorsed Rives’ recommendation in a letter to Thomas Ewing.  Rives went on to support Lincoln for a Senate seat, which Lincoln lost.  Rives sent a letter of consolation to Lincoln, which Lincoln appreciated.  Rives was persistent as he convinced Illinois state SENATOR LINCOLN B. KNOWLTON, a brilliant man known as the Henry Clay of the Illinois bar, to also write a letter of recommendation to Ewing. He did so and we offer that letter.

    1 ½ pp, Peoria, May 29th, 1849, I received a letter from an old and esteemed friend of mine, Mr. George W. Rives, who is a resident of Paris, Edgar County, in this state. He is a good and true Whig and was an esteemable [sic] man. In that letter, he asks me to write to you recommending him to an office in the Minnesota Territory either as a sub Indian agent or receiver…in some of the land offices in that Territory.  Sir, with you I have no personal acquaintance. I only know you as a nation knows you as one of the great champions of the Whig Party.  The reason why I suppose Mr. Rives requested me to recommend him was for the want of a better man.  I was on the Whig electoral ticket for this state…Rives, I believe to be honest, faithful, capable. He was one of the members that helped from our present state Constitution. He has been a member of the Legislature of this state. Hon. William B. Preston, Sec. of Navy, is an old acquaintance of his. From him, you can definitely learn his character and acquaintance.”

    Very fine Americana with an association to Lincoln. Nice stamped Free Frank from Knowlton. Fading but early Peoria postmark

    Folds, toning and some bleed through, but very readable.

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