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5 December 2008
LINCOLN, Abraham. Autograph letter signed ("A. Lincoln"), as President, [to William H. Seward], 9 March 1865. 1 page, 8vo, on blue ruled paper.
MARYLANDERS PUT POLITICAL PRESSURE ON LINCOLN
A fine autograph note, written five days after the second inaugural, as Lincoln deals with partisan pressures to fill Federal offices. "To-day, Gov. Swann, Mayor Chapman & Hon. Mr. Webster call personally and urge the appointment of A. M. Hancock of Md. for Consul to Rio." Maryland appointments caused quite a headache for Lincoln on this day. In a memorandum of the same date, he writes: "To-day Gov. Swann, Mayor Chapman, & Hon. Mr. Webster personally complain of me about my action in regard to the offices in Maryland..." (Collected Works, 8:348). The trio of Marylanders confronting Lincoln that day reflected the unique problems and divisions of this crucial state. Thomas Swann (1808-1883), a former Know-Nothing, won election as governor on the Union Party ticket. He could best be described as an Andrew Johnson anti-slavery man: strong on defeating the Confederacy and destroying the planter class, but weak on abolitionist concerns for racial equality. By contrast, both Mayor John L. Chapman (1811-1880) and Congressman Edwin H. Webster (1829-1893) were members of the more abolitionist minded Unconditional Unionist Party. The Marylanders hoped Lincoln's appointments would satisfy these various shades of Union opinion within this key border state. Another copy of this note in Lincoln's hand exists in the National Archives (Record Group 59).
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