Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Lincolniana for Auction

Back by popular demand, we have another example of Lincolniana for auction!

This Ebay auction caught my eye last week. The item is a note, approximately 4.25 x 3.5", purportedly written by Lincoln on March 18, 1865, less than a month before the assassination.

According to my eyes, it reads as follows:

If the service needs such an appointment, let Mr. Taylor be appointed unless some valid objection to him be known at the Department.

A. Lincoln

March 18 1865

The owner claims the note has been in the possession of the family since it was written, which suggests they might be able to shed some light on Mr. Taylor's identity.

The timing of the note is particularly interesting. Earlier in the week, on Tuesday, March 14, Lincoln had been so ill he conducted a Cabinet meeting in his bedroom (Gideon Welles, Diary). The following day, he resumed his usual schedule, but reporters commented on his "feeble" condition for the rest of the week.

This is just my opinion, but Lincoln's handwriting in this brief note doesn't look as strong as it does in other documents. Perhaps he was simply rushed or maybe he was still feeling rather weak from his illness earlier in the week.

Though March 18th was a Saturday, Lincoln was nonetheless hard at work. According to the Collected Works, Lincoln authorized General Edward R. S. Canby to assist in raising funds for an orphanage, he discharged Charles T. Dorsett from the draft, annulled the sentence of the Smith brothers of Boston for fraud, revoked the order dismissing Dr. George Burr, and issued a pass to Rev. Thomas C. Teasdale through military lines.

Though this note does not appear in the Collected Works, it is one of the many documents Lincoln wrote that Saturday in March, less than a month before the assassination.

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