Thursday, June 19, 2008

Lincolniana on Auction: Relisting

No need to adjust your monitor, we covered this Ebay auction a few weeks ago. However, this hand-written note, measuring approximately 4.25 x 3.5," failed to attract a winning bid. The asking price was reduced from $6,000 this time around. I notice that someone has indeed placed a bid this time.

The document 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.

Last time I pointed out that the timing of the note was interesting. Four days earlier, on Tuesday, March 14, Lincoln had been so ill he condducted 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. I pointed out that Lincoln's handwriting doesn't look as strong as it does in other documents. If this note is indeed genuine, perhaps we might conclude he was still feeling rather week from his illness earlier in the week.However, there is another explanation.

Perhaps Lincoln was simply rushed. Though March 18th was a Saturday, Lincoln was 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.

Tomorow we'll do a new auction, but I wanted to pass along this repeat. It will be interesting to see if the bidding crosses the $6,000 mark.

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