Autograph endorsement signed

Abraham LINCOLN

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Item#: 125930 price:$25,000.00

Autograph endorsement signed
Autograph endorsement signed
Autograph endorsement signed

INTERESTING 1861 LETTER FROM GENERAL JOHN C. FREMONT AS COMMANDER OF THE WESTERN ARMIES DURING THE CIVIL WAR, PROMOTING AN OFFICER, LAWYER, AND ELECTOR FROM OHIO KNOWN TO LINCOLN TO THE RANK OF MAJOR, ENDORSED AND SIGNED BY PRESIDENT LINCOLN

LINCOLN, Abraham. Autograph endorsement signed. Washington, DC: 1861. Quarto (7-3/4 by 9-1/2 inches), one sheet ruled wove paper, Fremont's letter on recto, Lincoln's endorsement on verso. Window matted and framed, entire piece measures 15 by 17 inches. $25,000.

An interesting Lincoln signed endorsement as President during the Civil War, on an autograph letter signed from renowned western explorer, military officer, politician, and Presidential candidate General John C. Frémont, writing as Commander of the Western Armies promoting Richard Corwine to Major, "subject to the approval and confirmation of the President of the United States," with Lincoln's endorsement on the verso: "Approved. A. Lincoln." A prominent Ohio lawyer and Republican elector, Corwine and Lincoln corresponded before the Republican convention; Corwine was a member of the Ohio delegation that famously changed a number of its votes to put Lincoln over the top as nominee on the fourth ballot.

In this intriguing letter, General John C. Frémont, whom Lincoln appointed as Commander of the Western Armies on July 1, 1861, formally promotes Richard M. Corwine to the rank of Major, "subject to the approval and confirmation of the President of the United States," which Lincoln gives on the verso of the letter. Corwine was not unknown to President Lincoln. A prominent Ohio lawyer, Corwine formed a law partnership in Cincinnati in the 1850s with Rutherford B. Hayes. Corwine himself became active in the Ohio Republican party and was in communication with Lincoln before his nomination in 1860. Leading up to that convention, Lincoln was one of five candidates for the nomination, and Ohio was a pivotal state. Lincoln, seeking to encourage support, reached into Ohio. "By March [1860] Richard Corwine… sought Lincoln's views as to [whom Illinois would support]. Lincoln, in answering… cautiously replied, "I feel myself disqualified to speak of myself in this matter" (Lincoln to Corwine, April 6, 1860; cf. Francis P. Weisenberger; "Lincoln and His Ohio Friends"; Ohio Historical Quarterly, Vol. 68, July 1959, 234). Lincoln wrote Corwine again on May 2, 1860, expressing his view that "In Ohio—as elsewhere—…there was no 'positive objection' to him" (ibid.).

As it happened, at the convention on May 16, the Ohio delegation—which included Richard Corwine—changed a number of its votes on the fourth to support Lincoln and that was enough for the man from Illinois to be nominated. Thus it might fairly be said that Corwine played a role in securing Lincoln's nomination for the Presidency.

After Lincoln's election, the movement toward secession was galvanized. Corwine again wrote Lincoln a long letter [December 14, 1860] elaborating on his opinion that the South would calm down if handled firmly (Basler, Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln, Volume IV, 153n; cited ibid., 237). He was, of course, mistaken. Secession ensued, followed soon after by the Civil War.

Corwine served under Frémont in the Western Armies, and was appointed Major, Judge Advocate in the Western Department—the appointment Lincoln endorses in the present letter. The following year the President would write Edwin Stanton, "Richard M. Corwine was appointed Judge Advocate by Gen. Frémont on the 20th of July last, and served as such till the 18th of November last. He never had a Commission, but his services were as valuable, and his conduct as meritorious, as if his appointment had been entirely regular… The meritorious ones ought to have Commissions, nunc pro tunc, as an honorable recognition of them, and should also be paid. I hope this may be done, including Major Corwine in the arrangement" (Basler, V, 108-09).

We know as well that near the end of the war, Lincoln spent considerable time considering the wishes of politically active friends and acquaintances. "Richard M. Corwine, another elector of 1860, had been shown political preferment, but Lincoln endeavored to resist pressure which Corwine was exerting on behalf of a client upon whom a heavy court-martial fine had been assessed" (ibid.; Lincoln to Dennison, February 28, 1865). Less than two months later, Lincoln was dead. Published in Collected Works V, page 79.

Fine condition.

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