Lot 37: Desirable autograph endorsement, signed as president, "A. Lincoln," dated November 7, 1864, penned on the reverse of a letter of recommendation submitted to him by a number of supporters, one page, 7.75 x 12.5, November 3, 1864. Lincoln's endorsement, in full: "Let this appointment be made if there is a vacancy." The original letter, in part: "We earnestly recommend the appointment of James A. Wise…for the office of Justice of the Peace within and for the District of Columbia." Some of the signers include: Mayor of Washington Richard Wallach; US District Attorney Edward C. Carrington; Commissioner of Agriculture Isaac Newton; Samuel E. Douglass; George H. Plant; Charles R. Belt; Michael Larner; and N. C. Towle. The portion of the document signed by Lincoln has been professionally inlaid into a slightly larger sheet, apparently having once been removed from the document but now restored to its original state. In very good condition, with repairs to folds, light creases and soiling, and brushing and stray ink marks to the main letter.President Lincoln had already heard from several Republican congressmen in June recommending Wise for justice of the peace, but took no action until this additional petition five months later; Wise did receive the position and was confirmed by the Senate several months later. Most interestingly, Lincoln endorsed this petition just one day before the 1864 presidential election. For most of the year Lincoln thought he had little chance of winning reelection after the Union Army suffered several defeats. His chief opponent, George B. McClellan, promised peace and was at one time a heavy favorite to win. Opinion began to shift with the fall of Atlanta in July, and by the time of the election Robert E. Lee was trapped in besieged Petersburg, with General Sherman poised to begin his 'March to the Sea.' With Union victory in sight and the Confederacy intact but floundering, only the Union states voted and Lincoln won in a landslide on the strength of the soldier vote. Although he certainly had other things on his mind when reviewing the possibility of an appointment for Wise, Lincoln recognized the importance of tending to his everyday work even as war raged in the South and his legacy was at stake. A spectacular piece from a decisive moment in Lincoln's presidency.
RR Auction's Fine Autographs and Artifacts Auction 460
Wednesday, 16th September 2015
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