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    [Abraham Lincoln]. Schuyler Colfax Autograph Letter Signed regarding a position in Lincoln's cabinet. After Lincoln's election, many prominent Republicans jockeyed for jobs in his cabinet, among them Indiana Congressman Schuyler Colfax. On January 11, 1861, he wrote to his partner in the "St. Joseph Valley Register," Alfred Wheeler, assessing his prospects. In full:

    "Private. Friend W, By last account from Springfield, it is not certain that Smith's [Caleb Blood Smith of Indianapolis] to be in, but I guess I am out. Smith's Soap Factory, Mex. War Commission, & Railroad management in Cincinnati are ugly matters for Lincoln to get over. Smith has been guilty of the meanness of uniting himself with my District & other factions of the North, saying that L. wants to appoint him, but does not wish to offend Northern Inda. which all seems for me, & urging them to get signatures privately to a recommendation for him, and send them to Springfield. I could have thousands all over the State if I had descended to this kind of electioneering. But rather not speak of it in the Register. Smith's friends have been very malignant in their attacks on me, as perhaps you have heard. Yours truly, Schuyler Colfax."

    It was alleged that Caleb Smith was offered the post of Secretary of the Interior as payment for delivering the votes of the Indiana Delegation at the 1860 Republican National Convention in Chicago. Lincoln did not like Colfax personally and referred to him as "Smiley". Lincoln considered him a "little intriguer, plausible [as a candidate] but not trustworthy." In a letter explaining his choice (no doubt intended for viewing by the disappointed office-seeker), Lincoln wrote: "Colfax is a young man, is already in position, is running a brilliant career and is sure of a bright future in any event, with Smith it is now or never." Smith only served in the Cabinet position for a year and a half and died in 1864, two years after resigning. Colfax went on to become Speaker of the House and Vice-President under Ulysses Grant (1869-1873). He was dropped from the ticket because of his alleged involvement in the Credit Mobilier scandal.


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    April, 2013
    11th Thursday
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