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Letter to the Editor of the Chicago Journal, November 21, 1849


SPRINGFIELD, November 21, 1849.
Editor of the "Chicago Journal."

Dear Sir: Some person, probably yourself, has sent me the number of your paper containing an extract of a supposed speech of Mr. Linder, together with your editorial comments. As my name is mentioned both in the speech and in the comments, and as my attention is directed to the article by a special mark in the paper sent me, it is perhaps expected that I should take some notice of it. I have to say, then, that I was absent from before the commencement till after the close of the late session of the legislature, and that the fact of such a speech having been delivered never came to my knowledge till I saw a notice of your article in the "Illinois Journal," one day before your paper reached me. Had the intention of any Whig to deliver such a speech been known to me, I should, to the utmost of my ability, have endeavored to prevent it. When Mr. Butterfield was appointed Commissioner of the Land Office, I expected him to be an able and faithful officer, and nothing has since come to my knowledge disappointing that expectation. As to Mr. Ewing, his


position has been one of great difficulty. I believe him, too, to be an able and faithful officer. A more intimate acquaintance with him would probably change the views of most of those who have complained of him.

Your obedient servant,

In the Illinois legislature, Mr. Linder said:
. . . He should speak not as a disappointed politician, but as an independent working Whig, who had never applied for an office in his life; and the individual of whom he desired to speak was the Hon. Thomas Ewing, of Ohio, minister of the Home Department,--a man who was unsuited to wield the immense patronage placed in his hands, from the fact that he was hostile to all that was popular, having no sympathies with the people, and the people no sympathies with him; the man who disposed of the offices and honors at his disposal more like a prince than the minister and servant of a republican people. I speak plainly, sir, for I want what I say to be published, that it may reach the individual for whom it is intended,--the man who could disregard the almost unanimous wish of the people --the Whig people of Illinois,--and overlook the claims of such men as Lincoln, Edwards, and Morrison, and appoint a man known as an anti-war federalist of 1812, and one who avails himself of every opportunity to express his contempt of the people-- a man who could not, as against any one of his


competitors, have obtained one twentieth of the votes of Illinois. (I refer, sir, to Justin Butterfield, Commissioner of the General Land Office.) Such a man as Ewing has no right to rule the cabinet of a republican president. He is universally odious, and stinks in the nostrils of the nation. He is as a lump of ice, an unfeeling, unsympathizing aristocrat, a rough, imperious, uncouth, and unamiable man. Such a minister, in a four years' administration, would ruin the popularity of forty presidents and as many heroes. Sir, Is it wonderful that the popular elections are turning against us? I am not at all surprised at it. If General Taylor retains him two years longer in his cabinet, he will find himself without a corporal's guard in the popular branch of our national legislature.