Abe Lincoln’s letter, part II



Yesterday, I blogged about the odd little AIPAC connection to a handwritten letter by Abraham Lincoln that was to be restored to the U.S. National Archives.

The donor of the letter brought to the Archives’ D.C. headquarters for examination a few weeks ago because he was going to be in town for the AIPAC policy conference; he even carried it in an AIPAC tote bag.

The ceremony took place today, and we can now reveal the name of the AIPAC delegate/donor, and the contents of the letter.

The donor is Lawrence Cutler of Scottsdale, Ariz. The handwritten letter is Lincoln’s request to U.S. Treasurer Salmon Chase to make available to Robert Stevens – sacked not long before as director of the U.S. Mint in San Francisco – the evidence that led to his firing.

Here’s the text of the letter:

Hon. Sec. of Treasury
My dear Sir
Mr. Stevens, late Superintendent of the Mint at San Francisco, asks to have a copy, or be permitted to examine, and take extracts, of the evidence upon which he was removed. Please oblige him in one way or the other.
Yours truly, A. Lincoln.

Stevens, the son-in-law of a friend of Lincoln’s who was a Civil War martyr,  wanted his job back; the evidence showed that he had pretty much been a fiasco in the job. Lincoln’s Solomonic decision – no rehabilitation, but you get to review the evidence – showed the president’s "sense of fair-play and moral authority," the Archives says.

Here’s Cutler on why he donated the letter:

It is both a great honor and a pleasure for me to give this very important Abraham Lincoln letter back to the citizens of the United States of America, especially during this bicentennial year of Lincoln’s birth. It may always remain a mystery as to how this letter left the public domain and has remained in private hands for as much as a century. However, what is more significant is that today I am returning this letter to its long lost home.

UPDATE: The Washington Post writes that Cutler posesses the signature of every president except one: Barack Obama. Perhaps the White House could prepare something in time for next policy conference?

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