September 09, 1864

Lincoln Attends to a Request From Jewish Congressman Leonard Myers: "I Really Want This Done," He Tells Gideon Welles

Autograph Letter Signed
1 page
SMC 2340
The Civil War-era Congressman Leonard Myers was like most politicians of his time, but for three things: first, he was a Jew; second, he was a Jew representing an overwhelmingly gentile district; and third, and most significantly, he possessed a profound sense of civic duty, evincing a genuine concern for protecting the rights of all kinds of people, including such traditionally “dispossessed” groups as immigrants, laborers, inventors, soldiers and sailors, and former slaves. A cultured and dedicated young lawyer, he went on to become a distinguished and gracious elder statesman, highly respected by all, on both sides of the aisle.

Lincoln, it would seem, knew and liked him - well enough for Myers to write him almost monthly on behalf of those seeking an introduction, an appointment, or something to do with the machinations of war. And Lincoln, apparently, was eager to accede and help. Here he writes Naval Secretary Gideon Welles that Myers (then on the Naval Committee) wished one Charles R. Wilson "appointed to the Naval School. Let it be done so soon as I have a vacancy not already promised." Lincoln then added, "I really wish this done. "And, it was.

Myers was, incidentally, a cousin of the American composer and virtuoso pianist, Louis Moreau Gottschalk - who was a favorite of Lincoln's, and performed for him on more than one occasion. Autograph Letter Signed ("A. Lincoln"), as President, 1 page, octavo, Executive Mansion, Washington, September 9, 1864. To Secretary of the Navy Gideon Welles.
Read transcript Bookmark