On the Last Full Day of His Life, Abraham Lincoln Makes an Important Appointment

April 13, 1865

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On the Last Full Day of His Life, Abraham Lincoln Makes an Important Appointment
Document Signed
1 page | SMC 878

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      Background

      If, as had been noted, Lincoln appeared weary and sad the day he signed this appointment, the next day – in the words of the document’s co-signer, Treasury Secretary McCulloch - he never seemed more cheerful and happy.

      Yet the difference between those days was scant. On both, Lincoln was concerned with the reestablishment of federal authority in the just defeated South and on both, for a few minutes at least, he had occasion to think about his old friend William Kellogg. On April 13, 1865, Lincoln appointed him, with this document, to the plum post of Collector at the Port of New Orleans – from which he would dispense patronage for all Louisiana. The next day, he met briefly with Kellogg in the Executive Mansion, and cautioned he take discretion and care.

      As important, and ultimately explosive, as the appointment of Kellogg would prove, the greater significance of this document is the date alone. April 13, 1865 was the last full day of Lincoln’s life. And, then, too, there is this: on the 14th, Kellogg, having heard from the Secretary of the Treasury that his commission had been sent to the Executive Mansion, went there to fetch it. Lincoln, however, was out riding with Mary, and so Kellogg waited until early evening, when the President returned. “Mr. Lincoln,” he recalled, “was in his room, signing papers. With a few words, to be careful and discreet … he bade me goodbye.” Lincoln then saw another visitor, and finally, through for the day, he left for Ford’s Theatre, and the bullet which would end his life.


      Document Signed, as President, partially-printed and accomplished in manuscript, 1 page, oblong folio, Washington, April 13, 1865; being the appointment of William Kellogg as Collector of the Port of New Orleans. Co-signed by Secretary of the Treasury Hugh McCulloch.

      Of great rarity on this date.
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      Abraham Lincoln

      President of the United States of America,

      TO ALL TO WHOM THESE PRESENTS SHALL COME, GREETING:

      Know ye, That, reposing special trust and confidence in the integrity, diligence, and discretion of William P. Kellogg
      I DO APPOINT HIM Collector of the Customs for the District of New Orleans in the State of Louisiana,
      and do authorize and empower him to execute and fulfil the duties of that office according to law; and to have and to hold the said office,
      with all the rights and emoluments thereunto legally appertaining, unto him, the said William P. Kellogg
      during the pleasure of the
      PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES for the time being, and until the end of the next session of the Senate
      of the United States, and no longer.


      In testimony whereof, I have caused these Letters to be made Patent, and the Seal of the Treasury
      Department of the United States to be hereunto affixed.

      Given under my hand, at the CITY OF WASHINGTON, this thirteenth day of April
      in the year of Our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty five and of
      the INDEPENDENCE OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA the eighty ninth.

      BY THE PRESIDENT:

      ABRAHAM LINCOLN


      HUGH McCULLOCH 
       Secretary of the Treasury.

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      Page 2 transcript
      Autograph Collection
      of
      Dr. Max Thorek
      Chicago

      Commission
      Wm. P. Kellogg
      as
      Collector of Customs for
      The District of New Orleans
      Washington D.C.
      April 13th 1865-