Autograph Letter Signed, A. Lincoln, one page, octavo, Washington, D.C., November 7, 1863. On imprinted stationery of the Executive Mansion, to Capt. Isaac R. Diller.
"I must decline to take charge of Dr. Wetherell's interests. If he presents a claim to Congress or to the Court of Claims, I shall be ready to testify the whole truth, so far as within my knowledge. As to my ordering him back to the Agricultural Department, and fixing his Salary as you and he may think right, it is wholly inadmissable. The law does not authorize me to do any of these things.
In The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln Roy P. Basler gives the circumstances of Lincoln's letter. "On November 4 Diller wrote Lincoln from Willard's Hotel: 'I find that my health is suffering by remaining here, and I beg you to accept this as my excuse for troubling you with this letter. It is important that I should be placed in possession of the view of Your Excellency with regard to this powder matter, at your earliest convenience in order that many expenses, such as the rent of the building at Westville, N.J. the services of a watchman, &c &c may be stopped. There is plenty of powder already made to test its merits
and with your permission will join my family in Illinois and there await the result.
' Diller continued with an expression of hope that Dr. Charles M. Wetherill would not 'suffer in consequence' of his services on the powder project: 'Should it be the pleasure of Your Excellency to remand him to the Department from which he was detailed, and he is now in this City awaiting that pleasure, I beg that the Commissioner of Agriculture may be informed of your wishes in regard to his future position.
The Commissioner should issue to Dr. Wetherill, a salary upon which he can live respectably with his family in Washington.
"Concerning Wetherill's dismissal from his post as chief chemist of the Department of Agriculture, Representative-elect Godlove S. Orth of Lafayette, Indiana, wrote Lincoln on October 16, 1863: 'I regret to learn that a constituent of mine, Dr. G. M. Wetherill 'Chemist of the Dept. of Agriculture,' has received from the Agricultural Comr. Under date of Oct. 1, a rather summary dismissal from that Department. Dr. W. was specially detailed by your order, of date April 4, '63, for 30 days to make certain experiments in Gunpowder, which detail was afterwards on the 2nd day of May extended by the Comr. 'until notified to the contrary.' Under this state of facts D. W. and his friends regard the action of the Commissioner as harsh and arbitrary and look with confidence to your kind sense of justice to see that Dr. W. is not thus summarily dealt with.' Apparently Lincoln took some sort of action, for a contemporary of Isaac Newton's letter to Wetherill, dated November 1862 reads as follows: ' Your salary as Chemist of the Department of Agriculture will be fixed at the rate of $2500 per annum, to commence from November 1st of the current year. I will grant you a furlough of two weeks from the date of your remand to this Department for the purpose of bringing your family from the West.'"
Handsomely framed (with a taupe outer mat and an ivory inner mat, in a silver frame, with an engraving) dimensions: 19 7/8 inches wide by 17 1/2 inches high.
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