A free franked envelope hand addressed by Abraham Lincoln during his first and only term in the United States House of Representatives, 1847-1849. During his two years in Congress, Lincoln coauthored a bill to abolish slavery and compensate slave owners in the District of Columbia, but it failed to get enough support from his own party. Lincoln also supported the Wilmot Proviso, a failed attempt to ban slavery in the land acquired by the United States from Mexico in the Mexican War.
Members of Congress are granted the franking privilege for official correspondence, allowing them to send letters for free. In this example, Lincoln wrote “Free. A. Lincoln M.C.” in the upper right corner of the envelope. His letter was addressed to Dr. J.B. Hessick, who lived in Vandalia, Illinois.