Abraham Lincoln to John Bennett, 5 August 18371Springfield, Aug. 5. 1837Dear Sir.
Mr Edwards tells me you wish to know, whether the act to which your town incorporation provision was attached, passed into a law. It did. You can organize under the general incorporation law as soon as you choose.2
I also tacked a provision on to a fellow's bill to authorize the relocation of the road from Salem down to your town;3 but I am not certain whether or not the bill passed; neither do I suppose I can ascertain before the laws will be published. If it is a law, Bowling Green, Bennett Abell, and yourself are appointed to make the change.4
No news. No excitement except a little about the election of monday next. I suppose, of course, our friend Dr Henry, stands no chance in your "diggings"5Your friend and humble servantA. LincolnJohn Bennett Esq—
<Page 2>John Bennett Esq.—Petersburg Ills
Pr Mr Boice
[Augt?] 5th ’35
[Augt?] 5th ’35
1Abraham Lincoln wrote the text of this letter and his signature, as well as the address on the back page.
2“Mr. Edwards” could have been a reference to Ninian W. Edwards, but it seems unlikely, because as a member of the 10th General Assembly, Edwards could have answered Bennett’s question himself. Another possibility was Thomas Edwards, a farmer from near New Salem. This seems more plausible, as on August 3, Lincoln had attended a dinner in Athens honoring the Sangamon County members of the General Assembly.
Roy P. Basler, ed., The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln (New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 1953), 1:93-94; The Lincoln Log: A Daily Chronology of the Life of Abraham Lincoln, 3 August 1837, http://www.thelincolnlog.org/Results.aspx?type=CalendarDay&day=1837-08-03.
4The House of Representatives passed the bill, but the session ended before the Senate read the bill a third time, so it did not become law.
5Dr. Anson G. Henry, the Whig candidate, ran against General James Adams, the Democratic candidate, for probate justice of the peace, in bitter contest full of political attacks on both sides. In the election held on August 7, Adams defeated Henry, 1025 votes to 792 votes. Petersburg went for Adams, 116 to 8. Lincoln voted for Henry. He also cast ballots for Charles R. Matheny for county clerk, John Constant for county treasurer, and Adam Bowman for justice of the peace.
Sangamo Journal (Springfield, IL), 12 August 1837, 2:1, 7; Election Returns for Springfield, Illinois.
Autograph Letter Signed, 2 page(s), Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum (Springfield, IL).