Abraham Lincoln to Alexander P. Field, 11 May 18391Springfield, Illinois, May 11, 1839.A. P. Field, Esq.Dear Sir:
At the late session an act passed both Houses of legislature for the benefit of the clerks of the Circuit Courts of Sangamon, Hamilton, and Fayette counties. I can see nothing of this act in the printed laws, one copy of which has reached us. I know it passed both Houses, but I am a little suspicious it has not been duly acted on by the Council of Revision. Will youYour friend,A. Lincoln.
<Page 2>please learn and write us what condition it is in, and also send us a copy of the act? Mr. Butler will pay the charge on sight.2
1The original letter has not been located. Nicolay, Hay, and Basler all attributed the text to Abraham Lincoln.
2On February 6, 1839, Lincoln introduced HB 272, originally titled “A Bill for the Relief of the Clerk of the Circuit Court of Sangamon County,” in the House of Representatives. The House referred the bill to a select committee that included Lincoln. Lincoln of the select committee reported back the bill on February 15 with amendments, in which the House concurred. On February 23, the House passed the bill as amended, on Lincoln’s motion amending the title so as to read “A Bill for the Relief of the Clerks of the Circuit Courts of Sangamon, Clinton, Fayette, and Franklin Counties.” On March 1, the Senate indefinitely postponed further consideration. The Senate later re-considered that vote, referring the bill to a select committee. The select committee reported back the bill on March 2 with an amendment in which the Senate concurred. The Senate passed the bill as amended. That same day, the House concurred with the Senate amendments. The House and Senate laid the bill before the Council of Revision, but the Council did not have time to act on the bill before the session ended in March 4. By law, ten days not having intervened before the adjournment of the 1st session, and the Council having no objections, the act became law on December 9, the first day of the special session.
Illinois House Journal. 1838. 11th G. A., 1st sess., 353, 410, 435, 492, 595, 597; Illinois Senate Journal. 1838. 11th G. A., 1st sess., 407, 485, 491-92, 498, 507; “An Act for the Relief of the Clerks of the Circuit Courts of Sangamon, Clinton, Fayette and Franklin counties,” 9 December 1839, Laws of Illinois (1840), 156.
The Secretary of State’s office sent a reply to Lincoln on May 17.
Printed Transcription, 2 page(s), John G. Nicolay and John Hay, eds.,
Complete Works of Abraham Lincoln, new and enlarged ed., (New York: Lamb. 1894), 1:94-95