Abraham Lincoln to Frederick A. Thomas, 11 July 18421Springfield, July 11— 1842—Friend Thomas:
Enclosed you find your License by which you will see I have had you regularly enrolled as an attorney—2 The clerk is entitled to a fee of one dollar, which I have promised to see paid in one month— I therefore wish you to send me the money— It will take two dollars of State Bank or Shawneetown—3
As to the customary fee in Bankruptcy for which you enquire, I can not say there is any custom on the subject—4 On the reverse side hereof, is a commission to Ryan as Bankrupt Commissioner—5Your friendA. Lincoln
2The enclosure has not been located.
Thomas’s cases involved petitioning for bankruptcy in the federal court. In 1841, the U.S. Congress responded to the Panic of 1837 by passing the first bankruptcy legislation in American history. Beginning on February 1, 1842, Illinoisans could apply for bankruptcy relief in the U.S. District Court in Springfield. Logan & Lincoln participated in at least 72 bankruptcy cases during 1842 and 1843. They filed bankruptcy petitions for debtors and their lawyers from throughout the state. They filed two for clients who resided in Lawrence County, Thomas’s home.
Abraham Lincoln to Frederick A. Thomas; “An Act to Establish a Uniform System of Bankruptcy throughout the United States,” 19 August 1841, Statutes at Large of the United States 5 (1856):440-49; Daniel W. Stowell et al., eds., Papers of Abraham Lincoln: Legal Documents and Cases (Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2008), 1:99-100; In re Flanders, Martha L. Benner and Cullom Davis et al., eds., The Law Practice of Abraham Lincoln: Complete Documentary Edition, 2d edition (Springfield: Illinois Historic Preservation Agency, 2009), http://www.lawpracticeofabrahamlincoln.org/Details.aspx?case=137807; In re Kyger, Martha L. Benner and Cullom Davis et al., eds., The Law Practice of Abraham Lincoln: Complete Documentary Edition, http://www.lawpracticeofabrahamlincoln.org/Details.aspx?case=137819.
3Both of Illinois’ state banks became insolvent in 1842: the State Bank failed in February and the Bank of Illinois in June. The paper currency produced by each bank had depreciated considerably by the time of this letter.
Charles Hunter Garnett, State Banks of Issue in Illinois (Champaign: University of Illinois, 1898), 38, 40-41.
4Logan & Lincoln charged $20 for attending to a bankruptcy case.
Copy of Autograph Letter Signed, 1 page(s), Abraham Lincoln Association Files, Lincoln Collection, Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum (Springfield, IL)