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Abraham Lincoln to Andrew Johnston, 24 February 18461
Dear Johnson:
Feeling a little poetic this evening, I have concluded to redeem my promise this evening by sending you the piece you expressed a wish to have– You find it inclosed–2 I wish I could think of something else to say; but I believe I can not– By the way, how would you like to see a piece of poetry of my own making? I have a piece that is almost done, but I find a deal of trouble to finish it–
Give my respects to Mr Williams, and have him, together with yourself, to understand, that if there is any thing I can do, in connection with your business in the courts, I shall take pleasure in doing it, upon notice–3
Yours foreverA. Lincoln
[endorsement]
03/02/1872
The foregoing was written by Abraham Lincoln Esq[Esquire] from Springfield, Illinois, to me at Quincy, Illinois– at the time of its date.
Andrew Johnston4
1Abraham Lincoln wrote and signed the letter.
2The enclosure is no longer extant, but it was likely a copy of William Knox’s poem “Mortality.” In a subsequent letter to Andrew Johnston, Lincoln answers Johnston’s query as to the piece’s author by saying he had read it previously and committed it to memory, and considered it one of his favorite pieces, but could not recall the author. Following Lincoln’s death in 1865, acquaintance Lawrence Weldon related that a similar situation occurred in 1860, wherein Lincoln quoted the poem, and upon being asked about its authorship, Lincoln responded that he did not remember the author but considered the piece to be “as much like true poetry as any thing he had ever heard.”
Abraham Lincoln to Andrew Johnston; Douglas L. Wilson and Rodney O. Davis, eds., Herndon’s Informants: Letters, Interviews, and Statements about Abraham Lincoln (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1998), 89.
3Johnston and Archibald Williams practiced law in Quincy, Illinois, and Lincoln was suggesting here that he could handle cases they may have in the federal court or on appeal to the Illinois Supreme Court, both of which met in Springfield, Illinois. Several times, both before and after this letter, Lincoln and his partners either took on Johnston’s and Williams’ cases on appeal or partnered with them for the appeal.
Wight v. Kirkpatrick, 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=137116; Pryor v. Irving, 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=135968; Moore v. Hamilton, 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=137155; Bean et al. v. Doe ex dem. McNutt et al., 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=137774; Gibbs v. Ingram for use of Mahannah, 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=135961.
4Johnston wrote and signed this endorsement.

Autograph Letter Signed, 1 page(s), Andre De Coppet Collection, Princeton University (Princeton, NJ)