Abraham Lincoln to Samuel D. Marshall, 3 March 18461
Dear Sam:
I herewith send you the draft of a plea for our case–2 By consultation with Judge Logan, I draw it in the form I do, to compel Lane, in order to get round it, to reply that the case has been brought to, and reversed ^& remanded^ by the Supreme court, upon his doing which, you join issue with him; and that will compel him to pay the cost in the Supreme court in order to get the Record to prove his replication with– If I were to set out the whole facts in a plea in abatement, we should have to pay the Supreme court cost, in order to get the record to prove the plea with– This we wish to avoid– This, that I send, is a plea in bar–3 You will, of course, put in all and all manner, of other pleas in bar—particularly as to lapse of time–
Yours, as ever–A. Lincoln
Dorman & wife }
ads4 Petition to sell real estate–
Lane, admr[administrator] &c.[etc.]
And the said defendants come and defend, when, where &c. and say, that the said Petitioner to have and maintain his petition, or to have the prayer thereof granted by said court, ought not, because they say, that heretofore towit, on the day of AD. the said petitioner filed his petition in this court, against these defendants, praying an order for the sale of the identical same land, for the purpose of paying the identical same debt, as in the petition herein; and that such proceedings were had on that petition, that at the term of said court, a5 final order was made by said court, directing the sale of said land, for the object in that petition stated– and this the said defendants [...?] are ready to verify, wherefore they pray judgment &c.–
Marshall p. d–[attorney for the defendant]
1Abraham wrote and signed this letter.
2Abraham Lincoln represented William and Nancy Dorman in the Illinois Supreme Court case of Dorman et ux. v. Lane, on appeal from the Gallatin County Circuit Court, where Samuel D. Marshall had represented them. The Supreme Court delivered its opinion on January 29, 1845, reversing the decision and remanding the case back to the Gallatin County Circuit Court. John Lane reinstated his petition in the lower court without first paying the costs of the appeal and obtaining a copy of the judgment of the Supreme Court.
Daniel W. Stowell et al., eds., The Papers of Abraham Lincoln: Legal Documents and Cases (Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2008), 1:264, 270, 274, 276, 282-84.
3A plea in bar denies the merit of the case, while a plea in abatement simply objects to the timing of the plaintiff’s claim.
Henry Campbell Black, Black’s Law Dictionary, 5th ed. (St. Paul, MN: West, 1979), 1037.
4“ads” written over “vs”. The use of “ads,” short for the Latin ad sectam, indicates that the name of the defendant is given before that of the plaintiff. In this case, the Dormans were the defendants.
Henry Campbell Black, Black’s Law Dictionary, 47.
5“a” written over “the”.

Copy of Autograph Letter Signed, 1 page(s), Lincoln Collection, Chicago Historical Society (Chicago, IL)