Abraham Lincoln to Orville H. Browning, 24 June 18471Springfield, June 24th 1847.Dear Browning:
Yours of the 19th Inst[Instant] is received, and I have filed a plea for you, in the case of Moore vs Latourette–2
Dont fret yourself about the trouble you give me; when I get tired, I'll tell you–
I am glad you sent this letter, because it reminds me to write you the result of your two cases of Moore vs Brown, & God knows who all, whi the charge of which you sent to Logan, and into which he drew me with him– We tried one of them, in which, after the plaintiff proved title, we offered the Auditors deed, as the first link of connected title and seven years possession, which was objected to, and the judges divided in opinion, which division is certified for the Supreme court– The other case stands over to abide &c.[etc.]3
Indeed, indeed, I do not know what they are doing in the Convention–4 It is considered as almost settled, that they will not prohibit Banks; that they will establish a poll tax; will restrict the number of members of both Houses of the Legislature to 100; will limit their per diem to $2 or 2.50– and make it still less after the first forty days of the session– So far
Some?] Some other things I have fears for– I am not easy about the Courts– I am satisfied with them as they are; but shall not care much if the judges are made elective by the People, and their terms of office limited–
I fear, however, something more, and, as I think, much worse than all this, towit "A Puppy Court" that ^is,^ a Judge in each county, with civil jurisdiction in all cases up to a thousand dollars,
and criminal, in all cases not capital– 'A Migratory Supreme Court" and Salaries so low as to exclude all respectable talent– From these, may God preserve us–5
<Page 2>as I have mentioned, I am pleased– [
As to what I, Baker, and every body else are doing, I am preparing to go to the Chicago River & Harbour Convention–6 Baker has gone to Alton, as is thought, to be Colonel of the Sixth Regiment, and every body is doing pretty much what every body is always doing–
I hope this may find you well, and Mrs Browning recovered from her hurt– I dont believe Mary & I can visit Quincy, although it would be very pleasant to do so–
My Chicago trip and "Several other gentlemen" (Bob. & Ed) are very much in the way of it. Our love to Mrs Browning and yourself–A. Lincoln
<Page 4>SPRI[NGFIELD] Il[l]
5O. H. Browning Esqr[Esquire]QuincyIllinois–
A. Lincoln Esqr7
1Abraham Lincoln wrote and signed the letter. He also authored the address on the back page, which was folded to create an envelope for mailing.
2Orville H. Browning’s June 19, 1847 letter to Lincoln has not been located.
Joshua J. Moore sued James Latourette in federal court in an action of ejectment. Latourette retained Lincoln. The court ruled for Moore in 1849, but granted Latourette’s motion for a new trial. The result of the second trial is unknown. The editors were unable to identify Moore, who was not a resident of Illinois.
Moore v. Latourette, 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.
3One of the cases mentioned here is Moore v. Brown et al., in which Joshua J. Moore sued Alfred Brown and others to remove them from 320 acres of land in Warren County, Illinois. Browning, Lincoln, and Stephen T. Logan represented Brown. The court ruled for Moore, and Lincoln filed the appeal in the U.S. Supreme Court.
Moore v. Brown et al., Martha L. Benner and Cullom Davis et al., eds., The Law Practice of Abraham Lincoln: Complete Documentary Edition, http://www.lawpracticeofabrahamlincoln.org.
4On February 24, 1847, the Illinois General Assembly passed an act calling for a state constitutional convention, which met from June 7 to August 31, 1847. The new constitution was adopted August 31, 1847, and ratified by the people of Illinois on March 6, 1848.
“An Act to Provide for the Call of a Convention,” 24 February 1847, Laws of Illinois (1847), 33-36; “Constitution of the State of Illinois,” Laws of Illinois (1849), 3-26.
5Lincoln’s predictions were accurate. The 1848 constitution permitted banks, established a poll tax, restricted the legislature to 100 members until the state’s population reached one million, and limited legislators’ per diem in hopes of restricting the length of legislative sessions. Supreme Court justices were made elective with term limits and each circuit court was to have one judge, elective by the people.
“Constitution of the State of Illinois,” Laws of Illinois (1849), 3-26; Robert P. Howard, Illinois: A History of the Prairie State (Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans, 1972), 232-34.
6The Chicago rivers and harbors convention, which met from July 4 to July 7, 1847, included over six thousand delegates from around the country, all of whom were in favor of federal appropriations to improve water transportation in the interior of the country.
Robert P. Howard, Illinois: A History of the Prairie State, 241.
Autograph Letter Signed, 4 page(s), Lincoln Collection, Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum (Springfield, IL)