Abraham Lincoln to William Fithian, 14 September 18491Springfield, Sept 14. 1849–Dear Doctor
Your letter of the 9th was received a day or two ago–2 The notes and mortgage you enclosed me were duly received– I also got the original Blanchard mortgage from Antrim Campbell, with whom Blanchard had left it for you– I got a decree of foreclosure on the whole; but owing to their being no redemption on the sale to be under the Blanchard mortgage the court allowed Mobley till the first of March to pay the money, before advertising for sale,– Stuart was empowered by Mobley to appear for him, and I had to take such decree as he would consent to or none at all– I cast the matter about in my mind, and concluded, that as I could not get a decree before March at any ^rate–^ right, and as taking a decree now would put the accrued interest at interest, and thereby more than match the fact of throwing the Blanchard debt back from 12 to 6. per cent, it was better to do it– This is the present state of the case–3
I can well enough understand and appreciate your suggestions about the Land-Office at Danville; but in my present condition, I can do nothing–4Yours as everA. Lincoln
Free.A. Lincoln M.C[Member of Congress]
SEP[September] 5Dr W. FithianDanvilleIlls–[Illinois]
1Abraham Lincoln wrote and signed this letter, including the address on the last sheet, which was folded to create an envelope
3Mordecai Mobley gave William W. Blanchard a promissory note for $1,000 and secured the note with a mortgage on five lots in Springfield, Illinois, and two hundred acres in Menard County, Illinois. Blanchard assigned the notes and mortgage to Fithian. Mobley gave Fithian three promissory notes totaling $1,590 and secured the notes with a mortgage on the same property. After Mobley failed to pay, Fithian retained Lincoln & Herndon and sued Mobley, Mobley's wife, and Blanchard to foreclose the mortgage in the Sangamon County Circuit Court . Fithian dismissed the case concerning Blanchard. Fithian and Mobley agreed on a judgment against Mobley for $1,080 on the Blanchard mortgage without redemption and $2,095.20 on the Fithian mortgage with redemption. The court sold all of the land for a total of $2,423. Fithian accepted two drafts totaling $949.34 as satisfaction of the judgment on the condition that Mobley would pay both drafts at maturity. Lincoln further updated Fithian on the disposition of the case in a letter dated February 16, 1850.
Fithian v. Mobley et al., 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=138924.
For the mortgage between Mobley and Blanchard that Lincoln references, see Mortgage of Mordecai Mobley to William W. Blanchard, 11 August 1849, Document ID: 80852, Fithian v. Mobley et al., The Law Practice of Abraham Lincoln: Complete Documentary Edition, http://www.lawpracticeofabrahamlincoln.org/Details.aspx?case=138924.
4Daniel Clapp, Robert Moseley, and Samuel Huffman were among the applicants to replace incumbents William E. Russell and Lunsford R. Noel as register and receiver, respectively. Clapp would receive the appointment as register in July 1849 and hold the job until March 1853. Noel retained the office of receiver until October 1849, when John H. Murphy replaced him. Murphy would remain receiver until March 1853.
No longer in the U.S. House of Representatives and having failed in his bid to become commissioner of the U.S. General Land Office, Lincoln may have felt powerless to influence the patronage policy of President Zachary Taylor and his administration. He expressed these exact sentiments in a letter to George W. Rives dated May 7, 1849.
Daniel Clapp to Abraham Lincoln; Robert Moseley to Abraham Lincoln; Anson G. Henry to Abraham Lincoln; Illinois Journal (Springfield), 3 October 1849, 3:2; Lottie E. Jones, History of Vermilion County Illinois (Chicago: Pioneer, 1911), 1:153-54; Register of all Officers and Agents, Civil, Military, and Naval, in the Service of the United States, on the Thirtieth September, 1847 (Washington, DC: J. & G. S. Gideon, 1847), 30, 31; Register of all Officers and Agents, Civil, Military, and Naval, in the Service of the United States, on the Thirtieth September, 1849 (Washington, DC: Gideon, 1849), 135, 137; Register of all Officers and Agents, Civil, Military, and Naval, in the Service of the United States, on the Thirtieth September, 1851 (Washington, DC: Gideon, 1851), 140, 141; Register of Officers and Agents, Civil, Military, and Naval, in the Service of the United States, on the Thirtieth September, 1853 (Washington, DC: Robert Armstrong, 1853), 138, 139.
Autograph Letter Signed, 2 page(s), Andre De Coppet Collection, Princeton University (Princeton, NJ).