Abraham Lincoln to Lewis C. Kercheval and Others, 24 July 18501Chicago, Ill., July 24, 1850.Gentlemen:
Yours of the 22nd inviting me to deliver an address to the citizens of this city upon the life of Z. Taylor deceased, late President of the United States was duly received.2 The want of time for preparation will make the task, for me, a very difficult one to perform, in any degree satisfactory to others or to myself. Still I do not feel at liberty to decline the invitation; and therefore I will fix to-morrow as the time. The hour may be any, you think proper, after 12 o’clock, M.3Your Ob’t Ser’vt[Obedient Servant],A. LINCOLN.Messrs.[Messieurs] L. C. Kercheval, B. S. Morris, Geo. W. Dole, John H. Kinzie, W. L. Newberry.
1This letter is attributed to Abraham Lincoln, but the original letter in Lincoln’s hand is not extant.
2A printed transcription of the letter Lincoln references appeared in the July 24, 1850, edition of the Chicago Daily Journal.
Lincoln had been in Chicago since July 7, 1850, for the trial of Zebulon Parker versus Charles Hoyt at the U.S. District Court in the city. The trial, which began on July 9th, revolved around Hoyt’s alleged infringement of Parker’s copyright on a waterwheel. Lincoln represented Hoyt in the case. The trial lasted until July 24th, with Lincoln and Hoyt emerging victorious.
The Lincoln Log: A Daily Chronology of the Life of Abraham Lincoln, 7 July 1850, http://thelincolnlog.org/Results.aspx?type=CalendarDay&day=1850-07-07; 9 July 1850 http://thelincolnlog.org/Results.aspx?type=CalendarDay&day=1850-07-09; 24 July 1850, http://thelincolnlog.org/Results.aspx?type=CalendarDay&day=1850-07-24; Parker v. Hoyt, 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=137697.
3Lincoln delivered the eulogy address for President Zachary Taylor one day after writing this letter, July 25, 1850. Representatives for the Common Council of Chicago then wrote Lincoln, requesting a copy of his address. Lincoln obliged, sending the original draft of his address for publication.
Printed Transcription, 1 page(s), Chicago Daily Journal (Chicago, IL), 24 July 1850, 2:4.