Abraham Lincoln to Lewis C. Kercheval and Richard J. Hamilton, 26 July 18501Chicago, July 26, 18582.Gentlemen:—
Your polite note of yesterday, requesting, for publication, a copy of the address on the life and public services of Gen. Taylor, is received; and I comply with the request very cheerfully.3 Accompanying this, I send you the original manuscript.4Your ob’t. serv’t.[obedient servant],A. LINCOLN.Messrs.[Messieurs] L. C. Kercheval. R. J. Hamilton.
1This letter is attributed to Abraham Lincoln, but the original letter in Lincoln’s hand is not extant.
2The correct date of this letter is July 26, 1850, not July 26, 1858. The editors of the Chicago Daily Journal made an error transcribing the year of the letter.
3On July 25, 1850, Lewis C. Kercheval and Richard J. Hamilton wrote Lincoln requesting a copy of the eulogy he delivered for the late President Zachary Taylor earlier that day.
Lincoln was selected to deliver the eulogy on July 9, 1850, by the Common Council of Chicago, which met on that date to make arrangements for President Taylor’s memorial service. Lincoln informally accepted the Council’s invitation on July 10th. He had been in Chicago since July 7, 1850, for the trial of Zebulon Parker versus Charles Hoyt at the U.S. District Court. 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.
On July 22, 1850, Kercheval, Buckner S. Morris, George W. Dole, John H. Kinzie, and Walter L. Newberry formally asked Lincoln to deliver the eulogy, and, on July 24th, the day the Hoyt trial ended, Lincoln formally accepted.
William E. Barton, Introduction to The Life and Public Service of General Zachary Taylor: An Address by Abraham Lincoln (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1922), 5; 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; Earl Schenck Miers, ed., Lincoln Day by Day: A Chronology, 1809-1865, Volume 2: 1849-1860, by William E. Baringer (Washington, DC: Lincoln Sesquicentennial Commission, 1960), 36-37.
Printed Transcription, 1 page(s), Chicago Daily Journal (IL), 27 July 1850, 2:4.