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Abraham Lincoln to William Martin, 23 June 18511
Hon: Wm MartinDear Sir:
What points, in our Rail Road cases, were decided at the Spring term of your Circuit Court? and how were they decided?2
Will the Secretary, with his Books, be out here at our fall terms? or will we be driven to try to prove the ordering of the calls, by depositions? Our next term of Court commences on the fourth monday of August–3
Please write me on the receipt of this–4
Truly YoursA. Lincoln
<Page 2>
SPRINGFIELD Ill.[Illinois]
JUN[June] 24
5
Hon: Wm MartinAltonIllinois–
[docketing]
06/XX/1851
A. Lincoln
June 18515
1Abraham Lincoln wrote and signed this letter, including the address on the last sheet, which was folded to create an envelope.
2Lincoln references Martin’s legal work in the Madison County Circuit Court for the Alton & Sangamon Railroad Company, which had retained Martin and Lincoln & Herndon to collect balances due on shares of capital stock purchased by stockholders.
The Illinois General Assembly chartered the railroad in February 1847 to construct and operate a railroad between Alton, Illinois, via New Berlin, and Springfield, Illinois. Section two of the company’s charter allowed the incorporators to issue $500,000 in stock at $100 per share, and section six required subscribers to purchase stock by paying $5 on each share subscribed at the time of subscribing and the balance in installments called for by a board of directors. The incorporators opened subscription for stock in May 1847. Many stock subscribers owned property near the proposed route. On January 29, 1851, however, the General Assembly altered the charter to allow the company to construct the road on a more direct route, bypassing the property of several stockholders. Believing that the change in route voided their subscription agreements, many investors refused to pay their remaining installments, and the company hired Lincoln & Herndon to collect the full subscriptions. Several of the delinquent subscribers were from Sangamon County, Illinois, and thirty-seven were from Madison County, Illinois. The railroad hired Martin to collect the full subscriptions in Madison County and Lincoln & Herndon to collect in Sangamon County. In addition to being an attorney for the railroad, Martin was also one of the original incorporators.
The spring term of the Madison County Circuit Court opened on March 17, 1851. On March 31, the railroad dismissed thirteen of its suits against delinquent stockholders in Madison County, probably because the stockholders agreed to pay their remaining installments. At the time of this letter, twenty-four cases were still pending in the Madison County Circuit Court.
"An Act to Construct a Railroad from Alton, in Madison County, to Springfield, in Sangamon County," 27 February 1847, Private and Special Laws of Illinois (1847), 144-49; Stock Subscription Book, Document ID: 4967, Alton & Sangamon RR v. Barret, 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=138164; Alton & Sangamon Railroad Stock Subscription Book; “An Act to Amend the Charter of the Alton and Sangamon Railroad Company,” 29 January 1851, Private Laws of Illinois (1851), 35; “An Act Changing the Time of Holding the Circuit Courts in the Second Judicial Circuit,” 14 February 1851, General Laws of Illinois (1851), 93; Daniel W. Stowell et al., eds., The Papers of Abraham Lincoln: Legal Documents and Cases (Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2008), 2:188.
3Lincoln hoped to depose Isaac Gibson, secretary of the railroad, in lawsuits against James A. Barret and Joseph Klein, Sr. In a letter to Gibson dated February 26, 1851, Lincoln requested that he bring the books of the corporation and appear before the Sangamon County Circuit Court at the opening of its spring session on March 17. Gibson responded to this letter on March 15 with a telegram and a letter, relating that it would be impossible for him to appear before the Sangamon County Circuit Court in March 1851. Gibson gave his deposition in August 1851 in New York City.
Notice to Take Deposition, Document ID: 4791, 4914; Deposition, Document ID: 93976, Alton & Sangamon RR v. Barret, Martha L. Benner and Cullom Davis et al., eds., The Law Practice of Abraham Lincoln: Complete Documentary Edition, http://www.lawpracticeofabrahamlincoln.org/Details.aspx?case=138164; Notice to Take Deposition, Interrogatories, Document ID: 4783; Deposition, Document ID: 4927, Alton & Sangamon RR v. Klein, Martha L. Benner and Cullom Davis et al., eds., The Law Practice of Abraham Lincoln: Complete Documentary Edition, http://www.lawpracticeofabrahamlincoln.org/Details.aspx?case=138127; Daniel W. Stowell et al., eds., The Papers of Abraham Lincoln: Legal Documents and Cases, 2:188-93.
4Martin’s response, if he wrote one, has not been located. Between February and August 1851, Lincoln wrote Martin an additional ten letters relating to these cases.
Abraham Lincoln to William Martin; Abraham Lincoln to William Martin; Abraham Lincoln to William Martin; Abraham Lincoln to William Martin; Abraham Lincoln to William Martin; Abraham Lincoln to William Martin; Abraham Lincoln to William Martin; Abraham Lincoln to William Martin; Abraham Lincoln to William Martin; Abraham Lincoln to William Martin.
5Martin wrote this docketing.

Autograph Letter Signed, 2 page(s), Box 4, Lincoln Collection, Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum (Springfield, IL).