Abraham Lincoln to Andrew McCallen, 4 July 18511
Andrew McCallanDear Sir:
I have news from Ottawa, that we win our Galatin & Saline county case–2 As the dutch Justice said, when he married folks "Now, vere ish my hundred tollars"3
Yours trulyA. Lincoln
<Page 2>
SPRINGFIELD Ill.[Illinois]
JUL[July] 7
Andrew McCallenShawneetownIllinois–
[ docketing ]
Alfred [Richason?]
Michael Jones
D. V. M. [Sibley?]
Rev M English
M [Ashby?] P M[Postmaster]4
1Abraham Lincoln wrote and signed this letter, including the address on the last sheet, which was folded to create an envelope.
2This is a reference to People ex rel. Stephenson v. Marshall, a legal case involving challenges to the constitutionality of the incorporation of Saline County, Illinois into Gallatin County, Illinois.
In 1847, the Illinois General Assembly divided Gallatin County, and formed Saline County out of its northwest portion. Shawneetown became the county seat of Gallatin County, and, in late-1847, Saline County’s residents selected Raleigh as their county's seat. From 1847 until early 1851, the Saline County Circuit Court met regularly in Raleigh, since Raleigh was the county seat. On February 1, 1851, the Illinois General Assembly passed an act that brought both Gallatin and Saline counties into the Twelfth Judicial Circuit. On February 11, 1851, however, the Illinois General Assembly passed an act to merge Saline County back into Gallatin County and establish Equality as the county seat of the new, merged Gallatin County. Samuel S. Marshall, the judge of the Twelfth Judicial Circuit, held court in Equality, but refused to do so in Raleigh, arguing that, per the Illinois General Assembly, Saline County no longer existed.
William K. Stephenson, a citizen of Saline County, believed that the 1851 act merging Gallatin and Saline counties was unconstitutional because the Illinois General Assembly did not provide for a public vote on the matter. He retained Robert F. Wingate as his attorney, who in turn recruited Lincoln to assist with the case. In June 1851, Wingate and Lincoln sued in the Illinois Supreme Court for a writ of mandamus ordering Marshall to hold court in Raleigh. Writs of mandamus are only used in exceptional cases, when all other means of enforcement have been unsuccessful. They can compel a public official, such as a judge, to perform their official duty.
On July 3, 1851, the Illinois Supreme Court awarded the writ of mandamus and ruled that the Illinois General Assembly’s 1851 act violated the state’s constitution. Justice John D. Caton declared that the abolition of Gallatin and Saline counties and the creation of a new Gallatin County had to be approved by the counties' voters. Caton stated that the 1851 law “practically undertakes to remove a county seat by legislative action alone.” He concluded that the counties could not be united, nor the county seat removed, without “the constitutional sanction of the people.”
Eugene L. Gross and William L. Gross, An Index to All the Laws of the State of Illinois, Both Public and Private, 1818 to 1869 (Springfield: E. L. and W. L. Gross, 1869), 11; “An Act to Create the County of Gallatin Out of the Counties of Gallatin and Saline,” 11 February 1851, General Laws of Illinois (1851), 28; People ex rel. Stephenson v. Marshall, 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=136012; The Staff of the Mitchell-Carnegie Public Library, "A History of Saline County," Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society 27 (April 1934), 39, 42; History of Gallatin, Saline, Hamilton, Franklin and Williamson Counties, Illinois (Chicago: Goodspeed, 1887), 62-66; Saline County Historical Society, Saline County: A Century of History (Harrisburg, IL, Register, 1947), 110-12; “Mandamus,” Reference, Glossary, Martha L. Benner and Cullom Davis et al., eds., The Law Practice of Abraham Lincoln: Complete Documentary Edition, http://www.lawpracticeofabrahamlincoln.org/Reference.aspx?ref=Reference%20html%20files/Glossary.html.
3This is most likely not a reference to a specific justice of Dutch origin or descent, but rather an attempt to offer an impression of a Dutch accent in jest, which was sometimes done in popular culture during the nineteenth century.
Andrew McCallen’s response, if he wrote one, has not been located.
Illinois School Journal 2 (1882-3), 295.
4The individuals in this docketing, written in pencil, could not be positively identified.

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