Abraham Lincoln to William Dickson, 26 July 18511Springfield, Ills. July 26. 1851 Mr Wm DicksonDear Sir:
Most of the business at the late term of the U. S. Court, and your case with the rest, was continued over without a trial–2 Of course we can tell you nothing new about it–Yours trulyA. Lincoln
<Page 2>SPRINGFIELD Ill.[Illinois]
5William DicksonCamden MillsRock Island Co.[County]Illinois–
1Abraham Lincoln wrote and signed this letter, including the address on the last sheet, which was folded to create an envelope.
Roy P. Basler, editor of The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln, dated this letter July 21, 1851. Based upon comparisons to other examples of Lincoln’s handwriting, however, the editors determined that July 26, 1851 is the correct date for this letter.
2The U.S. Circuit Court, District of Illinois met on Monday, July 7, 1851. Any cases that the court was not able to bring to trial during that session were, per Illinois law, automatically carried over to the court’s next session, which, in this case, was Tuesday, October 7, 1851. No other correspondence between Lincoln and the William Dickson of Camden Mills has been located; therefore, very little is known about the legal case discussed in this letter aside from the facts that Dickson was one of the litigants in the case and that he retained Lincoln to represent him. The resolution of the case is unknown.
“An Act providing for an Additional Term of the United States Circuit and District Courts at Chicago, in the District of Illinois,” 3 March 1851, Statutes at Large of the United States 9 (1862):636-37; Unknown v. Unknown, 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=141104.
Autograph Letter Signed, 2 page(s), Special Collections and Archives, Hutchins Library, Berea College (Berea, KY).