Abraham Lincoln to Adam Adams and John Bovey, 2 August 18521Springfield, Augt 2 1852Messrs.[Messieurs] Adams & BoveyGentlemen:
The court is about to adjourn; and it does not decide our case, but takes it under advisement— till next term I suppose– It appears to me, however, that the signs are against us– What I mean by this is, that I have entire confidence that the law is with us on the Statute of Limitations; and yet it seems, I can not get the judge to remember that this is a question in the case at all– This morning, he said he had a pretty decided opinion on "the question" already; but as it was a new, and very important one, he would consider it further– The "the question" he spoke of, was evidently, the question as to a lien on after acquired lands, & not the act of limitations– Now, as to the question of Limitations, we must have a hearing on it, even if we have to go to the Supreme Court of the U.S. for it— that is, if the other question shall be decided against us– Be patient– They have not got your land yet– Write me–2Yours trulyA. Lincoln
2Lincoln is referencing a lawsuit involving John H. Kemper, Adam Adams, and John Bovey. Kemper recovered a judgment against William F. Bradshaw, and the U.S. marshal sold Bradshaw's land in Ogle County, Illinois, to satisfy the judgment. Bradshaw conveyed the land to Adams and Bovey. Adams and Bovey had possession of the land that Kemper claimed to own by virtue of the judgment. Kemper sued Adams and Bovey in an action of ejectment in the U.S. Circuit Court, District of Illinois, to remove them from the property. Adams and Bovey retained Lincoln, Thomas J. Turner, and Solon Cumins; Kemper retained Stephen T. Logan. Lincoln and his fellow attorneys for the defense argued that the time during which Kemper could sue had expired. The Circuit Court found for Kemper. By virtue of an act promulgated in March 1839, the losing party in an ejectment case was entitled to one new trial simply by paying the court costs, and Adams and Bovey paid the costs and motioned for a new trial. The court granted the motion, and the jury found for Kemper. Adams and Bovey apparently sued Kemper for an injunction to stop the execution of the judgment, and in March 1858, the U.S. Circuit Court, Northern District of Illinois, ruled for Adams and Bovey. Lincoln received $100 for his legal services.
As indicated in a letter to Turner, Lincoln first became involved in the lawsuit in December 1849. Between 1850 and 1858, Lincoln wrote Turner nine letters relating to this case. He also corresponded with Adams, Bovey, and Cumins.
For the letters related to this case, see Kemper v. Adams & Bovey, 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=140935.
Copy of Autograph Letter Signed, 1 page(s), Abraham Lincoln Association Files, Lincoln Collection, Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum (Springfield, IL).