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Abraham Lincoln to Adam Adams, 23 June 18531Springfield, June 23. 1853.Adam Adams, Esq.[Esquire]Dear Sir:
The summer term of the U.S. court is close upon us, and I wish to be ready to put your case before the court in the best possible shape– I suppose you and your witness will be down; and I wish you to call at the Land Office at Dixon, and procure & bring with you the Register's certificate, showing who entered the land, and the date of the entry– Mind, the Register's certificate— not the Receiver's receipt– The Patent, which I have, shows who entered the land, but does not show the date of the entry– I am trying to be prepared before-hand to get the case in the best shape I can–2Yours trulyA. Lincoln–P. S. Since I wrote the above, Logan came in & proposed to continue the case over this summer term– If you prefer doing this, Telegraph me at once & it shall be done3A. L.,
<Page 2>SPRINGFIELD Ill[Illinois].
PAIDAdam Adams, EsqGrand De TourIllinois–
1Abraham Lincoln wrote and signed this letter, including the address on the second sheet, which was folded to make an envelope.
2This letter is related to 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. He wrote multiple letters to Turner, Adams, Bovey, and Cumins regarding this case before its conclusion in 1858.
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.
3Adams’ reply, if he sent one, has not been located. However, since the case stretched well beyond the summer of 1853, Adams apparently agreed to Logan’s proposal. As noted in a letter to Turner on June 27, Lincoln would have preferred to try the case in the summer of 1853 so that it was still fresh in his mind.
Autograph Letter Signed, 2 page(s), Box 4 Lincoln Collection, Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum (Springfield, IL).