John D. Swallow to Abraham Lincoln, 13 June 18541
Mr. A. LincolnDr.[Dear] Sir
through friendship by long tried— now in long suspense— wish your opinion on a point into law–
I sold to A. Edmons2 my mill for two states Ioway and Wisconsin gave a warety[warranty] deed for the mill—3 there seems to be, a spurias[spurious] title as to the pattent with others I instituted a suit in chancery– Now if Edmons should want money and a stranger to the suit should loan him money and take a mortgage on the property (some three days after the record of the suit or bill was filed and notice served on Edmons—) will that mortgage be valid in and sustained at law— and if a piece of land was given for a pattent right and that right proves void and four months after a person comes and makes a purchas of said land in good faith an entire stranger to Edmons and the suit— can the purchaser hold the land at law please write by return mail–
yours RespectfullyJ. D. Swallow
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[ endorsement ]
Both your questions are the same–4 After you sold and deeded your property to Edmons, for a consideration which is worthless and fraudulent, any person who buys or takes a mortgage from Edmons, without Notice of the fraud, will hold the property against you; but whoever buys or takes a mortgage after your Bill is filed, is conclusively presumed to have ^had^ notice of the fraud, and therefore can have no better right against you than Edmons himself had. This is the whole law of the case.
Yours trulyA. Lincoln–
1This document is a typed transcription on letterhead that reads, “LAW OFFICE / FRANK E. BLANE / MENARD COUNTY / PETERSBURG, ILLINOIS.” Frank E. Blane donated this copy to The Abraham Lincoln Association in Springfield, Illinois. The original in John D. Swallow’s hand has not been located.
2A. Edmons (Edmonds) has not been positively identified.
3A warranty deed conveys the grantor’s (Swallow) complete claim to property to the grantee (Edmons) and guarantees clear, clean marketable title to it.
Henry Campbell Black, Black’s Law Dictionary, 6th ed. (St. Paul, MN: West, 1990), 1589.
4Lincoln wrote this response on the back of John D. Swallow’s original letter.
Roy P. Basler, ed., The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln (New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 1953), 2:219.

Typed Transcription, 2 page(s), Abraham Lincoln Association Files, Lincoln Collection, Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum (Springfield, IL). .