Abraham Lincoln to Edward Seymour, 17 July 18541
E. Seymour, Esqr.[Esquire]Kaskaskia, Ills.Dear Sir:
Your letter of the 13th inclosing copy declaration & notice, in case of Morrison vs Briggs, came duly to hand–2 On examination I found the case had been docketted at this July term, with rule to plead in twenty-days– To prevent a default, it was necessary to file a plea before the expiration of the twenty days; and accordingly I filed it on the 15th InstCourt has adjourned; and nothing but preparation is necessary in the case, till the 3rd monday of Decr[December] when court sits again–3 In the mean time if you wish me to do any thing further in the case you would better get up your evidence of title and send it to me–4
Yours &C[etc.]A. Lincoln
<Page 2>
SPRINGFIELD Ill.[Illinois]
JUL[July] 18
E.. Seymour, Esq[Esquire]KaskaskiaIllinois–
[ docketing ]
A Lincoln5
1Abraham Lincoln wrote and signed this letter, including the address on the last sheet, which was folded to create an envelope.
2Edward Seymour’s letter to Lincoln of July 13, 1854, has not been located, but texts of the legal declaration and notice it covered are extant as part of the complete record for the case of Morrison v. Briggs.
Document ID: 64288, Morrison v. Briggs, 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=137583.
3The case of Morrison v. Briggs was brought on July 5, 1854 in United States Circuit Court for the District of Illinois by plaintiff William M. Morrison, represented by attorneys Charles B. Lawrence and Archibald Williams. Morrison claimed that he was the owner of a 320-acre tract of land in Randolph County which he argued that defendant Charles Briggs was unlawfully occupying. Lincoln and Stephen T. Logan represented Briggs, and on July 15, 1854, Lincoln filed a plea of not guilty on Briggs’s behalf. The case went to court on December 20, 1854, and a jury found in favor of Morrison, awarding him damages of one cent and the cost of his legal fees, and ordering Briggs to give up possession of the land. Between instituting this case in July of 1854 and its conclusion in December of the same year, Morrison filed a deed in Randolph County on September 18, 1854 which documented his purchase of the tract under contention on December 20, 1853 from his cousin James L. D. Morrison and the latter’s wife, Mary A. Carlin Morrison.
Morrison v. Briggs, Martha L. Benner and Cullom Davis et al., eds., The Law Practice of Abraham Lincoln: Complete Documentary Edition, http://www.lawpracticeofabrahamlincoln.org/Details.aspx?case=137583; Randolph County Deed Book, Microfilm Publication, Roll 30, EE:172, Randolph County Court House, Chester, IL; Walter B. Stevens, Centennial History of Missouri (The Center State): One Hundred Years in the Union, 1820-1921 (St. Louis and Chicago: S. J. Clarke, 1921), 2:691-92.
4No subsequent correspondence between Lincoln and Seymour regarding this case nor evidence of Briggs’s title to the tract in question has been located. Seymour’s role in the case is unclear, but likely stemmed from a relationship by marriage to Briggs. Seymour’s sister-in-law and Briggs’s mother were both members of the McDonough family.
U.S. Census Office, Seventh Census of the United States (1850), Randolph County, IL, 43; An Illustrated Historical Atlas Map of Randolph County, Ills. (IL: W. R. Brink, 1875), 54A; Illinois, U.S., County Marriage Records, 1800-1940, 19 December 1822, 19 December 1829, Randolph County, (Lehi, UT: Ancestry.com Operations, 2016).
5An unknown person wrote this docketing.

Autograph Letter Signed, 2 page(s), Private Collection, Janice Burk, Jackson, MO.