Abraham Lincoln, Benjamin S. Edwards, and John T. Stuart to Orville H. Browning, 23 March 18551Springfield, March 23, 1855Hon: O. H. Browning.My dear Sir
Your letter to Judge Logan has been shown to us by him; and, with his consent, we answer it– When it became probable that there would be a vacancy on the Supreme Bench, public opinion, on this side of the river, seemed to be universally directed to Logan as the proper man to fill it–2 I mean public opinion on our side in politics, with very small manifestation in any different direction by the other side– The result is, that he has been a good deal pressed to allow his name to be used, and he has consented to it, provided it can be done with perfect cordiality and good feeling on the part of all our own friends– We, the undersigned, are very anxious for it; and the more so now, that he has been urged, until his mind is turned upon the matter– We, therefore are very glad of your letter, with the information it brings us, mixed only with a request that we can not elect Logan and Walker both– We shall be glad, if you will hoist Logan's name, in your Quincy papers–3Very truly Your friendsA. Lincoln–
<Page 2>B. S. Edwards–John T Stuart
[ endorsement ]
[ docketing ]
2Judge Samuel H. Treat resigned as chief justice of the Illinois Supreme Court on March 23, 1855 to become judge of the newly created U.S. Circuit Court, Southern District of Illinois.
Lincoln wrote to Henry E. Dummer on March 19, 1855, expressing his support of Stephen T. Logan, adding, “I am quite anxious for Logan's election, first, because he will make the best Judge, & second because it would hurt his feelings to be beaten worse than it would almost any one else.”
The Illinois River, in the north central portion of the state, divided eastern counties including Sangamon and western counties such as Adams. Onias C. Skinner, the eventual replacement of Treat, resided in Quincy in Adams County.
Louis L. Emmerson, ed., Blue Book of the State of Illinois, 1923-1924 (Springfield: Illinois State Journal, 1923), 613; John M. Palmer, ed., The Bench and Bar of Illinois: Historical and Reminiscent (Chicago: Lewis, 1899), 1:35; David F. Wilcox, ed., Quincy and Adams County: History and Representative Men (Chicago: Lewis, 1919), 1:149.
3The Quincy Whig acknowledged the names of the various candidates to replace Treat, but, “By request, placed Logan at the head of its columns, because he is said to be the best qualified man in the field.” The Democratic Quincy Herald followed the Illinois State Register in supporting Skinner. The Herald objected to Logan because Logan, a Whig, opposed the Fugitive Slave Law and because Logan presumably was the preferred choice of the Know Nothings.
In June 1855, Skinner defeated Logan to succeed Treat on the Illinois Supreme Court as an associate justice. Walter B. Scates took over the role of chief justice.
Quincy Whig (IL), 12 May 1855, 2:8; The Quincy Herald (IL), 16 April 1855, 2:2; 28 May 1855, 2:1; “Illinois Supreme Court Terms and Justices,” Reference, Chronologies, 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/Reference/Reference%20html%20files/Chronology--ISC.html; John Dean Caton, Early Bench and Bar of Illinois (Chicago: The Chicago Legal News, 1893), 94; Abraham Lincoln to Henry C. Whitney.
4Skinner resigned in April 1858. Pinckney H. Walker, who was not a candidate to succeed Treat in 1855, succeeded Skinner and remained on the Supreme Court until his death in 1885.
John M. Palmer, ed., The Bench and Bar of Illinois: Historical and Reminiscent, 1:54; Daily Illinois State Register (Springfield), 9 June 1855, 2:1.
Autograph Letter Signed, 2 page(s), Box 5, Lincoln Collection, Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum (Springfield, IL).