Abraham Lincoln to James F. Joy, 19 September 18551Cincinnati, Sept 19. 1855J. F Joy, Esq[Esquire]Chicago, Ills.Dear Sir:
On monday, after I had reached the Depot, to come on here,2 your despach was brought me–3 I ran to the Telegraph office and answered briefly, and was near being left by the cars–4 This is the first moment I have since had to write you– When I drew the draft at Bloomington, I wrote you, in explanation, and mailed the letter within thirty minutes after I signed the draft– The draft and letter should have gone by the same mail, and I can not understand why they did not– I hope the latter has reached you before this– The explanation was, and is, that for one year— that is, two terms of court in each county— I have attended to from fifteen to seventeen, cases for the I. C. Co, in ^the^ those counties— ^of McLean & DeWitt^, for which I have not been paid–5 The exact number of the cases, and the names of the parties, I could only have given, when I drew, by going down to DeWitt, which I thought scarcely necessary particularly,
<Page 2>as the presiding Judge added a note to my letter, stating I had performed the services, and that the charge I made was very reasonable–6
I will add now what I did not state in my former letter, that it was at Mr Brayman's request, made two years ago, I declined taking any new cases against the Company, and attended to those cases as they came up from time to time, and that he paid me for this class of business up to some time in September 1854– I hope this is satisfactory–7Yours trulyA Lincoln–
2Lincoln was in Cincinnati, Ohio for trial of the case McCormick v. Talcott et al., which commenced on September 20, 1855. The case was held at the Cincinnati home of Judge John McLean, by McLean’s suggestion.
The Lincoln Log: A Daily Chronology of the Life of Abraham Lincoln, 20 September 1855, http://www.thelincolnlog.org/Results.aspx?type=CalendarDay&day=1855-09-20; “Abraham Lincoln at Cincinnati,” Harper’s New Monthly Magazine 409 (June 1884), 62; For additional information about the case, see McCormick v. Talcott et al., 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=137741, http://www.lawpracticeofabrahamlincoln.org/Details.aspx?case=137742.
5Lincoln references his September 14 letter to Joy, which discussed the draft he mentions and requested that Joy approve payment of $150 to Lincoln for services he rendered for the Illinois Central Railroad Company in McLean and DeWitt counties. Mason Brayman had hired Lincoln on behalf of the railroad in October 1853. Lincoln represented the railroad in the case Illinois Central RR v. McLean County, Illinois & Parke as well as in other cases that local landowners brought against the railroad as it completed its construction work throughout central Illinois.
Illinois Central RR v. McLean County, Illinois & Parke, 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=136867, http://www.lawpracticeofabrahamlincoln.org/Details.aspx?case=136868; For additional details about the many smaller cases in which Lincoln represented the Illinois Central Railroad Company, search Participant, "Illinois Central RR," Martha L. Benner and Cullom Davis et al., eds., The Law Practice of Abraham Lincoln: Complete Documentary Edition, http://www.lawpracticeofabrahamlincoln.org.
7Joy’s reply, if he wrote one, has not been located.
Lincoln corresponded with Joy about some of his work on behalf of the railroad at least once in 1853 and once in 1854. He passed at least some of the new cases against the railroad that came his way between 1853 and 1855 to John T. Stuart. The September 1854 payment from Brayman that Lincoln mentions was the result of a September 23, 1854 letter that Lincoln had written to Brayman requesting he honor a $100 draft upon the railroad’s account for services Lincoln had rendered on behalf of the railroad since the time Brayman hired him.
Lincoln also eventually received $5,000 for his legal services related specifically to the case Illinois Central RR v. McLean County, Illinois & Parke, although he had to sue the railroad in 1857 to collect the fee.
Abraham Lincoln to Mason Brayman; For details on Lincoln suing the Illinois Central Railroad Company to collect the fee for his services on the Illinois Central RR v. McLean County, Illinois & Parke case, see: Lincoln v. Illinois Central RR, 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=136777.
Copy of Autograph Letter Signed, 2 page(s), Abraham Lincoln Association Files, Lincoln Collection, Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum (Springfield, IL).