Petition of Anderson P. Miller and Others to William H. Bissell, [May 1857]1To His Excellency, the Governor of the State of Illinois.
We, the undersigned citizens of Logan county, respectfully represent, that at the March term 1856 of the Sangamon circuit court, John Hibbs was found guilty of Manslaughter, and sentenced to the Penitentiary for the term of two years; that the deceased2 came to his death in Logan county, and the case was taken to Sangamon by change of venue; that it was never certain that he came to his death by the hand of Hibbs; and yet it is certain that if he did, it was without any premiditation, or malice whatever– He has now served in the Penitentiary one year; his family are in great need of the support he should give them; and we would be much gratified, if he should be pardoned for the remainder of his term–3
|A. P. Miller||James McGee|
|Wm J Dudney||Rolen McGee|
|Thomas Young||James Johnson|
|G W Webb||Sampson Mcgee|
|Haris Elliott||Johnathan Cruch|
|H G Rederscker||John parsons|
|Elija Weaver||Wm Burk|
|James McGee||Hugh Laughlin|
|A. J. Rankin||Benjiman [Powel?]
|E. Jordan||Peter Mathias|
|H Jordan||I J Hubbell|
|G. W. Rutherford||daniel pierce|
|Leonard Albert||William Kingery|
|Garret Laughlin||Jeff Jordan|
|Elijah Zellers||D. K. Callarman|
|James W. Robberson|
|Francis M Jordan|
1Abraham Lincoln wrote the body of this petition.
Roy P. Basler, editor of The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln, utilizes the date that David Davis wrote a letter to William H. Bissell—May 8, 1857—to infer that Lincoln signed an endorsement on that letter as well as this petition on May 8, 1857. However, it is unclear that Lincoln wrote this petition on that exact date; therefore, the editors date this petition May 1857.
Roy P. Basler, ed., The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln (New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 1953), 2:394.
3This petition is related to the case People v. Hibbs. In June 1855, the State of Illinois indicted John Hibbs for manslaughter. Hibbs retained Lincoln and William Herndon for his defense and pled not guilty; Amzi McWilliams represented the people. On June 13, the Logan County Circuit Court granted a change of venue and transferred the case to the Sangamon County Circuit Court. The case came before the Sangamon County Circuit Court in March 1856, and, on March 13, the jury found Hibbs guilty and recommended a sentence of two years. Lincoln and Herndon motioned for a new trial, but, on March 29, the court sentenced him to the recommended two years in the Illinois State Penitentiary. As this petition and a letter to Governor Bissell demonstrate, in 1857 Lincoln and others petitioned Bissell to grant Hibbs a pardon. On May 16, 1857, Governor Bissell ordered Hibbs pardoned.
People v. Hibbs, 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=140068.
Handwritten Document Signed, 2 page(s), Illinois State Archives (Springfield, IL).