Abraham Lincoln to Jesse K. Dubois, 21 December 18571
Dear Dubois
J. M. Douglas, of the I.C.R.R. Co is here, and will carry this letter– He says they have a large sum (near $90.000) which they will pay into the Treasury now, if they have an assurance that they shall not be sued before Jany[January] 1859— otherwise not– I really wish you could consent to this–2 Douglas says they can not pay more, & I believe him–
I do not write this as a lawyer seeking an advantage for a client; but only as a friend, only urging you to do, what I think I would do if I were in your situation– I mean this as private and confidential only, but I feel a good deal of anxiety about it–
Yours as everA. Lincoln
1Abraham Lincoln wrote and signed this letter.
2No response to this letter has been located, but the taxes owed by the Illinois Central Railroad Company for 1857 did eventually become the subject of a lawsuit. The suit of People v. Illinois Central RR was instituted in the Illinois Supreme Court about December 1858 and was called in February 1859. At issue was the valuation of the railroad’s property, with State Auditor Jesse K. Dubois basing the railroad’s tax burden on a higher valuation than that claimed by the Illinois Central. Lincoln, who had worked for the railroad since 1853, was retained for the defense along with John M. Douglass, William K. Parrish, and Isham N. Haynie. The case came to trial in 1860 and Justice Sidney Breese ultimately ruled in favor of the railroad and declared the 1857 taxes to have been paid in full. Lincoln was paid $500 for his work.
Newspaper Report, Document ID: 131493, People v. Illinois Central RR, 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), https://lawpracticeofabrahamlincoln.org/Details.aspx?case=137949; Harry E. Pratt, The Personal Finances of Abraham Lincoln (Springfield, IL: Abraham Lincoln Association, 1943), 49; The Lincoln Log: A Daily Chronology of the Life of Abraham Lincoln, 5 January 1859, https://thelincolnlog.org/Results.aspx?type=CalendarDay&day=1859-01-05; 1 February 1859, https://thelincolnlog.org/Results.aspx?type=CalendarDay&day=1859-02-01; 12 January 1860, https://thelincolnlog.org/Results.aspx?type=CalendarDay&day=1860-01-12.

Autograph Letter Signed, 1 page(s), GLC05277, Gilder Lehrman Collection (New York, New York).