Abraham Lincoln to Daniel S. Dickinson, 3 August 18581
Hon: D. S. DickinsonSir
In March 1857 I saw upon the Railroad train, being taken from Chicago to Alton, to the Penitentiary there, a man of gentlemanly appearance by the name of Hyde– He accosted me and conversed some as to the chance of obtaining a pardon– A year after he addressed me the inclosed letter from the prison– You see he mentions your name– Do you really know him? If our Governor could learn that he has been respectable, and is of respectable connections, perhaps he would pardon him–2 Please answer–3 Pardon the liberty I take in addressing you– Several years ago I knew you slightly at Washington4
Your Obt Servt[Obedient Servant]A. Lincoln
1Abraham Lincoln wrote and signed this letter.
2Alfred Hyde and his associate, Charles Maitland James, had been arrested in Chicago in August 1856 for possessing and circulating bills of the American Exchange Bank, Georgetown, an institution which allegedly existed in name only. Hyde was found guilty in the Chicago Recorder’s Court on February 27, 1857, and was sentenced to four years in the Illinois State Penitentiary at Alton.
Acquaintances of Hyde in Massachusetts and in Chicago signed petitions addressed to Illinois Governor William H. Bissell urging that Hyde be pardoned and also met with the governor, but beyond Lincoln’s correspondence with Daniel S. Dickinson on the subject, there is no evidence that Lincoln involved himself in Hyde’s case. Bissell pardoned Hyde in October 1858 on the condition that he leave Illinois and never return.
Evening Star (Washington, DC), 9 August 1856, 3:1; The Daily Democratic Press (Chicago, IL), 28 February 1857, 3:1; Hyde requested Lincoln’s assistance in obtaining pardon, 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://www.lawpracticeofabrahamlincoln.org/Details.aspx?case=141553; Illinois Department of Corrections & Predecessor Agencies, Register of Illinois Prison Records, Illinois State Prison (Alton), 4:330, Illinois State Archives, Springfield, IL; Secretary of State: Executive Section, Executive Clemency Files, 1835-1973, RG 103/096, Illinois State Archives, Springfield, IL; Secretary of State: Executive Section, Executive Register, October 6, 1818-December 30, 2004, RG 103/063, Illinois State Archives, Springfield, IL.
3Dickinson responded with his knowledge of Hyde on August 9, 1858.
4Lincoln and Dickinson were presumably acquainted in Washington, DC when both were serving in the U.S. Congress, with Lincoln representing Illinois in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1847 to 1849, and Dickinson serving in the U.S. Senate from New York from 1844 to 1851.
Biographical Directory of the American Congress 1774-1996 (Alexandria, VA: CQ Staff Directories, 1997), 940, 1395.

Copy of Autograph Letter Signed, 1 page(s), Abraham Lincoln Association Files, Lincoln Collection, Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum (Springfield, IL).