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Abraham Lincoln to Ebenezer Lane, 25 July 18561
Hon. E. LaneSir
A week ago I presented a Bill against the I. C. R-R. Co, to their attorneys here Messrs [Messieurs] Stuart & Douglass2 Three days ago, Mr Douglass told me it had been laid before Executive Committee, for their action– I now find that neither Executive Committee nor Mr Douglass is to be found in the City– I was very anxious for a decision in the premises, but am now under the necessity of leaving for my home at Springfield without getting it–3 When a decision shall be made, will you please notify me at Springfield?–4
RespectfullyA. Lincoln
1Abraham Lincoln wrote and signed this letter.
2Lincoln had arrived in Chicago on July 15, 1856, with the stated intention that he would be there two weeks to transact court business. During this two week period, he gave a political speech in Chicago and also traveled out from Chicago to the cities of Dixon, Sterling, Galena, and Oregon, speaking to Republican meetings and in support of Republicans John C. Fremont for president, and William H. Bissell for governor. See the 1856 Federal Election.
No text of the bill that Lincoln had presented to Illinois Central Railroad attorneys David Stuart and John M. Douglass has been located. The bill was for his work on behalf of the railroad in the case of Illinois Central RR v. McLean County, Illinois & Parke. That case had been finally decided in January 1856 in the Illinois Supreme Court, which upheld the railroad’s charter as constitutional, and affirmed that under the charter counties could not tax the railroad.
The Illinois Central Railroad did not pay Lincoln’s bill at this time, and he ultimately instituted a suit against the railroad in McLean County Circuit Court in April 1857 in order to collect these fees. Lincoln claimed $6,000 in damages and was awarded $5,000 by a jury in June 1857. This amount was adjusted down to $4,800 in consideration of a retainer Lincoln had earlier received from the railroad. He received payment from the railroad in this amount in August 1857.
Report of Speech at Galena, Illinois; Report of Speech at Galena, Illinois; Receipt of Abraham Lincoln to Illinois Central Railroad Company; Mason Brayman to Abraham Lincoln; The Lincoln Log: A Daily Chronology of the Life of Abraham Lincoln, 15 July 1856, http://www.thelincolnlog.org/Results.aspx?type=CalendarDay&day=1856-07-15; 17 July 1856, http://www.thelincolnlog.org/Results.aspx?type=CalendarDay&day=1856-07-17; 18 July 1856, http://www.thelincolnlog.org/Results.aspx?type=CalendarDay&day=1856-07-18; 19 July 1856, http://www.thelincolnlog.org/Results.aspx?type=CalendarDay&day=1856-07-19; 23 July 1856, http://www.thelincolnlog.org/Results.aspx?type=CalendarDay&day=1856-07-23; 25 July 1856, http://www.thelincolnlog.org/Results.aspx?type=CalendarDay&day=1856-07-25; 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, 2d edition (Springfield: Illinois Historic Preservation Agency, 2009), http://www.lawpracticeofabrahamlincoln.org/Details.aspx?case=136867; http://www.lawpracticeofabrahamlincoln.org/Details.aspx?case=136868; 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; Harry E. Pratt, The Personal Finances of Abraham Lincoln (Springfield, IL: Abraham Lincoln Association, 1943), 50-54.
3Lincoln returned home to Springfield the following day.
The Lincoln Log: A Daily Chronology of the Life of Abraham Lincoln, 26 July 1856, http://www.thelincolnlog.org/Results.aspx?type=CalendarDay&day=1856-07-26.
4No response to this letter from Ebenezer Lane or any other representative of the Illinois Central Railroad has been located.

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