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Receipt of Abraham Lincoln to Illinois Central Railroad Company, 7 October 18531
Approved,2
[Solr?] Two hundred &fifty Dollars,
in full for retainer in legal business of said Company3
$ 250–
A Lincoln

<Page 2>
[docketing]
//
ILLINOIS CENTRAL R. R. CO.
VOUCHER No.384 $ 250/100
Account of A Lincoln
for Law Expenses
Month of Oct[October], 1853
1This receipt is attributed to Abraham Lincoln, but Lincoln neither wrote nor signed it.
2This text is printed vertically on the left side of the receipt, shown in the first image.
3Mason Brayman enclosed a check for $250 in a letter he wrote to Lincoln on October 7, 1853. It was a general retainer fee for Lincoln’s service to the Illinois Central Railroad, particularly as it related to the case Illinois Central RR v. McLean County, Illinois & Parke.
The Illinois Central Railroad owned 118 acres of land in McLean County, Illinois. The county assessor levied a $428.57 tax on the railroad's property. The railroad claimed that the Illinois General Assembly act incorporating the railroad exempted the railroad from taxes. In September 1853, the railroad sued McLean County in the McLean County Circuit Court for an injunction to stop the county from selling railroad land to pay taxes. In late-September 1853, the parties reached an agreement, in which the circuit court would dismiss the bill, thus ruling for McLean County, and the railroad would appeal the case to the Illinois Supreme Court, where the only question would be whether the county had a lawful right to tax the Illinois Central Railroad’s property.
Lincoln represented the railroad in its Illinois Supreme Court case, which began in December 1853. In December 1855, the Illinois Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the McLean County Circuit Court, and Justice Walter B. Scates ruled that the Illinois General Assembly could exempt property from taxation. Therefore, the Illinois Central Railroad’s charter was constitutional. Lincoln received $5,000 for his legal services, although he had to sue the railroad in 1857 to collect the fee.
At the request of Brayman, Lincoln declined new cases against the railroad that came his way between 1853 and 1855, passing at least some on to John T. Stuart, and therefore lost opportunities to earn other legal fees as a direct result of his employment for the railroad.
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; For the act incorporating the railroad, see “An Act to Incorporate the Illinois Central Railroad Company,” 10 February 1851, Private Laws of Illinois (1851), 61-74; Abraham Lincoln to James F. Joy; Abraham Lincoln to Mason Brayman; For details on Lincoln suing the railroad to collect the fee for his services, 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 Partially Printed Document Signed with a Representation, 2 page(s). Abraham Lincoln Association Files, Lincoln Collection, Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum (Springfield, IL).