John W. Chickering to Abraham Lincoln, 11 May 18491Alton May 11/49A Lincoln Esqr[Esquire]Dear Sir
I was very desirous of seeing you when in Springfield, & called several times but had not the pleasure of meeting you– My particular object is to settle your claim against me for services in case Griggs et als vs Gear– My account I have settled with them during the last month, they just refused to pay and I commenced suit which before trial they compromised by paying me some thing about 75% on the amt[amount]— under this state of things I wish to adjust the matter with you— and ask you how you will settle–2 I giving you J Thayer & Cos acceptance payable about June 15th or July 1st next— or the cash if you prefer it— but for you to take the former would be an accomodation to me. it is J[Joseph] Thayer & Co[Company] of your place– in what I should prefer above all– I own S W qr N E qr Sec[South West quarter North East quarter Section] 24– T[Township]15 R[Range]5– 40 acres Land in your county some six or eight miles from your city–3 which I want to sell tell me how you will settle & take a deed to this Land title good— answer me by next mail as I hope to be off for the coast on Tuesday—very much oblige
<Page 2>allow me to ask an other favor if you please send me a letter to some of your influential friends— (one is enough [& no?] matter to whom it is addressed) of introduction having some refferance to my professional standing–4
Your Obt Svt[Obedient Servant]J. W. Chickering
2From 1845 to 1848, Lincoln & Herndon represented the Boston financial firm of Griggs & Weld in appellate cases against Hezekiah H. Gear before the Illinois Supreme Court and the U.S. Circuit Court. Chickering had represented Griggs & Weld in the case before the Jo Daviess County Circuit Court that initiated the appeals, and he served alongside Lincoln & Herndon representing Griggs & Weld at the Illinois Supreme Court and federal court levels. Chickering had agreed to pay Lincoln & Herndon $100 for assisting him in the appeals.
Levi Davis to Abraham Lincoln; Griggs & Weld v. Gear, 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://lawpracticeofabrahamlincoln.org/Details.aspx?case=139743, http://lawpracticeofabrahamlincoln.org/Details.aspx?case=139745.
3Located southeast of Springfield and southwest of Rochester.
4Lincoln apparently responded to Chickering on May 13, 1849. Lincoln’s letter has not been found, but Chickering’s response of May 14 suggests that Lincoln obliged him with a letter of reference.
Autograph Letter Signed, 2 page(s), Abraham Lincoln Papers, Library of Congress (Washington, DC).