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Ward H. Lamon to Abraham Lincoln, 21 November 18541
A Lincoln Esq[Esquire]Dear Sir:
Your favor of the 10th instant mailed at Clinton is at hand– since its reception I have seen Dr Courtney (our Representative Elect) upon the subject to which your favor related; and he authorised me to say to you that he is “unqualifiedly for you for the U.S. Senate. before any other man in the State”–2 Our citizens here appear to look forward with a great deal of interest to the time that you will be a member of that Body– there appears to be but one feeling here upon the subject– At what time during the session of the Legislature will the election probably come off– I wish intend, to go to see friend Campbell and will defer my visit to him until unti that event occurs provided it will come off during the early part of the session– please let me know! and say how poor Campbell is getting– I feel a deep interest in him–3
Our Clark vs Hoxworth et, al, suit was again continued owing to a misdescription of the land– you did not describe the land as it was in the Mortgage– I asked leave to amend the Bill– would I not better require them to answer under Oath–? They deny everything–4
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I have commenced about fourteen suits against the Great Western Rail Road Company (on appeal from the Report of the Commissioners) for damages, in the next circuit court– You will be here if you are well, will you not?–5 There is great excitement here all the time in regard to the bailing of George High– The horse company come to Danville every day or two supposing that I am going to have him bailed out– and they are going to take him up again immediately and take him to Indiana– I will not give them any satisfaction about it– But Levin T Parmer is going his bail– & old Isaac High is going to place the money ($150000) in his hands to secure him– I would not be at all surprised that ^if^ they should Kill him (judging from the excitement at this time)–6
Great excitement here about the Banks no news in Danville at this time–7
Please write to me immediately on the reception of this– In great haste
Yours Respy[Respectfully]Ward H Lamon
P. S. In taking an appeal from the report of the Commissioners of the G. W. R R C, on whom must the process be served will it answer to serve it on their Attorney?– A very pretty little woman spoke to me yesterday to obtain a divorce from her “Infidel California husband”– judging from her conversation she would like to have a special session for that purpose as she has a flattering chance to marry again8
Yours–

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[Envelope]
DANV[ILLE] Ill[Illinois]
NOV[November] 28
Abraham Lincoln EsqSpringfieldIllinois
[docketing]
W. H. Lamon–9
[docketing]
Nov 21/54[1854]10
1Ward H. Lamon wrote and signed this letter, including the address on the envelope.
2Abraham Lincoln had been in Clinton for a special term of the DeWitt County Circuit Court. He arrived on November 8, 1854 and returned to Springfield on the evening of November 11. Lincoln’s letter to Lamon of November 10, 1854 has not been located, but was likely similar to others he wrote around that time requesting his allies’ help in canvassing their Illinois General Assembly members for support of his potential candidacy for a seat in the U.S. Senate.
Passage of the Kansas-Nebraska Act and its effective repeal of the Missouri Compromise had reawakened Lincoln’s passion for politics, and he threw himself into the congressional election campaign in the fall of 1854, crisscrossing Illinois to deliver speeches against the Kansas-Nebraska Act and in support of anti-Nebraska candidates. He even allowed himself to become a candidate for the Illinois General Assembly (albeit reluctantly at first). As the election campaign reached its climax, Lincoln’s name began to circulate as a possible nominee for one of the state’s U.S. Senate seats. Lincoln won election to the Illinois House of Representatives in the 1854 election, but declined the seat in late November in order to run for U.S. Senate.
Newly-elected state representative for Vermilion County James Courtney did indeed support Lincoln’s bid for the U.S. Senate when the Illinois General Assembly met in a joint session on February 8, 1855 to vote on the matter. Courtney voted for Lincoln through the first nine rounds of voting. For the tenth vote, Lincoln withdrew and urged his supporters to vote for anti-Nebraska Democrat Lyman Trumbull in order to ensure that an anti-Nebraska politician filled the seat. Courtney cast his vote for Trumbull in the tenth and final round of voting in which the latter emerged victorious. See the 1854 Federal Election.
The Lincoln Log: A Daily Chronology of the Life of Abraham Lincoln, 8 November 1854, http://www.thelincolnlog.org/Results.aspx?type=CalendarDay&day=1854-11-08; 11 November 1854, http://www.thelincolnlog.org/Results.aspx?type=CalendarDay&day=1854-11-11; Abraham Lincoln to Charles Hoyt; Abraham Lincoln to J. Young Scammon; Abraham Lincoln to Jacob Harding; David Herbert Donald, Lincoln (New York: Touchstone, 1995), 167-73; Autobiography of Abraham Lincoln Written for John L. Scripps; William H. Randolph to Abraham Lincoln; Illinois Daily Journal (Springfield), 10 November 1854, 2:5; Illinois Senate Journal. 1855. 19th G. A., 242-55; Abraham Lincoln to Elihu B. Washburne; Victor B. Howard, “The Illinois Republican Party: Part I: A Party Organizer for the Republicans in 1854,” Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society 64 (Summer 1971), 153-54.
3David B. Campbell died in Springfield on April 1, 1855, following a long illness with pulmonary consumption (tuberculosis).
Daily Illinois State Register (Springfield), 3 April 1855, 2:1.
4Lincoln and Lamon had been retained to represent John Clark in a lawsuit against John Hoxworth, Rachel Hoxworth, Hiram H. Catlett, and Herald Catlett. In 1846, the Hoxworths had given Clark $1,400 in promissory notes secured by a mortgage to 240 acres of land. John Hoxworth later conveyed this same parcel to the Catletts. When the Hoxworths failed to repay Clark, he commenced his suit in 1853 in the Vermilion County Circuit Court. The court ordered the Catletts to pay Clark $1,886.29 and the case against John Hoxworth was continued until 1867, when it was dismissed.
Clark v. Hoxworth et al., 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=137228.
5The Vermilion County Circuit Court had appointed commissioners to assess damages owed to landowners by the Great Western Railroad. Lamon then initiated these fourteen suits on behalf of landowners who were unsatisfied with the damages assessed by the commissioners. Lincoln was indeed in Danville between May 25 and June 2, 1855, for the next sitting of the Vermilion County Circuit Court, when a number of these cases were heard, and joined Lamon in representing the plaintiffs. Ten of the cases were settled by agreement to the satisfaction of the landowners and the railroad at that time, with settlements ranging from $50 to $300. Two cases went to trial at the May court session and juries awarded damages of $560 to Andrew Makemson (Makenson) and $372 to James Makemson (Makenson).
The Lincoln Log: A Daily Chronology of the Life of Abraham Lincoln, 25 May 1855, http://www.thelincolnlog.org/Results.aspx?type=CalendarDay&day=1855-05-25; 30 May 1855, http://www.thelincolnlog.org/Results.aspx?type=CalendarDay&day=1855-05-30; 2 June 1855, http://www.thelincolnlog.org/Results.aspx?type=CalendarDay&day=1855-06-02; Campbell v. Great Western 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=137216; Frazier v. Great Western 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=137258; Frazier v. Great Western 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=137259; Hickman v. Great Western 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=137307; Lamb v. Great Western 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=137267; Laycock v. Great Western 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=137274; Lamon et ux. v. Great Western 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=137273; Makemson v. Great Western 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=137283; Makemson v. Great Western 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=137284; Makemson v. Great Western 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=137285; Martin v. Great Western 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=137289; Price v. Great Western 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=137394; Roderick v. Great Western 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=137397; Shepherd et al. v. Great Western 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=137408.
6George High was indicted in the Vermilion County Circuit Court for horse stealing in 1852. Vigilante horse companies had sprung up in the region to fight horse theft, and High had apparently escaped from one such group that had captured him before he ultimately ended up in jail in Danville. High was represented by Lincoln, Lamon, George W. Lawrence, and Leonard Swett. Lincoln successfully petitioned for a change of venue to Champaign County Circuit Court where High was found guilty of two separate larceny charges in October 1855 and sentenced to two eighteen-month terms. Two years later, Lincoln petitioned Governor Joel A. Matteson on High’s behalf and obtained a pardon for him.
People v. High, 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=136602; George R. Dekle, Sr., Prairie Defender: The Murder Trials of Abraham Lincoln (Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 2017), 96-100.
7Late in 1854, a regional bank panic occurred in the Midwest due to the over-development of railroads. Illinois had extended credit to many of the surrounding states for such public projects, and when the bonds securing bank specie dropped there were runs on banks in the state, especially in Chicago. The panic quickly subsided, but several Illinois banks closed permanently.
Arthur Charles Cole, The Era of the Civil War 1848-1870, vol. 3 of The Centennial History of Illinois (Springfield: Illinois Centennial Commission, 1919), 98; Fred R. Marckhoff, “Currency and Banking in Illinois before 1865,” Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society 52 (Autumn 1959), 391, 393.
8Neither this woman nor her husband have been identified.
9Lincoln wrote this docketing.
10An unknown person wrote this docketing.

Autograph Letter Signed, 3 page(s), Abraham Lincoln Papers, Library of Congress (Washington, DC).