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Declaration in Bagley v. Vanmeter, October 18431
State of Illinois }
Coles county ss–[scilicet]
Of the October Term of the coles county circuit court in the year A.D. 1843–
James H. Bagley, plaintiff, complains of Isaac. D. Vanmeter, ^defendant,^ being in custody &C[etc.] of a plea of Trespass on the case– For that whereas the said defendant, heretofore, towit on the day of May in the year of our Lord one thousand, eight hundred and fortythree at the county aforesaid, in the presence ^& hearing^ of divers good and worthy citizens of the state of Illinois,2 of and among the said plaintiff, did willfully, maliciously and falsely, speak, utter and publish, ^of, and concerning the said plaintiff,^ the following false, malicious, and defamatory words, that is to say–
“He” (plaintiff meaning) “swore a lie”– “He” (plaintiff meaning) “swore a damned lie–” “He” (plaintiff meaning) “swore a lie, and I” (defendant meaning) “can prove it” “He” (plaintiff meaning) “swore a damned lie, and I” (defendant meaning) “can prove it”–
And whereas the said defendant also, afterwards towit on the day and year aforesaid, at the county aforesaid, in the presence and hearing of divers other good and worthy citizens of the state of Illinois, did wilfully, maliciously and falsely speak, utter and publish, of to, and of and concerning, the said plaintiff, the following false, malicious, and defamatory words, that is to say— “You” (plaintiff meaning) “swore a lie” “You” (plaintiff meaning) “swore a damned lie”– “You” (plaintiff meaning) “swore a lie, an I” (defendant meaning) “can prove it” “You” (plaintiff meaning) “swore a damned lie, and I” (defendant meaning) “can prove it”–
By means whereof the said plaintiff hath been injured, and hath sustained damage, in the sum of one thousand dollars, and therefore he brings his suit &C.3
Lincoln p. q.4

<Page 2>
[docketing]
No 2
5
[docketing]
Bagley }
vs Declaration
Vanmeter
6
10/10/1843
Filed October 10th 1843
N. Ellington Clerk7
1Abraham Lincoln wrote and signed the document. He also wrote one instance of docketing on page two.
2“Divers” in a legal context means various, several or sundry; it is a collective term grouping a number of unspecified persons, acts, or objects.
Henry Campbell Black, Black’s Law Dictionary, 5th ed. (St. Paul, MN: West, 1979), 428.
3Isaac D. Vanmeter claimed that James H. Bagley had committed perjury in the course of a lawsuit. Bagley retained Lincoln and sued Vanmeter for slander. The jury found for Bagley and awarded $80.
Bagley v. Vanmeter, 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=135659.
4Abbreviation for the Latin “pro querente,” meaning “for the plaintiff”; Lincoln was the plaintiff’s attorney.
Henry Campbell Black, Black’s Law Dictionary, 1098.
5Nathan Ellington wrote this docketing.
6Lincoln wrote this docketing.
7Ellington wrote and signed this endorsement.

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