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Isaac Gibson to Abraham Lincoln, 15 March 1851
P. Mail
A. Lincoln Esqr[Esquire]SpringfieldIllinoisDear Sir
Your letter addressed to me under date of the 26th ulto is before me, and in reply, I beg to inform you that it will be impossible for me to leave this, so as to be with you by the time specified in your respects. We were greatly in hopes that evidence given here before an Illinois Commissioner would have answered every purpose, but as you positively state that it is inadmissable, we see no other course to adopt (if the parties continue to refuse to pay) but to put off the suits until another term of your Court.1
We did suppose that where subscribers to our Road had the ability to pay, they would have observed good faith, and have promptly responded to the calls made for instalments more particularly, as the work has been carried on with great energy, with every prospect of the entire line being opened from Alton to your City on or before the first day of November next, and as there can be no doubt of the stock being a valuable investment, we will still entertain the hope that those stockholders who are delinquents may still be induced to pay up without the necessity of resorting to legal measures. upon this subject I have by this days mail addressed a letter to Mr Hickox of your City, and beg leave to refer you to that Gentleman for our views upon this subject–2
We wish you had given us the names of the parties you contemplate suing, and if suits are necessary to compel payment, pleas^e^ to inform me when your Court will again sit, and also whether the testimony of a Director with the Book of Minutes would answer the purpose, and thus avoid the necessity of leaving my post.3

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Waiting your reply I remain
Dear Sir yours respectfully
Isaac Gibson SecretaryP. S.[Post Script]
I sent you by telegraph to-day a communication of which the following is a copy
[enclosure]
03/15/1851A. LincolnSpringfieldIllinois
It ^will^ be impossible for me to be with you this month. I write you fully by maill. Suits must be postponed.
Isaac Gibson Secretary
1Abraham Lincoln was representing the Alton & Sangamon Raiload in suits against John M. Burkhardt, James A. Barret, and Joseph Klein, Sr.
Alton & Sangamon RR v. Burkhardt, 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=138122; Alton & Sangamon RR v. Barret, 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=138164; Alton & Sangamon RR v. Klein, 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=138127.
2Virgil Hickox was a collector of installment payments for the Alton & Sangamon Railroad. In April 1851, he would become a director of the railroad.
Illinois Daily Journal (Springfield), 2 January 1851, 2:5; 21 April 1851, 3:1.
3Isaac Gibson references lawsuits Abraham Lincoln planned to bring against Barret and Klein on behalf of the directors of the Alton and Sangamon Railroad Company, which had retained Lincoln & Herndon to collect balances due on shares of capital stock purchased by stockholders.
The Illinois General Assembly chartered the railroad in February 1847 to construct and operate a railroad between Alton, Illinois, via New Berlin, and Springfield, Illinois. Section two of the company’s charter allowed the incorporators to issue $500,000 in stock at $100 per share, and section six required subscribers to purchase stock by paying $5 on each share subscribed at the time of subscribing and the balance in installments called for by a board of directors. The incorporators opened subscription for stock in May 1847. Many stock subscribers owned property near the proposed route. On January 29, 1851, however, the General Assembly altered the charter to allow the company to construct the road on a more direct route, bypassing the property of several stockholders. Believing that the change in route voided their subscription agreements, several investors refused to pay their remaining installments, and the company hired Lincoln & Herndon to collect the full subscriptions. Barret, Klein, and several of the delinquent subscribers were from Sangamon County, Illinois, and thirty-seven were from Madison County, Illinois.
Lincoln originally planned to also bring suit against Thomas J. Kirkpatrick and Burkhardt, but Kirkpatrick and Burkhardt paid their installments, and the railroad dismissed its cases against them. Lincoln continued to work on the Barret and Klein lawsuits.
Lincoln hoped to depose Gibson in the Barret and Klein lawsuits. In his letter of February 26, Lincoln wrote Gibson, the secretary of the railroad, requesting that he bring the books of the corporation and appear before the Sangamon County Circuit Court at the opening of its spring session on March 17. Gibson responded to Lincoln’s missive with this letter and a telegram of the same day. Gibson gave his deposition in August 1851 in New York City.
"An Act to Construct a Railroad from Alton, in Madison County, to Springfield, in Sangamon County," 27 February 1847, Private and Special Laws of Illinois (1847), 144-49; Alton & Sangamon Railroad Stock Subscription Book; Stock Subscription Book, Document ID: 4967; Notice to Take Deposition, Document ID: 4791, 4914; Deposition, Document ID: 93976, Alton & Sangamon RR v. Barret, 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=138164; “An Act to Amend the Charter of the Alton and Sangamon Railroad Company,” 29 January 1851, Private Laws of Illinois (1851), 35; Declaration, Praecipe, Document ID: 4786, Order, Document ID: 5224, Alton & Sangamon RR v. Kirkpatrick, 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=138126; Declaration, Document ID: 4789; Order, Document ID: 5225, Alton & Sangamon RR v. Burkhardt, 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=138122; Notice to Take Deposition, Interrogatories, Document ID: 4783; Deposition, Document ID: 4927, Alton & Sangamon RR v. Klein, 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=138127; Abraham Lincoln to William Martin; Abraham Lincoln to William Martin. For full treatment of these cases, see Daniel W. Stowell et al., eds., The Papers of Abraham Lincoln: Legal Documents and Cases (Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2008), 2:172-210.

Handwritten Transcription, 3 page(s), Lincoln Collection, Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum (Springfield, IL).