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Petition of William Wilson and Others to the U.S. Congress, [January 1845]1
To the Senate, and House of Representatives, of the United States of America.
The Memorial of the Subscribers, Members of the Bar, of the State of Illinois, respectfully represents;—
That it is of great importance, that the Decisions of the Supreme Court of the United States, should have a more general circulation among the People of this Country.
Containing the only authentic exposition of the Constitution, and Acts of Congress, and embodying the Supreme Judicial Law of the Union, their dissemination should be coextensive, with the vast and wide interests, over which they have a controlling influence.
Hitherto, the great cost of the Decisions of that Court, have rendered their purchase, impossible to many of the Profession.
In many parts of the Union, the Judges of the State Courts, cannot have access to these Decisions, although often called upon to apply them. The recent reduction of the cost, of the Reports of the Supreme Court of the United States, affords to the general Government, an opportunity to spread them throughout the Union.
To the Courts of Superior Jurisdiction of every State, to the Executive, and Legislative branches, of every State Government, as well as, to every College, and Public Library, a Copy of the Reports of these Decisions, might be presented, at a cost to the United States, far below the benefits, which would thereby be conferred on the People;— and your Memorialists respectfully represent, that they Sincerely desire that the objects herein set forth, may be accomplished, by the wisdom and Justice of your Honorable Bodies.
Wm Wilson Ch.[Chief] Justice
Thomas C Browne associate Justice Sup Court
Jas Shields Do[ditto]
J. D. Caton Do.
S. H. Treat do,
Richard M Young Do.
Jesse. B. Thomas Do
Walter B. Scates Do.
Saml D Lockwood Do
E Peck D
Onslow Peters A P Dunbar
Geo. C. Dixon
O. H. Browning [Francis Forman?]
A. Lincoln E. B. Webb
Wells Colton Geo. T. M. Davis
H M Wead
J Gillespie Thompson Campbell
Levi Davis David Davis
N. D. Strong Anson S. Miller.
M. McConnel B. C. Cooke2
L W. Ross Henry Eddy.
S. W. Robbins
Wm H. Herndon Kirby Benedict
Archibald Williams Wm A Denning
B. S. Edwards. Jas W. Singleton
L. B Knowlton M. Brayman
W L D Ewing Charles Gilman.
A. Campbell S. G. Hicks
John T Stuart Julius Manning
Churchill Coffing
D. Logan Isaac N. Arnold
D. B. Campbell A. F. Patrick
J D Urquhart Jas C Conkling
N. B. Judd. N. H. Purple
John Daugherty. Jonesboro’
J. Butterfield C. K. Harvey
R. Yates. H. O. Merriman
T. L. Dickey
E. H. Starkweather
C. R. Welles

<Page 2>
28th Cong
2. Sess[Session]
Memorial of a number of members of the Bar of Illinois, praying the publication and distribution of an edition of the Reports of Decisions of the Supreme Court U.S.
1845. Jan. 27. Referred to the Com:[Committee] on the Judiciary
"Feb. 6. Bill reported
S.[Senate] 119.
Memorial of the Members of the Bar of the State of Illinois
1Abraham Lincoln signed his own name only to this petition.
2This individual could not be identified.
3On January 27, 1845, Sidney Breese, in the U.S. Senate, presented this petition, which the Senate referred to the Committee on the Judiciary. The committee reported back the petition on February 6, along with Senate Bill 119, which provided for the purchase and distribution of the decisions of the Supreme Court among the states and territories. The Senate passed the bill on February 13. On February 15, the House of Representatives referred the bill to the Committee on the Judiciary. The committee reported back the bill on February 25 with an amendment. The House tabled the bill on March 3, taking no further action.
U.S. Senate Journal. 1845. 28th Cong., 2nd sess., 110, 137, 168; S. 119, 28th Cong. (1845); U.S. House Journal. 1845. 28th Cong., 2nd sess., 396, 466, 561-62.

Handwritten Document Signed, 2 page(s), Box 96, RG 46, Entry 401: Records of the United States Senate, Twenty-Eighth Congress, 1843-1845, Records of Legislative Proceedings, Petitions and Memorials, Resolutions of State Legislatures, and Related Documents Which Were Referred to Committees, 1843-1845, NAB.