Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln. Volume 2.
Lincoln, Abraham, 1809-1865.
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To Henry C. Whitney [1]

Henry C. Whitney, Esq Springfield,
My dear Sir: Dec 18. 1857.

Coming home from Bloomington last night I found your letter of the 15th.

I know of no express statute or decisions as to what a J. P. upon the expiration of his term shall do with his docket books, papers, unfinished business &c. but so far as I know, the practice has been to hand over to the successor, and to cease to do anything further whatever, in perfect analoge to Sec's 110 & 112---and I have supposed & do suppose this is the law. I think the successor may forthwith do, whatever the retiring J.P. might → have done. As to the proviso to Sec. 114 I think it was put in to cover possible cases, by way of caution, and not to authorize the J.P. to go forward and finish up whatever might → have been begun by him.

The view I take I believe is the common law principle, as to retiring officers and their successors, to which I remember but one exception, which is the case of Sheriffs and ministerial officers of that class.

Page  429I have not had time to examine this subject fully, but I have great confidence I am right → .

You must not think of offering me pay for this.

Mr. John O. Johnson [2] is my friend; I gave your name to him. He is doing the work of trying to get up a republican organization. I do not suppose Long John [3] ever saw or heard of him. Let me say to you confidentially, that I do not entirely appreciate what the republican papers of Chicago are so constantly saying against Long John. I consider those papers truly devoted to the republican cause, and not unfriendly to me; but I do think that more of what they say against ``Long John'' is dictated by personal malice than [they] themselves are conscious of. We can not afford to lose the services of ``Long John'' and I do believe the unrelenting warfare made upon him, is injuring our cause. I mean this to be confidential.

If you quietly co-operate with Mr. J. O. Johnson, in getting up an organization I think it will be right. Your friend as ever

A. LINCOLN

Annotation

[1]   ALS-P, ISLA.

[2]   See letter to Yates, September 30, supra.

[3]   ``Long'' John Wentworth, editor of the Chicago Democrat.

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