Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln. Volume 2.
Lincoln, Abraham, 1809-1865.
Messrs Page & Bacon: Springfield,
Gentlemen May 31. 1856

The letter of Mr. Parson, [2] of the 22nd. accompanied, by one to Mr. Dickson, and also by one from Mr. Dickson [3] to your Mr. Bacon,Page  342 owing to my absence, was received on yesterday only. I went to Mr. Dickson at once, and had a conference with him. I do not think he is acting in bad faith. He is a new Marshal, and when he made the agreement with Mr. Parsons, he did not know of the law and regulations out of which the difficulty grows. The sum of the difficulty is that the Government is entitled to a contingent residuum of his fees and emoluments, and he fears and believes he can not lawfully lessen, or destroy that residuum. He says the Judge is of that opinion; and really I have fears of it myself, though it did not occur to me, when the stipulation was made.

Mr. Dickson instructs me to say to you that he wishes nothing for himself beyond what he stipulated for; but that he can not make a false oath to conceal the real truth of the transaction; and he can not subject himself to pay a large sum, or any sum, to the government, out of his own pocket. He says if you give him perfect security that he shall lose nothing, he is still willing to stand to his agreement. Herewith I send you a statement of the matter handed me by Mr. Dickson, containing references to the laws & instructions. Your counsel at St. Louis can examine the question; and if they conclude you can not safely give the security, so much the more certain is it that Mr. Dickson can not safely proceed without it.

In the mean time I shall try to examine the question more fully myself. Yours truly A. LINCOLN---