Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln. Volume 3.
Lincoln, Abraham, 1809-1865.
Page  392

To James Miller [1]

Hon: James Miller: Springfield, Ills. July 11--- 1859

Dear Sir We suppose you are persistently urged to pay something upon the new McCallister and Stebbins bonds. [2] As friends of yours, and of the people, we advise you to pay nothing upon them under any possible circumstances. The holders of them did a great wrong, and are now persisting in it, in a way which deserves severe punishment. They know the Legislature has again and again refused to fully recognize the old bonds. Seizing upon an act never intended to apply to them, they besieged Gov. Bissell more than a year ago to fund the old bonds; he refused. They sought a mandamus upon him from the Supreme court; the court refused. [3] Again they besieged the Governor last winter; he sought to have them go before the Legislature; they refused. Still they persisted, and dogged him in his afflicted condition till they got from him what the agent in New-York acted upon, and issued the new bonds. Now they refuse to surrender them, hoping to force an acquiescence, for Gov. Bissell's sake. ``That cock wont fight,'' and they may as well so understand at once. If the news of the surrender of the new bonds does not reach here in ten days from this date, we shall do what we can to have them repudiated in toto, finally and forever. If they were less than demons they would at once relieve Gov. Bissell from the painful position they have dogged him into; and if they still persist, they shall never see even the twentysix cents to the dollar, if we can prevent it. Yours very truly,




P. S. Dubois is not at home. H. [4]


[1]   ADfS or ALS copy, DLC-RTL. Lincoln's authorship of this letter is not certain. The fact that the postscript bearing Hatch's initial is in Lincoln's hand, initial included, suggests that the document may be only a copy made by Lincoln for his file. The financial tangle in which the state treasurer, James Miller, found himself led to his resignation on September 3, 1859.

[2]   The McCallister and Stebbins [Charles Macallister and Henry Stebbins of New York] bonds were hypothecated in 1841 as a guarantee of a loan of $321,600, to be applied on the interest on the state debt. Upon failure of the state financial system in 1842, the bonds dropped to thirty cents on the dollar. In 1859, under a misapprehension of the law for refunding old indebtedness, Governor Bissell gave instructions which resulted in the issuance of new bonds for the old.

[3]   February 3, 1858.

[4]   Jesse K. Dubois, state auditor, whose signature might have been expected by Miller.