Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln. Volume 3.
Lincoln, Abraham, 1809-1865.
Page  338

To Samuel C. Davis and Company [1]

Messrs S. C. Davis & Co Springfield,
Gentlemen Novr. 17. 1858

You perhaps need not to be reminded how I have been personally engaged the last three or four months. Your letter to Lincoln & Herndon, of Oct. 1st. complaining that the lands of those against whom we obtained judgments last winter for you, have not been sold on execution has just been handed to me to-day. I will try to ``explain how our'' (your) ``interests have been so much neglected'' as you choose to express it. After these judgments were obtained we wrote you that under our law, the selling of land on execution is a delicate and dangerous, matter; that it could not be done safely, without a careful examination of titles; and also of the value of the property. Our letters to you will show this. To do this would require a canvass of half the State. We were puzzled, & you sent no definite instructions. At length we employed a young man to visit all the localities, and make as accurate a report on titles and values as he could. He did this, expending three or four weeks time, and as he said, over a hundred dollars of his own money in doing so. When this was done we wrote you, asking if we should sell and bid in for you in accordance with this information. This letter you never answered.

My mind is made up. I will have no more to do with this class of business. I can do business in Court, but I can not, and will not follow executions all over the world. The young man who collected the information for us is an active young lawyer living at Carrollton, Greene County I think. We promised him a share of the compensation we should ultimately receive. He must be somehow paid; and I believe you would do well to turn the whole business over to him. I believe we have had, of legal fees, which you are to recover back from the defendants, one hundred dollars. I would not go through the same labor and vexation again for five hundred; still, if you will clear us of Mr. William Fishback [2] (such is his name) we will be most happy to surrender to him, or to any other person you may name. Yours &c A. LINCOLN


[1]   ALS-F, ISLA. The facsimile shows at the beginning a notation ``Never to be published---Herndon'' and at the end another ``This shall never be published. Herndon.''

[2]   William M. Fishback had moved to Arkansas, where he became active in politics as a Unionist in 1864 and was later elected governor of the state (1893-1895).