Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln. Volume 8.
Lincoln, Abraham, 1809-1865.

To William Dennison [1]

February 28, 1865

I know what our friend Corwine wants. He wants me to decide a matter in favor of his client, which I might possibly do if we were nearer the end of the war, but which, if driven to decide now, I should have to decide against him. A. LINCOLN

Feb. 28. 1865.


[1]   AES, ORB. Lincoln's endorsement appears on the back of a letter from William Dennison asking Lincoln to grant Richard M. Corwine an interview. Concerning E. A. Smith, see Lincoln to Eastman, November 24, 1863, and to Corwine, March 30, 1864, supra.

On March 6, Corwine wrote:

``After your declination to see me this last week, I would not make another effort in that direction, if I did not feel that you have misunderstood the import of my business. I wish not to ask you at present to decide Smith's case any further than you have, but I did then and do now wish to make a suggestion, with respect to it . . . which cannot fail to meet your approbation. . . .

``I shall make no further effort to see you unless you intimate . . . that my presence will be agreeable. . . .'' (DLC-RTL).

On March 8, Corwine wrote again: ``There is a ballance coming to E. A. Smith for horses furnished . . . at Cincinnati and Louisville amounting to . . . Forty thousand Dollars. The accounting officers refuse to pay him as long as the court martial fine, for $20,000 remains in force. Aware of your policy in this class of cases, I have no disposition now and have not had since I learned what your policy was, to press any further consideration of his case, but I respectfully submit that an order might be made by you, directing the payment of any just claim he has without respect to this fine. . . . I take the liberty to enclose the copy of such an order as I have referred to. Had you found it convenient to grant me an interview, this is all I had designed to propose.'' (Ibid.).

AGO General Court Martial Orders No. 640, December 9, 1865, directed remission of one-half the fine of $20,000, and Smith to be discharged upon payment of the $10,000 to a quartermaster of the U.S. Army.