Skip to main content
Go to accessibility notice

    Description

    Abraham Lincoln. Unsigned Autograph Note, in pencil. No place or date, approximately two-thirds page, quarto, written on a large piece of ruled blue paper torn from a folio sheet. An astonishing missive from "Honest Abe", in which he asks a court clerk to alter legal documents that were already in the clerk's hands, and otherwise "fix" a mistake. This directive was sent to Thompson R. Webber of Champaign County, one of Lincoln's most trusted friends among the court officers of the eighth circuit; in an 1862 recommendation to Secretary of War Edwin Stanton he called Webber "an honest and capable man." The present note evidently refers to Strong vs Thomas, a May 1854 suit in which Lincoln represented the plaintiff and which involved some 47 heirs. A rather anxious Lincoln writes, in full: "In the Strong case, Mr. Webber will carefully go through all the papers - Bill, decree, & whatever has the misdescription on it, and correct the mistake, in as workmanlike manner as possible -- & then get the purchasers of the misdescribed land, to give up their deeds, and make them new ones, with correct description. I want it so fixed that it may not appear there ever was a mistake; & so you should not put the report, you now have, on file, but have a new one to make at the next term. Do all this very carefully, & then destroy this note." The seeming impropriety (if not illegality) of Lincoln's request makes this an autograph of characterological and not just historical interest. What he feared most from these legal documents with mistaken land descriptions -- aside from potential embarrassment - may have been reflected in a rhetorical question he once wrote down for a law lecture: "Who can be more nearly a fiend than he who habitually overhauls the register of deeds, in search of defects in titles…to stir up strife, and put money in his pocket?" Surely one of the most extraordinary documents to survive from Lincoln's law practice - and unpublished! The pencil writing is somewhat light -- perhaps intentionally - but it is entirely readable. From the Henry E. Luhrs Collection. Accompanied by LOA from PSA/DNA.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    February, 2006
    20th-21st Monday-Tuesday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 4
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 391

    Buyer's Premium per Lot:
    19.5% of the successful bid (minimum $9) per lot.

    Sold for: Sign-in or Join (free & quick)

    Heritage membership

    Join Now - It's Free

    VIEW BENEFITS
    1. Past Auction Values (prices, photos, full descriptions, etc.)
    2. Bid online
    3. Free Collector newsletter
    4. Want List with instant e-mail notifications
    5. Reduced auction commissions when you resell your
      winnings 
    Consign now
    • Cash Advances
    • More Bidders
    • Trusted Experts
    • Over 200,000 Satisfied Consignors Since 1976
    Consign to the 2020 March 29 Vintage Guitars & Musical Instruments Musical Instruments Signature Auction - Dallas.

    Learn about consigning with us

    Heritage Auctions and Mr. Chad Reingold were...professional and courteous in all transactions and provided outstanding service in answering my many emails. I recommend them at the highest level.
    Killy M.,
    Melbourne Beach, FL
    View More Testimonials

    HA.com receives more traffic than any other auction house website. (Source: Similarweb.com)

    Video tutorial

    Getting the most out of search

    Recent auctions

    2019 September 21 - 22 The David and Janice Frent Collection Presidential &  Political Americana, Part VI Signature Auction - Dallas
    2019 September 21 - 22 The David and Janice Frent Collection Presidential & Political Americana, Part VI Signature Auction - Dallas
    REALIZED $648,838