President Lincoln & His Most Profitable Client, the Illinois Central Railroad. In another dispute over payments, he tells his Secretary of War. If I had the leisure which I have not, I believe I could settle it; but prima facie it appears to me we better settle the account ourselves.. As President, to Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton, May 23, 1863. On one sheet, 7¾ x 9¾ in. With front panel of original envelope, to which Lincoln has added an Autograph Note Signed, and Stanton has also added an Autograph Note Signed. Washington, May 23, 1863. Hon Secy of War. In order to construct the Illinois Central Railroad, a large grant of land was made by the United States to the State of Illinois, which land was again given to the Railroad Company by the State, in certain provisions of the Charter. Were attempted to be secured from the contemplated Railroad to the U. And by the Charter certain per centage of the income of the road was to be from time to time paid to the State of Illinois. At the beginning of the present war the Railroad did certain carrying for the U. For which it claims pay; and, as I understand, the U. Claims that at least part of this the road was bound to do without pay. Though attempts have been made to settle the matter, it remains unsettled; meanwhile the Road refuses to pay the per-centage to the State. This delay is working badly; and I understand the delay exists because of there being no definite decision whether the U. Will settle its own account with the Railroad, or will allow the State to settle it, & account to the State for it. If I had the leisure which I have not, I believe I could settle it; but prima facie it appears to me we better settle the account ourselves, because that will save us all question as to whether the. State deals fairly with us in the settlement of our account with a third party the R. I wish you would see Mr. Butler, late our State Treasurer, and see if something definite can not be done in the case. Yours truly, A Lincoln. Lincoln had a long prior relationship with the Illinois Central Railroad. In 1851, although not a member of the state legislature, he participated in the struggle over the passage of the railroads charter. Its 705 mile-long track was completed in 1856, making it the longest in the country. Lincoln represented the Illinois Central in 45 cases in the 1850s, mostly as defense attorney. Illinois Central RR v. McLean County, Illinois & Parke. Justice Scates ruled that the charter was constitutional and that the legislature and the state could exempt property from taxation. After consulting with fellow attorneys, Lincoln told the railroad he deserved more. The railroad chose not to appeal, and Lincoln continued to handle cases for the railroad until 1860. Thomas Walker, writing in. Asserts In April 1861, a military force of 8,000 to 9,000 troops was concentrated at Cairo, and the [Illinois Central] railroad for 253 miles south of the Terre Haute and Alton was used chiefly for transportation of troops and stores… The government paid cheap rates in return for the land grants originally made to aid in the building of the railroad. Since the actual cost of operating the troop trains was 1.8¢ a mile, the return of 1.3¢ made the business a losing proposition and took away potential profits from local traffic and troops proved to be a severe hardship on the passenger cars.. The ongoing dispute threatened to slow the movement of troops. Though Lincoln knew he could use his personal knowledge and connections to end the impasse, he had more pressing matters to attend. On the day he wrote this letter, Saturday, May 23, 1863, Lincoln met with Secretary of War Stanton, Secretary of the Navy Gideon Welles, Assistant Secretary of the Navy Gustavus Fox, and General Henry W. Halleck, Commanding General of the Army, regarding an attack on Charleston, South Carolina. We dont know if Stanton met with Butler, but within a week, Lincolns letter was sent to the Quartermaster General to follow up. Meigs in turn wrote to Major General Lewis B. Parsons, Chief of Railroad and River Transportation for the Department of the Mississippi for the particulars. On June 3, 1863, Meigs instructed the Chief Quartermaster, Colonel Robert Allen of the Department of the West at St. Louis, to settle the governments accounts with the railroad. By the wars end, the Illinois Central had moved 556,421 troops. The letter is accompanied by a partial front panel of the original envelope, bearing the recipients imprinted office and address. The Secretary of War, / Washington. With Lincolns Autograph Note Signed on the lower left. Please see Mr Butler / May 23, 1863. To the right of the addressee, Stanton added. Referred to / the Quarter / Master General / for Report. / Edwin M Stanton. 9¼ x 4½, vertical crease passes through the first e of see and between the 6 and 3 in the date. On verso is affixed a 3½ x 7¾ inch portion of the docket which had appeared on the envelopes verso. Referred to the / Quarter Master / General for / report / Edwin M Stanton / May 29. /Presidents letter in / relation to the / Illinois RRoad. Penned under Stantons endorsement in an unidentified hand. Copy furnished by / order of Sec of War. Douglass Esq / March 31st/66. See / letter to Mr D. Same date & No 1595 W… For order of Secretary of War. Displayed in a 9 x 11¼ inch red leather over marbled boards presentation folder with inside flaps, titled in gilt lettering on a tan portion the spine Abraham Lincoln / Autograph Letter Signed May 23, 1863. Historic Documents and Legacy Collections. For over 20 years, Seth Kaller has been one of the countrys largest buyers of important historic documents and artifacts. More than 10,000 rare manuscripts, documents, maps, and books handled by Kaller are now in institutional and private collections including working drafts of the United States Constitution, Lincoln-signed copies of the 13th Amendment and Emancipation Proclamation, and rare prints and broadsides of the Declaration of Independence. Kaller is a member of the Antiquarian Booksellers Association of America (ABAA), the Professional Autograph Dealers Association (PADA), the American Antiquarian Society, the Manuscript Society, the New-York Historical Societys Chairmans Council, and the Papers of Abraham Lincoln Advisory Board. Everything we sell comes with our absolute guarantee that it is original and authentic. History You Can Own. Whether youre interested in the Founding Fathers, Documents of Freedom, Battles and Leaders, the Civil War, African-Americana, World History, Science, or a particular hero or villain, we can help you explore opportunities to take ownership of history. 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- President: Abraham Lincoln