LINCOLN, Abraham. Autograph document signed ("A. Lincoln"), [Springfield, IL], 6 February 1846. 1 page, 4to, docketed on verso, neat repairs, fine.
YOUNG LAWYER LINCOLN WRITES AN AFFIDAVIT. Abraham Lincoln's law career began in 1837 shortly after his 28th birthday and simultaneous with his service in the Illinois House of Representatives. In 1844 he took William Herndon as his associate and the law firm of Lincoln & Herndon was born. Here, in the same year that he was elected to the United States Congress, Lincoln writes and signs an affidavit in the Supreme Court case of Sargent et al vs. Kellogg. The affidavit states: "Abraham Lincoln ... has a general recollection of B.F. Fridley speaking to affront at the term of the Supreme Court commencing December 1844, in relation to making an arrangement by which affront should attend to cases in said court, in which said Fridley, was or might be interested; but affront does not recollect that the case of Sargent et al vs. Kellogg, was, by said Fridley, left in charge of affront ... affront further states ... he gave no attention whatever to said case; having no impression that he had ever been spoken to concerning it." The document has been countersigned by the witness W. Peck, who has also docketed the verso.
Lincoln's law career was marked by diversity in his case load and appearances at almost every level of the court. He proved to be a particularly formidable jury lawyer, as noted by a Lincoln biographer: "In court, Lincoln was deadly serious when it came to winning his case ... [he] employed masterful ingenuity in cross-examining witnesses and addressed the jury with a mixture of logic, force, and wit, weaving the smallest details into a convincing argument." (Oates, With Malice Toward None, p. 109)