Abraham Lincoln, Fantastic Early Legal Brief with International Intrigue, 361 Words in the Hand of the Young Lawyer!

Autograph Manuscript, 7.875" x 11.5" 2p. recto and verso, legal folio, May 15, 1854, [Woodford County, IL,], 7.5" x 11.75". Lincoln's legal brief submitted in the case of the Coventry and Warwickshire Banking Company vs. William Whorrall. Flattened folds, expertly repaired, slight toning, minor foxing, else very good.

The legal brief reads:

"The Coventry and Warwick =

Shire Banking Company


William Whorrall

Assumpsit in the Circuit Court of Woodford County in the State of Illinois -

The plaintiffs in the above entitled cause will take notice that on the 15th day of May 1854 the defendant will sue out for the office of the clerk of the court aforesaid a commission, directed to James Tibbets of Warwick, England, in the Kingdom of Great Britain, to take the deposition of Charles Woodcock, of Coventry in England aforesaid, to be read in evidence on the trial of the above entitled cause; and that the following is a copy of the interrogatories intended to be put to said witness -

1st What is your name and occupation?

2nd Are you or not acquainted with the parties to this suit?

3rd Have you or not any knowledge of a check or draft, drawn by the defendant on the plaintiff, which, together with a guaranty at the bottom of it, is as follows, towit:

"Coventry 9th March 1848

"Coventry and Warwickshire Banking Company Pay to myself or bearer, three hundred pounds. (money lent)

L300 - W.Whorrall

"We guarantee the payment of the above -

Troughton & Lea"


And if you have knowledge of such check or draft, state all you know about it - whether said check has or not been paid - and if so, by whom? - Whether said Banking Company Have or not received their money upon said check, and if so, from whom? Whether this suit is prosecuted for the benefit of said Banking company, or for the benefit of some other person or persons, - and if for others, who are they?

4th If you know of any mortgage or bond, one or both, in favor of the defendant, and against one BBickley, Troughton & Lea, or anyone else, please give copies, if you can, and state fully all you know about them or either of them-whether anything has been realized from said securities- and if so, what has become of the proceeds?

5th State anything further you may for the advance of either party -

Lincoln For defendant.

Banking Company vs Notice to take Deposition Whorrall

Fee $150"

Abraham Lincoln learned the law by borrowing books and training informally with practicing lawyers. He was admitted to the Illinois bar in 1836 and practiced law there for 25 years.

Most of his work involved settling debts, contracts, business disputes, divorces, and some criminal cases. An occasional case would take him to a federal court or the Illinois Supreme Court. Just three months before this case, Lincoln would represent his biggest client, the Illinois Central Railroad before the Illinois Supreme Court.

This item comes with a Certificate from John Reznikoff, a premier authenticator for both major 3rd party authentication services, PSA and JSA (James Spence Authentications), as well as numerous auction houses.


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