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Letter to William H. Herndon

WASHINGTON, December 13, 1847.

Dear William: Your letter, advising me of the receipt of our fee in the bank case, is just


received, and I don't expect to hear another as good a piece of news from Springfield while I am away. I am under no obligations to the bank; and I therefore wish you to buy bank certificates, and pay my debt there, so as to pay it with the least money possible. I would as soon you should buy them of Mr. Ridgely, or any other person at the bank, as of any one else, provided you can get them as cheaply. I suppose, after the bank debt shall be paid, there will be some money left, out of which I would like to have you pay Lavely and Stout twenty dollars, and Priest and somebody (oil-makers) ten dollars, for materials got for house-painting. If there shall still be any left, keep it till you see or hear from me.

I shall begin sending documents so soon as I can get them. I wrote you yesterday about a "Congressional Globe." As you are all so anxious for me to distinguish myself, I have concluded to do so before long.

Yours truly,



1. In reference to the directions given to Herndon for disposing of money, it is interesting to recall that Lincoln was at this time paying off what he called his " national debt." This debt was contracted fourteen years before, when Lincoln and Berry had opened a store and failed. Shortly afterwards Berry drank himself to death, while the men who bought the store never paid for it. Nevertheless Lincoln shouldered the responsibility and eventually paid off the old debt.