This document is a legal declaration written in 1858 pertaining to the case of Robert Dean v. Bernard Kelly, in which Abraham Lincoln served on the legal team representing Dean.
In early 1858, Robert Dean pursued a case against Bernard Kelly, claiming that Kelly had charged him $5.00 per acre for 709 acres of farm land in Iowa based on false claims about the land's quality and value. Dean, after examining the land, found it was of poor quality and felt that he had been defrauded. Represented by Abraham Lincoln, Henry C. Whitney, Leonard Swett, and Oliver L. Davis, Dean requested $12,000 in damages, and also requested an injunction to stop Kelly from selling the land to Henry Simpson, another defendant in the case. The case was dismissed as of April 1858, with a settlement apparently reached outside of court.
The undated declaration, in Lincoln's hand, was sent to the Clerk of the Champaign County Circuit Court. It declares trespass on the case, bringing an action to recover the $12,000 dollars in damages.
More information and scans of additional documents from this case can be found online in The Law Practice of Abraham Lincoln, 2nd edition, at http://www.lawpracticeofabrahamlincoln.org/Details.aspx?case=136521.
The declaration was acquired by the University Library in 1978.