Abraham Lincoln to Joshua F. Speed, 13 April 18421Springfield, April 13. 1842. Dear Speed:
Your letter to the judge and me in relation to some claims of yours to be put in our hands by Mr Hurst, was received some days since.2 The notes have not yet been handed over to us; tho,[though] they will be, at any moment we desire them—
The best information we can give as to the solvency of the men you mention, is that, so far as we can learn, they stand precisely as they did when you left— We have got a judgement against Lockridge, as you anticipate; and Bell, by some conversation or arrangement with him, has been induced to direct us to stay the execution a few months—3 As to Mr Rickard’s note, the judge, I presume will attend to it; but for me, I can not even Dun him—4 John Branson called on me to day and begged to not be sued— He says he admits it has been owing long enough to be paid; but that he will possitively pay sooner than collection could be made by law; and that he will give most any security we will ask— Write us what we shall do with him—5
On saturday last we had a whig county convention to nominate candidates; and now guess who compose the ticket— For Representatives, William Caldwell, Sugar Creek; James Brown, Island Grove; William Hickman, Mechanicsburg, and Judge Logan
<Page 2>in town— Col. Elkin, for Shff[Sheriff] again— Billy Herndon & Dr McNeil are candidates for the Legislature on their own hooks; and Harvey, in like manner, for Sheriff— Our ticket is very popular, and will certainly succeed with great ease—6 Edwards is a little mortified; though he is quite quiet, and has permitted no one but me to know his feelings—7 He goes for the ticket without complaint—
Give my love to your Dear Fanny; and remind her, once more, of that letter she owes me—8 Are not she and you going to pay us a visit during the summer or autumn?As ever yoursA. Lincoln
14Mr Joshua F. SpeedLouisvilleKy—
1Abraham Lincoln wrote and signed the letter. He also authored the address on the back page, which was folded to create an envelope for mailing.
2Charles R. Hurst purchased Joshua F. Speed’s interest in James Bell & Co. in 1841, and was also apparently involved in managing some of Speed’s financial affairs in Springfield after Speed moved to Kentucky.
Joshua F. Speed to William H. Herndon, 17 September 1866, Douglas L. Wilson and Rodney O. Davis, eds., Herndon’s Informants: Letters, Interviews, and Statements about Abraham Lincoln (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1998), 342. See also: Abraham Lincoln to Joshua F. Speed; Abraham Lincoln to Joshua F. Speed; Abraham Lincoln to Joshua F. Speed; Abraham Lincoln to Joshua F. Speed.
3Speed had been a partner in the mercantile firm of James Bell & Co. in Springfield. In 1841, the partners retained Logan & Lincoln to sue John Lockridge for payment of a $294.43 debt. On March 28, 1842, the court ruled for Bell & Co., awarding $312.09 in damages. There were two adult males named John Lockridge in the 1840s in Sangamon County; it is impossible to tell which is the one sued by Bell & Co.
James Bell & Co. v. Lockridge, Martha L. Benner and Cullom Davis et al., eds., The Law Practice of Abraham Lincoln: Complete Documentary Edition, 2d edition (Springfield: Illinois Historic Preservation Agency, 2009), http://lawpracticeofabrahamlincoln.org/Details.aspx?case=138202.
4To “dun” is to repeatedly demand payment.
Henry Campbell Black, Black’s Law Dictionary, 5th ed. (St. Paul, MN: West, 1979), 451.
5Logan & Lincoln brought suit against John Branson Jr. at the July term of the Sangamon County Circuit Court. The parties reached an agreement, and the court dismissed the case on July 25.
James Bell & Co. v. Branson, Martha L. Benner and Cullom Davis et al., eds., The Law Practice of Abraham Lincoln: Complete Documentary Edition, http://lawpracticeofabrahamlincoln.org/Details.aspx?case=138198.
6At the election on August 1, 1842, Stephen T. Logan, James N. Brown, William Caldwell, and William Hickman--the four Whig candidates from Sangamon County--were elected to the Illinois General Assembly.
Theodore C. Pease, ed., Illinois Election Returns, 1818-1848, vol. 18 of Collections of the Illinois State Historical Library (Springfield: Illinois State Historical Library, 1923), 365.
7Lincoln’s brother-in-law, Ninian W. Edwards, served in the Illinois House of Representatives with Lincoln in the Tenth and Eleventh General Assemblies; he resigned before the end of his term in the Eleventh General Assembly.
John Clayton, comp., The Illinois Fact Book and Historical Almanac, 1673-1968 (Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 1970), 99.
8At least one other time, Lincoln requested a letter from Speed’s wife Fanny. If she responded, her letters have not been located.
Copy of Autograph Letter Signed, 3 page(s) Abraham Lincoln Association Files, Lincoln Collection, Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum (Springfield, IL)