Abraham Lincoln to Joshua F. Speed, 18 May 18431Springfield, May 18th 1843–Dear Speed:
Yours of the 9th Inst is duly received, which I do not meet as a “bore”, but as a most welcome visiter–2 I will answer the business part of it first–3 The note you enclosed on Cannan & Harlan, I have placed in Moffett’s hands according to your directions–4 Harvey is the constable to have it– I have called three times to get the note, you mention, on B. C. Webster & Co; but did not find Hurst– I will yet get it, and do with it, as you bid–5 At the April court at Tazewell, I saw Hall; and he then gave me an order on Jewett to draw of him, all rent which may fall due, after the 12th day of Jany[January] last, till your debt shall be paid–6 The rent is for the house Ransom did live in just above the Globe; and is $222 per year payable quarterly, so that one quarter fell due the 12th April– I presented the order to Jewett, since the 12th and he said it was right, and he would accept, it, which, however, was not done in writing for want of pen & ink at the time & place– He acknowledged that the quarter's rent was due, and said he would pay it in a short time but could not at the moment– He also said that he thought, by some former arrangement, a portion of that quarter would have to be paid to the Irwins–7 Thus stands the Hall matter– I think we will get the money on it, in the course of this year– You ask for the amount of interest on your Van Bergen note of $572–32, and also upon the judgement against Van assigned by Baker– The note drew 12 per cent
<Page 2>from date, and bore date Oct[October] 1st 1841– I suppose the 12 per cent ceased, at the time we bought in Walters' house which was on the 23rd Decr[December] 1842– If I count right, the interest up to that time, was $78–69 cents, which added to the principal makes $651–01– On this aggregate sum you are entitled to interest at 6 per cent only, from the said 23rd Decr 1842 until paid– What that will amount to, you can calculate for yourself– The judgement assigned by Baker to you for $219–80, was so assigned on the 2nd of April 1841, and of course draws 6 per cent from that time until paid– This too you can calculate for yourself– About the 25th of March 1843 (the precise date I dont now remember) Walters paid $703–25– This, of course must be remembered in counting interest– According to my count, there was due you of principal & interest on both claims on the 25th of March 1843– $906–70– Walters then paid $703–25– which leaves still due you, $203–45, drawing 6 per cent from that date– Walters is promising to pay the ballance every day, but still has not done it– I think he will do it soon– Allen has gone to nothing, as Butler tells you– There are 200 acres of the tract I took the deed of trust on– The improvements I should suppose you remember as well as I– It is the stage stand on the Shelbybyville road, where you always ^said^ I would,nt pay Baker's tavern bill– It seems to me it must be worth much more than the debt; but whether any body will redeem it in these hard times, I can not say–
In relation to our congress matter here, you were right in supposing I would support the nominee– Neither Baker or I, however is the man; but Hardin– So far as I can judge from present appearances, we shall have no split or trouble about the matter; all will be harmony–8 In relation to the "coming events"Yours as everA. LincolnP. S. Since I wrote the above I saw Hurst and discover that the note on B. C. Webster & Co does not fall due till the 9th June– Hurst says it will be paid when due–
<Page 3>about which Butler wrote you, I had not heard one word before I got your letter; but I have so much confidence in the judgement of a Butler on such a subject, that I incline to think there may be some reality in it–9 What day does Butler appoint? By the way, how do "events" of the same sort come on in your family? Are you possessing houses and lands, and oxen and asses, and men-servants and maid-servants, and begetting sons and daughters?10 We are not keeping house; but boarding at the Globe tavern, which is very well kept now by a widow lady of the name of Beck– Our room (the same Dr Wallace occupied there) and boarding only costs four dollars a week– Ann Todd was married something more than a year since to a fellow by the name of Campbell, and who [M]ary says, is pretty much of a "dunce" [al]though he has a little money & property– They live in Boonville Mo; and have not been heard from lately enough, to enable ^me^ to say any thing about her health–11 I reckon it will scarcely be in our power to visit Kentucky this year– Besides poverty, and the necessity of attending to business, those "coming events" I suspect would be some what in the way– I most heartily wish you and your Fanny would not fail to come– Just let us know the time a week in advance, and we will have a room provided for you at our house, and all be merry together for awhile– Be sure to give my resp[ects] to your mother and family– Assure her, that if I ever come near her I will not fail to call and see her– Mary joins in sending love to your Fanny and you–
<Page 4>SPRINGIELD [IL]
[MAY 19]Mr Joshua F. SpeedSalina12Jefferson Co. Kentucky–
May 18– 43
1Abraham Lincoln wrote and signed this letter. He also authored the address on the back page, which was folded to create an envelope for mailing.
3In Springfield, Speed had been a partner in the mercantile firm of James Bell & Company. In January 1841, Speed sold his share in the company and his stock of goods to Charles R. Hurst. Speed hired Logan & Lincoln to collect the outstanding debts owed to him by Illinois residents.
Daniel W. Stowell et al., eds., Papers of Abraham Lincoln: Legal Documents and Cases (Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2008), 1:251-52; 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.
4“Cannan & Harlan” has not been identified. It is unclear whether he refers to individuals or a business; however, no business under those names has been identified in Sangamon County.
5Lincoln collected a debt due to Speed from B. C. Webster & Co. without initiating a lawsuit. Charles R. Hurst, who had purchased Speed’s stock in the dry-goods store, was also involved in managing some of Speed’s financial affairs in Springfield.
6Speed had been a partner in Bell & Co., to whom William Hall owed $127.79. Logan & Lincoln brought suit against Hall at the August 1842 term of the Tazewell County Circuit Court. The court awarded Bell & Co. $150.15. On November 25, 1843, Hall paid $145.37 of his debt.
James Bell & Co. v. Hall, 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://www.lawpracticeofabrahamlincoln.org/Details.aspx?case=136364; Abraham Lincoln to Joshua F. Speed.
7Brothers Robert and John Irwin were partners in a large Springfield mercantile establishment called Robert Irwin & Co..
8In the winter of 1842-43, Lincoln sought nomination to run as a Whig for the congressional seat in Illinois’ Seventh District. Edward D. Baker, however, got the endorsement of the Sangamon County Whigs. At the district convention in May, John J. Hardin defeated Baker for the nomination. Lincoln and others worked hard behind the scenes to ensure that Sangamon County Whigs would back Hardin in the general election.
Abraham Lincoln to Joshua F. Speed; Abraham Lincoln to Martin S. Morris; Proceedings of Whig Convention at Pekin, Illinois regarding Candidates for Congress; Proposal of a Barbecue; Abraham Lincoln to John J. Hardin; Illinois Register (Springfield), 17 March 1843, 1:6; 24 March 1843, 2:4; Sangamo Journal (Springfield, IL), 6 April 1843, 2:4.
9Abraham Lincoln and Mary Todd had married on November 4, 1842. The “coming events” to which Lincoln alludes is the impending arrival of their first child, Robert Todd Lincoln, who would be born on August 1, 1843.
11Speed had previously courted Ann Todd, Mary Todd’s cousin.
Autograph Letter Signed, 4 page(s), Lincoln Collection, Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum (Springfield, IL)