Abraham Lincoln to Lewis M. Hays, 23 April 18511Mount Pulaski, Ills. April 23. 1851Dear Sir:
I this day commence the suit against Turley– It will not be for trial till October– I return you the Letters–2 You ^see^ a certificate I have written in blank, which you must have filled and signed by the present presiding judge of the Probate Court– Be sure that the blanks are all filled, and the signature added– Then return the paper to me at Springfield– Ills–3Yours &c[etc.]A. Lincoln
5Mr Lewis M. HaysGosportIndiana–
Mount Pulaski Ills–[Illinois]
1Abraham Lincoln wrote and signed this letter, including the address on the last sheet, which was folded to create an envelope.
3Lewis M. Hays’ reply to Lincoln has not been located.
This letter is related to the case Hays v. Turley, which was tried in the Logan County Circuit Court between April 1851 and September 1853. In July 1836, George W. Turley gave Thomas P. Taylor a promissory note for $100, but failed to pay. After Taylor died in August 1842, Hays became the administrator of his estate. He retained Lincoln as his attorney, and sued Turley to collect the debt.
In October 1852, Lincoln wrote Hays that he had agreed to give Turley a few months to find evidence supporting his claim that Taylor had promised to destroy the note and forgive the debt. Lincoln justified the action by writing that he felt sorry for Turley, “poor and a cripple as he is.” In September 1853, Turley produced two witnesses to support his claim that he had once offered Taylor the money, but Taylor refused it. In the end, on September 7, 1853, the court ruled that Turley pay the estate $116.90, awarding only $16.90 in interest since that was the interest accrued “between the offer to pay and the bringing of the suit.” Lincoln kept this $16.90 as a fee for his legal services.
Receipt, Document ID: 83371, Hays v. Turley, 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=136157; Abraham Lincoln to Lewis M. Hays; Abraham Lincoln to Lewis M. Hays; Thomas P. Taylor, Gravestone, Alexander Cemetery, Owen County, IN.
Copy of Autograph Letter Signed, 2 page(s), Abraham Lincoln Association Files, Lincoln Collection, Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum (Springfield, IL).