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Abraham Lincoln to Lewis M. Hays, 27 October 18521
L. M Hays Esq[Esquire] Dear Sir:
Yours of Sept[September] 30th just received–2 At our court, just past; I could have got a judgment against Turley, if I had pressed to the utmost; but I am really sorry for him— poor and a cripple as he is– He begged time to try to find evidence to prove that the deceased on his death bed, ordered the note to be given up to him or destroyed– I do not suppose he will get any such evidence, but I allowed him till next court to try–3
Yours &C[etc.]A Lincoln
1Abraham Lincoln wrote and signed this letter.
2Lewis M. Hays’ September 30, 1852 letter to Lincoln has not been located.
3This 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 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, 1 page(s), Abraham Lincoln Association Files, Lincoln Collection, Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum (Springfield, IL).