Abraham Lincoln to George B. Kinkead, 27 May 18531Danville, Ills– May 27. 1853George B. Kinkead, Esq[Esquire]Lexington,Ky–
I am here attending court a hundred and thirty miles from home; and where a copy of your letter of this month, to Mr Edwards, reache[d] me from him, last evening–2 I find it difficult to suppress my indignation towards those who have got up this claim against me– I would really be glad to hear Mr Hemingway explain how he was induced to swear he believed the claim ^to be^ is just!– I herewith inclose my answer– If it is insufficient either in substance, or in the authentication of the oath, return it to me at at Springfield (where I shall be after about ten days) stating the defective points– You will perceive in my answer, that I ask the Petitioners to be ruled to file a bill of particulars, stating names & residences &c.[etc.] I do this to enable me to absolutely disprove the claim– I can really prove by independent evidence, every material statement of my answer; and if they will name any living accessable man, as one of whom I have received their money, I will, by that man disprove the charge– I know it is for them to prove their claim, rather than for me to disprove it; but I am unwilling to trust the oath of any man, who either made or prompted the oath to the Petition–
Write me soon–3Very Respectfully–A. Lincoln–
2Lincoln was in Danville, Illinois attending to business at the Vermilion County Circuit Court. Ninian W. Edwards’ letter to Lincoln, containing a copy of George B. Kinkead’s letter, has not been located.
The Lincoln Log: A Daily Chronology of the Life of Abraham Lincoln, 27 May 1853, http://thelincolnlog.org/Results.aspx?type=CalendarDay&day=1853-05-27.
3Kinkead’s reply to Lincoln, if he wrote one, has not been located, nor have any letters from Edwards to Lincoln, enclosing correspondence from Kinkead.
Both this letter, and the answer Lincoln enclosed with this letter, were related to the Kentucky Fayette County Circuit Court case Oldham & Hemingway v. Lincoln et al. In the case, Edward Oldham and Thomas Hemingway, the surviving partners of Oldham, Todd and Company, which included Robert S. Todd, father of Mary Lincoln, claimed that the company had hired Lincoln and Edwards to collect some debts for them in Illinois. Oldham and Hemingway claimed that Lincoln, Edwards, and Kinkead (who was acting as Lincoln's attorney in Lexington, Kentucky) failed to pay them $472.54. In June 1853, Oldham and Hemingway sued Lincoln and others in a chancery action to recover the debt. Lincoln denied the charges and claimed that Robert S. Todd had asked him to collect two debts in Illinois and told Lincoln that he could keep the proceeds. Lincoln collected $50 from one of the debts and none from the other. In February 1854, after depositions Lincoln took supported his version of events, Oldham and Hemingway dismissed the case.
Lincoln wrote Kinkead at least three more letters in 1853 and one in 1854 related to this case.
Oldham & Hemingway v. Lincoln et al., 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=141851; Harry E. Pratt, The Personal Finances of Abraham Lincoln (Springfield, IL: Abraham Lincoln Association, 1943), 118; Abraham Lincoln to George B. Kinkead; Abraham Lincoln to George B. Kinkead; Abraham Lincoln to George B. Kinkead; Abraham Lincoln to George B. Kinkead.
Copy of Autograph Letter Signed, 1 page(s), Abraham Lincoln Association Files, Lincoln Collection, Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum (Springfield, IL).