Carson D. Hay to Abraham Lincoln, 24 May 18581Newton Ills May 24th ’58Hon A. LincolnDear Sir
I see by the Chicago Tribune, that the citizens of Carlisle are expecting a visit from you on the 8th June, proximo2
We have called a Republican meeting at this place for the 7th June. Could you not do us the honor to pay us a visit at that time, and make us a speach.3 We are in great need of a speaker to stur up the people here and set them right–
If you could arrange your business so as to attend our meeting we should take it as a great favor, and I feel certain you would do much good.
To get here you would come by way of Sandoval to Olney by R.R.[Railroad], thence 20 miles by hack to this place. You could make your speech at noon Monday and we could send you to Olney that evening in time to take the train going West, which passes Olney at 10 O clock, & which would take you to Carlisle about midnight Monday night, so you would be there Tuesday morning–
I hope you will do us the favor to come– If so please drop me a line on receipt of this, and I will let the people know that you are coming–Very truly & sincerely your friendC. D. Hay
(Son of Daniel Hay of White Co.)
P.S. If you cannot possibly come perhaps you could send us a speaker–C. D. H.
2The Chicago Tribune had recently reprinted a notice from a Carlyle newspaper that the Clinton County Republican convention was to be held at the county courthouse in Carlyle on June 8, 1858, for the purpose of selecting delegates to the 1858 Illinois Republican Convention. The notice announced that Abraham Lincoln and Gustave P. Koerner would address the meeting, but despite being advertised as a speaker in both newspapers and handbills, Lincoln was apparently not invited to appear at the meeting until after the date of this letter from Hay. Lincoln declined to attend the Clinton County Republican convention, citing a conflict with the opening of the summer session of the U.S. Circuit Court for the Southern District of Illinois.
Chicago Daily Tribune (IL), 18 May 1858, 2:1; Franklin William Scott, Newspapers and Periodicals of Illinois, 1814-1879, vol. 6 of Collections of the Illinois State Historical Library (Springfield: Illinois State Historical Library, 1910), 43.
3No response to this letter from Lincoln has been located, although Hay wrote an additional letter to Lincoln on this subject two days later. There is no evidence that Lincoln attended the Jasper County Republican meeting on June 7, 1858, in Newton, nor that he left Springfield at any point in June 1858.
The Lincoln Log: A Daily Chronology of the Life of Abraham Lincoln, June 1858, http://www.thelincolnlog.org/Results.aspx?type=CalendarMonth&year=1858&month=6; Merriam-Webster’s Geographical Dictionary, 3rd ed. (Springfield, MA: Merriam-Webster, 1997), 819.
Autograph Letter Signed, 4 page(s), Abraham Lincoln Papers, Library of Congress (Washington, DC).