Carson D. Hay to Abraham Lincoln, 26 May 18581Newton Ills. 26th May 58Hon A. LincolnDear sir
I addressed you the other day inviting i^o^n behalf of the Republicans of this place to pay us a visit on the 8^7^th June and give us an address–2
Today the Olney times came to hand and I see by that, they are to have a County Convention to meet on the 6th–3
I have no doubt but they would be highly pleased to have you attend their meeting and give them a speech, altho’[although] they may not have given you an invitation, not supposing that you would come so far to attend a meeting of the Kind– They are not aware of our meeting–
We have taken the liberty of announcin in our posters that you will give us an address on the occasion of our meeting– If you cannot come we will take the blame on our selves, but we very much hope you can come.4
you could give them a speech at Olney and come up here on Sunday– I think one of the Kitchels of Olney would come up with you–5
If you come, come direct to our house, we will be please to entertain you–
Enclosed I send a slip from the Olney Times containg the notice of the meeting there— alsoVery respuctfully yoursC. D. HayP.S. I will write to the Mess.[Messieurs] A. & E. Kitchells.
<Page 3>one of our Bills6
[ enclosure ]
In pursuance of the above call by the State Central Cemmittee, there will be a meeting at the Court House, in Olney, on Saturday the 5th day of June, for the purpose of appainting delegates to attend the State Convention, and for the transaction of such other business as may come before the meeting.
2June 7, 1858 was the date of a Jasper County Republican meeting to be held in the county seat of Newton.
Carson D. Hay to Abraham Lincoln; Merriam-Webster’s Geographical Dictionary, 3rd ed. (Springfield, MA: Merriam-Webster, 1997), 819.
3The Republicans and others opposing the Democratic Party in Richland County called their county convention for June 5, 1858 in Olney, not June 6. The purpose of the convention was to select the county’s three delegates to the 1858 Illinois Republican Convention.
Olney Times (IL), 21 May 1858, 2:1-2; 28 May 1858, 2:1.
4No response to this letter by Abraham Lincoln has been located. There is no evidence that he was in Newton to attend the Jasper County Republican meeting on June 7, 1858, nor is there any indication that he left Springfield at any point in June of 1858. He declined a similar invitation to attend the Clinton County Republican convention on June 8, 1858, citing a conflict with the opening of the summer session of the U.S. Circuit Court for the Southern District of Illinois.
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.
5Brothers Alfred and Edward Kitchell of Olney were active in Republican Party politics. At the Richland County Republican convention of June 5, 1858, Alfred Kitchell was appointed to a committee to select delegates to the 1858 Illinois Republican Convention, and Edward Kitchell was named to a committee tasked with drafting “Resolutions expressive of the sense of the meeting”. Edward Kitchell was made a delegate to the state Republican convention. No correspondence between Lincoln and either Alfred or Edward Kitchell around this date has been located, nor has any other invitation for Lincoln to speak at the Richland County Republican convention. A published description of the Richland County Republican convention does not mention Lincoln being present.
Newton Bateman, Paul Selby, and J. Seymour Currey, Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois with Commemorative Biographies (Chicago: Munsell, 1926), 1:319-20; Olney Times (IL), 11 June 1858, 2:2.
6The handbill enclosed by Hay advertising the Jasper County Republican meeting of June 7, 1858, has not been located.
7The “English swindle” is a reference to a bill proposed by Indiana Congressman William H. English to send the Lecompton Constitution back to Kansas Territory for a vote, avoiding a direct resubmission of the constitution to the people of Kansas by attaching it to an adjusted land grant. The bill passed the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives on April 30, 1858, but Kansans overwhelmingly voted against it on August 2.
David M. Potter and Don E. Fehrenbacher, The Impending Crisis, 1848-1861 (New York: Harper & Row, 1976), 323-25.
Autograph Letter Signed, 4 page(s), Abraham Lincoln Papers, Library of Congress (Washington, DC).