Henry Clay to Abraham Lincoln and Others, 6 September 18421ASHLAND,2 6th September, 1842.Gentlemen:—
I received your favor inviting me to visit Springfield, as you were informed it was my intention to go to Indianopolis the 5th of next month, in pursuance of an engagement which I made a year or two ago, the fulfilment of which my friends there insist upon. It would be personally highly satisfactory to me to extend my journey to Springfield, where, besides numerous political, I have some highly esteemed personal friends, who migrated from Kentucky, and where I should also have an opportunity of seeing one of the finest portions of Illinois; but I regret that it is not in my power to go west of Indianopolis.3 Considerations of delicacy and propriety, as well as expediency, have determined me to adopt the resolution not to leave my own home but in the pursuit of business or health, or to comply with promises which I heretofore made, without any anticipation of the state of things which now exist.
Accept, gentlemen, my thanks for your friendly invitation, and assurances of my being truly and cordiallyYour friend and ob’t serv’t[obedient servant],H. CLAY.To A. G. HENRY, and others.
1On August 29, 1842, Anson G. Henry, Abraham Lincoln, and seven other men, constituting the Executive Committee of the Springfield Clay Club, invited Henry Clay to visit Springfield. Clay spent the fall of 1842 making speeches in an early campaign for the 1844 Presidential election. After speaking on September 29 at the Ohio state Whig convention in Dayton, Clay made a series of appearances in Richmond, Indianapolis, and Columbus, Indiana, before returning to Kentucky. He did not extend his visit into Illinois. The two letters were printed together in the Sangamo Journal on September 23.
Abraham Lincoln and Others to Henry Clay; David S. Heidler and Jeanne T. Heidler, Henry Clay: The Essential American (New York: Random House, 2010), 372-74; Robert V. Remini, Henry Clay: Statesman for the Union (New York: W. W. Norton, 1991), 616-17, 620.
2Ashland was the name Henry Clay gave his estate that he occupied in 1806. It was located about a mile and a half south of Lexington, Kentucky..
Robert V. Remini, Henry Clay: Statesman for the Union, 73.
3Among the Springfield residents who had immigrated from Clay’s hometown of Lexington were Mary Todd and her sisters, their cousin John T. Stuart, and their uncle John Todd. The Todds were political allies and personal friends of Clay.
Justin G. Turner and Linda Levitt Turner, Mary Todd Lincoln: Her Life and Letters (New York: Fromm, 1972), 7.
Printed Transcription, 1 page(s), Sangamo Journal (Springfield, IL), 23 September 1842, 2:4.