Lincoln, Abraham. Legal documents on Chiniquy v. Spink, 1856 | Illinois History and Lincoln Collections
These documents are two papers that were drafted by Abraham Lincoln, stemming from his involvement in the 1855-1856 legal case between Charles Chiniquy and Peter Spink.
Charles Chiniquy was a French-Canadian priest who had been sued by Peter Spink, a Catholic layman from Kankakee, Illinois. Chiniquy had accused Spink of perjury, and Spink had in turn sued Chiniquy for slander. Abraham Lincoln was brought on to defend Chiniquy in the case. After a change in venue from Kankakee County, the case was first tried in Champaign County in May 1856, though this first attempt resulted in a hung jury and a mistrial. The case was then set to be retried in Urbana in October 1856. Just before the retrial took place, Lincoln persuaded Chiniquy to recant his remarks, and the case was settled by an agreement instead.
One of the documents is Lincoln's draft of the document put forward to dismiss the case. This draft, probably penned in the fall of 1856, also has an interlineation by Oliver L. Davis, a lawyer from Danville, Illinois, who assisted Lincoln in the case, and the final two lines were written by Thomson R. Webber, the Champaign County Circuit Clerk. The other document is a May 23, 1856 note from Lincoln to Chiniquy requesting $50.00 for legal services. Both documents are originals in Lincoln's hand.
More information and scans of additional documents from this case can be found online in The Law Practice of Abraham Lincoln, 2nd edition, at http://www.lawpracticeofabrahamlincoln.org/Details.aspx?case=136641.
These documents were acquired by the University Library sometime prior to 1909. They were initially framed together in the University Librarian's office, along with a letter from Abraham Lincoln to Joseph O. Cunningham, dated August 22, 1858 (MS 1040). These documents were later separated.