Abraham Lincoln to John T. Stuart, 21 January 18401Springfield, Jany 21 1840Dear Stuart:
A bill bringing on the congressional elections in this state, next summer, has passed the House of Representatives this minute— As I think it will also pass the Senate, I take the earliest moment to advise you of it— I do not think any one of our political friends, wishes to push you off the track—2
Anticipating the introduction of this bill, I wrote you, for your feelings on the subject, several weeks since; but have received no answer—3 It may be, that my letter mizcarried; if so, will you, on the receipt of this, write me what you think and feel about the matter—4
Nothing new, except I believe I have got our Truett debt secured— I have Truetts note at twelve months, with his brother Myers as security—5Your friend, as ever.A. Lincoln
JAN[January] 22Hon: John T. StuartWashingtonD.C.
Jan 21st 1840
Jan 21st 1840
1Abraham Lincoln wrote the letter, his signature, and the address. John T. Stuart penned the first docketing on page two.
2Section twenty-six of the 1829 law governing elections stipulated congressional elections would occur on the first Monday in August 1831, and on the first Monday in August 1832, and on the first Monday in August biennially thereafter. Under provisions of section twenty-six, elections had occurred in 1834, 1836, 1838, and were scheduled for August 1840. In January 1839, the General Assembly enacted, and the Council of Revision approved, an act stipulating that on the first Monday of August, 1841, and on the first Monday of August every second year thereafter, there was to be held an election for the House of Representatives. This act explicitly repealed section twenty-six of the 1829 law. The text of the bill Lincoln references, entitled “A Bill in Relation to the Election of Members of Congress,” is not extant, but presumably it would have repealed the January 1839 act and reinstated section twenty-six. The Illinois House of Representatives passed the bill by a vote of 45 yeas to 39 nays, with Lincoln voting nay, but the Illinois Senate indefinitely postponed further consideration on January 30, and the bill never became law.
“An Act Regulating Elections,” 10 January 1829, Revised Laws of Illinois (1829), 67; Abraham Lincoln to John T. Stuart; Illinois House Journal. 1839. 11th G. A., special sess., 222-23; Illinois Senate Journal. 1839. 11th G. A., special sess., 162, 212, 224.
3Lincoln penned this letter on January 1, 1840.
5Stuart and Lincoln had successfully defended Henry B. Truett against the charge of murdering Jacob M. Early. Lincoln further elaborated on securing the debt in a letter dated January 29.
People v. Truett, 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=140184.
Autograph Letter Signed, 2 page(s), Lincoln Collection, Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum (Springfield, IL)