Abraham Lincoln to John T. Stuart, 1 March 18401Springfield March 1st 1840Dear Stuart
I have never seen the prospects of our party so bright, ^in these parts^ as they are now— We shall carry this county by a larger majority than we did in 1836, when you ran against May—2 I do not think my prospects, individually, are verry flattering, for I think it probable I shall not be permitted to be a candidate; but the party ticket will succeed triumphantly—3Subscriptions to the "Old Soldier" pour in without abatement— This morning I took from the Post office a letter from Dubois enclosing the names of 60 subscribers, and on carrying it to Francis, I found he had received 140 more from other quarters by the same days, mail— That is but an average specimen of every day's receipts— Yesterday Douglas having chosen to consider himself insulted by something in the Journal, undertook to cane Francis in the Street— Francis caught him by the hair and jammed him back against a market cart, where ^the^ matter ended by Francis being pulled away from him— The whole affair was so ludicrous, that and every body else (Douglas excepted) have been laughing about it ever since—
I send you the names of the some of the V. B men who have come out for Harrison about town, and suggest that you send them some documents—4
|Moses Coffman||(He let us appoint him a delegate yesterday.)|
|H. M Briggs|
|Johnson||(at Birchall's Bookstore)|
|Armstrong||(Not Hosea nor Hugh, but a Carpenter)|
|Moses Pilcher||(He was always a whig & deserves attention)|
|Matthew Crowder Jr5|
|George Fagan||These three fell out with us about Early, & are doubtful now.6|
|John M Cartmel|
The foregoing should be addressed at Springfield—
Also send some to Soloman Miller and John Auth at Salisbury— Also to Charles Harper Samuel Harper, and B. C. Harper, and T. J Scroggins at John Scroggins at Pulaski Logan county—
Speed says he wrote you what Jo Smith said about you as he passed here— We will procure the names of some of his people
<Page 3>here, and send them to you before long—7 Speed also says you must not fail to send us the New York Journal he wrote for some time since—8
Evan Butler is jealous that you never send your compliments to him. You must not neglect him next time—Your friend as everA. Lincoln
This unusual letter was given to me by Mr Stuart in his lifetime[?] Harlan
2In the 1836 congressional elections, Stuart challenged May for the House of Representatives seat in the third district. May won with 54 percent of the vote (11,764) to 46 percent (10001) for Stuart, but Sangamon County gave Stuart 60 percent of its vote (1639) to 40 percent (1096) for May.
Theodore C. Pease, ed., Illinois Election Returns, 1818-1848, vol. 18 of Collections of the Illinois State Historical Library (Springfield: Illinois State Historical Library, 1923), 103.
3On March 14, the Whigs of Sangamon County held a convention to nominate candidates for the upcoming state election. Although some Whigs outside of Springfield disliked the convention system and Lincoln and other members of the “Springfield Junto” that supported it, the Whigs duly nominated Lincoln for a fourth term. Lincoln would tally 1844 voters, the lowest tally of the five Whig candidates elected to the House of Representatives. John Calhoun was Lincoln’s closest challenger with 1266 votes.
Sangamo Journal (Springfield, IL), 20 March 1840, 2:6-7; Abraham Lincoln to John T. Stuart; Theodore C. Pease, ed., Illinois Election Returns, 1818-1848, 344; Michael Burlingame, Abraham Lincoln: A Life (Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2008), 1:161.
4Lincoln would take charge of Harrison’s campaign in Illinois during the 1840 presidential election. He organized debates and discussions, and he canvassed the state speaking on Harrison’s behalf. Despite Lincoln’s efforts, Martin Van Buren would carry Illinois with 51 percent of the vote (47,443) to Harrison’s 49 percent (45,576). Harrison would carry Sangamon County with 62 percent of the vote (2000) to 38 percent for Van Buren (1249).
Theodore C. Pease, ed., Illinois Election Returns, 1818-1848, 117, 119; Michael Burlingame, Abraham Lincoln: A Life, 1:149-61.
5There were apparently 2 different people by that name in Sangamon County during this period, and neither is a Jr. There is a Matthew Crowder in Power’s History of the Early Settlers but his father is not named Matthew.
John Carroll Power and S. A. Power, History of the Early Settlers of Sangamon County, Illinois (Springfield, IL: Edwin A. Wilson, 1876), 237.
6This could be a reference to the People v. Truett case, in which Stuart and Lincoln successfully defended Henry B. Truett against the charge of murdering Jacob M. Early.
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.
7Joseph Smith stopped in Springfield from November 4 to 8, 1839, on his way to Washington, DC, to meet with Congress. He spoke to several prominent Illinois politicians during his stay, although it is unclear if Lincoln was among them. Lincoln and the Whigs were courting Mormon voters to assure success in the state and national elections.
Bryon C. Andreasen, Lincoln and Mormon Country (Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 2015), 5-6.
Autograph Letter Signed, 3 page(s), Sagamore Hill National Historic Site (Oyster Bay, NY).