Abraham Lincoln to John T. Stuart, 20 January 18411Springfield, Jany 20th 1841Dear Stuart:
I have had no letter from you since you left— No matter for that— What I wish now is to speak of our Post-office— You know I desired Dr Henry to have that place when you left; I now desire it more than ever— I have, within the last few days, been making a most discreditable exhibition of myself in the way of hypochondriaism,2 and thereby got an impression that Dr Henry is necessary to my existence—3 Unless he gets that place he leaves Springfield. You therefore see how much I am interested in the matter.
We shall shortly forward you a petition in his favour signed by all or nearly all the Whig members of the Legislature, as well as other whigs—
This, together with what you know of the Dr's position and merits I sincerely hope will secure him the appointment— My heart is verry much set upon it—4
Pardon me for not writing more; I have not sufficient composure to write a long letter—As ever yoursA. Lincoln
<Page 2>SPRINGFIELD IL
fHon: John T. StuartWashington CityD.C.
1Abraham Lincoln wrote the letter, signature, and address. John T. Stuart wrote the first docketing on page two.
2Hypochondriaism or hypochondria was a term used commonly in the early 19th century to refer to melancholy or neurasthenia
3Lincoln was absent from the House from January 13 to 19 suffering from what he termed “hypochondriaism” presumably brought on by his reputed breaking of his engagement to Mary Todd on, as Lincoln described it later to his friend Joshua F. Speed, the “fatal first of Jany[January] 41.” Lincoln spent several hours each of those days receiving treatment from Anson G. Henry. His condition was common knowledge among his colleagues, as indicated in a letter from Martinette McKee to John J. Hardin, written on January 22: “We have been very much distressed, on Mr. Lincoln’s account, hearing that he had two Cat fits and a Duck fit since we left.”
Martinette McKee to John J. Hardin, 22 January 1841, John J. Hardin Papers, Chicago History Museum, Chicago, IL, as quoted in Roy P. Basler, Collected Works of the Papers of Abraham Lincoln (New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 1953), 1; 229; Abraham Lincoln to Joshua F. Speed; Abraham Lincoln to John T. Stuart; Abraham Lincoln to John T. Stuart; Abraham Lincoln to Joshua F. Speed; Michael Burlingame, Abraham Lincoln: A Life (Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2008), 1:183; See also other letters between Lincoln and Speed in 1841-42.
4Henry did not get the appointment. President John Tyler appointed George W. Spotswood to the post.
Sangamo Journal (Springfield, IL), 27 August 1841, 2:1; Register of all Officers and Agents, Civil, Military, and Naval, in the Service of the United States, from the Thirtieth of September, 1841, to the Thirtieth of September, 1843 (Washington, DC: J. & G. S. Gideon, 1843), 536.
Autograph Letter Signed, 2 page(s), Lincoln Collection, Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum (Springfield, IL).