• Lincoln's Mentor, Mary Todd's Cousin John Stuart Acts As Guardian, Prepared President's Tomb

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    JOHN TODD STUART (1807-1835) was an Illinois legislator, a Congressman from Illinois and ABRAHAM LINCOLN’S first law partner. Stuart was the son of a Presbyterian minister and a cousin of MARY TODD LINCOLN. He studied law and was admitted to the bar in 1827. Stuart met Captain Abraham Lincoln when they served together in the Black Hawk War. In 1834, Stuart and Lincoln were elected to the General Assembly and developed a strong liking for one another. Stuart became Lincoln’s mentor. Lincoln would often draft legislation that Stuart would introduce in the legislature. Stuart loaned Lincoln his law books and encouraged him to study them.  Stuart became a leader in the Whig Party in Illinois. After Lincoln was admitted to the bar, he promptly moved from New Salem to Springfield and on March 14, 1837, Lincoln and Stuart became partners.


    In 1838, Stuart ran successfully for Congress, defeating Stephen A. Douglas. Lincoln ran the Stuart law office during the next two years. When Stuart returned from Washington, Lincoln left the firm and joined Stephen T. Logan as a law partner. Stuart was re-elected to Congress and established a partnership with Benjamin Edwards that lasted for the balance of Stuart’s life.  Stuart was elected as a state senator (1848-1852), but soon thereafter parted politically with Lincoln.


    Stuart was not prepared to adopt an anti-slavery position. He did not support Lincoln for the presidency in 1860. In 1862, Stuart was elected to Congress as an unaffiliated candidate, supported by Democrats, representing the 8th Congressional District of Illinois. He defeated Leonard Swett, an associate of Lincoln.


    Although Stuart and Lincoln no longer shared political views, they continued to have a good social relationship in the White House. In 1863, Lincoln assisted one of Stuart’s relatives in reclaiming her Arkansas plantation. After Lincoln’s assassination, Stuart took an active role in overseeing the building of Lincoln’s tomb in Springfield.


    Offering a one-page, 6 x 7 ¼, ADS [Springfield] 1832 [?].  Stuart writes and signs this document as guardian, responding to a petition of Robert C. Allin vs. William Stilliman and others. “And the said John T. Stuart Guardian ad Litem for Francis W. Allin for answer unto said Petition saith that he knows of no reason why the prayer of the petitioner should or should not be granted, but calls upon the Petitioner for proof of the several allegations in said Bill contained. John T. Stuart, guardian.”  Signed twice.


    Excellent condition with one fold and minor ink blotches.


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