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Letter to John T. Stuart

SPRINGFIELD, ILLINOIS, January 23, 1841.
Dear Stuart:Yours of the 3d instant is received, and I proceed to answer it as well as I


can, though from the deplorable state of my, mind at this time, I fear I shall give you but little satisfaction. About the matter of the congressional election, I can only tell you that there is a bill now before the Senate adopting the general ticket system; but whether the party have fully determined on its adoption is yet uncertain. There is no sign of opposition to you among our friends, and none that I can learn among our enemies; though of course there will be if the general ticket be adopted. The "Chicago American," "Peoria Register," and "Sangamon Journal" have already hoisted our flag upon their own responsibility, and the other Whig papers of the district are expected to follow immediately. On last evening there was a meeting of our friends at Butler's, and I submitted the question to them, and found them unanimously in favor of having you announced as a candidate. A few of us this morning, however, concluded that as you were already being announced in the papers, we would delay announcing you, as by your own authority, for a week or two. We thought that to appear too keen about it might spur our opponents on about


their general ticket project. Upon the whole I think I may say with certainty that your reelection is sure, if it be in the power of the Whigs to make it so.

For not giving you a general summary of news, you must pardon me; it is not in my power to do so. I am now the most miserable man living. If what I feel were equally distributed to the whole human family, there would not be one cheerful face on the earth. Whether I shall ever be better, I cannot tell; I awfully forbode I shall not. To remain as I am is impossible; I must die or be better, it appears to me. The matter you speak of on my account you may attend to as you say, unless you shall hear of my condition forbidding it. I say this because I fear I shall be unable to attend to any business here, and a change of scene might help me. If I could be myself, I would rather remain at home with Judge Logan. I can write no more.

Your friend, as ever,



1. Such profound depression as expressed in this letter to Stuart was not at all uncommon in Lincoln's life. His melancholy in 1841 took rise from the breaking of his engagement with Miss Mary Todd, whom he was to have married January first of that year. Lincoln himself put off the wedding, fearing the crucial step. Almost two years later Miss Todd and Lincoln were eventually married.