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46. John T. Stuart (William H. Herndon interview).

[late June 1865]

Jno. T. Stuart

Says — that Lincoln Came to Springfield in 1836 or 1837 — Spring — or fall & winter — think the last — Stuart & L entered into partnership in 1837 — L. went to Congress in 1839

— S & L then dissolved the legal firm — Logan & Lincoln then Entered into partnership. Lincoln went to the Legislature in 1834 — 6 — 8 & 1840 — again Elected in 1854 — refused to take his seat — became a candidate for U.S. Senate — beaten — Trumbull Elected U.S. S — S says he will write something for me, but he won't — give him any subject — topic he pleases in Lincoln's life. Logan & L dissolve partnership in 1844 — Lincoln is a gloomy man — a sad man — His wife made him Presdt (?): She had the fire — will and ambition — Lincolns talent & his wifes Ambition did the deed — Lincoln Courted a Miss Short in 1834 & 5: She refused him — probably in 1836 it was — Lincoln is — was a kind of vegetable — that the pores of his flesh acted as an appropriate organ for such Evacuations &c — differed with other men about this — Lincoln was a torpid man gloomy. That Speed said if Mr Lincoln had married an other woman — for instance Speeds wife he Lincoln would have been a devoted husband and a very — very domestic man: That Lincoln needed driving — (well he got that) That having his — L's peculiar constitution — this dormancy — this vegetable constitution — vitality — this tenacity — his want of passion — Emotion — imagination he was tough & Enduring & but for this Lincoln with all the strength at Washington would have died — been killed in 3 mos. L did forget his friends — That there was no part of his nature which drew him to do acts of gratitude to his friends —


Says — That part of the Sangamon Volunteers in the Black Hawk war of 1832 — assembled at Springfield — went thence to Beardstown on the Ills — 45 m west of Springfield — all assembled — from thence all went to Rushville Schuyler Co — still westward — duly organized about 2 miles out of Rushville — went thence to Rock Island — called fort Armstrong. Stuart says he was in a Spy battallion — Lincoln was Captain, Stuart was under Dawson. Lincoln was in Command of his own Company — Gen — Col Henry was the Major of the Spy battallion. The time of Enlistment was 90 days: the time Expired — Lincoln re-entered — volunteered again. Stuart & Lincoln now became privates — went into Maj. Iles Company — Went from Rock Island to Dixon on the Ills River, East from Rock Island. We went from this place to the battle ground of Bad Axe — thence up the Rock river near to fox River — thence between the Ills & Fox Rivers. we marched up to Ottowa — Lincoln & Stuart & Harrison came home together. Harrison lost his horse on the road — wrode and tied by turns among the boys — Each helped the one in want — so that all could walk awhile & wride awhile — Probably we were discharged before the 90 days by the State — We did no could — could do no good — re-volunteered before the 90 days had Expired: It was at this time that Lincoln and my self went in as a private — we staid out our 30 days — came home.

Stuart Says — that about the year or between the years 1848 & 50 that Lincoln & himself were returning from court, homeward bound from Tazwell — rather Pekin or Tremont Court — near the little town of Dillon this side of Tremont — he S said to Lincoln that the time would soon Come in which or when we must be Democrats or Abolitionists. "When that time comes my mind is made up," The Slavery question Can't be Compromised Said Lincoln in an Emphatic tone. "So is my mind made up too" Said Stuart just as Emphatically and so we now stand — did stand. Lincoln used to Carry around in the Circuit Court tramp with him say from 1846 — to 1855. Euclid's Geometry — Shakespear: he could well repeat much of Shakespear. Lincoln was an Educated Man in 1860 though he dug it out himself. Stuart further that while Lincoln as Presdt was promising — or giving by implication — giving the South to understand thatt, the Presdt, was preparing his Proc of Emancipation (I doubt this Herndon).

S — says further — he thinks that the marriage of Lincoln to Miss Todd was a policy Match all around — Lincoln was not a social man — was sad — gloomy: he couldn't Care for any man or any man's interests — attended to no public interest — those things that interest the unpolitical public — cared nothing for colleges — Assylums, Rail Roads — churches — Hospitals — and such like things & institutions — Attended no such meetings — Had no organizing abilities — felt no special interest in any man or thing — Save & Except politics — loved


principles and such like large political & national ones, Especially when it leads to his own Ends — paths — Ambitions — Success — honor &c. &c.

Library of Congress: Herndon-Weik Collection. Manuscript Division. Library of Congress. Washington, D.C. 2242 — 45; Huntington Library: LN2408, 2:200 — 204



1. Though WHH estimates that he first talked to Stuart five days previous to July 21 (see p. 77), the distinctive reference to a Miss Short, about which WHH queries James Short and which Short responds to on July 7, indicates that the interview must have been earlier. Note that G. U. Miles reports that Short received WHH's letter by June 30.

2. Marginal note in Springer transcription: (a mistake) this means Stewart.

3. Probably refers to AL's unsuccessful courtship of Mary Owens in 1836 — 37. See §56.

4. Stuart has confused the battle of Bad Axe, which was fought in Wisconsin at the conclusion of the war, with an Illinois battle, probably Stillman's Defeat.

5. Cf. §§377, 409.