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Abraham Lincoln Legal Brief Just After His First Law Partner Left For Congress
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“Yet the said defendant (although often requested so to do) hath not as yet paid the said several sums of money or either of them  or any part thereof, bus so to do, hath hitherto wholly neglected and refuse- to the damage of the said plaintiffs of five hundred dollars and therefore they sue…

Stuart & Lincoln p.q….”

A complaint on behalf of Lincoln’s and Stuart’s client, Neff, Wanton & Company, against Josiah Francis, an Athens storekeeper. On March 13, 1837, Francis purchased $319.21 worth of goods on 6 months credit, which he failed to pay. On November 4, 1839, he agreed to pay a further $45.45 for interest and penalties. Here, Lincoln recites the history, notes they still haven’t been paid, and claims $500 in damages. Lincoln was involved in a second suit against Josiah Francis in 1841, after Francis bought a building and failed to pay on time. Francis served in the Illinois legislature, and founded the Sangamo Journal, which his brother edited.

ABRAHAM LINCOLN. Autograph Manuscript Signed “Stuart & Lincoln” (meaning the entire text and signature was penned by Lincoln), Sangamon County, Illinois, after November 4, 1839. 2 pp. 7⅝ x 12½ in.

Inventory #23827       Price: $11,000

John T. Stuart (1807-85). Illinois legislator, U.S. Congressman, cousin of Mary Todd. Stuart and Lincoln met while serving together during the Black Hawk War. Stuart lent Lincoln his first law books, served as an early mentor, and first law partner from 1837-41. An “old-line” Whig, in 1838, during a debate in Springfield, Stuart fought with Lincoln’s future opponent Stephen Douglas. “Stuart seized his little opponent by the neck and carried him around the square. The Little Giant retaliated by biting his assailant’s thumb until it was half-severed” (Gerald M. Capers, quoted in www.mrlincolnandfriends.org).

On November 2, 1839, Lincoln noted his partner’s departure for Washington to assume his seat in the United States Congress by entering in firm’s fee book, “Commencement of Lincoln’s Administration.” Stuart later opposed the Republican Party and Lincoln’s administration, primarily over the abolition of slavery.


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