LINCOLN, Abraham (1809-1865). Autograph document signed under his early firm’s name “Stuart & Lincoln.” Sangamon County, Illinois, “Of the July term [14 July?]” 1840.
2 pages, folio, 318 x 194 mm, creased, split along center fold affecting text, chipping with minor losses to two blank corners and left margin, small hole affecting one letter. AN EARLY AND LENGTHY LEGAL DOCUMENT, ENTIRELY WRITTEN AND SIGNED BY LINCOLN DURING HIS FIRST LAW PARTNERSHIP. Lincoln is acting for the plaintiff, Jesse Ditson, and suing for the payment of a promissory note and damages from Thomas Lasswell. It reads in part: “Jesse Ditson, plaintiff, complains of Thomas Lasswell, defendant, being in custody &c. of plea of Trespass on the case upon promises. For that whereas, heretofore, to wit, on the twelfth day of January in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and thirty-nine, at Springfield, in the county and circuit aforesaid, made his certain promissory note in writing bearing date the day and year aforesaid, and thereby and then promised to pay, on or before the fifteenth of April, (then) next (ensuing) one Moses Lawson, one hundred dollars, for value received, and then and there delivered the said promissory note to the said Moses Lawson…” Containing approximately 570 words in Lincoln’s hand. John Todd Stuart (1807-1885) made Lincoln’s acquaintance while serving in the same battalion during Black Hawk War in 1832. Stuart was elected a member of the Illinois House of Representatives between 1832 and 1836, and encouraged the young Lincoln to study law. The two subsequently partnered in Springfield from1837 until 1841. He had a significant influence on Lincoln’s career as a lawyer and politician. Stuart was a favorite cousin of Lincoln’s future wife, Mary Todd. Provenance: Henry Goldsmith (his sale, American Art Association, 29 Jan 1925, lot 74); Emanuel Hertz (his sale, Anderson Galleries, 15 Nov 1927, lot 297).
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