The Trial of Mary Todd Lincoln: Ethical Guardianship in the 19 th Century and Beyond 19th Annual NAPSA Conference AUGUST 26 - 29, 2008 Sheraton Chicago Hotel & Towers “APS: A dvocating, P rotecting and S erving Vulnerable Adults” By Terry Hammond Executive Director
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The Trial of Mary Todd Lincoln:Ethical Guardianship in the19th Century and Beyond19th Annual NAPSA Conference AUGUST 26 - 29, 2008Sheraton Chicago Hotel & Towers “APS: Advocating, Protecting and Serving Vulnerable Adults”
By Terry Hammond
National Guardianship Association
"We, the undersigned jurors in the case of Mary Todd Lincoln, having heard the evidence in the case, are satisfied that said Mary Todd Lincoln is insane, and is a fit person to be sent to a state hospital for the insane..." (jury verdict after 10 minutes of deliberation, May 19, 1875).
"Six physicians in council informed me that by longer delay I was making myself morally responsible for some very probable tragedy, which might occur at any moment.”
Robert Todd Lincoln, in a June 1, 1875 letter to Mary's Lincoln’s friend Sally Orne, explaining his difficult decision.
“That whenever any idiot, lunatic, or distracted person has any estate, real of personal, or when any person by excessive drinking, gaming, idleness, or debauchery of any kind, so spends, wastes or lessens his estate as to expose himself or his family to want or suffering, or any county, town, or incorporated city, town or village to any charge or expense for the support of himself or his family, the county court of the county in which such person lives shall, on the application of any relative or creditor, or if there be neither relative or creditor, then any person living in such county, order a jury to be summoned to ascertain whether any such person be idiot, lunatic or distracted, a drunkard or such spendthrift; and if the Jury return their verdict that such person is an idiot, lunatic or distracted, or drunkard, or so spends, wastes or lessens his estate, it shall be he duty of the court to appoint some fit person to be the conservator of such person.”