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383. Peter Van Bergen (William H. Herndon Interview).

[1865 — 66]

Peter Van Bergen

Says that Jas. Smith — the Preacher who once lived here is now in Dundee Scotland. Smith was in 1850 preacher of the 1st Presbyterian Church here — Smith once said to Lincoln — "Lincoln — you are a rising man. You will be Presdt yet." "If I am Ever Presdt "I'll banish you to Scotland". replied Lincoln good naturedly.


After L was Elected he recd a letter from Smith. Lincoln did appoint him Consul at Liverpool.

Speed tells Van Bergen that once he called his Cabinet together and requested their individual opinion as to the necessity & policy of hanging the Rebells. Each gave his opinion. Speed tarried after the meeting had ajdourned. Lincoln Said "Speed you are quite a har man." "Yes," Said Speed I feel this way, said Lincoln — Once a man & his small son Caught several Coons — Killed all but one and the old man tied it with a String — Lincoln Came along and the boy told him the Story — Said let him go — The boy Said I wish I could he could get away — but if I let him go dad will whip me — "I feel as to hanging &c like the boy about the cool. "If I let them go I'll get whipt" Said Lincoln.

Van B — Says Lincoln showed him Van B the war maps of Vicksburg. Explained &c. &c and finally said — "Grant here displayed about Vicksburg more generalship than Ever was shown by any general in America

Library of Congress: Herndon-Weik Collection. Manuscript Division. Library of Congress. Washington, D.C. 3981; Huntington Library: LN2408, 2:122



1. See §370.