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253. Mary Todd Lincoln (William H. Herndon notes on Interview).

[September 1866]

Sumner & Mr Lincoln were great chums after they became acquainted with one an other. They watched Each other closely. Down at Ciy point once Johnson followed us — was drunk — Mr L said to me — "For God's Sake dont ask Johnson to dine with us — " "No do not," Said Sumner — did not do so.

I often Said that "God would not let any harm Come of my husband — we had passed through 5 long — terrible — bloody years unscathed that I thought so — so did Mr L: he was happy over that idea. He was cheerful — almost joyous as he got gradually to see the End of the war.

I used to read News paper charges — news paper attacks on him — He said — "Dont do that, for I have enough to bear — yet I care nothing for them. If I am right I'll live and if wrong I'll die any how — So let them pass unnoticed. I would playfully say — That's the way to learn — read both sides —

Mr Lincolns maxim and philosophy was — "What is to be will be and no cares of ours can arrest the decree."

I could tell when Mr. Lincoln had decided any thing: he was cheerful at first — then he pressed — or compressed his lips tightly — firmly When these thing showed themselves to me I fashioned myself and So all others had to do sooner or later — and the world found it out.

When we first went to Washington Many though Mr L weak. But he rose grandly with the circumstances and men soon learned that he was above them all. I never saw a man's mind develope so finely: his manners got quite polished.

He used to say to me when I talked to him about Chase & those who did him Evil — Do good to those who hate you and turn their ill will to friendship — sometimes in Washington, being worn down he spoke crabbing to men — harshly so — Yet it seemed the People understood his Condition & forgave him —

Library of Congress: Herndon-Weik Collection. Manuscript Division. Library of Congress. Washington, D.C. 3067



1. These notes on WHH's interview with MTL are incorporated into the item that follows but do not appear in the previous item or in the Springer transcriptions.

2. Compare the version of this maxim in the following item, §254.