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277. James W. Grimes to William H. Herndon.

Burlington, Iowa. Oct. 1866

My dear Sir

Yours of the 23d inst is at hand. I have looked in vain for Mr. Lincolns old letters. As they were of no special importance at the time they were written and being upon subjects of no lasting importance [*/?] probable that I did not attempt to preserve them, though I have always been in the habit of preserving my letters.

I have no knowledge that mr. Lincoln was ever in Iowa more than once. He came here from Oquawka Ill. on the Saturday preceeding the 13th Oct. 1858 and


spoke in my [hall?] to an audience of not less than two thousand people. I need not say that he made a deep impression upon his audience for he always did that No man ever addressed an Iowa audience who so won the hearts of those who listened to him. Mr. Lincoln remained at my house over Sunday which was a very [*/?] & left on Monday morning to resume his canvass in Ill. I had read his debates with Mr. Douglass up to that time & we frankly discussed & criticized the points made by each of the disputants. I insisted that he suffered Mr. Douglass to put him too much on the defensive, — that he should assume the aggressive & attack his adversary in turn, — that it was useless to defend himself against Mr. Douglass' charges, for, as one would be refuted another would be trumped up. During the afternoon he called for writing materials & said he would go to his room & to prepare his speech to be delivered at Quincy two or three days afterwa[rds. In] about an hour or an hour and a half he returned from his chamber with half a sheet of paper in his hand upon which he had noted down the heads of the speech he intended to make at that place & which upon reading his speech made there I was satisfied was the same prepared in my house.

I believe my dear sir, that this is all I know of Mr. Lincolns visit to Iowa worthy of comment

I am very truly
Your obdt — servt —
James W. Grimes

Library of Congress: Herndon-Weik Collection. Manuscript Division. Library of Congress. Washington, D.C. 2719 — 20; Huntington Library: LN2408, 2:356 — 57