464. James H. Matheny (William H. Herndon Interview)
Springfield Ills. Mch. 6th 1870
Jas H. Matheny tells me that from about 1854 to 1860. that Lincoln played a sharp game here on the Religious world — that Lincoln Knew that he was to be a great man — was a rising man — was looking to the Presidency &c. and well Knowing that the old infidel, if not Atheistic charge would be made & proved against him and to avoid the disgrace — odium and unpopularity of it tramped on the Christian toes saying — "Come and Convert me": the Elders — lower & higher members of the churches, including Ministers &c flocked around him & that he appeared openly to the world as a seeker — that it was noised about that Lincoln was a seeker after Salvation &c in the Lord — that letters were written more or less all over the land that Lincoln was soon to be a changed man &c and thus it was he used the Revd Jas Smith of Scotland — old man Bergen and others. I have often thought that there was something in this, but cant affirm it to be so. This is Matheny's honest opinion and no man is superior to Matheny's judgments &c of human nature — actions & motives &c: he knew Lincoln as well as I did I think.
Huntington Library: LN366