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441. Newspaper Clipping.

Lincoln's Early Love.

A Springfield, Illinois, correspondent of the New York Tribune, after some conversation with Mr. Herndon, writes:

The tenderness of his (Lincoln's) nature was not always manifest, yet he had his romance in early manhood, and as of this Mr. Herndon had spoken in public, I asked particularly about it.

At Sangamon, Illinois, a pretty and high spirited girl, without fortune, made havoc in many hearts, and Mr. Lincoln constituted one of three earnest suitors who wanted her in marriage. She preferred the addresses of a young merchant of the


town, and gave the other two their conge. Her affianced soon afterward went East to buy goods, but as he returned was taken with brain fever in some wayside town, and lay raving for three months unknown by name or residence to his entertainers. A rumor started that he had run away to avoid marrying his lady, and waiting some time in vain to hear from him, she received anew the attentions of Mr. Lincoln. About the time when they passed from courtesy to tenderness, and marriage between them was more than hinted at, the sick man returned like a ghost, gauged the condition of affairs, and upbraided the lady with fickleness. She had a delicate sense of honor, and felt keenly the shame of having seemed to trifle with two gentlemen at once; this preyed upon her mind till her body, not very strong, suffered by sympathy, and Mr. Herndon has oral and written testimony that the girl died out of regret at the equivocal position she had unwittingly assumed. The names of all the parties he has given me, but I do not care to print them.

On the dead woman's grave Mr. Lincoln promised himself never to marry. This vow he kept very long. His marriage was in every respect advantageous to him. It whetted his ambition, did not nurse too much a penchant for home indolence that he had, and taught him particularly that there was something called society, which observed one's boots as well as his principles. He was always a loyal and reverent husband, a gentle but not positive father, and his wife saw the presidency for him before the thought of it troubled him.

Library of Congress: Herndon-Weik Collection. Manuscript Division. Library of Congress. Washington, D.C. 3004 (letter), Herndon-Weik Collection. Manuscript Division. Library of Congress. Washington, D.C. 3004A (clipping)



1. That is, dismissed them.