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419. David Davis (William H. Herndon Interview).


Judge Davis

Judge Davis was Judge of the 8th Judicial Circuit Elected in 1848 — Elected 3 times — 14 counties — Treat was elected Supm Judge. — Circuit Judge — Elected last time June 1861 — Appointed Supm US Judge in Oct 1862 — Lincoln went to all the Courts. Judge Davis in Time held his Court about 6 mo.: the first time he held Circuit Court was in 1849 —

Never was a Man of gushing feelings — Eminently just — felt for the Poor — was not a man of [strong?] — Yielding except in [corrections?] of [illegible]

Lincoln was conscentious — See Early life in Menard — see Abolitionism — in 1856 — was for Taylor over Clay — . He had this Kind of Faith — namely — He believed in the People — though that then Like 2d thought his would eventually prove successful — No man can be a man with out this faith — Purple practiced in the Circu and as a general rule asked nor granted favors — would give Lincoln what he wanted — Had no faith in the Christian sense of that term — Had faith in laws — principles — causes & Effects — Philosophy. He had scelf-relying power — in this — He had no faith in any mans judgment — Could not Absorb — could suck in — drink in memory, but Must Know by investigation — as it were by Experiment — had no faculty or organizing power: hence a child Could Conduct the Simple & technical rules — the means & the mode of getting at Justice better than L. The Law has its own rules & a student could get at them better than L — Sometimes Lincoln studied things, if he could not get the rubbish of a case removed. &c &c. He had no invention or organizing ability &c — no Admr. Ability —

Patterson murder case in Champaign — Davis — Lincoln — Sweat — Lincoln was on the wrong side — wanted to compromise — Sweat said no — L was so conscious that he did not do much good — but that Sweat did — that he proposed to give the whole fee to Sweat

Library of Congress: Herndon-Weik Collection. Manuscript Division. Library of Congress. Washington, D.C. 2664 — 65; Huntington Library: LN2408, 2:185 — 86



1. For other references to this case, see the index.

2. This paragraph appears in the margin of the first sheet of the interview.