370. Joshua F. Speed (William H. Herndon Interview).
[1865 — 66]
J. F. Speed
In 1840 Lincoln went into the Southern partt of the State as Elector Canvasser debator Speaker — Here first wrote his Mary — She darted after him — wrote him — Lincoln — seeing an other girl — & finding he did not love his wife wrote
475a leter saying he did not love her —
Lincoln made a great Speech in 1837. or 8 — on internal improvements —
Money — given him in 1837 or 8 — $200 — Spent 75c — paid back. $199.25 Saying I didnt Know how to Spend it. This money was given him to sustain & Maintain the Internal improvement policy as well as himself as its defender &c —
In 1840 Reuben Radford ran the Rail Road, East about 5 Miles
When Lincoln was Elected Presdt he sent for me at Chicago whither he had gone — took Lincoln's letter — Couldn't get in till he Showed Lincolns letter — that let him in — Lincoln was much worn down & fatigued — After the Compliments — Lincoln Said — Speed have you got a room — "Yes" — Said Speed — "Name your hour Speed and I'll Come & see you, — will bring my wife. Lincoln went — took his wife — Said — "Mary & Fanny can Stay her — lets you and I go into your room — Lincoln threw himself on the bed — and Said — Speed what are your pecuniary Conditions — are you rich, or poor" Speed Said — "Mr Presdt. I think I Know what you wish. I'll Speak Candidly to you — My pecuniary Conditions are good — I do not think you have any office within your gift that I can afford to take".
Lincoln wanted to make Guthry of Ky Secy of War — didn't want to write to him So that he could turn the refusal on me. You go and feel of Guthrie. Speed went — Guthrie refused. Guthrie Said the Union must be maintained. I am old and don't want the position anymore.
Lincoln said in reference to Fort Sumpter — My Mind was fixed on this Matter — Called my Cabinet — had just 1Ë man — I was firm about its defence. &c. and my Cabinet was a unit when I was determined.
476Mr Lincoln in reference to Internal improvements & the best interest and advancement of this State, that his highest ambition was to become the De Witt Clinton of Ills.
Messr Douglas — Baker — Lincoln and others were in Speeds Store one Evening in Decr 1839 — . They got to talking politics — got warm — hot — angry. Douglas Sprang up and Said — Gentlemen, this is no place to talk politics — We will discuss the questions &c publicly with you — Then the banter came — see Journal. Decr. 1839.
Religion — Beard of Ky was a Know nothing — went into a catholic Section of Ky to make Speeches against Foreigners — was making a Speech — Some one in the Crowd — a revered and gray haired leader — and Said — "Have you any Religion" — Beard Said it — the question was a poser — a Stumper — Yet gather himself Beard said — "Yes Stranger — thank God — I have got Some Religion — I had better be without money than with out Religion So far from home. From this time he swayed the crowd "for there was a great truth in this reply said" Lincoln. Speed you had better be without money than without Religion Said Lincoln. Speed is Satisfied that Mr Lincoln was a growing man in Religion — (this is true as to Religion though not so as to Christianit
Lee had surrendered — Davis had fled. and Lincoln joyous — Called his Cabinet togethe about the only one he Ever had. and asked Each one of his Cabinet what had better be done. Some were one way & Some an other — Speed
477— Davis — Lee &c — I wish they Could get away — yet if I let 'em loose — dad — the People would whip me — and yet I do wish they would run away out of the land — &c.
Speed Saw the letter to "Mary" written by Mr Lincoln. Speed tried to persuade Lincoln to burn it up. Lincoln Said — "Speed I always Knew you were an obstinate man. If you won't deliver it I will get Some one to do it. I Shall not deliver it nor give it to you to be delivered: Words are forgotten — Misunderstood — passed by — not noticed in a private Conversation — but once put your words in writing and they Stand as a living & eternal Monument against you. If you think you have will & Manhood Enough to go and see her and Speak to her what you say in that letter, you may do that. Lincoln did go and see her — did tell her &c — Speed said — Lincoln tell me what you said and did" — Lincoln told him — Speed Said — The last thing is a bad lick, but it cannot now be helped — Lincoln Kept his promises and did not go to see her for months — they got together somehow.
Library of Congress: Herndon-Weik Collection. Manuscript Division. Library of Congress. Washington, D.C. 3968 — 73; Huntington Library: LN2408, 2:59 — 64