520. Henry C. Whitney to William H. Herndon.
August 23d 1887.
Your three letters are all at hand to day on my return from a three weeks trip East. on my return last night I passed through Greencastle at midnight but had no idea you was there.
As to the cause of Lincolns melancholy I have no facts whatever of my own: and my judgement & opinion are founded on matters that have been mentioned between us privately & which cannot be printed. From Lamon's life
626then stated I based my inference mainly: then my reasoning was that Lincolns melancholy was illogical & unexplainable by any course of observation or reasoning — it was ingrained & being ingrained could not be reduced to rule or the cause arrayed: and was necessarily hereditary — but whether it came from a long line and far back or was simply formed during the period of gestation cannot be determined. Stuart said it all arose from abnormal digestion — from the failure of his liver to work while Matheny said he wasnt melancholy at all. I can't help you on this & please don't mention me in connection with it. The thumps kicks
You touch me on a tender chord when you ask about Lincoln & Davis. The latter is now dead: he had many virtues & some defects & I can never forget his kindness to me in the first years of my acquaintance: but I dont think Lincoln held Davis very close to his heart: he was too loquacious — too vain — too vacillating in his friendships: look at Davis' array of posthumous friends & where are they? & who are they? we tried to raise $1000.# to pay for a bust of Davis & I will tell you of the success so far as I pursued it: and I pursued it through all his friends that I knew.
Weldon cheerfully subscribed $100.# Bishop ditto: Frank Orme $50.00: Swett $100.# & then the thing stuck: altho' the widow Davis expressed some desire to pay for the whole thing. Clifton H. Moore refused: Jno. G. Nicolay refused: George Perrin Davis refused: Mrs Swayne refused: Jesse Fell refused to try to do anything: so you see that when Davis' autocratic force was withdrawn, all love must also. I think Davis had no influence on Lincoln: he believed in you — Swett — Williams — Browning — Judd — Logan — Stuart: but he despised O. L. Davis — & only barely tolerated D. Davis Weldon — C. H. Moore: he liked Cullom & Lamon — both: this he told me himself in 1856. when both wanted to run for Pros Atty. Look at Thurlow Weeds autobiography
627of appointing Davis to any office at all & was disgusted at Davis' hoggishness after office for himself — for H. Winter Davis his cousin & for all his personal friends: In this very short time after Lincoln took the Presidential oath; Davis sought him out & forced him to appoint Archy Williams District Judge of Kansas & Jno A. Jones, Supt. of statistics in the State dept. Lincoln felt very sore over this to my certain knowledge. I can repeat nearly verbatim what Lincoln said to me about it on March 5th 1861. Davis undoubtedly had Williams appointed to get him out of the way of filling Mc Leans vacancy:
I can't help you on the ante-natal influences: it is a mere theory which I will run out at some length as soon as I can get a little time if it will avail you any
In haste / as ever Your Friend
H C Whitney
Library of Congress: Herndon-Weik Collection. Manuscript Division. Library of Congress. Washington, D.C. 3391 — 92