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412. Robert T. Lincoln to William H. Herndon.

Chicago Dec 24 1866

My dear Mr Herndon

I should have acknowledged your letter sooner but I have been very much engaged. I am sorry about the book but only because our old friend Dr Smith will be disappointed. In answer to your question I have to say that I do not know of Dr Smith's having "converted" my father from "Unitarian" to "Trinitarian" belief, nor do I know that he held any decided views on the subject as I never heard him speak of it.

I infer from your letter, but I hope it is not so, that it is your purpose to make some considerable mention of my mother in your work — I say I hope it is not so, because in the first place it would not be pleasant for her or for any woman, to be made public property of in that way — With a man it is very different, for he lives out in the world and is used to being talked of — One of the unpleasant consequences of political success is that however little it may have to do with that success, his whole private life is exposed to the public gaze — that is part of the price he pays. But I see no reason why his wife and children should be included — especially while they are alive — I think no sensible man would live in a glass house and I think he ought not to be compelled to do so against his will. I feel very keenly on this subject, for the annoyance I am subjected to sometimes is nearly intolerable I hope you will consider this matter carefully, My dear Mr Herndon, for once done there is no undoing —

Sincerely your friend
Robert T. Lincoln

Library of Congress: Herndon-Weik Collection. Manuscript Division. Library of Congress. Washington, D.C. 2915



1. See §407.