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112. Zebina Eastman to William H. Herndon.

Bristol, Jan 2 1866

Dear Sir

Seeing your name in a Chicago paper a few days ago, in connection with a lecture on the character of Mr Lincoln, reminds me of old times. It is many years since I saw you at Springfield, when I came their with Cassius M. Clay. I then learned that Mr. Lincoln's law partner was a thorough abolitionist, and that was yourself. Perhaps you were not aware at the time what my particular desire was in visiting Springfield, and particularly in my inquiry of you. It was to learn from some thing nearer than public report, and public life, what were Mr. Lincolns particular feelings and scruples in regard to the colored people of the United States.


I wanted to know if he was their friend — if he was their friend, we knew he was a a politician that could be trusted. You Satisfied me. You told me what Mr. Lincoln's private views were, and led me in to a sight of his heart. You remember that after that, as long as I printed the Western Citizen or Free West it was sent to your office. I supposed Mr Lincoln read it some times.

You may perhaps remember that after that time there was no opposition to Mr Lincoln from the abolitionists proper. They were in a party of their own, and from repeated betrayals, had learned to distrust all professions of mere politicians. They gave their condence to men that were worthy of it, — as they gave it to Washburne and Morton.

After that visit I told all my Liberty Party friends to stand by Abraham Lincoln. These were times when he could hardly have expected to have received any office in Illinois. Dr. Dyer was particularly in unison with me in these views. The abolitionists soon learned that we were all to be in harmony with Abraham Lincoln.

Dr. Dyer received the appointment by Mr Lincoln as Judge of the African Slave Trade Court. He sent me to this place — after he had had a confidential interview with me at 7 o'clock in the morning. It is a pleasant thing to remember, as Mr. Lincoln told Dyer, — it was a great pleasure to him to appoint old abolitionists to office. Surely he was the Negro's friend. Therefore he became that eminently successful man. How different from those who preach the doctrine, that "Black men had no rights which white men were bound to respect."

Very truly yours,
Z. Eastman

Library of Congress: Herndon-Weik Collection. Manuscript Division. Library of Congress. Washington, D.C. 2409 — 10



1. Probably WHH's two-part lecture on AL's character, delivered on December 12 and 26, 1865, in Springfield.

2. Cassius M. Clay (1810 — 1903), a Kentucky lawyer and abolitionist.

3. Eastman edited the Western Citizen in Chicago, 1842 — 53. In 1853 its name was changed to Free West, and two years later it was merged with the Chicago Tribune.

4. Elihu B. Washburne (1816 — 87), Republican congressman from Galena, Illinois; and Oliver H. P. Morton (1823 — 77), Civil War governor of Indiana.

5. Charles V. Dyer (1808 — 78), Chicago physician and an avowed opponent of slavery.

6. AL appointed Eastman consul at Bristol, England, where he served until 1869.