567. Edward L. Pierce to William H. Herndon
[ca. October 15, 1889]
Lincolns visit to Mass in 1848 is made too little of in the biographies of him. His first speech — made at the Whig convention at Worcester, was quite fully reported in the Boston Advertiser, with a sketch of his person and manner. He spoke also at Dedham (day time) Cambridge, Chelsea & Dorchester. — also twice in Boston — once at Faneuil Hall with Seward. A single passage — that he had thought out some things at home and wished to compare notes & — makes me think that he was conscious of his powers and wanted to try them on a different theatre — that is, before more cultivated audiences He was greatly liked. It was a style new to our people — and there was a general call for him as a speaker. His speech at Dorchester was in our own village — and I have talked with several who heard him.
At Worcester he gave offence by saying "I have heard you have abolitionists
681here. We have a few in Illinois, and we shot one the other day. The Free Soil papers criticised the passage and he did not repeat it. He had a humorous passage in his Worcester speech with reference to the Free Soilers as having one doctrine only. their platform reminding him of a tailor who advertised a pair of trousers as large enough for any man and small enough for any boy.
I have wondered how Mr Lincoln happened to come in '48. Mr Winthrop to whom I spoke on the subject does not remember, but thinks Mr Charles Hudson MC may have asked him. Mr Lincoln in Congress did not make much impression on Mr Winthrop.
I sent you the other day a paper of mine on the Convention of '60
I have written currente calamo and in haste — simply to indicate points.
Edward L Pierce
Library of Congress: Herndon-Weik Collection. Manuscript Division. Library of Congress. Washington, D.C. 4744