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279. Annie E. Jonas to William H. Herndon.

Quincy Ills Oct 28th 1866.

Dear Sir

I am ashamed to confess the error I made in copying the letter I forwarded to you marked "Confidential"; of course the letter was dated, as the contents (for availability before the election) would indicate — 1860. My apology for apparent careleness, is must also extenuate the seeming negligence of not having replied to your enquiry before — my time is not at my own command, and consequently I copied; as I now write in a room full of talkers — I shall be only too happy to do any-thing in my limited power to aid you, in your labor of love; but if your request was made in the principal papers, of the largest circulation, in the cities; unheard of letters might be brought to light — In our locality we have only seen your request once in the NY Tribune — I delayed sending you copies of the letters I had, in order to obtain a couple from New Orleans; having failed to obtain them, I will at least tell you the story of them; which you can make use of, if you like — E[i]ther in the winter of 1856, or the spring of /57 some colored man from Springfield, went to St Louis, and hired himself — (for what special service I forget — ) as a hand on a lower Missisippi boat — arriving at New Orleans, without free papers; he having been born free — he was subjected to the tyranny of the black code — all the more stringently enforced, because of the late excitement


attendant upon the Fremont campaign, and thrown into prison until the boat left; Then, as no one was especially interested in him, he was forgotten. After a certain length of time, established by law, he would inevitably have been sold into slavery to defray prison expenses had not Mr — [L]incoln heard of it, and written to a brother of mine, a young lawyer — to get him out, and charge the expense incurred to him; My brother did so, but he now writes me that the only person who accepted remuneration for his services, was the now "radical" Col — A. P. Field. My brother was a rebel, and upon my asking for Mr Lincoln's letters for you — answered that with other papers they were stolen from his office by some U.S. Quarter-master, whom he hoped to discover through his forwarding the letters to you. I too hope the letters will find their way to you, though as they were in the office of the Lt Gov — (Hyams) of the state, I should [s]ay both Office, and papers were [ta]ken "possession of." Pardon me, if I have been waarisome, but if the letters come to you, you will know their story, I am afraid they were destroyed. You are not kind in denying us letter forwarders the privalege of paying our own postage, Respectfully

Annie E. Jonas

Illinois State Historical Library: Weik Papers, box 1; Huntington Library: LN2408, 2:316 — 17



1. CW 4:85 — 86