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472. James H. Matheny (William H. Herndon Interview).

Octr 6th '81

I went into Mr. Matheny's office Octr 5th '81 and he and I had a conversation — Mr. Matheny said, substantially — "I do not know whether Lamon's life of Lincoln was before me when I wrote the Reed letter or not — do not rember one way or the other whether I told Mr Reed that Lincoln investigated Christianity — Reed wrote the Letter and I signed it, telling him before he wrote the letter facts as I now remember it — I signed the note in Lamon's life of Lincol — never supposing that it would be published — sorry it is published — don't blame you — I think he said it was private —

I then told him that I was in the act of financially breaking — and was compelled to sell — I expressed regret about the matter. I said that the book was an unfortunate book for writer and publisher &c.

I took these notes on the morning of the 6th day of Octr. '81

W H Herndon

Further — I showed My my notes of Decr. 9th 1873 — he said they were correct. down to — sharp game — he repeated to me however that the saying in his opinion was true so I say — I remarked. — I told him something about Yates — Lincoln — Ellis & myself — which I never will make public


Many of my papers have been lost — Some have been Eaten up by Mice — My office was once gutted by fire & by the People during the fire — Zane & I were then in partnership — up stairs above Miller's hard ware store — kept my papers there — I am surprised that many of my papers have been stolen — let every man see & read them — didnt watch them — Took Some papers with Me when I lectured in reply to Reed — to the capital city where I had them [from] the one lost probably I can find Em. Think I had Stuarts & Mathenys & Mrs Lincolns notes at the Lecture — to Show — Read & Exhibit if I was contradicted — Cant lay my hand on them now —

Library of Congress: Herndon-Weik Collection. Manuscript Division. Library of Congress. Washington, D.C. 3170



1. See §468.

2. See Lamon, 487 — 88.

3. William H. Herndon refers to selling Ward Hill Lamon copies of his letters and interviews about AL, on which Lamon's biography is based.

4. §468.

5. Marginal note: I wrote to Mr Arnold of Chicago — before I sold my materials to Lamon, telling him I wanted to sell — wrote to some people in Boston & &c the same — got no buyers — sold to Lamon under financial troubles. H.

6. Wiliam H. Herndon exchanged public lectures with Rev. James A. Reed in Springfield in 1873 on the subject of AL's religion.