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545. Samuel H. Melvin to William H. Herndon.

East Oakland, Cal., June 16th 1888

My dear Sir:

A good many months ago, I recd a letter from you which I laid aside until I cd take time to reply in extenso. The old adage. — "out of sight out of mind". — holds good in this instance, for, I regret to say, I had entirely forgotten the matter, until reminded, a few days ago, by receipt of a letter from one Jesse. W. Weik, of Greencastle Ind, in wh he states "I have been requested by Mr W H Herndon of Springfield Ills," etc. By the way, who is Mr Weik, and why was it necessary to go to Ind. to find a party to remind me of my short comings? Now in regard to the subject matter of yr letter: Yes, I have the manuscript of a lecture del by Lincoln in Cooks Hall on night of 22nd Feby 1860, for the benefit of the Spg'f'd Library Ass'n I heard him deliver it. You ask me to let you have this manuscript or a copy of it. Now friend Herndon there is no man in Spr'gf'd I w'd rather oblige than y'rself, but in this case I do not see my way clearly to comply with yr request.

The manuscript has a money value, and a large one too. and if I were to furnish you a copy for publication, such publication would render the original valueless except as a specimen of Lincoln chirography.

Under the circumstances I will let you have the document for $500 but I will not part with it to any one else for that sum

Henry J. Raymond offered me double the amt for it, but I then had plenty of money and declined the offer.

Yrs truly
S. H. Melvin.

Library of Congress: Herndon-Weik Collection. Manuscript Division. Library of Congress. Washington, D.C. 3454 — 55



1. AL's lecture on "Discoveries and Inventions," of which there were two versions. See CW 2:437 — 42, 3:356 — 63.