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157. David Davis to William H. Herndon.

Washington Feb. 22. [1866]

Dear Herndon

Mr Bancroft totally misconceived Mr Lincoln's character, in applying, "unsteadiness" & confusion to it—Mr Lincoln grew more steady & resolute, & his ideas were never confused—If there were any changes in him after he got here, they were for the better—I thought him always master of his subject—He was a much more self possessed man than I thought—He thought for himself, which is a rare quality nowadays. How could Bancroft Know anything about Lincoln, except as he judged of him as the public do—He never Saw him, & is himself as cold as an icicle—I should never have selected an old Democratic politician, & that one from Mass &c to deliver an eulogy on Lincoln—

Bancrofts strictures on France & England were in wretched taste, yea, cowardly, because the Foreign ministers had been especially invited—I guess Lord Palmerston Snubbed Bancroft when he was in England—

The effect of Bancrofts Eulogy was felt to day, because the foreign ministers were invited to attend the memorial services in honor of Henry Winter Davis, & some of them replied that the treatment recd on the 12th forbid the acceptance of the invitation.

In haste

Yr Frd
D. Davis

Library of Congress: Herndon-Weik Collection. Manuscript Division. Library of Congress. Washington, D.C. 2508— Huntington Library: LN2408, 2:318



George Bancroft, an eminent contemporary historian of the United States, delivered a eulogy before Congress on AL's birthday, February 12, 1866.