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318. Joshua F. Speed to William H. Herndon.

Louisville 30 Nov 1866.

Dear Sir

I enclose you copies of all the letters of any interest from Mr Lincoln to me

Some explanation may be needed — that you may rightly understand their import —

In the winter of 40 & 41 — he was very unhappy about his engagement to his wife — Not being entirely satisfied that his heart was going with his hand — How much he suffered then on that account none Know so well as myself — He disclosed his whole heart to me —

In the summer of 1841. I became engaged to my wife — He was here on a visit when I courted her — and strange to say something of the same feeling which I regarded as so foolish in him — took possession of me — and kept me very unhappy from the time of my ingagement until I was married —

This will explain the deep interest he manifested in his letters, on my account —


If you use the letters (and some of them are perfect jems) & do it carefully, so as not to wound the feelings of Mrs Lincoln —

One thing is plainly discernable — If I had not been married & happy — far more happy than I ever expected to be — He would not have married —

I have erraced a name which I do not wish published — If I have failed to do it any where strike it out when you come to it — That is the word Sarah

I thank you for your last lecture It is all new to me — But so true to my appreciation of Lincolns character that independant of my knowledge of you I would almost swear to it —

Lincoln wrote a letter (a long one which he read to me) to Dr Drake of Cincinnatti discriptive of his case. Its date would be in Decer 40 or early in January 41. — I think that he must have informed Dr D of his early love for Miss Rutledge — as there was a part of the letter which he would not read.

It would be worth much to you if you could procure the original —

Chs D. Drake of St Louis may have his Fathers papers — The date which I give you — will aid in the search —

I remember Dr Drakes reply — which was that he would not undertake to priscribe for him without a personal interview —

I would advise you to make some effort to get the letter

Your friend &c
J. F. Speed

Library of Congress: Herndon-Weik Collection. Manuscript Division. Library of Congress. Washington, D.C. 2826 — 27



1. As Springer was probably not transcribing new material at this date and no such copies are known, it is unclear which letters Speed copied and sent to William H. Herndon.

2. Presumably Sarah Rickard (1824 — 1911).

3. William H. Herndon's Ann Rutledge lecture.

4. Daniel Drake.