409. John T. Stuart (William H. Herndon Interview).
Decr 20th 1866
Jno T. Stuart
Says — Mr Lincoln Commenced Carrying around with him on the Circuit — to the various Courts, books such as Shakespear — Euclid as Early as 1844 and continued to do so down as late as 1853.: he loved Burns — Carried Poe around on the Circuit — read and loved the Raven — repeated it over & over — loved Hallecks Poem called
In the Evening Lincoln would strip off his coat and lay down on the bed — read — reflect and digest — After Supper he would Strip — go to bed — get a Candle — draw up a chair or table and read till late of night: he read hard works — was philosophical — logical — mathematical — never read generally — didn't know anything about history — had no faith in it nor biography — didnt know geography generally — knew it in spots. He had nothing Rhetorical in his nature — no belles letters — he read specially — dug out things — He never read poetry as a thing of pleasure, Except Shakespear — he read Poe because it was gloomy — So of Burns at "Bottom". Lincoln was a schollar from 1835 — rather a hard student to 1845 — He was an Educated Man in 1860 — more than is generally known. It was in 1851 when he & I were coming down the hill the other side of Delavan that I said to him — "Lincoln the time is soon coming when we shall all have to be all abolitionists or all democrats" "My mind is fixed on that question — when it Comes, replied Lincoln" and I said — "So is mine."
We — L & my self always stopt at Hobbitts
Mr Lincolns Religion as I understand was of a low order — he was an infidel Especially when young — Say from 1834 to 1840 I know nothing of his book — or pamphlet — know nothing of his crazy spell — do know of the one in Springfield in 1841 — or 2
Library of Congress: Herndon-Weik Collection. Manuscript Division. Library of Congress. Washington, D.C. 2246 — 47