614. David Littler (William H. Herndon Interview).
Nov. 22d '88
I saw Littler on Saturday last: he says that Lincoln did not make nor attempt to make a speech at that moment of time spoken of when Ben Edwards said, "I would rather shake hand with the devil than to shake hands with Douglas on this question" or as some put it "I would shake hand with the devil on this question". Littler said that Lincoln made a speech — a glorious, grand one on the same evening in the Hall of the House of Representatives eclipsing all others — Trumbull's — Lovejoy's et al. The speeches, except Lincoln's were made in Wrights grove west of the city about one mile and near the Fair grounds —
Dave Littler tells me this additional story. During some of the political Canvasses the people in Logan Co Ills — just north of this County & adjoining it — had determined to have a large meeting — a grand rally and had appointed the day & the hour. When the day & hour arrived the heavens opend with a terrific
718storm: it blew in hurricanes & rained in torrents. Only about 20 persons appeared. Lincoln had felt the sting of disappointment and therefore he did not wish others to be disappointed. After some reflection he said — "Boys the day is bad, too bad for many people to appear here to hear me speak, but as you have dared the storm to hear a speech you shall not be disappointed — Come let's us go over to Armingtons Hall & I'll give you a talk, such as I have". The 20 went over to the hall in Atlanta and Littler said to me — "For a Calm — Cool — profound speech I never heard so great, so learned, in the Liberty line, — so dispassionate a speech in my life". "I learned," — said Littler to me — "more of the ideas in the two hours speech of Republicanism then and there than I ever knew before. Why — the speeches of other men sounded dull & dead to me after that." Lincoln must have done his best on this occasion, because Littler felt what he said and did not seem to color his story.
Library of Congress: Herndon-Weik Collection. Manuscript Division. Library of Congress. Washington, D.C. 3504-5