297. Henry C. Whitney to William H. Herndon.
Lawrence Kas 20. Nov. 1866.
I am very sorry on your own account & mine that I cannot comply with your request as you expect — in the first place I did not Keep letters as a rule & 2dly after Lincoln got to be a great Man I was obliged to & did in fact give away his letters: I find Myself reduced to the very few unimportant ones of which I send Copies: they are not of a character to serve you but I send them as you request: — it is with diffidence that I attempt to furnish incidents in his life to you who Knew
him so thoroughly: — I have no faith that any thing will be of any use to you unless it be his views about the War just after Bull Run My impressions are that he was usually reticent about this subject which will give more value to this Conversation: I am very much interested in your lecture: Could You not send me a Copy of your other lecture of which I saw but an extract? — in the Matter of Poetry, our friend was likewise very fond of Holmes "last leaf " — I have heard him quote oftentimes from it — he likewise took from my library once a copy of "Byron" & read with much feeling several pages commencing with "There was a sound of revelry by night." — A son of his foster brother was arrested in our County for stealing a watch Lincoln came to a Mass Meeting while the boy was in Jail & got me to go with him at dusk to see the boy — L. Knew he was guilty & was very deeply affected more than I Ever saw him: at the next term of Court McWilliams & I went to the prosecution witnesses & got them to come into open Court & state that they did not care to prosecute. — to a stranger I could furnish many anecdotes illustrative of Lincolns Character but to you I can impart nothing am very glad you are getting up a "Life" you ought to do it to vindicate his Character from the assaults of these Bohemians like Holland, Raymond &c. — if it will not tax you too much will you please procure from the Clerk of the Supreme Court an authenticated Copy of my authority to practice Law issued by Scates & Caton in '55. & forward me with statement of charge for making same: — also, as much emigration has come from your County to this State if you see any business please Send it along
Library of Congress: Herndon-Weik Collection. Manuscript Division. Library of Congress. Washington, D.C. 2758; Huntington Library: LN2408, 2:424
1. William H. Herndon's lecture on Ann Rutledge.
2. Childe Harold's Pilgrimage, canto 3, stanza 21.
3. Thomas L. D. Johnston, son of Lincoln's stepbrother, John D. Johnston.