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Wilson, Douglas L., ed.; Davis, Rodney O., ed.; Davis, David. 'David Davis (William H. Herndon Interview)' in 'Herndon's Informants: Letters, Interviews, and Statements About Abraham Lincoln' . Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1998. [format: book], [genre: interview]. Permission: University of Illinois Press
Persistent link to this document: http://lincoln.lib.niu.edu/file.php?file=herndon346.html


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240. David Davis (William H. Herndon Interview) [1].

September 19th 1866.

Judge Davis —

I was Elected Judge Sept 48. Sat in Sangamon Co up to 1857 — 14 Counties, Sangamon, Tazwell, Woodford — McLain, Logan — De Witt — Piatt, Champaign Vermillion, Edgar — Shelby, Moultre — Macon, & Christian — are about 100 m square — see a Map. Lincoln was with me all around the circuit — Travelled around the Circuit twice per year; out 6 mo Each year —

Lincoln Commenced practicing in Bloomington in 1837 and never ceased to come here and attend the Court. He practiced under me — for the years of 48. to 1858 — went all around the Circuit. [2]

I met in 1861 in Indianapolis, Judd, Lamon — were with him all the way — Hunter & Sumner &c — got in Springfield — Browning went with Lincoln went as far as Indianapolis Ind. I went to Harrisburg. — Judd had Pinkerton to investigate the Conspiracy. Pinkerton reported I think reported at Philadelp, Lamon went throug; it was decided at Harrisburg. I never heard that a torpedo or other thing was put on the track or in the cars. We went to Washington through Baltimore the next day.

I was appointed Judge of Supm Court in 1862 was with Lincoln some. Lincoln was a peculiar man: he never asked my advice on any question — sometimes I would talk to him & advise him: he would listen — The idea that he told his religious views to any one is to me absurd, I asked him once about his Cabinet: he said he never Consulted his Cabinett. He said they all disagreed so much he would not ask them — he depended on himself — always. I may say that he did once or twice ask me some questions about money affairs and how to put out his money — &c &c He wanted me to go to Baltimore Convention — didn't go. April 4th 1864 is the last time I saw him until he was dead and in his Coffin — He never would turn a man out off and hence his Cabinet clung together. He said He ran the Machine himself.

Bancroft knew nothing about Lincoln: He was an old democrat and never sympathized with. Lincoln was a remarkbl man: he said that as a Republican government all men & women & Children had a right to see the Presdt & State his grievances. I Know it was the general opinion in Washington that I knew all about

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Lincolns thoughs but I Kew nothing. Lincoln never confided to me anything. He never told me a word on reconstruction — Lincoln would never have split with Congress: he would have fought it out on his own fronts — Johnson was a low down — a demagogue &c. Seward was a Kind tender Man: he said to Johnson on this question of reconstruction — I'll Stand by you. Seward thought that the South had done Enough — namely repudiate the rebel debt — pass the amendment and repudiate the Southern debt. All looks dark now to me: hate hate. hate — &c —

I was at the City of Springfield about the time of Lincolns & Trumbulls Election. I got some Abolitionists to go for Lincoln. Told Lincoln to watch Jo Gillespie and Bill Butler. Lincoln earnestly urged his friends to go for Trumbull (see Sam Parks)

1840 —

Lincoln was around Every where discussing politics: he & Douglas around Douglas & Lincoln went in 1840 all around the Circuit with Treat, & Spoke in the afternoon —

The Arch Williams Story.
The Orm & Dutch Story. — I wanted Orm appointed — Lincoln saw me Coming — Said — There's Davis he bothers one nearly to death — I applied for Orm. Lincoln said he would appoint him — said the list Contained Orms name — asked Lincoln to let me see it: he said Davis you have no faith. I said Lincoln I am a cautious man and want to see for my self. Let me see your list. I read it and and saw they were out They were out. Told Lincoln so — and Said By G — d I'd go and see who did it & Knife him — He sent it over and had it Corrected —

Conscienciousness great —

Great in court anywhere if he thought he was right. he Inquired more into cases than into the Philosophy: was a good Circuit Court Lawyer Pride of success — not unscrupulous — Knowledge of human Nature — Knew the law of nature must catch it quickly.

Patterson trial [3] — fort Sumpter times — in Champaign — Patterson had killed a man: he had lots of friends & money — Lincoln & Sweat [4] defended him. Ficklin & Lamon for People — After hearing the testimony Lincoln said he — the man was guilty — Swett you defend him. I can't — They got a fee of five hundred or a thousand dollars — .

The Woman case — in Champaign — the Seduction case Lincoln got to believe that the witnesses were false — A young man was put on the Stand who

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refused to testify. Lincoln went the idea that the witnesses were all wrong — went at them, crushed them — Every Man in the Court house except Lincoln and Jury. Lincoln got a verdict of $800. or a thousand.

Library of Congress: Herndon-Weik Collection. Manuscript Division. Library of Congress. Washington, D.C. 2650 — 54; Huntington Library: LN2408, 2:41 — 45

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Wilson, Douglas L., ed.; Davis, Rodney O., ed.; Davis, David. 'David Davis (William H. Herndon Interview)' in 'Herndon's Informants: Letters, Interviews, and Statements About Abraham Lincoln' . Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1998. [format: book], [genre: interview]. Permission: University of Illinois Press
Persistent link to this document: http://lincoln.lib.niu.edu/file.php?file=herndon346.html
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