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Wilson, Douglas L., ed.; Davis, Rodney O., ed.; Oglesby, Richard J. 'Richard J. Oglesby to William H. Herndon' in 'Herndon's Informants: Letters, Interviews, and Statements About Abraham Lincoln' . Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1998. [format: book], [genre: letter]. Permission: University of Illinois Press
Persistent link to this document: http://lincoln.lib.niu.edu/file.php?file=herndon152.html


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114. Richard J. Oglesby to William H. Herndon.

Springfield Ills Jany 5d 1866

Dear friend

I have just read the Synopsis of your lecture "on the Life and character of Abraham Lincoln [1] I regret I did not hear you deliver it. Your discriptions and delineations of the great man — are true hapy and most complete — given with more Effect than I have ever before heard. You constantly reproduce him to his old friends, The discription of his Journey to the market house and return is vigorous and full of Spirit. The closing Sentence struck me with such force I almost felt his presence again this sentence ought not to be forgotten "Sometimes it appeared to me that Lincolns Soul was Just fresh from the presence of its creator" Do you know that at times I have been similarly impressed by that good man,

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What you say about what his "Perception" was is truthfully faultless and impartially correct. The remarks you have put together under the head of "Suggestiveness" Show that you have studied the man and his mysterious character carefully — you went through the bark into the heart of this giant of the intellectual forest, I think your estimate of his Judgement is very nearly fair It would have been Entirely so had you — may I suggest — made some distinction between his Judgement of men and Things. Of men in detail he was not a good Judge of Mankind as a class I think he was a good Judge. He knew how to estimate Society or more correctly Societies, well; I think Mr. Lincoln at all times possessed strong common sense but not upon all subjects. I mean to say he sometimes Seemed weak in his Estimate of men — but he had an instinctive aversion to a Mean Man — despised a knave pitied a fool and Laughed heartily at an ass There were however classes who could and did impose upon him — What you say of "his grand Elements" no man who knew him can gainsay you Struck the key note of his whole nature and let his character out as God put it in him. I endorse Every word you say under the head of His "Heart and humanity" a most truthful and correct Statement it is of Just what he was. Mr Lincoln was not a man of strong attachments. He was the warm friend of few men but he was the true friend of Mankind. He loved Man as he loved his God Logically. I am sure you have weighed and if I may say so dissected him most fairly and with Thorough correctness. As an old and constant friend you have been Just to him, I hope your lecture may be preserved in an Enduring form I should be much pleased to have it in such shape as to refer to it conveniently. do you remember that Mr Lincoln was never given to praise much — of any living man. and was not good at Eulogy upon the Dead. he never seemed to me to be an ardent admirer of any living being. He was as you say pretty much his own model, — he even spoke spareingly of men he did not like. and I believe was never a grumbler. he submited to adversity and injustice with as much real patience as any Man I Ever knew — because he had an abiding belief that all would yet come out right or that the right would appear and Justice finally be awarded to him

I enclose and return herewith the printed copy as requested

very respectfully your friend
R. J. Oglesby

Library of Congress: Herndon-Weik Collection. Manuscript Division. Library of Congress. Washington, D.C. 2415 — 16

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Wilson, Douglas L., ed.; Davis, Rodney O., ed.; Oglesby, Richard J. 'Richard J. Oglesby to William H. Herndon' in 'Herndon's Informants: Letters, Interviews, and Statements About Abraham Lincoln' . Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1998. [format: book], [genre: letter]. Permission: University of Illinois Press
Persistent link to this document: http://lincoln.lib.niu.edu/file.php?file=herndon152.html
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