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Wilson, Douglas L., ed.; Davis, Rodney O., ed.; Gillespie, Joseph. 'Joseph Gillespie 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=herndon180.html


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-- 182 --

in his boyish days amongst his country play fellows He had a marvelous relish for every thing of that sort and the happiest faculty of turning his numerous reminiscences to good account in illustration in after life No man could tell a story as well as he could He never missed the nib of an anecdote He always maintained stoutly that the best stories originated with Country boys & in the rural districts He had great faith in the strong sense of Country People and he gave them credit for greater intelligence than most men do If he found an idea prevailing generally amongst them he believed there was something in it although it might not harmonize with science He had great faith in the virtues of the mad stone [4] although he could give no reason for it and confessed that it looked like superstition but he said he found the People in the neighborhood of these stones fully impressed with a belief in their virtues from actual experiment and that was about as much as we could ever know of the properties of medicines Mr Lincoln had more respect for & confidence in the masses than any statesman this Country has ever produced He told me in the spring of 1864 that the People were greatly ahead of the poloticians in their efforts for and confidence in putting down the rebellion He said the government had been driven by the public voice into the employment of means & the adoption of measures for carrying on the war which they would not have dared to put into practise without such backing He prized the suggestions of the unsophisticated People more than what was called State craft or political wisdom He really believed that the voice of the People in our emergency was next thing to the voice of God He said he had no doubt whatever of our success in overthrowing the rebellion at the right time God he said was with us and the People were behaving so nobly that all doubt had been removed from his mind as to our ultimate success The Army & the Navy he said were in the right trim & the right hands He firmly believed that no People in ancient or modern times had evinced as much patriotism or such a self sacrificing spirit as the loyal People of the United States But Mr Lincolns love of justice & fair play was his predominating trait I have often listened to him when I thought he would certainly state his case out of court It was not in his nature to assume or attempt to bolster up a false position He would abandon his case first He did so in the case of Buckmaster for the use of Denhom vs Beems & Arthur [5] in our Supreme Court in which I happened to be opposed to him Another gentleman less fastidious took Mr Lincolns place and gained the case In 1856, Mr. Lincoln had set his heart upon the U.S Senate There was a majority for the first time in the history of Illinois against the Democratic party in the Legislature This result was mainly attributed to his efforts and he was the first choice of all but five of the opposition members I was a member & enthusiastically for Lincoln [6] We (his friends) regarded this as perhaps his last chance for that high position There was danger if we did not succeed in electing our
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Wilson, Douglas L., ed.; Davis, Rodney O., ed.; Gillespie, Joseph. 'Joseph Gillespie 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=herndon180.html
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