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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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of the men paroled at Vicksburg into the field without exchanging. [7] "Now" said he, "these men are liable to be put to death when recaptured for breach of parole If we do not do something of that sort this outrage will be repeated on every occasion What would you do under such circumstances? "Well" said I "that is too big a question for me" "It is indeed a serious question"! Said Mr Lincoln, "and I have been more sorely tried by it than any other that has occurred during the war It will be an act of great injustice to our soldiers to allow the paroled rebels to be put into the field without exchange Such a practice would demoralize almost any army in the world if played off upon them It would be nearly impossible to induce them to spare the lives of prisoners they might capture On the other hand" said he, "these men were no doubt told by their superiors that they had been exchanged and it would be hard to put them to death under such circumstances, on the whole" said he "my impression is that mercy bears richer fruits than any other attribute" Mr Lincoln was capable of immense physical & mental labor His mind and body were in perfect harmony He was verry powerful physically He was reputed to be one of the best wrestlers in the country The first time I saw him was in 1832 in the campaign against Black Hawk He was engaged in wrestling with a man named Dow Thompson from St Clair Co [8] The latter was the Champion of the Southern part of the State while Lincoln was put up as the champion from the North I never heard Mr Lincoln complain of being fatigued I think he was an utter stranger (in the early part of his life at least) to the feeling I have heard him regret while he was President that it was impossible for him to give audience to all who wished to see him and I do not think he was disengaged for an instant from the time he assumed the Presidential office untill his death from the consideration of public affairs except when he was asleep He was not in the habit of idolizing particular men and you would seldom hear him sounding the praises of any one He admired Mr Clay & Mr Webster & had great respect for Gen Taylor Of all men in the South (of those who differed from him on the slavery question I mean Mr Stephens of Georgia was his favorite have frequently heard him speak in very respectful terms of Stephens On the other hand he never manifested any bitter hatred towards his enemies It was enough for him in a controversy to get the better of his adversary in argument without descending to personal abuse He had not a particle of envy in his nature I recollect his telling me once that he went to Cincinnatti to attend to a patent case [9] He was expected to take the lead in the management of the suit but to be assisted by a young lawyer of that city He said he prepared himself as he thought thoroughly and flattered himself that he knew something of mechanics but said when I came to compare notes with my young associate I found that I knew nothing, said he; I told my client that my associate could lose all I knew and
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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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