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Wilson, Douglas L., ed.; Davis, Rodney O., ed.; Hart, Charles H. 'Charles H. Hart 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=herndon222.html


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-- 222 --

162. Charles H. Hart to William H. Herndon.

Phila Mar 3d. 1866

My dear Sir/

I owe you an apology for not having written before, but to tell you the truth, I have had a great deal of mental excitement during the last three week which has almost totally unfitted me for any thing. This must be my excuse.

I will now give you a recitation of the conversation I wrote about, and you can take it for what it's worth.

In February '63 my father accompanied by mother and sister being in Washington, called one evening on Mr. Lincoln. after a little delay they were ushered very unceremoniously into his library where he sat with no other companionship than his books and public documents He received them most cordially and thanked them with great apparent sincerity for their disinterested visit "saying" it was of no ordinary occurrence for it had not happened for months that a friendly visit was paid to him The conversation naturally turned upon the war, he spoke with much sympathy of the slain and wounded and seemed wonderfully interested in many civilians who had entered upon a martial career. My father said his position had been and still was a very anxious one, he replied; "My dear sir never aspire to the Presidential chair I have neither rest by day nor sleep by night am surrounded by people of such clashing ideas. For instance in regard to Grant. I have testimony from men who I am told are most worthy honorable men, that Grant is a drunkard, very immoral and every thing that is bad; on the other hand I have the same amount of testimony, from men of the same station, saying he is every thing that can be wanted, of a high moral character &c; now I have to weigh each in my own mind and pass my judgment upon it; I have decided in his favor, and time will show who is right. So it is with every appointment I make, after every small victory I am crowded by men of every rank from a Colonel down to a corporal, each one claiming the honor to themselves, they stating their superior officer being absent &c &c and of course demanding promotion. My father then remarked there were too many who wanted to be officers who are not suited to it, &c. Mr L. replied "Yes, it is so. That reminds me of a story I heard in a small town in Illinois where I once lived. Every man in town owned a fast horse, each one considering his own the fastest, so to decide the matter there was to be a trial of all the horses to take place at the same time. One old man living in the town known as "Uncle" was selected as umpire, when it was over and each one anxious for his decision, the old man putting his hands behind his back "said" I have come to one

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Wilson, Douglas L., ed.; Davis, Rodney O., ed.; Hart, Charles H. 'Charles H. Hart 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=herndon222.html
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