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Wilson, Douglas L., ed.; Davis, Rodney O., ed.; Herndon, Elliott B. 'Elliott B. Herndon (statement for William H. Herndon)' 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=herndon459.html


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346. Elliott B. Herndon (statement for William H. Herndon) [1].

[1865 — 66]

E. B. Herndon

[I am] particularly requested to write down my [opinio]n of the mind of Abraham Lincoln late [Presi]dent of the United States. I concent do so [wi]thout any other motive than to Comply [with] the request of a brother. for if I Know [myse]lf no other motive would induce me [to do it] because I believe myself wholly [indif ]ferent as to the future of his memory. [The o]pinion I now have was formed by an [usu]al personal and professional acquaint. with the man for a period of say ten years. and which opinion has not altered since he was elected President. I Know of no official act which in the least dist[urbs] that opinion. and on the other hand t[here] may have been many now and forev[er] resting in oblivion which might hav[e] confirmed my opinion. The adulation [of ] base multitudes of a living and the peg[eantry] and hypocarcy surrounding a dea[d] President does not shake my w[ell] settled convictions of the mans ment[al calibre.]

The American people are about as well [qualified] to form a correct opinion of mental c[apacity] as an idolitor is to judge of the christ[ian] religion, and are just as Susceptabl[e to] imposition of their own credulity as [the] chinaman who believes in his go[d Josh] — Hence I am not under that sort [of ] influence. So here we go. Physio[logically] and Phrenologically [2] the man was a [sort] of monstrosity. His frame was large lo[ng, bony] and muscular — his head dis-prop[ortionately] small and shaped. He had large [square jaws] — large heavy nose, small lacivious mouth and Soft tender bluish eyes. I would say he was a cross between Venus and Hercules. I believe it be inconsistant with the laws of [hum]an organization for any such creature [to p]ossess a mind capable of any thing [cal]led great. The mans mind partook [of ] the incongruities of his body. His mind [was] incongruous. He had no mind [not] possessed by the most ordinary of [men]. It

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Wilson, Douglas L., ed.; Davis, Rodney O., ed.; Herndon, Elliott B. 'Elliott B. Herndon (statement for William H. Herndon)' 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=herndon459.html
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