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Wilson, Douglas L., ed.; Davis, Rodney O., ed.; Matheny, James H. 'James H. Matheny (William H. Herndon Interview)' 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=herndon576b.html


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463. James H. Matheny (William H. Herndon Interview) [1].

[by March 2, 1870]

Jas. H. Matheny — says

I Knew Mr Lincoln as Early as 1834 — 37 — Know he was an infidel — have heard Lincoln call Christ a bastard — He & Wm D. Herndon used to talk Infidelity in the Clerks office in this city about the years 1837 — 40. Lincoln attacked the Bible & new Testament on two grounds — 1st From the inherent or apparent contradiction under its lids & 2dly From the grounds of Reason — sometimes he ridiculed the Bible & New Testament — sometimes seemed to Scoff it, though I shall not use that word in its full & literal sense — never heard that Lincoln changed his views though his personal & political friend from 1834 to 1860 — Sometimes Lincoln bordered on absolute Atheism: he went far that way & often shocked me. I was then a young man & believed what my good Mother told me.

Stuart & Lincoln's office was in what is called the Hoffman row on North 5th Street near the public Square. Stuart & Lincoln's office was in the same building as the Clerk's office & on the same floor. Lincoln would Come into the clerk's office where I and some young men — Evan Butler — Newton Francis — & others were writing or staying; & would bring the Bible with him — read a Chapter — argue against it: Lincoln then had a smattering of Geology if I recollect it. Lincoln often if not wholy was an atheist — : at least bordered on it. Lincoln was Enthusiastic in his infidelity. As he grew older he grew more discrete — didn't talk much before Strangers about his religion, but to friends — close and bosom ones he was always open & avowed — fair & honest, but to Strangers he held them off from Policy.

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Wilson, Douglas L., ed.; Davis, Rodney O., ed.; Matheny, James H. 'James H. Matheny (William H. Herndon Interview)' 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=herndon576b.html
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