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Wilson, Douglas L., ed.; Davis, Rodney O., ed.; Parks, Samuel C. 'Samuel C. Parks 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=herndon238b.html


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-- 239 --

him Lincoln was satisfied by the evidence that he was guilty & ought to be convicted. He called Young & myself aside & Said "If you can say any thing for the man do it — I cant — if I attempt it the Jury will see that I think he is guilty & convict him of course" The case was submitted by us to the Jury without a word — the Jury could not agree & before the next term the man died Lincoln's honesty undoubtedly saved him from the Penitentiary In a closely contested civil case Lincoln had proved an account for his client who was though he did not know it at the time a very slippery fellow "The opposing Atty then proved a receipt clearly covering the entire cause of action By the time he was through Lincoln was missing — the Court sent for him to the Hotel "Tell the Judge said he "that I can't come — my hands are dirty & I came over to clean them"

In the case of Harris & Jones vs Buckles, Harris wanted Lincoln to assist you & myself His answer was characteristic "Tell Harris it's no use to wase Money on me in that case he'll get beat"

In politics Mr Lincoln told the truth when he said he had "always hated slavery as much as any Abolitionist" but I do not know that he deserved a great deal of credit for that for his hatred of oppression & wrong in all its forms was constitutional — he could not help it "The occasion of his becoming a great antislavery leader was the agitation of the Repeal of the Missouri Compromise His first great speech in opposition to that measure & in reply to Mr Douglas in Springfield was one of the ablest & most effective of his life It was probably made at the instance of Mr Josiah Francis of Springfield who had been for twenty years an intimate personal & political friend of Mr Lincoln Pending the Repeal I was in Springfield & urged upon Mr Francis the necessity of the leaders of the Whig Party coming out at once against it I remember well his reply "I will see Lincoln & get him to make a speech" against it And Lincoln did make a speech & rallied the Whig Party of Central Illinois almost to a man against "Nebraska Bill"

Mr Lincoln's temper both as lawyer & politician was admirable But when thoroughly roused & provoked he was capable of terrible passion & invective His "skinning" of one of his political opponents before the people (Judge Thomas) twenty years ago is still spoken of by those who heard it as awfully severe And his denunciation of a defendant (before a Jury in Petersburg) who had slandered an almost friendless school mistress was probably as bitter a Philippic as was ever uttered [1]

I think it is a mistake to suppose that Mr Lincoln was a poor judge of men He certainly knew those he associated with well

But my sheet is full — I dont think what I have said will be of any use to you but if it should you of course will not use the name of as modest a man as I am

Truly Yr Frd
S. C. Parks.

Library of Congress: Herndon-Weik Collection. Manuscript Division. Library of Congress. Washington, D.C. 2532 — 33; Huntington Library: LN2408, 2:312 — 15

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Wilson, Douglas L., ed.; Davis, Rodney O., ed.; Parks, Samuel C. 'Samuel C. Parks 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=herndon238b.html
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