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Wilson, Douglas L., ed.; Davis, Rodney O., ed.; Sweet, Leonard. 'Leonard Swett 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=herndon162.html


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-- 162 --

124. Leonard Swett to William H. Herndon [1].

Chicago. Jan'y 17th 1866.

Dear Sir:

I received your letter today, asking me to write you by Freaday. Fearing if I delay, you will not get done it in time, I will give you such hasty thoughts as may occour to me to night. I have mislaid your second lecture, so that I have not read it at all, and have not read your first one since about the time it was published. What I shall say therefore, will be based upon my own ideas, rather than a review of the lectures.

Lincoln's whole life was a calculation of the law of forces, and ultimate results. The world to him was a question of cause and effect. He believed the results to which certain causes tended, would surely follow; he did not believe that those results could be materially hastened, or impeded. His whole political history, especially since the agitation of the Slavery question, has been based upon this theory. He believed from the first, I think, that the agitation of Slavery would produce its overthrow, and he acted upon the result as though it was present from the beginning. His tactics were, to get himself in the right place and remain there still, until events would find him in that place. His course of action led him to say and do things which could not be understood, when considered in reference to the immediate surroundings in which they were done, or said. + + + [2] You will remember in his campaign against Douglas in 1858, the first ten lines of the first speech he made defeated him. The sentiments of the "house divided against itself," seemed

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Wilson, Douglas L., ed.; Davis, Rodney O., ed.; Sweet, Leonard. 'Leonard Swett 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=herndon162.html
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