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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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-- 163 --

wholly inappropriate. It was a speech made at the commencement of a campaign, and apparently made for the campaign, and apparently made for the campaign. Viewing it in this light alone, nothing could have been more unfortunate, or unappropriate; it was saying first the wrong thing, yet he saw it was an abstract truth, but standing by the speech would ultimately find him in the right place. I was inclined at the time to believe these words were hastily and inconsiderately uttered, but subsequent facts have convinced me they were deliberate and had been matured. Judge T. L Dickey says that at Bloomington at the first Republican Convention, in 1856, he uttered the same sentences in a Speech delivered there, and that after the meeting was over, he (Dickey) called his attention to these remarks. Lincoln justied himself in making them, by stating they were true; but finally at Dickey's urgent request, he pronounced that for his sake, or upon his advice, he would not repeat them. In the Summer of 1859 when he was dining with a party of his intimate friends at Bloomington the subject of his Springfield speech was discussed. We all insisted it was a great mistake, but he justied himself, and finally said, "Well Gentlemen, you may think that Speech was a mistake, but I never have believed it was, and you will see the day when you will consider it was the wisest thing I ever said." + + + [3]

He never believed in political combinations; he never believed any Class of men could accomplish in politics any particular given purpose and consequently whether an individual man, or class of men supported or opposed him, never made any difference in his feelings, or his opinions of his own success. If he was elected, he seemed to believe that no person, or class of persons could ever have defeated him; and if defeated, he believed nothing could ever have elected him. Hence, when he was a candidate, he never wanted any thing done for him. He seemed to want to let the whole question alone, and for everybody else to do the same. I remember after the Chicago Convention when a great portion of the East were known to be dissatisfied at his nomination — . When fierce conflicts were going on in New York and Pennsylvania and when great exertions seemed requisite to harmonize and mold in concert the action of our friends. Lincoln always seemed to oppose all efforts made in that direction. I arranged with Mr. Thurlow Weed afther the Chicago Convention to meet him at Springfield. (I was present at the interview, but he said nothing. It was proposed that Judge Davis should go to New York and Pennsylvania to survey the field, and see what was necessary to be done.) Lincoln consented, but it was always my opinion that he consented reluctantly. He saw that the pressure of a campaign was an external force, coercing the party into unity. If it failed to produce that result, he believed any individual effort would also fail. If the desired result followed, he considered it attributable to the great cause, and not aided by the lesser ones. He sat down in his chair at Springfield and made himself the Mecca to which all politicians made pilgrimages. He told them all a story, said nothing, and sent them away. All his efforts to procure a second nomination were in the same direction. I believe he earnestly desired that nomination.

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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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