NIU Libraries Digitization Projects
Lincoln/Net Prairie Fire Illinois During the Civil War Illinois During the Gilded Age Mark Twain's Mississippi Back to Digitization Projects Contact Us
BACK

Wilson, Douglas L., ed.; Davis, Rodney O., ed.; Swett, 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=herndon636.html


Previous page

Next page

-- 637 --

common humanities are eliminated and they become clothed with imaginary virtues. Thus, for instance, the hatchet story of George Washington

A man in making a history of General Grant, should entirely omit to state that he used to get drunk & that when in the army and on the plains he got so bad that in a craze, he "did his business" in the mess pan of his companions His historian should rather dwell on the glories of Appomatox, & leave to oblivion this little episode.

It is said a publishing house, in our day, got on to the story of George Washington & his mistress — his illegitimate son, in Philadelphia. The fruit of his winters stay there, during the Revolutionary war, but when the facts were obtained they were so real & so human that the publisher, although he had obtained them at great expense, destroyed them, because it was believed that the public had made such a hero of George Washington & he had become so much of what Bob Ingersoll calls a steel plate engraving that these facts would not be acceptable reading to the public.

If I should say Mr Lincoln ever swore & you were to publish it, the public would believe I lied about it. It would damage your book, and if the book were otherwise acceptable, the next edition would leave out that fact, in the publication.

I will be glad to assist you in any way in my power. This letter is also confidential.

Yours Truly
Leonard Swett

Philadelphia is an old city & is full of curious things & I am informed in a way I believe it to be true that there is an original autograph letter in existence there, from George Washington from Mount Vernon that he (George) is saving up a very fine yellow girl, which he proposes when ripe to send to his friend in Philadelphia How would this story go to ornament the Steel plate Engraving [2]

Library of Congress: Herndon-Weik Collection. Manuscript Division. Library of Congress. Washington, D.C. 3400 — 3403

Previous page

Next page


Wilson, Douglas L., ed.; Davis, Rodney O., ed.; Swett, 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=herndon636.html
Powered by PhiloLogic