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Wilson, Douglas L., ed.; Davis, Rodney O., ed.; Whitney, Henry C. 'Henry C. Whitney 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=herndon627.html


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-- 628 --

chiefly such errors as a biographer unacquainted with his subject would be apt to commit. a successful biographer must know his subject as Boswell knew Johnson or you knew Lincoln. appropos of that I refer you to Jno P. Ushers article on "Lincoln" in Allen G. Rices book [3] in which he says that Lincoln never had a doubt but that he would conquer the Rebellion at any time: now I happen to know from L. himself that he had the gravest doubts about it in 1861, and did not expect to do it. Mr Swett [4] in his article in the same Book says that L. told him that when he emigrated from Indiana he came direct to Coles County: I told Swett that Lincoln at Decatur showed me exactly where they went through Decatur on that trip: but Swett persisted that Lincoln told him it was Coles Co. of course he is wrong: then one of his biographers speaks of the historic rails split in Coles Co. I spent ½ day with Lincoln at the White House all alone with Lincoln just after Bull Run. Lincoln then said to me "I am going to enforce the blockade as rigidly as I can — its mighty hard to do as the line is so long but will do the best I can about it: I am then going to push an Army into East Tennessee and liberate the Union sentiment there: I am going to cut them off from supplies from the outer world and make them feel the privations of war in the hope that the people will arise and say to the politicians, ‘this thing has got to stop’: for there is no use, Whitney, in trying to conquer so many people so long as they are united on the proposition that they wont be conquered".

Those are almost his exact words. So Usher is wrong. — Now as to Davis: The old man justly felt as if he should have been rewarded: and Lincoln couldn't see the exact place for him: I have no idea he intended to make him Supreme Judge: When Swayne [5] was appointed D. was mad but he thought possibly that L. felt a necessity of naming a man from McLeans [6] state: but when he passed over Illinois to appoint Miller, [7] he felt that his chances were getting desperate: so I supose: he went to work with extraordinary vigor. Among the men whom he doubtless relied on to punch Lincoln up were Lamon — W. P. Dole Comr of Indian affairs: Caleb Smith Secy of the Interior & Swett. I will go to Swett tonight and ask him as I see you want to know and advise you what he says. I have no doubt he has been sent to Washington often by Davis at his own expense about this matter. Davis had very few cordial friends. He complained to me that Lamon wouldn't do anything for him: Dole and Swett were doubtless the most active. No doubt L. heard of Davis' indignation as the latter was very loud & noisy and would send for every body he knew to come to him at their expense & pour out his sorrows: at Washington in March, as he left, he told me he had no doubt Lincoln would give him an office if he would ask him for it but he never would do that — no sir: he wasn't that kind of a man. But he set others on the hunt. Dole is still living & could tell. I know him well but have forgotten his address. I will get it if you wish.
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Wilson, Douglas L., ed.; Davis, Rodney O., ed.; Whitney, Henry C. 'Henry C. Whitney 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=herndon627.html
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