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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=herndon616.html


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-- 617 --

1854. & from that time to 1858. when he changed some: His hat was brown & faded & had no nap — nap worn off. — a faded green umbrella with "A. Lincoln" in large white letters on the inside: knob gone: a literal carpet bag. I think he wore a short cloak: his trousers were always too short. I forget what sort of a coat — or shirt he wore: or collar or neckercheif: you can supply this. I think he wore boots. But I recollect distinctly at some times when we slept together on the circuit he slept in a short home made yellow flannel undershirt & had nothing else on. I don't know certain if that was a constant habit or not. Help me out on these.

Jim Matheney informed me in March that Lincoln was not melalcholy: that he was light-hearted & jovial always: I know better — both from you & Stuart & from my own observation: but I am surprised exceedingly that a man of the opportunity to observe that Matheney had should say this I will give you my version of Lincolns melancholy, not to tell out but it is my belief. This is private. 1st Nancy Hanks Lincoln — was in a constant trepidation and frequent affrights from reasons we have talked together about while she was pregnant & these affrights & trepidations made a maternal ante natal impression on our hero: that was the most of it. This melancholy was stamped on him while in the period of gestation: it was part of his nature and could no more be shaken off than he could part with his brains. Stuart told me his liver did not secrete bile — that he had no natural evacuation of bowels &c. That was also a cause but I beleive the former to be the principal one.


My opinion is (somewhat unlike yours) that Lincoln would have greatly enjoyed married life if he had go either Ann Rutledge or Miss Edwards. I think he would have been very fond of a wife had he had one to suit. But I also doubt if he would have been as great a man as he was. I have heard him say over & over again about sexual contact: "It is the harp of a thousand strings." Oliver Davis thought his mind run on sexual [matters?] [5]


Jim Matheny thinks that Lincoln's mind ran to filthy stories — that a story had no fun in it unless it was dirty and I must admit it looks very plausible. I can't think he gloated over filth however. I think he was some like Linder in this that he had great ideality and also a view of grossness which displaced the ideality.


I am very anxious to get hold of your lectures in some way. Were they not published anywhere? in a newspaper or a book? Who has any which I could borrow? You seem to have sent them to me and I seem to have sent them to Senator Fowler of Tennessee. I find a synopsis of one in Carpenters "6 months in the White House." [6] Later. I read the synopsis of your lecture in Carpenters Book last evening and I consider it as a marvelous analysis of his character and probably in the main correct. I think you should have required fame and money by virtue of your intimacy
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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=herndon616.html
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