- Hertz, The Hidden Lincoln, 208.
“a profound mystery – an enigma – a sphinx – a riddle…incommunicative – silent –reticent – secretive – having profound policies – and well laid – deeply studied plans.”
A slightly more complete quote reads: “I was from 34’ to 1865 for Lincoln against the world, saw in him a great man, a man of destiny, took notes, etc., etc. Lincoln to the world is a profound mystery, an enigma, a sphinx, a riddle, and yet I think that I knew the man. He was uncommunicative, silent, reticent, secretive, having profound policies, and well-laid, deeply studied plans. He moved men at pleasure and for his own ends.”
- Donald, Lincoln Reconsidered, 171.
“Lincoln moved towards his objectives with muffled oars.”
- Wilson and Davis, Herdon’s Informants, 444.
“told Mary and Lincoln they had better not Ever marry – that their natures, mind – Education –raising and were So different they could not live happy as husband and wife – had better never think of the subject again.”
From Elizabeth Todd Edwards (WHH interview): “The world had it that Mr. L backed out, and this placed Mary in a peculiar situation & to set herself right and to free Mr. Lincoln’s mind she wrote a letter to Mr. L stating that she would release him from his engagements. Mr. Edwards and myself after the first crush of things told Mary and Lincoln that they had better not Ever marry; that their natures, mind, education, raising &c were so different they could not live happy as husband and wife, had better never think of the subject again. However all at once we heard that Mr. L and Mary had secret meetings at Mr. Francis’, editor of the Springfield Journal.”
- Sandburg and Angle, Mary Lincoln, 333. Almost Identical to Wilson and Davis, Herndon’s Informants, 477.
“I shall not deliver it now nor give it to you to be delivered; words are forgotten – misunderstood – passed by – not noticed in private conversation – but once put your words in writing and they stand as a living and eternal monument against you.”
A slightly more complete quote reads: “While in that frame of mind he wrote Mary Todd a letter in which he told her that he did not love her. ‘Speed saw the letter to Mary written by Mr. Lincoln. Speed tried to persuade Lincoln to burn it up. Lincoln said, ‘Speed, I always knew you were an obstinate man. If you won’t deliver it, I will get some one to do it.’ I shall not deliver it now nor give it to you to be delivered,’ (Speech replied), ‘words are forgotten, misunderstood, passed by, not noticed in a private conversation, but once put your words in writing and they stand as a living and eternal monument against you. If you think you have will and manhood enough to go and see her and speak to her what you say in that letter, you may do that.’”
- Herndon and Weik, Herndon’s Life of Lincoln, 168; also Wilson and Davis, Herndon’s Informants, 477.
“Thereupon I threw the unfortunate letter into the fire…if you think you have the courage of manhood, go see Mary yourself; tell her, if you do not love her, the facts, and that you will not marry her. Be careful not to say too much, and then leave at your earliest opportunity.”
A slightly more complete quote reads: “This letter he desired me [Speed] to deliver. Upon my declining to do so he threatened to entrust it to some other person’s hand. I reminded him that the moment he placed the letter in Miss Todd’s hand, she would have the advantage over him. ‘Words are forgotten, I said, misunderstood, unnoticed in a private conversation, but once put your words in writing and they stand a living and eternal monument against you’. Thereupon I threw the unfortunate letter in the fire. ‘Now,’ I continued, ‘If you have the courage of manhood, go see Mary yourself; tell her , if you do not love her, the facts, and that you will not marry her. Be careful not to say too much, and then leave at your earliest opportunity.’ Thus admonished, he buttoned his coat, and with a rather determined look started out to perform the serious duty for which I had just given him explicit directions.’”
- Herndon, Life of Lincoln, 168-169.
“‘Well, old fellow, did you do as I told you and as you promised?’ were Speed’s first words. ‘Yes, I did,’ responded Lincoln, thoughtfully, ‘and when I told Mary I did not love her, she burst into tears and almost springing from her chair and wringing her hands as if in agony, said something about the deceiver being himself deceived.’ Then he stopped.
‘What else did you say?’ inquired Speed, drawing the facts from him.
‘To tell you the truth Speed, it was too much for me. I found the tears trickling down my own cheeks. I caught her in my arms and kissed her.’
‘And that’s how you broke the engagement,’ sneered Speed. ‘You not only acted the fool, but your conduct was tantamount to a renewal of the engagement, and in decency you can not back down now,’
‘Well,’ drawled Lincoln, ‘if I am in again, so be it. It’s done, and I shall abide by it.’”
- Wilson and Davis, Herndon’s Informants, 251.
“’Lincoln looked and acted as he was going to the slaughter’, adding that, ‘Lincoln had often told him that he was driven into the marriage’.”
From James H. Matheny (WHH interview), a more complete quote reads: “James H. Matheny Says: That Lincoln and himself in 1842 were very friendly. That Lincoln came to him one evening and said, ‘Jim, I shall have to marry that girl.’ Matheny says that on the same evening Mr. and Mrs. Lincoln were married, that Lincoln looked and acted as if he was going to the slaughter; that Lincoln often told him directly and indirectly that he was driven into the marriage. Said it was concocted and planned by the Edwards family: That Miss Todd, afterwards Mrs. Lincoln had told L. that he was in honor bound to marry her: that Lincoln was crazy for a week or so, not knowing what to do: that he loved Miss Matilda Edwards and went to see her and not Mrs. Lincoln, Miss Todd."
- Wilson and Davis, Herdon's Informants, 475.
“ Lincoln married her for honor – feeling his honor bound to her.”
From Joshua F. Speed (WHH interview), a more complete quote reads: "Lincoln went crazy, had to remove razors from his room, take away all knives and other such dangerous things, &c, it was terrible, was during the Special session of the Ills Legislature in 1840. Lincoln married her for honor, feeling his honor bound to her."
- Herndon, Life of Lincoln, 249.
[Lincoln] spent over half the year following Judges Treat and Davis around on the circuit. On Saturdays the court and attorneys…would usually start for their homes. Some went for a fresh supply of clothing, but the greater number went simply to spend a day of rest with their families. The only exception was Lincoln, who usually spent his Sundays with the loungers at the country tavern, and only went home at the end of the circuit or term of court. ‘At first.’ Said one of his colleagues [Judge Davis], ‘we wondered at it, but soon learned to account for his strange disinclination to go home. Lincoln himself never had much to say about home, and we never felt free to comment on it. Most of us had pleasant, inviting homes, and as we struck out for them I’m sure each one of us down in our hearts had a mingled feeling of pity and sympathy for him’.”
A slightly more complete quote reads: "I was on the circuit with Lincoln probably one-fourth of the time. The remainder of my time was spent in Springfield looking after the business there, but I know that life on the circuit was a gay one. It was rich with incidents, and afforded the nomadic lawyers ample relaxation from all the irksome toil that fell to their lot. Lincoln loved it. I suppose it would a fair estimate to state that he spent over half the year following Judges Treat and Davis around on the circuit. On Saturdays the court and attorneys, if within a reasonable distance, would usually start for their homes. Some went for a fresh supply of clothing, but the greater number went simply to spend a day of rest with their families. The only exception was Lincoln, who usually spent his Sundays with the loungers at the country tavern, and only went home at the end of the circuit or term of court. 'At first,' relates one of his colleagues on the circuit (David Davis), 'we wondered at it, but soon learned to account for his strange disinclination to go home. Lincoln himself never had much to say about home, and we never felt free to comment on it. Most of us has pleasant, inviting homes, and as we struck out for them I'm sure each one of us down in our hearts had a mingled feeling of pity and sympathy for him.'"
Willard King to Ruth Painter Randall, September 21, 1953, JGR MSS.
- Turner and Turner, Mary Todd Lincoln, 6.
“…now and then indulged in sarcastic, witty remarks that cut.”
A slightly more complete quote reads: "Mary Todd tried to be as sedate and sweetly hypocritical as most other young females of her acquaintance, but occasional cracks in the ladylike veneer revealed a stubborn nature, a shrewd, independent mind, and a sharp tongue. Even loving Lizzie Norris had to admit that Mary, as an adolescent, "now and then indulged in sarcastic, witty remarks that cut. But,' she insisted, 'there was not malice in it. She was impulsive and made no attempt to conceal her feelings, indeed it would have been an impossibility had she desired to do so, for her face was an index to every passing emotion.'"
- Reminiscences of Mr. Beck, as told in Sparks, Stories of Abraham Lincoln, 20-21, and cited by Burlingame, Inner World of Abraham Lincoln, 28on.
- Wilson and Davis, Herdon's Informants, 617.
“I think he would have been very fond of a wife had he one to suit.”
A slightly more complete from From Henry C. Whitney to WHH reads: "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 ford of a wife had he had one to suit. But I also doubt if he would been as great a man as he was."
- Donald, personal communications, 1995.
- Leech, Revile in Washington, 286.
“By the standards of the day, [Mary] received a good education, had a smattering of French and could turn a graceful phrase in writing a letter. Her manners were not vulgar [as some Washington matrons claimed], but genteel; the manners of the provinces.”
A slightly more complete quote reads: "It had been taken for granted by strangers that Abraham Lincoln's wife would be unused to polite society. Kindly disposed Republican ladies showed her that they were ready to offer advice and assistance. She quickly sensed the implied reproach to her breeding, and never forgave them. Mary Lincoln had grown to womanhood among proud and hospitable people, the slaveholding aristocracy of Lexington. By the standards of the day, she had received a good education, had a smattering of French and could turn a graceful phrase in writing a letter. Her manners were not vulgar, but genteel; the manners of the provinces, more elaborate than the casual, easeful ways of cosmopolitan people."
- Keckley, Behind the Scenes, 135-136
From the text: “On the contrary, her attitude towards even her best-loved family turncoats, as they one by one got killed in battle, was that it served them right.”
A slightly more complete quote reads: "I had been in her room but a few minutes when she said, with apparent unconcern, 'Lizzie, I have just heard that one of my brothers has been killed in the war.'
'I also heard the same, Mrs. Lincoln, but hesitated to speak of it, for fear the subject would be a painful one to you.'
'You need not hesitate. Of course, it is but natural that I should feel for one so nearly related to me, but not to the extent that you suppose. He made his choice long ago. He decided against my husband, and through him against me. He has been fighting against us; and since he chose to be our deadly enemy, I see no special reason why I should bitterly mourn his death.'"
- Randall, Mary Lincoln, 148.
From the text: “Better still, she once came to the aid of a sick mother next door, Mrs. Dallman, by nursing her new baby at her own breast.”
A slightly more complete quote reads: "Mrs. Dallman was very ill and unable to nurse her baby. Formulas were a thing of the future and babies in such cases usually died. Mary, secure in the joy of her own renewed motherhood, heard of her neighbor's trouble, and offered to help. Many years later when Mrs. Dallman was a dainty little old lady, she told the story of 'how the tall, gaunt figure of Abraham Lincoln came across the street from the Lincoln Home, knocked at her door, entered with a gentle step as not to disturb the sick mother, and then gathered up the little mite of a new-born child into his big brawny hands, formed like a basket for that purpose and carried the infant across the street.'"
- Baker, Mary Todd Lincoln, 186.
From the text: “Occasionally she helped soldiers write home.”
A slightly more complete quote reads: "Usually Mary Lincoln brought flowers, read books, organized special holiday meals, served as a waitress, and wrote letters. 'I am sitting by the side of your soldier boy,' went one letter. 'He has been quite sick and is getting well. He tells me to say that he is all right.'"
- Stoddard, Inside the White House, 87-88. Historians who seek an example of Mary's selflessness often cite these pages as evidence, although White House Secretary Stoddard said nothing of either the newspaper reports that did appear or her lack of visits after 1862.
From the text: “…to invite credit for it in 1862 would have later raised questions about why her visits did not continue as the war dragged on.”
The complete quote reads: "Mrs. Lincoln is not going out to the fortifications today; only to the hospitals. She rarely takes outside company with her upon these errands, and she thereby loses opportunities. If she were worldly wise she would carry newspaper correspondents, from two to five, of both sexes, every time she went, and she would have them take shorthand notes of what she says to the sick soldiers and of what the sick soldiers say to her. Then she would bring the writers back to the White House, and give them some cake and -and coffee, as a rule, and show them the conservatory."
- Author's note: Lincoln resisted greatly but eventually gave in when she threw one of her "hysterical fits." Herman Kreisman was waiting to see Lincoln, who explained, " Kreisman, she will not let me go until I promise her an office for one of her friends." Michael Burlingame, Honest Abe, Dishonest Mary, Historical Bulletin No. 50, p. 10. Hertz, The Hidden Lincoln, 260, 344. Henderson received the appointment but was later indicted by a federal court for using his customs post to defraud the US government.
From Hertz, The Hidden Lincoln, 260: Letter from W. H. Herndon, February 5, 1891:
I want to give you a kind of bribery story about Mr. and Mrs. Lincoln which took place soon after Lincoln was elected President. The story comes through Hermann Kreismann, who was appointed by Lincoln secretary of legation, when Judd was appointed Misnister to Germany. Kriesmann is a gentleman and can be relied on. The story is as follows. One Henderson of New York wished to be appointed to some office in the Custom House of New York. To get the office he sent to Mrs. Lincoln, in care of some jewlery house in this city, a diamond brooch to be given to her upon the condition that he could get the promise of the office from Mrs. L. Kriesmann and Judd come to Springfield on some important business and were to meet Lincoln at some place by appointment, but he did not come as agreed, Mrs Lincoln having cornered him and he could not get away. Mrs Lincoln got the diamond brooch, having promised Henderson to get the office for him. Kriesmann was dispatched to hunt up Lincoln. He went to Lincoln's house and was ushered in, in a hurry and probably by the servant, she not telling Mr. and Mrs. Kriesmann found Mrs. L. in a hysterical fit, cutting up like a crazy woman. She was begging Lincoln to appoint Henderson. Lincoln refused several times but Mrs. L. kept up her yells, her hysterical fit, till Lincoln, in order to get rid of the woman and quiet the fit, did promise Mrs. L. that Henderson should have the office, and Henderson got it according to promise. Henderson was subsequently indicted in the United States court for defrauding the government but was acquited on some technical point."
- Keckley, Behind the Scenes, 151.
“Hundreds of appointees are getting immensely rich off the patronage of my husband, and it is but fair that they should help me out of my embarrassment. I will make a demand of them and…they cannot refuse to advance whatever money I require.”
A slightly more complete quote reads: "Mrs. Lincoln sometimes feared that the politicians would get hold of the particulars of her debts, and use them in the Presidential campaign against her husband; and when this thought occurred to her, she was almost crazy with anxiety and fear.
When in one of those excited moods she would fiercely exclaim-
'The Republican politicians must pay my debts. Hundreds of them are getting immensely rich off the patronage of my husband, and it is but fair that they should help me out of my embarrassment. I will make a demand of them, and when I tell them the facts they cannot refuse to advance whatever money I require.'"
Ibid, 204. For validation of the Illinois governor's yearly salary of fifteen-hundred dollars. see Donald's Lincoln's Herndon, 192.
- Burlingame, Honest Abe, Dishonest Mary, 20.
From the text: “This particular dealer refused, losing the sale, but that was unusual.”
- Burlingame, Honest Abe, Dishonest Mary, 19.
“…the overcharge was made to disguise the unspecified items.”
- Baker, Mary Todd Lincoln, 187.
“The china she actually charged came to $3,195, including a separate set for herself.”
A slightly more complete quote reads: "The exact cost of her refurbishing remains uncertain, though it was soon embarrassingly clear that Mrs. President Lincoln had overspent the $20,000 four-year allowance in less than a year. Or, more accurately, William Wood had, for he was in charge of the accounts. The $6,000 annual budget available for invisible necessaries such as repairs to the pipes and the leaky north side roof was gone, too.
In fact, just two items on Mary Lincoln's shopping list-the china set from Haughwout's for $3,195 and the French wallpaper for $6,800 (scraping, mortaring, and hanging included)-accounted for more than one half the appropriation."
- Marks and Shatz, eds., Narrative of William Walkins Glenn, 296, cited by Burlingame, Honest Abe, Dishonest Mary, 19n.
“You forget, sir, that I gave Mrs Lincoln $1,500.”
- Browning, Diary, March 3, 1862.
Passage referring to Mrs. Lincoln omitted, now herewith reinstalled.
A direct quote from Browning reads: “That she had purchased a service of silver plate, for her private use in New York, and had it charged in a bill for repairing the government plate, tell the President that the new set had been given her.”
- The quotations in this paragraph are taken from Ruth Painter Randall's Mary Lincoln, pages 264-65. For the slightly more accurate though less well-worded original, see page 362 of Benjamin Brown French, Donald B. Cople, and John J. McDonough, Witness to the Young Republic: A Yankees Journal: 1828-1870. The Benjamin Frech Solution is from Leech, Revelie in Washington, 295.
A more complete quote reads: "According to her wishes French left the tearful Mrs. Lincoln and sought out the President to ask for his approval for a deficiency appropriation. Lincoln got 'a leetle excited' and exclaimed: 'It never can have my approval-I'll pay for it out of my own pocket first-it would stink in the nostrils of the American people to have it said that the President of the United States had approved a bill overunning an appropriation of $20,000 for flud dubs for this damned old house, when the soldiers cannot have blankets.'
Lincoln called for the bill sent by the store from which certain furnishings had been bought and examined it, commenting as he went along:'...elegant, grand carpet, $2,500 I would like to know where a carpet worth $2,500 can be put.' By this time he had learned that his wife was the one at fault:'...well I suppose Mrs. Lincoln must bear the blame,' said Lincoln, 'let her bear it, I swear I won't!' Knowing only too well her irresponsibility in regard to money, the realization that this weakness of hers had become a matter of public policy threw him into a distressed agitation. 'It was all wrong to spend one cent at such a time,' he continued, 'and I never ought to have had a cent expended; the house was furnished well enough, better than anyone we ever lived in, & if I had not been overwhelmed with other business I would not have had any of the appropriation expended, but what could I do?'"
French, Witness to the Young Republic, 382.
Browning, Diary, vol. I: originally censored text now restored in the computerized Browning Diary for March 3, (1862). See Tripp/Lincoln database, (cited in chapter 3, n.45), p. 532.
Burlingame, Honest Abe, Dishonest Mary, 16.
32 Ibid, 17.
33 Ibid, 19.
34 Ibid, 20.
- Stoddard, Inside the White House, 62-63.
A more complete quote reads: "It was not easy, at first, to understand why a lady who could be one day so kindly, so considerate, so generous, so thoughtful and so hopeful, could, upon another day, appear so unreasonable, so irritable, so despondant, so even niggardly, and so prone to see the dark, the wrong side of men and women and events. It is easier to understand it all and to deal with it after a few words from an eminent medical practitioner. Probably all physicians and most middle-aged people will understand better than could a youthful secretary the causes of a sudden horror of a poverty to come, for example, which, during a few hours of extreme depression, proposed to sell the very manuer in the Executive stables, and to cut off the necessary expenses of the household."
- Leech, Reviele in Washington, 286.
A more complete quote reads: "Mary Lincoln had been an attractive girl, plump, blue-eyed and animated. Greed and Jelousy and rage leave their marks on the face of a woman of forty-three. When she had her headaches, as people in Springfield knew, she lost all control, picked quarrels, railed at servants and screamed like a fishwife. John Hay called her 'the Hell-cat.'"
Burlingame, At Lincoln's Side, 20.
- Burlingame, The Inner World of Abraham Lincoln, 286.
A more complete quote reads: "In response to Mary Lincoln's rage, White House Secretary William O. Stoddard 'fairly cowered at the volume of the storm,' and Nicolay found himself bufeted by it; as he told his fiancee, 'after having compelled Her S[ atanic] Majesty to invite the Spragues I was taboo, and she made up her mind resolutely not to have me at dinner.'"
- Author's note: This entire story is in a thirty-seven line entry for March 3, 1862, in The Diary of Orville Hickman Browning, vol. I, page 532. Note: This is not in the printed version of the diary, having been censored out at the time of the printing. However, it was recently reinserted into the Browning Diary MSS, not yet in published form, but in the Tripp database on Lincoln.
A slightly more complete quote reads: "That he had in the beginning of the Administration suggested to Mrs. Lincoln the making of false bills so as to get pay for private expenses out of the public treasury and had aided her in doing so, to such an extent that the President had to be informed of it, at which he was very indignant, and refunded what had been thus filched away from the government out of his private purse.
That Watt's wife was now nominally stewardess at a salary of $100 per month, all of which by private arrangement, went into Mrs. Lincoln's pocket."
- Keckley, Behind the Scenes, 129.
Quote: "The President was lying carelessly upon a sofa, holding a newspaper in his hands. 'Mother, you are too suspicious. I give you credit for sagacity, but you are disposed to magnify trifles. Chase is a patriot, and one of my best friends.'"
- Lincoln, Collected Works, vol 6, 50.
From a letter sent from David P. Holloway to John Watt, March 14, 1882, which reads: "Understanding that you are about to go to Europe, I wish to engage your services for the Agricultural Division of the Patent Office, in the selection and purchase of seeds, commencing on the first of July next. You will recieve full instructions about that time, informing you of the services required in detail. Your compensation will be at the rate of fifteen hundred dollars per annum and your actual travelling expenses."
Burlingame, Honest Abe, Dishonest Mary, 18.
John Hay, MSS., Feb. 13, 1867.
Burlingame, At Lincoln's Side, 199.
- Villard, Memiors, vol. I, 156-57.
A slightly more complete quote reads: "I saw Mr. Lincoln twice for a few minutes before the inauguration, when, in response to an expression of sympathy with his tribulations, he groaned out: 'Yes, it was bad enough in Springfield, but it was child's play compared with this tussle here. I hardly have a chance to eat or sleep. I am fair game for everybody of that hungry lot.' His wife again added not least to his worries. She meddled not only with his distribution of minor offices, but even with the assignment of places in the Cabinet. Moreover, she allowed herself to be approached and continuously surrounded by a common set of men and women, who, thorugh her susceptibility to even the most barefaced flattery, easily gained a controlling influence over her. Among the persons who thus won access to her graces was the so-called "Chevalier" Wikoff, whose name figured as much as any other in the press in those days, who made pretention to the role of a sort of cosmopolitan knight-errant, and had the entree of society, but was, in fact, only a slaried social spy or informer of the New York Herald.
Wikoff was of middle age, an accomplished man of the world, a fine linguist, with graceful presence, elegant manners, and a conscious, condesending way-altogether, just such a man as would be looked upon as a superior being by a woman accustomed only to Western society. Wikoff showed the utmost assurance in his appeals to the vanity of the mistress of the White House. I myself heard him compliment her upon her looks and dress in so fulsome a way that she ought to have blushed and banished the impertinent fellow from her presence. She accepted Wikoff as a majordomo in general and in special, as a guide in matters of social etiquette, domestic arrangements, and personal requirements, including her toilette, and as always welcome company for visitors in her salon and on her drives."
- Leech, Revile in Washington, 298.
A more complete quote reads: "In December, 1861, Congress had been disquieted by the fact that a portion of the President's message had been reported in the New York Herald in advance of its communication to Congress; and the House Committee on the Judiciary had been directed to investigate 'the alleged cencorship over the telegraph.' The chairman of the committe was John Hickman of Pennsylvania, a sharp and skillful politician who had emerged from affiliation with the Democratic party to become an extreme ati-slavery Republican, notably unfriendly to Lincoln. Hickman subpoenaed the Chevalier Wikoff, who admitted that he had filed the dispach to the Herald, but refused to give the source of his information. Charging into the House in irritation, Hickman induced his collegues to adopt a resolution that Wikoff should be arrested. The sergeant-at-arms brought the Chevalier to the bar of the House to answer to a charge of contempt. Wikoff remained discreet. He told the speaker that he had recieved his information 'under an obligation of strict secrecy,' and he was sent to the Old Capitol Prison. Wikoff's intimacy with Mrs. Lincoln was well known, and the impression prevailed that she had shown him the President's message, and permitted him to copy portions of it for the Herald."
- From Benjamin Perley Poore, Perley's Reminiscences of Sixty Years in the National Metropolis, 143, (New York: Ams Press, 1971) 21.
Smith, Sunshine and Shadow in New York, 289.
- Wilson and Davis, Herdon's Informants, 360. Herndon's interview with Mary Lincoln.
A more complete quote reads: "Mr. Lincoln had a kind of poetry in his nature: he was [a terribly] firm man when he set his foot down, none of us, no man or woman could rule him after he had made up his mind."
- Baker, Mary Todd Lincoln, xiii.
A more complete quote reads: "'I wish I could forget myself,' Mary Todd Lincoln once lamented. It was a lifelong battle that she often lost, though in the process of remembering herself, she made certain others would, too. And not always favorably. Today Mary Lincoln ranks among the most detested public women in American history, and Americans who do not know her husband's wartime policies or the names of his cabinet officers have unshakeable opinions about Mary Lincoln's failings."
Author's note: The scholars who were invited to answer questions on camera included Jean H. Baker, David Herbert Donald, Doris Kearns Goodwin, David E. Long, James M. McPherson, Donald L. Miller, Mary Genevieve Murphy, Mark E. Neely, Charles B. Strozier, Linda Levitt Turner, Margaret Wahington, Frank J. Williams, and Douglas L. Wilson.
The Springfield Interviews. Conversation with Honorable O. H. Browning at the Leland Hotel, Springfield, June 17, 1875.
Badaue, Grant in Peace, 356-62.
- Joseph Schafer, ed., Intimate Letters of Carl Shurz, 1841-1869 (New York: DeCapo, 1970), 326-27, from Carl Shurz's letter to his wife, April 2, 1865, as quoted in Randall, Mary Lincoln, 374.
A more complete quote from Randall reads: "An old friend was on the boat. Carl Shurz wrote his wife that very Sunday: 'The first lady [ Landesmutter in his German] was over- whelmingly charming to me [ uber alle Massen liebenswurdig mit mir]; she chided me for not visiting her, overpowered me with invitations, and finally had me driven to my hotel in her own state carriage. I learned more state secrets in a few hours than I could otherwise in a year. I wish I could tell them to you. She is an astounding [ erstaunliche] person.'"
- Turner and Turner, Mary Todd Lincoln, 211.
Telegraph (April 2, 1865):
Arrived here safely this moring, found all well, Miss, Taddie & yourself very much, perhaps, may return with a little party on Wednesday. Give me all the news.
- Lincoln, Collected Works, vol. 8, 384.
Quote: (April 2, 1865):
"Mary Todd Lincoln,
Mrs. Lincoln: At 4:30 p.m. today General Grant telegraphs that he has Petersburg completely enveloped from river below to river above, and has captured, since he started last Wednesday, about 12,000 prisoners and 50 guns. He suggests that I shall go out and see him in the morning, which I think I will do. Tad and I are both well, and will be glad to see you and your party here at the time you name.
- Lincoln, Collected Works, vol. 8, 381. Note: At source this telegram appears to be marked in error "7:45 p.m., a change evidenced both in the content and in the fact that Lincoln was not likely to have sent him her wire requesting "all the news." For further substantiation of the error in time, see David Homer Bates' Lincoln in the Telegraph Office, page 347, where an actual facsimile of Lincoln's handwritten dispatch "to Mrs. Lincoln of 7:45 p.m., April 2, 1865," is shown.
From Lincoln in the Telegraph Office:
GET FROM SHED
- Keckley, Behind the Scenes, 134.
A more complete quote reads: "'If the war should continue four years longer, and he [Grant] should remain in power, he would depopulate the North. I could fight an army as well myself. According to his tactics, there is nothing under the heavens but to march a new line of men up in front of the rebel breastworks to be shot down as fast as they take their position, and keep marching until the enemy grows tired of the slaughter. Grant, I repeat, is an obstinate fool and a butcher.'
'Well, mother, supposing we give you command of the army. No doubt you would do much better than any general who has been tried.' There was a twinkle in his [Lincoln] eyes, and a ring of irony in his voice.
I have often heard Mrs. lincoln say that if Grant should ever be elected President of the United States she would desire to leave the country, and remain absent during his term of office."
59 Herndon, Life of Lincoln, 344; Hertz, Hidden Lincoln, 177. Details about Lincoln's hat and books from Hertz.
From Hertz, The Hidden Lincoln, 177: "These children would take down the books, empty ash buckets, coal ashes, inkstand, papers, gold pens, letters, etc., etc., in a pile and then dance on the pile. Lincoln would say nothing, so abstracted was he and so blinded to his children's faults. Had they shit in Lincoln's hat and rubbed it on his boots, he would have laughed and thought it smart. Lincoln was a fool in this line. Lincoln was a selfish man generally and especially in the political world but was blindly generous to his own. He worshipped his children and what they worshiped; he loved what they loved and hated what they hated-rather, disliked what they hated, which was everything that did not bend to their freaks, whims, follies, and the like.
- Weik, The Real Lincoln, 90-91. John T. Stuart and Judge David Davis never asked to dinner; Wilson and Davis, Herndon's Informants, p77.
From Reik: "Judge Davis laid great stress on the fact that Lincoln seemed to prefer life on the circuit because it occationed prolonged absence from his home. He told me that on the circuit the lawyers as the week neared its close were in the habit of expiditing business so as to be able to leave at the earliest moment and thus reach home in time to spend Sunday with their families. They all went but Lincoln; he was proverbialy slow and would linger behind pleading an accumulation of unfinished business or something equally commomplace amd improbable as an excuse for not going. The next Monday, when the other lawyers returned, they would invariably find Lincoln still there anxiously awaiting their reappearance. It was more or less unusual. Davis professsed to believe that 'Lincoln was not happy domestically,' in proof of which he alluded to the fact that often as he had been in Springfield Lincoln had never entertained him, nor, so far as he could learn, any other visiting lawyer at his home."
From Wilson and Davis (John T Stuart, WWH interview): "Lincoln a mystery. Stuart was a canidate for Congress in '38 & took his seat in '39. Lincoln had no good, accute critical judgement or organizing power. Had no idea of human nature, generally no will, when he put his foot down it was down. Stuart says he has been at L's house a hundred times, never was asked to dinner. In Washington L never asked about to any body. Says Judge Davis says so too, never asked Davis to dine, never asked Davis how the people were about Bloomington."
- Wilson and Davis, Herndon's Informants, 444-45.
From Elizabeth Todd Edwards (WHH interview): "Mr. Lincoln shed tears when I left Washington. Had been solicited to come to Wahsington by Mr and Mrs Lincoln. Mr. Lincoln said to me, 'do stay with me, you have such power and control, such an influence over Mary, come do stay and console me.' This was sometime after Willie's death."
- Hertz, Hidden Lincoln, 375: also Wilson and Davis, Herndon's Informants, 444.
From Wilson and Davis: "Mary Lincoln has had much to bear, though she don't bear it well; she has acted foolishly, unwisely and made the world hate her: She opened a private letter of mine after I left Washington and becuase in that letter my daughter gave me her opinion of Mrs. L she became enraged at me. I would try to explain, she would send back my letter with insulting remarks."