Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln. Volume 8.
Lincoln, Abraham, 1809-1865.

Endorsement Concerning Garrett Davis [1]

February 13, 1865

I personally know Senator Davis to be of the highest moral character, and I still wish these prisoners discharged, because he asksPage  294 it, notwithstanding others, or another may have attempted wrong in the matter. A. LINCOLN

Feb. 13. 1865

Annotation

[1]   AES-P, ISLA. Lincoln's endorsement appears on a letter from Garrett Davis, February 10, 1865:

``I herewith inclose to you the bundle of papers you handed me this morning just as they were, except I have attatched my name to the list of prisoners whose release I asked for, and which i inadvertently omitted to do when I handed the list to you.

``I acknowledge my increased respect for you because of the frank manner in which you brought the matter to my attention this morning. I am free to say, as I did say to you, that the letter of Mr. Simmons was inadvertently put into the bundle, and if I had observed it at the time I should have withheld it. I am however gratified that it turned out otherwise, and I ask that you will have this note placed in the same file.

``I have recd. several letters makeing to me a similar overture to that of Mr. Simmons; but to him, & the other writers, I replied, I never had, and never would receive a cent for any such services As I said this morning, I now report to you, that in the course of 40 years, as lawyer, member of the Legislature, representative & senator in Congress I have in a great many cases rendered services to soldiers, their widows, children, pensioners & prisoners; and I have made it the rule of my life, never to charge or receive a dollar for any such services, and I have faithfully lived up to that rule. If ever there was a man invulnerable to all imputations of peculation, extortion, or the raising of money without equivalent, or for services which the most scrupulous would say money ought not to be received, I claim to be that man.

``You will remember, Mr President, that until within the last month I had not asked for the release of a single confederate prisoner. I had heard that many persons were interveneing to obtain the release of such prisoners, & extorting from their friends large sums of money. It was to prevent, to some extent, such extortions that I sought interviews with & asked you to make orders that certain prisoners applying, should have the benefit of the amnesty proclamation. I never applied for any one that I did not believe would faithfully keep his pledges. I determined then, & I inflexibly [?] adhere to the purpose, on my return home, unspareingly to denounce those extortioners; and I would prefer to enter upon this task, with all my correspondence, received & sent, in relation to these topics, to be on file in the war office.''