Page 1 DECEMBER, 1930 Bulletin oftio JiotcffaQLO& Bulletin No. 21 Springfield, Illinois Bulletin No. 21 Springfield, Illinois
Page 2 ABRAHAM LINCOLN LIBRARY -MONAGHAN No. -FISH No. _-OAKLEAF No. -OTHER. DR.. G. CHIONE
Page 3 I:* SBULLETIN oftlie Jf rah C, 0 ql.. A Lrnconz Yli~rociatto&/ f~I I k Bulletin No. 21 SPRINGFIELD, ILLINOIS December, 193o Lincoln's "Lost Speech" HE Republican State Convention at Bloomington, Illinois, on May 29, 1856, furnished the setting for one of the most dramatic episodes of Lincoln's life. His mere presence was enough to thrill the delegates, for it was proof positive that after long hesitation he had identified himself with the new party. As he was probably the most popular speaker present, it was natural that before the conclusion of the meeting he should be called to the platform. A speech by Lincoln was rarely an ordinary occurrence, but on this occasion he made one of the really great efforts of his life. So powerful was his eloquence that the reporters forgot to take notes of what he was saying. Several commenced, but in a few minutes they were entirely captured by the speaker's power and their pencils were still. Years later Henry C. Whitney claimed that he alone had kept his head and taken notes, and from these he published, in I896, an elaborate report of the speech. While few students have found it entirely satisfactory, many have used it in default of something better. Admitting that Whitney made a serious mistake in attempting to reproduce Lincoln's actual language, they have accepted his report as reasonably accurate in substance. Until recently no contemporary report of Lincoln's speech at the Bloomington Convention was known to exist. Within the last few months, however, Mr. Fred P. Norton of the Alton Telegraph, who was searching the files of the Alton Courier for material to be used by the Abraham Lincoln Association in "Lincoln in the Year 1856," found a brief summary of Lincoln's address. Less than two hundred words in length, the Courier's summary naturally fails to convey any impression of the burning seriousness of the speaker, but it does establish, for the first time, the high points at least of what he said. The report, which appeared in the issue of June 5, 1856, was undoubtedly written by the Courier's editor, George T. Brown, who was present as a delegate. It follows: "Abraham Lincoln of Sangamon came upon the platform amid deafening applause. He enumerated the pressing reasons of the present movement. He was here ready to fuse
Page 4 4 BULLETIN of the Abraham Lincoln Association with anyone who would unite with him to oppose slave power; spoke of the bugbear of disunion which was so vaguely threatened. It was to be remembered that the Union must be preserved in the purity of its principles as well as in the integrity of territorial parts. It must be 'Liberty and Union now and forever, one and inseparable.' The sentiment in favor of white slavery now prevailed in all the slave state papers, except those of Kentucky, Tennessee, and Missouri and Maryland. Such was the progress of National Democracy. Douglas once claimed against him that Democracy favored more than his principles, the individual rights of man. Was it not strange that he must stand there now to defend those rights against their former eulogist? The Black Democracy were endeavoring to cite Henry Clay to reconcile old Whigs to their doctrine and repaid them with the very cheap compliment of National Whigs." Considered merely as a report of what Lincoln said, the Alton Courier summary is too brief to be of great importance. When, however, it is regarded as a means of checking the accuracy of Henry C. Whitney's version, it becomes a discovery of real value. Despite fairly general acceptance, more than one skeptic has called attention to numerous evidences of unreliability connected with the Whitney report. Whitney's failure to use his notes of Lincoln's "Lost Speech" in his Life on the Circuit With Lincoln, published in 1892, seems strange, especially in view of the detailed description of the Bloomington Convention which he printed in that book. Moreover, his report is notably lacking in the logical precision characteristic of Lincoln, and in several instances sentiments are put into the mouth of the speaker which it is difficult to believe were actually uttered by him. And while some of those who heard the speech have characterized Whitney's version as a reasonably faithful reproduction, many others have denied that it bears any resemblance to what Lincoln said. Nevertheless, these objections are not of a character to result in positive conviction. Whitney explained that he completely forgot his notes until he accidentally found them after the publication of his book. Moreover, the recollections of elderly people are notoriously unreliable. So far as internal evidence is concerned, few persons are qualified to evaluate it, and even among the experts there is frequent disagreement. The Alton Courier report, however, provides a clear-cut test. To expect a short newspaper summary to cover all the points developed by Lincoln in an hour and a half, and reported by Whitney in eight thousand words, would be unreasonable. On the other hand, we should expect the long report to contain all the points mentioned in the short summary. Yet comparison reveals that most of the topics described in the newspaper account are omitted in Whitney's reconstructed speech. The first paragraphs of the Whitney version might well have been described by the Alton Courier reporter as an enumeration of the reasons for the new political movement and an expression of Lincoln's willingness to unite on the basis of opposition to slavery. But with that agreement ceases. In the Whitney report there is no description of the
Page 5 BULLETIN of the Abraham Lincoln Association 5 trend towards white slavery in the newspapers of the deep South. There is no hint of the argument on the championship of human rights which Lincoln directed against Douglas, and there is no reference to the attempt of the Democracy to claim Henry Clay in support of their own position. Southern threats of disunion are dismissed in one sentence, and while a large part of the reconstructed speech might be described as a plea for the preservation of republican principles, that plea is not developed in the way the Courier report would lead one to expect. It is difficult to draw any other conclusion than that the Whitney version of Lincoln's "Lost Speech" is so largely a product of the imagination that it is entirely unreliable, in substance as well as phraseology. Four Spurious Lincoln Letters T O ATTEMPT to describe all the spurious Lincoln letters in circulation would be to set a goal impossible of attainment. Even if it were possible, it would hardly be worth the effort. The individual collector soon learns that the letter he thought such a bargain is a forgery, while the ease with which spurious documents publicly labelled genuine can be discredited was clearly demonstrated when the Atlantic Monthly published its ill-fated Lincoln series two years ago. On the other hand, when spurious letters are incorporated in a collection of Lincoln's writings, and are widely used by virtue of the authentication thus given them, the matter assumes a different aspect. The original letter is not available, and most editors have not thought it advisable even to indicate its location. Moreover, few readers have time to run down documents of suspicious character. As a result, doubts subside before the mere fact that the editor, presumed to know more about the subject than the reader, saw fit to include the suspected document in his collection. There are several items of doubtful genuineness in the standard editions of Lincoln's writings, but at the present time a convincing demonstration of unreliability is impossible. In Gilbert A. Tracy's Uncollected Letters of Abraham Lincoln, however, are four letters clearly spurious. There may be others, in this volume or elsewhere, but about these four there can be no doubt. The first letter is dated Cincinnati, December 24, 1849, and is addressed to "Peter Hitchcock, Esq., Judge &c at Columbus." The writer requests that the case of "Lewis Logan and Steamboat Chipper," then before the Supreme Court of Ohio, be set for a hearing at Columbus on Friday, December 28. The letter is of no significance other than indicating that Lincoln's legal reputation had extended beyond the limits of his own state at a much earlier date than is supposed to have been the case. The Ohio Reports show that instead of Steamboat Chipper vs. Lewis Logan, the correct style of this case was The Steamboat Clipper vs. Linus Logan; that it had come up from the Superior Court of Cincinnati on a writ of error; that it was decided by the
Page 6 6 BULLETIN of the Abraham Lincoln Association Supreme Court of Ohio at the December term, 1849; and that Coffin & Mitchell and Gholson & Miner represented the plaintiff in error, while T. D. Lincoln appeared for the defendant in error. Nowhere is there mention of Abraham Lincoln. The writer's obvious familiarity with admiralty practice, and the fact that Timothy D. Lincoln of Cincinnati was a famous admiralty lawyer, indicate that the letter was written by T. D. Lincoln, and erroneously attributed to Abraham Lincoln. Fortunately, the records of the Supreme Court of Illinois prove beyond doubt that this letter could not have been written by Abraham Lincoln. On the morning of Wednesday, December 26, 1849, Wright vs. McNeely, one of the six cases he tried before the court at this term, came on for a hearing. Stephen T. Logan, who with Lincoln represented the plaintiff, opened the argument. Brown & Yates, representing the defendant in error, took up the afternoon. Thursday morning-December 27-"came again the parties herein and the argument of this cause was concluded and submitted by Lincoln for plaintiff in error and the court not being fully advised of and concerning the same took time to consider thereof." The lack of transportation facilities in the Middle West in the winter of 1849-50 was such as to make it utterly impossible for Lincoln to have been in Cincinnati on December 24th, in Springfield on the 26th and 27th, and in Columbus on Friday, the 28th, as the writer of this letter clearly intended to be. Obviously, Abraham Lincoln was not its author. The second spurious letter in the Tracy volume is addressed to Rev. James Lemen, and dated Springfield, Illinois, March 2, 1857. It is a somewhat incoherent eulogy of James Lemen's father, the Rev. James Letnen, Sr., for his anti-slavery activities in Illinois. Joseph Bowler Lemen, the son of the addressee, first published this letter, along with several other documents of historical interest, in the Belleville Advocate during the spring of 1908. In 1915 Willard C. McNaul incorporated it with other Lemen material in his brochure, The Jefferson-Lemen Compact, published by the Chicago Historical Society. This is the source from which Mr. Tracy took it. The Lemen letter has never been free from suspicion. The involved style in which it was written bears no resemblance to Lincoln's prose. Moreover, the other Lemen papers, particularly those relating to the alleged agreement between James Lemen, Sr. and Thomas Jefferson for the propagation of abolition doctrines in Illinois, have never been accepted without reservation, and the suspicion attached to them has naturally extended to the Lincoln letter. In the belief that the original of the letter from Lincoln to Lemen, or even a copy, might furnish important evidence of genuineness or falsity, an earnest attempt has been made to locate the Lemen family papers, of which this letter is said to have been a part. Joseph Bowler Lemen, in a statement dated O'Fallon, Illinois, January o1, 1911, gave the following account of the collection: "In I857, to save the old 'Lemen Family Notes' from loss by careless but persistent borrowers, Dr. B. F. Edwards, of St. Louis, and Rev. J. M. Peck, ad
Page 7 BULLETIN of the Abraham Lincoln Association 7 vised Rev. James Lemen, Jr., to make copies of all and then give the original stock to a friend whom they named to keep as his own in a safe vault in St. Louis, if he would pay all storage charges. But at that time he only gave the most important ones to Rev. J. M. Peck to place temporarily in a safe at St. Louis where he sometimes kept his own papers; though some years later he acted on their advice and making copies of all letters and papers of any value, gave the whole original stock to the party mentioned (we do not recall his name, but it is among our papers) and he placed them in the safe. Shortly after this their holder died, and they passed into the hands of others who removed them to another safe somewhere in St. Louis; but having no further title in the papers, and having copies of all for use, the family lost all traces of the papers and the parties holding them, and have only heard from them two or three times in more than 40 years." Writing in 1915, Willard C. McNaul had this to say of the supposed copies: "The transcripts of the collection, made by James Lemen, Jr., came into the hands of his son, Joseph Bowler Lemen, who is responsible for the publication of various portions of the story, including some of the letters entire. Even these copies, however, are not accessible at the present time, except that of the Lemen Diary, as located by the present writer. Joseph Lemen's account of the fate of the elusive documents is given in full at the end of this publication. He there states that every paper of any value was copied and preserved, but even these copies were dissipated to a large extent. He also claims that all the facts contained in these documents have been published in one form or another, 'except a very few, including Rev. James Lemen's interviews with Lincoln, as written up by Mr. Lemen on ten pages of legal cap paper.' This Joseph B. Lemen is now far advanced in years, has long been a recluse, and has the reputation of being 'peculiar.' In a personal interview with him, the present writer could elicit no further facts regarding the where-abouts of the 'Lemen Family Notes.' " Investigation developed the fact that Joseph Bowler Lemen, who in 1911 claimed to have copies of the Lemen papers in his possession, died a number of years ago without direct descendants. Correspondence with various relatives led nowhere, until finally, in a letter dated O'Fallon, Illinois, June 22, 1928, Mr. Oscar Lemen stated that some years before his death Joseph Bowler Lemen sent his papers to Dr. Ed. Lemen of Upper Alton, his nephew. Mr. Oscar Lemen also said that Dr. Ed. Lemen was survived by a son and daughter, and that the son had been killed in an automobile accident. Communication with the daughter, Mrs. D. A. Wycoff, was established through her husband, who stated in a letter dated March 8, 1930, that "she has never heard of the letter from Abraham Lincoln to Reverend James Lemen, nor has she any records of the Lemen family." Beyond the suspicious character of the text of the Lincoln letter, and the mysterious disappearance of the collection of which it was a part, one further fact is pertinent. Two weeks before the Lincoln letter was published in the Belleville Advocate, Joseph Bowler Lemen furnished that paper a copy of a lengthy communication supposedly
Page 8 8 BULLETIN of the Abraham Lincoln Association written by Stephen A. Douglas to James Lemen, Jr. The letter was dated Springfield, Illinois, March Io, 1857, and bore the following undated postscript: "I wrote this letter in Springfield, but by an oversight neglected to mail it there. But if you write me in a fortnight, direct to Springfield, as I expect to be there then." However, the Journal of the Senate of the United States for 1856 -57 shows that on March Io, 1857, the Senate was in session and that Stephen A. Douglas voted in the one roll call of the day. The Douglas letter is a forgery. In the opinion of the writer of this paper, the deficiencies of the letter from Lincoln to Lemen cannot be satisfactorily explained. In 1909 Judd Stewart of New Jersey, one of the first collectors of Lincolniana, published a pamphlet entitled Some Lincoln Correspondence with Southern Leaders before the Outbreak of the Civil War, from the Collection of Judd Stewart. Among the letters there printed was one from Lincoln to John J. Crittenden, dated Springfield, Illinois, December 22, 1859, and one from Lincoln to Alexander H. Stephens, dated Springfield, Illinois, January 19, 186o. Both letters, Mr. Stewart stated, were printed from copies rather than from the originals, but their authenticity was established by a certificate from Stephens himself. Close students of Lincoln's writings have long doubted the genuineness of these letters, basing their suspicions on the variance of the content from Lincoln's known views, on the noticeable absence of his clarity of style, and on the presence of a truculence out of keeping with his character. Doubts, however, collided at once with Stephen's signed authentication, and generally relapsed to a state of passive distrust. It remained for Mr. Worthington C. Ford, then Editor of the Massachusetts Historical Society, to attack the problem in earnest. Aroused by what he described as the "false note" in these letters, Mr. Ford commenced an investigation which resulted in definite proof that both were spurious. It is unnecessary here to present more than the briefest summary of his findings, which were fully set forth in the Proceedings of the Massachusetts Historical Society for May-June, 1928. The argument starts with the certificate of genuineness given by Stephens, now in the Henry E. Huntington Library. This document, dated Executive Department, Atlanta, Georgia, January 19, 1883 and signed Alexander H. Stephens, is addressed to Col. Henry Whitney Cleveland, and certifies that the copy of Lincoln's letter of January 19, I860, is an exact transcript of the original. The writer further certified "That I requested you not to include this correspondence nor my diary written when a prisoner in Fort Warren, Boston Harbor, in 1865, in your 'Life, Letters and Speaches' or Biography of myself, because I intended to treat the matter fully and fairly as I did in 'The War between the States.' Also that I did authorize the use in both books of the Springfield, Ills., A. L. of November 30, 1860, of my copy reply of Ga. 14 Deer. I86o, of his rejoinder of Deer. 22, 1860, and also of my longer sur-rejoinder of which you made printed and not fac simile copy. The originals are yours to use as thought best."
Page 9 BULLETIN of the Abraham Lincoln Association 9 Mr. Ford points out that the four letters mentioned in the next to the last sentence of this certificate were used in Henry Cleveland's Alexander H. Stephens, published in 1866, and that they are indubitably genuine. Stephens himself, in his Constitutional View of the War published four years later, prints this correspondence a second time. Twelve years later Richard Malcolm Johnston and William Hand Browne published their Life of Alexander H. Stephens. Once again the four genuine letters were used. In the case of each of these books, the authors had free access to the original manuscripts. Cleveland stated that "during the late summer (of I866) he had free access to all his [Stephens'] papers, with no restrictions upon their use, save in questions as to their present interest to the reader, or of propriety and good taste." Commenting on the Lincoln correspondence in his own book, Stephens asserted that "It was given to the public for the first time in Mr. Cleveland's book..... This is the whole of the correspondence the Professor [Norton, a fictitious name] inquired about." Richard Malcolm Johnston was the law partner of Stephens' brother, and was in correspondence with Alexander H. Stephens for a number of years before he and Browne published their biography. Is it possible that three independent resorts to the original material should fail to bring to light the Lincoln letter of January 19, i86o? Is it possible that Stephens should three times fail to remember its very existence? The only credible answer to these questions is confirmed by the Crittenden papers in the Library of Congress. The letter of December 22, 1859 from Lincoln to Crittenden is not among them, nor is there anything to show that any letters passed between Crittenden and Stephens or Crittenden and Lincoln either in 1859 or i86o. The author of the first biography of Alexander H. Stephens was Henry Cleveland. Stephens' certificate, however, was addressed to Henry Whitney Cleveland, an individual concerning whom no legitimate record seems to exist. But the name of Henry Whitney Cleveland, fictitious or real, is well known at the Henry E. Huntington Library, which acquired the Judd Stewart collection a number of years ago. Mr. R. B. Haselden, Keeper of the Manuscripts, has written that in addition to the certificate from Stephens to Henry Whitney Cleveland, clearly a forgery, the Henry E. Huntington Library has letters from Stephens to Cleveland dated January 10, 1873 and February 22, 1879; from Crittenden to Stephens, January 13, 186o; from Grant to Longstreet, June 14, 1883; and that all these are spurious. In addition, the library has a forged copy of the genuine letter of November 30, I86o from Lincoln to Stephens, together with two forged marriage licenses of Thomas Lincoln and Nancy Hanks and a forged statement regarding Jesse Head signed E. B. Head. These documents Mr. Haselden also attributes to Henry Whitney Cleveland. The letter from Lincoln to Stephens, dated January 19, I86o, was covered by the certificate of Henry Whitney Cleveland, and is therefore a forgery. The same certificate covered the letter of December 22, 1859, supposedly written by Lincoln to Crittenden. This letter also is spurious.
Page 10 10 BULLETIN of the Abraham Lincoln Association BULLETIN Published Quarterly by THE ABRAHAM LINCOLN ASSOCIATION PAUL M. ANGLE G. W. BUNN, JR. Editors OFFICERS OF THE ASSOCIATION LOGAN HAY, President MARY E. HUMPHREY, Vice-President J. H. HOLBROOK, Treasurer G. W. BUNN, JR., Recording Secretary PAUL M. ANGLE, Executive Secretary OFFICES 701 First National Bank Building, Springfield, Illinois PURPOSES: "To observe each anniversary of the birth of Abraham Lincoln; to preserve and make more readily accessible the landmarks associated with his life; and to actively encourge, promote and aid the collection and dissemination of authentic information regarding all phases of his life and career." Editors' Notes N view of the fact that the next BULLETIN will not appear until March I, it seems advisable at this time to announce a slight change in the customary program of the Association's exercises on Lincoln's Birthday. Heretofore two addresses have been delivered at the afternoon meeting at the Court House, while informal programs have been arranged for the Sustaining Members' dinner. This year there will be one speaker only at the afternoon meeting, and one speaker in the evening. The Board of Directors announces the speakers with no little pleasure: for the afternoon meeting Carl Sandburg, poet, minstrel and author of Abraham Lincoln: The Prairie Years; for the dinner Henry Horner, Judge of the Probate Court of Cook County, collector of Lincolniana and authority upon Lincoln's life. The recent death of Jesse W. Weik raises the question of the disposition of what is probably, from the historical standpoint, the most valuable Lincoln collection in existence. Upon the death of William H. Herndon, with whom he collaborated, Mr. Weik came into possession of the manuscripts which Herndon had collected from the time of Lincoln's death. Only twice since the publication of Herndon's Lincoln have these manuscripts been utilized-once by Weik himself in the The Real Lincoln (1922) and once by Albert J. Beveridge in his Abraham Lincoln (1928). That these papers, consisting in the main of reminiscences by almost every person with whom Lincoln came in contact, contain valuable material for the study of his life, goes without saying. The Henry E. Huntington Library, San Marino, California, has the copies which Herndon sold to Ward Hill Lamon, but since Herndon continued to gather material for nearly twenty years longer, the Weik collection is necessarily much larger than that of the Huntington Library. It is hoped that if it passes from the control of Mr. Weik's heirs it will go to some collection where it will be made readily accessible to students.
Page 11 CHECK LIST OF LINCOLN BOOKS (May 1 to November 1) LIFE OF LINCOLN. By William H. Herndon and Jesse W. Weik Albert & Charles Boni. $2.50. 51I pp. The original text of the famous biography, with a critical introduction and annotations by Paul M. Angle. A. LINCOLN. By Ross Franklin Lockridge World Book Company. $1.40. 334 pp. A biography for school use. THE LAST FULL MEASURE. By Honore Willsie Morrow William Morrow. $2.50. 348 pp. This final volume of Mrs. Morrow's Lincoln trilogy covers the last years of Lincoln's life and the Booth conspiracy. LINCOLN REMEMBERS. By Edna Davis Romig Dorrance. $1.50. 76 pp. A new volume in the Contemporary Poets series. ON ABRAHAM LINCOLN'S TRAIL FROM HODGENVILLE TO SPRINGFIELD By James W. Turner Turner Publishing Co., Evansville, Ind. $1.25. 256 pp. Narrative of the author's visits to various places of Lincoln interest, together with copious quotations of all sorts. Of no value. LINCOLN THE ATHLETE AND OTHER STORIES. By Charles T. White Tenny Press, N. Y. $5.00. 97 PP. (150 copies, numbered and signed.) Fifteen articles by the author, collected and published in permanent form. PAMPHLE TS A DEFENCE OF LINCOLN'S MOTHER, CONVERSION AND CREED. By James M. Martin. Published at Minneapolis. Third Ed. 79 pp. LINCOLN'S TASK AND WILSON'S. By J. G. Randall Reprinted from The South Atlantic Quarterly. Vol. XXIX, No. 4.