Newspaper from Mar. 2, 1867


  • Full Title

    "LINCOLN": San Antonio Express

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    This article, published by the San Antonio Express on March 2, 1867, contains an interview with William Herndon's law partner. Herndon spoke of Lincoln's romantic ventures in his earlier years. Following the interview, a beautiful description of the grave of Lincoln is provided.

  • Transcription


    A special correspondent of the New York Tribune, writing from Springfield, Ill., relates the following episode in the life of Mr. Lincoln. Mr. Herndon was Mr. Lincoln's law partner. The correspondent says:

    "The tenderness of Mr. Lincoln nature romance in early manhood, and as of this Mr. Herndon had spoken in public, I asked particularly about it.

    At Sangamon, Illinois, a pretty and high-spirited girl, without fortune, made havoc in many hearts and Mr. Lincoln constituted one of three earnest suitors who wanted her in marriage. She preferred the address of a young merchant of the town, and gave the other two their conge. Her affianced soon afterwards went East to buy goods, but as he returned was taken with brain fever in some wayside town, and lay raving for three months, unknown by name or residence to his entertainers. A rumor started that he had run away to avoid marrying his lady, and waiting some time in vain to hear from him, she received anew the attentions of Mr. Lincoln. About the time when they passed from courtesy to tenderness, and marriage between them was more than hinted at, the sick man returned like a ghost, gauged the condition of affairs, and upbraided the lady with fickleness. She had a delicate sense of honor, and felt keenly the shame of having seemed to trifle with two gentlemen at once; this preyed upon her mind til her body, not very strong, suffered by sympathy, and Mr. Herndon has oral and written testimony that the girl died out of regret at the equivocal position she had unwillingly assumed. The names of all the parties he has given me, but I do not care to print them."

    The same writer gives the following beautifully description of the spot where lies all that is mortal of the lamented savior of our country:

    "I know of no better illustration of the difference between the real life and the renown of Mr. Lincoln than you get by visiting his grave. A horse railroad, two miles long, leads to it, in the cemetery of Oak Ridge. Behind you is his real life, Springfield, a Western market town, set upon the monotonous prairie, half the year noisy with the chatter of politicians, plethoric with lawyers, for all of whom there is less than enough to do, and savoring much of the frost and the frontier; a pretty prairie city, but capitalized so that what the State has not done for the town, and the people expected it to do, make an unfinished desultoryness. – All at once, as you approach the Sangamon river, the scene changes. Stalwart young oaks of natural growth become plentiful. The landscape is plowed with leafy ravines. Bold knowls start up. – A creek goes plashing around the abrupt hills. Shadow, murmur, and surprise succeed the level life of the city. And among all these mysteries, itself the great mystery of our age, the vault of the President caps a hill, a temporary edifice of brick, and the great drive of one of the handsomest cemeteries in the Union winds with the winding brook beneath it:

    "The last
    As 'twere the cape of a long ridge of hills,"

    and all the white tombs martial it; buttonwood, maple and ash trees cluster at its base; here is to be his monument. – About $75,000 have been collected for it up to this time, and it is supposed the State will vote enough to make $200,000 in all. There is no sweeter spot for a tired life to rest in. It would be blasphemy to mar the dead man's grave with any mere prettiness of marble or smartness of bronze. Let the firey, untamed Western genius be of timid chisel here: "Abraham Lincoln" is a good epitaph if plainly lettered. And, after all, will any monument be like the man, for no such one was ever a sculptur's theme before. Canova could get no notion of Mr. Lincoln. An allegory would be unlike him, a shaft too formal, a statue too inexpressive. If the Pacific railroad could be called by his name, that would be better."

    [Transcription by Deborah Taylor.]

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    This item is in the public domain and may be reproduced and used for any purpose, including research, teaching, private study, publication, broadcast or commercial use, with proper citation and attribution.

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    San Antonio Express. ""LINCOLN": San Antonio Express". San Antonio Express. Remembering Lincoln. Web. Accessed May 26, 2024.