Letter from Apr. 14, 1865

Joseph Medill to Abraham Lincoln

  • Full Title

    Letter to Abraham Lincoln from Joseph Medill

  • Description

    Chicago Tribune newspaper editor and owner Joseph Medill's handwritten letter to Abraham Lincoln the day of Lincoln's assassination, April 14, 1865. With Union victory in sight, Medill advises Lincoln to "not deal too leniently" with the Confederate leaders. Lincoln would never receive this letter.

  • Transcription

    Page one



    Chicago, April 14, 1865



    President Lincoln


    Dr Sir. I am confident that the vast majority of the Republican party will sustain the views laid down in your recent speech now that the rebellion is in the condition of that fellow’s dog which swallowed the cake containing powder and punk. The people will feel desirous of admitting the seceded States as fast as it can safely be done. Your illustration of the egg and the fowl I think was very happy. If you have time to run your eye over the enclosed slip



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    you will perceive that we back you up stoutly. But while we all feel resolved to give you a hearty support we do hope that you will not deal too leniently with the cruel, vindictive millions who starved to death with devilish malice 25,000 of our brave patriotic sons and brothers. There can be no forgiveness for them on this side of the grave. At their head is the miscreant Jeff Davis. If it be deemed best not to hang many of the ringleaders, some at least ought to be executed and no seceder from congress should be allowed



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    to set foot in the halls of congress again. No West Pointer who resigned federal service to take up arms against his country should ever be allowed to hold a commission in our army again. It may not be advisable to confiscate the property of rebels or to hang many of them, but surely the leaders should all be disenfranchised and forbidden to hold office. I think this much of the loyal people will strenuously insist upon. The ignorant masses we can forgive. They have been well punished for their folly already, but the guilty leaders should be taught that there is just punishment often death.



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    We hope to have you here at the opening of our Great Fair – accompanied by Mrs. Lincoln. Our people count on it. You have staid (sic) in Washington long enough without a furlough and should now take one. The weather will be delightful, and everything will conspire to make your visit pleasant and agreeable. We will agree not to shake you to death but will not pledge to refrain from pretty loud cheering.



    Yours Truly,


    J. Medill


  • Source

    Robert R. McCormick Research Center, VI-5 Eleanor Medill Patterson Papers

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    This item 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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  • Cite this Item

    Medill, Joseph, 1823-1899. "Letter to Abraham Lincoln from Joseph Medill ". Remembering Lincoln. Web. Accessed September 19, 2019. https://rememberinglincoln.fords.org/node/267