Letter from Apr. 17, 1865

Schuyler Colfax to Joseph Medill

  • Full Title

    Handwritten letter to Joseph Medill from Schuyler Colfax

  • Description

    Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Schuyler Colfax's response to Chicago Tribune newspaper editor and owner Joseph Medill's April 14, 1865 letter to Abraham Lincoln. Colfax describes the immediate aftermath of Lincoln's assassination.

  • Transcription

    Page one



    National Hotel, Wash.

    April 17, 1865



    My dear Medill:


    Alas! Alas! Your letter was “too late”. I have scarcely any hart to write to anybody or about anything; but I asked Mr. Lincoln about Chicago, on the mourning of the day he died and he said he would go if he could. The whole policy of the Gov’t was settled at a unanimous cabinet meeting on that fatal day. If I can possibly get over to see you any day next week, from S. B. and spend a few hours (my time is very scarce) I will do so, and tell you many things. There will probably be no extra session. The inevitable resolutions about England, France & Portugal that would pass under



    Page two



    the P. I. and embarrass the Gov’t will prevent it. Besides the certain intestine controversies about Reconstruction. Johnson & Stanton were to have been murdered too. There were 6 conspirators in all. They supped together at 7 ½ p.m. at the Greenback restaurant near Fads bid each other good bye. Not for publication, if not published are ere you receive this. In room above Johnson’s, hdkf. with Booth’s name, sword and bowie knife between the beds were found. Asteroth was to kill Johnson. The N.Y. detective are exploring every clue. All private this.


    The knife of Booth was doubtless intended for Grant. He has been hanging around the national all winter and is said to know me. Had I gone with the President to the theater I suppose I would have had it. But that is little compared to the President.



    Page three



    Much obliged for what you tell me about a young lady I think really a great deal of. But I ought not to know what you say. Mrs. M. may tell me of her opinion of me. The shadow of the past is over yet, when alone, more than ever; and I have no more idea and ought not to have as to matrimony than you have today. I should be very exacting as to affection & I ought not to think of changing my situation unless I feel that I could give as much as I should demand. I generally pass by these things as Mrs. M. knows, buy I have given you a glimpse into a heart that has ceased to sorrow for what God took from me forever.



    With earnest regards to Mrs. M.



    Yours ever

    Schuyler Colfax



    I yet expect to the plains in May.


  • Source

    Robert R. McCormick Research Center, III-10 Joseph Medill Archives, 1840-1899

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  • Cite this Item

    Colfax, Schuyler, 1823-1885. "Handwritten letter to Joseph Medill from Schuyler Colfax". Remembering Lincoln. Web. Accessed September 20, 2019. https://rememberinglincoln.fords.org/node/268