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Things Lincoln never said
09-04-2012, 07:03 PM
Post: #16
RE: Things Lincoln never said
Did Mary Todd make this statement, or words to this effect....Mr. Lincoln wanted to dance with me in the worst way, and he certainly did.

So when is this "Old Enough To Know Better" supposed to kick in?
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09-05-2012, 06:02 AM
Post: #17
RE: Things Lincoln never said
Gene, that quote is on p. 74 of Katherine Helm's book. Her biography of Mary Lincoln is entitled "Mary, Wife of Lincoln" and was published in 1928. Personally, I have accepted the quote as legitimate. Donna, if you see this thread, what do you think?
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09-05-2012, 09:12 AM
Post: #18
RE: Things Lincoln never said
If Mary did make that statement, she seems to have had a good sense of humor and a way with words also.
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09-05-2012, 05:26 PM
Post: #19
RE: Things Lincoln never said
Laurie, Mary Lincoln did indeed have a good sense of humor and a way with words. She has been unfairly maligned as a shrew, but in fact Mary was highly intelligent, educated, and funny.

Regarding false Lincoln quotes, there are so many floating about online. The best one is:
"The trouble with quotes on the Internet is that you can never know if they are genuine." --Abraham Lincoln
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09-05-2012, 06:12 PM (This post was last modified: 09-05-2012 06:12 PM by RJNorton.)
Post: #20
RE: Things Lincoln never said
Hi Nina. Based on the mail I am receiving the "Ten Cannots" are also actively making the rounds on the Internet.
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09-05-2012, 08:22 PM
Post: #21
RE: Things Lincoln never said
Ninabeth,

I haven't met you or talked with you, but I like you already! I have always had a soft spot in my heart for Mary - from childhood on. It was tragic to lose a mother, not like a stepmother, be educated in the world of men's politics and then not allowed to use the knowledge, grow accustomed to the better things in life and then step down to a lower economic level as a young wife, be shunned by men and women of the "social life of Washington," recognized for extravagance but not for visiting the wounded and sick soldiers, etc. We won't even touch the loss of children and a husband.

Touching on the extravagance, one of the books I read (maybe Crowns of Thorns and Glory) suggested that merchants in D.C. and on her excursions to New York appeared to shower her with "gifts" as First Lady of the Land, but then send bills for these gifts. Has anyone any knowledge of this?
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09-06-2012, 08:08 AM
Post: #22
RE: Things Lincoln never said
Yes, the "Ten Cannots" are alive and well. I frequently still gets emails to my blog about it. It just has a life of it's own.

Bill Nash
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09-06-2012, 08:59 AM (This post was last modified: 09-06-2012 09:05 AM by Donna McCreary.)
Post: #23
RE: Things Lincoln never said
(09-05-2012 06:02 AM)RJNorton Wrote:  Gene, that quote is on p. 74 of Katherine Helm's book. Her biography of Mary Lincoln is entitled "Mary, Wife of Lincoln" and was published in 1928. Personally, I have accepted the quote as legitimate. Donna, if you see this thread, what do you think?

It is my understanding that the quote was told to Emilie Todd Helm - thus making it legitimate. But I have to say that one of my favorite Mary quotes is: "Every day I am convinced this is a strange world we live in, the past as the future is to me a mystery." (1840) She was a young Springfield belle when she wrote this - such wisdom from such a young lady.

(09-05-2012 08:22 PM)L Verge Wrote:  Ninabeth,

I haven't met you or talked with you, but I like you already! I have always had a soft spot in my heart for Mary - from childhood on. It was tragic to lose a mother, not like a stepmother, be educated in the world of men's politics and then not allowed to use the knowledge, grow accustomed to the better things in life and then step down to a lower economic level as a young wife, be shunned by men and women of the "social life of Washington," recognized for extravagance but not for visiting the wounded and sick soldiers, etc. We won't even touch the loss of children and a husband.

Touching on the extravagance, one of the books I read (maybe Crowns of Thorns and Glory) suggested that merchants in D.C. and on her excursions to New York appeared to shower her with "gifts" as First Lady of the Land, but then send bills for these gifts. Has anyone any knowledge of this?

Laurie, there is information about merchants sending bills in Jean Baker's book. Some authors use this as an example of Mary having a 'weak' mind - implying she did not know the difference between a gift and a purchase. Personally, I would like to study the merchants' files -- if they still exist. We know that Mary knew a good bargin - and the lady recognized the best quality and knew how to shop for it.
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09-08-2012, 10:48 AM
Post: #24
RE: Things Lincoln never said
The Daily Beast has an interesting article today titled "Did Abraham Lincoln Actually Say That Obama Quote?" by James R. Cornelius, "curator of the Lincoln Collection at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library & Museum in Springfield, Illinois." President Obama quoted Lincoln in his acceptance speech at the Democratic Convention.

"'While I’m proud of what we’ve achieved together,' Obama told the assembled in Charlotte, 'I’m far more mindful of my own failings, knowing exactly what Lincoln meant when he said, ‘I have been driven to my knees many times by the overwhelming conviction that I had no place else to go.'"

Cornelius writes that "Noah Brooks, scribe for the Sacramento Union, writing in the Harper’s Weekly for July 1865 (3 months after Lincoln had died), reported that the deceased once said this, at an unspecified date: 'I have been driven many times upon my knees by the overwhelming conviction that I had nowhere else to go. My own wisdom and that of all about me seemed insufficient for that day...'

"Don and Virginia Fehrenbacher tirelessly, for years, assembled the Recollected Words of Abraham Lincoln (Stanford Univ. Press, 1994) as recorded later by people who knew him (or said they did). The Brooks gem about 'my knees' (p. 50) got a likelihood grade of D..."

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/20...quote.html
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09-08-2012, 10:59 AM
Post: #25
RE: Things Lincoln never said
While I have the utmost deep respect for the Fehrenbacher's book (and refer to it often), one has to remember that it still remains their interpretation of what the evidence shows them. I'm not trying to brush it aside flippantly, but I imagine if someone wanted to, they could go through and find comparable evidence that might sustain some of the quotes they question.

Their concern with the quote in question is that there is no date or context provided for it, plus there is no evidence that Brooks heard it. While that is important, it wasn't enough for them to give it an E. It seems to me something of a hedged bet on their part.

Best
Rob

Abraham Lincoln in the only man, dead or alive, with whom I could have spent five years without one hour of boredom.
--Ida M. Tarbell
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09-08-2012, 11:06 AM
Post: #26
RE: Things Lincoln never said
Nice article Linda. President Obama continues what seems to be a long-standing practice by politicians to quote Lincoln (or what they think are Lincoln's words) for political advantage. Sometimes the quotes are simply not Lincoln's. Ronald Reagan read the "Ten Cannots" as a Lincoln quote at a Republican National Convention once. This quote used by Obama gets a "D." Well, it least Lincoln might have said it-even though it's doubtful.

Bill Nash
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09-08-2012, 11:45 AM
Post: #27
RE: Things Lincoln never said
Thanks, Bill.

Mr. McPherson explains the Fehrenbachers' grading system in his review of The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln compiled and edited by Don E. Fehrenbacher and Virginia Fehrenbacher. The review, which can be found in The Atlantic Online, is titled "Lincoln Speaks."

"The Fehrenbachers assign each quotation a letter grade as a guide to its authenticity. Most direct quotations recorded within days of their utterance earn an A; similar indirect quotations (summaries or paraphrases of Lincoln's words) earn a B. Most direct or indirect quotations written down weeks or years later earn a C. These grades, the editors write, are 'classificatory' but obviously have 'evaluative implications.' Common sense, along with scholarly research on memory, tells us that observations or quotations recorded soon after the fact are more reliable than those filtered through the haze of memory. Thus quotations assigned an A or a B are as a general rule more authentic than those given a C.

"There are a good many exceptions, however, and some contemporary as well as many later quotations earn a D or an E owing to their implausibility, the known or suspected unreliability of the recorder, factual errors or inconsistencies in the quotation or its context, or the secondhand nature of the quotation. A quotation 'about whose authenticity there is more than average doubt' gets a D; a quotation 'that is probably not authentic' earns an E."

http://www.theatlantic.com/past/docs/iss...incoln.htm
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09-08-2012, 01:35 PM (This post was last modified: 09-08-2012 01:41 PM by RJNorton.)
Post: #28
RE: Things Lincoln never said
In the July, 1865, Harpers Monthly, Brooks wrote, "There was something touching in his childlike and simple reliance upon Divine aid, especially when in such extremities as he sometimes fell into; then, though prayer and reading of the Scriptures was his constant habit, he more earnestly than ever sought that strength which is promised when mortal help faileth. His address upon the occasion of his re-inauguration has been said to be as truly a religious document as a state-paper; and his acknowledgment of God and His providence and rule are interwoven through all of his later speeches, letters, and messages. Once he said: "I have been driven many times upon my knees by the overwhelming conviction that I had nowhere else to go. My own wisdom and that of all about me seemed insufficient for that day."

I agree with Rob in that I constantly refer to the Fehrenbachers' book. We can only guess as to the authenticity of many Lincoln quotes. Because of the original date Brooks reported this quote, I would personally probably give it at least a C if not higher. Due to the overall context of what Brooks is describing, I think I lean in the direction of the quote being authentic.
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09-08-2012, 01:50 PM
Post: #29
RE: Things Lincoln never said
This speaks broadly to the differences between academic and non-academic historians as well. Certainly reminisce, to be considered valid, needs to be written closer to the time it was supposedly heard, but that doesn't mean anything written 25 or 30 or even 50 years after has to automatically be considered suspect. While it might be less accurate in the details, it's quite possible that it was correct in the main. It was often said of Sandburg that he relied too much on reminisce and was uncritical in his acceptance of stories, and to some extent that was true, but in what he was trying to get across, I would say he was far more correct than many who slave over every footnote and demand incontrovertible proof that something happened. If we required that in the historical field, not much would ever get written.

Best
Rob

Abraham Lincoln in the only man, dead or alive, with whom I could have spent five years without one hour of boredom.
--Ida M. Tarbell
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09-25-2012, 08:47 PM (This post was last modified: 09-25-2012 08:48 PM by LincolnMan.)
Post: #30
RE: Things Lincoln never said
Not sure if the following quote should go under the thread "Things Lincoln never said" or not. I'm reading from the book my wife bought for me in Northern Michigan-Abraham Lincoln's Stories And Speeches by J.B. McClure, dated 1896. It gives no sources at all. On page 108 of the book, Lincoln is talking to a Mr. Newton Bateman. See what you think. Here is what Lincoln is supposed to have said:

"I know there is a God,and that he hates injustice and slavery. I see the storm coming, and I know that His hand is in it. If He has a place and work for me, and I think He has, I believe I am ready. I am nothing, but truth is everything: I know I am right, because I know that liberty is right, for Christ teaches it, and Christ is God. I have told them that a house divided against itself can not stand; and Christ and Reason say the same; and they will find it so."


That doesn't sound like Lincoln to me. It also doesn't express his ideas as I've come to understand he held. But what do you think?

Bill Nash
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