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Mary's friends
02-27-2017, 11:41 PM
Post: #46
RE: Mary's friends
(02-25-2017 02:15 PM)RJNorton Wrote:  I think I am in the minority on the forum when I question whether Tad ever got to the point of actually writing letters to people. I say that despite what Mary said (such as Tad writing to Sally Orne). Is there other specific evidence of Tad really writing letters to people?


There does not seem to be any actual evidence. The clearance reference is that Mary wrote she received a letter from Tad while traveling in Europe, but that could have been dictated. But he seemed to come across as intellectually average, at least, on his return to America. Perhaps he had some sort of processing disorder that made working with words difficult.
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02-28-2017, 07:31 AM
Post: #47
RE: Mary's friends
(02-27-2017 11:41 PM)kerry Wrote:  There does not seem to be any actual evidence.

IMO, you are correct, Kerry. I thought of another possibility. Donna mentioned that Robert burned many Lincoln family letters. Possibly Tad's letters, if they existed, showed that he was a special needs child, and Robert did not want the public to ever see this?
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02-28-2017, 10:11 AM
Post: #48
RE: Mary's friends
IMO, Robert saw much of the criticism of his fathers political life when his father was president. After his fathers death, he was very protective of his fathers image. Considering Mary's public image and health problems, I can understand Robert burning many of the family letters, as they were private and no ones business. No purpose would be served by causing undue attention to Tad. He also had some conflicts with Herndon. I can understand him wanting to destroy any letters or correspondence that Herndon or future biographers might want to use that could hurt the family image.

So when is this "Old Enough To Know Better" supposed to kick in?
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02-28-2017, 01:36 PM (This post was last modified: 02-28-2017 07:27 PM by Susan Higginbotham.)
Post: #49
RE: Mary's friends
Have many family letters addressed to Mary or to Robert survived? Unless there's evidence that numerous family letters written to them survived except for those written by Tad, I don't see any reason to suppose that letters written by Tad to his family were singled out for destruction.
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02-28-2017, 06:15 PM (This post was last modified: 02-28-2017 06:15 PM by kerry.)
Post: #50
RE: Mary's friends
I think Mary burned most of hers when she read them, and Robert finished the job. I think Robert's position was totally understandable, and it seems like Mary decided against a more public stance and didn't want most of it published. That said, I do think it does a disservice to Mary's reputation to have none of the letters (her correspondence with her husband or Robert) that might have put her in a better light around, and I believe those did exist. But Robert didn't have to make his decision based on that, and I think he had ample reason to not want to be dissected further. If Robert destroyed Tad's letters, I'd see it as being more to destroy something that was a painful and private memory to him than to hide anything. I think there's reason to suppose he never got to the point of writing a letter, but he wasn't terribly impaired. Mary let him talk to that reporter when they arrived back in America, so it doesn't seem like a big secret. There's a letter to David Davis where he kind of assesses Tad and appears to find him 'normal,' which could have been planted in the record, but that seems a stretch. David Davis described him as a "warmhearted youth" during his illness, not mentioning anything about him being special needs, and there are a few other people who remember Tad who didn't recall him as being so, either. No one described him as especially bright or accomplished, but he seems to have functioned in society.
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03-31-2017, 09:28 PM
Post: #51
RE: Mary's friends
I have a research question about some of Mary's "friends." There are several sources that mention that William Reid, who worked at the Dundee consulate with Dr. Smith, collaborated with Mary on a book about Lincoln in 1868. It is mentioned in Reid's obituary if you google it. I can't find anything on this work. Was it ever actually published? The obituary makes it seem like it did exist, but I can't find anything published under his name. One article from when he was alive says he has a lot of letters from Mary giving her memories, but he won't have them published until his death. I could see perhaps Robert interfering with that. But the article doesn't mention the work being interfered with. The work is referred to as "The Reminiscences of Abraham Lincoln." Obviously a common title. He moved to Portland eventually and became a businessman. Not sure if this is the same book talked about with the Logan ring story - perhaps it got shut down quickly. I feel like there has to be a copy of it somewhere, though.
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04-01-2017, 04:11 AM
Post: #52
RE: Mary's friends
Personally I have never seen anything about this book. As far as I know, Mary never collaborated on a book with anyone.
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04-01-2017, 11:32 AM
Post: #53
RE: Mary's friends
My first reaction to this was to agree with Roger, and I still do. However, there is one way that I can see this as having some (and I emphasize, some) credibility. When, in 1868, Mary went to Scotland, she visited with James Smith. She wrote a letter to Smith on August 26, 1868. In a section marked "Private" Mary writes "if you receive any replies to your letters, written to the Senators--please forward them to me--I am glad, Miss Allen, is with you." (Mary Todd Lincoln, Her Life and Letters, pg. 514). Obviously, Mary talked to Smith about her perceived financial issues and what the chances were of her receiving a pension. Smith was going to write to various senators to lobby on Mary's behalf.

What if Reid, or Smith, suggested to Mary that she write a memoir of her life with Lincoln, which inarguably would have been an immediate bestseller and would have, under the right circumstances, given Mary a lifetime income. At that point, Mary might have been amenable to the idea, talking with Reid about the possibility of doing so, but not committing to anything. She conceivably could have even broached the subject with Robert, who likely would have done all in his power to put a stop to such talk.

As the years passed, Reid embellished the story to the point where he had been hired to help Mary with the book, but it never went anywhere. The comment that I've read in various sources is "In 1868 he was employed by Mrs. Mary Lincoln, widow of the President, to assist in the preparation of the Reminiscences of Abraham Lincoln. While employed on this work he was appointed by President Grant as United States Consul at Dundee, and held the office at that port until his removal to Oregon in 1874." Most likely, he or Smith broached the subject with Mary, she either gave it some consideration or rejected it outright, and if she gave it consideration she either later rejected it, or Robert put a stop to it. My guess is that if any of my scenario happened, she rejected it outright.

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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04-01-2017, 01:02 PM
Post: #54
RE: Mary's friends
(04-01-2017 11:32 AM)Rob Wick Wrote:  My first reaction to this was to agree with Roger, and I still do. However, there is one way that I can see this as having some (and I emphasize, some) credibility. When, in 1868, Mary went to Scotland, she visited with James Smith. She wrote a letter to Smith on August 26, 1868. In a section marked "Private" Mary writes "if you receive any replies to your letters, written to the Senators--please forward them to me--I am glad, Miss Allen, is with you." (Mary Todd Lincoln, Her Life and Letters, pg. 514). Obviously, Mary talked to Smith about her perceived financial issues and what the chances were of her receiving a pension. Smith was going to write to various senators to lobby on Mary's behalf.

What if Reid, or Smith, suggested to Mary that she write a memoir of her life with Lincoln, which inarguably would have been an immediate bestseller and would have, under the right circumstances, given Mary a lifetime income. At that point, Mary might have been amenable to the idea, talking with Reid about the possibility of doing so, but not committing to anything. She conceivably could have even broached the subject with Robert, who likely would have done all in his power to put a stop to such talk.

As the years passed, Reid embellished the story to the point where he had been hired to help Mary with the book, but it never went anywhere. The comment that I've read in various sources is "In 1868 he was employed by Mrs. Mary Lincoln, widow of the President, to assist in the preparation of the Reminiscences of Abraham Lincoln. While employed on this work he was appointed by President Grant as United States Consul at Dundee, and held the office at that port until his removal to Oregon in 1874." Most likely, he or Smith broached the subject with Mary, she either gave it some consideration or rejected it outright, and if she gave it consideration she either later rejected it, or Robert put a stop to it. My guess is that if any of my scenario happened, she rejected it outright.

Best
Rob

Thanks for your input - there are a lot of articles that surfaced in 1868 about her writing memoirs, which he could have planted for attention, but they didn't mention him as the author. This was right after Behind the Scenes, so I was thinking maybe there was confusion or Mary briefly considered a response book. But in 1868 the papers claimed to have seen a chapter of it, and reported later she was working on it in Germany - obviously could be made up. But Reid's story matches in that she did a lot of work in Germany and mailed it to him after the Dundee visit. And there are letters floating around where she does discuss a book with someone in America around that time. It probably got shut down, but it'd be something if it still existed. Then there's this: https://www.worldcat.org/title/henry-dem...ef_results

So it seems pretty likely she did work on a book at some point - I think there is a letter to Deming where she says not at this time, she's reconsidered. But maybe in Germany when she was relatively let alone she reconsidered, especially after the Behind the Scenes.
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04-01-2017, 01:09 PM (This post was last modified: 04-01-2017 01:11 PM by Eva Elisabeth.)
Post: #55
RE: Mary's friends
(04-01-2017 11:32 AM)Rob Wick Wrote:  My first reaction to this was to agree with Roger, and I still do. However, there is one way that I can see this as having some (and I emphasize, some) credibility. When, in 1868, Mary went to Scotland, she visited with James Smith. She wrote a letter to Smith on August 26, 1868. In a section marked "Private" Mary writes "if you receive any replies to your letters, written to the Senators--please forward them to me--I am glad, Miss Allen, is with you." (Mary Todd Lincoln, Her Life and Letters, pg. 514). Obviously, Mary talked to Smith about her perceived financial issues and what the chances were of her receiving a pension. Smith was going to write to various senators to lobby on Mary's behalf.

What if Reid, or Smith, suggested to Mary that she write a memoir of her life with Lincoln, which inarguably would have been an immediate bestseller and would have, under the right circumstances, given Mary a lifetime income. At that point, Mary might have been amenable to the idea, talking with Reid about the possibility of doing so, but not committing to anything. She conceivably could have even broached the subject with Robert, who likely would have done all in his power to put a stop to such talk.

As the years passed, Reid embellished the story to the point where he had been hired to help Mary with the book, but it never went anywhere. The comment that I've read in various sources is "In 1868 he was employed by Mrs. Mary Lincoln, widow of the President, to assist in the preparation of the Reminiscences of Abraham Lincoln. While employed on this work he was appointed by President Grant as United States Consul at Dundee, and held the office at that port until his removal to Oregon in 1874." Most likely, he or Smith broached the subject with Mary, she either gave it some consideration or rejected it outright, and if she gave it consideration she either later rejected it, or Robert put a stop to it. My guess is that if any of my scenario happened, she rejected it outright.

Best
Rob
Great post, Rob - my initial reaction was the same (to agree I doubted it) and then the thought of a scenario you showed up hit me, too. I agree on your conclusions however and hence still doubt she herself worked on anything likewise. I think in Germany she had lots of other things on her mind.
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04-02-2017, 10:03 AM
Post: #56
RE: Mary's friends
Quote:Thanks for your input - there are a lot of articles that surfaced in 1868 about her writing memoirs, which he could have planted for attention, but they didn't mention him as the author. This was right after Behind the Scenes, so I was thinking maybe there was confusion or Mary briefly considered a response book. But in 1868 the papers claimed to have seen a chapter of it, and reported later she was working on it in Germany - obviously could be made up. But Reid's story matches in that she did a lot of work in Germany and mailed it to him after the Dundee visit. And there are letters floating around where she does discuss a book with someone in America around that time. It probably got shut down, but it'd be something if it still existed. Then there's this: https://www.worldcat.org/title/henry-dem...ef_results

So it seems pretty likely she did work on a book at some point - I think there is a letter to Deming where she says not at this time, she's reconsidered. But maybe in Germany when she was relatively let alone she reconsidered, especially after the Behind the Scenes.

Just wondering if you could post links to those newspaper articles or at least share the citations, as well as the letters you mention? In all I've read about Mary Lincoln, this is the first I've heard that she was considering writing a book. Neither Jean Baker nor Carl Sandburg/Paul Angle mention it. Plus, I'm curious as to why she would write a response to Behind the Scenes when she never (to my knowledge) considered writing, or having written on her behalf, a refutation of Herndon's lecture on Ann Rutledge, other than the letter James Smith wrote and had published in the Chicago Tribune.

Thanks.

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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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04-02-2017, 02:50 PM (This post was last modified: 04-02-2017 03:01 PM by kerry.)
Post: #57
RE: Mary's friends
(04-02-2017 10:03 AM)Rob Wick Wrote:  
Quote:Thanks for your input - there are a lot of articles that surfaced in 1868 about her writing memoirs, which he could have planted for attention, but they didn't mention him as the author. This was right after Behind the Scenes, so I was thinking maybe there was confusion or Mary briefly considered a response book. But in 1868 the papers claimed to have seen a chapter of it, and reported later she was working on it in Germany - obviously could be made up. But Reid's story matches in that she did a lot of work in Germany and mailed it to him after the Dundee visit. And there are letters floating around where she does discuss a book with someone in America around that time. It probably got shut down, but it'd be something if it still existed. Then there's this: https://www.worldcat.org/title/henry-dem...ef_results

So it seems pretty likely she did work on a book at some point - I think there is a letter to Deming where she says not at this time, she's reconsidered. But maybe in Germany when she was relatively let alone she reconsidered, especially after the Behind the Scenes.

Just wondering if you could post links to those newspaper articles or at least share the citations, as well as the letters you mention? In all I've read about Mary Lincoln, this is the first I've heard that she was considering writing a book. Neither Jean Baker nor Carl Sandburg/Paul Angle mention it. Plus, I'm curious as to why she would write a response to Behind the Scenes when she never (to my knowledge) considered writing, or having written on her behalf, a refutation of Herndon's lecture on Ann Rutledge, other than the letter James Smith wrote and had published in the Chicago Tribune.

Thanks.

Best
Rob

It's not mentioned in most of the biographies, but it was reported at the time. Since it never came to fruition, I guess it didn't really merit mention, and it obviously could have been just a rumor. But even the major biographies don't mention some fairly significant things that are found in her letters and other sources - too much information and speculation, I guess. I've been doing a lot of research on the newspaper sites that make these searches much easier, and I was surprised by a lot of stuff I'd never seen before.

I don't know if this will work but I'll try - here's one of the articles in 1868: https://www.newspapers.com/image/118807441/

I don't think she was writing it necessarily in direct response to Behind the Scenes but in general to clear up a lot of misconceptions - it was going to be more political and about Lincoln, not her debts. This would have been less of a shocker once Behind the Scenes came out and basically left her with nothing to lose reputation-wise. Reid claimed it was called "Reminiscences of Abraham Lincoln." The book that was mentioned earlier was called "Five Years in the White House." People claimed it was being written by Olive Logan. Then when she was in Germany, she was reported to be writing "her memoirs."

In her letters she several times mentions she wrote a reply to Herndon and asks someone like Smith to edit it and publish it - she then would say she had decided against getting involved. In several letters she encourages various people to leak stories to the press - Elizabeth Keckley's defense pre-Behind-the-Scenes, the religion issue via John Todd Stuart, the Anne Rutledge issue via Smith and Reed, her poverty via the Ornes, her not being engaged to account via Forney/the Ornes, and Robert's behavior (which got her threatened with commitment again, so she stopped advocating for the hit piece against him).

I do think she wanted her story out there, but was discouraged from doing so. The interviews she gave the last year of her life (also mostly left out of biographies - this has been my first research project) were kind of out-of-nowhere after so much silence, but she did them. There is a letter floating around the auction sites where she talks about a possible book project, but decides against it. I will let you know if I locate the link.
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04-02-2017, 08:31 PM (This post was last modified: 04-02-2017 08:35 PM by Rob Wick.)
Post: #58
RE: Mary's friends
Kerry,

The link required a log in, but I was able to download a couple of articles, one of which mentions the Louisville article. Here are the links.

https://ibb.co/gY1RwF

https://ibb.co/j94FOv

Notice that all of these are Democratically-controlled papers and all have an obvious anti-Radical bias in them. All are located in the South. In the second link the word "Book" is put into quotation marks and the author claims the book is nearly ready for the press. That should send up a couple of red flags. First, why is "Book" in quotation marks? Second, if the book was nearly ready for press, that means that Mary, or whomever the ghostwriter would have been, was working on it at the time that Mary was in deep mourning for her husband. Another red flag is the unnamed "Illinois editor." Strange that the editor happens to be from Illinois, the same state that Lincoln was from and was laid to rest in and where Mary was living. Why not Indiana or Kentucky, since Lincoln had lived in both? Because for the attack on Radical policy, which this article clearly is, to be effective, having the source as an Illinois editor, the state most closely connected to the assassinated president, gives it more "punch." Plus, it is no coincidence that the Illinois editor mentions John A. Logan, considered by many Democrats in Illinois to be a traitor to the party.

The second article is equally telling, especially in its attempt to refute the notion that Mary Lincoln was suffering mentally, which she obviously was. The editor, not wanting to betray his own party loyalties, puts the term "late lamented" in quotes, so as to not make it appear to come from his own pen, rather from somewhere else he is merely quoting. Again, the gist of the article is how this so-called "book" will cause the Radicals to howl. Also, it's interesting that they call her "The Government's widow."

Interestingly, the first article, which appeared in the Cumberland (Md.) Alleganian, was published on February 28, 1868 while the second article appeared in the Petersburg (Va.) Index on April 16, 1868, long before Mary left for Europe. So, I don't think this attempt to tie Mary into anti-Radical politics has anything to do with Reid.

Now, one could ask is it possible that Mary still had the idea in her mind of writing a book, and some anti-Radical Illinois Democrat caught wind of it and decided to use the president's grieving widow as a symbol of how even the great martyr Lincoln's wife saw through Radical perfidy? I'm not convinced. First, the timing is off. Mary wouldn't have been seriously working on a book (meaning the actual writing and not just thinking about it) at this point. Even if she hired a ghostwriter, it still doesn't make sense. She was still too wrapped up in her grief, and she was becoming more and more mentally unstable. Second, Robert, seeing the state his mother was in, would never have let such a scheme move forward even in fits and starts.

I personally don't believe a book was ever seriously in consideration. By that, I mean the research, the writing or the shopping around of a manuscript or the possibility of a manuscript. That certainly isn't to say that publishers might not have wanted to approach Mary or Robert, but in my opinion, the reason Mary's biographers failed to mention it is because it never happened.

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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04-02-2017, 09:13 PM
Post: #59
RE: Mary's friends
(04-02-2017 08:31 PM)Rob Wick Wrote:  Kerry,

The link required a log in, but I was able to download a couple of articles, one of which mentions the Louisville article. Here are the links.

https://ibb.co/gY1RwF

https://ibb.co/j94FOv

Notice that all of these are Democratically-controlled papers and all have an obvious anti-Radical bias in them. All are located in the South. In the second link the word "Book" is put into quotation marks and the author claims the book is nearly ready for the press. That should send up a couple of red flags. First, why is "Book" in quotation marks? Second, if the book was nearly ready for press, that means that Mary, or whomever the ghostwriter would have been, was working on it at the time that Mary was in deep mourning for her husband. Another red flag is the unnamed "Illinois editor." Strange that the editor happens to be from Illinois, the same state that Lincoln was from and was laid to rest in and where Mary was living. Why not Indiana or Kentucky, since Lincoln had lived in both? Because for the attack on Radical policy, which this article clearly is, to be effective, having the source as an Illinois editor, the state most closely connected to the assassinated president, gives it more "punch." Plus, it is no coincidence that the Illinois editor mentions John A. Logan, considered by many Democrats in Illinois to be a traitor to the party.

The second article is equally telling, especially in its attempt to refute the notion that Mary Lincoln was suffering mentally, which she obviously was. The editor, not wanting to betray his own party loyalties, puts the term "late lamented" in quotes, so as to not make it appear to come from his own pen, rather from somewhere else he is merely quoting. Again, the gist of the article is how this so-called "book" will cause the Radicals to howl. Also, it's interesting that they call her "The Government's widow."

Interestingly, the first article, which appeared in the Cumberland (Md.) Alleganian, was published on February 28, 1868 while the second article appeared in the Petersburg (Va.) Index on April 16, 1868, long before Mary left for Europe. So, I don't think this attempt to tie Mary into anti-Radical politics has anything to do with Reid.

Now, one could ask is it possible that Mary still had the idea in her mind of writing a book, and some anti-Radical Illinois Democrat caught wind of it and decided to use the president's grieving widow as a symbol of how even the great martyr Lincoln's wife saw through Radical perfidy? I'm not convinced. First, the timing is off. Mary wouldn't have been seriously working on a book (meaning the actual writing and not just thinking about it) at this point. Even if she hired a ghostwriter, it still doesn't make sense. She was still too wrapped up in her grief, and she was becoming more and more mentally unstable. Second, Robert, seeing the state his mother was in, would never have let such a scheme move forward even in fits and starts.

I personally don't believe a book was ever seriously in consideration. By that, I mean the research, the writing or the shopping around of a manuscript or the possibility of a manuscript. That certainly isn't to say that publishers might not have wanted to approach Mary or Robert, but in my opinion, the reason Mary's biographers failed to mention it is because it never happened.

Best
Rob

Those are good points, and it may well have all been made up. I wrote it off at first but Mary was up to so much in that time period (and was clearly so enraged and wanted to be heard) that I come back to it. I agree Robert would not have agreed to it - but during this time, while Mary was certainly grieving, she was also writing tons of letters (some to shape the Lincoln story, such as her comments on the broken engagement, Shields duel, and the age she was when married) and plotting the Old Clothes "scandal" in defiance of Robert's wishes. I definitely agree the articles have a partisan bent and are trying to make the points you suggest. I just think there may have been something to it. And that Robert and some other people did shut it down, but she restarted once in Germany. But now that I look again and see how it was almost exclusively published in the South, I doubt it more. It was published in Pennsylvania, Minnesota, and, weirdly, Australia, as well.

Another interesting thing I found was that Weik claimed he saw correspondence going back and forth from Mary and Herndon. Weik claims that one of "Mary's friends" was Herndon - his interpretation may be wrong, but it is interesting that he makes the claim. Maybe they quietly made up:

"Outside of her husband and kindred it is fair to assume that Mr. Herndon knew Mrs. Lincoln more thoroughly and comprehended her peculiar construction better than almost any other person in Springfield. The popular notion fathered by numerous writers that the two were hostile to each other and at outs most of the time has no sure foundation on which to rest.That they did not in-variably and completely agree on all subjects is doubtless true, but it does not necessarily follow that they hated each other. In fact the correspondence between them, much of which I have been privileged to read, as well as the many facts I gathered during my association with Mr. Herndon, convince me to the contrary. I cannot, therefore, resist the conclusion, regardless of the things which have found their way into the columns of some of our newspapers and magazines, that Mr. Herndon and Mrs. Lincoln, all things considered, held each other in generous and reasonable esteem."
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04-04-2017, 03:32 PM (This post was last modified: 04-04-2017 03:33 PM by Eva Elisabeth.)
Post: #60
RE: Mary's friends
I continue to agree with Rob.

Kerry - re.: In her letters she several times mentions she wrote a reply to Herndon and asks someone like Smith to edit it and publish it" - I would like to read those letters. Could you please post the dates of writing so that I could look for them in the Turners' book? Or a link if they are online somewhere? Thanks.

As for correspondence between her and Herndon off the top of my head I can only think of this one which to me gives the impression of being the first and (with regard to the dispute Herndon caused soon afterwards) last one.
http://rogerjnorton.com/LincolnDiscussio...6#pid35353

(And IMO it shows writing on her husband's politics was the least on her mind.)
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