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The Bixby Letter
Yesterday, 05:22 AM
Post: #91
RE: The Bixby Letter
I still hold out some hope (growing less by the hour admittedly) that Lincoln wrote the letter. In 1904 John Hay wrote a letter to John E. Chandler. Hay wrote:

"The letter of Mr. Lincoln to Mrs. Bixby is genuine, is printed in our edition of his Works, and has been frequently re-published; but the engraved copy of Mr. Lincoln's alleged manuscript, which is extensively sold is, in my opinion, a very ingenious forgery."

Some historians, including Dr. Mark E. Neely Jr., have concluded Lincoln was the author because Hay writes that the letter is "genuine." What did Hay mean by the word "genuine?" Is it really an indication that Lincoln wrote the letter? Or does it mean something else?

In his book about the letter, F. Lauriston Bullard wrote, "A letter is 'genuine' when it is not spurious, not counterfeit, when it is written by the person whose name it bears."
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Yesterday, 12:43 PM
Post: #92
RE: The Bixby Letter
Ted Sorenson always denied that he wrote Profiles in Courage but its far more likely that he was more the author than the 'researcher'. There is no doubt that Hillary did not write any of her books but that's the life of a 'ghost writer".
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Yesterday, 03:11 PM
Post: #93
RE: The Bixby Letter
(Yesterday 05:22 AM)RJNorton Wrote:  I still hold out some hope (growing less by the hour admittedly) that Lincoln wrote the letter. In 1904 John Hay wrote a letter to John E. Chandler. Hay wrote:

"The letter of Mr. Lincoln to Mrs. Bixby is genuine, is printed in our edition of his Works, and has been frequently re-published; but the engraved copy of Mr. Lincoln's alleged manuscript, which is extensively sold is, in my opinion, a very ingenious forgery."

Some historians, including Dr. Mark E. Neely Jr., have concluded Lincoln was the author because Hay writes that the letter is "genuine." What did Hay mean by the word "genuine?" Is it really an indication that Lincoln wrote the letter? Or does it mean something else?....

Allow me to quote myself (29 March 2013): "I think all that he meant is that there was, indeed, a presidential letter to Mrs. Bixby, Nov. 21, 1864. Thus, the Bixby letter is to be distinguished from letters attributed to Lincoln that had actually been made up out of whole cloth, just as many sayings attributed to Lincoln were simply made up (as we well know!)."

And, since Hay seems to mean that inclusion in "our edition of his Works" implies genuineness, I will note that he and Nicolay included the 1863 Thanksgiving Proclamation in their two-volume edition (Vol. II pp. 417f) of Lincoln's Complete Works, though it was written by William Seward.
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Today, 01:40 AM (This post was last modified: Today 03:33 AM by Steve.)
Post: #94
RE: The Bixby Letter
In his article, Burlingame suggested that Hay helped Lincoln draft his letter to the parents of Elmer Ellsworth.

Has anybody ever suggested such a scenario for the Bixby Letter? I just don't see Lincoln signing a short condolence letter for a mother who he thought had lost 5 sons, as a favor to political ally Gov. Andrew, without having any input into what it said.

But if this new study proves to be reliable in its methods and results pointing to Hay, isn't it possible Lincoln could've asked Hay for his ideas on what to write as he penned the letter? The letter was short and probably didn't take that long to write, so if it was written in this manner it's not unreasonable that Hay wouldn't remember it during his conversation with Robert Lincoln decades later.
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