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(02-02-2013 02:22 PM)RJNorton Wrote: [ -> ]Author Jean Baker writes that, prior to marrying Lincoln, Mary Todd told Douglas, "I can't consent to be your wife. I shall become Mrs. President, or I am the victim of false prophets, but it will not be as Mrs. Douglas."


What source did Jean Baker cite for this quote from Mary Lincoln? I don't have Baker's book and with everything going on, I can't seem to get my hands on one to check on this source.

I am wondering if Douglas actually proposed marriage to Mary, if Mary told him this to prevent him from asking, or if the answer is something different altogether. Hard for me to form an opinion without some more context.

Scott, she gives several sources. Here they are:

(1) Rothman, "Courtship and Transition to Marriage," p. 61;

(2) The Daughter's Own Book (Boston: Lilly Wail, Coleman and Holden),
p. 10;

(3) Elizabeth Keckley, Behind the Scenes (New York: G. W. Carlton, 1868), p.230;

(4) F. P. Webb to B. P. Hinch, November 5, 1852, B. P. Hinch Papers, Illinois State Historical Society.

Here is what Elizabeth Keckly wrote:

Mrs. Lincoln, as Miss Mary Todd, was quite a belle in Springfield, Illinois, and from all accounts she was fond of flirting. She generally managed to keep a half-dozen gentlemen biting at the hook that she baited so temptingly for them. The world, if I mistake not, are not aware that the rivalry between Mr. Lincoln and Mr. Stephen A. Douglas commenced over the hand of Miss Mary Todd. The young lady was ambitious, and she smiled more sweetly upon Mr. Douglas and Mr. Lincoln than any of her other admirers, as they were regarded as rising men. She played her part so well that neither of the rivals for a long time could tell who would win the day. Mr. Douglas first proposed for her hand, and she discarded him. The young man urged his suit boldly:

"Mary, you do not know what you are refusing. You have always had an ambition to become the wife of a President of the United States. Pardon the egotism, but I fear that in refusing my hand to-night you have thrown away your best chance to ever rule in the White House."

"I do not understand you, Mr. Douglas."

"Then I will speak more plainly. You know, Mary, that I am ambitious like yourself, and something seems to whisper in my ear, 'You will be President some day.' Depend upon it, I shall make a stubborn fight to win the proud position."

"You have my best wishes, Mr. Douglas; still I cannot consent to be your wife. I shall become Mrs. President, or I am the victim of false prophets, but it will not be as Mrs. Douglas."

I have this little chapter in a romantic history from the lips of Mrs. Lincoln herself.
Thanks Roger!!

I have begun work on following these sources back.

1&2: Look to be general works on courtship, etc. in the 19th century and not specifically related to the Stephen Douglas/Mary Todd or Abraham Lincoln/Mary Todd relationships.

4: I don’t know for sure what this document has in it. I have found that it currently resides in the collection of the ALPLM and have put in a request for a copy.

3: This one I was able to track down immediately as I have a copy of Keckley’s book.

In the pages following what Roger posted, Keckley goes on to give an account of how Mary also turned down an initial proposal from Lincoln (she states that she was told the story by Mary as well as Dr. Anson Henry). After this rejection of his proposal, Lincoln was upset and went to Dr. Henry for comfort. At one point she has Lincoln saying to Dr. Henry: “No! I believe that she is going to marry Douglas. If she does, I will blow my brains out.”

I can’t say those are words I would have envisioned Lincoln uttering.

This incident reported by Keckley apparently occurred prior to the actual engagement (initial) of Mary and Abraham. In other sources, Dr. Henry was the one who comforted and cared for a despondent Lincoln in January of 1841 following the dissolution of their initial engagement (not prior to their initial engagement as in Keckley's account). Is it possible that Keckley confused the incident and/or timing of Dr. Henry’s consolation of Lincoln? Or perhaps other sources have confused the timing? I haven’t seen sources that refer to Dr. Henry consoling Lincoln twice. But maybe there are ones out there.

All this is probably outside of the intention of the thread topic. If and when I find more I will start a new thread to continue on down this line for those that may be interested.
(11-19-2012 11:51 PM)Ashley Norman Wrote: [ -> ]Thank you. I've never heard of him refurred as the Little Gisnt where did that come from? At one time Mary Lincoln was engaged to Douglas wasnt she?
Douglas was short and slightly round. He was a brilliant debater and an intelligent and respected Senator. That is why he was respectfully called the Little Giant. I believe that the name pre-dated the Lincoln debates.
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