The Recollections of Abraham Lincoln HTML version
Washington, D. C., March, 1895.
TO THE SECOND EDITION.
In deciding to bring out this book I have had in mind the many letters
to my father from men of war times urging him to put in writing his
recollections of Lincoln. Among them is one from Mr. Lincoln's friend,
confidant, and adviser, A. K. McClure, one of the most eminent of
American journalists, founder and late editor of "The Philadelphia
Times," of whom Mr. Lincoln said in 1864 that he had more brain
power than any man he had ever known. Quoted by Leonard Swett,
in the "North American Review," the letter is as follows:—
Philadelphia, Sept. 1, 1891.
Hon. Ward H. Lamon, Carlsbad, Bohemia:
My dear old Friend, — ....I think it a great misfortune that you did not
write the history of Lincoln's administration. It is much more needed
from your pen than the volume you published some years ago, giving
the history of his life. That straw has been thrashed over
and over again and you were not needed in that work; but there are
so few who had any knowledge of the inner workings of Mr. Lincoln's
administration that I think you owe it to the proof of history to finish
the work you began. —— and —— never knew anything about Mr.
Lincoln. They knew the President in his routine duties and in his
official ways, but the man Lincoln and his plans and methods were all
Greek to them. They have made a history that is quite correct so far
as data is concerned, but beyond that it is full of gross imperfections,
especially when they attempt to speak of Mr. Lincoln's individual
qualities and movements. Won't you consider the matter of writing