By John George Nicolay, Michael Burlingame
John C. Nicolay, who had identified Lincoln in Springfield, Illinois, served as leader White apartment secretary from 1861 to 1865. informed as a journalist, Nicolay had was hoping to jot down a crusade biography of Lincoln in 1860, a wish that used to be thwarted whilst an imprecise younger author named William Dean Howells acquired the activity. Years later, even though, Nicolay fulfilled his ambition; with John Hay, he spent the years from 1872 to 1890 writing a huge ten-volume biography of Lincoln.In training for this job, Nicolay interviewed males who had recognized Lincoln either in the course of his years in Springfield and later while he grew to become the president of the U.S.. "When it got here time to jot down their enormous biography, however," Burlingame notes, "he and Hay made sparing use of the interviews" simply because they'd develop into "skeptical approximately human memory." Nicolay and Hay additionally feared that Robert Todd Lincoln may possibly censor fabric that mirrored "poorly on Lincoln or his wife."Nicolay had interviewed such Springfield acquaintances as Lincoln’s first legislations companions, John Todd Stuart and Stephen T. Logan. on the Illinois capital in June and July 1875, he talked to a few others together with Orville H. Browning, U.S. senator and Lincoln’s shut pal and adviser for over thirty-five years, and Ozias M. Hatch, Lincoln’s political best friend and Springfield neighbor. 4 years later he lower back in short and spoke with John W. Bunn, a tender political "insider" from Springfield on the time Lincoln used to be elected president, and once more with Hatch.Browning shed new mild on Lincoln’s courtship and marriage, telling Nicolay that Lincoln frequently advised him "that he was once regularly less than nice apprehension lest his spouse may still do anything which might carry him into shame" whereas within the White apartment. in the course of their examine, Nicolay and Hay additionally discovered of Lincoln’s despondency and erratic habit following his rejection via Matilda Edwards, they usually have been in this case criticized by way of buddies for suppressing the knowledge. Burlingame argues that this open dialogue of Lincoln’s melancholy of January 1841 is "perhaps the main startling new info within the Springfield interviews."Briefer and extra narrowly targeted than the Springfield interviews, the Washington interviews take care of the formation of Lincoln’s cupboard, his relatives with Congress, his habit through the battle, his humor, and his grief. In a memory via Robert Todd Lincoln, for instance, we study of Lincoln’s depression at common Lee's break out after the conflict of Gettysburg: "I went into my father’s place of work ... and located him in [much] distress, his head leaning upon the table in entrance of him, and whilst he raised his head there have been evidences of tears upon his face. Upon my asking the reason for his misery he instructed me that he had simply bought the data that Gen. Lee had succeeded in escaping around the Potomac river. . ."To complement those interviews, Burlingame has incorporated Nicolay’s unpublished essays on Lincoln throughout the 1860 crusade and on Lincoln’s trip from Springfield to Washington in 1861, essay’s according to firsthand testimony.
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Additional resources for An oral history of Abraham Lincoln: John G. Nicolay's interviews and essays
He was also noted for being a kind genial and companionable man, a great lover of jokes and teller of stories. Everybody liked himhe told good anecdotes and was always very entertaining and amusinghe became very popular in the army. We had a first rate time on this campaignwe were well providedthe whole thing was a sort of frolicLincoln had no military qualities whatever except that he was a good clever fellow and kept the esteem Page 9 and respect of his men. He made a very good Captain. He had the wildest company in the worldit was mainly composed of the Clary Grove boys.
I was indeed very much struck by this answer of his, which indicated to me for the first time that he was thinking deeply of what a higher power than man sought to bring about by the great events then transpiring. 24 The Inaugural. I was here (at Sp[ringfield]) attending court and Mr. Lincoln came to see me, and asked me if I would not go to Washington with him. I Page 6 told him that while it was somewhat difficult for me to leave my business yet to oblige him I would make the sacrifice and go.
Judd, T. Lyle Dickey). The interviews held in the capital deal mainly with Lincoln's presidency. 25 Page xv Nicolay explained to Robert Todd Lincoln his interviewing strategy in Washington: "There are in this city every winter during sessions of Congress from one to two hundred individuals from whom accessory or relative information on individual points or incidents may be obtained. " Nicolay cited the names of several Civil War senators and members of Lincoln's cabinet and declared that "Whenever I can begin the study of special points, I can go to these men for special papers or reminiscences: but it is of not the least earthly use to go to them, until I have a definite inquiry to present.
An oral history of Abraham Lincoln: John G. Nicolay's interviews and essays by John George Nicolay, Michael Burlingame