President Lincoln’s Brother-in-law Wants to Know When War Will End

February 7, 1864

Clark Smith, a Springfield merchant married to Mrs. Lincoln’s sister Ann, writes a curious letter to President Lincoln from New York.   Smith wants a little advance notice about the end of the Civil War: “As I have never lived through a civil war; I feel completely lost in a commercial point of view; I thought I would trouble you with a letter for which I do hope you will take the trouble to read; and also pardon me for the liberty I have taken; and what ever your decision may be in referance to this letter you can rely on one thing that it will kept strictly confidential and sacred”

my object in writing to you now is not for office place or position; but but simply to ask a very small favor of you; which if granted should never be the means of mortifying or embarrassing you in any way whatever; while I have been sadly afflicted to the very fullest in looseing three of my dear Children which was a very great blow to me; which you are capable of feeling for those afflicted; I have been prospered beyond my expectations; not in fat contracts of of the Goverment; but my steady persevereance and attention to my business no one can ever accuse me or my Children of owening Shoddy property; I have made for the benefit of the little remnant of my Family that has been left me over a Hundred Thousand dollars; I commenced in the world like you did a poor Boy without Friends money or influance; and gradually and gradually worked my way untill now I would not take a cent less than $125.000.– for my little propperty it all consist in Three Store Houses and ten Acres of land in Springfield and a part of old Jim Barrett Farm and my stock, of Goods at my diferant stores

I now I want to save that for my wife and little Children that has been spared me and the Children that I have taken to raise You are probbably not aware of the Sad affliction we have had since you left Springfield in the loss of our dear little Boy Lincoln who died last March

If you could at the proper time give me a little notice or a hint that things was likely to be brought to a close in our troubles; you would confer; and place me under everlasting obligations to you

I do not want or desire to know any of the Secrets of the administration; but simply a hint that it would be a good time for me to get my house in order; I have bought my Partners Interest in all of our business and paid him his money; I am selling at my diferant Stores a half million goods annually for Cash; and a hint of 60 days or even 30 days would enable me to close out my stocks for money so that I would not loose any money; thus enableing me to escape without loss; If I should mention or even intimate any confidence that you might repose in me; dont you see that it would thwart in my plans so you need not fear that for a moment.

Published in: on February 7, 2014 at 9:00 am  Leave a Comment  

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