Sunday, June 27, 2004

Emma Wadsworth Letter, 1865

The correspondent, Emma Wadsworth is clearly an intelligent, articulate, young woman and does not hesitate to speak her mind. She gives the reader a descriptive literary sketch of the intrigue and the controversy surrounding the Lincoln Assassination. Excerpts of the letter are quoted below.


"Speedwell, Ills.—April 21, 1865

Dear Friend--

Your favor of March 20th, I believe it was for the first part of it has been scattered among my papers so I have not time now to hunt it up…I forthwith proceed to reply. Here is a goodly piece of paper to begin with but letter writing is getting to be such a bore that I can hardly content myself to write…

I am in glorious spirits and good health and you know when we feel well everything is bright and joyous, and when the prospect of peace lifts one up to the ‘ether regions’ or with peace and calm will come, cool reason and soberness. O how anxious I feel . O my beloved country will thy children buy bitterness and wrath, prejudice and the sorrows of this cruel civil war and write on the glorious principles of Madison and Jefferson. I fear they will not do it for many years. Oh but I welcome that sweet angel of peace!

Everything is peace around here since Richmond was taken. Goods and everything else have fell 50 percent. It has been a hard winter….

Mr. William McClury and [Mr.] Flowers are home paroled. McClury has been with us some. Lincoln’s assassination has cast a gloom over the north. The anti-war party bitterly detested Lincoln and have no crocodile tears to spill over his death. But heaven save us from the drunken debaucher [Andrew Johnson] who reigns in his place. I would a thousand times rather had Lincoln than the thing who by virtue of the second office is the gift of the people, now holds the first place. Not a paper I have seen has failed to denounce him for his shameless ‘incoherency’ on the inauguration day and I have seen the friends of Lincoln shed tears of vexation over that exhibition, the shoddy Democrats by to mourn loudest of all over Lincoln’s fate—who when living, they denounced everything he did and said. It reminds of the way the opposite party carried on when the noble Mr. Douglas died, I lament that our land has been darkened by the assassin’s hand, but for one who from my very soul, I believe to be the worst enemy of my country almost. I would have him suffer for his actions by the laws of our country and not by the assassin’s hand. But if it is possible in Andy Johnson we have the essence of combined meanness, instead of a thoughtless, cruel joker….

I like frankness in all matters and I nknow you do or I would not dare to write as I do…. Write often…E.W."

******END OF LETTER******

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