Mr. Lincoln writes to his close friend Joshua Speed to express his sympathy over the grave illness of Speed's fiancee

Springfield, Ills. Feby. 3, 1842                    

Dear Speed:

Your letter of the 25th. Jany. came to hand today. You well know that I do not feel my own sorrows much more keenly than I do yours, when I know of them; and yet I assure you I was not much hurt by what you wrote me of your excessively bad feeling at the time you wrote. Not that I am less capable of sympathizing with you now than ever; not that I am less your friend than ever, but because I hope and believe, that your present anxiety and distress about her health and her life, must and will forever banish those horrid doubts, which I know you sometimes felt, as to the truth of your affection for her. If they can be once and forever removed, (and I almost feel a presentiment that the Almighty has sent your present affliction expressly for that object) surely, nothing can come in their stead, to fill their immeasurable measure of misery. The death scenes of those we love, are surely painful enough; but these we are prepared to, and expect to see. They happen to all, and all know they must happen. Painful as they are, they are not an ulooked-for-sorrow. Should she, as you fear, be destined to an early grave, it is indeed, a great consolation to know that she is so well prepared to meet it. Her religion, which you once disliked so much, I will venture you now prize most highly.

but I hope your melancholy bodings as to her early death, are not well founded. I even hope, that ere this reaches you, she will have returned with improved and still improving health; and that you will have met her, and forgotten the sorrows of the past, in the enjoyment of the present.

I would say more if I could; but it seems I have said enough. It really appears to me that you yourself ought to rejoice, and not sorrow, at this indubitable evidence of your undying affection for her. Why Speed, if you did not love her, although you might not wish her death, you would most calmly be resigned to it. Perhaps this point is no longer a question with you, and my pertinacious dwelling upon it, is a rude intrusion upon your feelings. if so, you must pardon me. You know the hell I have suffered on that point, and how tender I am upon it. You know I do not mean wrong.

I have been quite clear of the hypo since you left, even better than I was along in the fall.

I have seen Sarah but once. She seemed very cheerful, and so, I said nothing to her about what we spoke of.

Old Uncle Billy Herndon is dead; and it is said this evening that Uncle Ben Ferguson will not live. This I believe is all the news, and enough at that unless it were better.

Write me immediately on the receipt of this. Your friend, as ever


This document is a copy of the unedited text of a written work by Abraham Lincoln. Some typographical errors which were present in the original text appear here as well. This document was copied in its entirety from The Living Lincoln, edited by Paul M. Angle and Earl Schenck Miers, published by Marboro Books Corp.

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