A letter written by Abraham Lincoln in 1840 and valued at $40,000, shows a previously unseen nervous side to the iconic American leader.
The wording of Lincoln’s letter paints a picture of a man not totally comfortable with his growing reputation. Dated March 6, 1860, the letter was composed at a turning point in history and was sent just after Lincoln’s own Cooper Union address.
That historic speech was a key moment in Abraham Lincoln’s career moving him into the national limelight, and on to become the 16th president of the United States.
But as you can see from the excerpts below, Lincoln wasn’t too sure about himself and seemingly even needed a confidence boost:
Yours of the 2nd was received late last evening. I cannot speak in New Jersey this time. I have over staid my time – have heard something about sickness in my family – and really am nervous and unfit to fill my engagement already made here in Connecticut. Will you please excuse me?
As The Daily Mail reported, just four days prior to Lincoln’s letter, J.A. Freeman, secretary of the Republican Executive Committee of Orange, N.J., had written to Lincoln, saying his organization “most earnestly and cordially” requested him to address the Republicans of Orange at his earliest convenience.
Freeman wrote to Abraham Lincoln:
“You have many warm political friends in this place who are very anxious to hear you, and as New Jersey is one of the doubtful states, we wish all the help that we can get from the eminent speakers of the Republican Party. If you can comply with our request, please let me know upon what evening we may have the pleasure of hearing you, and where in New York you may be found so that some friends can meet and bring you out here.”
Until now, the historic letter had been in the hands of the Freeman family, but is now up for sale by The Raab Collection, a Philadelphia-based dealer of historical documents, which has valued it at $40,000.