Abraham Lincoln to Mary Lincoln, 16 April 18481Washington, April 16– 1848–Dear Mary:
In this troublesome world, we are never quite satisfied– When you were here, I thought you hindered me some in attending to business; but now, having nothing but business—no variety—it has grown exceedingly tasteless to me– I hate to sit down and direct documents, and I hate to stay in this old room by myself–2 You know I told you in last sunday’s letter, I was going to make a little speech during the week; but the week has passed away without my getting a chance to do so; and now my interest in the subject has passed away too– Your second and third letters have been received since I wrote before–3 Dear Eddy thinks thinks father is “gone tapila”4 Has any further discovery been made as to the breaking into your grand-mother’s house?– If I were she, I would not remain there alone– You mention that your uncle John Parker is likely to be at Lexington– Don't forget to present him my very Kindest regards–
I went yesterday to hunt the little plaid stockings, as you wished; but found that Mc Knight has quit business, and Allen had not a single pair of the description you give, and only one [
pai?] plaid pair of any sort that I thought would fit “Eddy’s dear little feet”–5 I have a notion to
<Page 2>make another trial to-morrow morning– If I could get them, I have an excellent chance of sending them– Mr Warrick Tunstall, of St Louis is here– He is to leave early this week, and to go by Lexington– He says he knows you, and will call to see you; and he voluntarily asked, if I had not some package to send you–
I wish you to enjoy yourself in every possible way; but is there no danger of wounding the feelings of your good father, by being so openly intimate with the Wickcliffe family?6
Mrs Broome has not removed yet; but she thinks of doing so to-morrow–7 All the house—or rather, all with whom you were on decided good terms—send their love to you– The others say nothing–
Very soon after you went away, I got what I think a very pretty set of shirt-bosom studs—modest little ones, jet, set in gold, only costing 50 cents a piece, or 1–50 for the whole–
Suppose you do not prefix the “Hon” to the address on your letters to me any more– I like the letters very much; but I would rather they should not have that upon them– It is not necessary, as I suppose you have thought, to have them to come free–
And you are entirely free from head-ache? That is good
<Page 3>—good—considering it is the first spring you have been free from it since we were acquainted–8 I am afraid you will get so well, and fat, and young, as to be wanting to marry again– Tell Louisa I want her to watch you a little for me–9 Get weighed, and write me how much you weigh–
I did not get rid of the impression of that foolish dream about dear Bobby, till I got your letter written the same day– What did he and Eddy think of the little letters father send them?10 Dont let the blessed fellows forget father–
A day or two ago Mr Strong, here in Congress, said to me that Matilda would visit here within two or three weeks– Suppose you write her a letter, and enclose it in one of mine; and if she comes I will deliver it to her, and if she does not, I will send it to her–Most affectionatelyA. Lincoln
<Page 4>Washington D.C.
1848Mrs. Mary LincolnLexington Ky
2Mary Lincoln accompanied her husband to Washington, DC when he assumed his seat in the U.S. House of Representatives in December 1847, but by April 1848, she and the children had returned to her father’s house in Lexington, Kentucky. The separation pleased neither party, and in May and June, Lincoln and Mary made arrangements for Mary and the children to return to Washington. By the third week of July, she and the children were reunited with Lincoln.
Michael Burlingame, Abraham Lincoln: A Life (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2008), 1:257, 262; Betty Boles Ellison, The True Mary Todd Lincoln: A Biography (Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 2014), 71-72.
3Abraham Lincoln’s letter of April 9 has not been located. Neither of Mary Lincoln’s letters have been located.
4This might have been Eddy’s effort to say “capitol” or “capital.”
Albert J. Beveridge, Abraham Lincoln 1809-1858 (Boston and New York: Houghton Mifflin, 1928), 2:141.
5McKnight could not be positively identified. “Allen” could be a reference to a Mrs. Allen, a milliner who operated a shop on the south side of Pennsylvania Avenue between Ninth and Tenth Streets, west.
Edward Waite, The Washington Directory, and Congressional, and Executive Register, for 1850 (Washington, DC: Columbus Alexander, 1850), 2.
6Robert S. Todd and Robert Wickliffe were bitter personal and political enemies who at this time were involved in a lawsuit that would occupy Lincoln’s time after the death of his father-in-law.
Todd et al. v. Wickliffe, Martha L. Benner and Cullom Davis et al., eds., The Law Practice of Abraham Lincoln: Complete Documentary Edition, 2d edition (Springfield: Illinois Historic Preservation Agency, 2009), http://www.lawpracticeofabrahamlincoln.org; William H. Townsend, Lincoln and the Bluegrass: Slavery and Civil War in Kentucky (Lexington: University of Kentucky Press, 1955), 176-83.
8Throughout most of her adult life, Mary Lincoln often suffered from headaches.
Ludwig M. Deppisch, The Health of the First Ladies: Medical Histories from Martha Washington to Michelle Obama (Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 2015), 65.
Autograph Letter Signed, 4 page(s), Lincoln Collection, Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum (Springfield, IL)