Abraham Lincoln to William H. Herndon, 10 July 18481
Dear William:
Your letter covering the newspaper slips, was received last night.2 The subject of that letter is exceedingly painful to me; and I can not but think there is some mistake in your impression of the motives of the old men– I suppose I am now one of the old men– and I declare on my veracity, which I think is good with you, that nothing could afford me more satisfaction than to learn that you and others of my young friends at home, were doing battle in this contest, and endearing themselves to the people, and taking a stand far above any I have ever been able to reach, in their admiration– I can not conceive that other old men feel differently– Of course I can not demonstrate what I say; but I was young once, and I am sure I was never ungenerously thrust back– I hardly know what to say– The way for a young man to rise, is to improve himself every way he can, never suspecting that any body wishes to hinder him– Allow me to assure you, that suspicion and jealousy never did help any man in any situation– There may sometimes be ungenerous attempts to keep a young man down; and they will succeed . . .3
1The original letter in Abraham Lincoln’s hand has not been located. This version preserves only the first page, the second page from the Herndon-Weik Collection being in fact the conclusion of a letter from Lincoln to William H. Herndon, June 22, 1848. The Huntington Library has a complete version.
Roy P. Basler, ed., The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln (New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 1953), 1:498.
2Herndon’s letter to Lincoln has not been located. Herndon’s letter might have been in response to Lincoln’s letter of June 22, 1848, in which Lincoln urged Herndon and other young Whigs to mobilize in support of Zachary Taylor in the presidential election of 1848, and expressed impatience and exasperation with Herndon for failing to get his speeches into Whig newspapers in the Seventh Congressional District.
3Lincoln wrote Herndon another letter on July 11 expressing regret for penning this letter.

Handwritten Transcription, 1 page(s), Volume Volume 2, Herndon-Weik Collection of Lincolniana, Library of Congress (Washington, DC).