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    [Abraham Lincoln] Joshua Fry Speed: Extremely Scarce Autograph Letter of Lincoln's Most Intimate Friend -- Mentioning Lincoln! Autograph Letter Signed "J.F. Speed", 1 page, 7.5" by 10", Washington, December 1, 1861. To Captain -- and soon General -- Charles Champion Gilbert, who has annotated the letter at bottom: "Mr. Speed is a gentleman of this city a former law partner of the President and does a considerable private business with him. He has been using a recommendation for my promotion for some time.... It may come to pass..."; Gilbert's son attests on the verso that the not entirely accurate memoranda is in the hand of his father. In fine condition, with two tiny, and faint, dealer's notes in the top corners; sold by Goodspeed's of Boston in 1956.

    Lincoln scholars, and gossip columnists, know all about the letters that Lincoln wrote his most intimate friend, Joshua Speed: there are dozens in Basler's Collected Works. Letters from Speed to Lincoln, however, are considerably less in evidence. Yet much is still known about how Lincoln and Speed met as young men in New Salem; shared a room, and a bed, for four years; fell out, some allege, over love, and all tell, over slavery; and remained friends, despite politics, always. Perhaps an enduring sign of their lifelong intimacy may be gleaned from the fact that Speed saw Lincoln more frequently than was officially recorded - there is, at any rate, no mention in Lincoln Day by Day of the visit this letter memorializes. "Last night I had an interview with Genl McClellan & the President separately. McClellan promised that on Monday he would make you a brigadier with orders to report to Baltimore. It may be gratifying to you to know that he spoke in high terms of you and was very willing to accede to the request of your friends in recommending your promotion to the President."

    Gilbert did get his star -- temporarily: blamed for botching Perryville, he ended the War a Major, sitting at a desk. From the Henry E. Luhrs Collection. Accompanied by LOA from PSA/DNA.


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    Auction Dates
    February, 2006
    20th-21st Monday-Tuesday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 9
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