The Writings of Abraham Lincoln, Volume 5 by Abraham Lincoln
Unauthorized Biography, to S. Galloway.
SPRINGFIELD, ILL., June 19, 1860
HON. SAM'L GALLOWAY.
MY DEAR SIR:--Your very kind letter of the 15th is received. Messrs. Follett, Foster, & Co.'s Life of me is not by my authority; and I have scarcely been so much astounded by anything, as by their public announcement that it is authorized by me. They have fallen into some strange misunderstanding. I certainly knew they contemplated publishing a biography, and I certainly did not object to their doing so, upon their own responsibility. I even took pains to facilitate them. But, at the same time, I made myself tiresome, if not hoarse, with repeating to Mr. Howard, their only agent seen by me, my protest that I authorized nothing--would be responsible for nothing. How they could so misunderstand me, passes comprehension. As a matter wholly my own, I would authorize no biography, without time and opportunity [sic] to carefully examine and consider every word of it and, in this case, in the nature of things, I can have no such time and Opportunity [sic]. But, in my present position, when, by the lessons of the past, and the united voice of all discreet friends, I can neither write nor speak a word for the public, how dare I to send forth, by my authority, a volume of hundreds of pages, for adversaries to make points upon without end? Were I to do so, the convention would have a right to re-assemble and substitute another name for mine.
For these reasons, I would not look at the proof sheets--I am determined to maintain the position of [sic] truly saying I never saw the proof sheets, or any part of their work, before its publication.
Now, do not mistake me--I feel great kindness for Messrs. F., F., & Co.--do not think they have intentionally done wrong. There may be nothing wrong in their proposed book--I sincerely hope there will not. I barely suggest that you, or any of the friends there, on the party account, look it over, and exclude what you may think would embarrass the party bearing in mind, at all times, that I authorize nothing--will be responsible for nothing.
Your friend, as ever,
[The custom then, and it may have been a good one, was for the Presidential candidate to do no personal canvassing or speaking--or as we have it now "running for election." He stayed at home and kept his mouth shut. Ed.]