LINCOLN, Abraham. Letter signed ("A. Lincoln") as President, to Matson Meier-Smith, the body of the letter in the hand of John Hay, Lincoln's private secretary, Executive Mansion, Washington, D.C., 5 March 1862.
1 page, 8vo, on Executive Mansion stationary, integral blank, the ink very slightly smudged, otherwise in excellent condition.
LINCOLN IN MOURNING AFTER THE DEATH OF HIS SON WILLIE: AN UNPUBLISHED LETTER
"I pray you to accept my sincere and grateful acknowledgements for the kind and generous sympathy exhibited in your letter of the 3rd of March, and the accompanying Resolutions. Please express to the Sunday School my heartfelt appreciation of their kindness and believe me Yours very sincerely."
At the date of this letter to the Episcopal Reverend Meier-Smith, President Lincoln and Mary Lincoln were still in mourning over the death of their son, eleven-year-old William Wallace Lincoln ("Willie," 1850-1862), who died on 20 February, after a week's decline, from what the doctors termed a "bilious fever," (probably typhoid). Upon learning of the Lincoln's bereavement, the Reverend Meier-Smith had written the President, sending condolences and an "accompanying resolution" from the children in his Sunday School class, as Lincoln here notes. The text of the resolution has not survived. In the period from 19 February when Willie became seriously ill to the day after his funeral, 25 February, the bereaved Lincoln wrote and signed very few letters or proclamations. Only one other reply to condolences is published: Lincoln's letter to Park Benjamin on March 1, also in Hay's handwriting. This letter is not in Collected Works, ed. Basler, and is evidently unpublished.