Letter to Fanny McCullough (December 23, 1862)

Contributing Editors for this page include Megan VanGorder

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#99 on the list of 150 Most Teachable Lincoln Documents

Annotated Transcript

“It is with deep grief that I learn of the death of your kind and brave Father; and, especially, that it is affecting your young heart beyond what is common in such cases. In this sad world of ours, sorrow comes to all; and, to the young, it comes with bitterest agony, because it takes them unawares.”

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HD Daily Report, December 23, 1862

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Posted at YouTube by “Understanding Lincoln” course participant Megan VanGorder, July 2014

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Executive Mansion, Washington,
December 23, 1862.
 
Dear Fanny
It is with deep grief that I learn of the death of your kind and brave Father; and, especially, that it is affecting your young heart beyond what is common in such cases. In this sad world of ours, sorrow comes to all; and, to the young, it comes with bitterest agony, because it takes them unawares. The older have learned to ever expect it. I am anxious to afford some alleviation of your present distress. Perfect relief is not possible, except with time. You can not now realize that you will ever feel better. Is not this so? And yet it is a mistake. You are sure to be happy again. To know this, which is certainly true, will make you some less miserable now. I have had experience enough to know what I say; and you need only to believe it, to feel better at once. The memory of your dear Father, instead of an agony, will yet be a sad sweet feeling in your heart, of a purer, and holier sort than you have known before.
 
Please present my kind regards to your afflicted mother.
 
Your sincere friend
A. LINCOLN.
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