LS as president signed “A. Lincoln,” two pages, 5 x 8, Executive Mansion letterhead, May 29, 1862. Letter to Reverend Carlton Chase, with the body written in the hand of Lincoln’s friend and secretary John G. Nicolay. In full: “I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your favor of the 22nd May. Pray accept the assurance of my deep appreciation of your kind expressions of confidence. It is most encouraging to feel that in the midst of the labors and perplexities of war and policy, we are supported by the confidence and sustained by the prayers of good people. It is only less than the approval of God upon our endeavours.” In fine condition, with intersecting folds and archival mounting remnants to top of reverse edges. Accompanied by the original mailing envelope, franked by Nicolay, with the wax Great Seal of the United States; and Chase’s retained copy of his letter to Lincoln. Chase’s initial letter to Lincoln, in part: “I cannot longer restrain the expression of my grateful emotions as I contemplate the manner, in which you, under the divine providence, are shaping the destinies of this afflicted Country.” A remarkable expression of Lincoln’s faith in the guiding hand of divine providence, unpublished in Basler’s Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln.
Although he had once been regarded as a skeptic, Lincoln made increasingly frequent public expressions of faith throughout his presidency. His belief in the guiding hand of “divine providence” is most apparent in the Gettysburg Address and his second inaugural address, during which he attributed emancipation and the end of slavery to God’s will. This letter is an especially early example, in keeping with those powerful expressions of Lincoln’s faith, which helped him lead the nation through its greatest strife and turmoil. Letters from President Lincoln invoking God are exceedingly rare—this being one of only two to appear at auction in the last 40 years—and, offering profound insight into the mind of the great man and leader, are of the utmost desirability. Pre-certified PSA/DNA.
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