You Must Not Fail Me


  Springfield, April 14th, 1928

  My dear Sir,  

On this harrowing anniversary, it is with feelings of more than ordinary portent, that I venture to address you this first note. My life was always so chequered; naturally so gay and hopeful as a young girl--my prominent desires, all granted me--my noble husband, who was my 'light and life,' and my highest ambition gratified--but ill luck presided at my birth. I lived in a conspiratorial world, a world that continued beyond my living days. (4)

I was accused, on account of my Southern birth, of being a Rebel at heart, of not sympathizing with my husband's views and principles. I was watched and spied upon--I seemed to be the scapegoat for both North and South. Northern critics said I was two-thirds slavery and the other third secesh. Your world has long forgotten there was a congressional committee called upon to investigate rumors of my treasonous acts. (5)

Yes, yes, Mr. Lincoln's life was always exposed. Ah, no one knows what it is to live in constant dread of some fearful tragedy. The President had been warned so often, that I trembled for him on every public occasion. I always had a presentiment that he would meet with a sudden and violent end. I prayed to God to protect my beloved husband from the hands of the conspirators, all to no avail. (6)

Even, my once beloved son, Robert Todd Lincoln, conspired against me. His application to try the question of my sanity, the writ of inquisition ordering my arrest, the verdict of the jury finding me insane, and his petition to be appointed conservator of my estate all bear the same date, May 19, 1875. I am brought to tears at his words on that infamous day, "I have no doubt my mother is insane." I have been a deeply wronged woman, by one, for whom I would have poured out my life's blood. But, God is just, retribution follows those who act wickedly in life. (7)

I did not live a single day without the beautiful & consoling belief that our beloved ones, whose home is in Heaven can, unseen by us, enter into our midst, witness the anguish we suffer and control us by their invisible presence. I now know this belief has been sanctified as I overlap with yourself. There is only a very slight veil that separates us from the loved and lost and to me there was comfort in the thought that though unseen by you, they are very near, and they are. (8)

I fear I am wearying you with so long a letter but perhaps, never in history, will such a conspiracy, again occur as ours--therefore there is no parallel--to our case. Consider this communication, as sacred as possible.

Please say nothing about my return to any one. You must not fail me.--Answer immediately. (9)


Mrs. A. Lincoln

  Editors' Note:

We found the term "conservator" for Robert Todd Lincoln a cryptic foreshadowing of our father's profession. The below 1846 photograph was attached to this letter.

Mary Lincoln
Library of Congress
Washington, D.C.




Beloit, Wisconsin

Dear Mrs. Lincoln,

I don't know how I can help you. I am only a college student and not one prone to reading or writing long letters. I don't understand what this has to do with me. I agree there is "only a very slight veil that separates us from the loved and lost," but you'll have to tell me what this is all about. Thank you for the photograph.


Barry Bauman



Page 3



Page 1--Editors' Introduction

Page 2--You Must Not Fail Me

Page 3--An Artistic Conspiracy

Page 4--Principal Conspirator

Page 5--Co-Conspirator

Page 6--The Affidavit

Page 7--Unknowing Participants

Page 8--Accessories A, B, C, D

Page 9--Springfield

Page 10--Cleaning

Page 11--All That is Excellent

Page 12--Smoking Gun

Page 13--Judgment

Page 14--App./Acknowledgments



4. It is with feelings...note. Turner. p. 110. Letter to James Gordon Bennett. 10/25/1861. My life...gratified. Turner. p. 302. Letter to Elizabeth Blair Lee. 12/11/1865. Ill luck...birth. Baker. p. 308. From Fragment Letter to Mary Harlan Lincoln. Undated. Abraham Lincoln was shot on this date in 1865.

5. I was accused...upon. Baker. p.174. I seemed...South. Helm. p. 255. two-thirds...secesh. and congressional hearing taken from Foote. Book 1. p. 252.

6. Yes, yes...conspirators. Keckley. Kindle Loc. 1254-56.

7. His application...1875. Pritchard/Emerson. p. 32. I have no doubt my mother is insane. Baker. p. 321 from Chicago Inter Ocean May 20, 21, 1875. I have been...blood. Pritchard/Emerson. p. 120. Letter to Myra Bradwell. 6/18/1876. God is Pritchard/Emerson. p. 118. Letter to Myra Bradwell. 6/18/1876.

8. I did not...sanctified. Mary Lincoln to Mrs. White, December 14, 1866 in Gilder Lehrman Collection, New York Historical Society. Berry. p. 186. A very slight...near. Turner. p. 256. Letter to Charles Sumner. 7/4/1865.

9. I fear...letter. Pritchard/Emerson. p. 134. Letter to Myra Bradwell. 12/1/1876. Perhaps, never in Turner. p. 308. Letter to Elihu Washburne. 12/15/1865. Consider...possible. Turner. p. 336. Letter to Alexander Williamson. 2/17/1866. Please Turner. p. 702 Letter to Edward Lewis Baker Jr. 8/29/1880. You must...immediately. Turner p. 96. Letter to Hannah Shearer. 8/1/1861.




Barry Bauman Conservation
Contact: Mr. Barry Bauman
1122 N. Jackson Ave., River Forest, IL. 60305
Ph.(708)771-0382  Fax.(708)771-1532