July 02, 1860

Abraham Lincoln in 1860: “Just Now, the Skies Look Bright. What Clouds May Hereafter Rise, We Know Not.”

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Appearing, as custom then demanded of presidential candidates, well above the fray, Lincoln spent the summer after his 1860 nomination in Springfield posing for portraits, writing letters, greeting visitors and managing, even, to practice a little law. He made no speeches and, with the exception of a rally at which he appeared to say he would not speak, attended no meetings. Yet he watched the campaign closely, monitoring its progress day by day. In early July, things began to look hopeful, and Lincoln was heartened, if cautious. “Just now, the skies look bright,” he wrote here to political operative Phillips, “What clouds may hereafter rise, we know not.” The sentiment would prove prophetic - for the storm of war, swift and irreversible, was gathering that summer, and  would soon rain death and destruction on an scale unprecedented, unimaginable and almost, unendurable. The skies would not look so bright, in July, for another five long years – and then Lincoln himself would be dead, a casualty of the war.

Autograph Letter Signed (“A. Lincoln”), 1 page, octavo, Springfield, July 2, 1860. To D.L. Phillips.

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Transcript

Springfield, July 2 1860

D.L. Phillips, Esq.

My dear Sir

Yours of the 27th was received yesterday. Herewith is a general letter of introduction, such, I hope, as meets your view.

Just now, the skies look bright. What clouds may hereafter rise, we know not.

Yours as ever

A. LINCOLN