Despite the disappointment over Lincoln's lenient amnesty program [toward Confederates], his misplaced confidence in southern Unionists, and his "moderate" experiments in state reconstruction, the assassination of the President silenced his black critics and threw a stunned black community into deep mourning, as though it had lost its only white friend and protector. The President's initial doubts about the wisdom of emancipation and the enlistment of blacks were now forgotten, his equivocations on civil rights ignored, his schemes of colonization, expatriation, and reconstruction forgiven. Even the cold language and forced nature of his Emancipation Proclamation no longer seemed relevant, giving way to the legend of the Great Emancipator.1
To be sure, David Reynolds shows that Lincoln apparently came to appreciate some aspects of Brown's strategy once he found himself leading the army of the Union. In late 1861, when he was anticipating the issuance of the Emancipation Proclamation, the New York Herald reported that Lincoln had said that "Emancipation would be equivalent to a John Brown raid, on a gigantic scale."3 But this hardly proves Lincoln an advocate of black liberation and equality. As Douglass well knew, Lincoln's priorities were vested in the interests and agenda of the great white republic as he envisioned it.
In 1860, with hopes of entering the White House, Lincoln's job was to disassociate himself and his party from John Brown by any means necessary. Liberation was hardly the watchword of the party, and as the premiere spokesman for the Republicans showed, it was all about disowning John Brown.
Autograph speech notes, prepared by Lincoln and used when delivering his address at Hartford, Connecticut, 5 March 1860. 2 pages, 8vo (6 x 4½ in.), comprising some 80 words, the first four lines boldly penned in ink (minor dampstains, slightly affecting ink), the rest of the notes added (slightly later?) in pencil (one line slighty shaved in binding). The sheet of Lincoln's notes neatly inlaid to a larger, protective sheet; preceded by a manuscript titlepage reading "Notes used by Abraham Lincoln of Illinois, in a Speech at City Hall, Hartford, Conn. On the evening of March 5th 1860. Left on the Table by Him and preserved by Jesse H. Lord, Reporter of the Hartford Daily Times"; a 4 May 1923 letter from Robert Todd Lincoln to John O. H. Pitney tipped in. Bound in dark green morocco gilt, gilt borders and spine, gilt inner turn-ins, watered silk endleaves, by H. Zucker.5