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The Bright Papers – Henry James to Bright

The Bright Papers – Henry James to Bright

Medium: Ink on paper

Shelfmark: add_ms_43391_f249r

Scale: Millimetres

Genre: Letter

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The first page of a poignant letter to Bright, written by Henry James just over a week after President Lincoln’s assassination in which James informs Bright that the President had personally praised the British politician for his support for the Union during the war. He details a meeting he had with the President in which his correspondence with Bright was mentioned.

The President himself responded ‘I love to read the letters of Mr. Bright…I believe he is the only British statesman who has been unfaltering in his confidence in our ultimate success’. James continues to mention that Lincoln had a picture of Bright in the room they were meeting in. Historians have acknowledged the weight both Bright and Richard Cobden’s views had on the President, informing some of the decisions he made. They particularly shared views about libertarian democracy.

A testimonial by Bright, written in support of the President’s re–election, was found in one of Lincoln’s pockets on the night of his assassination. The rest of James’s letter mentions his sorrow at the ‘dreadful loss’ of the President, alongside condolences to Bright following the death of his good friend Cobden in early April 1865.

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