Letters to the Editor2/19/09

Feb. 19, 2009


Local elections will be held on Tuesday, March 3. Please note the Observer will not run any Letters to the Editor pertaining to the elections on Feb. 26, the week prior to the election.

All Letters to the Editor written in regards to the March 3 election had a deadline of Monday, Feb. 16. No additional election-related letters will appear in the Observer.

Contents of President Lincoln’s pockets

On Oct. 28, 1937, Mrs. Charles Isham (President Abraham Lincoln’s granddaughter) handed a shoebox-sized metal box wrapped in brown paper and tied with a string to the librarian at the Library of Congress to be kept in the library safe.

In the bicentennial year of this country, it was decided to open the box. Inside were items taken from the body of President Lincoln after he died. The most interesting item was a $5 Confederate bill. Other items were a handkerchief embroidered with “A. Lincoln,” a penknife, a mate-less cufflink, a watch fob, a folding pair of eyeglasses in a small case, another pair of glasses — broken, as the temple piece was held together with a piece of string — and a newspaper clipping from 1863 with the heading “Disaffection Among Southern Soldiers.” A second piece of paper was a letter to an editor of an unidentified newspaper that included a quote from a letter to Horace Greeley from a British reformer named John Bright who supported the Union cause. It read, “It is not because they believe Mr. Lincoln to be wiser or better than all other men on your continent but they think they have observed in his career a ground of purpose and patriotism which knows no change or does not falter.”

No one knows who removed these items from the president’s pockets. The box of items were given to the president’s son, Robert Todd Lincoln, who later turned them over to his daughter, Mrs. Mary Harlan Lincoln Isham.

This information was condensed and taken from our family genealogy book.

Ginger Isham



McCullough’s ‘misguided’ bill

Jim McCullough’s proposal to give a preference to Vermont-based businesses on state contracts (“Bill gives Vt. firms first shot at state contracts,” Feb. 12) is misguided.

His bill in the Legislature, H. 164, would require that projects be awarded to in-state businesses even though the same work could be done by out-of-state firms at less cost. This would increase the cost of projects, raise taxes for Vermonters already taxed to the hilt, penalize efficient businesses, reward inefficient businesses, mangle the marketplace’s unique ability to allocate resources and create yet another barrier to prosperity in this state. Even local businesses would not benefit, as they would have less incentive to provide goods and services at a reasonable price.

At the same time, McCullough opposes measures truly helpful to Vermont businesses such as lower taxes, less costly permitting, accountability in public education and improved transportation. Fortunately, it is not likely this bill will get out of the Government Operations Committee.

Bret P. Powell