Warm, Sincere Friendship
Quincy's Orville Hickman Browning was Lincoln's friend, advisor, and confidant. According to historian David Donald, Lincoln considered Browning an old friend "whom he could absolutely trust. He knew the Illinois senator would never betray a confidence." The two men seemed very dissimilar. Browning was highly educated, a meticulous dresser, and dignified in manner. Lincoln was not. Nonetheless, Lincoln and Browning had much in common. Both were born in Kentucky and moved to Illinois. Both were successful attorneys and served together in the Illinois legislature. Both were in demand as speakers but quite different in style. Lincoln was folksy while Browning was formal. Both Whigs, after 1854 each participated in the founding of the Illinois Republican Party. They shared a love of literature, and even while in the White House Lincoln read poetry to Browning as a diversion. Browning was a civic leader, one of the best-known Illinois lawyer, and a dedicated promoter of Quincy and his Quincy friends, sometimes relying upon his relationship with the President. During the Civil War, he secured federal funds for a clothing factory in Quincy, employing soldiers dependents to keep them from poverty.
Lincoln scholars are forever indebted to Browning for the diary he kept from 1850 until the time of his death
Browning was Lincoln's close presidential ally. During the months before his inauguration, Lincoln shared with few others details of the policies he would follow as President. Yet he asked Browning to critique his First Inaugural Address. Valuing Browning's advice, Lincoln wanted the Quincy lawyer to accompany him to Washington, but Browning consented to go only as far as Indianapolis. When Browning was appointed in 1861 to the U.S. Senate seat of the deceased Stephen A. Douglas, he became the President's eyes and ears in the Senate. In this role, he performed helpful service to Lincoln in the Potentially destructive Cabinet crisis of 1862. Browning was a frequent visitor to the White House and Lincoln and he openly deliberated many weighty issues. Browning was one of only a few men with whom Lincoln discussed the Emancipation Proclamation before it was announced.
Marker series. This marker is included in the Looking for Lincoln marker series.
Location. 39° 55.986′
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Lincoln's Confidante (here, next to this marker); Augustine Tolton (about 600 feet away, measured in a direct line); Lincoln's 1854 Visit (approx. 0.2 miles away); Lincoln's Honored Friend (approx. 0.2 miles away); Lincoln Correspondent (approx. ¼ mile away); Lincoln Promoter (approx. ¼ mile away); Political Campaigning in 1858 (approx. 0.3 miles away); Lincoln-Douglas Debate (approx. 0.3 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Quincy.
Also see . . . Orville Hickman Browning - Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. (Submitted on August 24, 2012, by Bill Pfingsten of Bel Air, Maryland.)
Categories. • Politics •
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on August 24, 2012, by Bill Pfingsten of Bel Air, Maryland. This page has been viewed 384 times since then and 21 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3. submitted on August 24, 2012, by Bill Pfingsten of Bel Air, Maryland.