Lincoln’s Yarns and Stories

A Complete Collection of the Funny and

Witty Anecdotes that made Abraham Lincoln
Famous as America’s Greatest Story Teller

With Introduction and Anecdotes

By Colonel Alexander K. McClure

Profusely Illustrated


ABRAHAM LINCOLN, the Great Story Telling President, whose
Emancipation Proclamation freed more than four million slaves,
was a keen politician, profound statesman, shrewd diplomatist, a
thorough judge of men and possessed of an intuitive knowledge of
affairs. He was the first Chief Executive to die at the hands of
an assassin. Without school education he rose to power by sheer
merit and will-power. Born in a Kentucky log cabin in 1809, his
surroundings being squalid, his chances for advancement were
apparently hopeless. President Lincoln died April 15th, 1865,
having been shot by J. Wilkes Booth the night before.

Dean Swift said that the man who makes two blades of grass grow
where one grew before serves well of his kind. Considering how
much grass there is in the world and comparatively how little
fun, we think that a still more deserving person is the man who
makes many laughs grow where none grew before.

Sometimes it happens that the biggest crop of laugh is produced
by a man who ranks among the greatest and wisest. Such a man was
Abraham Lincoln whose wholesome fun mixed with true philosophy
made thousands laugh and think at the same time. He was a firm
believer in the saying, “Laugh and the world laughs with you.”

Whenever Abraham Lincoln wanted to make a strong point he usually
began by saying, “Now, that reminds me of a story.” And when he
had told a story every one saw the point and was put into a good

The ancients had Aesop and his fables. The moderns had Abraham
Lincoln and his stories.

Aesop’s Fables have been printed in book form in almost every
language and millions have read them with pleasure and profit.
Lincoln’s stories were scattered in the recollections of
thousands of people in various parts of the country. The
historians who wrote histories of Lincoln’s life remembered only
a few of them, but the most of Lincoln’s stories and the best of
them remained unwritten. More than five years ago the author of
this book conceived the idea of collecting all the yarns and
stories, the droll sayings, and witty and humorous anecdotes of
Abraham Lincoln into one large book, and this volume is the
result of that idea.

Before Lincoln was ever heard of as a lawyer or politician, he
was famous as a story teller. As a politician, he always had a
story to fit the other side; as a lawyer, he won many cases by
telling the jury a story which showed them the justice of his
side better than any argument could have done.

While nearly all of Lincoln’s stories have a humorous side, they
also contain a moral, which every good story should have.

They contain lessons that could be taught so well in no other
way. Every one of them is a sermon. Lincoln, like the Man of
Galilee, spoke to the people in parables.

Nothing that can be written about Lincoln can show his character
in such a true light as the yarns and stories he was so fond of
telling, and at which he would laugh as heartily as anyone.

For a man whose life was so full of great responsibilities,
Lincoln had many hours of laughter when the humorous, fun-loving
side of his great nature asserted itself.

Every person to keep healthy ought to have one good hearty laugh
every day. Lincoln did, and the author hopes that the stories at
which he laughed will continue to furnish laughter to all who
appreciate good humor, with a moral point and spiced with that
true philosophy bred in those who live close to nature and to the
people around them.

In producing this new Lincoln book, the publishers have followed
an entirely new and novel method of illustrating it. The old
shop-worn pictures that are to be seen in every “History of
Lincoln,” and in every other book written about him, such as “A
Flatboat on the Sangamon River,” “State Capitol at Springfield,”
“Old LogCabin,” etc., have all been left out and in place of them
the best special artists that could be employed have supplied
original drawings illustrating the “point” of Lincoln’s stories.

These illustrations are not copies of other pictures, but are
original drawings made from the author’s original text expressly
for this book.

In these high-class outline pictures the artists have caught the
true spirit of Lincoln’s humor, and while showing the laughable
side of many incidents in his career, they are true to life in
the scenes and characters they portray.

In addition to these new and original pictures, the book contains
many rare and valuable photograph portraits, together with
biographies, of the famous men of Lincoln’s day, whose lives
formed a part of his own life history.

No Lincoln book heretofore published has ever been so profusely,
so artistically and expensively illustrated.

The parables, yarns, stories, anecdotes and sayings of the
“Immortal Abe” deserve a place beside Aesop’s Fables, Bunyan’s
Pilgrim’s Progress and all other books that have added to the
happiness and wisdom of mankind.

Lincoln’s stories are like Lincoln himself. The more we know of
them the better we like them.


While Lincoln would have been great among the greatest of the
land as a statesman and politician if like Washington, Jefferson
and Jackson, he had never told a humorous story, his sense of
humor was the most fascinating feature of his personal qualities.

He was the most exquisite humorist I have ever known in my life.
His humor was always spontaneous, and that gave it a zest and
elegance that the professional humorist never attains.

As a rule, the men who have become conspicuous in the country as
humorists have excelled in nothing else. S. S. Cox, Proctor
Knott, John P. Hale and others were humorists in Congress. When
they arose to speak if they failed to be humorous they utterly
failed, and they rarely strove to be anything but humorous. Such
men often fail, for the professional humorist, however gifted,
cannot always be at his best, and when not at his best he is
grievously disappointing.

I remember Corwin, of Ohio, who was a great statesman as well as
a great humorist, but whose humor predominated in his public
speeches in Senate and House, warning a number of the younger
Senators and Representatives on a social occasion when he had
returned to Congress in his old age, against seeking to acquire
the reputation of humorists. He said it was the mistake of his
life. He loved it as did his hearers, but the temptation to be
humorous was always uppermost, and while his speech on the
Mexican War was the greatest ever delivered in the Senate,
excepting Webster’s reply to Hayne, he regretted that he was more
known as a humorist than as a statesman.

His first great achievement in the House was delivered in 1840 in
reply to General Crary, of Michigan, who had attacked General
Harrison’s military career. Corwin’s reply in defense of Harrison
is universally accepted as the most brilliant combination of
humor and invective ever delivered in that body. The venerable
John Quincy Adams a day or two after Corwin’s speech, referred to
Crary as “the late General Crary,” and the justice of the remark
from the “Old Man Eloquent” was accepted by all. Mr. Lincoln
differed from the celebrated humorists of the country in the
important fact that his humor was unstudied. He was not in any
sense a professional humorist, but I have never in all my
intercourse with public men, known one who was so apt in humorous
illustration us Mr. Lincoln, and I have known him many times to
silence controversy by a humorous story with pointed application
to the issue.

His face was the saddest in repose that I have ever seen among
accomplished and intellectual men, and his sympathies for the
people, for the untold thousands who were suffering bereavement
from the war, often made him speak with his heart upon his
sleeve, about the sorrows which shadowed the homes of the land
and for which his heart was freely bleeding.

I have many times seen him discussing in the most serious and
heartfelt manner the sorrows and bereavements of the country, and
when it would seem as though the tension was so strained that the
brittle cord of life must break, his face would suddenly brighten
like the sun escaping from behind the cloud to throw its
effulgence upon the earth, and he would tell an appropriate
story, and much as his stories were enjoyed by his hearers none
enjoyed them more than Mr. Lincoln himself.

I have often known him within the space of a few minutes to be
transformed from the saddest face I have ever looked upon to one
of the brightest and most mirthful. It was well known that he had
his great fountain of humor as a safety valve; as an escape and
entire relief from the fearful exactions his endless duties put
upon him. In the gravest consultations of the cabinet where he
was usually a listener rather than a speaker, he would often end
dispute by telling a story and none misunderstood it; and often
when he was pressed to give expression on particular subjects,
and his always abundant caution was baffled, he many times ended
the interview by a story that needed no elaboration.

I recall an interview with Mr. Lincoln at the White House in the
spring of 1865, just before Lee retreated from Petersburg. It was
well understood that the military power of the Confederacy was
broken, and that the question of reconstruction would soon be
upon us.

Colonel Forney and I had called upon the President simply to pay
our respects, and while pleasantly chatting with him General
Benjamin F. Butler entered. Forney was a great enthusiast, and
had intense hatred of the Southern leaders who had hindered his
advancement when Buchanan was elected President, and he was
bubbling over with resentment against them. He introduced the
subject to the President of the treatment to be awarded to the
leaders of the rebellion when its powers should be confessedly
broken, and he was earnest in demanding that Davis and other
conspicuous leaders of the Confederacy should be tried, condemned
and executed as traitors.

General Butler joined Colonel Forney in demanding that treason
must be made odious by the execution of those who had wantonly
plunged the country into civil war. Lincoln heard them patiently,
as he usually heard all, and none could tell, however carefully
they scanned his countenance what impression the appeal made upon

I said to General Butler that, as a lawyer pre-eminent in his
profession, he must know that the leaders of a government that
had beleaguered our capital for four years, and was openly
recognized as a belligerent power not only by our government but
by all the leading governments of the world, could not be held to
answer to the law for the crime of treason.

Butler was vehement in declaring that the rebellious leaders must
be tried and executed. Lincoln listened to the discussion for
half an hour or more and finally ended it by telling the story of
a common drunkard out in Illinois who had been induced by his
friends time and again to join the temperance society, but had
always broken away. He was finally gathered up again and given
notice that if he violated his pledge once more they would
abandon him as an utterly hopeless vagrant. He made an earnest
struggle to maintain his promise, and finally he called for
lemonade and said to the man who was preparing it: “Couldn’t you
put just a drop of the cratur in unbeknownst to me?”

After telling the story Lincoln simply added: “If these men could
get away from the country unbeknownst to us, it might save a
world of trouble.” All understood precisely what Lincoln meant,
although he had given expression in the most cautious manner
possible and the controversy was ended.

Lincoln differed from professional humorists in the fact that he
never knew when he was going to be humorous. It bubbled up on the
most unexpected occasions, and often unsettled the most carefully
studied arguments. I have many times been with him when he gave
no sign of humor, and those who saw him under such conditions
would naturally suppose that he was incapable of a humorous
expression. At other times he would effervesce with humor and
always of the most exquisite and impressive nature. His humor was
never strained; his stories never stale, and even if old, the
application he made of them gave them the freshness of

I recall sitting beside him in the White House one day when a
message was brought to him telling of the capture of several
brigadier-generals and a number of horses somewhere out in
Virginia. He read the dispatch and then in an apparently
soliloquizing mood, said: “Sorry for the horses; I can make

There are many who believe that Mr. Lincoln loved to tell obscene
or profane stories, but they do great injustice to one of the
purest and best men I have ever known. His humor must be judged
by the environment that aided in its creation.

As a prominent lawyer who traveled the circuit in Illinois, he
was much in the company of his fellow lawyers, who spent their
evenings in the rude taverns of what was then almost frontier
life. The Western people thus thrown together with but limited
sources of culture and enjoyment, logically cultivated the story
teller, and Lincoln proved to be the most accomplished in that
line of all the members of the Illinois bar. They had no private
rooms for study, and the evenings were always spent in the common
barroom of the tavern, where Western wit, often vulgar or
profane, was freely indulged in, and the best of them at times
told stories which were somewhat “broad;” but even while thus
indulging in humor that would grate harshly upon severely refined
hearers, they despised the vulgarian; none despised vulgarity
more than Lincoln.

I have heard him tell at one time or another almost or quite all
of the stories he told during his Presidential term, and there
were very few of them which might not have been repeated in a
parlor and none descended to obscene, vulgar or profane
expressions. I have never known a man of purer instincts than
Abraham Lincoln, and his appreciation of all that was beautiful
and good was of the highest order.

It was fortunate for Mr. Lincoln that he frequently sought relief
from the fearfully oppressive duties which bore so heavily upon
him. He had immediately about him a circle of men with whom he
could be “at home” in the White House any evening as he was with
his old time friends on the Illinois circuit.

David Davis was one upon whom he most relied as an adviser, and
Leonard Swett was probably one of his closest friends, while Ward
Lamon, whom he made Marshal of the District of Columbia to have
him by his side, was one with whom he felt entirely “at home.”
Davis was of a more sober order but loved Lincoln’s humor,
although utterly incapable of a humorous expression himself.
Swett was ready with Lincoln to give and take in storyland, as
was Lamon, and either of them, and sometimes all of them, often
dropped in upon Lincoln and gave him an hour’s diversion from his
exacting cares. They knew that he needed it and they sought him
for the purpose of diverting him from what they feared was an
excessive strain.

His devotion to Lamon was beautiful. I well remember at
Harrisburg on the night of February 22, 1861, when at a dinner
given by Governor Curtin to Mr. Lincoln, then on his way to
Washington, we decided, against the protest of Lincoln, that he
must change his route to Washington and make the memorable
midnight journey to the capital. It was thought to be best that
but one man should accompany him, and he was asked to choose.
There were present of his suite Colonel Sumner, afterwards one of
the heroic generals of the war, Norman B. Judd, who was chairman
of the Republican State Committee of Illinois, Colonel Lamon and
others, and he promptly chose Colonel Lamon, who alone
accompanied him on his journey from Harrisburg to Philadelphia
and thence to Washington.

Before leaving the room Governor Curtin asked Colonel Lamon
whether he was armed, and he answered by exhibiting a brace of
fine pistols, a huge bowie knife, a black jack, and a pair of
brass knuckles. Curtin answered: “You’ll do,” and they were
started on their journey after all the telegraph wires had been
cut. We awaited through what seemed almost an endless night,
until the east was purpled with the coming of another day, when
Colonel Scott, who had managed the whole scheme, reunited the
wires and soon received from Colonel Lamon this dispatch: “Plums
delivered nuts safely,” which gave us the intensely gratifying
information that Lincoln had arrived in Washington.

Of all the Presidents of the United States, and indeed of all the
great statesmen who have made their indelible impress upon the
policy of the Republic, Abraham Lincoln stands out single and
alone in his individual qualities. He had little experience in
statesmanship when he was called to the Presidency. He had only a
few years of service in the State Legislature of Illinois, and a
single term in Congress ending twelve years before he became
President, but he had to grapple with the gravest problems ever
presented to the statesmanship of the nation for solution, and he
met each and all of them in turn with the most consistent
mastery, and settled them so successfully that all have stood
unquestioned until the present time, and are certain to endure
while the Republic lives.

In this he surprised not only his own cabinet and the leaders of
his party who had little confidence in him when he first became
President, but equally surprised the country and the world.

He was patient, tireless and usually silent when great conflicts
raged about him to solve the appalling problems which were
presented at various stages of the war for determination, and
when he reached his conclusion he was inexorable. The wrangles of
faction and the jostling of ambition were compelled to bow when
Lincoln had determined upon his line of duty.

He was much more than a statesman; he was one of the most
sagacious politicians I have ever known, although he was entirely
unschooled in the machinery by which political results are
achieved. His judgment of men was next to unerring, and when
results were to be attained he knew the men who should be
assigned to the task, and he rarely made a mistake.

I remember one occasion when he summoned Colonel Forney and
myself to confer on some political problem, he opened the
conversation by saying: “You know that I never was much of a
conniver; I don’t know the methods of political management, and I
can only trust to the wisdom of leaders to accomplish what is

Lincoln’s public acts are familiar to every schoolboy of the
nation, but his personal attributes, which are so strangely
distinguished from the attributes of other great men, are now the
most interesting study of young and old throughout our land, and
I can conceive of no more acceptable presentation to the public
than a compilation of anecdotes and incidents pertaining to the
life of the greatest of all our Presidents.

<A.K. McClure>

BY DR. NEWMAN HALL, of London.

When I have had to address a fagged and listless audience, I have
found that nothing was so certain to arouse them as to introduce
the name of Abraham Lincoln.


No other name has such electric power on every true heart, from
Maine to Mexico, as the name of Lincoln. If Washington is the
most revered, Lincoln is the best loved man that ever trod this
BY JOHN HAY, Former Private Secretary to President Lincoln, and
Later Secretary of State in President McKinley’s Cabinet.

As, in spite of some rudeness, republicanism is the sole hope of
a sick world, so Lincoln, with all his foibles, is the greatest
character since Christ.
BY CHAUNCEY M. DEPEW, United States Senator from New York.

Mr. Lincoln said to me once: “They say I tell a great many
stories; I reckon I do, but I have found in the course of a long
experience that common people, take them as they run, are more
easily informed through the medium of a broad illustration than
in any other way, and as to what the hypercritical few may think,
I don’t care.”

BY GEO. S. BOUTWELL, Former Secretary of the United States

Mr. Lincoln’s wit and mirth will give him a passport to the
thoughts and hearts of millions who would take no interest in the
sterner and more practical parts of his character.
BY ELIHU B. WASHBURNE, Former United States Minister to France.

Mr. Lincoln’s anecdotes were all so droll, so original, so
appropriate and so illustrative of passing incidents, that one
never wearied.

Mr. Lincoln’s flow of humor was a sparkling spring, gushing out
of a rock–the flashing water had a somber background which made
it all the brighter.
BY HUGH McCULLOCH, Former Secretary of the United States

Many of Mr. Lincoln’s stories were as apt and instructive as the
best of Aesop’s Fables.
BY GENERAL JAMES B. FRY, Former Adjutant-General United States

Mr. Lincoln was a humorist so full of fun that he could not keep
it all in.
BY LAWRENCE WELDON, Judge United States Court of Claims.

Mr. Lincoln’s resources as a story-teller were inexhaustible, and
no condition could arise in a case beyond his capacity to furnish
an illustration with an appropriate anecdote.
BY BEN. PERLEY POORE, Former Editor of The Congressional Record.

Mr. Lincoln was recognized as the champion story-teller of the


1806–Marriage of Thomas Lincoln and Nancy Hanks, June 12th,
Washington County, Kentucky.
1809–Born February 12th, Hardin (now La Rue County), Kentucky.
1816–Family Removed to Perry County, Indiana.
1818–Death of Abraham’s Mother, Nancy Hanks Lincoln.
1819–Second Marriage Thomas Lincoln; Married Sally Bush
Johnston, December 2nd, at Elizabethtown, Kentucky.
1830–Lincoln Family Removed to Illinois, Locating in Macon
1831–Abraham Located at New Salem.
1832–Abraham a Captain in the Black Hawk War.
1833–Appointed Postmaster at New Salem.
1834–Abraham as a Surveyor. First Election to the Legislature.
1835–Love Romance with Anne Rutledge.
1836–Second Election to the Legislature.
1837–Licensed to Practice Law.
1838–Third Election to the Legislature.
1840–Presidential Elector on Harrison Ticket.
Fourth Election to the Legislature.
1842–Married November 4th, to Mary Todd. “Duel” with General
1843–Birth of Robert Todd Lincoln, August 1st.
1846–Elected to Congress. Birth of Edward Baker Lincoln, March
1848–Delegate to the Philadelphia National Convention.
1850–Birth of William Wallace Lincoln, December 2nd.
1853–Birth of Thomas Lincoln, April 4th.
1856–Assists in Formation Republican Party.
1858–Joint Debater with Stephen A. Douglas. Defeated for the
United States Senate.
1860–Nominated and Elected to the Presidency.
1861–Inaugurated as Prtsident, March 4th. 1863-Issued
Emancipation Proclamation. 1864-Re-elected to the Presidency.
1865–Assassinated by J. Wilkes Booth, April 14th. Died April
15th. Remains Interred at Springfield, Illinois, May 4th.

(From Harper’s Weekly, April 13, 1901.)

Colonel Alexander K. McClure, the editorial director of the
Philadelphia Times, which he founded in 1875, began his forceful
career as a tanner’s apprentice in the mountains of Pennsylvania
threescore years ago. He tanned hides all day, and read exchanges
nights in the neighboring weekly newspaper office. The learned
tanner’s boy also became the aptest Inner in the county, and the
editor testified his admiration for young McClure’s attainments
by sending him to edit a new weekly paper which the exigencies of
politics called into being in an adjoining county.

The lad was over six feet high, had the thews of Ajax and the
voice of Boanerges, and knew enough about shoe-leather not to be
afraid of any man that stood in it. He made his paper a success,
went into politics, and made that a success, studied law with
William McLellan, and made that a success, and actually went into
the army–and made that a success, by an interesting accident
which brought him into close personal relations with Abraham
Lincoln, whom he had helped to nominate, serving as chairman of
the Republican State Committee of Pennsylvania through the

In 1862 the government needed troops badly, and in each
Pennsylvania county Republicans and Democrats were appointed to
assist in the enrollment, under the State laws. McClure, working
day and night at Harrisburg, saw conscripts coming in at the rate
of a thousand a day, only to fret in idleness against the army
red-tape which held them there instead of sending a regiment a
day to the front, as McClure demanded should be done. The
military officer continued to dispatch two companies a
day–leaving the mass of the conscripts to be fed by the

McClure went to Washington and said to the President, “You must
send a mustering offcer to Harrisburg who will do as I say; I
can’t stay there any longer under existing conditions.”

Lincoln sent into another room for Adjutant-General Thomas.
“General,” said he, “what is the highest rank of military officer
at Harrisburg?” “Captain, sir,” said Thomas. “Bring me a
commission for an Assistant Adjutant-General of the United States
Army,” said Lincoln.

So Adjutant-General McClure was mustered in, and after that a
regiment a day of boys in blue left Harrisburg for the front.
Colonel McClure is one of the group of great Celt-American
editors, which included Medill, McCullagh and McLean.


Lincoln was, naturally enough, much surprised one day, when a man
of rather forbidding countenance drew a revolver and thrust the
weapon almost into his face. In such circumstances “Abe” at once
concluded that any attempt at debate or argument was a waste of
time and words.

“What seems to be the matter?” inquired Lincoln with all the
calmness and selfpossession he could muster.

“Well,” replied the stranger, who did not appear at all excited,
“some years ago I swore an oath that if I ever came across an
uglier man than myself I’d shoot him on the spot.”

A feeling of relief evidently took possession of Lincoln at this
rejoinder, as the expression upon his countenance lost all
suggestion of anxiety.

“Shoot me,” he said to the stranger; “for if I am an uglier man
than you I don’t want to live.”

Thurlow Weed, the veteran journalist and politician, once related
how, when he was opposing the claims of Montgomery Blair, who
aspired to a Cabinet appointment, that Mr. Lincoln inquired of
Mr. Weed whom he would recommend, “Henry Winter Davis,” was the

“David Davis, I see, has been posting you up on this question,”
retorted Lincoln. “He has Davis on the brain. I think Maryland
must be a good State to move from.”

The President then told a story of a witness in court in a
neighboring county, who, on being asked his age, replied,
“Sixty.” Being satisfied he was much older the question was
repeated, and on receiving the same answer the court admonished
the witness, saying, “The court knows you to be much older than

“Oh, I understand now,” was the rejoinder, “you’re thinking of
those ten years I spent on the eastern share of Maryland; that
was so much time lost, and didn’t count.”

Blair was made Postmaster-General.

Lincoln always took great pleasure in relating this yarn:

Riding at one time in a stage with an old Kentuckian who was
returning from Missouri, Lincoln excited the old gentleman’s
surprise by refusing to accept either of tobacco or French

When they separated that afternoon–the Kentuckian to take
another stage bound for Louisville–he shook hands warmly with
Lincoln, and said, good-humoredly:

“See here, stranger, you’re a clever but strange companion. I may
never see you again, and I don’t want to offend you, but I want
to say this: My experience has taught me that a man who has no
vices has d–d few virtues. Good-day.”

Miss Todd (afterwards Mrs. Lincoln) had a keen sense of the
ridiculous, and wrote several articles in the Springfield (Ill.)
“Journal” reflecting severefy upon General James Shields (who won
fame in the Mexican and Civil Wars, and was United States Senator
from three states), then Auditor of State.

Lincoln assumed the authorship, and was challenged by Shields to
meet him on the “field of honor.” Meanwhile Miss Todd increased
Shields’ ire by writing another letter to the paper, in which she
said: “I hear the way of these fire-eaters is to give the
challenged party the choice of weapons, which being the case,
I’ll tell you in confidence that I never fight with anything but
broom-sticks, or hot water, or a shovelful of coals, the former
of which, being somewhat like a shillalah, may not be
objectionable to him.”

Lincoln accepted the challenge, and selected broadswords as the
weapons. Judge Herndon (Lincoln’s law partner) gives the closing
of this affair as follows

“The laws of Illinois prohibited dueling, and Lincoln demanded
that the meeting should be outside the state. Shields undoubtedly
knew that Lincoln was opposed to fighting a duel–that his moral
sense would revolt at the thought, and that he would not be
likely to break the law by fighting in the state. Possibly he
thought Lincoln would make a humble apology. Shields was brave,
but foolish, and would not listen to overtures for explanation.
It was arranged that the meeting should be in Missouri, opposite
Alton. “They proceeded to the place selected, but friends
interfered, and there was no duel. There is little doubt that the
man who had swung a beetle and driven iron wedges into gnarled
hickory logs could have cleft the skull of his antagonist, but he
had no such intention. He repeatedly said to the friends of
Shields that in writing the first article he had no thought of
anything personal. The Auditor’s vanity had been sorely wounded
by the second letter, in regard to which Lincoln could not make
any explanation except that he had had no hand in writing it. The
affair set all Springfield to laughing at Shields.”

Lincoln never told a better story than this:

A country meeting-house, that was used once a month, was quite a
distance from any other house.

The preacher, an old-line Baptist, was dressed in coarse linen
pantaloons, and shirt of the same material. The pants,
manufactured after the old fashion, with baggy legs, and a flap
in the front, were made to attach to his frame without the aid of

A single button held his shirt in position, and that was at the
collar. He rose up in the pulpit, and with a loud voice announced
his text thus: “I am the Christ whom I shall represent to-day.”

About this time a little blue lizard ran up his roomy pantaloons.
The old preacher, not wishing to interrupt the steady flow of his
sermon, slapped away on his leg, expecting to arrest the
intruder, but his efforts were unavailing, and the little fellow
kept on ascending higher and higher.

Continuing the sermon, the preacher loosened the central button
which graced the waistband of his pantaloons, and with a kick off
came that easyfitting garment.

But, meanwhile, Mr. Lizard had passed the equatorial line of the
waistband, and was calmly exploring that part of the preacher’s
anatomy which lay underneath the back of his shirt.

Things were now growing interesting, but the sermon was still
grinding on. The next movement on the preacher’s part was for the
collar button, and with one sweep of his arm off came the tow
linen shirt.

The congregation sat for an instant as if dazed; at length one
old lady in the rear part of the room rose up, and, glancing at
the excited object in the pulpit, shouted at the top of her
voice: “If you represent Christ, then I’m done with the Bible.”

Once, when Lincoln was pleading a case, the opposing lawyer had
all the advantage of the law; the weather was warm, and his
opponent, as was admissible in frontier courts, pulled off his
coat and vest as he grew warm in the argument.

At that time, shirts with buttons behind were unusual. Lincoln
took in the situation at once. Knowing the prejudices of the
primitive people against pretension of all sorts, or any
affectation of superior social rank, arising, he said: “Gentlemen
of the jury, having justice on my side, I don’t think you will be
at all influenced by the gentleman’s pretended knowledge of the
law, when you see he does not even know which side of his shirt
should be in front.” There was a general laugh, and Lincoln’s
case was won.

President Lincoln once told the following story of Colonel W.,
who had been elected to the Legislature, and had also been judge
of the County Court. His elevation, however, had made him
somewhat pompous, and he became very fond of using big words. On
his farm he had a very large and mischievous ox, called “Big
Brindle,” which very frequently broke down his neighbors’ fences,
and committed other depredations, much to the Colonel’s

One morning after breakfast, in the presence of Lincoln, who had
stayed with him over night, and who was on his way to town, he
called his overseer and said to him:

“Mr. Allen, I desire you to impound ‘Big Brindle,’ in order that
I may hear no animadversions on his eternal depredations,”

Allen bowed and walked off, sorely puzzled to know what the
Colonel wanted him to do. After Colonel W. left for town, he went
to his wife and asked her what the Colonel meant by telling him
to impound the ox.

“Why, he meant to tell you to put him in a pen,” said she.

Allen left to perform the feat, for it was no inconsiderable one,
as the animal was wild and vicious, but, after a great deal of
trouble and vexation, succeeded.

“Well,” said he, wiping the perspiration from his brow and
soliloquizing, “this is impounding, is it? Now, I am dead sure
that the Colonel will ask me if I impounded ‘Big Brindle,’ and
I’ll bet I puzzle him as he did me.”

The next day the Colonel gave a dinner party, and as he was not
aristrocratic, Allen, the overseer, sat down with the company.
After the second or third glass was discussed, the Colonel turned
to the overseer and said

“Eh, Mr. Allen, did you impound ‘Big Brindle,’ sir?”

Allen straightened himself, and looking around at the company,

“Yes, I did, sir; but ‘Old Brindle’ transcended the impannel of
the impound, and scatterlophisticated all over the equanimity of
the forest.”

The company burst into an immoderate fit of laughter, while the
Colonel’s face reddened with discomfiture.

“What do you mean by that, sir?” demanded the Colonel.

“Why, I mean, Colonel,” replied Allen, “that ‘Old Brindle,’ being
prognosticated with an idea of the cholera, ripped and teared,
snorted and pawed dirt, jumped the fence, tuck to the woods, and
would not be impounded nohow.”

This was too much; the company roared again, the Colonel being
forced to join in the laughter, and in the midst of the jollity
Allen left the table, saying to himself as he went, “I reckon the
Colonel won’t ask me to impound any more oxen.”

Some of Mr. Lincoln’s intimate friends once called his attention
to a certain member of his Cabinet who was quietly working to
secure a nomination for the Presidency, although knowing that Mr.
Lincoln was to be a candidate for re-election. His friends
insisted that the Cabinet officer ought to be made to give up his
Presidential aspirations or be removed from office. The situation
reminded Mr. Lincoln of a story:

“My brother and I,” he said, “were once plowing corn, I driving
the horse and he holding the plow. The horse was lazy, but on one
occasion he rushed across the field so that I, with my long legs,
could scarcely keep pace with him. On reaching the end of the
furrow, I found an enormous chin-fly fastened upon him, and
knocked him off. My brother asked me what I did that for. I told
him I didn’t want the old horse bitten in that way. ‘Why,’ said
my brother, ‘that’s all that made him go.’ Now,” said Mr.
Lincoln, “if Mr.– has a Presidential chin-fly biting him, I’m
not going to knock him off, if it will only make his department

Mr. T. W. S. Kidd, of Springfield, says that he once heard a
lawyer opposed to Lincoln trying to convince a jury that
precedent was superior to law, and that custom made things legal
in all cases. When Lincoln arose to answer him he told the jury
he would argue his case in the same way.

“Old ‘Squire Bagly, from Menard, came into my office and said,
‘Lincoln, I want your advice as a lawyer. Has a man what’s been
elected justice of the peace a right to issue a marriage
I told him he had not; when the old ‘squire threw himself back in
his chair very indignantly, and said, ‘Lincoln, I thought you was
a lawyer. Now Bob Thomas and me had a bet on this thing, and we
agreed to let you decide; but if this is your opinion I don’t
want it, for I know a thunderin’ sight better, for I have been
‘squire now for eight years and have done it all the time.'”

When the President, early in the War, was anxious about the
defenses of Washington, he told a story illustrating his feelings
in the case. General Scott, then Commander-in-Chief of the United
States Army, had but 1,500 men, two guns and an old sloop of war,
the latter anchored in the Potomac, with which to protect the
National Capital, and the President was uneasy.

To one of his queries as to the safety of Washington, General
Scott had replied, “It has been ordained, Mr. President, that the
city shall not be captured by the Confederates.”

“But we ought to have more men and guns here,” was the Chief
Executive’s answer. “The Confederates are not such fools as to
let a good chance to capture Washington go by, and even if it has
been ordained that the city is safe, I’d feel easier if it were
better protected. All this reminds me of the old trapper out in
the West who had been assured by some ‘city folks’ who had hired
him as a guide that all matters regarding life and death were

“‘It is ordained,’ said one of the party to the old trapper,
‘that you are to die at a certain time, and no one can kill you
before that time. If you met a thousand Indians, and your death
had not been ordained for that day, you would certainly escape.’

“‘I don’t exactly understand this “ordained” business,’ was the
trapper’s reply. ‘I don’t care to run no risks. I always have my
gun with me, so that if I come across some reds I can feel sure
that I won’t cross the Jordan ‘thout taking some of ’em with me.
Now, for instance, if I met an Indian in the woods; he drew a
bead on me–sayin’, too, that he wasn’t more’n ten feet away–an’
I didn’t have nothing to protect myself; say it was as bad as
that, the redskin bein’ dead ready to kill me; now, even if it
had been ordained that the Indian (sayin’ he was a good shot),
was to die that very minute, an’ I wasn’t, what would I do ‘thout
my gun?’

“There you are,” the President remarked; “even if it has been
ordained that the city of Washington will never be taken by the
Southerners, what would we do in case they made an attack upon
the place, without men and heavy guns?”

Judge T. Lyle Dickey of Illinois related that when the excitement
over the Kansas Nebraska bill first broke out, he was with
and several friends attending court. One evening several persons,
including himself and Lincoln, were discussing the slavery
question. Judge Dickey contended that slavery was an institution
which the Constitution recognized, and which could not be
disturbed. Lincoln argued that ultimately slavery must become
extinct. “After awhile,” said Judge Dickey, “we went upstairs to
bed. There were two beds in our room, and I remember that Lincoln
sat up in his night shirt on the edge of the bed arguing the
point with me. At last we went to sleep. Early in the morning I
woke up and there was Lincoln half sitting up in bed. ‘Dickey,’
said he, ‘I tell you this nation cannot exist half slave and half
free.’ ‘Oh, Lincoln,’ said I, ‘go to sleep.”‘

President Lincoln, while eager that the United States troops
should be supplied with the most modern and serviceable weapons,
often took occasion to put his foot down upon the mania for
experimenting with which some of his generals were afflicted.
While engaged in these experiments much valuable time was wasted,
the enemy was left to do as he thought best, no battles were
fought, and opportunities for winning victories allowed to pass.

The President was an exceedingly practical man, and when an
invention, idea or discovery was submitted to him, his first step
was to ascertain how any or all of them could be applied in a way
to be of benefit to the army. As to experimenting with
“contrivances” which, to his mind, could never be put to
practical use, he had little patience.

“Some of these generals,” said he, “experiment so long and so
much with newfangled, fancy notions that when they are finally
brought to a head they are useless. Either the time to use them
has gone by, or the machine, when put in operation, kills more
than it cures.

“One of these generals, who has a scheme for ‘condensing’
rations, is willing to swear his life away that his idea, when
carried to perfection, will reduce the cost of feeding the Union
troops to almost nothing, while the soldiers themselves will get
so fat that they’ll ‘bust out’ of their uniforms. Of course,
uniforms cost nothing, and real fat men are more active and
vigorous than lean, skinny ones, but that is getting away from my

“There was once an Irishman–a cabman–who had a notion that he
could induce his horse to live entirely on shavings. The latter
he could get for nothing, while corn and oats were pretty
high-priced. So he daily lessened the amount of food to the
horse, substituting shavings for the corn and oats abstracted, so
that the horse wouldn’t know his rations were being cut down.

“However, just as he had achieved success in his experiment, and
the horse had been taught to live without other food than
shavings, the ungrateful animal ‘up and died,’ and he had to buy

“So far as this general referred to is concerned, I’m afraid the
soldiers will all be dead at the time when his experiment is
demonstrated as thoroughly successful.”

Speed, who was a prosperous young merchant of Springfield,
reports that Lincoln’s personal effects consisted of a pair of
saddle-bags, containing two or three lawbooks, and a few pieces
of clothing. Riding on a borrowed horse, he thus made his
appearance in Springfield. When he discovered that a single
bedstead would cost seventeen dollars he said, “It is probably
cheap enough, but I have not enough money to pay for it.” When
Speed offered to trust him, he said: “If I fail here as a lawyer,
I will probably never pay you at all.” Then Speed offered to
share large double bed with him.

“Where is your room?” Lincoln asked.

“Upstairs,” said Speed, pointing from the store leading to his

Without saying a word, he took his saddle-bags on his arm, went
upstairs, set them down on the floor, came down again, and with a
face beaming with pleasure and smiles, exclaimed: “Well, Speed,
I’m moved.”

“By the way,” remarked President Lincoln one day to Colonel
Cannon, a close personal friend, “I can tell you a good story
about my hair. When I was nominated at Chicago, an enterprising
fellow thought that a great many people would like to see how
‘Abe’ Lincoln looked, and, as I had not long before sat for a
photograph, the fellow, having seen it, rushed over and bought
the negative.

“He at once got no end of wood-cuts, and so active was their
circulation they were soon selling in all parts of the country.

“Soon after they reached Springfield, I heard a boy crying them
for sale on the streets. ‘Here’s your likeness of “Abe” Lincoln!’
he shouted. ‘Buy one; price only two shillings! Will look a great
deal better when he gets his hair combed!”‘

Secretary of State Seward was bothered considerably regarding the
complication into which Spain had involved the United States
government in connection with San Domingo, and related his
troubles to the President. Negotiations were not proceeding
satisfactorily, and things were mixed generally. We wished to
conciliate Spain, while the negroes had appealed against Spanish

The President did not, to all appearances, look at the matter
seriously, but, instead of treating the situation as a grave one,
remarked that Seward’s dilemma reminded him of an interview
between two negroes in Tennessee.

One was a preacher, who, with the crude and strange notions of
his ignorant race, was endeavoring to admonish and enlighten his
brother African of the importance of religion and the danger of
the future.

“Dar are,” said Josh, the preacher, “two roads befo’ you, Joe; be
ca’ful which ob dese you take. Narrow am de way dat leads
straight to destruction; but broad am de way dat leads right to

Joe opened his eyes with affright, and under the spell of the
awful danger before him, exclaimed, “Josh, take which road you
please; I shall go troo de woods.”

“I am not willing,” concluded the President, “to assume any new
troubles or responsibilities at this time, and shall therefore
avoid going to the one place with Spain, or with the negro to the
other, but shall ‘take to the woods.’ We will maintain an honest
and strict neutrality.”

“My first strong impression of Mr. Lincoln,” says a lady of
Springfield, “was made by one of his kind deeds. I was going with
a little friend for my first trip alone on the railroad cars. It
was an epoch of my life. I had planned for it and dreamed of it
for weeks. The day I was to go came, but as the hour of the train
approached, the hackman, through some neglect, failed to call for
my trunk. As the minutes went on, I realized, in a panic of
grief, that I should miss the train. I was standing by the gate,
my hat and gloves on, sobbing as if my heart would break, when
Mr. Lincoln came by.

“‘Why, what’s the matter?’ he asked, and I poured out all my

“‘How big’s the trunk? There’s still time, if it isn’t too big.’
And he pushed through the gate and up to the door. My mother and
I took him up to my room, where my little old-fashioned trunk
stood, locked and tied. ‘Oh, ho,’ he cried, ‘wipe your eyes and
come on quick.’ And before I knew what he was going to do, he had
shouldered the trunk, was down stairs, and striding out of the
yard. Down the street he went fast as his long legs could carry
him, I trotting behind, drying my tears as I went. We reached the
station in time. Mr. Lincoln put me on the train, kissed me
good-bye, and told me to have a good time. It was just like him.”

Lincoln never failed to take part in all political campaigns in
Illinois, as his reputation as a speaker caused his services to
be in great demand. As was natural, he was often the target at
which many of the “Smart Alecks” of that period shot their feeble
bolts, but Lincoln was so ready with his answers that few of them
cared to engage him a second time.

In one campaign Lincoln was frequently annoyed by a young man who
entertained the idea that he was a born orator. He had a loud
voice, was full of language, and so conceited that he could not
understand why the people did not recognize and appreciate his

This callow politician delighted in interrupting public speakers,
and at last Lincoln determined to squelch him. One night while
addressing a large meeting at Springfield, the fellow became so
offensive that “Abe” dropped the threads of his speech and turned
his attention to the tormentor.

“I don’t object,” said Lincoln, “to being interrupted with
sensible questions, but I must say that my boisterous friend does
not always make inquiries which properly come under that head. He
says he is afflicted with headaches, at which I don’t wonder, as
it is a well-known fact that nature abhors a vacuum, and takes
her own way of demonstrating it.

“This noisy friend reminds me of a certain steamboat that used to
run on the Illinois river. It was an energetic boat, was always
busy. When they built it, however, they made one serious mistake,
this error being in the relative sizes of the boiler and the
whistle. The latter was usually busy, too, and people were aware
that it was in existence.

“This particular boiler to which I have reference was a six-foot
one, and did all that was required of it in the way of pushing
the boat along; but as the builders of the vessel had made the
whistle a six-foot one, the consequence was that every time the
whistle blew the boat had to stop.”

President Lincoln one day remarked to a number of personal
friends who had called upon him at the White House:

“General McClellan’s tardiness and unwillingness to fight the
enemy or follow up advantages gained, reminds me of a man back in
Ilinois who knew a few law phrases but whose lawyer lacked
aggressiveness. The man finally lost all patience and springing
to his feet vociferated, ‘Why don’t you go at him with a fi. fa.,
a demurrer, a capias, a surrebutter, or a ne exeat, or something;
or a nundam pactum or a non est?’

“I wish McClellan would go at the enemy with something–I don’t
care what. General McClellan is a pleasant and scholarly
gentleman. He is an admirable engineer, but he seems to have a
special talent for a stationary engine.”

One of the last, if not the very last story told by President
Lincoln, was to one of his Cabinet who came to see him, to ask if
it would be proper to permit “Jake” Thompson to slip through
Maine in disguise and embark for Portland.

The President, as usual, was disposed to be merciful, and to
permit the arch-rebel to pass unmolested, but Secretary Stanton
urged that he should be arrested as a traitor.

“By permitting him to escape the penalties of treason,” persisted
the War Secretary, “you sanction it.”

“Well,” replied Mr. Lincoln, “let me tell you a story. There was
an Irish soldier here last summer, who wanted something to drink
stronger than water, and stopped at a drug-shop, where he espied
a soda-fountain. ‘Mr. Doctor,’ said he, ‘give me, plase, a glass
of soda-wather, an’ if yez can put in a few drops of whiskey
unbeknown to any one, I’ll be obleeged.’ Now, continued Mr.
Lincoln, “if ‘Jake’ Thompson is permitted to go through Maine
unbeknown to any one, what’s the harm? So don’t have him


The President was bothered to death by those persons who
boisterously demanded that the War be pushed vigorously; also,
those who shouted their advice and opinions into his weary ears,
but who never suggested anything practical. These fellows were
not in the army, nor did they ever take any interest, in a
personal way, in military matters, except when engaged in dodging

“That reminds me,” remarked Mr. Lincoln one day, “of a farmer who
lost his way on the Western frontier. Night came on, and the
embarrassments of his position were increased by a furious
tempest which suddenly burst upon him. To add to his discomfort,
his horse had given out, leaving him exposed to all the dangers
of the pitiless storm.

“The peals of thunder were terrific, the frequent flashes of
lightning affording the only guide on the road as he resolutely
trudged onward, leading his jaded steed. The earth seemed fairly
to tremble beneath him in the war of elements. One bolt threw him
suddenly upon his knees.

“Our traveler was not a prayerful man, but finding himself
involuntarily brought to an attitude of devotion, he addressed
himself to the Throne of Grace in the following prayer for his

“‘O God! hear my prayer this time, for Thou knowest it is not
often that I call upon Thee. And, O Lord! if it is all the same
to Thee, give us a little more light and a little less noise.’

“I wish,” the President said, sadly, “there was a stronger
disposition manifested on the part of our civilian warriors to
unite in suppressing the rebellion, and a little less noise as to
how and by whom the chief executive office shall be

Lincoln made the best of everything, and if he couldn’t get what
he wanted he took what he could get. In matters of policy, while
President he acted according to this rule. He would take perilous
chances, even when the result was, to the minds of his friends,
not worth the risk he had run.

One day at a meeting of the Cabinet, it being at the time when it
seemed as though war with England and France could not be
avoided, Secretary of State Seward and Secretary of War Stanton
warmly advocated that the United States maintain an attitude, the
result of which would have been a declaration of hostilities by
the European Powers mentioned.

“Why take any more chances than are absolutely necessary?” asked
the President.

“We must maintain our honor at any cost,” insisted Secretary

“We would be branded as cowards before the entire world,”
Secretary Stanton said.

“But why run the greater risk when we can take a smaller one?”
queried the President calmly. “The less risk we run the better
for us. That reminds me of a story I heard a day or two ago, the
hero of which was on the firing line during a recent battle,
where the bullets were flying thick.

“Finally his courage gave way entirely, and throwing down his
he ran for dear life.

“As he was flying along at top speed he came across an officer
who drew his revolver and shouted, ‘Go back to your regiment at
once or I will shoot you !’

“‘Shoot and be hanged,’ the racer exclaimed. ‘What’s one bullet
to a whole hatful?'”

Among the reminiscences of Lincoln left by Editor Henry J.
Raymond, is the following:

Among the stories told by Lincoln, which is freshest in my mind,
one which he related to me shortly after its occurrence, belongs
to the history of the famous interview on board the River Queen,
at Hampton Roads, between himself and Secretary Seward and the
rebel Peace Commissioners. It was reported at the time that the
President told a “little story” on that occasion, and the inquiry
went around among the newspapers, “What was it?”

The New York Herald published what purported to be a version of
it, but the “point” was entirely lost, and it attracted no
attention. Being in Washington a few days subsequent to the
interview with the Commissioners (my previous sojourn there
having terminated about the first of last August), I asked Mr.
Lincoln one day if it was true that he told Stephens, Hunter and
Campbell a story.

“Why, yes,” he replied, manifesting some surprise, “but has it
leaked out? I was in hopes nothing would be said about it, lest
some over-sensitive people should imagine there was a degree of
levity in the intercourse between us.” He then went on to relate
the circumstances which called it out.

“You see,” said he, “we had reached and were discussing the
slavery question. Mr. Hunter said, substantially, that the
slaves, always accustomed to an overseer, and to work upon
compulsion, suddenly freed, as they would be if the South should
consent to peace on the basis of the ‘Emancipation Proclamation,’
would precipitate not only themselves, but the entire Southern
society, into irremediable ruin. No work would be done, nothing
would be cultivated, and both blacks and whites would starve!”

Said the President: “I waited for Seward to answer that argument,
but as he was silent, I at length said: ‘Mr. Hunter, you ought to
know a great deal better about this argument than I, for you have
always lived under the slave system. I can only say, in reply to
your statement of the case, that it reminds me of a man out in
Illinois, by the name of Case, who undertook, a few years ago, to
raise a very large herd of hogs. It was a great trouble to feed
them, and how to get around this was a puzzle to him. At length
he hit on the plan of planting an immense field of potatoes, and,
when they were sufficiently grown, he turned the whole herd into
the field, and let them have full swing, thus saving not only the
labor of feeding the hogs, but also that of digging the potatoes.
Charmed with his sagacity, he stood one day leaning against the
fence, counting his hogs, when a neighbor came along.

“‘Well, well,’ said he, ‘Mr. Case, this is all very fine. Your
hogs are doing very well just now, but you know out here in
Illinois the frost comes early, and the ground freezes for a foot
deep. Then what you going to do?’

“This was a view of the matter which Mr. Case had not taken into
account. Butchering time for hogs was ‘way on in December or
January! He scratched his head, and at length stammered: ‘Well,
it may come pretty hard on their snouts, but I don’t see but that
it will be “root, hog, or die.”‘”

When Lincoln was a young lawyer in Illinois, he and a certain
Judge once got to bantering one another about trading horses; and
it was agreed that the next morning at nine o’clock they should
make a trade, the horses to be unseen up to that hour, and no
backing out, under a forfeiture of $25. At the hour appointed,
the Judge came up, leading the sorriest-looking specimen of a
horse ever seen in those parts. In a few minutes Mr. Lincoln was
seen approaching with a wooden saw-horse upon his shoulders.

Great were the shouts and laughter of the crowd, and both were
greatly increased when Lincoln, on surveying the Judge’s animal,
set down his saw-horse, and exclaimed:

“Well, Judge, this is the first time I ever got the worst of it
in a horse trade.”

The President had made arrangements to visit New York, and was
told that President Garrett, of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad,
would be glad to furnish a special train.

“I don’t doubt it a bit,” remarked the President, “for I know Mr.
Garrett, and like him very well, and if I believed–which I
don’t, by any means–all the things some people say about his
‘secesh’ principles, he might say to you as was said by the
Superintendent of a certain railroad to a son of one my
predecessors in office. Some two years after the death of
President Harrison, the son of his successor in this office
wanted to take his father on an excursion somewhere or other, and
went to the Superintendent’s office to order a special train.

“This Superintendent was a Whig of the most uncompromising sort,
who hated a Democrat more than all other things on the earth, and
promptly refused the young man’s request, his language being to
the effect that this particular railroad was not running special
trains for the accommodation of Presidents of the United States
just at that season.

“The son of the President was much surprised and exceedingly
annoyed. ‘Why,’ he said, ‘you have run special Presidential
trains, and I know it. Didn’t you furnish a special train for the
funeral of President Harrison?’

“‘Certainly we did,’ calmly replied the Superintendent, with no
relaxation of his features, ‘and if you will only bring your
father here in the same shape as General Harrison was, you shall
have the best train on the road.”‘

When the laughter had subsided, the President said: “I shall take
pleasure in accepting Mr. Garrett’s offer, as I have no doubts
whatever as to his loyalty to the United States government or his
respect for the occupant of the Presidential office.”

A. B. Chandler, chief of the telegraph office at the War
Department, occupied three rooms, one of which was called “the
President’s room,” so much of his time did Mr. Lincoln spend
there. Here he would read over the telegrams received for the
several heads of departments. Three copies of all messages
received were made–one for the President, one for the War
Department records and one for Secretary Stanton.

Mr. Chandler told a story as to the manner in which the President
read the despatches:

“President Lincoln’s copies were kept in what we called the
‘President’s drawer’ of the ‘cipher desk.’ He would come in at
any time of the night or day, and go at once to this drawer, and
take out a file of telegrams, and begin at the top to read them.
His position in running over these telegrams was sometimes very

“He had a habit of sitting frequently on the edge of his chair,
with his right knee dragged down to the floor. I remember a
curious expression of his when he got to the bottom of the new
telegrams and began on those that he had read before. It was,
‘Well, I guess I have got down to the raisins.’

“The first two or three times he said this he made no
explanation, and I did not ask one. But one day, after he had
made the remark, he looked up under his eyebrows at me with a
funny twinkle in his eyes, and said: ‘I used to know a little
girl out West who sometimes was inclined to eat too much. One day
she ate a good many more raisins than she ought to, and followed
them up with a quantity of other goodies. They made her very
sick. After a time the raisins began to come.

“She gasped and looked at her mother and said: ‘Well, I will be
better now I guess, for I have got down to the raisins.'”

“‘Honest Abe’ Taking Them on the Half-Shell” was one of the
cartoons published in 1860 by one of the illustrated periodicals.
As may be seen, it represents Lincoln in a “Political Oyster
House,” preparing to swallow two of his Democratic opponents for
the Presidency–Douglas and Breckinridge. He performed the feat
at the November election. The Democratic party was hopelessly
split in 1860 The Northern wing nominated Stephen A. Douglas, of
Illinois, as their candidate, the Southern wing naming John C.
Breckinridge, of Kentucky; the Constitutional Unionists (the old
American of Know-Nothing party) placed John Bell, of Tennessee,
in the field, and against these was put Abraham Lincoln, who
received the support of the Abolitionists.

Lincoln made short work of his antagonists when the election came
around. He received a large majority in the Electoral College,
while nearly every Northern State voted majorities for him at the
polls. Douglas had but twelve votes in the Electoral College,
while Bell had thirty-nine. The votes of the Southern States,
then preparing to secede, were, for the most part, thrown for
Breckinridge. The popular vote was: Lincoln, 1,857,610; Douglas,
1,365,976; Breckinridge, 847,953; Bell, 590,631; total vote,
4,662,170. In the Electoral College Lincoln received 180;
Douglas, 12; Breckinridge, 72; Bell, 39; Lincoln’s majority over
all, 57.

Judge H. W. Beckwith of Danville, Ill., said that soon after the
Ottawa debate between Lincoln and Douglas he passed the Chenery
House, then the principal hotel in Springfield. The lobby was
crowded with partisan leaders from various sections of the state,
and Mr. Lincoln, from his greater height, was seen above the
surging mass that clung about him like a swarm of bees to their
ruler. The day was warm, and at the first chance he broke away
and came out for a little fresh air, wiping the sweat from his

“As he passed the door he saw me,” said Judge Beckwith, “and,
taking my hand, inquired for the health and views of his ‘friends
over in Vermillion county.’ He was assured they were wide awake,
and further told that they looked forward to the debate between
him and Senator Douglas with deep concern. From the shadow that
went quickly over his face, the pained look that came to give way
quickly to a blaze of eyes and quiver of lips, I felt that Mr.
Lincoln had gone beneath my mere words and caught my inner and
current fears as to the result. And then, in a forgiving, jocular
way peculiar to him, he said: ‘Sit down; I have a moment to
spare, and will tell you a story.’ Having been on his feet for
some time, he sat on the end of the stone step leading into the
hotel door, while I stood closely fronting him.

” You have,’ he continued, ‘seen two men about to fight?’

“‘Yes, many times.’

“‘Well, one of them brags about what he means to do. He jumps
high in the air, cracking his heels together, smites his fists,
and wastes his wreath trying to scare somebody. You see the other
fellow, he says not a word,’–here Mr. Lincoln’s voice and manner
changed to great earnestness, and repeating–‘you see the other
man says not a word. His arms are at his sides, his fists are
closely doubled up, his head is drawn to the shoulder, and his
teeth are set firm together. He is saving his wind for the fight,
and as sure as it comes off he will win it, or die a-trying.'”

Where men bred in courts, accustomed to the world, or versed in
diplomacy, would use some subterfuge, or would make a polite
speech, or give a shrug of the shoulders, as the means of getting
out of an embarrassing position, Lincoln raised a laugh by some
bold west-country anecdote, and moved off in the cloud of
merriment produced by the joke. When Attorney-General Bates was
remonstrating apparently against the appointment of some
indifferent lawyer to a place of judicial importance, the
President interposed with: “Come now, Bates, he’s not half as bad
as you think. Besides that, I must tell you, he did me a good
turn long ago. When I took to the law, I was going to court one
morning, with some ten or twelve miles of bad road before me, and
I had no horse.

“The judge overtook me in his carriage.

“‘Hallo, Lincoln! are you not going to the court-house? Come in
and I will give you a seat!’

“Well, I got in, and the Judge went on reading his papers.
Presently the carriage struck a stump on one side of the road,
then it hopped off to the other. I looked out, and I saw the
driver was jerking from side to side in his seat, so I says

“‘Judge, I think your coachman has been taking a little too much
this morning.’

“‘Well, I declare, Lincoln,’ said he, ‘I should not much wonder
if you were right, for he has nearly upset me half a dozen times
since starting.’

“So, putting his head out of the window, he shouted, ‘Why, you
infernal scoundrel, you are drunk!’

“Upon which, pulling up his horses, and turning round with great
gravity, the coachman said:

“‘Begorra! that’s the first rightful decision that you have
given for the last twelvemonth.'”

While the company were laughing, the President beat a quiet
retreat from the neighborhood.

After the War was well on, and several battles had been fought,
a lady from Alexandria asked the President for an order to
release a certain church which had been taken for a Federal
hospital. The President said he could do nothing, as the post
surgeon at Alexandria was immovable, and then asked the lady why
she did not donate money to build a hospital.

“We have been very much embarrassed by the war,” she replied,
“and our estates are much hampered.”

“You are not ruined?” asked the President.

“No, sir, but we do not feel that we should give up anything we
have left.”

The President, after some reflection, then said: “There are more
battles yet to be fought, and I think God would prefer that your
church be devoted to the care and alleviation of the sufferings
of our poor fellows. So, madam, you will excuse me. I can do
nothing for you.”

Afterward, in speaking of this incident, President Lincoln said
that the lady, as a representative of her class in Alexandria,
reminded him of the story of the young man who had an aged father
and mother owning considerable property. The young man being an
only son, and believing that the old people had outlived their
usefulness, assassinated them both. He was accused, tried and
convicted of the murder. When the judge came to pass sentence
upon him, and called upon him to give any reason he might have
why the sentence of death should not be passed upon him, he with
great promptness replied that he hoped the court would be lenient
upon him because he was a poor orphan!


It is true that Lincoln did not drink, never swore, was a
stranger to smoking and lived a moral life generally, but he did
like horse-racing and chicken fighting. New Salem, Illinois,
where Lincoln was “clerking,” was known the neighborhood around
as a “fast” town, and the average young man made no very
desperate resistance when tempted to join in the drinking and
gambling bouts.

“Bap.” McNabb was famous for his ability in both the raising and
the purchase of roosters of prime fighting quality, and when his
birds fought the attendance was large. It was because of the
“flunking” of one of “Bap.’s” roosters that Lincoln was enabled
to make a point when criticising McClellan’s unreadiness and lack
of energy.

One night there was a fight on the schedule, one of “Bap.”
McNabb’s birds being a contestant. “Bap.” brought a little red
rooster, whose fighting qualities had been well advertised for
days in advance, and much interest was manifested in the outcome.
As the result of these contests was generally a quarrel, in which
each man, charging foul play, seized his victim, they chose
Lincoln umpire, relying not only on his fairness but his ability
to enforce his decisions. Judge Herndon, in his “Abraham
Lincoln,” says of this notable event:

“I cannot improve on the description furnished me in February,
1865, by one who was present.

“They formed a ring, and the time having arrived, Lincoln, with
one hand on each hip and in a squatting position, cried, ‘Ready.’
Into the ring they toss their fowls, ‘Bap.’s’ red rooster along
with the rest. But no sooner had the little beauty discovered
what was to be done than he dropped his tail and ran.

“The crowd cheered, while ‘Bap.,’ in disappointment, picked him
up and started away, losing his quarter (entrance fee) and
carrying home his dishonored fowl. Once arrived at the latter
place he threw his pet down with a feeling of indignation and

“The little fellow, out of sight of all rivals, mounted a
woodpile and proudly flirting out his feathers, crowed with all
his might. ‘Bap.’ looked on in disgust.

“‘Yes, you little cuss,’ he exclaimed, irreverently, ‘you’re
great on dress parade, but not worth a darn in a fight.”‘

It is said, according to Judge Herndon, that Lincoln considered
McClellan as “great on dress parade,” but not so much in a fight.

When Lincoln was a candidate of the Know Nothings for the State
Legislature, the party was over-confident, and the Democrats
pursued a stillhunt. Lincoln was defeated. He compared the
situation to one of the camp-followers of General Taylor’s army,
who had secured a barrel of cider, erected a tent, and commenced
selling it to the thirsty soldiers at twenty-five cents a drink,
but he had sold but little before another sharp one set up a tent
at his back, and tapped the barrel so as to flow on his side, and
peddled out No. 1 cider at five cents a drink, of course, getting
the latter’s entire trade on the borrowed capital.

“The Democrats,” said Mr. Lincoln, “had played Knownothing on a
cheaper scale than had the real devotees of Sam, and had raked
down his pile with his own cider!”

Judge H. W. Beckwith, of Danville, Ill., in his “Personal
Recollections of Lincoln,” tells a story which is a good example
of Lincoln’s way of condensing the law and the facts of an issue
in a story: “A man, by vile words, first provoked and then made a
bodily attack upon another. The latter, in defending himself,
gave the other much the worst of the encounter. The aggressor, to
get even, had the one who thrashed him tried in our Circuit Court
on a charge of an assault and battery. Mr. Lincoln defended, and
told the jury that his client was in the fix of a man who, in
going along the highway with a pitchfork on his shoulder, was
attacked by a fierce dog that ran out at him from a farmer’s
dooryard. In parrying off the brute with the fork, its prongs
stuck into the brute and killed him.

“‘What made you kill my dog?’ said the farmer.

“‘What made him try to bite me?’

“‘But why did you not go at him with the other end of the

“‘Why did he not come after me with his other end?’

“At this Mr. Lincoln whirled about in his long arms an imaginary
dog, and pushed its tail end toward the jury. This was the
defensive plea of ‘son assault demesne’–loosely, that ‘the other
fellow brought on the fight,’–quickly told, and in a way the
dullest mind would grasp and retain.”

The President had decided to select a new War Minister, and the
Leading Republican Senators thought the occasion was opportune to
change the whole seven Cabinet ministers. They, therefore,
earnestly advised him to make a clean sweep, and select seven new
men, and so restore the waning confidence of the country.

The President listened with patient courtesy, and when the
Senators had concluded, he said, with a characteristic gleam of
humor in his eye:

“Gentlemen, your request for a change of the whole Cabinet
because I have made one change reminds me of a story I once heard
in Illinois, of a farmer who was much troubled by skunks. His
wife insisted on his trying to get rid of them.

“He loaded his shotgun one moonlight night and awaited
developments. After some time the wife heard the shotgun go off,
and in a few minutes the farmer entered the house.

“‘What luck have you?’ asked she.

“‘I hid myself behind the wood-pile,’ said the old man, ‘with
the shotgun pointed towards the hen roost, and before long there
appeared not one skunk, but seven. I took aim, blazed away,
killed one, and he raised such a fearful smell that I concluded
it was best to let the other six go.”‘

The Senators laughed and retired.

The following story was told by Mr. Lincoln to Mr. A. J. Conant,
the artist, who painted his portrait in Springfield in 1860:

“One day a man who was migrating to the West drove up in front of
my store with a wagon which contained his family and household
plunder. He asked me if I would buy an old barrel for which he
had no room in his wagon, and which he said contained nothing of
special value. I did not want it, but to oblige him I bought it,
and paid him, I think, half a dollar for it. Without further
examination, I put it away in the store and forgot all about it.
Some time after, in overhauling things, I came upon the barrel,
and, emptying it upon the floor to see what it contained, I found
at the bottom of the rubbish a complete edition of Blackstone’s
Commentaries. I began to read those famous works, and I had
plenty of time; for during the long summer days, when the farmers
were busy with their crops, my customers were few and far
between. The more I read”–this he said with unusual
emphasis–“the more intensely interested I became. Never in my
whole life was my mind so thoroughly absorbed. I read until I
devoured them.”

This cartoon, labeled “A Job for the New Cabinetmaker,” was
printed in “Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper” on February 2d,
1861, a month and two days before Abraham Lincoln was inaugurated
President of the United States. The Southern states had seceded
from the Union, the Confederacy was established, with Jefferson
Davis as its President, the Union had been split in two, and the
task Lincoln had before him was to glue the two parts of the
Republic together. In his famous speech, delivered a short time
before his nomination for the Presidency by the Republican
National Convention at Chicago, in 1860, Lincoln had said: “A
house divided against itself cannot stand; this nation cannot
exist half slave and half free.” After his inauguration as
President, Mr. Lincoln went to work to glue the two pieces
together, and after four years of bloody war, and at immense
cost, the job was finished; the house of the Great American
Republic was no longer divided; the severed sections–the North
and the South–were cemented tightly; the slaves were freed,
peace was firmly established, and the Union of states was glued
together so well that the nation is stronger now than ever
before. Lincoln was just the man for that job, and the work he
did will last for all time. “The New Cabinetmaker” knew his
business thoroughly, and finished his task of glueing in a
workmanlike manner. At the very moment of its completion, five
days after the surrender of Lee to Grant at Appomattox, the
Martyr President fell at the hands of the assassin, J. Wilkes

United States Senator Benjamin Wade, of Ohio, Henry Winter Davis,
of Maryland, and Wendell Phillips were strongly opposed to
President Lincoln’s re-election, and Wade and Davis issued a
manifesto. Phillips made several warm speeches against Lincoln
and his policy.

When asked if he had read the manifesto or any of Phillips’
speeches, the President replied:

“I have not seen them, nor do I care to see them. I have seen
enough to satisfy me that I am a failure, not only in the opinion
of the people in rebellion, but of many distinguished politicians
of my own party. But time will show whether I am right or they
are right, and I am content to abide its decision.

“I have enough to look after without giving much of my time to
the consideration of the subject of who shall be my successor in
office. The position is not an easy one; and the occupant,
whoever he may be, for the next four years, will have little
leisure to pluck a thorn or plant a rose in his own pathway.”

It was urged that this opposition must be embarrassing to his
Administration, as well as damaging to the party. He replied:
“Yes, that is true; but our friends, Wade, Davis, Phillips, and
others are hard to please. I am not capable of doing so. I cannot
please them without wantonly violating not only my oath, but the
most vital principles upon which our government was founded.

“As to those who, like Wade and the rest, see fit to depreciate
my policy and cavil at my official acts, I shall not complain of
them. I accord them the utmost freedom of speech and liberty of
the press, but shall not change the policy I have adopted in the
full belief that I am right.

“I feel on this subject as an old Illinois farmer once expressed
himself while eating cheese. He was interrupted in the midst of
his repast by the entrance of his son, who exclaimed, ‘Hold on,
dad! there’s skippers in that cheese you’re eating!’

“‘Never mind, Tom,’ said he, as he kept on munching his cheese,
‘if they can stand it I can.'”

President Lincoln was compelled to acknowledge that he made at
least one mistake in “sizing up” men. One day a very dignified
man called at the White House, and Lincoln’s heart fell when his
visitor approached. The latter was portly, his face was full of
apparent anxiety, and Lincoln was willing to wager a year’s
salary that he represented some Society for the Easy and Speedy
Repression of Rebellions.

The caller talked fluently, but at no time did he give advice or
suggest a way to put down the Confederacy. He was full of humor,
told a clever story or two, and was entirely self-possessed.

At length the President inquired, “You are a clergyman, are you
not, sir?”

“Not by a jug full,” returned the stranger heartily.

Grasping him by the hand Lincoln shook it until the visitor
squirmed. “You must lunch with us. I am glad to see you. I was
afraid you were a preacher.”

“I went to the Chicago Convention,” the caller said, “as a friend
of Mr. Seward. I have watched you narrowly ever since your
inauguration, and I called merely to pay my respects. What I want
to say is this: I think you are doing everything for the good of
the country that is in the power of man to do. You are on the
right track. As one of your constituents I now say to you, do in
future as you d– please, and I will support you!”

This was spoken with tremendous effect.

“Why,” said Mr. Lincoln in great astonishment, “I took you to be
a preacher. I thought you had come here to tell me how to take
Richmond,” and he again grasped the hand of his strange visitor.

Accurate and penetrating as Mr. Lincoln’s judgment was concerning
men, for once he had been wholly mistaken. The scene was comical
in the extreme. The two men stood gazing at each other. A smile
broke from the lips of the solemn wag and rippled over the wide
expanse of his homely face like sunlight overspreading a
continent, and Mr. Lincoln was convulsed with laughter.

He stayed to lunch.

President Lincoln, while entertaining a few friends, is said to
have related the following anecdote of a man who knew too much:

During the administration of President Jackson there was a
singular young gentleman employed in the Public Postoffice in

His name was G.; he was from Tennessee, the son of a widow, a
neighbor of the President, on which account the old hero had a
kind feeling for him, and always got him out of difficulties with
some of the higher officials, to whom his singular interference
was distasteful.

Among other things, it is said of him that while employed in the
General Postoffice, on one occasion he had to copy a letter to
Major H., a high official, in answer to an application made by an
old gentleman in Virginia or Pennsylvania, for the establishment
of a new postoffice.

The writer of the letter said the application could not be
granted, in consequence of the applicant’s “proximity” to another

When the letter came into G.’s hand to copy, being a great
stickler for plainness, he altered “proximity” to “nearness to.”

Major H. observed it, and asked G. why he altered his letter.

“Why,” replied G., “because I don’t think the man would
understand what you mean by proximity.”

“Well,” said Major H., “try him; put in the ‘proximity’ again.”

In a few days a letter was received from the applicant, in which
he very indignantly said that his father had fought for liberty
in the second war for independence, and he should like to have
the name of the scoundrel who brought the charge of proximity or
anything else wrong against him.

“There,” said G., “did I not say so?”

G. carried his improvements so far that Mr. Berry, the
Postmaster-General, said to him: “I don’t want you any longer;
you know too much.”

Poor G. went out, but his old friend got him another place.

This time G.’s ideas underwent a change. He was one day very
busy writing, when a stranger called in and asked him where the
Patent Office was.

“I don’t know,” said G.

“Can you tell me where the Treasury Department is?” said the

“No,” said G.

“Nor the President’s house?”


The stranger finally asked him if he knew where the Capitol was.

“No,” replied G.

“Do you live in Washington, sir.”

“Yes, sir,” said G.

“Good Lord! and don’t you know where the Patent Office, Treasury,
President’s House and Capitol are?”

“Stranger,” said G., “I was turned out of the postoffice for
knowing too much. I don’t mean to offend in that way again.

“I am paid for keeping this book.

“I believe I know that much; but if you find me knowing anything
more you may take my head.”

“Good morning,” said the stranger.

Judge Breese, of the Supreme bench, one of the most distinguished
of American jurists, and a man of great personal dignity, was
about to open court at Springfield, when Lincoln called out in
his hearty way: “Hold on, Breese! Don’t open court yet! Here’s
Bob Blackwell just going to tell a story!” The judge passed on
without replying, evidently regarding it as beneath the dignity
of the Supreme Court to delay proceedings for the sake of a

In an argument against the opposite political party at one time
during a campaign, Lincoln said: “My opponent uses a figurative
expression to the effect that ‘the Democrats are vulnerable in
the heel, but they are sound in the heart and head.’ The first
branch of the figure–that is the Democrats are vulnerable in the
heel–I admit is not merely figuratively but literally true. Who
that looks but for a moment at their hundreds of officials
scampering away with the public money to Texas, to Europe, and to
every spot of the earth where a villain may hope to find refuge
from justice, can at all doubt that they are most distressingly
affected in their heels with a species of running itch?

“It seems that this malady of their heels operates on the
sound-headed and honest-hearted creatures very much as the cork
leg in the comic song did on its owner, which, when he once got
started on it, the more he tried to stop it, the more it would
run away.

“At the hazard of wearing this point threadbare, I will relate an
anecdote the situation calls to my mind, which seems to be too
strikingly in point to be omitted. A witty Irish soldier, who was
always boasting of his bravery when no danger was near, but who
invariably retreated without orders at the first charge of the
engagement, being asked by his captain why he did so, replied,
‘Captain, I have as brave a heart as Julius Caesar ever had, but
somehow or other, whenever danger approaches, my cowardly legs
will run away with it.’

“So with the opposite party–they take the public money into
their hands for the most laudable purpose that wise heads and
honest hearts can dictate; but before they can possibly get it
out again, their rascally, vulnerable heels will run away with

Preston King once introduced A. J. Bleeker to the President, and
the latter, being an applicant for office, was about to hand Mr.
Lincoln his vouchers, when he was asked to read them. Bleeker had
not read very far when the President disconcerted him by the
exclamation, “Stop a minute! You remind me exactly of the man who
killed the dog; in fact, you are just like him.”

“In what respect?” asked Bleeker, not feeling he had received a

“Well,” replied the President, “this man had made up his mind to
kill his dog, an ugly brute, and proceeded to knock out his
brains with a club. He continued striking the dog after the
latter was dead until a friend protested, exclaiming, ‘You
needn’t strike him any more; the dog is dead; you killed him at
the first blow.’

“‘Oh, yes,’ said he, ‘I know that; but I believe in punishment
after death.’ So, I see, you do.”

Bleeker acknowledged it was possible to overdo a good thing, and
then came back at the President with an anecdote of a good priest
who converted an Indian from heathenism to Christianity; the only
difficulty he had with him was to get him to pray for his
enemies. “This Indian had been taught to overcome and destroy all
his friends he didn’t like,” said Bleeker, “but the priest told
him that while that might be the Indian method, it was not the
doctrine of Christianity or the Bible. ‘Saint Paul distinctly
says,’ the priest told him, ‘If thine enemy hunger, feed him; if
he thirst, give him drink.’

“The Indian shook his head at this, but when the priest added,
‘For in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head,’ Poor
Lo was overcome with emotion, fell on his knees, and with
outstretched hands and uplifted eyes invoked all sorts of
blessings on the heads of all his enemies, supplicating for
pleasant hunting-grounds, a large supply of squaws, lots of
papooses, and all other Indian comforts.

“Finally the good priest interrupted him (as you did me, Mr.
President), exclaiming, ‘Stop, my son! You have discharged your
Christian duty, and have done more than enough.’

“‘Oh, no, father,’ replied the Indian; ‘let me pray! I want to
burn him down to the stump! ”

During the war, one of the Northern Governors, who was able,
earnest and untiring in aiding the administration, but always
complaining, sent dispatch after dispatch to the War Office,
protesting against the methods used in raising troops. After
reading all his papers, the President said, in a cheerful and
reassuring tone to the Adjutant-General:

“Never mind, never mind; those dispatches don’t mean anything.
Just go right ahead. The Governor is like a boy I once saw at a
launching. When everything was ready, they picked out a boy and
sent him under the ship to knock away the trigger and let her go.

“At the critical moment everything depended on the boy. He had to
do the job well by a direct, vigorous blow, and then lie flat and
keep still while the boat slid over him.

“The boy did everything right, but he yelled as if he were being
murdered from the time he got under the keel until he got out. I
thought the hide was all scraped off his back, but he wasn’t hurt
at all.

“The master of the yard told me that this boy was always chosen
for that job; that he did his work well; that he never had been
hurt, but that he always squealed in that way.

“That’s just the way with Governor –. Make up your mind that he
is not hurt, and that he is doing the work right, and pay no
attention to his squealing. He only wants to make you understand
how hard his task is, and that he is on hand performing it.”

Many requests and petitions made to Mr. Lincoln when he was
President were ludicrous and trifling, but he always entered into
them with that humor-loving spirit that was such a relief from
the grave duties of his great office.

Once a party of Southerners called on him in behalf of one Betsy
Ann Dougherty. The spokesman, who was an ex-Governor, said:

“Mr. President, Betsy Ann Dougherty is a good woman. She lived in
my county and did my washing for a long time. Her husband went
off and joined the rebel army, and I wish you would give her a
protection paper.” The solemnity of this appeal struck Mr.
Lincoln as uncommonly ridiculous.

The two men looked at each other–the Governor desperately
earnest, and the President masking his humor behind the gravest
exterior. At last Mr. Lincoln asked, with inimitable gravity,
“Was Betsy Ann a good washerwoman?” “Oh, yes, sir, she was,

“Was your Betsy Ann an obliging woman?” “Yes, she was certainly
very kind,” responded the Governor, soberly. “Could she do other
things than wash?” continued Mr. Lincoln with the same portentous

“Oh, yes; she was very kind–very.”

“Where is Betsy Ann?”

“She is now in New York, and wants to come back to Missouri, but
she is afraid of banishment.”

“Is anybody meddling with her?”

“No; but she is afraid to come back unless you will give her a
protection paper.”

Thereupon Mr. Lincoln wrote on a visiting card the following:

“Let Betsy Ann Dougherty alone as long as she behaves herself.


He handed this card to her advocate, saying, “Give this to Betsy

“But, Mr. President, couldn’t you write a few words to the
officers that would insure her protection?”

“No,” said Mr. Lincoln, “officers have no time now to read
letters. Tell Betsy Ann to put a string in this card and hang it
around her neck. When the officers see this, they will keep their
hands off your Betsy Ann.”

Captain “Abe” Lincoln and his company (in the Black Hawk War)
were without any sort of military knowledge, and both were forced
to acquire such knowledge by attempts at drilling. Which was the
more awkward, the “squad” or the commander, it would have been
difficult to decide.

In one of Lincoln’s earliest military problems was involved the
process of getting his company “endwise” through a gate. Finally
he shouted, “This company is dismissed for two minutes, when it
will fall in again on the other side of the gate!”

Lincoln was one of the first of his company to be arraigned for
unmilitary conduct. Contrary to the rules he fired a gun “within
the limits,” and had his sword taken from him. The next
infringement of rules was by some of the men, who stole a
quantity of liquor, drank it, and became unfit for duty,
straggling out of the ranks the next day, and not getting
together again until late at night.

For allowing this lawlessness the captain was condemned to wear a
wooden sword for two days. These were merely interesting but
trivial incidents of the campaign. Lincoln was from the very
first popular with his men, although one of them told him to “go
to the devil.”

Under the caption, “The American Difficulty,” “Punch” printed on
May 11th, 1861, the cartoon reproduced here. The following text
was placed beneath the illustration: PRESIDENT ABE: “What a nice
White House this would be, if it were not for the blacks!” It was
the idea in England, and, in fact, in all the countries on the
European continent, that the War of the Rebellion was fought to
secure the freedom of the negro slaves. Such was not the case.
The freedom of the slaves was one of the necessary consequences
of the Civil War, but not the cause of that bloody four years’
conflict. The War was the result of the secession of the states
of the South from the Union, and President “Abe’s” main aim was
to compel the seceding states to resume their places in the
Federal Union of states.

The blacks did not bother President “Abe” in the least as he knew
he would be enabled to give them their freedom when the proper
time came. He had the project of freeing them in his mind long
before he issued his Emancipation Proclamation, the delay in
promulgating that document being due to the fact that he did not
wish to estrange the hundreds of thousands of patriots of the
border states who were fighting for the preservation of the
Union, and not for the freedom of the negro slaves. President
“Abe” had patience, and everything came out all right in the end.

Charles A. Dana, who was Assistant Secretary of War under Mr.
Stanton, relates the following: A certain Thompson had been
giving the government considerable trouble. Dana received
information that Thompson was about to escape to Liverpool.

Calling upon Stanton, Dana was referred to Mr. Lincoln.

“The President was at the White House, business hours were over,
Lincoln was washing his hands. ‘Hallo, Dana,’ said he, as I
opened the door, ‘what is it now?’ ‘Well, sir,’ I said, ‘here is
the Provost Marshal of Portland, who reports that Jacob Thompson
is to be in town to-night, and inquires what orders we have to
give.’ ‘What does Stanton say?’ he asked. ‘Arrest him,’ I
replied. ‘Well,’ he continued, drawling his words, ‘I rather
guess not. When you have an elephant on your hands, and he wants
to run away, better let him run.'”

The nearest Lincoln ever came to a fight was when he was in the
vicinity of the skirmish at Kellogg’s Grove, in the Black Hawk
War. The rangers arrived at the spot after the engagement and
helped bury the five men who were killed.

Lincoln told Noah Brooks, one of his biographers, that he
“remembered just how those men looked as we rode up the little
hill where their camp was. The red light of the morning sun was
streaming upon them as they lay, heads toward us, on the ground.
And every man had a round, red spot on the top of his head about
as big as a dollar, where the redskins had taken his scalp. It
was frightful, but it was grotesque; and the red sunlight seemed
to paint everything all over.”

Lincoln paused, as if recalling the vivid picture, and added,
somewhat irrelevantly, “I remember that one man had on buckskin

Always indifferent in matters of dress, Lincoln cut but small
figure in social circles, even in the earliest days of Illinois.
His trousers were too short, his hat too small, and, as a rule,
the buttons on the back of his coat were nearer his shoulder
blades than his waist.

No man was richer than his fellows, and there was no aristocracy;
the women wore linsey-woolsey of home manufacture, and dyed them
in accordance with the tastes of the wearers; calico was rarely
seen, and a woman wearing a dress of that material was the envy
of her sisters.

There being no shoemakers the women wore moccasins, and the men
made their own boots. A hunting shirt, leggins made of skins,
buckskin breeches, dyed green, constituted an apparel no maiden
could withstand.

One man who knew Lincoln at New Salem, says the first time he saw
him he was lying on a trundle-bed covered with books and papers
and rocking a cradle with his foot.

The whole scene was entirely characteristic–Lincoln reading and
studying, and at the same time helping his landlady by quieting
her child.

A gentleman who knew Mr. Lincoln well in early manhood says:
“Lincoln at this period had nothing but plenty of friends.”

After the customary hand-shaking on one occasion in the White
House at Washington several gentlemen came forward and asked the
President for his autograph. One of them gave his name as
“Cruikshank.” “That reminds me,” said Mr. Lincoln, “of what I
used to be called when a young man–‘Long-shanks!'”

Governor Blank went to the War Department one day in a towering

“I suppose you found it necessary to make large concessions to
him, as he returned from you perfectly satisfied,” suggested a

“Oh, no,” the President replied, “I did not concede anything. You
have heard how that Illinois farmer got rid of a big log that was
too big to haul out, too knotty to split, and too wet and soggy
to burn.

“‘Well, now,’ said he, in response to the inquiries of his
neighbors one Sunday, as to how he got rid of it, ‘well, now,
boys, if you won’t divulge the secret, I’ll tell you how I got
rid of it–I ploughed around it.’

“Now,” remarked Lincoln, in conclusion, “don’t tell anybody, but
that’s the way I got rid of Governor Blank. I ploughed all round
him, but it took me three mortal hours to do it, and I was afraid
every minute he’d see what I was at.”

During a public “reception,” a farmer from one of the border
counties of Virginia told the President that the Union soldiers,
in passing his farm, had helped themselves not only to hay, but
his horse, and he hoped the President would urge the proper
officer to consider his claim immediately.

Mr. Lincoln said that this reminded him of an old acquaintance of
his, “Jack” Chase, a lumberman on the Illinois, a steady, sober
man, and the best raftsman on the river. It was quite a trick to
take the logs over the rapids; but he was skilful with a raft,
and always kept her straight in the channel. Finally a steamer
was put on, and “Jack” was made captain of her. He always used to
take the wheel, going through the rapids. One day when the boat
was plunging and wallowing along the boiling current, and
“Jack’s” utmost vigilance was being exercised to keep her in the
narrow channel, a boy pulled his coat-tail and hailed him with:

“Say, Mister Captain! I wish you would just stop your boat a
minute–I’ve lost my apple overboard!”

Mr. Lincoln prepared his first inaugural address in a room over a
store in Springfield. His only reference works were Henry Clay’s
great compromise speech of 1850, Andrew Jackson’s Proclamation
against Nullification, Webster’s great reply to Hayne, and a copy
of the Constitution.

When Mr. Lincoln started for Washington, to be inugurated, the
inaugural address was placed in a special satchel and guarded
with special care. At Harrisburg the satchel was given in charge
of Robert T. Lincoln, who accompanied his father. Before the
train started from Harrisburg the precious satchel was missing.
Robert thought he had given it to a waiter at the hotel, but a
long search failed to reveal the missing satchel with its
precious document. Lincoln was annoyed, angry, and finally in
despair. He felt certain that the address was lost beyond
recovery, and, as it only lacked ten days until the inauguration,
he had no time to prepare another. He had not even preserved the
notes from which the original copy had been written.

Mr. Lincoln went to Ward Lamon, his former law partner, then one
of his bodyguards, and informed him of the loss in the following

“Lamon, I guess I have lost my certificate of moral character,
written by myself. Bob has lost my gripsack containing my
inaugural address.” Of course, the misfortune reminded him of a

“I feel,” said Mr. Lincoln, “a good deal as the old member of the
Methodist Church did when he lost his wife at the camp meeting,
and went up to an old elder of the church and asked him if he
could tell him whereabouts in h–l his wife was. In fact, I am in
a worse fix than my Methodist friend, for if it were only a wife
that were missing, mine would be sure to bob up somewhere.”

The clerk at the hotel told Mr. Lincoln that he would probably
find his missing satchel in the baggage-room. Arriving there, Mr.
Lincoln saw a satchel which he thought was his, and it was passed
out to him. His key fitted the lock, but alas! when it was opened
the satchel contained only a soiled shirt, some paper collars, a
pack of cards and a bottle of whisky. A few minutes later the
satchel containing the inaugural address was found among the pile
of baggage.

The recovery of the address also reminded Mr. Lincoln of a story,
which is thus narrated by Ward Lamon in his “Recollections of
Abraham Lincoln”

The loss of the address and the search for it was the subject of
a great deal of amusement. Mr. Lincoln said many funny things in
connection with the incident. One of them was that he knew a
fellow once who had saved up fifteen hundred dollars, and had
placed it in a private banking establishment. The bank soon
failed, and he afterward received ten per cent of his investment.
He then took his one hundred and fifty dollars and deposited it
in a savings bank, where he was sure it would be safe. In a short
time this bank also failed, and he received at the final
settlement ten per cent on the amount deposited. When the fifteen
dollars was paid over to him, he held it in his hand and looked
at it thoughtfully; then he said, “Now, darn you, I have got you
reduced to a portable shape, so I’ll put you in my pocket.”
Suiting the action to the word, Mr. Lincoln took his address from
the bag and carefully placed it in the inside pocket of his vest,
but held on to the satchel with as much interest as if it still
contained his “certificate of moral character.”

The great English funny paper, London “Punch,” printed this
cartoon on September 27th, 1862. It is intended to convey the
idea that Lincoln, having asserted that the war would be over in
ninety days, had not redeemed his word: The text under the
Cartoon in Punch was:

MR. SOUTH TO MR. NORTH: “Your ‘ninety-day’ promissory note isn’t
taken up yet, sirree!”

The tone of the cartoon is decidedly unfriendly. The North
finally took up the note, but the South had to pay it. “Punch”
was not pleased with the result, but “Mr. North” did not care
particularly what this periodical thought about it. The United
States, since then, has been prepared to take up all of its
obligations when due, but it must be acknowledged that at the
time this cartoon was published the outlook was rather dark and
gloomy. Lincoln did not despair, however; but although business
was in rather bad shape for a time, the financial skies finally
cleared, business was resumed at the old stand, and Uncle Sam’s
credit is now as good, or better, than other nations’ cash in

Lincoln could not sympathize with those Union generals who were
prone to indulge in high-sounding promises, but whose
performances did not by any means come up to their predictions as
to what they would do if they ever met the enemy face to face. He
said one day, just after one of these braggarts had been soundly
thrashed by the Confederates:

“These fellows remind me of the fellow who owned a dog which, so
he said, just hungered and thirsted to combat and eat up wolves.
It was a difficult matter, so the owner declared, to keep that
dog from devoting the entire twenty-four hours of each day to the
destruction of his enemies. He just ‘hankered’ to get at them.

“One day a party of this dog-owner’s friends thought to have some
sport. These friends heartily disliked wolves, and were anxious
to see the dog eat up a few thousand. So they organized a hunting
party and invited the dog-owner and the dog to go with them. They
desired to be personally present when the wolf-killing was in

“It was noticed that the dog-owner was not over-enthusiastic in
the matter; he pleaded a ‘business engagement,’ but as he was the
most notorious and torpid of the town loafers, and wouldn’t have
recognized a ‘business engagement’ had he met it face to face,
his excuse was treated with contempt. Therefore he had to go.

“The dog, however, was glad enough to go, and so the party
started out. Wolves were in plenty, and soon a pack was
discovered, but when the ‘wolf-hound’ saw the ferocious animals
he lost heart, and, putting his tail between his legs, endeavored
to slink away. At last–after many trials–he was enticed into
the small growth of underbrush where the wolves had secreted
themselves, and yelps of terror betrayed the fact that the battle
was on.

“Away flew the wolves, the dog among them, the hunting party
following on horseback. The wolves seemed frightened, and the dog
was restored to public favor. It really looked as if he had the
savage creatures on the run, as he was fighting heroically when
last sighted.

“Wolves and dog soon disappeared, and it was not until the party
arrived at a distant farmhouse that news of the combatants was

‘Have you seen anything of a wolf-dog and a pack of wolves around
here?’ was the question anxiously put to the male occupant of the
house, who stood idly leaning upon the gate.

“‘Yep,’ was the short answer.

“‘How were they going?’

“‘Purty fast.’

“‘What was their position when you saw them?’

“‘Well,’ replied the farmer, in a most exasperatingly deliberate
way, ‘the dog was a leetle bit ahead.’

“Now, gentlemen,” concluded the President, “that’s the position
in which you’ll find most of these bragging generals when they
get into a fight with the enemy. That’s why I don’t like military

When Lincoln was nineteen years of age, he went to work for a Mr.
Gentry, and, in company with Gentry’s son, took a flatboat load
of provisions to New Orleans. At a plantation six miles below
Baton Rouge, while the boat was tied up to the shore in the dead
hours of the night, and Abe and Allen were fast asleep in the
bed, they were startled by footsteps on board. They knew
instantly that it was a gang of negroes come to rob and perhaps
murder them. Allen, thinking to frighten the negroes, called out,
“Bring guns, Lincoln, and shoot them!” Abe came without the guns,
but fell among the negroes with a huge bludgeon and belabored
them most cruelly, following them onto the bank. They rushed back
to their boat and hastily put out into the stream. It is said
that Lincoln received a scar in this tussle which he carried with
him to his grave. It was on this trip that he saw the workings of
slavery for the first time. The sight of New Orleans was like a
wonderful panorama to his eyes, for never before had he seen
wealth, beauty, fashion and culture. He returned home with new
and larger ideas and stronger opinions of right and justice.

“Every man has his own peculiar and particular way of getting at
and doing things,” said President Lincoln one day, “and he is
often criticised because that way is not the one adopted by
others. The great idea is to accomplish what you set out to do.
When a man is successful in whatever he attempts, he has many
imitators, and the methods used are not so closely scrutinized,
although no man who is of good intent will resort to mean,
underhanded, scurvy tricks.

“That reminds me of a fellow out in Illinois, who had better luck
in getting prairie chickens than any one in the neighborhood. He
had a rusty old gun no other man dared to handle; he never seemed
to exert himself, being listless and indifferent when out after
game, but he always brought home all the chickens he could carry,
while some of the others, with their finely trained dogs and
latest improved fowling-pieces, came home alone.

“‘How is it, Jake?’ inquired one sportsman, who, although a good
shot, and knew something about hunting, was often unfortunate,
‘that you never come home without a lot of birds?’

“Jake grinned, half closed his eyes, and replied: ‘Oh, I don’t
know that there’s anything queer about it. I jes’ go ahead an’
git ’em.’

“‘Yes, I know you do; but how do you do it?’

“‘You’ll tell.’

“‘Honest, Jake, I won’t say a word. Hope to drop dead this

“‘Never say nothing, if I tell you?’

“‘Cross my heart three times.’

“This reassured Jake, who put his mouth close to the ear of his
eager questioner, and said, in a whisper:

“‘All you got to do is jes’ to hide in a fence corner an’ make a
noise like a turnip. That’ll bring the chickens every time.'”

When Lincoln was a candidate for re-election to the Illinois
Legislature in 1836, a meeting was advertised to be held in the
court-house in Springfield, at which candidates of opposing
parties were to speak. This gave men of spirit and capacity a
fine opportunity to show the stuff of which they were made.

George Forquer was one of the most prominent citizens; he had
been a Whig, but became a Democrat–possibly for the reason that
by means of the change he secured the position of Government land
register, from President Andrew Jackson. He had the largest and
finest house in the city, and there was a new and striking
appendage to it, called a lightning-rod! The meeting was very
large. Seven Whig and seven Democratic candidates spoke.

Lincoln closed the discussion. A Kentuckian (Joshua F. Speed),
who had heard Henry Clay and other distinguished Kentucky
orators, stood near Lincoln, and stated afterward that he “never
heard a more effective speaker; . . . the crowd seemed to be
swayed by him as he pleased.” What occurred during the closing
portion of this meeting must be given in full, from Judge
Arnold’s book:

“Forquer, although not a candidate, asked to be heard for the
Democrats, in reply to Lincoln. He was a good speaker, and well
known throughout the county. His special task that day was to
attack and ridicule the young countryman from Salem.

“Turning to Lincoln, who stood within a few feet of him, he said:
‘This young man must be taken down, and I am truly sorry that the
task devolves upon me.’ He then proceeded, in a very overbearing
way, and with an assumption of great superiority, to attack
Lincoln and his speech. He was fluent and ready with the rough
sarcasm of the stump, and he went on to ridicule the person,
dress and arguments of Lincoln with so much success that
Lincoln’s friends feared that he would be embarrassed and

The Clary’s Grove boys were present, and were restrained with
difficulty from “getting up a fight” in behalf of their favorite
(Lincoln), they and all his friends feeling that the attack was
ungenerous and unmanly.)

“Lincoln, however, stood calm, but his flashing eye and pale
cheek indicated his indignation. As soon as Forquer had closed he
took the stand, and first answered his opponent’s arguments fully
and triumphantly. So impressive were his words and manner that a
hearer (Joshua F. Speed) believes that he can remember to this
day and repeat some of the expressions.

“Among other things he said: ‘The gentleman commenced his speech
by saying that “this young man,” alluding to me, “must be taken
down.” I am not so young in years as I am in the tricks and the
trades of a politician, but,’ said he, pointing to Forquer, ‘live
long or die young, I would rather die now than, like the
gentleman, change my politics, and with the change receive an
office worth $3,000 a year, and then,’ continued he, ‘feel
obliged to erect a lightning-rod over my house, to protect a
guilty conscience from an offended God!'”

Jefferson Davis insisted on being recognized by his official
title as commander or President in the regular negotiation with
the Government. This Mr. Lincoln would not consent to.

Mr. Hunter thereupon referred to the correspondence between King
Charles the First and his Parliament as a precedent for a
negotiation between a constitutional ruler and rebels. Mr.
Lincoln’s face then wore that indescribable expression which
generally preceded his hardest hits, and he remarked: “Upon
questions of history, I must refer you to Mr. Seward, for he is
posted in such things, and I don’t profess to be; but my only
distinct recollection of the matter is, that Charles lost his

Lincoln loved anything that savored of wit or humor among the
soldiers. He used to relate two stories to show, he said, that
neither death nor danger could quench the grim humor of the
American soldier:

“A soldier of the Army of the Potomac was being carried to the
rear of battle with both legs shot off, who, seeing a pie-woman,
called out, ‘Say, old lady, are them pies sewed or pegged?’

“And there was another one of the soldiers at the battle of
Chancellorsville, whose regiment, waiting to be called into the
fight, was taking coffee. The hero of the story put to his lips a
crockery mug which he had carried with care through several
campaigns. A stray bullet, just missing the tinker’s head, dashed
the mug into fragments and left only the handle on his finger.
Turning his head in that direction, he scowled, ‘Johnny, you
can’t do that again!'”

Captain T. W. S. Kidd of Springfield was the crier of the court
in the days when Mr. Lincoln used to ride the circuit.

“I was younger than he,” says Captain Kidd, “but he had a sort of
admiration for me, and never failed to get me into his stories. I
was a story-teller myself in those days, and he used to laugh
very heartily at some of the stories I told him.

“Now and then he got me into a good deal of trouble. I was a
Democrat, and was in politics more or less. A good many of our
Democratic voters at that time were Irishmen. They came to
Illinois in the days of the old canal, and did their honest share
in making that piece of internal improvement an accomplished

“One time Mr. Lincoln told the story of one of those important
young fellows–not an Irishman–who lived in every town, and have
the cares of state on their shoulders. This young fellow met an
Irishman on the street, and called to him, officiously: ‘Oh,
Mike, I’m awful glad I met you. We’ve got to do something to wake
up the boys. The campaign is coming on, and we’ve got to get out
voters. We’ve just had a meeting up here, and we’re going to have
the biggest barbecue that ever was heard of in Illinois. We are
going to roast two whole oxen, and we’re going to have Douglas
and Governor Cass and some one from Kentucky, and all the big
Democratic guns, and we’re going to have a great big time.’

“‘By dad, that’s good!’ says the Irishman. ‘The byes need
stirrin’ up.’

“‘Yes, and you’re on one of the committees, and you want to
hustle around and get them waked up, Mike.’

“‘When is the barbecue to be?’ asked Mike.

“‘Friday, two weeks.’

“‘Friday, is it? Well, I’ll make a nice committeeman, settin’
the barbecue on a day with half of the Dimocratic party of
Sangamon county can’t ate a bite of mate. Go on wid ye.’

“Lincoln told that story in one of his political speeches, and
when the laugh was over he said: ‘Now, gentlemen, I know that
story is true, for Tom Kidd told it to me.’ And then the
Democrats would make trouble for me for a week afterward, and I’d
have to explain.”

About two years before Lincoln was nominated for the Presidency
he went to Bloomington, Illinois, to try a case of some
importance. His opponent–who afterward reached a high place in
his profession–was a young man of ability, sensible but
sensitive, and one to whom the loss of a case was a great blow.
He therefore studied hard and made much preparation.

This particular case was submitted to the jury late at night,
and, although anticipating a favorable verdict, the young
attorney spent a sleepless night in anxiety. Early next morning
he learned, to his great chagrin, that he had lost the case.

Lincoln met him at the court-house some time after the jury had
come in, and asked him what had become of his case.

With lugubrious countenance and in a melancholy tone the young
man replied, “It’s gone to hell.”

“Oh, well,” replied Lincoln, “then you will see it again.”

When arguing a case in court, Mr. Lincoln never used a word which
the dullest juryman could not understand. Rarely, if ever, did a
Latin term creep into his arguments. A lawyer, quoting a legal
maxim one day in court, turned to Lincoln, and said: “That is so,
is it not, Mr. Lincoln?”

“If that’s Latin.” Lincoln replied, “you had better call another

Mr. Carpenter, the artist, relates the following incident: “Some
photographers came up to the White House to make some
stereoscopic studies for me of the President’s office. They
requested a dark closet in which to develop the pictures, and,
without a thought that I was infringing upon anybody’s rights, I
took them to an unoccupied room of which little ‘Tad’ had taken
possession a few days before, and, with the aid of a couple of
servants, had fitted up a miniature theater, with stage,
curtains, orchestra, stalls, parquette and all. Knowing that the
use required would interfere with none of his arrangements, I led
the way to this apartment.

“Everything went on well, and one or two pictures had been taken,
when suddenly there was an uproar. The operator came back to the
office and said that ‘Tad’ had taken great offense at the
occupation of his room without his consent, and had locked the
door, refusing all admission.

“The chemicals had been taken inside, and there was no way of
getting at them, he having carried off the key. In the midst of
this conversation ‘Tad’ burst in, in a fearful passion. He laid
all the blame upon me–said that I had no right to use his room,
and the men should not go in even to get their things. He had
locked the door and they should not go there again–‘they had no
business in his room!’

“Mr. Lincoln was sitting for a photograph, and was still in the
chair. He said, very mildly, ‘Tad, go and unlock the door.’ Tad
went off muttering into his mother’s room, refusing to obey. I
followed him into the passage, but no coaxing would pacify him.
Upon my return to the President, I found him still patiently in
the chair, from which he had not risen. He said: ‘Has not the boy
opened the door?’ I replied that we could do nothing with him–he
had gone off in a great pet. Mr. Lincoln’s lips came together
firmly, and then, suddenly rising, he strode across the passage
with the air of one bent on punishment, and disappeared in the
domestic apartments. Directly he returned with the key to the
theater, which he unlocked himself.

“‘Tad,’ said he, half apologetically, ‘is a peculiar child. He
was violently excited when I went to him. I said, “Tad, do you
know that you are making your father a great deal of trouble?” He
burst into tears, instantly giving me up the key.'”

When Lincoln’s attention was called to the fact that, at one time
in his boyhood, he had spelled the name of the Deity with a small
“g,” he replied:

“That reminds me of a little story. It came about that a lot of
Confederate mail was captured by the Union forces, and, while it
was not exactly the proper thing to do, some of our soldiers
opened several letters written by the Southerners at the front to
their people at home.

“In one of these missives the writer, in a postscript, jotted
down this assertion

“‘We’ll lick the Yanks termorrer, if goddlemity (God Almighty)
spares our lives.’

“That fellow was in earnest, too, as the letter was written the
day before the second battle of Manassas.”

“The first time I ever remember seeing ‘Abe’ Lincoln,” is the
testimony of one of his neighbors, “was when I was a small boy
and had gone with my father to attend some kind of an election.
One of the neighbors, James Larkins, was there.

“Larkins was a great hand to brag on anything he owned. This time
it was his horse. He stepped up before ‘Abe,’ who was in a crowd,
and commenced talking to him, boasting all the while of his

“‘I have got the best horse in the country,’ he shouted to his
young listener. ‘I ran him nine miles in exactly three minutes,
and he never fetched a long breath.’

“‘I presume,’ said ‘Abe,’ rather dryly, ‘he fetched a good many
short ones, though.'”

On May 3rd, 1862, “Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper” printed
this cartoon, over the title of “Sandbag Lincoln and the Old Man
of the Sea, Secretary of the Navy Welles.” It was intended to
demonstrate that the head of the Navy Department was incompetent
to manage the affairs of the Navy; also that the Navy was not
doing as good work as it might.

When this cartoon was published, the United States Navy had
cleared and had under control the Mississippi River as far south
as Memphis; had blockaded all the cotton ports of the South; had
assisted in the reduction of a number of Confederate forts; had
aided Grant at Fort Donelson and the battle of Shiloh; the
Monitor had whipped the ironclad terror, Merrimac (the
Confederates called her the Virginia); Admiral Farragut’s fleet
had compelled the surrender of the city of New Orleans, the great
forts which had defended it, and the Federal Government obtained
control of the lower Mississippi.

“The Old Man of the Sea” was therefore, not a drag or a weight
upon President Lincoln, and the Navy was not so far behind in
making a good record as the picture would have the people of the
world believe. It was not long after the Monitor’s victory that
the United States Navy was the finest that ever plowed the seas.
The building of the Monitor also revolutionized naval warfare.

About a week after the Chicago Convention, a gentleman from New
York called upon the President, in company with the Assistant
Secretary of War, Mr. Dana.

In the course of conversation, the gentleman said: “What do you
think, Mr. President, is the reason General McClellan does not
reply to the letter from the Chicago Convention?”

“Oh!” replied Mr. Lincoln, with a characteristic twinkle of the
eye, “he is intrenching!”

>From the day of his nomination by the Chicago convention, gifts
poured in upon Lincoln. Many of these came in the form of wearing
apparel. Mr. George Lincoln, of Brooklyn, who brought to
Springfield, in January, 1861, a handsome silk hat to the
President-elect, the gift of a New York hatter, told some friends
that in receiving the hat Lincoln laughed heartily over the gifts
of clothing, and remarked to Mrs. Lincoln: “Well, wife, if
nothing else comes out of this scrape, we are going to have some
new clothes, are we not?”

In speaking of the many mean and petty acts of certain members of
Congress, the President, while talking on the subject one day
with friends, said:

“I have great sympathy for these men, because of their temper and
their weakness; but I am thankful that the good Lord has given to
the vicious ox short horns, for if their physical courage were
equal to their vicious disposition, some of us in this neck of
the woods would get hurt.”

“I was speaking one time to Mr. Lincoln,” said Governor Saunders,
of Nebraska, of a little Nebraskan settlement on the Weeping
Water, a stream in our State.”

“‘Weeping Water!’ said he.

“Then with a twinkle in his eye, he continued.

“‘I suppose the Indians out there call Minneboohoo, don’t they?
They ought to, if Laughing Water is Minnehaha in their

Peter Cartwright, the famous and eccentric old Methodist
preacher, who used to ride a church circuit, as Mr. Lincoln and
others did the court circuit, did not like Lincoln very well,
probably because Mr. Lincoln was not a member of his flock, and
once defeated the preacher for Congress. This was Cartwright’s
description of Lincoln: “This Lincoln is a man six feet four
inches tall, but so angular that if you should drop a plummet
from the center of his head it would cut him three times before
it touched his feet.”

A gentleman was relating to the President how a friend of his had
been driven away from New Orleans as a Unionist, and how, on his
expulsion, when he asked to see the writ by which he was
expelled, the deputation which called on him told him the
Government would do nothing illegal, and so they had issued no
illegal writs, and simply meant to make him go of his own free

“Well,” said Mr. Lincoln, “that reminds me of a hotel-keeper down
at St. Louis, who boasted that he never had a death in his hotel,
for whenever a guest was dying in his house he carried him out to
die in the gutter.”

The day following the adjournment of the Baltimore Convention, at
which President Lincoln was renominated, various political
organizations called to pay their respects to the President.
While the Philadelphia delegation was being presented, the
chairman of that body, in introducing one of the members, said:

“Mr. President, this is Mr. S., of the second district of our
State,–a most active and earnest friend of yours and the cause.
He has, among other things, been good enough to paint, and
present to our league rooms, a most beautiful portrait of

President Lincoln took the gentleman’s hand in his, and shaking
it cordially said, with a merry voice, “I presume, sir, in
painting your beautiful portrait, you took your idea of me from
my principles and not from my person.”

Lincoln was married–he balked at the first date set for the
ceremony and did not show up at all–November 4, 1842, under most
happy auspices. The officiating clergyman, the Rev. Mr. Dresser,
used the Episcopal church service for marriage. Lincoln placed
the ring upon the bride’s finger, and said, “With this ring I now
thee wed, and with all my worldly goods I thee endow.”

Judge Thomas C. Browne, who was present, exclaimed, “Good
gracious, Lincoln! the statute fixes all that!”

“Oh, well,” drawled Lincoln, “I just thought I’d add a little
dignity to the statute.”

The joint debates between Lincoln and Douglas were attended by
crowds of people, and the arrival of both at the places of
speaking were in the nature of a triumphal procession. In these
processions there were many banners bearing catchphrases and
mottoes expressing the sentiment of the people on the candidates
and the issues.

The following were some of the mottoes on the Lincoln banners:

[Westward the star of empire takes its way;
The girls link on to Lincoln, their mothers were for Clay.] [Abe, the Giant-Killer.] [Edgar County for the Tall Sucker.] [Free Territories and Free Men,
Free Pulpits and Free Preachers,
Free Press and a Free Pen,
Free Schools and Free Teachers.] GIVING AWAY THE CASE.

Between the first election and inauguration of Mr. Lincoln the
disunion sentiment grew rapidly in the South, and President
Buchanan’s failure to stop the open acts of secession grieved Mr.
Lincoln sorely. Mr. Lincoln had a long talk with his friend,
Judge Gillespie, over the state of affairs. One incident of the
conversation is thus narrated by the Judge:

“When I retired, it was the master of the house and chosen ruler
of the country who saw me to my room. ‘Joe,’ he said, as he was
about to leave me, ‘I am reminded and I suppose you will never
forget that trial down in Montgomery county, where the lawyer
associated with you gave away the whole case in his opening
speech. I saw you signaling to him, but you couldn’t stop him.

“‘Now, that’s just the way with me and Buchanan. He is giving
away the case, and I have nothing to say, and can’t stop him.

Mr. Leonard Volk, the artist, relates that, being in Springfield
when Lincoln’s nomination for President was announced, he called
upon Mr. Lincoln, whom he found looking smiling and happy. “I
exclaimed, ‘I am the first man from Chicago, I believe, who has
had the honor of congratulating you on your nomination for
President.’ Then those two great hands took both of mine with a
grasp never to be forgotten, and while shaking, I said, ‘Now that
you will doubtless be the next President of the United States, I
want to make a statue of you, and shall try my best to do you

“Said he, ‘I don’t doubt it, for I have come to the conclusion
that you are an honest man,’ and with that greeting, I thought my
hands in a fair way of being crushed.

“On the Sunday following, by agreement, I called to make a cast
of Mr. Lincoln’s hands. I asked him to hold something in his
hands, and told him a stick would do. Thereupon he went to the
woodshed, and I heard the saw go, and he soon returned to the
dining-room, whittling off the end of a piece of broom handle. I
remarked to him that he need not whittle off the edges. ‘Oh,
well,’ said he, ‘I thought I would like to have it nice.'”

During Lincoln’s first and only term in Congress–he was elected
in 1846–he formed quite a cordial friendship with Stephen A.
Douglas, a member of the United States Senate from Illinois, and
the beaten one in the contest as to who should secure the hand of
Miss Mary Todd. Lincoln was the winner; Douglas afterwards beat
him for the United States Senate, but Lincoln went to the White

During all of the time that they were rivals in love and in
politics they remained the best of friends personally. They were
always glad to see each other, and were frequently together. The
disparity in their size was always the more noticeable upon such
occasions, and they well deserved their nicknames of “Long Abe”
and the “Little Giant.” Lincoln was the tallest man in the
National House of Representatives, and Douglas the shortest (and
perhaps broadest) man the Senate, and when they appeared on the
streets together much merriment was created. Lincoln, when joked
about the matter, replied, in a very serious tone, “Yes, that’s
about the length and breadth of it.”

Lincoln couldn’t sing, and he also lacked the faculty of musical
adaptation. He had a liking for certain ballads and songs, and
while he memorized and recited their lines, someone else did the
singing. Lincoln often recited for the delectation of his
friends, the following, the authorship of which is unknown:

The first factional fight in old Ireland, they say,
Was all on account of St. Patrick’s birthday;
It was somewhere about midnight without any doubt,
And certain it is, it made a great rout.

On the eighth day of March, as some people say,
St. Patrick at midnight he first saw the day;
While others assert ’twas the ninth he was born–
‘Twas all a mistake–between midnight and morn.

Some blamed the baby, some blamed the clock;
Some blamed the doctor, some the crowing cock.
With all these close questions sure no one could know,
Whether the babe was too fast or the clock was too slow.

Some fought for the eighth, for the ninth some would die;
He who wouldn’t see right would have a black eye.
At length these two factions so positive grew,
They each had a birthday, and Pat he had two.

Till Father Mulcahay who showed them their sins,
He said none could have two birthdays but as twins.
“Now boys, don’t be fighting for the eight or the nine;
Don’t quarrel so always, now why not combine.”

Combine eight with nine. It is the mark;
Let that be the birthday. Amen! said the clerk.
So all got blind drunk, which completed their bliss,
And they’ve kept up the practice from that day to this.

Senator John Sherman, of Ohio, introduced his brother, William T.
Sherman (then a civilian) to President Lincoln in March, 1861.
Sherman had offered his services, but, as in the case of Grant,
they had been refused.

After the Senator had transacted his business with the President,
he said: “Mr. President, this is my brother, Colonel Sherman, who
is just up from Louisiana; he may give you some information you

To this Lincoln replied, as reported by Senator Sherman himself:
“Ah! How are they getting along down there?”

Sherman answered: “They think they are getting along swimmingly;
they are prepared for war.”

To which Lincoln responded: “Oh, well, I guess we’ll manage to
keep the house.”

“Tecump,” whose temper was not the mildest, broke out on “Brother
John” as soon as they were out of the White House, cursed the
politicians roundly, and wound up with, “You have got things in a
h–l of a fix, and you may get out as best you can.”

Sherman was one of the very few generals who gave Lincoln little
or no worry.

General Grant told this story about Lincoln some years after the

“Just after receiving my commission as lieutenant-general the
President called me aside to speak to me privately. After a brief
reference to the military situation, he said he thought he could
illustrate what he wanted to say by a story. Said he:

“‘At one time there was a great war among the animals, and one
side had great difficulty in getting a commander who had
sufficient confidence in himself. Finally they found a monkey by
the name of Jocko, who said he thought he could command their
army if his tail could be made a little longer. So they got more
tail and spliced it on to his caudal appendage.

“‘He looked at it admiringly, and then said he thought he ought
to have still more tail. This was added, and again he called for
more. The splicing process was repeated many times until they had
coiled Jocko’s tail around the room, filling all the space.

“‘Still he called for more tail, and, there being no other place
to coil it, they began wrapping it around his shoulders. He
continued his call for more, and they kept on winding the
additional tail around him until its weight broke him down.’

“I saw the point, and, rising from my chair, replied, ‘Mr.
President, I will not call for any more assistance unless I find
it impossible to do with what I already have.'”

Ward Lamon, Marshal of the District of Columbia during Lincoln’s
time in Washington, was a powerful man; his strength was
phenomenal, and a blow from his fist was like unto that coming
from the business end of a sledge.

Lamon tells this story, the hero of which is not mentioned by
name, but in all probability his identity can be guessed:

“On one occasion, when the fears of the loyal element of the city
(Washington) were excited to fever-heat, a free fight near the
old National Theatre occurred about eleven o’clock one night. An
officer, in passing the place, observed what was going on, and
seeing the great number of persons engaged, he felt it to be his
duty to command the peace.

“The imperative tone of his voice stopped the fighting for a
moment, but the leader, a great bully, roughly pushed back the
officer and told him to go away or he would whip him. The officer
again advanced and said, ‘I arrest you,’ attempting to place his
hand on the man’s shoulder, when the bully struck a fearful blow
at the officer’s face.

“This was parried, and instantly followed by a blow from the fist
of the officer, striking the fellow under the chin and knocking
him senseless. Blood issued from his mouth, nose and ears. It was
believed that the man’s neck was broken. A surgeon was called,
who pronounced the case a critical one, and the wounded man was
hurried away on a litter to the hospital.

“There the physicians said there was concussion of the brain, and
that the man would die. All the medical skill that the officer
could procure was employed in the hope of saving the life of the
man. His conscience smote him for having, as he believed, taken
the life of a fellow-creature, and he was inconsolable.

“Being on terms of intimacy with the President, about two o’clock
that night the officer went to the White House, woke up Mr.
Lincoln, and requested him to come into his office, where he told
him his story. Mr. Lincoln listened with great interest until the
narrative was completed, and then asked a few questions, after
which he remarked:

“‘I am sorry you had to kill the man, but these are times of
war, and a great many men deserve killing. This one, according to
your story, is one of them; so give yourself no uneasiness about
the matter. I will stand by you.’

“‘That is not why I came to you. I knew I did my duty, and had
no fears of your disapproval of what I did,’ replied the officer;
and then he added: ‘Why I came to you was, I felt great grief
over the unfortunate affair, and I wanted to talk to you about

“Mr. Lincoln then said, with a smile, placing his hand on the
officer’ shoulder: ‘You go home now and get some sleep; but let
me give you this piece of advice–hereafter, when you have
occasion to strike a man, don’t hit him with your fist; strike
him with a club, a crowbar, or with something that won’t kill

Lincoln could be arbitrary when occasion required. This is the
letter he wrote to one of the Department heads:

“You must make a job of it, and provide a place for the bearer
of this, Elias Wampole. Make a job of it with the collector and
have it done. You can do it for me, and you must.”

There was no delay in taking action in this matter. Mr. Wampole,
or “Eli,” as he was thereafter known, “got there.”

Many amusing stories are told of President Lincoln and his
gloves. At about the time of his third reception he had on a
tight-fitting pair of white kids, which he had with difficulty
got on. He saw approaching in the distance an old Illinois friend
named Simpson, whom he welcomed with a genuine Sangamon county
(Illeenoy) shake, which resulted in bursting his white kid glove,
with an audible sound. Then, raising his brawny hand up before
him, looking at it with an indescribable expression, he said,
while the whole procession was checked, witnessing this scene:

“Well, my old friend, this is a general bustification. You and I
were never intended to wear these things. If they were stronger
they might do well enough to keep out the cold, but they are a
failure to shake hands with between old friends like us. Stand
aside, Captain, and I’ll see you shortly.”

Simpson stood aside, and after the unwelcome ceremony was
terminated he rejoined his old Illinois friend in familiar

H. C. Whitney wrote in 1866: “I was in Washington in the Indian
service for a few days before August, 1861, and I merely said to
President Lincoln one day: ‘Everything is drifting into the war,
and I guess you will have to put me in the army.’

“The President looked up from his work and said, good-humoredly:

‘I’m making generals now; in a few days I will be making
quartermasters, and then I’ll fix you.'”

In the “Diary of a Public Man” appears this jocose anecdote:

“Mr. Lincoln walked into the corridor with us; and, as he bade us
good-by and thanked Blank for what he had told him, he again
brightened up for a moment and asked him in an abrupt kind of
way, laying his hand as he spoke with a queer but not uncivil
familiarity on his shoulder, ‘You haven’t such a thing as a
postmaster in your pocket, have you?’

Blank stared at him in astonishment, and I thought a little in
alarm, as if he suspected a sudden attack of insanity; then Mr.
Lincoln went on:

‘You see it seems to me kind of unnatural that you shouldn’t have
at least a postmaster in your pocket. Everybody I’ve seen for
days past has had foreign ministers and collectors, and all
kinds, and I thought you couldn’t have got in here without having
at least a postmaster get into your pocket!'”

When a surveyor, Mr. Lincoln first platted the town of
Petersburg, Ill. Some twenty or thirty years afterward the
property-owners along one of the outlying streets had trouble in
fixing their boundaries. They consulted the official plat and got
no relief. A committee was sent to Springfield to consult the
distinguished surveyor, but he failed to recall anything that
would give them aid, and could only refer them to the record. The
dispute therefore went into the courts. While the trial was
pending, an old Irishman named McGuire, who had worked for some
farmer during the summer, returned to town for the winter. The
case being mentioned in his presence, he promptly said: “I can
tell you all about it. I helped carry the chain when Abe Lincoln
laid out this town. Over there where they are quarreling about
the lines, when he was locating the street, he straightened up
from his instrument and said: ‘If I run that street right
through, it will cut three or four feet off the end of –‘s
house. It’s all he’s got in the world and he never could get
another. I reckon it won’t hurt anything out here if I skew the
line a little and miss him.”‘

The line was “skewed,” and hence the trouble, and more testimony
furnished as to Lincoln’s abounding kindness of heart, that would
not willingly harm any human being.

One of the most celebrated courts-martial during the War was that
of Franklin W. Smith and his brother, charged with defrauding the
government. These men bore a high character for integrity. At
this time, however, courts-martial were seldom invoked for any
other purpose than to convict the accused, and the Smiths shared
the usual fate of persons whose cases were submitted to such
arbitrament. They were kept in prison, their papers seized, their
business destroyed, and their reputations ruined, all of which
was followed by a conviction.

The finding of the court was submitted to the President, who,
after a careful investigation, disapproved the judgment, and
wrote the following endorsement upon the papers:

“Whereas, Franklin W. Smith had transactions with the Navy
Department to the amount of a millon and a quarter of dollars;

“Whereas, he had a chance to steal at least a quarter of a
million and was only charged with stealing twenty-two hundred
dollars, and the question now is about his stealing one hundred,
I don’t believe he stole anything at all.

“Therefore, the record and the findings are disapproved, declared
null and void, and the defendants are fully discharged.”

President Lincoln, after listening to the arguments and appeals
of a committee which called upon him at the White House not long
before the Emancipation Proclamation was issued, said:

“I do not want to issue a document that the whole world will see
must necessarily be inoperative, like the Pope’s bull against the

A “high” private of the One Hundred and Fortieth Infantry
Regiment, Pennsylvania Volunteers, wounded at Chancellorsville,
was taken to Washington. One day, as he was becoming
convalescent, a whisper ran down the long row of cots that the
President was in the building and would soon pass by. Instantly
every boy in blue who was able arose, stood erect, hands to the
side, ready to salute his Commanderin-Chief.

The Pennsylvanian stood six feet seven inches in his stockings.
Lincoln was six feet four. As the President approached this giant
towering above him, he stopped in amazement, and casting his eyes
from head to foot and from foot to head, as if contemplating the
immense distance from one extremity to the other, he stood for a
moment speechless.

At length, extending his hand, he exclaimed, “Hello, comrade, do
you know when your feet get cold?”

“Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper” of March 2nd, 1861, two
days previous to the inauguration of President-elect Lincoln,
contained the caricature reproduced here. It was intended to
convey the idea that the National Administration would thereafter
depend upon the support of bayonets to uphold it, and the text
underneath the picture ran as follows:

OLD ABE: “Oh, it’s all well enough to say that I must support the
dignity of my high office by force–but it’s darned uncomfortable
sitting, I can tell yer.”

This journal was not entirely friendly to the new Chief
Magistrate, but it could not see into the future. Many of the
leading publications of the East, among them some of those which
condemned slavery and were opposed to secession, did not believe
Lincoln was the man for the emergency, but instead of doing what
they could do to help him along, they attacked him most
viciously. No man, save Washington, was more brutally lied about
than Lincoln, but he bore all the slurs and thrusts, not to
mention the open, cruel antagonism of those who should have been
his warmest friends, with a fortitude and patience few men have
ever shown. He was on the right road, and awaited the time when
his course should receive the approval it merited.

General James B. Fry told a good one on Secretary of War Stanton,
who was worsted in a contention with the President. Several
brigadier-generals were to be selected, and Lincoln maintained
that “something must be done in the interest of the Dutch.” Many
complaints had come from prominent men, born in the Fatherland,
but who were fighting for the Union.

“Now, I want Schimmelpfennig given one of those brigadierships.”

Stanton was stubborn and headstrong, as usual, but his manner and
tone indicated that the President would have his own way in the
end. However, he was not to be beaten without having made a

“But, Mr. President,” insisted the Iron War Secretary, “it may be
that this Mr. Schim–what’s-his-name–has no recommendations
showing his fitness. Perhaps he can’t speak English.”

“That doesn’t matter a bit, Stanton,” retorted Lincoln, “he may
be deaf and dumb for all I know, but whatever language he speaks,
if any, we can furnish troops who will understand what he says.
That name of his will make up for any differences in religion,
politics or understanding, and I’ll take the risk of his coming
out all right.”

Then, slamming his great hand upon the Secretary’s desk, he said,
“Schim-mel-fen-nig must be appointed.”

And he was, there and then.

“Do you know General A–?” queried the President one day to a
friend who had “dropped in” at the White House.

“Certainly; but you are not wasting any time thinking about him,
are you?” was the rejoinder.

“You wrong him,” responded the President, “he is a really great
man, a philosopher.”

“How do you make that out? He isn’t worth the powder and ball
necessary to kill him so I have heard military men say,” the
friend remarked.

“He is a mighty thinker,” the President returned, “because he has
mastered that ancient and wise admonition, ‘Know thyself;’ he has
formed an intimate acquaintance with himself, knows as well for
what he is fitted and unfitted as any man living. Without doubt
he is a remarkable man. This War has not produced another like

“How is it you are so highly pleased with General A– all at

“For the reason,” replied Mr. Lincoln, with a merry twinkle of
the eye, “greatly to my relief, and to the interests of the
country, he has resigned. The country should express its
gratitude in some substantial way.”

There was no member of the Cabinet from the South when
Attorney-General Bates handed in his resignation, and President
Lincoln had a great deal of trouble in making a selection.
Finally Titian F. Coffey consented to fill the vacant place for a
time, and did so until the appointment of Mr. Speed.

In conversation with Mr. Coffey the President quaintly remarked:

“My Cabinet has shrunk up North, and I must find a Southern man.
I suppose if the twelve Apostles were to be chosen nowadays, the
shrieks of locality would have to be heeded.”

It is not generally known that President Lincoln adopted a
suggestion made by Secretary of the Treasury Salmon P. Chase in
regard to the Emancipation Proclamation, and incorporated it in
that famous document.

After the President had read it to the members of the Cabinet he
asked if he had omitted anything which should be added or
inserted to strengthen it. It will be remembered that the closing
paragraph of the Proclamation reads in this way:

“And upon this act, sincerely believed to be an act of justice
warranted by the Constitution, I invoke the considerate judgment
of mankind, and the gracious favor of Almighty God!” President
Lincoln’s draft of the paper ended with the word “mankind,” and
the words, “and the gracious favor of Almighty God,” were those
suggested by Secretary Chase.

It was the President’s overweening desire to accommodate all
persons who came to him soliciting favors, but the opportunity
was never offered until an untimely and unthinking disease, which
possessed many of the characteristics of one of the most dreaded
maladies, confined him to his bed at the White House.

The rumor spread that the President was afflicted with this
disease, while the truth was that it was merely a very mild
attack of varioloid. The office-seekers didn’t know the facts,
and for once the Executive Mansion was clear of them.

One day, a man from the West, who didn’t read the papers, but
wanted the postoffice in his town, called at the White House. The
President, being then practically a well man, saw him. The caller
was engaged in a voluble endeavor to put his capabilities in the
most favorable light, when the President interrupted him with the
remark that he would be compelled to make the interview short, as
his doctor was due.

“Why, Mr. President, are you sick?” queried the visitor.

“Oh, nothing much,” replied Mr. Lincoln, “but the physician says
he fears the worst.”

“What worst, may I ask?”

“Smallpox,” was the answer; “but you needn’t be scared. I’m only
in the first stages now.”

The visitor grabbed his hat, sprang from his chair, and without a
word bolted for the door.

“Don’t be in a hurry,” said the President placidly; “sit down and
talk awhile.”

“Thank you, sir; I’ll call again,” shouted the Westerner, as he
disappeared through the opening in the wall.

“Now, that’s the way with people,” the President said, when
relating the story afterward. “When I can’t give them what they
want, they’re dissatisfied, and say harsh things about me; but
when I’ve something to give to everybody they scamper off.”

An applicant for a sutlership in the army relates this story: “In
the winter of 1864, after serving three years in the Union Army,
and being honorably discharged, I made application for the post
sutlership at Point Lookout. My father being interested, we made
application to Mr. Stanton, the Secretary of War. We obtained an
audience, and were ushered into the presence of the most pompous
man I ever met. As I entered he waved his hand for me to stop at
a given distance from him, and then put these questions, viz.:

“‘Did you serve three years in the army?’

“‘I did, sir.’

“‘Were you honorably discharged?’

“‘I was, sir.’

“‘Let me see your discharge.’

“I gave it to him. He looked it over, then said:

‘Were you ever wounded?’ I told him yes, at the battle of
Williamsburg, May 5, 1861.

“He then said: ‘I think we can give this position to a soldier
who has lost an arm or leg, he being more deserving; and he then
said I looked hearty and healthy enough to serve three years
more. He would not give me a chance to argue my case.

The audience was at an end. He waved his hand to me. I was then
dismissed from the august presence of the Honorable Secretary of
War. “My father was waiting for me in the hallway, who saw by my
countenance that I was not successful. I said to my father:

“‘Let us go over to Mr. Lincoln; he may give us more

“He said it would do me no good, but we went over. Mr. Lincoln’s
reception room was full of ladies and gentlemen when we entered.

“My turn soon came. Lincoln turned to my father and said

“‘Now, gentlemen, be pleased to be as quick as possible with
your business, as it is growing late.’

“My father then stepped up to Lincoln and introduced me to him.
Lincoln then said:

“‘Take a seat, gentlemen, and state your business as quickly as

“There was but one chair by Lincoln, so he motioned my father to
sit, while I stood. My father stated the business to him as
stated above. He then said:

“‘Have you seen Mr. Stanton?’

“We told him yes, that he had refused. He (Mr. Lincoln) then

“‘Gentlemen, this is Mr. Stanton’s business; I cannot interfere
with him; he attends to all these matters and I am sorry I cannot
help you.’

“He saw that we were disappointed, and did his best to revive our
spirits. He succeeded well with my father, who was a Lincoln man,
and who was a staunch Republican.

“Mr. Lincoln then said:

“‘Now, gentlemen, I will tell you, what it is; I have thousands
of applications like this every day, but we cannot satisfy all
for this reason, that these positions are like office
seekers–there are too many pigs for the teats.’

“The ladies who were listening to the conversation placed their
handkerchiefs to their faces and turned away. But the joke of
‘Old Abe’ put us all in a good humor. We then left the presence
of the greatest and most just man who ever lived to fill the
Presidential chair.'”

No sooner was Abraham Lincoln made the candidate for the
Presidency of the Republican Party, in 1860, than the opposition
began to lampoon and caricature him. In the cartoon here
reproduced, which is given the title of:

“The Republican Party Going to the Right House,” Lincoln is
represented as entering the Lunatic Asylum, riding on a rail,
carried by Horace Greeley, the great Abolitionist; Lincoln,
followed by his “fellow-cranks,” is assuring the latter that the
millennium is “going to begin,” and that all requests will be

Lincoln’s followers are depicted as those men and women composing
the “free love” element; those who want religion abolished;
negroes, who want it understood that the white man has no rights
his black brother is bound to respect; women suffragists, who
demand that men be made subject to female authority; tramps, who
insist upon free lodging-houses; criminals, who demand the right
to steal from all they meet; and toughs, who want the police
forces abolished, so that “the b’hoys” can “run wid de masheen,”
and have “a muss” whenever they feel like it, without
interference by the authorities.

Speaking of his last meeting with Judge Douglas, Mr. Lincoln
said: “One day Douglas came rushing in and said he had just got a
telegraph dispatch from some friends in Illinois urging him to
come out and help set things right in Egypt, and that he would
go, or stay in Washington, just where I thought he could do the
most good.

“I told him to do as he chose, but that probably he could do best
in Illinois. Upon that he shook hands with me, and hurried away
to catch the next train. I never saw him again.”

Lincoln was one of the attorneys in a case of considerable
importance, court being held in a very small and dilapidated
schoolhouse out in the country; Lincoln was compelled to stoop
very much in order to enter the door, and the seats were so low
that he doubled up his legs like a jackknife.

Lincoln was obliged to sit upon a school bench, and just in front
of him was another, making the distance between him and the seat
in front of him very narrow and uncomfortable.

His position was almost unbearable, and in order to carry out his
preference which he secured as often as possible, and that was
“to sit as near to the jury as convenient,” he took advantage of
his discomfort and finally said to the Judge on the “bench”:

“Your Honor, with your permission, I’ll sit up nearer to the
gentlemen of the jury, for it hurts my legs less to rub my calves
against the bench than it does to skin my shins.”

When Mr. Lincoln had prepared his brief letter accepting the
Presidential nomination he took it to Dr. Newton Bateman, the
State Superintendent of Education.

“Mr. Schoolmaster,” he said, “here is my letter of acceptance. I
am not very strong on grammar and I wish you to see if it is all
right. I wouldn’t like to have any mistakes in it.”.

The doctor took the letter and after reading it, said:

“There is only one change I should suggest, Mr. Lincoln, you have
written ‘It shall be my care to not violate or disregard it in
any part,’ you should have written ‘not to violate.’ Never split
an infinitive, is the rule.”

Mr. Lincoln took the manuscript, regarding it a moment with a
puzzled air, “So you think I better put those two little fellows
end to end, do you?” he said as he made the change.

Reuben and Charles Grigsby were married in Spencer county,
Indiana, on the same day to Elizabeth Ray and Matilda Hawkins,
respectively. They met the next day at the home of Reuben
Grigsby, Sr., and held a double infare, to which most of the
county was invited, with the exception of the Lincolns. This
Abraham duly resented, and it resulted in his first attempt at
satirical writing, which he called “The Chronicles of Reuben.”

The manuscript was lost, and not recovered until 1865, when a
house belonging to one of the Grigsbys was torn down. In the loft
a boy found a roll of musty old papers, and was intently reading
them, when he was asked what he was doing.

“Reading a portion of the Scriptures that haven’t been revealed
yet,” was the response. This was Lincoln’s “Chronicles,” which is
herewith given


“Now, there was a man whose name was Reuben, and the same was
very great in substance, in horses and cattle and swine, and a
very great household.

“It came to pass when the sons of Reuben grew up that they were
desirous of taking to themselves wives, and, being too well known
as to honor in their own country, they took a journey into a far
country and there procured for themselves wives.

“It came to pass also that when they were about to make the
return home they sent a messenger before them to bear the tidings
to their parents.

“These, inquiring of the messenger what time their sons and wives
would come, made a great feast and called all their kinsmen and
neighbors in, and made great preparation.

“When the time drew nigh, they sent out two men to meet the
grooms and their brides, with a trumpet to welcome them, and to
accompany them.

“When they came near unto the house of Reuben, the father, the
messenger came before them and gave a shout, and the whole
multitude ran out with shouts of joy and music, playing on all
kinds of instruments.

“Some were playing on harps, some on viols, and some blowing on
rams’ horns.

“Some also were casting dust and ashes toward Heaven, and chief
among them all was Josiah, blowing his bugle and making sounds so
great the neighboring hills and valleys echoed with the
resounding acclamation.

“When they had played and their harps had sounded till the grooms
and brides approached the gates, Reuben, the father, met them and
welcomed them to his house.

“The wedding feast being now ready, they were all invited to sit
down and eat, placing the bridegrooms and their brides at each
end of the table.

“Waiters were then appointed to serve and wait on the guests.
When all had eaten and were full and merry, they went out again
and played and sung till night.

“And when they had made an end of feasting and rejoicing the
multitude dispersed, each going to his own home.

“The family then took seats with their waiters to converse while
preparations were being made in two upper chambers for the brides
and grooms.

“This being done, the waiters took the two brides upstairs,
placing one in a room at the right hand of the stairs and the
other on the left.

“The waiters came down, and Nancy, the mother, then gave
directions to the waiters of the bridegrooms, and they took them
upstairs, but placed them in the wrong rooms.

“The waiters then all came downstairs.

“But the mother, being fearful of a mistake, made inquiry of the
waiters, and learning the true facts, took the light and sprang

“It came to pass she ran to one of the rooms and exclaimed, ‘O
Lord, Reuben, you are with the wrong wife.’

“The young men, both alarmed at this, ran out with such violence
against each other, they came near knocking each other down.

“The tumult gave evidence to those below that the mistake was

“At last they all came down and had a long conversation about who
made the mistake, but it could not be decided.

“So ended the chapter.”

The original manuscript of “The Chronicles of Reuben” was last in
the possession of Redmond Grigsby, of Rockport, Indiana. A
newspaper which had obtained a copy of the “Chronicles,” sent a
reporter to interview Elizabeth Grigsby, or Aunt Betsy, as she
was called, and asked her about the famous manuscript and the
mistake made at the double wedding.

“Yes, they did have a joke on us,” said Aunt Betsy. “They said my
man got into the wrong room and Charles got into my room. But it
wasn’t so. Lincoln just wrote that for mischief. Abe and my man
often laughed about that.

An officer, having had some trouble with General Sherman, being
very angry, presented himself before Mr. Lincoln, who was
visiting the camp, and said, “Mr. President, I have a cause of
grievance. This morning I went to General Sherman and he
threatened to shoot me.”

“Threatened to shoot you?” asked Mr. Lincoln. “Well, (in a stage
whisper) if I were you I would keep away from him; if he
threatens to shoot, I would not trust him, for I believe he would
do it.”

Early in the Presidential campaign of 1864, President Lincoln
said one night to a late caller at the White House:

“We have met the enemy and they are ‘ourn!’ I think the cabal of
obstructionists ‘am busted.’ I feel certain that, if I live, I am
going to be re-elected. Whether I deserve to be or not, it is not
for me to say; but on the score even of remunerative chances for
speculative service, I now am inspired with the hope that our
disturbed country further requires the valuable services of your
humble servant. ‘Jordan has been a hard road to travel,’ but I
feel now that, notwithstanding the enemies I have made and the
faults I have committed, I’ll be dumped on the right side of that

“I hope, however, that I may never have another four years of
such anxiety, tribulation and abuse. My only ambition is and has
been to put down the rebellion and restore peace, after which I
want to resign my office, go abroad, take some rest, study
foreign governments, see something of foreign life, and in my old
age die in peace with all of the good of God’s creatures.”

An old acquaintance of the President visited him in Washington.
Lincoln desired to give him a place. Thus encouraged, the
visitor, who was an honest man, but wholly inexperienced in
public affairs or business, asked for a high office,
Superintendent of the Mint.

The President was aghast, and said: “Good gracious! Why didn’t he
ask to be Secretary of the Treasury, and have done with it?”

Afterward, he said: “Well, now, I never thought Mr.– had
anything more than average ability, when we were young men
together. But, then, I suppose he thought the same thing about
me, and–here I am!”

At the celebrated Peace Conference, whereat there was much
“pow-wow” and no result, President Lincoln, in response to
certain remarks by the Confederate commissioners, commented with
some severity upon the conduct of the Confederate leaders, saying
they had plainly forfeited all right to immunity from punishment
for their treason.

Being positive and unequivocal in stating his views concerning
individual treason, his words were of ominous import. There was a
pause, during which Commissioner Hunter regarded the speaker with
a steady, searching look. At length, carefully measuring his
words, Mr. Hunter said:

“Then, Mr. President, if we understand you correctly, you think
that we of the Confederacy have committed treason; are traitors
to your Government; have forfeited our rights, and are proper
subjects for the hangman. Is not that about what your words

“Yes,” replied President Lincoln, “you have stated the
proposition better than I did. That is about the size of it!”

Another pause, and a painful one succeeded, and then Hunter, with
a pleasant smile remarked:

“Well, Mr. Lincoln, we have about concluded that we shall not be
hanged as long as you are President–if we behave ourselves.”

And Hunter meant what he said.

On one occasion, in going to meet an appointment in the southern
part of the Sucker State–that section of Illinois called
Egypt–Lincoln, with other friends, was traveling in the
“caboose” of a freight train, when the freight was switched off
the main track to allow a special train to pass.

Lincoln’s more aristocratic rival (Stephen A. Douglas) was being
conveyed to the same town in this special. The passing train was
decorated with banners and flags, and carried a band of music,
which was playing “Hail to the Chief.”

As the train whistled past, Lincoln broke out in a fit of
laughter, and said: “Boys, the gentleman in that car evidently
smelt no royalty in our carriage.”

Ward Lamon told this story of President Lincoln, whom he found
one day in a particularly gloomy frame of mind. Lamon said:

“The President remarked, as I came in, ‘I fear I have made
Senator Wade, of Ohio, my enemy for life.’

“‘How?’ I asked.

“‘Well,’ continued the President, ‘Wade was here just now urging
me to dismiss Grant, and, in response to something he said, I
remarked, “Senator, that reminds me of a story.'”

“‘What did Wade say?’ I inquired of the President.

“‘He said, in a petulant way,’ the President responded, ‘”It is
with you, sir, all story, story! You are the father of every
military blunder that has been made during the war. You are on
your road to hell, sir, with this government, by your obstinacy,
and you are not a mile off this minute.”‘

“‘What did you say then?’

” I good-naturedly said to him,’ the President replied,
‘”Senator, that is just about from here to the Capitol, is it
not?” He was very angry, grabbed up his hat and cane, and went

President Lincoln had not been in the White House very long
before Mrs. Lincoln became seized with the idea that a fine new
barouche was about the proper thing for “the first lady in the
land.” The President did not care particularly about it one way
or the other, and told his wife to order whatever she wanted.

Lincoln forgot all about the new vehicle, and was overcome with
astonishment one afternoon when, having acceded to Mrs. Lincoln’s
desire to go driving, he found a beautiful barouche standing in
front of the door of the White House.

His wife watched him with an amused smile, but the only remark he
made was, “Well, Mary, that’s about the slickest ‘glass hack’ in
town, isn’t it?”

Lincoln, in the days of his youth, was often unfaithful to his
Quaker traditions. On the day of election in 1840, word came to
him that one Radford, a Democratic contractor, had taken
possession of one of the polling places with his workmen, and was
preventing the Whigs from voting. Lincoln started off at a gait
which showed his interest in the matter in hand.

He went up to Radford and persuaded him to leave the polls,
remarking at the same time: “Radford, you’ll spoil and blow, if
you live much longer.”

Radford’s prudence prevented an actual collision, which, it is
said, Lincoln regretted. He told his friend Speed he wanted
Radford to show fight so that he might “knock him down and leave
him kicking.”

President Lincoln was at all times an advocate of peace, provided
it could be obtained honorably and with credit to the United
States. As to the cause of the Civil War, which side of Mason and
Dixon’s line was responsible for it, who fired the first shots,
who were the aggressors, etc., Lincoln did not seem to bother
about; he wanted to preserve the Union, above all things.
Slavery, he was assured, was dead, but he thought the former
slaveholders should be recompensed.

To illustrate his feelings in the matter he told this story:

“Some of the supporters of the Union cause are opposed to
accommodate or yield to the South in any manner or way because
the Confederates began the war; were determined to take their
States out of the Union, and, consequently, should be held
responsible to the last stage for whatever may come in the
future. Now this reminds me of a good story I heard once, when I
lived in Illinois.

“A vicious bull in a pasture took after everybody who tried to
cross the lot, and one day a neighbor of the owner was the
victim. This man was a speedy fellow and got to a friendly tree
ahead of the bull, but not in time to climb the tree. So he led
the enraged animal a merry race around the tree, finally
succeeding in seizing the bull by the tail.

“The bull, being at a disadvantage, not able to either catch the
man or release his tail, was mad enough to eat nails; he dug up
the earth with his feet, scattered gravel all around, bellowed
until you could hear him for two miles or more, and at length
broke into a dead run, the man hanging onto his tail all the

“While the bull, much out of temper, was legging it to the best
of his ability, his tormentor, still clinging to the tail, asked,
‘Darn you, who commenced this fuss?’

“It’s our duty to settle this fuss at the earliest possible
moment, no matter who commenced it. That’s my idea of it.”

When General W. T. Sherman, November 12th, 1864, severed all
communication with the North and started for Savannah with his
magnificent army of sixty thousand men, there was much anxiety
for a month as to his whereabouts. President Lincoln, in response
to an inquiry, said: “I know what hole Sherman went in at, but I
don’t know what hole he’ll come out at.”

Colonel McClure had been in consultation with the President one
day, about two weeks after Sherman’s disappearance, and in this
connection related this incident

“I was leaving the room, and just as I reached the door the
President turned around, and, with a merry twinkling of the eye,
inquired, ‘McClure, wouldn’t you like to hear something from

“The inquiry electrified me at the instant, as it seemed to imply
that Lincoln had some information on the subject. I immediately
answered, ‘Yes, most of all, I should like to hear from Sherman.’

“To this President Lincoln answered, with a hearty laugh: ‘Well,
I’ll be hanged if I wouldn’t myself.'”

Although himself a most polished, even a fastidious, gentleman,
Senator Sumner never allowed Lincoln’s homely ways to hide his
great qualities. He gave him a respect and esteem at the start
which others accorded only after experience. The Senator was most
tactful, too, in his dealings with Mrs. Lincoln, and soon had a
firm footing in the household. That he was proud of this, perhaps
a little boastful, there is no doubt.

Lincoln himself appreciated this. “Sumner thinks he runs me,” he
said, with an amused twinkle, one day.

When Hood’s army had been scattered into fragments, President
Lincoln, elated by the defeat of what had so long been a menacing
force on the borders of Tennessee was reminded by its collapse of
the fate of a savage dog belonging to one of his neighbors in the
frontier settlements in which he lived in his youth. “The dog,”
he said, “was the terror of the neighborhood, and its owner, a
churlish and quarrelsome fellow, took pleasure in the brute’s
forcible attitude.

“Finally, all other means having failed to subdue the creature, a
man loaded a lump of meat with a charge of powder, to which was
attached a slow fuse; this was dropped where the dreaded dog
would find it, and the animal gulped down the tempting bait.

“There was a dull rumbling, a muffled explosion, and fragments of
the dog were seen flying in every direction. The grieved owner,
picking up the shattered remains of his cruel favorite, said: ‘He
was a good dog, but as a dog, his days of usefulness are over.’
Hood’s army was a good army,” said Lincoln, by way of comment,
“and we were all afraid of it, but as an army, its usefulness is

Judge Baldwin, of California, being in Washington, called one day
on General Halleck, then Commander-in-Chief of the Union forces,
and, presuming upon a familiar acquaintance in California a few
years since, solicited a pass outside of our lines to see a
brother in Virginia, not thinking that he would meet with a
refusal, as both his brother and himself were good Union men.

“We have been deceived too often,” said General Halleck, “and I
regret I can’t grant it.”

Judge B. then went to Stanton, and was very briefly disposed of
with the same result. Finally, he obtained an interview with Mr.
Lincoln, and stated his case.

“Have you applied to General Halleck?” inquired the President.

“Yes, and met with a flat refusal,” said Judge B.

“Then you must see Stanton,” continued the President.

“I have, and with the same result,” was the reply.

“Well, then,” said Mr. Lincoln, with a smile, “I can do nothing;
for you must know that I have very little influence with this
Administration, although I hope to have more with the next.”

Many ladies attended the famous debates between Lincoln and
Douglas, and they were the most unprejudiced listeners. “I can
recall only one fact of the debates,” says Mrs. William Crotty,
of Seneca, Illinois, “that I felt so sorry for Lincoln while
Douglas was speaking, and then to my surprise I felt so sorry for
Douglas when Lincoln replied.”

The disinterested to whom it was an intellectual game, felt the
power and charm of both men.

“What made the deepest impression upon you?” inquired a friend
one day, “when you stood in the presence of the Falls of Niagara,
the greatest of natural wonders?”

“The thing that struck me most forcibly when I saw the Falls,”
Lincoln responded, with characteristic deliberation, “was, where
in the world did all that water come from?”

The second election of Abraham Lincoln to the Presidency of the
United States was the reward of his courage and genius bestowed
upon him by the people of the Union States. General George B.
McClellan was his opponent in 1864 upon the platform that “the
War is a failure,” and carried but three States–New Jersey,
Delaware and Kentucky. The States which did not think the War was
a failure were those in New England, New York, Pennsylvania, all
the Western commonwealths, West Virginia, Tennessee, Louisiana,
Arkansas and the new State of Nevada, admitted into the Union on
October 31st. President Lincoln’s popular majority over
McClellan, who never did much toward making the War a success,
was more than four hundred thousand. Underneath the cartoon
reproduced here, from “Harper’s Weekly” of November 26th, 1864,
were the words, “Long Abraham Lincoln a Little Longer.”

But the beloved President’s time upon earth was not to be much
longer, as he was assassinated just one month and ten days after
his second inauguration. Indeed, the words, “a little longer,”
printed below the cartoon, were strangely prophetic, although not
intended to be such.

The people of the United States had learned to love “Long Abe,”
their affection being of a purely personal nature, in the main.
No other Chief Executive was regarded as so sincerely the friend
of the great mass of the inhabitants of the Republic as Lincoln.
He was, in truth, one of “the common people,” having been born
among them, and lived as one of them.

Lincoln’s great height made him an easy subject for the
cartoonist, and they used it in his favor as well as against him.

A Commissioner to the Hawaiian Islands was to be appointed, and
eight applicants had filed their papers, when a delegation from
the South appeared at the White House on behalf of a ninth. Not
only was their man fit–so the delegation urged–but was also in
bad health, and a residence in that balmy climate would be of
great benefit to him.

The President was rather impatient that day, and before the
members of the delegation had fairly started in, suddenly closed
the interview with this remark:

“Gentlemen, I am sorry to say that there are eight other
applicants for that place, and they are all ‘sicker’n’ your man.”

An officer of low volunteer rank persisted in telling and
re-telling his troubles to the President on a summer afternoon
when Lincoln was tired and careworn.

After listening patiently, he finally turned upon the man, and,
looking wearily out upon the broad Potomac in the distance, said
in a peremptory tone that ended the interview:

“Now, my man, go away, go away. I cannot meddle in your case. I
could as easily bail out the Potomac River with a teaspoon as
attend to all the details of the army.”

When the Emancipation Proclamation was taken to Mr. Lincoln by
Secretary Seward, for the President’s signature, Mr. Lincoln took
a pen, dipped it in the ink, moved his hand to the place for the
signature, held it a moment, then removed his hand and dropped
the pen. After a little hesitation, he again took up the pen and
went through the same movement as before. Mr. Lincoln then turned
to Mr. Seward and said:

“I have been shaking hands since nine o’clock this morning, and
my right arm is almost paralyzed. If my name ever goes into
history, it will be for this act, and my whole soul is in it. If
my hand trembles when I sign the Proclamation, all who examine
the document hereafter will say, ‘He hesitated.'”

He then turned to the table, took up the pen again, and slowly,
firmly wrote “Abraham Lincoln,” with which the whole world is now

He then looked up, smiled, and said, “That will do.”

Mr. Lovejoy, heading a committee of Western men, discussed an
important scheme with the President, and the gentlemen were then
directed to explain it to Secretary of War Stanton.

Upon presenting themselves to the Secretary, and showing the
President’s order, the Secretary said: “Did Lincoln give you an
order of that kind?”

“He did, sir.”

“Then he is a d–d fool,” said the angry Secretary.

“Do you mean to say that the President is a d–d fool?” asked
Lovejoy, in amazement.

“Yes, sir, if he gave you such an order as that.”

The bewildered Illinoisan betook himself at once to the President
and related the result of the conference.

“Did Stanton say I was a d–d fool?” asked Lincoln at the close
of the recital.

“He did, sir, and repeated it.”

After a moment’s pause, and looking up, the President said: “If
Stanton said I was a d–d fool, then I must be one, for he is
nearly always right, and generally says what he means. I will
slip over and see him.”

A good story is told of how Mrs. Lincoln made a little surprise
for her husband.

In the early days it was customary for lawyers to go from one
county to another on horseback, a journey which often required
several weeks. On returning from one of these trips, late one
night, Mr. Lincoln dismounted from his horse at the familiar
corner and then turned to go into the house, but stopped; a
perfectly unknown structure was before him. Surprised, and
thinking there must be some mistake, he went across the way and
knocked at a neighbor’s door. The family had retired, and so
called out:

“Who’s there?”

“Abe Lincoln,” was the reply. “I am looking for my house. I
thought it was across the way, but when I went away a few weeks
ago there was only a one-story house there and now there is a
two-story house in its place. I think I must be lost.”

The neighbors then explained that Mrs. Lincoln had added another
story during his absence. And Mr. Lincoln laughed and went to his
remodeled house.

The persistence of office-seekers nearly drove President Lincoln
wild. They slipped in through the half-opened doors of the
Executive Mansion; they dogged his steps if he walked; they edged
their way through the crowds and thrust their papers in his hands
when he rode; and, taking it all in all, they well-nigh worried
him to death.

He once said that if the Government passed through the Rebellion
without dismemberment there was the strongest danger of its
falling a prey to the rapacity of the office-seeking class.

“This human struggle and scramble for office, for a way to live
without work, will finally test the strength of our
institutions,” were the words he used.

On April 20th a delegation from Baltimore appeared at the White
House and begged the President that troops for Washington be sent
around and not through Baltimore.

President Lincoln replied, laughingly: “If I grant this
concession, you will be back tomorrow asking that no troops be
marched ‘around’ it.”

The President was right. That afternoon, and again on Sunday and
Monday, committees sought him, protesting that Maryland soil
should not be “polluted” by the feet of soldiers marching against
the South.

The President had but one reply: “We must have troops, and as
they can neither crawl under Maryland nor fly over it, they must
come across it.”

The Governor-General of Canada, with some of his principal
officers, visited President Lincoln in the summer of 1864.

They had been very troublesome in harboring blockade runners, and
they were said to have carried on a large trade from their ports
with the Confederates. Lincoln treated his guests with great

After a pleasant interview, the Governor, alluding to the coming
Presidential election said, jokingly, but with a grain of
sarcasm: “I understand Mr. President, that everybody votes in
this country. If we remain until November, can we vote?”

“You remind me, replied the President, “of a countryman of yours,
a green emigrant from Ireland. Pat arrived on election day, and
perhaps was as eager a your Excellency to vote, and to vote
early, and late and often.

“So, upon landing at Castle Garden, he hastened to the nearest
voting place, and as he approached, the judge who received the
ballots inquired, ‘Who do you want to vote for? On which side are
you?’ Poor Pat was embarrassed; he did not know who were the
candidates. He stopped, scratched his head, then, with the
readiness of his countrymen, he said:

“‘I am forninst the Government, anyhow. Tell me, if your Honor
plase: which is the rebellion side, and I’ll tell you haw I want
to vote. In ould Ireland, I was always on the rebellion side,
and, by Saint Patrick, I’ll do that same in America.’ Your
Excellency,” said Mr. Lincoln, “would, I should think, not be at
all at a loss on which side to vote!”

One night, about eleven o’clock, Colonel A. K. McClure, whose
intimacy with President Lincoln was so great that he could obtain
admittance to the Executive Mansion at any and all hours, called
at the White House to urge Mr. Lincoln to remove General Grant
from command.

After listening patiently for a long time, the President,
gathering himself up in his chair, said, with the utmost

“I can’t spare this man; he fights!”

In relating the particulars of this interview, Colonel McClure

“That was all he said, but I knew that it was enough, and that
Grant was safe in Lincoln’s hands against his countless hosts of
enemies. The only man in all the nation who had the power to save
Grant was Lincoln, and he had decided to do it. He was not
influenced by any personal partiality for Grant, for they had
never met.

“It was not until after the battle of Shiloh, fought on the 6th
and 7th of April, 1862, that Lincoln was placed in a position to
exercise a controlling influence in shaping the destiny of Grant.
The first reports from the Shiloh battle-field created profound
alarm throughout the entire country, and the wildest
exaggerations were spread in a floodtide of vituperation against

“The few of to-day who can recall the inflamed condition of
public sentiment against Grant caused by the disastrous first
day’s battle at Shiloh will remember that he was denounced as
incompetent for his command by the public journals of all parties
in the North, and with almost entire unanimity by Senators and
Congressmen, regardless of political affinities.

“I appealed to Lincoln for his own sake to remove Grant at once,
and in giving my reasons for it I simply voiced the admittedly
overwhelming protest from the loyal people of the land against
Grant’s continuance in command.

“I did not forget that Lincoln was the one man who never allowed
himself to appear as wantonly defying public sentiment. It seemed
to me impossible for him to save Grant without taking a crushing
load of condemnation upon himself; but Lincoln was wiser than all
those around him, and he not only saved Grant, but he saved him
by such well-concerted effort that he soon won popular applause
from those who were most violent in demanding Grant’s dismissal.”

During the Lincoln-Douglas joint debates of 1858, the latter
accused Lincoln of having, when in Congress, voted against the
appropriation for supplies to be sent the United States soldiers
in Mexico. In reply, Lincoln said: “This is a perversion of the
facts. I was opposed to the policy of the administration in
declaring war against Mexico; but when war was declared I never
failed to vote for the support of any proposition looking to the
comfort of our poor fellows who were maintaining the dignity of
our flag in a war that I thought unnecessary and unjust.”

He gradually became more and more excited; his voice thrilled and
his whole frame shook. Sitting on the stand was O. B. Ficklin,
who had served in Congress with Lincoln in 1847. Lincoln reached
back, took Ficklin by the coat-collar, back of his neck, and in
no gentle manner lifted him from his seat as if he had been a
kitten, and roared: “Fellow-citizens, here is Ficklin, who was at
that time in Congress with me, and he knows it is a lie.”

He shook Ficklin until his teeth chattered. Fearing he would
shake Ficklin’s head off, Ward Lamon grasped Lincoln’s hand and
broke his grip.

After the speaking was over, Ficklin, who had warm personal
friendship with him, said: “Lincoln, you nearly shook all the
Democracy out of me to-day.”

President Lincoln was censured for appointing one that had
zealously opposed his second term.

He replied: “Well, I suppose Judge E., having been disappointed
before, did behave pretty ugly, but that wouldn’t make him any
less fit for the place; and I think I have Scriptural authority
for appointing him.

“You remember when the Lord was on Mount Sinai getting out a
commission for Aaron, that same Aaron was at the foot of the
mountain making a false god for the people to worship. Yet Aaron
got his commission, you know.”

At the time of Lincoln’s nomination, at Chicago, Mr. Newton
Bateman, Superintendent of Public Instruction for the State of
Illinois, occupied a room adjoining and opening into the
Executive Chamber at Springfield. Frequently this door was open
during Mr. Lincoln’s receptions, and throughout the seven months
or more of his occupation he saw him nearly every day. Often,
when Mr. Lincoln was tired, he closed the door against all
intruders, and called Mr. Bateman into his room for a quiet talk.
On one of these occasions, Mr. Lincoln took up a book containing
canvass of the city of Springfield, in which he lived, showing
the candidate for whom each citizen had declared it his intention
to vote in the approaching election. Mr.Lincoln’s friends had,
doubtless at his own request, placed the result of the canvass in
his hands. This was towards the close of October, and only a few
days before election. Calling Mr. Bateman to a seat by his side,
having previously locked all the doors, he said:

“Let us look over this book; I wish particularly to see how the
ministers if Springfield are going to vote.” The leaves were
turned, one by one, and as the names were examined Mr. Lincoln
frequently asked if this one and that one was not a minister,
or an elder, or a member of such and such a church, and sadly
expressed his surprise on receiving an affirmative answer.
In that manner he went through the book, and then he closed it,
and sat silently for some minutes regarding a memorandum in
pencil which lay before him. At length he turned to Mr. Bateman,
with a face full of sadness, and said:

“Here are twenty-three ministers of different denominations, and
all of them are against me but three, and here are a great many
prominent members of churches, a very large majority are against
me. Mr. Bateman, I am not a Christian–God knows I would be one
–but I have carefully read the Bible, and I do not so understand
this book,” and he drew forth a pocket New Testament.

“These men well know,” he continued, “that I am for freedom in
the Territories, freedom everywhere, as free as the Constitution
and the laws will permit, and that my opponents are for slavery.
They know this, and yet, with this book in their hands, in the
light of which human bondage cannot live a moment, they are going
to vote against me; I do not understand it at all.”

Here Mr. Lincoln paused–paused for long minutes, his features
surcharged with emotion. Then he rose and walked up and down the
reception-room in the effort to retain or regain his
self-possession. Stopping at last, he said, with a trembling
voice and cheeks wet with tears:

“I know there is a God, and that He hates injustice and slavery.
I see the storm coming, and I know that His hand is in it. If He
has a place and work for me, and I think He has, I believe I am
ready. I am nothing, but Truth is everything. I know I am right,
because I know that liberty is right, for Christ teaches it, and
Christ is God. I have told them that a house divided against
itself cannot stand; and Christ and Reason say the same, and they
will find it so.

“Douglas doesn’t care whether slavery is voted up or down, but
God cares, and humanity cares, and I care; and with God’s help I
shall not fail. I may not see the end, but it will come, and I
shall be vindicated; and these men will find they have not read
their Bible right.”

Much of this was uttered as if he were speaking to himself, and
with a sad, earnest solemnity of manner impossible to be
described. After a pause he resumed:

“Doesn’t it seem strange that men can ignore the moral aspect of
this contest? No revelation could make it plainer to me that
slavery or the Government must be destroyed. The future would be
something awful, as I look at it, but for this rock on which I
stand” (alluding to the Testament which he still held in his
hand), “especially with the knowledge of how these ministers are
going to vote. It seems as if God had borne with this thing
(slavery) until the teachers of religion have come to defend it
from the Bible, and to claim for it a divine character and
sanction; and now the cup of iniquity is full, and the vials of
wrath will be poured out.”

Everything he said was of a peculiarly deep, tender, and
religious tone, and all was tinged with a touching melancholy. He
repeatedly referred to his conviction that the day of wrath was
at hand, and that he was to be an actor in the terrible struggle
which would issue in the overthrow of slavery, although he might
not live to see the end.

After further reference to a belief in the Divine Providence and
the fact of God in history, the conversation turned upon prayer.
He freely stated his belief in the duty, privilege, and efficacy
of prayer, and intimated, in no unmistakable terms, that he had
sought in that way Divine guidance and favor. The effect of this
conversation upon the mind of Mr. Bateman, a Christian gentleman
whom Mr. Lincoln profoundly respected, was to convince him that
Mr. Lincoln had, in a quiet way, found a path to the Christian
standpoint–that he had found God, and rested on the eternal
truth of God. As the two men were about to separate, Mr. Bateman

“I have not supposed that you were accustomed to think so much
upon this class of subjects; certainly your friends generally are
ignorant of the sentiments you have expressed to me.”

He replied quickly: “I know they are, but I think more on these
subjects than upon all others, and I have done so for years; and
I am willing you should know it.”

Secretary of War Stanton told the President the following story,
which greatly amused the latter, as he was especially fond of a
joke at the expense of some high military or civil dignitary.

Stanton had little or no sense of humor.

When Secretary Stanton was making a trip up the Broad River in
North Carolina, in a tugboat, a Federal picket yelled out, “What
have you got on board of that tug?”

The severe and dignified answer was, “The Secretaty of War and
Major-General Foster.”

Instantly the picket roared back, “We’ve got Major-Generals
enough up here. Why don’t you bring us up some hardtack?”

A story told by a Cabinet member tended to show how accurately
Lincoln could calculate political results in advance–a faculty
which remained with him all his life.

“A friend, who was a Democrat, had come to him early in the
canvass and told him he wanted to see him elected, but did not
like to vote against his party; still he would vote for him, if
the contest was to be so close that every vote was needed.

“A short time before the election Lincoln said to him: ‘I have
got the preacher, and I don’t want your vote.'”

When General Halleck was Commander-in-Chief of the Union forces,
with headquarters at Washington, President Lincoln unconsciously
played a big practical joke upon that dignified officer. The
President had spent the night at the Soldiers’ Home, and the next
morning asked Captain Derickson, commanding the company of
Pennsylvania soldiers, which was the Presidential guard at the
White House and the Home–wherever the President happened to be
–to go to town with him.

Captain Derickson told the story in a most entertaining way:

“When we entered the city, Mr. Lincoln said he would call at
General Halleck’s headquarters and get what news had been
received from the army during the night. I informed him that
General Cullum, chief aid to General Halleck, was raised in
Meadville, and that I knew him when I was a boy.

“He replied, ‘Then we must see both the gentlemen.’ When the
carriage stopped, he requested me to remain seated, and said he
would bring the gentlemen down to see me, the office being on the
second floor. In a short time the President came down, followed
by the other gentlemen. When he introduced them to me, General
Cullum recognized and seemed pleased to see me.

“In General Halleck I thought I discovered a kind of quizzical
look, as much as to say, ‘Isn’t this rather a big joke to ask the
Commander-in-Chief of the army down to the street to be
introduced to a country captain?'”

A gentleman, visiting a hospital at Washington, heard an occupant
of one of the beds laughing and talking about the President, who
had been there a short time before and gladdened the wounded with
some of his stories. The soldier seemed in such good spirits that
the gentleman inquired:

“You must be very slightly wounded?”

“Yes,” replied the brave fellow, “very slightly–I have only lost
one leg, and I’d be glad enough to lose the other, if I could
hear some more of ‘Old Abe’s’ stories.”

William B. Wilson, employed in the telegraph office at the War
Department, ran over to the White House one day to summon Mr.
Lincoln. He described the trip back to the War Department in this

“Calling one of his two younger boys to join him, we then started
from the White House, between stately trees, along a gravel path
which led to the rear of the old War Department building. It was
a warm day, and Mr. Lincoln wore as part of his costume a faded
gray linen duster which hung loosely around his long gaunt frame;
his kindly eye was beaming with good nature, and his
ever-thoughtful brow was unruffled.

“We had barely reached the gravel walk before he stooped over,
picked up a round smooth pebble, and shooting it off his thumb,
challenged us to a game of ‘followings,’ which we accepted. Each
in turn tried to hit the outlying stone, which was being
constantly projected onward by the President. The game was short,
but exciting; the cheerfulness of childhood, the ambition of
young manhood, and the gravity of the statesman were all injected
into it.

“The game was not won until the steps of the War Department were
reached. Every inch of progression was toughly contested, and
when the President was declared victor, it was only by a hand
span. He appeared to be as much pleased as if he had won a

Because of the blockade, by the Union fleets, of the Southern
cotton ports, England was deprived of her supply of cotton, and
scores of thousands of British operatives were thrown out of
employment by the closing of the cotton mills at Manchester and
other cities in Great Britain. England (John Bull) felt so badly
about this that the British wanted to go to war on account of it,
but when the United States eagle ruffled up its wings the English
thought over the business and concluded not to fight.

“Harper’s Weekly” of May 16th, 1863, contained the cartoon we
reproduce, which shows John Bull as manifesting much anxiety
regarding the cotton he had bought from the Southern planters,
but which the latter could not deliver. Beneath the cartoon is
this bit of dialogue between John Bull and President Lincoln: MR.
BULL (confiding creature): “Hi want my cotton, bought at fi’pence
a pound.”

MR. LINCOLN: “Don’t know anything about it, my dear sir. Your
friends, the rebels, are burning all the cotton they can find,
and I confiscate the rest. Good-morning, John!”

As President Lincoln has a big fifteen-inch gun at his side, the
black muzzle of which is pressed tightly against Mr. Bull’s
waistcoat, the President, to all appearances, has the best of the
argument “by a long shot.” Anyhow, Mr. Bull had nothing more to
say, but gave the cotton matter up as a bad piece of business,
and pocketed the loss.

President Lincoln’s first conclusion (that Mason and Slidell
should be released) was the real ground on which the
Administration submitted. “We must stick to American principles
concerning the rights of neutrals.” It was to many, as Secretary
of the Treasury Chase declared it was to him, “gall and
wormwood.” James Russell Lowell’s verse expressed best the
popular feeling:

We give the critters back, John,
Cos Abram thought ’twas right;
It warn’t your bullyin’ clack, John,
Provokin’ us to fight.

The decision raised Mr. Lincoln immeasurably in the view of
thoughtful men, especially in England.

General John C. Fremont, with headquarters at St. Louis,
astonished the country by issuing a proclamation declaring, among
other things, that the property, real and personal, of all the
persons in the State of Missouri who should take up arms against
the United States, or who should be directly proved to have taken
an active part with its enemies in the field, would be
confiscated to public use and their slaves, if they had any,
declared freemen.

The President was dismayed; he modified that part of the
proclamation referring to slaves, and finally replaced Fremont
with General Hunter.

Mrs. Fremont (daughter of Senator T. H. Benton), her husband’s
real chief of staff, flew to Washington and sought Mr. Lincoln.
It was midnight, but the President gave her an audience. Without
waiting for an explanation, she violently charged him with
sending an enemy to Missouri to look into Fremont’s case, and
threatening that if Fremont desired to he could set up a
government for himself.

“I had to exercise all the rude tact I have to avoid quarreling
with her,” said Mr. Lincoln afterwards.

Lincoln’s attempt to make a lawyer of himself under adverse and
unpromising circumstances–he was a bare-footed farm-hand
–excited comment. And it was not to be wondered. One old man,
was yet alive as late as 1901, had often employed Lincoln to do
farm work for him, and was surprised to find him one day sitting
barefoot on the summit of a woodpile and attentively reading a

“This being an unusual thing for farm-hands in that early day to
do,” said the old man, when relating the story, “I asked him what
he was reading.

“‘I’m not reading,’ he answered. ‘I’m studying.’

“‘Studying what?’ I inquired.

“‘Law, sir,’ was the emphatic response.

“It was really too much for me, as I looked at him sitting there
proud as Cicero. ‘Great God Almighty!’ I exclaimed, and passed
on.” Lincoln merely laughed and resumed his “studies.”

In a political campaign, Lincoln once replied to Colonel Richard
Taylor, a self-conceited, dandified man, who wore a gold chain
and ruffled shirt. His party at that time was posing as the
hard-working bone and sinew of the land, while the Whigs were
stigmatized as aristocrats, ruffled-shirt gentry. Taylor making a
sweeping gesture, his overcoat became torn open, displaying his
finery. Lincoln in reply said, laying his hand on his jeans-clad

“Here is your aristocrat, one of your silk-stocking gentry, at
your service.” Then, spreading out his hands, bronzed and gaunt
with toil: “Here is your rag-basin with lily-white hands. Yes, I
suppose, according to my friend Taylor, I am a bloated

Soon after hostilities broke out between the North and South,
Congress appointed a Committee on the Conduct of the War. This
committee beset Mr. Lincoln and urged all sorts of measures. Its
members were aggressive and patriotic, and one thing they
determined upon was that the Army of the Potomac should move. But
it was not until March that they became convinced that anything
would be done.

One day early in that month, Senator Chandler, of Michigan, a
member of the committee, met George W. Julian. He was in high
glee. “‘Old’ Abe is mad,” said Julian, “and the War will now go

During one of the periods when things were at a standstill, the
Washington authorities, being unable to force General McClellan
to assume an aggressive attitude, President Lincoln went to the
general’s headquarters to have a talk with him, but for some
reason he was unable to get an audience.

Mr. Lincoln returned to the White House much disturbed at his
failure to see the commander of the Union forces, and immediately
sent for two general officers, to have a consultation. On their
arrival, he told them he must have some one to talk to about the
situation, and as he had failed to see General McClellan, he
wished their views as to the possibility or probability of
commencing active operations with the Army of the Potomac.

“Something’s got to be done,” said the President, emphatically,
“and done right away, or the bottom will fall out of the whole
thing. Now, if McClellan doesn’t want to use the army for awhile,
I’d like to borrow it from him and see if I can’t do something or
other with it.

“If McClellan can’t fish, he ought at least to be cutting bait at
a time like this.”

After Mr. Lincoln’s nomination for the Presidency, the Executive
Chamber, a large, fine room in the State House at Springfield,
was set apart for him, where he met the public until after his

As illustrative of the nature of many of his calls, the following
incident was related by Mr. Holland, an eye-witness: “Mr. Lincoln
being in conversation with a gentleman one day, two raw,
plainly-dressed young ‘Suckers’ entered the room, and bashfully
lingered near the door. As soon as he observed them, and saw
their embarrassment, he rose and walked to them, saying: ‘How do
you do, my good fellows? What can I do for you? Will you sit
down?’ The spokesman of the pair, the shorter of the two,
declined to sit, and explained the object of the call thus: He
had had a talk about the relative height of Mr. Lincoln and his
companion, and had asserted his belief that they were of exactly
the same height. He had come in to verify his judgment. Mr.
Lincoln smiled, went and got his cane, and, placing the end of it
upon the wall, said” ‘Here, young man, come under here.’ “The
young man came under the cane as Mr. Lincoln held it, and when it
was perfectly adjusted to his height, Mr. Lincoln said:

“‘Now, come out, and hold the cane.’

“This he did, while Mr. Lincoln stood under. Rubbing his head
back and forth to see that it worked easily under the
measurement, he stepped out, and declared to the sagacious fellow
who was curiously looking on, that he had guessed with remarkable
accuracy–that he and the young man were exactly the same height.
Then he shook hands with them and sent them on their way. Mr.
Lincoln would just as soon have thought of cutting off his right
hand as he would have thought of turning those boys away with the
impression that they had in any way insulted his dignity.

An Ohio Senator had an appointment with President Lincoln at six
o’clock, and as he entered the vestibule of the White House his
attention was attracted toward a poorly clad young woman, who was
violently sobbing. He asked her the cause of her distress. She
said she had been ordered away by the servants, after vainly
waiting many hours to see the President about her only brother,
who had been condemned to death. Her story was this:

She and her brother were foreigners, and orphans. They had been
in this country several years. Her brother enlisted in the army,
but, through bad influences, was induced to desert. He was
captured, tried and sentenced to be shot–the old story.

The poor girl had obtained the signatures of some persons who had
formerly known him, to a petition for a pardon, and alone had
come to Washington to lay the case before the President. Thronged
as the waiting-rooms always were, she had passed the long hours
of two days trying in vain to get an audience, and had at length
been ordered away.

The gentleman’s feelings were touched. He said to her that he had
come to see the President, but did not know as he should succeed.
He told her, however, to follow him upstairs, and he would see
what could be done for her.

Just before reaching the door, Mr. Lincoln came out, and, meeting
his friend, said good-humoredly, “Are you not ahead of time?” The
gentleman showed him his watch, with the hand upon the hour of

“Well,” returned Mr. Lincoln, “I have been so busy to-day that I
have not had time to get a lunch. Go in and sit down; I will be
back directly.”

The gentleman made the young woman accompany him into the office,
and when they were seated, said to her: “Now, my good girl, I
want you to muster all the courage you have in the world. When
the President comes back, he will sit down in that armchair. I
shall get up to speak to him, and as I do so you must force
yourself between us, and insist upon his examination of your
papers, telling him it is a case of life and death, and admits of
no delay.” These instructions were carried out to the letter. Mr.
Lincoln was at first somewhat surprised at the apparent
forwardness of the young woman, but observing her distressed
appearance, he ceased conversation with his friend, and commenced
an examination of the document she had placed in his hands.

Glancing from it to the face of the petitioner, whose tears had
broken forth afresh, he studied its expression for a moment, and
then his eye fell upon her scanty but neat dress. Instantly his
face lighted up.

“My poor girl,” said he, “you have come here with no Governor, or
Senator, or member of Congress to plead your cause. You seem
honest and truthful; and you don’t wear hoopskirts–and I will be
whipped but I will pardon your brother.” And he did.

President Lincoln’s favorite son, Tad, having been sportively
commissioned a lieutenant in the United States Army by Secretary
Stanton, procured several muskets and drilled the men-servants of
the house in the manual of arms without attracting the attention
of his father. And one night, to his consternation, he put them
all on duty, and relieved the regular sentries, who, seeing the
lad in full uniform, or perhaps appreciating the joke, gladly
went to their quarters. His brother objected; but Tad insisted
upon his rights as an officer. The President laughed but declined
to interfere, but when the lad had lost his little authority in
his boyish sleep, the Commander-in-Chief of the Army and Navy of
the United States went down and personally discharged the
sentries his son had put on the post.

When Mr. Lincoln delivered his first inaugural he was introduced
by his friend, United States Senator E. D. Baker, of Oregon. He
carried a cane and a little roll–the manuscript of his inaugural
address. There was moment’s pause after the introduction, as he
vainly looked for a spot where he might place his high silk hat.

Stephen A. Douglas, the political antagonist of his whole public
life, the man who had pressed him hardest in the campaign of
1860, was seated just behind him. Douglas stepped forward
quickly, and took the hat which Mr. Lincoln held helplessly in
his hand.

“If I can’t be President,” Douglas whispered smilingly to Mrs.
Brown, a cousin of Mrs. Lincoln and a member of the President’s
party, “I at least can hold his hat.”

Mr. Lincoln once said in a speech: “Fellow-citizens, my friend,
Mr. Douglas, made the startling announcement to-day that the
Whigs are all dead.

“If that be so, fellow-citizens, you will now experience the
novelty of hearing a speech from a dead man; and I suppose you
might properly say, in the language of the old hymn

“‘Hark! from the tombs a doleful sound.'”

President Lincoln–as he himself put it in conversation one day
with a friend–“fairly ached” for his generals to “get down to
business.” These slow generals he termed “snails.”

Grant, Sherman and Sheridan were his favorites, for they were
aggressive. They did not wait for the enemy to attack. Too many
of the others were “lingerers,” as Lincoln called them. They were
magnificent in defense, and stubborn and brave, but their names
figured too much on the “waiting list.”

The greatest fault Lincoln found with so many of the commanders
on the Union side was their unwillingness to move until
everything was exactly to their liking.

Lincoln could not understand why these leaders of Northern armies

When the Union forces were routed in the first battle of Bull
Run, there were many civilians present, who had gone out from
Washington to witness the battle. Among the number were several
Congressmen. One of these was a tall, long-legged fellow, who
wore a long-tailed coat and a high plug hat. When the retreat
began, this Congressman was in the lead of the entire crowd
fleeing toward Washington. He outran all the rest, and was the
first man to arrive in the city. No person ever made such good
use of long legs as this Congressman. His immense stride carried
him yards at every bound. He went over ditches and gullies at a
single leap, and cleared a six-foot fence with a foot to spare.
As he went over the fence his plug hat blew off, but he did not
pause. With his long coat-tails flying in the wind, he continued
straight ahead for Washington.

Many of those behind him were scared almost to death, but the
flying Congressman was such a comical figure that they had to
laugh in spite of their terror.

Mr. Lincoln enjoyed the description of how this Congressman led
the race from Bull’s Run, and laughed at it heartily.

“I never knew but one fellow who could run like that,” he said,
“and he was a young man out in Illinois. He had been sparking a
girl, much against the wishes of her father. In fact, the old
man took such a dislike to him that he threatened to shoot him if
he ever ought him around his premises again.

“One evening the young man learned that the girl’s father had
gone to the city, and he ventured out to the house. He was
sitting in the parlor, with his arm around Betsy’s waist, when he
suddenly spied the old man coming around the corner of the house
with a shotgun. Leaping through a window into the garden, he
started down a path at the top of his speed. He was a long-legged
fellow, and could run like greased lightning. Just then a
jack-rabbit jumped up in the path in front of him. In about two
leaps he overtook the rabbit. Giving it a kick that sent it high
in the air, he exclaimed: ‘Git out of the road, gosh dern you,
and let somebody run that knows how.’

“I reckon,” said Mr. Lincoln, “that the long-legged Congressman,
when he saw the rebel muskets, must have felt a good deal like
that young fellow did when he saw the old man’s shot-gun.”


Lincoln was a strong believer in the virtue of dealing honestly
with the people.

“If you once forfeit the confidence of your fellow-citizens,” he
said to a caller at the White House, “you can never regain their
respect and esteem.

“It is true that you may fool all the people some of the time;
you can even fool some of the people all the time; but you can’t
fool all of the people all the time.”

The night President-elect Lincoln arrived at Washington, one man
was observed watching Lincoln very closely as he walked out of
the railroad station. Standing a little to one side, the man
looked very sharply at Lincoln, and, as the latter passed, seized
hold of his hand, and said in a loud tone of voice, “Abe, you
can’t play that on me!”

Ward Lamon and the others with Lincoln were instantly alarmed,
and would have struck the stranger had not Lincoln hastily said,
“Don’t strike him! It is Washburne. Don’t you know him?”

Mr. Seward had given Congressman Washburne a hint of the time the
train would arrive, and he had the right to be at the station
when the train steamed in, but his indiscreet manner of loudly
addressing the President-elect might have led to serious
consequences to the latter.

Mrs. Rose Linder Wilkinson, who often accompanied her father,
Judge Linder, in the days when he rode circuit with Mr. Lincoln,
tells the following story:

“At night, as a rule, the lawyers spent awhile in the parlor, and
permitted the women who happened to be along to sit with them.
But after half an hour or so we would notice it was time for us
to leave them. I remember traveling the circuit one season when
the young wife of one of the lawyers was with him. The place was
so crowded that she and I were made to sleep together. When the
time came for banishing us from the parlor, we went up to our
room and sat there till bed-time, listening to the roars that
followed each ether swiftly while those lawyers down-stairs told
stoties and laughed till the rafters rang.

“In the morning Mr. Lincoln said to me: ‘Rose, did we disturb
your sleep last night?’ I answered, ‘No, I had no sleep’–which
was not entirely true but the retort amused him. Then the young
lawyer’s wife complained to him that we were not fairly used. We
came along with them, young women, and when they were having the
best time we were sent away like children to go to bed in the

“‘But, Madame,’ said Mr. Lincoln, ‘you would not enjoy the
things we laugh at.’ And then he entered into a discussion on
what have been termed his ‘broad’ stories. He deplored the fact
that men seemed to remember them longer and with less effort than
any others.

“My father said: ‘But, Lincoln, I don’t remember the “broad” part
of your stories so much as I do the moral that is in them,’ and
it was a thing in which they were all agreed.”

When President Lincoln heard of the Confederate raid at Fairfax,
in which a brigadier-general and a number of valuable horses were
captured, he gravely observed:

“Well, I am sorry for the horses.”

“Sorry for the horses, Mr. President!” exclaimed the Secretary of
War, raising his spectacles and throwing himself back in his
chair in astonishment.

“Yes,” replied Mr., Lincoln, “I can make a brigadier-general in
five minutes, but it is not easy to replace a hundred and ten

Dr. Jerome Walker, of Brooklyn, told how Mr. Lincoln once
administered to him a mild rebuke. The doctor was showing Mr.
Lincoln through the hospital at City Point.

“Finally, after visiting the wards occupied by our invalid and
convalescing soldiers,” said Dr. Walker, “we came to three wards
occupied by sick and wounded Southern prisoners. With a feeling
of patriotic duty, I said: ‘Mr. President, you won’t want to go
in there; they are only rebels.’

“I will never forget how he stopped and gently laid his large
hand upon my shoulder and quietly answered, ‘You mean
Confederates!’ And I have meant Confederates ever since.

“There was nothing left for me to do after the President’s remark
but to go with him through these three wards; and I could not see
but that he was just as kind, his hand-shakings just as hearty,
his interest just as real for the welfare of the men, as when he
was among our own soldiers.”

“Old Pap,” as the soldiers called General George H. Thomas, was
aggravatingly slow at a time when the President wanted him to
“get a move on”; in fact, the gallant “Rock of Chickamauga” was
evidently entered in a snail-race.

“Some of my generals are so slow,” regretfully remarked Lincoln
one day, “that molasses in the coldest days of winter is a race
horse compared to them.

“They’re brave enough, but somehow or other they get fastened in
a fence corner, and can’t figure their way out.”

Joseph Medill, for many years editor of the Chicago Tribune, not
long before his death, told the following story regarding the
“talking to” President Lincoln gave himself and two other Chicago
gentlemen who went to Washington to see about reducing Chicago’s
quota of troops after the call for extra men was made by the
President in 1864:

“In 1864, when the call for extra troops came, Chicago revolted.
She had already sent 22,000 troops up to that time, and was
drained. When the call came there were no young men to go, and no
aliens except what were bought. The citizens held a mass meeting
and appointed three persons, of whom I was one, to go to
Washington and ask Stanton to give Cook County a new enrollment.
“On reaching Washington, we went to Stanton with our statement.
He refused entirely to give us the desired aid. Then we went to
Lincoln. ‘I cannot do it,’ he said, ‘but I will go with you to
the War Department, and Stanton and I will hear both sides.’

“So we all went over to the War Department together. Stanton and
General Frye were there, and they, of course, contended that the
quota should not be changed. The argument went on for some time,
and was finally referred to Lincoln, who had been sitting
silently listening.

“I shall never forget how he suddenly lifted his head and turned
on us a black and frowning face.

“‘Gentlemen,’ he said, in a voice full of bitterness, ‘after
Boston, Chicago has been the chief instrument in bringing war on
this country. The Northwest has opposed the South as New England
has opposed the South. It is you who are largely responsible for
making blood flow as it has.

“‘You called for war until we had it. You called for
Emancipation, and I have given it to you. Whatever you have
asked, you have had. Now you come here begging to be let off from
the call for men, which I have made to carry out the war which
you demanded. You ought to be ashamed of yourselves. I have a
right to expect better things of you.

“‘Go home and raise your six thousand extra men. And you,
Medill, you are acting like a coward. You and your Tribune have
had more influence than any paper in the Northwest in making this
war. You can influence great masses, and yet you cry to be spared
at a moment when your cause is suffering. Go home and send us
those men!’

“I couldn’t say anything. It was the first time I ever was
whipped, and I didn’t have an answer. We all got up and went out,
and when the door closed one of my colleagues said:

“‘Well, gentlemen, the old man is right. We ought to be ashamed
of ourselves. Let us never say anything about this, but go home
and raise the men.’

“And we did–six thousand men–making twenty-eight thousand in
the War from a city of one hundred and fifty-six thousand. But
there might have been crape on every door, almost, in Chicago,
for every family had lost a son or a husband. I lost two
brothers. It was hard for the mothers.”

In 1862 a delegation of New York millionaires waited upon
President Lincoln to request that he furnish a gunboat for the
protection of New York harbor.

Mr. Lincoln, after listening patiently, said: “Gentlemen, the
credit of the Government is at a very low ebb; greenbacks are not
worth more than forty or fifty cents on the dollar; it is
impossible for me, in the present condition of things, to furnish
you a gunboat, and, in this condition of things, if I was worth
half as much as you, gentlemen, are represented to be, and as
badly frightened as you seem to be, I would build a gunboat and
give it to the Government.”

President Lincoln’s sense of duty to the country, together with
his keen judgment of men, often led to the appointment of persons
unfriendly to him. Some of these appointees were, as well, not
loyal to the National Government, for that matter.

Regarding Secretary of War Stanton’s attitude toward Lincoln,
Colonel A. K. McClure, who was very close to President Lincoln,

“After Stanton’s retirement from the Buchanan Cabinet when
Lincoln was inaugurated, he maintained the closest confidential
relations with Buchanan, and wrote him many letters expressing
the utmost contempt for Lincoln, the Cabinet, the Republican
Congress, and the general policy of the Administration.

“These letters speak freely of the ‘painful imbecility of
Lincoln,’ of the ‘venality and corruption’ which ran riot in the
government, and expressed the belief that no better condition of
things was possible ‘until Jeff Davis turns out the whole

“He was firmly impressed for some weeks after the battle of Bull
Run that the government was utterly overthrown, as he repeatedly
refers to the coming of Davis into the National Capital.

“In one letter he says that ‘in less than thirty days Davis will
be in possession of Washington;’ and it is an open secret that
Stanton advised the revolutionary overthrow of the Lincoln
government, to be replaced by General McClellan as military
dictator. These letters, bad as they are, are not the worst
letters written by Stanton to Buchanan. Some of them were so
violent in their expressions against Lincoln and the
administration that they have been charitably withheld from the
public, but they remain in the possession of the surviving
relatives of President Buchanan.

“Of course, Lincoln had no knowledge of the bitterness exhibited
by Stanton to himself personally and to his administration, but
if he had known the worst that Stanton ever said or wrote about
him, I doubt not that he would have called him to the Cabinet in
January, 1862. The disasters the army suffered made Lincoln
forgetful of everything but the single duty of suppressing the

“Lincoln was not long in discovering that in his new Secretary of
War he had an invaluable but most troublesome Cabinet officer,
but he saw only the great and good offices that Stanton was
performing for the imperilled Republic.

“Confidence was restored in financial circles by the appointment
of Stanton, and his name as War Minister did more to strengthen
the faith of the people in the government credit than would have
been probable from the appointment of any other man of that day.

“He was a terror to all the hordes of jobbers and speculators and
camp-followers whose appetites had been whetted by a great war,
and he enforced the strictest discipline throughout our armies.

“He was seldom capable of being civil to any officer away from
the army on leave of absence unless he had been summoned by the
government for conference or special duty, and he issued the
strictest orders from time to time to drive the throng of
military idlers from the capital and keep them at their posts. He
was stern to savagery in his enforcement of military law. The
wearied sentinel who slept at his post found no mercy in the
heart of Stanton, and many times did Lincoln’s humanity overrule
his fiery minister.

“Any neglect of military duty was sure of the swiftest
punishment, and seldom did he make even just allowance for
inevitable military disaster. He had profound, unfaltering faith
in the Union cause, and, above all, he had unfaltering faith in

“He believed that he was in all things except in name
Commander-in-Chief of the armies and the navy of the nation, and
it was with unconcealed reluctance that he at times deferred to
the authority of the President.”

In one of his political speeches, Judge Douglas made use of the
following figure of speech: “As between the crocodile and the
negro, I take the side of the negro; but as between the negro and
the white man–I would go for the white man every time.”

Lincoln, at home, noted that; and afterwards, when he had
occasion to refer to the remark, he said: “I believe that this is
a sort of proposition in proportion, which may be stated thus:
‘As the negro is to the white man, so is the crocodile to the
negro; and as the negro may rightfully treat the crocodile as a
beast or reptile, so the white man may rightfully treat the negro
as a beast or reptile.'”

On one occasion, Colonel Baker was speaking in a court-house,
which had been a storehouse, and, on making some remarks that
were offensive to certain political rowdies in the crowd, they
cried: “Take him off the stand!”

Immediate confusion followed, and there was an attempt to carry
the demand into execution. Directly over the speaker’s head was
an old skylight, at which it appeared Mr. Lincoln had been
listening to the speech. In an instant, Mr. Lincoln’s feet came
through the skylight, followed by his tall and sinewy frame, and
he was standing by Colonel Baker’s side. He raised his hand and
the assembly subsided into silence. “Gentlemen,” said Mr.
Lincoln, “let us not disgrace the age and country in which we
live. This is a land where freedom of speech is guaranteed. Mr.
Baker has a right to speak, and ought to be permitted to do so. I
am here to protect him, and no man shall take him from this stand
if I can prevent it.” The suddenness of his appearance, his
perfect calmness and fairness, and the knowledge that he would do
what he had promised to do, quieted all disturbance, and the
speaker concluded his remarks without difficulty.

Two young men called on the President from Springfield, Illinois.
Lincoln shook hands with them, and asked about the crops, the
weather, etc.

Finally one of the young men said, “Mother is not well, and she
sent me up to inquire of you how the suit about the Wells
property is getting on.”

Lincoln, in the same even tone with which he had asked the
question, said: “Give my best wishes and respects to your mother,
and tell her I have so many outside matters to attend to now that
I have put that case, and others, in the hands of a lawyer friend
of mine, and if you will call on him (giving name and address) he
will give you the information you want.”

After they had gone, a friend, who was present, said: “Mr.
Lincoln, you did not seem to know the young men?”

He laughed and replied: “No, I had never seen them before, and I
had to beat around the bush until I found who they were. It was
up-hill work, but I topped it at last.”

President Lincoln wrote to General Hooker on June 5, 1863,
warning Hooker not to run any risk of being entangled on the
Rappahannock “like an ox jumped half over a fence and liable to
be torn by dogs, front and rear, without a fair chance to give
one way or kick the other.” On the l0th he warned Hooker not to
go south of the Rappahannock upon Lee’s moving north of it. “I
think Lee’s army and not Richmond is your true objective power.
If he comes toward the upper Potomac, follow on his flank, and on
the inside track, shortening your lines while he lengthens his.
Fight him, too, when opportunity offers. If he stay where he is,
fret him, and fret him.”

On the 14th again he says: “So far as we can make out here, the
enemy have Milroy surrounded at Winchester, and Tyler at
Martinsburg. If they could hold out for a few days, could you
help them? If the head of Lee’s army is at Martinsburg, and the
tail of it on the flank road between Fredericksburg and
Chancellorsville, the animal must be very slim somewhere; could
you not break him?”

In the issue of London “Punch” of September 24th, 1864, President
Lincoln is pictured as sitting at a table in his law office,
while in a chair to his tight is a client, Mrs. North. The latter
is a fine client for any attorney to have on his list, being
wealthy and liberal, but as the lady is giving her counsel, who
has represented her in a legal way for four years, notice that
she proposes to put her legal business in the hands of another
lawyer, the dejected look upon the face of Attorney Lincoln is
easily accounted for. “Punch” puts these words in the lady’s

MRS. NORTH: “You see, Mr. Lincoln, we have failed utterly in our
course of action; I want peace, and so, if you cannot effect an
amicable arrangement, I must put the case into other hands.”

In this cartoon, “Punch” merely reflected the idea, or sentiment,
current in England in 1864, that the North was much dissatisfied
with the War policy of President Lincoln; and would surely elect
General McClellan to succeed the Westerner in the White House. At
the election McClellan carried but one Northern State–New
Jersey, where he was born–President Lincoln sweeping the country
like a prairie fire.

“Punch” had evidently been deceived by some bold, bad man, who
wanted a little spending money, and sold the prediction to the
funny journal with a certificate of character attached, written
by–possibly–a member of the Horse Marines. “Punch,” was very
much disgusted to find that its credulity and faith in mankind
had been so imposed upon, especially when the election returns
showed that “the-War-is-a-failure” candidate ran so slowly that
Lincoln passed him as easily as though the Democratic nominee was
tied to a post.

In the far-away days when “Abe” went to school in Indiana, they
had exercises, exhibitions and speaking-meetings in the
schoolhouse or the church, and “Abe” was the “star.” His father
was a Democrat, and at that time “Abe” agreed with his parent. He
would frequently make political and other speeches to the boys
and explain tangled questions.

Booneville was the county seat of Warrick county, situated about
fifteen miles from Gentryville. Thither “Abe” walked to be
present at the sittings of the court, and listened attentively to
the trials and the speeches of the lawyers.

One of the trials was that of a murderer. He was defended by Mr.
John Breckinridge, and at the conclusion of his speech “Abe” was
so enthusiastic that he ventured to compliment him. Breckinridge
looked at the shabby boy, thanked him, and passed on his way.

Many years afterwards, in 1862, Breckinridge called on the
President, and he was told, “It was the best speech that I, up to
that time, had ever heard. If I could, as I then thought, make as
good a speech as that, my soul would be satisfied.”

Mr. Alcott, of Elgin, Ill., tells of seeing Mr. Lincoln coming
away from church unusually early one Sunday morning. “The sermon
could not have been more than half way through,” says Mr. Alcott.
“‘Tad’ was slung across his left arm like a pair of saddlebags,
and Mr. Lincoln was striding along with long, deliberate steps
toward his home. On one of the street corners he encountered a
group of his fellow-townsmen. Mr. Lincoln anticipated the
question which was about to be put by the group, and, taking his
figure of speech from practices with which they were only too
familiar, said: ‘Gentlemen, I entered this colt, but he kicked
around so I had to withdraw him.”‘

No matter who was with the President, or how intently absorbed,
his little son “Tad” was always welcome. He almost always
accompanied his father.

Once, on the way to Fortress Monroe, he became very troublesome.
The President was much engaged in conversation with the party who
accompanied him, and he at length said:

“‘Tad,’ if you will be a good boy, and not disturb me any more
until we get to Fortress Monroe, I will give you a dollar.”

The hope of reward was effectual for awhile in securing silence,
but, boylike, “Tad” soon forgot his promise, and was as noisy as
ever. Upon reaching their destination, however, he said, very
promptly: “Father, I want my dollar.” Mr. Lincoln looked at him
half-reproachfully for an instant, and then, taking from his
pocketbook a dollar note, he said “Well, my son, at any rate, I
will keep my part of the bargain.”

Henry J. Raymond, the famous New York editor, thus tells of Mr.
Lincoln’s fondness for the Nasby letters:

“It has been well said by a profound critic of Shakespeare, and
it occurs to me as very appropriate in this connection, that the
spirit which held the woe of Lear and the tragedy of “Hamlet”
would have broken had it not also had the humor of the “Merry
Wives of Windsor” and the merriment of the “Midsummer Night’s

“This is as true of Mr. Lincoln as it was of Shakespeare. The
capacity to tell and enjoy a good anecdote no doubt prolonged his

“The Saturday evening before he left Washington to go to the
front, just previous to the capture of Richmond, I was with him
from seven o’clock till nearly twelve. It had been one of his
most trying days. The pressure of office-seekers was greater at
this juncture than I ever knew it to be, and he was almost worn

“Among the callers that evening was a party composed of two
Senators, a Representative, an ex-Lieutenant-Governor of a
Western State, and several private citizens. They had business of
great importance, involving the necessity of the President’s
examination of voluminous documents. Pushing everything aside,
he said to one of the party:

“‘Have you seen the Nasby papers?’

“‘No, I have not,’ was the reply; ‘who is Nasby?’

“‘There is a chap out in Ohio,’ returned the President, ‘who has
been writing a series of letters in the newspapers over the
signature of Petroleum V. Nasby. Some one sent me a pamphlet
collection of them the other day. I am going to write to
“Petroleum” to come down here, and I intend to tell him if he
will communicate his talent to me, I will swap places with him!’

“Thereupon he arose, went to a drawer in his desk, and, taking
out the ‘Letters,’ sat down and read one to the company, finding
in their enjoyment of it the temporary excitement and relief
which another man would have found in a glass of wine. The
instant he had ceased, the book was thrown aside, his countenance
relapsed into its habitual serious expression, and the business
was entered upon with the utmost earnestness.”

On the occasion of a serenade, the President was called for by
the crowd assembled. He appeared at a window with his wife (who
was somewhat below the medium height), and made the following
“brief remarks”:

“Here I am, and here is Mrs. Lincoln. That’s the long and the
short of it.”

Some gentlemen were once finding fault with the President because
certain generals were not given commands.

“The fact is,” replied President Lincoln, “I have got more pegs
than I have holes to put them in.”

Lincoln “got even” with the Illinois Central Railroad Company, in
1855, in a most substantial way, at the same time secured sweet
revenge for an insult, unwarranted in every way, put upon him by
one of the officials of that corporation.

Lincoln and Herndon defended the Illinois Central Railroad in an
action brought by McLean County, Illinois, in August, 1853, to
recover taxes alleged to be due the county from the road. The
Legislature had granted the road immunity from taxation, and this
was a case intended to test the constitutionality of the law. The
road sent a retainer fee of $250.

In the lower court the case was decided in favor of the railroad.
An appeal to the Supreme Court followed, was argued twice, and
finally decided in favor of the road. This last decision was
rendered some time in 1855. Lincoln then went to Chicago and
presented the bill for legal services. Lincoln and Herndon only
asked for $2,000 more.

The official to whom he was referred, after looking at the bill,
expressed great surprise.

“Why, sir,” he exclaimed, “this is as much as Daniel Webster
himself would have charged. We cannot allow such a claim.”

“Why not?” asked Lincoln.

“We could have hired first-class lawyers at that figure,” was the

“We won the case, didn’t we?” queried Lincoln.

“Certainly,” replied the official.

“Daniel Webster, then,” retorted Lincoln in no amiable tone,
“couldn’t have done more,” and “Abe” walked out of the official’s

Lincoln withdrew the bill, and started for home. On the way he
stopped at Bloomington, where he met Grant Goodrich, Archibald
Williams, Norman B. Judd, O. H. Browning, and other attorneys,
who, on learning of his modest charge for the valuable services
rendered the railroad, induced him to increase the demand to
$5,000, and to bring suit for that sum.

This was done at once. On the trial six lawyers certified that
the bill was reasonable, and judgment for that sum went by
default; the judgment was promptly paid, and, of course, his
partner, Herndon, got “your half Billy,” without delay.

When a member of Congress, Lincoln went to Lexington, Kentucky,
to hear Henry Clay speak. The Westerner, a Kentuckian by birth,
and destined to reach the great goal Clay had so often sought,
wanted to meet the “Millboy of the Slashes.” The address was a
tame affair, as was the personal greeting when Lincoln made
himself known. Clay was courteous, but cold. He may never have
heard of the man, then in his presence, who was to secure,
without solicitation, the prize which he for many years had
unsuccessfully sought. Lincoln was disenchanted; his ideal was
shattered. One reason why Clay had not realized his ambition had
become apparent.

Clay was cool and dignified; Lincoln was cordial and hearty.
Clay’s hand was bloodless and frosty, with no vigorous grip in
it; Lincoln’s was warm, and its clasp was expressive of
kindliness and sympathy.

President Lincoln had a little joke at the expense of General
George B. McClellan, the Democratic candidate for the Presidency
in opposition to the Westerner in 1864. McClellan was nominated
by the Democratic National Convention, which assembled at
Chicago, but after he had been named, and also during the
campaign, the military candidate was characteristically slow in
coming to the front.

President Lincoln had his eye upon every move made by General
McClellan during the campaign, and when reference was made one
day, in his presence, to the deliberation and caution of the New
Jerseyite, Mr. Lincoln remarked, with a twinkle in his eye,
“Perhaps he is intrenching.”

The cartoon we reproduce appeared in “Harper’s Weekly,” September
17th, 1864, and shows General McClellan, with his little spade in
hand, being subjected to the scrutiny of the President–the man
who gave McClellan, when the latter was Commander-in-Chief of the
Union forces, every opportunity in the world to distinguish
himself. There is a smile on the face of “Honest Abe,” which
shows conclusively that he does not regard his political opponent
as likely to prove formidable in any way. President Lincoln
“sized up” McClellan in 1861-2, and knew, to a fraction, how much
of a man he was, what he could do, and how he went about doing
it. McClellan was no politician, while the President was the
shrewdest of political diplomats.

When Washington had become an armed camp, and full of soldiers,
President Lincoln and his Cabinet officers drove daily to one or
another of these camps. Very often his outing for the day was
attending some ceremony incident to camp life: a military
funeral, a camp wedding, a review, a flag-raising. He did not
often make speeches. “I have made a great many poor speeches,” he
said one day, in excusing himself, “and I now feel relieved that
my dignity does not permit me to be a public speaker.”

Judge Kelly, of Pennsylvania, who was one of the committee to
advise Lincoln of his nomination, and who was himself a great
many feet high, had been eyeing Lincoln’s lofty form with a
mixture of admiration and possibly jealousy.

This had not escaped Lincoln, and as he shook hands with the
judge he inquired, “What is your height?”

“Six feet three. What is yours, Mr. Lincoln?”

“Six feet four.”

“Then,” said the judge, “Pennsylvania bows to Illinois. My dear
man, for years my heart has been aching for a President that I
could look up to, and I’ve at last found him.”

Mr. Jeriah Bonham, in describing a visit he paid Lincoln at his
room in the State House at Springfield, where he found him quite
alone, except that two of his children, one of whom was “Tad,”
were with him.

“The door was open.

“We walked in and were at once recognized and seated–the two
still continuing their play about the room. “Tad” was spinning
his top; and Lincoln, as we entered, had just finished adjusting
the string for him so as to give the top the greatest degree of
force. He remarked that he was having a little fun with the

At another time, at Lincoln’s residence, “Tad” came into the
room, and, putting his hand to his mouth, and his mouth to his
father’s ear, said, in a boy’s whisper: “Ma says come to supper.”

All heard the announcement; and Lincoln, perceiving this, said:
“You have heard, gentlemen, the announcement concerning the
interesting state of things in the dining-room. It will never do
for me, if elected, to make this young man a member of my
Cabinet, for it is plain he cannot be trusted with secrets of


A Union general, operating with his command in West Virginia,
allowed himself and his men to be trapped, and it was feared his
force would be captured by the Confederates. The President heard
the report read by the operator, as it came over the wire, and

“Once there was a man out West who was ‘heading’ a barrel, as
they used to call it. He worked like a good fellow in driving
down the hoops, but just about the time he thought he had the job
done, the head would fall in. Then he had to do the work all over

“All at once a bright idea entered his brain, and he wondered how
it was he hadn’t figured it out before. His boy, a bright, smart
lad, was standing by,very much interested in the business, and,
lifting the young one up, he put him inside the barrel, telling
him to hold the head in its proper place, while he pounded down
the hoops on the sides. This worked like a charm, and he soon had
the ‘heading’ done.

“Then he realized that his boy was inside the barrel, and how to
get him out he couldn’t for his life figure out. General Blank is
now inside the barrel, ‘headed in,’ and the job now is to get him

Government Printer Defrees, when one of the President’s messages
was being printed, was a good deal disturbed by the use of the
term “sugar-coated,” and finally went to Mr. Lincoln about it.

Their relations to each other being of the most intimate
character, he told the President frankly that he ought to
remember that a message to Congress was a different affair from a
speech at a mass meeting in Illinois; that the messages became a
part of history, and should be written accordingly.

“What is the matter now?” inquired the President.

“Why,” said Defrees, “you have used an undignified expression in
the message”; and, reading the paragraph aloud, he added, “I
would alter the structure of that, if I were you.”

“Defrees,” replied the President, “that word expresses exactly my
idea, and I am not going to change it. The time will never come
in this country when people won’t know exactly what
‘sugar-coated’ means.”

When a grocery clerk at New Salem, the annual election came
around. A Mr. Graham was clerk, but his assistant was absent, and
it was necessary to find a man to fill his place. Lincoln, a
“tall young man,” had already concentrated on himself the
attention of the people of the town, and Graham easily discovered
him. Asking him if he could write, “Abe” modestly replied, “I can
make a few rabbit-tracks.” His rabbit-tracks proving to be
legible and even graceful, he was employed.

The voters soon discovered that the new assistant clerk was
honest and fair, and performed his duties satisfactorily, and
when, the work done, he began to “entertain them with stories,”
they found that their town had made a valuable personal and
social acquisition.

Marshal Ward Lamon was in President Lincoln’s office in the White
House one day, and casually asked the President if he knew how
the currency of the country was made. Greenbacks were then under
full headway of circulation, these bits of paper being the
representatives of United State money.

“Our currency,” was the President’s answer, “is made, as the
lawyers would put it, in their legal way, in the following
manner, to-wit: The official engraver strikes off the sheets,
passes them over to the Register of the Currency, who, after
placing his earmarks upon them, signs the same; the Register
turns them over to old Father Spinner, who proceeds to embellish
them with his wonderful signature at the bottom; Father Spinner
sends them to Secretary of the Treasury Chase, and he, as a final
act in the matter, issues them to the public as money–and may
the good Lord help any fellow that doesn’t take all he can
honestly get of them!”

Taking from his pocket a $5 greenback, with a twinkle in his eye,
the President then said: “Look at Spinner’s signature! Was there
ever anything like it on earth? Yet it is unmistakable; no one
will ever be able to counterfeit it!”

Lamon then goes on to say:

“‘But,’ I said, ‘you certainly don’t suppose that Spinner
actually wrote his name on that bill, do you?’

“‘Certainly, I do; why not?’ queried Mr. Lincoln.

“I then asked, ‘How much of this currency have we afloat?’

“He remained thoughtful for a moment, and then stated the amount.

“I continued: ‘How many times do you think a man can write a
signature like Spinner’s in the course of twenty-four hours?’

“The beam of hilarity left the countenance of the President at
once. He put the greenback into his vest pocket, and walked the
floor; after awhile he stopped, heaved a long breath and said:
‘This thing frightens me!’ He then rang for a messenger and told
him to ask the Secretary of the Treasury to please come over to
see him.

“Mr. Chase soon put in an appearance; President Lincoln stated
the cause of his alarm, and asked Mr. Chase to explain in detail
the operations, methods, system of checks, etc., in his office,
and a lengthy discussion followed, President Lincoln contending
there were not sufficient safeguards afforded in any degree in
the money-making department, and Secretary Chase insisting that
every protection was afforded he could devise.”

Afterward the President called the attention of Congress to this
important question, and devices were adopted whereby a check was
put upon the issue of greenbacks that no spurious ones ever came
out of the Treasury Department, at least. Counterfeiters were
busy, though, but this was not the fault of the Treasury.

“General Grant is a copious worker and fighter,” President
Lincoln wrote to General Burnside in July, 1863, “but a meagre
writer or telegrapher.”

Grant never wrote a report until the battle was over.

President Lincoln wrote a letter to General Grant on July 13th,
1863, which indicated the strength of the hold the successful
fighter had upon the man in the White House.

It ran as follows:

“I do not remember that you and I ever met personally.

“I write this now as a grateful acknowledgment for the almost
inestimable service you have done the country.

“I write to say a word further.

“When you first reached the vicinity of Vicksburg, I thought you
should do what you finally did–march the troops across the neck,
run the batteries with the transports, and thus go below; and I
never had any faith, except a general hope, that you knew better
than I, that the Yazoo Pass expedition, and the like, could

“When you got below and took Port Gibson, Grand Gulf and
vicinity, I thought you should go down the river and join General
Banks; and when you turned northward, east of Big Black, I feared
it was a mistake.

“I now wish to make the personal acknowledgment that you were
right and I was wrong.”
Lincoln never used profanity, except when he quoted it to
illustrate a point in a story. His favorite expressions when he
spoke with emphasis were “By dear!” and “By jing!”

Just preceding the Civil War he sent Ward Lamon on a ticklish
mission to South Carolina.

When the proposed trip was mentioned to Secretary Seward, he
opposed it, saying, “Mr. President, I fear you are sending Lamon
to his grave. I am afraid they will kill him in Charleston, where
the people are excited and desperate. We can’t spare Lamon, and
we shall feel badly if anything happens to him.”

Mr. Lincoln said in reply: “I have known Lamon to be in many a
close place, and he has never, been in one that he didn’t get out
of, somehow. By jing! I’ll risk him. Go ahead, Lamon, and God
bless you! If you can’t bring back any good news, bring a
palmetto.” Lamon brought back a palmetto branch, but no promise
of peace.

Lincoln had been in the telegraph office at Springfield during
the casting of the first and second ballots in the Republican
National Convention at Chicago, and then left and went over to
the office of the State Journal, where he was sitting conversing
with friends while the third ballot was being taken.

In a few moments came across the wires the announcement of the
result. The superintendent of the telegraph company wrote on a
scrap of paper: “Mr. Lincoln, you are nominated on the third
ballot,” and a boy ran with the message to Lincoln.

He looked at it in silence, amid the shouts of those around him;
then rising and putting it in his pocket, he said quietly:
“There’s a little woman down at our house would like to hear
this; I’ll go down and tell her.”

After Lincoln had finished that celebrated speech in “Egypt” (as
a section of Southern Illinois was formerly designated), in the
course of which he seized Congressman Ficklin by the coat collar
and shook him fiercely, he apologized. In return, Ficklin said
Lincoln had “nearly shaken the Democracy out of him.” To this
Lincoln replied:

“That reminds me of what Paul said to Agrippa, which, in language
and substance, was about this: ‘I would to God that such
Democracy as you folks here in Egypt have were not only almost,
but altogether, shaken out of, not only you, but all that heard
me this day, and that you would all join in assisting in shaking
off the shackles of the bondmen by all legitimate means, so that
this country may be made free as the good Lord intended it.'”

Said Ficklin in rejoinder: “Lincoln, I remember of reading
somewhere in the same book from which you get your Agrippa story,
that Paul, whom you seem to desire to personate, admonished all
servants (slaves) to be obedient to them that are their masters
according to the flesh, in fear and trembling.

“It would seem that neither our Savior nor Paul saw the iniquity
of slavery as you and your party do. But you must not think that
where you fail by argument to convince an old friend like myself
and win him over to your heterodox abolition opinions, you are
justified in resorting to violence such as you practiced on me

“Why, I never had such a shaking up in the whole course of my
life. Recollect that that good old book that you quote from
somewhere says in effect this: ‘Woe be unto him who goeth to
Egypt for help, for he shall fall. The holpen shall fall, and
they shall all fall together.'”

Lincoln’s quarrel with Shields was his last personal encounter.
In later years it became his duty to give an official reprimand
to a young officer who had been court-martialed for a quarrel
with one of his associates. The reprimand is probably the
gentlest on record:

“Quarrel not at all. No man resolved to make the most of himself
can spare time for personal contention. Still less can he afford
to take all the consequences, including the vitiating of his
temper and the loss of self-control. Yield larger things to which
you can show no more than equal right; and yield lesser ones,
though clearly your own.

“Better give your path to a dog than be bitten by him in
contesting for the right. Even killing the dog would not cure the

Some one came to the President with a story about a plot to
accomplish some mischief in the Government. Lincoln listened to
what was a very superficial and ill-formed story, and then said:
“There is one thing that I have learned, and that you have not.
It is only one word–‘thorough.'”

Then, bringing his hand down on the table with a thump to
emphasize his meaning, he added, “thorough!”

Being in Washington one day, the Rev. Robert Collyer thought he’d
take a look around. In passing through the grounds surrounding
the White House, he cast a glance toward the Presidential
residence, and was astonished to see three pairs of feet resting
on the ledge of an open window in one of the apartments of the
second story. The divine paused for a moment, calmly surveyed the
unique spectacle, and then resumed his walk toward the War

Seeing a laborer at work not far from the Executive Mansion, Mr.
Collyer asked him what it all meant. To whom did the feet belong,
and, particularly, the mammoth ones? “You old fool,” answered the
workman, “that’s the Cabinet, which is a-settin’, an’ them thar
big feet belongs to ‘Old Abe.'”

A soldier tells the following story of an attempt upon the life
Mr. Lincoln “One night I was doing sentinel duty at the entrance
to the Soldiers’ Home. This was about the middle of August, 1864.
About eleven o’clock I heard a rifle shot, in the direction of
the city, and shortly afterwards I heard approaching hoof-beats.
In two or three minutes a horse came dashing up. I recognized the
belated President. The President was bareheaded. The President
simply thought that his horse had taken fright at the discharge
of the firearms.

“On going back to the place where the shot had been heard, we
found the President’s hat. It was a plain silk hat, and upon
examination we discovered a bullet hole through the crown.

“The next day, upon receiving the hat, the President remarked
that it was made by some foolish marksman, and was not intended
for him; but added that he wished nothing said about the matter.

“The President said, philosophically: ‘I long ago made up my mind
that if anybody wants to kill me, he will do it. Besides, in this
case, it seems to me, the man who would succeed me would be just
as objectionable to my enemies–if I have any.’

“One dark night, as he was going out with a friend, he took along
a heavy cane, remarking, good-naturedly: ‘Mother (Mrs. Lincoln)
has got a notion into her head that I shall be assassinated, and
to please her I take a cane when I go over to the War Department
at night–when I don’t forget it.'”

Two ladies from Tennessee called at the White House one day and
begged Mr. Lincoln to release their husbands, who were rebel
prisoners at Johnson’s Island. One of the fair petitioners urged
as a reason for the liberation of her husband that he was a very
religious man, and rang the changes on this pious plea.

“Madam,” said Mr. Lincoln, “you say your husband is a religious
man. Perhaps I am not a good judge of such matters, but in my
opinion the religion that makes men rebel and fight against their
government is not the genuine article; nor is the religion the
right sort which reconciles them to the idea of eating their
bread in the sweat of other men’s faces. It is not the kind to
get to heaven on.”

Later, however, the order of release was made, President Lincoln
remarking, with impressive solemnity, that he would expect the
ladies to subdue the rebellious spirit of their husbands, and to
that end he thought it would be well to reform their religion.
“True patriotism,” said he, “is better than the wrong kind of

During the Presidential campaign of 1864 much ill-feeling was
displayed by the opposition to President Lincoln. The Democratic
managers issued posters of large dimensions, picturing the
Washington Administration as one determined to rule or ruin the
country, while the only salvation for the United States was the
election of McClellan.

We reproduce one of these 1864 campaign posters on this page, the
title of which is, “The True Issue; or ‘That’s What’s the

The dominant idea or purpose of the cartoon-poster was to
demonstrate McClellan’s availability. Lincoln, the Abolitionist,
and Davis, the Secessionist, are pictured as bigots of the worst
sort, who were determined that peace should not be restored to
the distracted country, except upon the lines laid down by them.
McClellan, the patriotic peacemaker, is shown as the man who
believed in the preservation of the Union above all things–a man
who had no fads nor vagaries.

This peacemaker, McClellan, standing upon “the War-is-a-failure”
platform, is portrayed as a military chieftain, who would stand
no nonsense; who would compel Mr. Lincoln and Mr. Davis to cease
their quarreling; who would order the soldiers on both sides to
quit their blood-letting and send the combatants back to the
farm, workshop and counting-house; and the man whose election
would restore order out of chaos, and make everything bright and

One day when President Lincoln was receiving callers a buxom
Irish woman came into the office, and, standing before the
President, with her hands on her hips, said:

“Mr. Lincoln, can’t I sell apples on the railroad?”

President Lincoln replied: “Certainly, madam, you can sell all
you wish.”

“But,” she said, “you must give me a pass, or the soldiers will
not let me.”

President Lincoln then wrote a few lines and gave them to her.

“Thank you, sir; God bless you!” she exclaimed as she departed

It was in the spring of 1830 that “Abe” Lincoln, “wearing a jean
jacket, shrunken buckskin trousers, a coonskin cap, and driving
an ox-team,” became a citizen of Illinois. He was physically and
mentally equipped for pioneer work. His first desire was to
obtain a new and decent suit of clothes, but, as he had no money,
he was glad to arrange with Nancy Miller to make him a pair of
trousers, he to split four hundred fence rails for each yard of
cloth–fourteen hundred rails in all. “Abe” got the clothes after

It was three miles from his father’s cabin to her wood-lot, where
he made the forest ring with the sound of his ax. “Abe” had
helped his father plow fifteen acres of land, and split enough
rails to fence it, and he then helped to plow fifty acres for
another settler.

Whenever the people of Lincoln’s neighborhood engaged in dispute;
whenever a bet was to be decided; when they differed on points of
religion or politics; when they wanted to get out of trouble, or
desired advice regarding anything on the earth, below it, above
it, or under the sea, they went to “Abe.”

Two fellows, after a hot dispute lasting some hours, over the
problem as to how long a man’s legs should be in proportion to
the size of his body, stamped into Lincoln’s office one day and
put the question to him.

Lincoln listened gravely to the arguments advanced by both
contestants, spent some time in “reflecting” upon the matter, and
then, turning around in his chair and facing the disputants,
delivered his opinion with all the gravity of a judge sentencing
a fellow-being to death.

“This question has been a source of controversy,” he said, slowly
and deliberately, “for untold ages, and it is about time it
should be definitely decided. It has led to bloodshed in the
past, and there is no reason to suppose it will not lead to the
same in the future.

“After much thought and consideration, not to mention mental
worry and anxiety, it is my opinion, all side issues being swept
aside, that a man’s lower limbs, in order to preserve harmony of
proportion, should be at least long enough to reach from his body
to the ground.”

A Union officer in conversation one day told this story:

“The first week I was with my command there were twenty-four
deserters sentenced by court-martial to be shot, and the warrants
for their execution were sent to the President to be signed. He

“I went to Washington and had an interview. I said:

“‘Mr. President, unless these men are made an example of, the
army itself is in danger. Mercy to the few is cruelty to the

“He replied: ‘Mr. General, there are already too many weeping
widows in the United States. For God’s sake, don’t ask me to add
to the number, for I won’t do it.'”

In the early stages of the war, after several battles had been
fought, Union troops seized a church in Alexandria, Va., and used
it as a hospital.

A prominent lady of the congregation went to Washington to see
Mr. Lincoln and try to get an order for its release.

“Have you applied to the surgeon in charge at Alexandria?”
inquired Mr. Lincoln.

“Yes, sir” but I can do nothing with him,” was the reply.

“Well, madam,” said Mr. Lincoln, “that is an end of it, then. We
put him there to attend to just such business, and it is
reasonable to suppose that he knows better what should be done
under the circumstances than I do.”

The lady’s face showed her keen disappointment. In order to learn
her sentiment, Mr. Lincoln asked:

“How much would you be willing to subscribe toward building a
hospital there?”

She said that the war had depreciated Southern property so much
that she could afford to give but little.

“This war is not over yet,” said Mr. Lincoln, “and there will
likely be another fight very soon. That church may be very useful
in which to house our wounded soldiers. It is my candid opinion
that God needs that church for our wounded fellows; so, madam, I
can do nothing for you.”

An amusing instance of the President’s preoccupation of mind
occurred at one of his levees, when he was shaking hands with a
host of visitors passing him in a continuous stream.

An intimate acquaintance received the usual conventional
hand-shake and salutation, but perceiving that he was not
recognized, kept his ground instead of moving on, and spoke
again, when the President, roused to a dim consciousness that
something unusual had happened, perceived who stood before him,
and, seizing his friend’s hand, shook it again heartily, saying:

“How do you do? How do you do? Excuse me for not noticing you. I
was thinking of a man down South.”

“The man down South” was General W. T. Sherman, then on his march
to the sea.

When Governor Curtin of Pennsylvania described the terrible
butchery at the battle of Fredericksburg, Mr. Lincoln was almost

The Governor regretted that his description had so sadly affected
the President. He remarked: “I would give all I possess to know
how to rescue you from this terrible war.” Then Mr. Lincoln’s
wonderful recuperative powers asserted themselves and this
marvelous man was himself.

Lincoln’s whole aspect suddenly changed, and he relieved his mind
by telling a story.

“This reminds me, Governor,” he said, “of an old farmer out in
Illinois that I used to know.

“He took it into his head to go into hog-raising. He sent out to
Europe and imported the finest breed of hogs he could buy.

“The prize hog was put in a pen, and the farmer’s two mischievous
boys, James and John, were told to be sure not to let it out. But
James, the worst of the two, let the brute out the next day. The
hog went straight for the boys, and drove John up a tree, then
the hog went for the seat of James’ trousers, and the only way
the boy could save himself was by holding on to the hog’s tail.

“The hog would not give up his hunt, nor the boy his hold! After
they had made a good many circles around the tree, the boy’s
courage began to give out, and he shouted to his brother, ‘I say,
John, come down, quick, and help me let go this hog!’

“Now, Governor, that is exactly my case. I wish some one would
come and help me to let the hog go.”

Judge Joseph Gillespie, of Chicago, was a firm friend of Mr.
Lincoln, and went to Springfield to see him shortly before his
departure for the inauguration.

“It was,” said judge Gillespie, “Lincoln’s Gethsemane. He feared
he was not the man for the great position and the great events
which confronted him. Untried in national affairs, unversed in
international diplomacy, unacquainted with the men who were
foremost in the politics of the nation, he groaned when he saw
the inevitable War of the Rebellion coming on. It was in humility
of spirit that he told me he believed that the American people
had made a mistake in selecting him.

“In the course of our conversation he told me if he could select
his cabinet from the old bar that had traveled the circuit with
him in the early days, he believed he could avoid war or settle
it without a battle, even after the fact of secession.

“‘But, Mr. Lincoln,’ said I, ‘those old lawyers are all

“‘I know it,’ was his reply. ‘But I would rather have Democrats
whom I know than Republicans I don’t know.'”

Leonard Swett told this eminently characteristic story:

“I remember one day being in his room when Lincoln was sitting at
his table with a large pile of papers before him, and after a
pleasant talk he turned quite abruptly and said: ‘Get out of the
way, Swett; to-morrow is butcher-day, and I must go through these
papers and see if I cannot find some excuse to let these poor
fellows off.’

“The pile of papers he had were the records of courts-martial of
men who on the following day were to be shot.”

It took quite a long time, as well as the lives of thousands of
men, to say nothing of the cost in money, to take Richmond, the
Capital City of the Confederacy. In this cartoon, taken from
“Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper,” of February 21, 1863,
Jeff Davis is sitting upon the Secession eggs in the “Richmond”
nest, smiling down upon President Lincoln, who is up to his waist
in the Mud of Difficulties.

The President finally waded through the morass, in which he had
become immersed, got to the tree, climbed its trunk, reached the
limb, upon which the “bad bird” had built its nest, threw the
mother out, destroyed the eggs of Secession and then took the
nest away with him, leaving the “bad bird” without any home at

The “bad bird” had its laugh first, but the last laugh belonged
to the “mudsill,” as the cartoonist was pleased to call the
President of the United States. It is true that the President got
his clothes and hat all covered with mud, but as the job was a
dirty one, as well as one that had to be done, the President
didn’t care. He was able to get another suit of clothes, as well
as another hat, but the “bad bird” couldn’t, and didn’t, get
another nest.

The laugh was on the “bad bird” after all.

Once, when asked what he remembered about the war with Great
Britain, Lincoln replied: “Nothing but this: I had been fishing
one day and caught a little fish, which I was taking home. I met
a soldier in the road, and, having been always told at home that
we must be good to the soldiers, I gave him my fish.”

This must have been about 1814, when “Abe” was five years of age.

Lincoln was once associate counsel for a defendant in a murder
case. He listened to the testimony given by witness after witness
against his client, until his honest heart could stand it no
longer; then, turning to his associate, he said: “The man is
guilty; you defend him–I can’t,” and when his associate secured
a verdict of acquittal, Lincoln refused to share the fee to the
extent of one cent.

Lincoln would never advise clients to enter into unwise or unjust
lawsuits, always preferring to refuse a retainer rather than be a
party to a case which did not commend itself to his sense of

General Creswell called at the White House to see the President
the day of the latter’s assassination. An old friend, serving in
the Confederate ranks, had been captured by the Union troops and
sent to prison. He had drawn an affidavit setting forth what he
knew about the man, particularly mentioning extenuating

Creswell found the President very happy. He was greeted with:
“Creswell, old fellow, everything is bright this morning. The War
is over. It has been a tough time, but we have lived it out,–or
some of us have,” and he dropped his voice a little on the last
clause of the sentence. “But it is over; we are going to have
good times now, and a united country.”

General Creswell told his story, read his affidavit, and said, “I
know the man has acted like a fool, but he is my friend, and a
good fellow; let him out; give him to me, and I will be
responsible that he won’t have anything more to do with the

“Creswell,” replied Mr. Lincoln, “you make me think of a lot of
young folks who once started out Maying. To reach their
destination, they had to cross a shallow stream, and did so by
means of an old flatboat. When the time came to return, they
found to their dismay that the old scow had disappeared. They
were in sore trouble, and thought over all manner of devices for
getting over the water, but without avail.

“After a time, one of the boys proposed that each fellow should
pick up the girl he liked best and wade over with her. The
masterly proposition was carried out, until all that were left
upon the island was a little short chap and a great, long,
gothic-built, elderly lady.

“Now, Creswell, you are trying to leave me in the same
predicament. You fellows are all getting your own friends out of
this scrape; and you will succeed in carrying off one after
another, until nobody but Jeff Davis and myself will be left on
the island, and then I won’t know what to do. How should I feel?
How should I look, lugging him over?

“I guess the way to avoid such an embarrassing situation is to
let them all out at once.”

He made a somewhat similar illustration at an informal Cabinet
meeting, at which the disposition of Jefferson Davis and other
prominent Confederates was discussed. Each member of the Cabinet
gave his opinion; most of them were for hanging the traitors, or
for some severe punishment. President Lincoln said nothing.

Finally, Joshua F. Speed, his old and confidential friend, who
had been invited to the meeting, said, “I have heard the opinion
of your Ministers, and would like to hear yours.”

“Well, Josh,” replied President Lincoln, “when I was a boy in
Indiana, I went to a neighbor’s house one morning and found a boy
of my own size holding a coon by a string. I asked him what he
had and what he was doing.

“He says, ‘It’s a coon. Dad cotched six last night, and killed
all but this poor little cuss. Dad told me to hold him until he
came back, and I’m afraid he’s going to kill this one too; and
oh, “Abe,” I do wish he would get away!’

“‘Well, why don’t you let him loose?’

“‘That wouldn’t be right; and if I let him go, Dad would give me
h–. But if he got away himself, it would be all right.’

“Now,” said the President, “if Jeff Davis and those other fellows
will only get away, it will be all right. But if we should catch
them, and I should let them go, ‘Dad would give me h–!'”

Don Piatt, a noted journalist of Washington, told the story of
the first proposition to President Lincoln to issue
interest-bearing notes as currency, as follows:

“Amasa Walker, a distinguished financier of New England,
suggested that notes issued directly from the Government to the
people, as currency, should bear interest. This for the purpose,
not only of making the notes popular, but for the purpose of
preventing inflation, by inducing people to hoard the notes as an
investment when the demands of trade would fail to call them into
circulation as a currency.

“This idea struck David Taylor, of Ohio, with such force that he
sought Mr. Lincoln and urged him to put the project into
immediate execution. The President listened patiently, and at the
end said, ‘That is a good idea, Taylor, but you must go to Chase.
He is running that end of the machine, and has time to consider
your proposition.’

“Taylor sought the Secretary of the Treasury, and laid before him
Amasa Walker’s plan. Secretary Chase heard him through in a cold,
unpleasant manner, and then said: ‘That is all very well, Mr.
Taylor; but there is one little obstacle in the way that makes
the plan impracticable, and that is the Constitution.’

“Saying this, he turned to his desk, as if dismissing both Mr.
Taylor and his proposition at the same moment.

“The poor enthusiast felt rebuked and humiliated. He returned to
the President, however, and reported his defeat. Mr. Lincoln
looked at the would-be financier with the expression at times so
peculiar to his homely face, that left one in doubt whether he
was jesting or in earnest. ‘Taylor!’ he exclaimed, ‘go back to
Chase and tell him not to bother himself about the Constitution.
Say that I have that sacred instrument here at the White House,
and I am guarding it with great care.’

“Taylor demurred to this, on the ground that Secretary Chase
showed by his manner that he knew all about it, and didn’t wish
to be bored by any suggestion.

“‘We’ll see about that,’ said the President, and taking a card
from the table, he wrote upon it

“‘The Secretary of the Treasury will please consider Mr.
Taylor’s proposition. We must have money, and I think this a
good way to get it.


Among the men whom Captain Lincoln met in the Black Hawk campaign
were Lieutenant-Colonel Zachary Taylor, Lieutenant Jefferson
Davis, President of the Confederacy, and Lieutenant Robert
Anderson, all of the United States Army.

Judge Arnold, in his “Life of Abraham Lincoln,” relates that
Lincoln and Anderson did not meet again until some time in 1861.
After Anderson had evacuated Fort Sumter, on visiting Washington,
he called at the White House to pay his respects to the
President. Lincoln expressed his thanks to Anderson for his
conduct at Fort Sumter, and then said:

“Major, do you remember of ever meeting me before?”

“No, Mr. President, I have no recollection of ever having had
that pleasure.”

“My memory is better than yours,” said Lincoln; “you mustered me
into the service of the United States in 1832, at Dixon’s Ferry,
in the Black Hawk war.”

In February, 1860, not long before his nomination for the
Presidency, Lincoln made several speeches in Eastern cities.
To an Illinois acquaintance, whom he met at the Astor House,
in New York, he said: “I have the cottage at Springfield,
and about three thousand dollars in money. If they make me
Vice-President with Seward, as some say they will, I hope
I shall be able to increase it to twenty thousand, and that
is as much as any man ought to want.”

In September, 1864, a New York paper printed the following brutal

“A few days after the battle of Antietam, the President was
driving over the field in an ambulance, accompanied by Marshal
Lamon, General McClellan and another officer. Heavy details of
men were engaged in the task of burying the dead. The ambulance
had just reached the neighborhood of the old stone bridge, where
the dead were piled highest, when Mr. Lincoln, suddenly slapping
Marshal Lamon on the knee, exclaimed: ‘Come, Lamon, give us that
song about “Picayune Butler”; McClellan has never heard it.’

“‘Not now, if you please,’ said General McClellan, with a
shudder; ‘I would prefer to hear it some other place and time.'”

President Lincoln refused to pay any attention to the story,
would not read the comments made upon it by the newspapers, and
would permit neither denial nor explanation to be made. The
National election was coming on, and the President’s friends
appealed to him to settle the matter for once and all. Marshal
Lamon was particularly insistent, but the President merely said:

“Let the thing alone. If I have not established character enough
to give the lie to this charge, I can only say that I am mistaken
in my own estimate of myself. In politics, every man must skin
his own skunk. These fellows are welcome to the hide of this one.
Its body has already given forth its unsavory odor.”

But Lamon would not “let the thing alone.” He submitted to
Lincoln a draft of what he conceived to be a suitable
explanation, after reading which the President said:

“Lamon, your ‘explanation’ is entirely too belligerent in tone
for so grave a matter. There is a heap of ‘cussedness’ mixed up
with your usual amiability, and you are at times too fond of a
fight. If I were you, I would simply state the facts as they
were. I would give the statement as you have here, without the
pepper and salt. Let me try my hand at it.”

The President then took up a pen and wrote the following, which
was copied and sent out as Marshal Lamon’s refutation of the
shameless slander:

“The President has known me intimately for nearly twenty years,
and has often heard me sing little ditties. The battle of
Antietam was fought on the 17th day of September, 1862. On the
first day of October, just two weeks after the battle, the
President, with some others, including myself, started from
Washington to visit the Army, reaching Harper’s Ferry at noon of
that day.

“In a short while General McClellan came from his headquarters
near the battleground, joined the President, and with him
reviewed the troops at Bolivar Heights that afternoon, and at
night returned to his headquarters, leaving the President at
Harper’s Ferry.

“On the morning of the second, the President, with General
Sumner, reviewed the troops respectively at Loudon Heights and
Maryland Heights, and at about noon started to General
McClellan’s headquarters, reaching there only in time to see very
little before night.

“On the morning of the third all started on a review of the Third
Corps and the cavalry, in the vicinity of the Antietam
battle-ground. After getting through with General Burnside’s
corps, at the suggestion of General McClellan, he and the
President left their horses to be led, and went into an ambulance
to go to General Fitz John Porter’s corps, which was two or three
miles distant.

“I am not sure whether the President and General McClellan were
in the same ambulance, or in different ones; but myself and some
others were in the same with the President. On the way, and on no
part of the battleground, and on what suggestions I do not
remember, the President asked me to sing the little sad song that
follows (“Twenty Years Ago, Tom”), which he had often heard me
sing, and had always seemed to like very much.

“After it was over, some one of the party (I do not think it was
the President) asked me to sing something else; and I sang two or
three little comic things, of which ‘Picayune Butler’ was one.
Porter’s corps was reached and reviewed; then the battle-ground
was passed over, and the most noted parts examined; then, in
succession, the cavalry and Franklin’s corps were reviewed, and
the President and party returned to General McClellan’s
headquarters at the end of a very hard, hot and dusty day’s work.

“Next day (the 4th), the President and General McClellan visited
such of the wounded as still remained in the vicinity, including
the now lamented General Richardson; then proceeded to and
examined the South-Mountain battle-ground, at which point they
parted, General McClellan returning to his camp, and the
President returning to Washington, seeing, on the way, General
Hartsoff, who lay wounded at Frederick Town.

“This is the whole story of the singing and its surroundings.
Neither General McClellan nor any one else made any objections to
the singing; the place was not on the battle-field; the time was
sixteen days after the battle; no dead body was seen during the
whole time the President was absent from Washington, nor even a
grave that had not been rained on since the time it was made.”

Nothing in Lincoln’s entire career better illustrated the
surprising resources of his mind than his manner of dealing with
“The Trent Affair.” The readiness and ability with which he met
this perilous emergency, in a field entirely new to his
experience, was worthy the most accomplished diplomat and
statesman. Admirable, also, was his cool courage and
self-reliance in following a course radically opposed to the
prevailing sentiment throughout the country and in Congress, and
contrary to the advice of his own Cabinet.

Secretary of the Navy Welles hastened to approve officially the
act of Captain Wilkes in apprehending the Confederate
Commissioners Mason and Slidell, Secretary Stanton publicly
applauded, and even Secretary of State Seward, whose long public
career had made him especially conservative, stated that he was
opposed to any concession or surrender of Mason and Slidell.

But Lincoln, with great sagacity, simply said, “One war at a

The President made his last public address on the evening of
April 11th, 1865, to a gathering at the White House. Said he

“We meet this evening not in sorrow, but in gladness of heart.

“The evacuation of Petersburg and Richmond, and the surrender of
the principal insurgent army, give hope of a righteous and speedy
peace, whose joyous expression cannot be restrained.

“In the midst of this, however, He from whom all blessings flow
must not be forgotten.

“Nor must those whose harder part gives us the cause of rejoicing
be overlooked; their honors must not be parceled out with others.

“I myself was near the front, and had the high pleasure of
transmitting the good news to you; but no part of the honor, for
plan or execution, is mine.

“To General Grant, his skillful officers and brave men, all

One day an old lady from the country called on President Lincoln,
her tanned face peering up to his through a pair of spectacles.
Her errand was to present Mr. Lincoln a pair of stockings of her
own make a yard long. Kind tears came to his eyes as she spoke to
him, and then, holding the stockings one in each hand, dangling
wide apart for general inspection, he assured her that he should
take them with him to Washington, where (and here his eyes
twinkled) he was sure he should not be able to find any like

Quite a number of well-known men were in the room with the
President when the old lady made her presentation. Among them was
George S. Boutwell, who afterwards became Secretary of the

The amusement of the company was not at all diminished by Mr.
Boutwell’s remark, that the lady had evidently made a very
correct estimate of Mr. Lincoln’s latitude and longitude.

Lincoln was appointed postmaster at New Salem by President
Jackson. The office was given him because everybody liked him,
and because he was the only man willing to take it who could make
out the returns. Lincoln was pleased, because it gave him a
chance to read every newspaper taken in the vicinity. He had
never been able to get half the newspapers he wanted before.

Years after the postoffice had been discontinued and Lincoln had
become a practicing lawyer at Springfield, an agent of the
Postoffice Department entered his office and inquired if Abraham
Lincoln was within. Lincoln responded to his name, and was
informed that the agent had called to collect the balance due the
Department since the discontinuance of the New Salem office.

A shade of perplexity passed over Lincoln’s face, which did not
escape the notice of friends present. One of them said at once:

“Lincoln, if you are in want of money, let us help you.”

He made no reply, but suddenly rose, and pulled out from a pile
of books a little old trunk, and, returning to the table, asked
the agent how much the amount of his debt was.

The sum was named, and then Lincoln opened the trunk, pulled out
a little package of coin wrapped in a cotton rag, and counted out
the exact sum, amounting to more than seventeen dollars.

After the agent had left the room, he remarked quietly that he
had never used any man’s money but his own. Although this sum had
been in his hands during all those years, he had never regarded
it as available, even for any temporary use of his own.

At a Saturday afternoon reception at the White House, many
persons noticed three little girls, poorly dressed, the children
of some mechanic or laboring man, who had followed the visitors
into the White House to gratify their curiosity. They passed
around from room to room, and were hastening through the
reception-room, with some trepidation, when the President called
to them:

“Little girls, are you going to pass me without shaking hands?”

Then he bent his tall, awkward form down, and shook each little
girl warmly by the hand. Everybody in the apartment was
spellbound by the incident, so simple in itself.

Uncle Sam was pretty well satisfied with his horse, “Old Abe,”
and, as shown at the Presidential election of 1864, made up his
mind to keep him, and not “swap” the tried and true animal for a
strange one. “Harper’s Weekly” of November 12th, 1864, had a
cartoon which illustrated how the people of the United States
felt about the matter better than anything published at the time.
We reproduce it on this page. Beneath the picture was this text:

JOHN BULL: “Why don’t you ride the other horse a bit? He’s the
best animal.” (Pointing to McClellan in the bushes at the rear.)

BROTHER JONATHAN: “Well, that may be; but the fact is, OLD ABE is
just where I can put my finger on him; and as for the other
–though they say he’s some when out in the scrub yonder–I never
know where to find him.”

“One time I remember I asked Mr. Lincoln what attribute he
considered most valuable to the successful politician,” said
Captain T. W. S. Kidd, of Springfield.

“He laid his hand on my shoulder and said, very earnestly:

“‘To be able to raise a cause which shall produce an effect, and
then fight the effect.’

“The more you think about it, the more profound does it become.”

A cashiered officer, seeking to be restored through the power of
the executive, became insolent, because the President, who
believed the man guilty, would not accede to his repeated
requests, at last said, “Well, Mr. President, I see you are fully
determined not to do me justice!”

This was too aggravating even for Mr. Lincoln; rising he suddenly
seized the disgraced officer by the coat collar, and marched him
forcibly to the door, saying as he ejected him into the passage:

“Sir, I give you fair warning never to show your face in this
room again. I can bear censure, but not insult. I never wish to
see your face again.”

Salmon P. Chase, when Secretary of the Treasury, had a
disagreement with other members of the Cabinet, and resigned.

The President was urged not to accept it, as “Secretary Chase is
to-day a national necessity,” his advisers said.

“How mistaken you are!” Lincoln quietly observed. “Yet it is not
strange; I used to have similar notions. No! If we should all be
turned out to-morrow, and could come back here in a week, we
should find our places filled by a lot of fellows doing just as
well as we did, and in many instances better.

“Now, this reminds me of what the Irishman said. His verdict was
that ‘in this country one man is as good as another; and, for the
matter of that, very often a great deal better.’ No; this
Government does not depend upon the life of any man.”

George B. Lincoln, a prominent merchant of Brooklyn, was
traveling through the West in 1855-56, and found himself one
night in a town on the Illinois River, by the name of Naples. The
only tavern of the place had evidently been constructed with
reference to business on a small scale. Poor as the prospect
seemed, Mr. Lincoln had no alternative but to put up at the

The supper-room was also used as a lodging-room. Mr. Lincoln told
his host that he thought he would “go to bed.”

“Bed!” echoed the landlord. “There is no bed for you in this
house unless you sleep with that man yonder. He has the only one
we have to spare.”

“Well,” returned Mr. Lincoln, “the gentleman has possession, and
perhaps would not like a bed-fellow.”

Upon this a grizzly head appeared out of the pillows, and said:

“What is your name?”

“They call me Lincoln at home,” was the reply.

“Lincoln!” repeated the stranger; “any connection of our Illinois

“No,” replied Mr. Lincoln. “I fear not.”

“Well,” said the old gentleman, “I will let any man by the name
of ‘Lincoln’ sleep with me, just for the sake of the name. You
have heard of Abe?” he inquired.

“Oh, yes, very often,” replied Mr. Lincoln. “No man could travel
far in this State without hearing of him, and I would be very
glad to claim connection if I could do so honestly.”

“Well,” said the old gentleman, “my name is Simmons. ‘Abe’ and I
used to live and work together when young men. Many a job of
woodcutting and rail-splitting have I done up with him. Abe
Lincoln was the likeliest boy in God’s world. He would work all
day as hard as any of us and study by firelight in the loghouse
half the night; and in this way he made himself a thorough,
practical surveyor. Once, during those days, I was in the upper
part of the State, and I met General Ewing, whom President
Jackson had sent to the Northwest to make surveys. I told him
about Abe Lincoln, what a student he was, and that I wanted he
should give him a job. He looked over his memorandum, and,
holding out a paper, said:

“‘There is County must be surveyed; if your friend can do the
work properly, I shall be glad to have him undertake it–the
compensation will be six hundred dollars.’

“Pleased as I could be, I hastened to Abe, after I got home, with
an account of what I had secured for him. He was sitting before
the fire in the log-cabin when I told him; and what do you think
was his answer? When I finished, he looked up very quietly, and

“‘Mr. Simmons, I thank you very sincerely for your kindness, but
I don’t think I will undertake the job.’

“‘In the name of wonder,’ said I, ‘why? Six hundred does not
grow upon every bush out here in Illinois.’

“‘I know that,’ said Abe, ‘and I need the money bad enough,
Simmons, as you know; but I have never been under obligation to a
Democratic Administration, and I never intend to be so long as I
can get my living another way. General Ewing must find another
man to do his work.'”

A friend related this story to the President one day, and asked
him if it were true.

“Pollard Simmons!” said Lincoln. “Well do I remember him. It is
correct about our working together, but the old man must have
stretched the facts somewhat about the survey of the county. I
think I should have been very glad of the job at the time, no
matter what Administration was in power.”

President Lincoln said, long before the National political
campaign of 1864 had opened:

“If the unworthy ambition of politicians and the jealousy that
exists in the army could be repressed, and all unite in a common
aim and a common endeavor, the rebellion would soon be crushed.”

The President once explained to a friend the theory of the
Rebellion by the aid of the maps before him.

Running his long fore-finger down the map, he stopped at

“We must drive them away from here” (Manassas Gap), he said, “and
clear them out of this part of the State so that they cannot
threaten us here (Washington) and get into Maryland.

“We must keep up a good and thorough blockade of their ports. We
must march an army into East Tennessee and liberate the Union
sentiment there. Finally we must rely on the people growing tired
and saying to their leaders, ‘We have had enough of this thing,
we will bear it no longer.'”

Such was President Lincoln’s plan for headingoff the Rebellion in
the summer of 1861. How it enlarged as the War progressed, from a
call for seventy thousand volunteers to one for five hundred
thousand men and $500,000,000 is a matter of well-known history.

Three or four days after the battle of Bull Run, some gentlemen
who had been on the field called upon the President.

He inquired very minutely regarding all the circumstances of the
affair, and, after listening with the utmost attention, said,
with a touch of humor: “So it is your notion that we whipped the
rebels and then ran away from them!”

Old Dennis Hanks was sent to Washington at one time by persons
interested in securing the release from jail of several men
accused of being copperheads. It was thought Old Dennis might
have some influence with the President.

The latter heard Dennis’ story and then said: “I will send for
Mr. Stanton. It is his business.”

Secretary Stanton came into the room, stormed up and down, and
said the men ought to be punished more than they were. Mr.
Lincoln sat quietly in his chair and waited for the tempest to
subside, and then quietly said to Stanton he would like to have
the papers next day.

When he had gone, Dennis said:

“‘Abe,’ if I was as big and as ugly as you are, I would take him
over my knee and spank him.”

The President replied: “No, Stanton is an able and valuable man
for this Nation, and I am glad to bear his anger for the service
he can give the Nation.”

The quaint remark of the President to an applicant, “My dear sir,
I have not much influence with the Administration,” was one of
Lincoln’s little jokes.

Mr. Stanton, Secretary of War, once replied to an order from the
President to give a colonel a commission in place of the
resigning brigadier:

“I shan’t do it, sir! I shan’t do it! It isn’t the way to do it,
sir, and I shan’t do it. I don’t propose to argue the question
with you, sir.”

A few days after, the friend of the applicant who had presented
the order to Secretary Stanton called upon the President and
related his reception. A look of vexation came over the face of
the President, and he seemed unwilling to talk of it, and desired
the friend to see him another day. He did so, when he gave his
visitor a positive order for the promotion. The latter told him
he would not speak to Secretary Stanton again until he

“Oh,” said the President, “Stanton has gone to Fortress Monroe,
and Dana is acting. He will attend to it for you.”

This he said with a manner of relief, as if it was a piece of
good luck to find a man there who would obey his orders.

The nomination was sent to the Senate and confirmed.

Many applications reached Lincoln as he passed to and from the
White House and the War Department. One day as he crossed the
he was stopped by a negro, who told him a pitiful story. The
President wrote him out a check, which read. “Pay to colored man
with one leg five dollars.”

When the Republican party came into power, Washington swarmed
with office-seekers. They overran the White House and gave the
President great annoyance. The incongruity of a man in his
position, and with the very life of the country at stake, pausing
to appoint postmasters, struck Mr. Lincoln forcibly. “What is
the matter, Mr. Lincoln,” said a friend one day, when he saw him
looking particularly grave and dispirited. “Has anything gone
wrong at the front?” “No,” said the President, with a tired
smile. “It isn’t the war; it’s the postoffice at Brownsville,

Immediately after Mr. Lincoln’s nomination for President at the
Chicago Convention, a committee, of which Governor Morgan, of New
York, was chairman, visited him in Springfield, Ill., where he
was officially informed of his nomination.

After this ceremony had passed, Mr. Lincoln remarked to the
company that as a fit ending to an interview so important and
interesting as that which had just taken place, he supposed good
manners would require that he should treat the committee with
something to drink; and opening the door that led into the rear,
he called out, “Mary! Mary!” A girl responded to the call, to
whom Mr. Lincoln spoke a few words in an undertone, and, closing
the door, returned again and talked with his guests. In a few
minutes the maid entered, bearing a large waiter, containing
several glass tumblers, and a large pitcher, and placed them upon
the center-table. Mr. Lincoln arose, and, gravely addressing the
company, said: “Gentlemen, we must pledge our mutual health in
the most healthy beverage that God has given to man–it is the
only beverage I have ever used or allowed my family to use, and I
cannot conscientiously depart from it on the present occasion. It
is pure Adam’s ale from the spring.” And, taking the tumbler, he
touched it to his lips, and pledged them his highest respects in
a cup of cold water. Of course, all his guests admired his
consistency, and joined in his example.

A few days before the President’s death, Secretary Stanton
tendered his resignation as Secretary of War. He accompanied the
act with a most heartfelt tribute to Mr. Lincoln’s constant
friendship and faithful devotion to the country, saying, also,
that he, as Secretary, had accepted the position to hold it only
until the war should end, and that now he felt his work was done,
and his duty was to resign.

Mr. Lincoln was greatly moved by the Secretary’s words, and,
tearing in pieces the paper containing the resignation, and
throwing his arms about the Secretary, he said:

“Stanton, you have been a good friend and a faithful public
servant, and it is not for you to say when you will no longer be
needed here.”

Several friends of both parties were present on the occasion, and
there was not a dry eye that witnessed the scene.

When the War was fairly on, many people were astonished to find
that “Old Abe” was a fighter from “way back.” No one was the
victim of greater amazement than Jefferson Davis, President of
the Confederate States of America. Davis found out that “Abe” was
not only a hard hitter, but had staying qualities of a high
order. It was a fight to a “finish” with “Abe,” no compromises
being accepted. Over the title, “North and South,” the issue of
“Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper” of December 24th, 1864,
contained the cartoon, see reproduce on this page. Underneath the
picture were the lines:

“Now, Jeffy, when you think you have had enough of this, say so,
and I’ll leave off.” (See President’s message.) In his message to
Congress, December 6th,

President Lincoln said: “No attempt at negotiation with the
insurgent leader could result in any good. He would accept of
nothing short of the severance of the Union.”

Therefore, Father Abraham, getting “Jeffy’s” head “in chancery,”
proceeded to change the appearance and size of the secessionist’s
countenance, much to the grief and discomfort of the Southerner.
It was Lincoln’s idea to re-establish the Union, and he carried
out his purpose to the very letter. But he didn’t “leave off”
until “Jeffy” cried “enough.”

In October, 1864, President Lincoln, while he knew his
re-election to the White House was in no sense doubtful, knew
that if he lost New York and with it Pennsylvania on the home
vote, the moral effect of his triumph would be broken and his
power to prosecute the war and make peace would be greatly
impaired. Colonel A. K. McClure was with Lincoln a good deal of
the time previous to the November election, and tells this story:

“His usually sad face was deeply shadowed with sorrow when I told
him that I saw no reasonable prospect of carrying Pennsylvania on
the home vote, although we had about held our own in the
hand-to-hand conflict through which we were passing.

“‘Well, what is to be done?’ was Lincoln’s inquiry, after the
whole situation had been presented to him. I answered that the
solution of the problem was a very simple and easy one–that
Grant was idle in front of Petersburg; that Sheridan had won all
possible victories in the Valley; and that if five thousand
Pennsylvania soldiers could be furloughed home from each army,
the election could be carried without doubt.

“Lincoln’s face’ brightened instantly at the suggestion, and I
saw that he was quite ready to execute it. I said to him: ‘Of
course, you can trust want to make the suggestion to him to
furlough five thousand Pennsylvania troops for two weeks?’

“‘To my surprise, Lincoln made no answer, and the bright face of
a few moments before was instantly shadowed again. I was much
disconcerted, as I supposed that Grant was the one man to whom
Lincoln could turn with absolute confidence as his friend. I then
said, with some earnestness: ‘Surely, Mr. President, you can
trust Grant with a confidential suggestion to furlough
Pennsylvania troops?’

“Lincoln remained silent and evidently distressed at the
proposition I was pressing upon him. After a few moments, and
speaking with emphasis, I said: ‘It can’t be possible that Grant
is not your friend; he can’t be such an ingrate?’

“Lincoln hesitated for some time, and then answered in these
words: ‘Well, McClure, I have no reason to believe that Grant
prefers my election to that of McClellan.’

“I believe Lincoln was mistaken in his distrust of Grant.”

Lincoln was constantly bothered by members of delegations of
“goody-goodies,” who knew all about running the War, but had no
inside information as to what was going on. Yet, they poured out
their advice in streams, until the President was heartily sick of
the whole business, and wished the War would find some way to
kill off these nuisances.

“How many men have the Confederates now in the field?” asked one
of these bores one day.

“About one million two hundred thousand,” replied the President.

“Oh, my! Not so many as that, surely, Mr. Lincoln.”

“They have fully twelve hundred thousand, no doubt of it. You
see, all of our generals when they get whipped say the enemy
outnumbers them from three or five to one, and I must believe
them. We have four hundred thousand men in the field, and three
times four make twelve,–don’t you see it? It is as plain to be
seen as the nose on a man’s face; and at the rate things are now
going, with the great amount of speculation and the small crop of
fighting, it will take a long time to overcome twelve hundred
thousand rebels in arms.

“If they can get subsistence they have everything else, except a
just cause. Yet it is said that ‘thrice is he armed that hath his
quarrel just.’ I am willing, however, to risk our advantage of
thrice in justice against their thrice in numbers.”

General McClellan had little or no conception of the greatness of
Abraham Lincoln. As time went on, he began to show plainly his
contempt of the President, frequently allowing him to wait in the
ante-room of his house while he transacted business with others.
This discourtesy was so open that McClellan’s staff noticed it,
and newspaper correspondents commented on it. The President was
too keen not to see the situation, but he was strong enough to
ignore it. It was a battle he wanted from McClellan, not

“I will hold McClellan’s horse, if he will only bring us
success,” he said one day.

G. H. Giddings was selected as the bearer of a message from the
President to Governor Sam Houston, of Texas. A conflict had
arisen there between the Southern party and the Governor, Sam
Houston, and on March 18 the latter had been deposed. When Mr.
Lincoln heard of this, he decided to try to get a message to the
Governor, offering United States support if he would put himself
at the head of the Union party of the State.

Mr. Giddings thus told of his interview with the President:

“He said to me that the message was of such importance that,
before handing it to me, he would read it to me. Before beginning
to read he said, ‘This is a confidential and secret message. No
one besides my Cabinet and myself knows anything about it, and we
are all sworn to secrecy. I am going to swear you in as one of my

“And then he said to me in a jocular way, ‘Hold up your right
hand,’ which I did.

“‘Now,’ said he, consider yourself a member of my Cabinet.”‘

With the possible exception of President Washington, whose
political opponents did not hesitate to rob the vocabulary of
vulgarity and wickedness whenever they desired to vilify the
Chief Magistrate, Lincoln was the most and “best” abused man who
ever held office in the United States. During the first half of
his initial term there was no epithet which was not applied to

One newspaper in New York habitually characterized him as “that
hideous baboon at the other end of the avenue,” and declared that
“Barnum should buy and exhibit him as a zoological curiosity.”

Although the President did not, to all appearances, exhibit
annoyance because of the various diatribes printed and spoken,
yet the fact is that his life was so cruelly embittered by these
and other expressions quite as virulent, that he often declared
to those most intimate with him, “I would rather be dead than, as
President, thus abused in the house of my friends.”

General “Joe” Hooker, the fourth commander of the noble but
unfortunate Army of the Potomac, was appointed to that position
by President Lincoln in January, 1863. General Scott, for some
reason, disliked Hooker and would not appoint him. Hooker, after
some months of discouraging waiting, decided to return to
California, and called to pay his respects to President Lincoln.
He was introduced as Captain Hooker, and to the surprise of the
President began the following speech:

“Mr. President, my friend makes a mistake. I am not Captain
Hooker, but was once Lieutenant-Colonel Hooker of the regular
army. I was lately a farmer in California, but since the
Rebellion broke out I have been trying to get into service, but I
find I am not wanted.

“I am about to return home; but before going, I was anxious to
pay my respects to you, and express my wishes for your personal
welfare and success in quelling this Rebellion. And I want to say
to you a word more.

“I was at Bull Run the other day, Mr. President, and it is no
vanity in me to say, I am a darned sight better general than you
had on the field.”

This was said, not in the tone of a braggart, but of a man who
knew what he was talking about. Hooker did not return to
California, but in a few weeks Captain Hooker received from the
President a commission as Brigadier-General Hooker.

The President, like old King Saul, when his term was about to
expire, was in a quandary concerning a further lease of the
Presidential office. He consulted again the “prophetess” of
Georgetown, immortalized by his patronage.

She retired to an inner chamber, and, after raising and
consulting more than a dozen of distinguished spirits from Hades,
she returned to the reception-parlor, where the chief magistrate
awaited her, and declared that General Grant would capture
Richmond, and that “Honest Old Abe” would be next President.

She, however, as the report goes, told him to beware of Chase.

Lincoln had been born and reared among people who were believers
in premonitions and supernatural appearances all his life, and he
once declared to his friends that he was “from boyhood

He at one time said to Judge Arnold that “the near approach of
the important events of his life were indicated by a presentiment
or a strange dream, or in some other mysterious way it was
impressed upon him that something important was to occur.” This
was earlier than 1850.

It is said that on his second visit to New Orleans, Lincoln and
his companion, John Hanks, visited an old fortune-teller–a
voodoo negress. Tradition says that “during the interview she
became very much excited, and after various predictions,
exclaimed: ‘You will be President, and all the negroes will be

That the old voodoo negress should have foretold that the visitor
would be President is not at all incredible. She doubtless told
this to many aspiring lads, but Lincoln, so it is avowed took the
prophecy seriously.

So great was Lincoln’s anxiety for the success of the Union arms
that he considered no labor on his part too arduous, and spent
much of his time in looking after even the small details.

Admiral Dahlgren was sent for one morning by the President, who
said “Well, captain, here’s a letter about some new powder.”

After reading the letter he showed the sample of powder, and
remarked that he had burned some of it, and did not believe it
was a good article–here was too much residuum.

“I will show you,” he said; and getting a small piece of paper,
placed thereupon some of the powder, then went to the fire and
with the tongs picked up a coal, which he blew, clapped it on the
powder, and after the resulting explosion, added, “You see there
is too much left there.”

McClellan was a thorn in Lincoln’s side–“always up in the air,”
as the President put it–and yet he hesitated to remove him. “The
Young Napoleon” was a good organizer, but no fighter. Lincoln
sent him everything necessary in the way of men, ammunition,
artillery and equipments, but he was forever unready.

Instead of making a forward movement at the time expected, he
would notify the President that he must have more men. These were
given him as rapidly as possible, and then would come a demand
for more horses, more this and that, usually winding up with a
demand for still “more men.”

Lincoln bore it all in patience for a long time, but one day,
when he had received another request for more men, he made a
vigorous protest.

“If I gave McClellan all the men he asks for,” said the
President, “they couldn’t find room to lie down. They’d have to
sleep standing up.”

General Meade, after the great victory at Gettysburg, was again
face to face with General Lee shortly afterwards at Williamsport,
and even the former’s warmest friends agree that he might have
won in another battle, but he took no action. He was not a
“pushing” man like Grant. It was this negligence on the part of
Meade that lost him the rank of Lieutenant-General, conferred
upon General Sheridan.

A friend of Meade’s, speaking to President Lincoln and intimating
that Meade should have, after that battle, been made
Commander-in-Chief of the Union Armies, received this reply from

“Now, don’t misunderstand me about General Meade. I am profoundly
grateful down to the bottom of my boots for what he did at
Gettysburg, but I think that if I had been General Meade I would
have fought another battle.”

In one of his reminiscences of Lincoln, Ward Lamon tells how
keenly the President-elect always regretted the “sneaking in act”
when he made the celebrated “midnight ride,” which he took under
protest, and landed him in Washington known to but a few. Lamon

“The President was convinced that he committed a grave mistake in
listening to the solicitations of a ‘professional spy’ and of
friends too easily alarmed, and frequently upbraided me for
having aided him to degrade himself at the very moment in all his
life when his behavior should have exhibited the utmost dignity
and composure.

“Neither he nor the country generally then understood the true
facts concerning the dangers to his life. It is now an
acknowledged fact that there never was a moment from the day he
crossed the Maryland line, up to the time of his assassination,
that he was not in danger of death by violence, and that his life
was spared until the night of the 14th of April, 1865, only
through the ceaseless and watchful care of the guards thrown
around him.”

President Lincoln was calm and unmoved when England and France
were blustering and threatening war. At Lincoln’s instance
Secretary of State Seward notified the English Cabinet and the
French Emperor that as ours was merely a family quarrel of a
strictly private and confidential nature, there was no call for
meddling; also that they would have a war on their hands in a
very few minutes if they didn’t keep their hands off.

Many of Seward’s notes were couched in decidedly peppery terms,
some expressions being so tart that President Lincoln ran his pen
through them.

General Farnsworth told the writer nearly twenty years ago that,
being in the War Office one day, Secretary Stanton told him that
at the last Cabinet meeting he had learned a lesson he should
never forget, and thought he had obtained an insight into Mr.
Lincoln’s wonderful power over the masses. The Secretary said a
Cabinet meeting was called to consider our relations with England
in regard to the Mason-Slidell affair. One after another of the
Cabinet presented his views, and Mr. Seward read an elaborate
diplomatic dispatch, which he had prepared.

Finally Mr. Lincoln read what he termed “a few brief remarks upon
the subject,” and asked the opinions of his auditors. They
unanimously agreed that our side of the question needed no more
argument than was contained in the President’s “few brief

Mr. Seward said he would be glad to adopt the remarks, and,
giving them more of the phraseology usual in diplomatic circles,
send them to Lord Palmerston, the British premier.

“Then,” said Secretary Stanton, “came the demonstration. The
President, half wheeling in his seat, threw one leg over the
chair-arm, and, holding the letter in his hand, said, ‘Seward, do
you suppose Palmerston will understand our position from that
letter, just as it is?’

“‘Certainly, Mr. President.’

“‘Do you suppcse the London Times will?’


“‘Do you suppose the average Englishman of affairs will?’

“‘Certainly; it cannot be mistaken in England.’

“‘Do you suppose that a hackman out on his box (pointing to the
street) will understand it?’

“‘Very readily, Mr. President.’

“‘Very well, Seward, I guess we’ll let her slide just as she

“And the letter did ‘slide,’ and settled the whole business in a
manner that was effective.”

One morning President Lincoln asked Major Eckert, on duty at the
White House, “Who is that woman crying out in the hall? What is
the matter with her?”

Eckert said it was a woman who had come a long distance expecting
to go down to the army to see her husband. An order had gone out
a short time before to allow no women in the army, except in
special cases.

Mr. Lincoln sat moodily for a moment after hearing this story,
and suddenly looking up, said, “Let’s send her down. You write
the order, Major.”

Major Eckert hesitated a moment, and replied, “Would it not be
better for Colonel Hardie to write the order?”

“Yes,” said Mr. Lincoln, “that is better; let Hardie write it.”

The major went out, and soon returned, saying, “Mr. President,
would it not be better in this case to let the woman’s husband
come to Washington?”

Mr. Lincoln’s face lighted up with pleasure. “Yes, yes,” was the
President’s answer in a relieved tone; “that’s the best way;
bring him up.”

The order was written, and the man was sent to Washington.

“You can’t carry on war without blood-letting,” said Lincoln one

The President, although almost feminine in his kind-heartedness,
knew not only this, but also that large bodies of soldiers in
camp were at the mercy of diseases of every sort, the result
being a heavy casualty list.

Of the (estimated) half-million men of the Union armies who gave
up their lives in the War of the Rebellion–1861-65–fullY
seventy-five per cent died of disease. The soldiers killed upon
the field of battle constituted a comparatively small proportion
of the casualties.

London “Punch” caricatured President Lincoln in every possible
way, holding him and the Union cause up to the ridicule of the
world so far as it could. On August 23rd, 1862, its cartoon
entitled “Lincoln’s Two Difficulties” had the text underneath:
LINCOLN: “What? No money! No men!” “Punch” desired to create the
impression that the Washington Government was in a bad way,
lacking both money and men for the purpose of putting down the
Rebellion; that the United States Treasury was bankrupt, and the
people of the North so devoid of patriotism that they would not
send men for the army to assist in destroying the Confederacy.
The truth is, that when this cartoon was printed the North had
five hundred thousand men in the field, and, before the War
closed, had provided fully two million and a half troops. The
report of the Secretary of the Treasury which showed the
financial affairs and situation of the United States up to July,
1862. The receipts of the National Government for the year ending
June 30th, 1862, were $10,000,000 in excess of the expenditures,
although the War was costing the country $2,000,000 per day; the
credit of the United States was good, and business matters were
in a satisfactory state. The Navy, by August 23rd, 1862, had
received eighteen thousand additional men, and was in fine shape;
the people of the North stood ready to supply anything the
Government needed, so that, all things taken together,the “Punch”
cartoon was not exactly true, as the facts and figures abundantly

An old and intimate friend from Springfield called on President
Lincoln and found him much depressed.

The President was reclining on a sofa, but rising suddenly he
said to his friend:

“You know better than any man living that from my boyhood up my
ambition was to be President. I am President of one part of this
divided country at least; but look at me! Oh, I wish I had never
been born!

“I’ve a white elephant on my hands–one hard to manage. With a
fire in my front and rear to contend with, the jealousies of the
military commanders, and not receiving that cordial co-operative
support from Congress that could reasonably be expected with an
active and formidable enemy in the field threatening the very
life-blood of the Government, my position is anything but a bed
of roses.”

Ward Lamon, one of President Lincoln’s law partners, and his most
intimate friend in Washington, has this to relate:

“I am not aware that there was ever a serious discord or
misunderstanding between Mr. Lincoln and General Grant, except on
a single occasion. From the commencement of the struggle,
Lincoln’s policy was to break the backbone of the Confederacy by
depriving it of its principal means of subsistence.

“Cotton was its vital aliment; deprive it of this, and the
rebellion must necessarily collapse. The Hon. Elihu B. Washburne
from the outset was opposed to any contraband traffic with the

“Lincoln had given permits and passes through the lines to two
persons–Mr. Joseph Mattox of Maryland and General Singleton of
Illinois–to enable them to bring cotton and other Southern
products from Virginia. Washburne heard of it, called immediately
on Mr. Lincoln, and, after remonstrating with him on the
impropriety of such a demarche, threatened to have General Grant
countermand the permits if they were not revoked.

“Naturally, both became excited. Lincoln declared that he did not
believe General Grant would take upon himself the responsibility
of such an act. ‘I will show you, sir; I will show you whether
Grant will do it or not,’ responded Mr. Washburne, as he abruptly

“By the next boat, subsequent to this interview, the Congressman
left Washington for the headquarters of General Grant. He
returned shortly afterward to the city, and so likewise did
Mattox and Singleton. Grant had countermanded the permits.

“Under all the circumstances, it was, naturally, a source of
exultation to Mr. Washburne and his friends, and of corresponding
surprise and mortification to the President. The latter, however,
said nothing further than this:

“‘I wonder when General Grant changed his mind on this subject?
He was the first man, after the commencement of this War, to
grant a permit for the passage of cotton through the lines, and
that to his own father.’

“The President, however, never showed any resentment toward
General Grant.

“In referring afterwards to the subject, the President said: ‘It
made me feel my insignificance keenly at the moment; but if my
friends Washburne, Henry Wilson and others derive pleasure from
so unworthy a victory over me, I leave them to its full

“This ripple on the otherwise unruffled current of their
intercourse did not disturb the personal relations between
Lincoln and Grant; but there was little cordiality between the
President and Messrs. Washburne and Wilson afterwards.”

The story as to how President Lincoln won the support of James
Gordon Bennett, Sr., founder of the New York Herald, is a most
interesting one. It was one of Lincoln’s shrewdest political
acts, and was brought about by the tender, in an autograph
letter, of the French Mission to Bennett.

The New York Times was the only paper in the metropolis which
supported him heartily, and President Lincoln knew how important
it was to have the support of the Herald. He therefore, according
to the way Colonel McClure tells it, carefully studied how to
bring its editor into close touch with himself.

The outlook for Lincoln’s re-election was not promising. Bennett
had strongly advocated the nomination of General McClellan by the
Democrats, and that was ominous of hostility to Lincoln; and when
McClellan was nominated he was accepted on all sides as a most
formidable candidate.

It was in this emergency that Lincoln’s political sagacity served
him sufficiently to win the Herald to his cause, and it was done
by the confidential tender of the French Mission. Bennett did not
break over to Lincoln at once, but he went by gradual approaches.

His first step was to declare in favor of an entirely new
candidate, which was an utter impossibility. He opened a “leader”
in the Herald on the subject in this way: “Lincoln has proved a
failure; McClellan has proved a failure; Fremont has proved a
failure; let us have a new candidate.”

Lincoln, McClellan and Fremont were then all in the field as
nominated candidates, and the Fremont defection was a serious
threat to Lincoln. Of course, neither Lincoln nor McClellan
declined, and the Herald, failing to get the new man it knew to
be an impossibility, squarely advocated Lincoln’s re-election.

Without consulting any one, and without any public announcement:
whatever, Lincoln wrote to Bennett, asking him to accept the
mission to France. The offer was declined. Bennett valued the
offer very much more than the office, and from that day until the
day of the President’s death he was one of Lincoln’s most
appreciative friends and hearty supporters on his own independent

Once, in reply to a delegation, which visited the White House,
the members of which were unusually vociferous in their demands
that the Silent Man (as General Grant was called) should be
relieved from duty, the President remarked:

“What I want and what the people want is generals who will fight
battles and win victories.

“Grant has done this, and I propose to stand by him.”

This declaration found its way into the newspapers, and Lincoln
was upheld by the people of the North, who, also, wanted
who will fight battles and win victories.”

President Lincoln and Secretary of State Seward met Alexander H.
Stephens, Vice-President of the Confederacy, on February 2nd,
1865, on the River Queen, at Fortress Monroe. Stephens was
enveloped in overcoats and shawls, and had the appearance of a
fair-sized man. He began to take off one wrapping after another,
until the small, shriveled old man stood before them.

Lincoln quietly said to Seward: “This is the largest shucking for
so small a nubbin that I ever saw.”

President Lincoln had a friendly conference, but presented his
ultimatum that the one and only condition of peace was that
Confederates “must cease their resistance.”

During the Civil War, Clement L. Vallandigham, of Ohio, had shown
himself, in the National House of Representatives and elsewhere,
one of the bitterest and most outspoken of all the men of that
class which insisted that “the war was a failure.” He declared
that it was the design of “those in power to establish a
despotism,” and that they had “no intention of restoring the
Union.” He denounced the conscription which had been ordered, and
declared that men who submitted to be drafted into the army were
“unworthy to be called free men.” He spoke of the President as
“King Lincoln.”

Such utterances at this time, when the Government was exerting
itself to the utmost to recruit the armies, were dangerous, and
Vallandigham was arrested, tried by court-martial at Cincinnati,
and sentenced to be placed in confinement during the war,

General Burnside, in command at Cincinnati, approved the
sentence, and ordered that he be sent to Fort Warren, in Boston
Harbor; but the President ordered that he be sent “beyond our
lines into those of his friends.” He was therefore escorted to
the Confederate lines in Tennessee, thence going to Richmond. He
did not meet with a very cordial reception there, and finally
sought refuge in Canada.

Vallandigham died in a most peculiar way some years after the
close of the War, and it was thought by many that his death was
the result of premeditation upon his part.

In August, 1864, the President called for five hundred thousand
more men. The country was much depressed. The Confederates had,
in comparatively small force, only a short time before, been to
the very gates of Washington, and returned almost unharmed.

The Presidential election was impending. Many thought another
call for men at such a time would insure, if not destroy, Mr.
Lincoln’s chances for re-election. A friend said as much to him
one day, after the President had told him of his purpose to make
such a call.

“As to my re-election,” replied Mr. Lincoln, “it matters not. We
must have the men. If I go down, I intend to go, like the
Cumberland, with my colors flying!”

The cartoon reproduced below was published in “Harper’s Weekly”
on January 31st, 1863, the explanatory text, underneath, reading
in this way:

MANAGER LINCOLN: “Ladies and gentlemen, I regret to say that the
tragedy entitled ‘The Army of the Potomac’ has been withdrawn on
account of quarrels among the leading performers, and I have
substituted three new and striking farces, or burlesques, one,
entitled ‘The Repulse of Vicksburg,’ by the well-known favorite,
E. M. Stanton, Esq., and the others, ‘The Loss of the Harriet
Lane,’ and ‘The Exploits of the Alabama’–a very sweet thing in
farces, I assure you–by the veteran composer, Gideon Welles.
(Unbounded applause by the Copperheads).”

In July, after this cartoon appeared, the Army of the Potomac
defeated Lee at Gettysburg, and sounded the death-knell of the
Confederacy; General Hooker, with his corps from this Army opened
the Tennessee River, thus affording some relief to the Union
troops in Chattanooga; Hooker’s men also captured Lookout
Mountain, and assisted in taking Missionary Ridge.

General Grant converted the farce “The Repulse of Vicksburg” into
a tragedy for the Copperheads, taking that stronghold on July
4th, and Captain Winslow, with the Union man-of-war Kearsarge,
meeting the Confederate privateer Alabama, off the coast of
France, near Cherbourg, fought the famous ship to a finish and
sunk her. Thus the tragedy of “The Army of the Potomac” was given
after all, and Playwright Stanton and Composer Welles were
vindicated, their compositions having been received by the public
with great favor.

Secretary of State Seward did not appreciate President Lincoln’s
ability until he had been associated with him for quite a time,
but he was awakened to a full realization of the greatness of the
Chief Executive “all of a sudden.”

Having submitted “Some Thoughts for the President’s
Consideration”–a lengthy paper intended as an outline of the
policy, both domestic and foreign, the Administration should
pursue–he was not more surprised at the magnanimity and kindness
of President Lincoln’s reply than the thorough mastery of the
subject displayed by the President.

A few months later, when the Secretary had begun to understand
Mr. Lincoln, he was quick and generous to acknowledge his power.

“Executive force and vigor are rare qualities,” he wrote to Mrs.
Seward. “The President is the best of us.”

Superintendent Chandler, of the Telegraph Office in the War
Department, once told how President Lincoln wrote telegrams. Said

“Mr. Lincoln frequently wrote telegrams in my office. His method
of composition was slow and laborious. It was evident that he
thought out what he was going to say before he touched his pen to
the paper. He would sit looking out of the window, his left elbow
on the table, his hand scratching his temple, his lips moving,
and frequently he spoke the sentence aloud or in a half whisper.

“After he was satisfied that he had the proper expression, he
would write it out. If one examines the originals of Mr.
Lincoln’s telegrams and letters, he will find very few erasures
and very little interlining. This was because he had them
definitely in his mind before writing them.

“In this he was the exact opposite of Mr. Stanton, who wrote with
feverish haste, often scratching out words, and interlining
frequently. Sometimes he would seize a sheet which he had filled,
and impatiently tear it into pieces.”

Several United States Senators urged President Lincoln to muster
Southern slaves into the Union Army. Lincoln replied:

“Gentlemen, I have put thousands of muskets into the hands of
loyal citizens of Tennessee, Kentucky, and Western North
Carolina. They have said they could defend themselves, if they
had guns. I have given them the guns. Now, these men do not
believe in mustering-in the negro. If I do it, these thousands of
muskets will be turned against us. We should lose more than we
should gain.”

Being still further urged, President Lincoln gave them this

“Gentlemen,” he said, “I can’t do it. I can’t see it as you do.
You may be right, and I may be wrong; but I’ll tell you what I
can do; I can resign in favor of Mr. Hamlin. Perhaps Mr. Hamlin
could do it.”

The matter ended there, for the time being.

The President took a lively interest in all new firearm
improvements and inventions, and it sometimes happened that, when
an inventor could get nobody else in the Government to listen to
him, the President would personally test his gun. A former clerk
in the Navy Department tells an incident illustrative.

He had stayed late one night at his desk, when he heard some one
striding up and down the hall muttering: “I do wonder if they
have gone already and left the building all alone.” Looking out,
the clerk was surprised to see the President.

“Good evening,” said Mr. Lincoln. “I was just looking for that
man who goes shooting with me sometimes.”

The clerk knew Mr. Lincoln referred to a certain messenger of the
Ordnance Department who had been accustomed to going with him to
test weapons, but as this man had gone home, the clerk offered
his services. Together they went to the lawn south of the White
House, where Mr. Lincoln fixed up a target cut from a sheet of
white Congressional notepaper.

“Then pacing off a distance of about eighty or a hundred feet,”
writes the clerk, “he raised the rifle to a level, took a quick
aim, and drove the round of seven shots in quick succession, the
bullets shooting all around the target like a Gatling gun and one
striking near the center.

“‘I believe I can make this gun shoot better,’ said Mr. Lincoln,
after we had looked at the result of the first fire. With this he
took from his vest pocket a small wooden sight which he had
whittled from a pine stick, and adjusted it over the sight of the
carbine. He then shot two rounds, and of the fourteen bullets
nearly a dozen hit the paper!”

General McClellan, aside from his lack of aggressiveness, fretted
the President greatly with his complaints about military matters,
his obtrusive criticism regarding political matters, and
especially at his insulting declaration to the Secretary of War,
dated June 28th, 1862, just after his retreat to the James River.

General Halleck was made Commander-in-Chief of the Union forces
in July, 1862, and September 1st McClellan was called to
Washington. The day before he had written his wife that “as a
matter of self-respect, I cannot go there.” President Lincoln and
General Halleck called at McClellan’s house, and the President
said: “As a favor to me, I wish you would take command of the
fortifications of Washington and all the troops for the defense
of the capital.”

Lincoln thought highly of McClellan’s ability as an organizer and
his strength in defense, yet any other President would have had
him court-martialed for using this language, which appeared in
McClellan’s letter of June 28th:

“If I save this army now, I tell you plainly that I owe no thanks
to you or to any other person in Washington. You have done your
best to sacrifice this army.”

This letter, although addressed to the Secretary of War,
distinctly embraced the President in the grave charge of
conspiracy to defeat McClellan’s army and sacrifice thousands of
the lives of his soldiers.

Lincoln was averse to being put up as a military hero.

When General Cass was a candidate for the Presidency his friends
sought to endow him with a military reputation.

Lincoln, at that time a representative in Congress, delivered a
speech before the House, which, in its allusion to Mr. Cass, was
exquisitely sarcastic and irresistibly humorous:

“By the way, Mr. Speaker,” said Lincoln, “do you know I am a
military hero?

“Yes, sir, in the days of the Black Hawk War, I fought, bled, and
came away.

“Speaking of General Cass’s career reminds me of my own.

“I was not at Stillman’s defeat, but I was about as near it as
Cass to Hull’s surrender; and like him I saw the place very soon

“It is quite certain I did not break my sword, for I had none to
break, but I bent my musket pretty badly on one occasion.

“If General Cass went in advance of me picking whortleberries, I
guess I surpassed him in charging upon the wild onion.

“If he saw any live, fighting Indians, it was more than I did,
but I had a good many bloody struggles with the mosquitoes, and
although I never fainted from loss of blood, I can truly say that
I was often very hungry.”

Lincoln concluded by saying that if he ever turned Democrat and
should run for the Presidency, he hoped they would not make fun
of him by attempting to make him a military hero.

About March, 1862, General Benjamin F. Butler, in command at
Fortress Monroe, advised President Lincoln that he had determined
to regard all slaves coming into his camps as contraband of war,
and to employ their labor under fair compensation, and Secretary
of War Stanton replied to him, in behalf of the President,
approving his course, and saying, “You are not to interfere
between master and slave on the one hand, nor surrender slaves
who may come within your lines.”

This was a significant milestone of progress to the great end
that was thereafter to be reached.

Mr. Lincoln being found fault with for making another “call,”
said that if the country required it, he would continue to do so
until the matter stood as described by a Western provost marshal,
who says:

“I listened a short time since to a butternut-clad individual,
who succeeded in making good his escape, expatiate most
eloquently on the rigidness with which the conscription was
enforced south of the Tennessee River. His response to a question
propounded by a citizen ran somewhat in this wise:

“‘Do they conscript close over the river?’

“‘Stranger, I should think they did! They take every man who
hasn’t been dead more than two days!’

“If this is correct, the Confederacy has at least a ghost of a
chance left.”

And of another, a Methodist minister in Kansas, living on a small
salary, who was greatly troubled to get his quarterly instalment.
He at last told the non-paying trustees that he must have his
money, as he was suffering for the necessaries of life.

“Money!” replied the trustees; “you preach for money? We thought
you preached for the good of souls!”

“Souls!” responded the reverend; “I can’t eat souls; and if I
could it would take a thousand such as yours to make a meal!”

“That soul is the point, sir,” said the President.

On February 5th, 1865, President Lincoln formulated a message to
Congress, proposing the payment of $400,000,000 to the South as
compensation for slaves lost by emancipation, and submitted it to
his Cabinet, only to be unanimously rejected.

Lincoln sadly accepted the decision, and filed away the
manuscript message, together with this indorsement thereon, to
which his signature was added: “February 5, 1865. To-day these
papers, which explain themselves, were drawn up and submitted to
the Cabinet unanimously disapproved by them.”

When the proposed message was disapproved, Lincoln soberly asked:
“How long will the war last?”

To this none could make answer, and he added: “We are spending
now, in carrying on the war, $3,000,000 a day, which will amount
to all this money, besides all the lives.”

In his youth, Mr. Lincoln once got an idea for a thrilling,
romantic story. One day, in Springfield, he was sitting with his
feet on the window sill, chatting with an acquaintance, when he
suddenly changed the drift of the conversation by saying: “Did
you ever write out a story in your mind? I did when I was a
little codger. One day a wagon with a lady and two girls and a
man broke down near us, and while they were fixing up, they
cooked in our kitchen. The woman had books and read us stories,
and they were the first I had ever heard. I took a great fancy to
one of the girls; and when they were gone I thought of her a
great deal, and one day when I was sitting out in the sun by the
house I wrote out a story in my mind. I thought I took my
father’s horse and followed the wagon, and finally I found it,
and they were surprised to see me. I talked with the girl, and
persuaded her to elope with me; and that night I put her on my
horse, and we started off across the prairie. After several hours
we came to a camp; and when we rode up we found it was the one we
had left a few hours before, and went in. The next night we tried
again, and the same thing happened–the horse came back to the
same place; and then we concluded that we ought not to elope. I
stayed until I had persuaded her father to give her to me. I
always meant to write that story out and publish it, and I began
once; but I concluded that it was not much of a story. But I
think that was the beginning of love with me.”

Lincoln’s reply to a Springfield (Illinois) clergyman, who asked
him what was to be his policy on the slavery question was most

“Well, your question is rather a cool one, but I will answer it
by telling you a story:

“You know Father B., the old Methodist preacher? and you know Fox
River and its freshets?

“Well, once in the presence of Father B., a young Methodist was
worrying about Fox River, and expressing fears that he should be
prevented from fulfilling some of his appointments by a freshet
in the river.

“Father B. checked him in his gravest manner. Said he:

“‘Young man, I have always made it a rule in my life not to
cross Fox River till I get to it.’

“And,” said the President, “I am not going to worry myself over
the slavery question till I get to it.”

A few days afterward a Methodist minister called on the
President, and on being presented to him, said, simply:

“Mr. President, I have come to tell you that I think we have got
to Fox River!”

Lincoln thanked the clergyman, and laughed heartily.

The day of Lincoln’s second nomination for the Presidency he
forgot all about the Republican National Convention, sitting at
Baltimore, and wandered over to the War Department. While there,
a telegram came announcing the nomination of Johnson as

“What,” said Lincoln to the operator, “do they nominate a
Vice-President before they do a President?”

“Why,” replied the astonished official, “have you not heard of
your own nomination? It was sent to the White House two hours

“It is all right,” replied the President; “I shall probably find
it on my return.”

The illustrated newspapers of the United States and England had a
good deal of fun, not only with President Lincoln, but the
latter’s Cabinet officers and military commanders as well. It was
said by these funny publications that the President had set up a
guillotine in his “back-yard,” where all those who offended were
beheaded with both neatness, and despatch. “Harper’s Weekly” of
January 3rd, 1863, contained a cartoon labeled “Those
Guillotines; a Little Incident at the White House,” the
personages figuring in the “incident” being Secretary of War
Stanton and a Union general who had been unfortunate enough to
lose a battle to the Confederates. Beneath the cartoon was the
following dialogue:

SERVANT: “If ye plase, sir, them Gilliteens has arrove.”
MR. LINCOLN: “All right, Michael. Now, gentlemen, will you be
enough to step out in the back-yard?”

The hair and whiskers of Secretary of War Stanton are ruffled and
awry, and his features are not calm and undisturbed, indicating
that he has an idea of what’s the matter in that back-yard; the
countenance of the officer in the rear of the Secretary of War
wears rather an anxious, or worried, look, and his hair isn’t
combed smoothly, either.

President Lincoln’s frequent changes among army commanders–
before he found Grant, Sherman and Sheridan–afforded an
opportunity the caricaturists did not neglect, and some very
clever cartoons were the consequence.

Consider the sympathy of Abraham Lincoln. Do you know the story
of William Scott, private? He was a boy from a Vermont farm.

There had been a long march, and the night succeeding it he had
stood on picket. The next day there had been another long march,
and that night William Scott had volunteered to stand guard in
the place of a sick comrade who had been drawn for the duty.

It was too much for William Scott. He was too tired. He had been
found sleeping on his beat.

The army was at Chain Bridge. It was in a dangerous neighborhood.
Discipline must be kept.

William Scott was apprehended, tried by court-martial, sentenced
to be shot. News of the case was carried to Lincoln. William
Scott was a prisoner in his tent, expecting to be shot next day.

But the flaps of his tent were parted, and Lincoln stood before
him. Scott said:

“The President was the kindest man I had ever seen; I knew him at
once by a Lincoln medal I had long worn.

“I was scared at first, for I had never before talked with a
great man; but Mr. Lincoln was so easy with me, so gentle, that I
soon forgot my fright.

“He asked me all about the people at home, the neighbors, the
farm, and where I went to school, and who my schoolmates were.
Then he asked me about mother and how she looked; and I was glad
I could take her photograph from my bosom and show it to him.

“He said how thankful I ought to be that my mother still lived,
and how, if he were in my place, he would try to make her a proud
mother, and never cause her a sorrow or a tear.

“I cannot remember it all, but every word was so kind.

“He had said nothing yet about that dreadful next morning; I
thought it must be that he was so kind-hearted that he didn’t
like to speak of it.

“But why did he say so much about my mother, and my not causing
her a sorrow or a tear, when I knew that I must die the next

“But I supposed that was something that would have to go
unexplained; and so I determined to brace up and tell him that I
did not feel a bit guilty, and ask him wouldn’t he fix it so that
the firing party would not be from our regiment.

“That was going to be the hardest of all–to die by the hands of
my comrades.

“Just as I was going to ask him this favor, he stood up, and he
says to me:

“‘My boy, stand up here and look me in the face.’

“I did as he bade me.

“‘My boy,’ he said, ‘you are not going to be shot to-morrow. I
believe you when you tell me that you could not keep awake.

“‘I am going to trust you, and send you back to your regiment.

“‘But I have been put to a good deal of trouble on your account.

“‘I have had to come up here from Washington when I have got a
great deal to do; and what I want to know is, how are you going
to pay my bill?’

“There was a big lump in my throat; I could scarcely speak. I had
expected to die, you see, and had kind of got used to thinking
that way.

“To have it all changed in a minute! But I got it crowded down,
and managed to say:

“‘I am grateful, Mr. Lincoln! I hope I am as grateful as ever a
man can be to you for saving my life.

“‘But it comes upon me sudden and unexpected like. I didn’t lay
out for it at all; but there is some way to pay you, and I will
find it after a little.

“‘There is the bounty in the savings bank; I guess we could
borrow some money on the mortgage of the farm.’

“‘There was my pay was something, and if he would wait until
pay-day I was sure the boys would help; so I thought we could
make it up if it wasn’t more than five or six hundred dollars.

“‘But it is a great deal more than that,’ he said.

“Then I said I didn’t just see how, but I was sure I would find
some way–if I lived.

“Then Mr. Lincoln put his hands on my shoulders, and looked into
my face as if he was sorry, and said; “‘My boy, my bill is a very
large one. Your friends cannot pay it, nor your bounty, nor the
farm, nor all your comrades!

“‘There is only one man in all the world who can pay it, and his
name is William Scott!

“‘If from this day William Scott does his duty, so that, if I
was there when he comes to die, he can look me in the face as he
does now, and say, I have kept my promise, and I have done my
duty as a soldier, then my debt will be paid.

“‘Will you make that promise and try to keep it?”

The promise was given. Thenceforward there never was such a
soldier as William Scott.

This is the record of the end. It was after one of the awful
battles of the Peninsula. He was shot all to pieces. He said:

“Boys, I shall never see another battle. I supposed this would be
my last. I haven’t much to say.

“You all know what you can tell them at home about me.

“I have tried to do the right thing! If any of you ever have the
chance I wish you would tell President Lincoln that I have never
forgotten the kind words he said to me at the Chain Bridge; that
I have tried to be a good soldier and true to the flag; that I
should have paid my whole debt to him if I had lived; and that
now, when I know that I am dying, I think of his kind face, and
thank him again, because he gave me the chance to fall like a
soldier in battle, and not like a coward, by the hands of my

What wonder that Secretary Stanton said, as he gazed upon the
tall form and kindly face as he lay there, smitten down by the
assassin’s bullet, “There lies the most perfect ruler of men who
ever lived.”

One day during the Black Hawk War a poor old Indian came into the
camp with a paper of safe conduct from General Lewis Cass in his
possession. The members of Lincoln’s company were greatly
exasperated by late Indian barbarities, among them the horrible
murder of a number of women and children, and were about to kill
him; they said the safe-conduct paper was a forgery, and
approached the old savage with muskets cocked to shoot him.

Lincoln rushed forward, struck up the weapons with his hands, and
standing in front of the victim, declared to the Indian that he
should not be killed. It was with great difficulty that the men
could be kept from their purpose, but the courage and firmness of
Lincoln thwarted them.

Lincoln was physically one of the bravest of men, as his company

Frank P. Blair, of Chicago, tells an incident, showing Mr.
Lincoln’s love for children and how thoroughly he entered into
all of their sports:

“During the war my grandfather, Francis P. Blair, Sr., lived at
Silver Springs, north of Washington, seven miles from the White
House. It was a magnificent place of four or five hundred acres,
with an extensive lawn in the rear of the house. The
grandchildren gathered there frequently.

There were eight or ten of us, our ages ranging from eight to
twelve years. Although I was but seven or eight years of age, Mr.
Lincoln’s visits were of such importance to us boys as to leave a
clear impression on my memory. He drove out to the place quite
frequently. We boys, for hours at a time played ‘town ball’ on
the vast lawn, and Mr. Lincoln would join ardently in the sport.
I remember vividly how he ran with the children; how long were
his strides, and how far his coat-tails stuck out behind, and how
we tried to hit him with the ball, as he ran the bases. He
entered into the spirit of the play as completely as any of us,
and we invariably hailed his coming with delight.”

A man called upon the President and solicited a pass for

“Well,” said the President, “I would be very happy to oblige, if
my passes were respected; but the fact is, sir, I have, within
the past two years, given passes to two hundred and fifty
thousand men to go to Richmond, and not one has got there yet.”

The applicant quietly and respectfully withdrew on his tiptoes.

A certain United States Senator, who believed that every man who
believed in secession should be hanged, asked the President what
he intended to do when the War was over.

“Reconstruct the machinery of this Government,” quickly replied

“You are certainly crazy,” was the Senator’s heated response.
“You talk as if treason was not henceforth to be made odious, but
that the traitors, cutthroats and authors of this War should not
only go unpunished, but receive encouragement to repeat their
treason with impunity! They should be hanged higher than Haman,
sir! Yes, higher than any malefactor the world has ever known!”

The President was entirely unmoved, but, after a moment’s pause,
put a question which all but drove his visitor insane.

“Now, Senator, suppose that when this hanging arrangement has
been agreed upon, you accept the post of Chief Executioner. If
you will take the office, I will make you a brigadier general and
Public Hangman for the United States. That would just about suit
you, wouldn’t it?”

“I am a gentleman, sir,” returned the Senator, “and I certainly
thought you knew me better than to believe me capable of doing
such dirty work. You are jesting, Mr. President.”

The President was extremely patient, exhibiting no signs of ire,
and to this bit of temper on the part of the Senator responded:

“You speak of being a gentleman; yet you forget that in this free
country all men are equal, the vagrant and the gentleman standing
on the same ground when it comes to rights and duties,
particularly in time of war. Therefore, being a gentleman, as you
claim, and a law-abiding citizen, I trust, you are not exempt
from doing even the dirty work at which your high spirit

This was too much for the Senator, who quitted the room abruptly,
and never again showed his face in the White House while Lincoln
occupied it.

“He won’t bother me again,” was the President’s remark as he

Lincoln was a very quiet man, and went about his business in a
quiet way, making the least noise possible. He heartily disliked
those boisterous people who were constantly deluging him with
advice, and shouting at the tops of their voices whenever they
appeared at the White House. “These noisy people create a great
clamor,” said he one day, in conversation with some personal
friends, “and remind me, by the way, of a good story I heard out
in Illinois while I was practicing, or trying to practice, some
law there. I will say, though, that I practiced more law than I
ever got paid for.

“A fellow who lived just out of town, on the bank of a large
marsh, conceived a big idea in the money-making line. He took it
to a prominent merchant, and began to develop his plans and
specifications. ‘There are at least ten million frogs in that
marsh near me, an’ I’ll just arrest a couple of carloads of them
and hand them over to you. You can send them to the big cities
and make lots of money for both of us. Frogs’ legs are great
delicacies in the big towns, an’ not very plentiful. It won’t
take me more’n two or three days to pick ’em. They make so much
noise my family can’t sleep, and by this deal I’ll get rid of a
nuisance and gather in some cash.’

“The merchant agreed to the proposition, promised the fellow he
would pay him well for the two carloads. Two days passed, then
three, and finally two weeks were gone before the fellow showed
up again, carrying a small basket. He looked weary and ‘done up,’
and he wasn’t talkative a bit. He threw the basket on the counter
with the remark, ‘There’s your frogs.’

“‘You haven’t two carloads in that basket, have you?’ inquired
the merchant.

“‘No,’ was the reply, ‘and there ain’t no two carloads in all
this blasted world.’

“‘I thought you said there were at least ten millions of ’em in
that marsh near you, according to the noise they made,’ observed
the merchant. ‘Your people couldn’t sleep because of ’em.’

“‘Well,’ said the fellow, ‘accordin’ to the noise they made,
there was, I thought, a hundred million of ’em, but when I had
waded and swum that there marsh day and night fer two blessed
weeks, I couldn’t harvest but six. There’s two or three left yet,
an’ the marsh is as noisy as it uster be. We haven’t catched up
on any of our lost sleep yet. Now, you can have these here six,
an’ I won’t charge you a cent fer ’em.’

“You can see by this little yarn,” remarked the President, “that
these boisterous people make too much noise in proportion to
their numbers.”

Being asked one time by an “anxious” visitor as to what he would
do in certain contingencies–provided the rebellion was not
subdued after three or four years of effort on the part of the

“Oh,” replied the President, “there is no alternative but to keep
‘pegging’ away!”

After the issue of the Emancipation Proclamation, Governor
Morgan, of New York, was at the White House one day, when the
President said:

“I do not agree with those who say that slavery is dead. We are
like whalers who have been long on a chase–we have at last got
the harpoon into the monster, but we must now look how we steer,
or, with one ‘flop’ of his tail, he will yet send us all into

President Lincoln was depicted as a headsman in a cartoon printed
in “Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper,” on February 14, 1863,
the title of the picture being “Lincoln’s Dreams; or, There’s a
Good Time Coming.”

The cartoon, reproduced here, represents, on the right, the Union
Generals who had been defeated by the Confederates in battle, and
had suffered decapitation in consequence–McDowell, who lost at
Bull Run; McClellan, who failed to take Richmond, when within
twelve miles of that city and no opposition, comparatively; and
Burnside, who was so badly whipped at Fredericksburg. To the left
of the block, where the President is standing with the bloody axe
in his hand, are shown the members of the Cabinet–Secretary of
State Seward, Secretary of War Stanton, Secretary of the Navy
Welles, and others–each awaiting his turn. This part of the
“Dream” was never realized, however, as the President did not
decapitate any of his Cabinet officers.

It was the idea of the cartoonist to hold Lincoln up as a man who
would not countenance failure upon the part of subordinates, but
visit the severest punishment upon those commanders who did not
win victories. After Burnside’s defeat at Fredericksburg, he was
relieved by Hooker, who suffered disaster at Chancellorsville;
Hooker was relieved by Meade, who won at Gettysburg, but was
refused promotion because he did not follow up and crush Lee;
Rosecrans was all but defeated at Chickamauga, and gave way to
Grant, who, of all the Union commanders, had never suffered
defeat. Grant was Lincoln’s ideal fighting man, and the “Old
Commander” was never superseded.

Dr. Hovey, of Dansville, New York, thought he would call and see
the President.

Upon arriving at the White House he found the President on
horseback, ready for a start.

Approaching him, he said:

“President Lincoln, I thought I would call and see you before
leaving the city, and hear you tell a story.”

The President greeted him pleasantly, and asked where he was

“From Western New York.”

“Well, that’s a good enough country without stories,” replied the
President, and off he rode.

Lincoln’s habits at the White House were as simple as they were
at his old home in Illinois.

He never alluded to himself as “President,” or as occupying “the

His office he always designated as “the place.”

“Call me Lincoln,” said he to a friend; “Mr. President” had
become so very tiresome to him.

“If you see a newsboy down the street, send him up this way,”
said he to a passenger, as he stood waiting for the morning news
at his gate.

Friends cautioned him about exposing himself so openly in the
midst of enemies; but he never heeded them.

He frequently walked the streets at night, entirely unprotected;
and felt any check upon his movements a great annoyance.

He delighted to see his familiar Western friends; and he gave
them always a cordial welcome.

He met them on the old footing, and fell at once into the
accustomed habits of talk and story-telling.

An old acquaintance, with his wife, visited Washington. Mr. and
Mrs. Lincoln proposed to these friends a ride in the Presidential

It should be stated in advance that the two men had probably
never seen each other with gloves on in their lives, unless when
they were used as protection from the cold.

The question of each–Lincoln at the White House, and his friend
at the hotel–was, whether he should wear gloves.

Of course the ladies urged gloves; but Lincoln only put his in
his pocket, to be used or not, according to the circumstances.

When the Presidential party arrived at the hotel, to take in
their friends, they found the gentleman, overcome by his wife’s
persuasions, very handsomely gloved.

The moment he took his seat he began to draw off the clinging
kids, while Lincoln began to draw his on!

“No! no! no!” protested his friend, tugging at his gloves. “It is
none of my doings; put up your gloves, Mr. Lincoln.”

So the two old friends were on even and easy terms, and had their
ride after their old fashion.

President Lincoln was reading the draft of a speech. Edward, the
conservative but dignified butler of the White House, was seen
struggling with Tad and trying to drag him back from the window
from which was waving a Confederate flag, captured in some fight
and given to the boy. Edward conquered and Tad, rushing to find
his father, met him coming forward to make, as it proved, his
last speech.

The speech began with these words, “We meet this evening, not in
sorrow, but in gladness of heart.” Having his speech written in
loose leaves, and being compelled to hold a candle in the other
hand, he would let the loose leaves drop to the floor one by one.
“Tad” picked them up as they fell, and impatiently called for
more as they fell from his father’s hand.

President Lincoln, while entertaining a few select friends, is
said to have related the following anecdote of a man who knew too

He was a careful, painstaking fellow, who always wanted to be
absolutely exact, and as a result he frequently got the ill-will
of his less careful superiors.

During the administration of President Jackson there was a
singular young gentleman employed in the Public Postoffice in

His name was G.; he was from Tennessee, the son of a widow, a
neighbor of the President, on which account the old hero had a
kind feeling for him, and always got him out of difficulties with
some of the higher officials, to whom his singular interference
was distasteful.

Among other things, it is said of him that while employed in the
General Postoffice, on one occasion he had to copy a letter to
Major H., a high official, in answer to an application made by an
old gentleman in Virginia or Pennsylvania, for the establishment
of a new postoffice.

The writer of the letter said the application could not be
granted, in consequence of the applicant’s “proximity” to another

When the letter came into G.’s hand to copy, being a great
stickler for plainness, he altered “proximity” to “nearness to.”

Major H. observed it, and asked G. why he altered his letter.

“Why,” replied G., “because I don’t think the man would
understand what you mean by proximity.”

“Well,” said Major H., “try him; put in the ‘proximity’ again.”

In a few days a letter was received from the applicant, in which
he very indignantly said that his father had fought for liberty
in the second war for independence, and he should like to have
the name of the scoundrel who brought the charge of proximity or
anything else wrong against him.

“There,” said G., “did I not say so?”

G. carried his improvements so far that Mr. Berry, the
Postmaster-General, said to him: “I don’t want you any longer;
you know too much.”

Poor G. went out, but his old friend got him another place.

This time G.’s ideas underwent a change. He was one day very busy
writing, when a stranger called in and asked him where the Patent
Office was.

“I don’t know,” said G.

“Can you tell me where the Treasury Department is?” said the
stranger. “No,” said G.

‘Nor the President’s house?”


The stranger finally asked him if he knew where the Capitol was.

“No,” replied G.

“Do you live in Washington, sir?”

“Yes, sir,” said G.

“Good Lord! and don’t you know where the Patent Office, Treasury,
President’s house and Capitol are?”

“Stranger,” said G., “I was turned out of the postoffice for
knowing too much. I don’t mean to offend in that way again.

“I am paid for keeping this book.

“I believe I know that much; but if you find me knowing anything
more you may take my head.”

“Good morning,” said the stranger.

“That every man may receive at least a moderate education, and
thereby be enabled to read the histories of his own and other
countries, by which he may duly appreciate the value of our free
institutions, appears to be an object of vital importance; even
on this account alone, to say nothing of the advantages and
satisfaction to be derived from all being able to read the
Scriptures and other works, both of a religious and moral nature,
for themselves.

“For my part, I desire to see the time when education, by its
means, morality, sobriety, enterprise and integrity, shall become
much more general than at present, and should be gratified to
have it in my power to contribute something to the advancement of
any measure which might have a tendency to accelerate the happy

In a speech at Springfield, Illinois, June 26th, 1857, Lincoln
referred to the decision of Chief Justice Roger B. Taney, of the
United States Supreme Court, in the Dred Scott case, in this

“The Chief justice does not directly assert, but plainly assumes
as a fact, that the public estimate of the black man is more
favorable now than it was in the days of the Revolution.

“In those days, by common consent, the spread of the black man’s
bondage in the new countries was prohibited; but now Congress
decides that it will not continue the prohibition, and the
Supreme Court decides that it could not if it would.

“In those days, our Declaration of Independence was held sacred
by all, and thought to include all; but now, to aid in making the
bondage of the negro universal and eternal, it is assailed and
sneered at, and constructed and hawked at, and torn, till, if its
framers could rise from their graves, they could not at all
recognize it.

“All the powers of earth seem combining against the slave; Mammon
is after him, ambition follows, philosophy follows, and the
theology of the day is fast joining the cry.”

Abraham Lincoln made many notable addresses and speeches during
his career previous to the time of his election to the

However, beautiful in thought and expression as they were, they
were not appreciated by those who heard and read them until after
the people of the United States and the world had come to
understand the man who delivered them.

Lincoln had the rare and valuable faculty of putting the most
sublime feeling into his speeches; and he never found it
necessary to incumber his wisest, wittiest and most famous
sayings with a weakening mass of words.

He put his thoughts into the simplest language, so that all might
comprehend, and he never said anything which was not full of the
deepest meaning.

Mr. Roland Diller, who was one of Mr. Lincoln’s neighbors in
Springfield, tells the following:

“I was called to the door one day by the cries of children in the
street, and there was Mr. Lincoln, striding by with two of his
boys, both of whom were wailing aloud. ‘Why, Mr. Lincoln, what’s
the matter with the boys?’ I asked.

“‘Just what’s the matter with the whole world,’ Lincoln replied.
‘I’ve got three walnuts, and each wants two.'”

One of the prettiest incidents in the closing days of the Civil
War occurred when the troops, ‘marching home again,’ passed in
grand form, if with well-worn uniforms and tattered bunting,
before the White House.

Naturally, an immense crowd had assembled on the streets, the
lawns, porches, balconies, and windows, even those of the
executive mansion itself being crowded to excess. A central
figure was that of the President, Abraham Lincoln, who, with
bared head, unfurled and waved our Nation’s flag in the midst of
lusty cheers.

But suddenly there was an unexpected sight.

A small boy leaned forward and sent streaming to the air the
banner of the boys in gray. It was an old flag which had been
captured from the Confederates, and which the urchin, the
President’s second son, Tad, had obtained possession of and
considered an additional triumph to unfurl on this all-important

Vainly did the servant who had followed him to the window plead
with him to desist. No, Master Tad, Pet of the White House, was
not to be prevented from adding to the loyal demonstration of the

To his surprise, however, the crowd viewed it differently. Had it
floated from any other window in the capital that day, no doubt
it would have been the target of contempt and abuse; but when the
President, understanding what had happened, turned, with a smile
on his grand, plain face, and showed his approval by a gesture
and expression, cheer after cheer rent the air.

President Lincoln attended a Ladies’ Fair for the benefit of the
Union soldiers, at Washington, March 16th, 1864.

In his remarks he said:

“I appear to say but a word.

“This extraordinary war in which we are engaged falls heavily
upon all classes of people, but the most heavily upon the
soldiers. For it has been said, ‘All that a man hath will he give
for his life,’ and, while all contribute of their substance, the
soldier puts his life at stake, and often yields it up in his
country’s cause.

“The highest merit, then, is due the soldiers.

“In this extraordinary war extraordinary developments have
manifested themselves such as have not been seen in former wars;
and among these manifestations nothing has been more remarkable
than these fairs for the relief of suffering soldiers and their
families, and the chief agents in these fairs are the women of

“I am not accustomed to the use of language of eulogy; I have
never studied the art of paying compliments to women; but I must
say that if all that has been said by orators and poets since the
creation of the world in praise of women were applied to the
women of America, it would not do them justice for their conduct
during the war.

“I will close by saying, God bless the women of America!”

After the United States had enlisted former negro slaves as
soldiers to fight alongside the Northern troops for the
maintenance of the integrity of the Union, so great was the
indignation of the Confederate Government that President Davis
declared he would not recognize blacks captured in battle and in
uniform as prisoners of war. This meant that he would have them
returned to their previous owners, have them flogged and fined
for running away from their masters, or even shot if he felt like
it. This attitude of the President of the Confederate States of
America led to the promulgation of President Lincoln’s famous
“Order No. 252,” which, in effect, was a notification to the
commanding officers of the Southern forces that if negro
prisoners of war were not treated as such, the Union commanders
would retaliate. “Harper’s Weekly” of August 15th, 1863,
contained a clever cartoon, which we reproduce, representing
President Lincoln holding the South by the collar, while “Old
Abe” shouts the following words of warning to Jeff Davis, who,
cat-o’-nine-tails in hand, is in pursuit of a terrified little
negro boy:

MR. LINCOLN: “Look here, Jeff Davis! If you lay a finger on that
boy, to hurt him, I’ll lick this ugly cub of yours within an inch
of his life!”

Much to the surprise of the Confederates, the negro soldiers
fought valiantly; they were fearless when well led, obeyed orders
without hesitation, were amenable to discipline, and were eager
and anxious, at all times, to do their duty. In battle they were
formidable opponents, and in using the bayonet were the equal of
the best trained troops. The Southerners hated them beyond power
of expression.

The President walked through the streets of Richmond–without a
guard except a few seamen–in company with his son “Tad,” and
Admiral Porter, on April 4th, 1865, the day following the
evacuation of the city.

Colored people gathered about him on every side, eager to see and
thank their liberator. Mr. Lincoln addressed the following
remarks to one of these gatherings:

“My poor friends, you are free–free as air. You can cast off the
name of slave and trample upon it; it will come to you no more.

“Liberty is your birthright. God gave it to you as He gave it to
others, and it is a sin that you have been deprived of it for so
many years.

“But you must try to deserve this priceless boon. Let the world
see that you merit it, and are able to maintain it by your good

“Don’t let your joy carry you into excesses; learn the laws, and
obey them. Obey God’s commandments, and thank Him for giving you
liberty, for to Him you owe all things.

“There, now, let me pass on; I have but little time to spare.

“I want to see the Capitol, and must return at once to Washington
to secure to you that liberty which you seem to prize so highly.”

Lincoln fell in love with Miss Mary S. Owens about 1833 or so,
and, while she was attracted toward him she was not passionately
fond of him.

Lincoln’s letter of proposal of marriage, sent by him to Miss
Owens, while singular, unique, and decidedly unconventional, was
certainly not very ardent. He, after the fashion of the lawyer,
presented the matter very cautiously, and pleaded his own cause;
then presented her side of the case, advised her not “to do it,”
and agreed to abide by her decision.

Miss Owens respected Lincoln, but promptly rejected him–really
very much to “Abe’s” relief.

Not far from New Salem, Illinois, at a place called Clary’s
Grove, a gang of frontier ruffians had established headquarters,
and the champion wrestler of “The Grove” was “Jack” Armstrong, a
bully of the worst type.

Learning that Abraham was something of a wrestler himself, “Jack”
sent him a challenge. At that time and in that community a
refusal would have resulted in social and business ostracism, not
to mention the stigma of cowardice which would attach.

It was a great day for New Salem and “The Grove” when Lincoln and
Armstrong met. Settlers within a radius of fifty miles flocked to
the scene, and the wagers laid were heavy and many. Armstrong
proved a weakling in the hands of the powerful Kentuckian, and
“Jack’s” adherents were about to mob Lincoln when the latter’s
friends saved him from probable death by rushing to the rescue.

The President was once speaking about an attack made on him by
the Congressional Committee on the Conduct of the War for a
certain alleged blunder in the Southwest–the matter involved
being one which had fallen directly under the observation of the
army officer to whom he was talking, who possessed official
evidence completely upsetting all the conclusions of the

“Might it not be well for me,” queried the officer, “to set this
matter right in a letter to some paper, stating the facts as they
actually transpired?”

“Oh, no,” replied the President, “at least, not now. If I were to
try to read, much less answer, all the attacks made on me, this
shop might as well be closed for any other business. I do the
very best I know how the very best I can; and I mean to keep
doing so until the end. If the end brings me out all right, what
is said against me won’t amount to anything. If the end brings me
out wrong, ten thousand angels swearing I was right would make no

Ward Hill Lamon was President Lincoln’s Cerberus, his watch dog,
guardian, friend, companion and confidant. Some days before
Lincoln’s departure for Washington to be inaugurated, he wrote to
Lamon at Bloomington, that he desired to see him at once. He went
to Springfield, and Lincoln said:

“Hill, on the 11th I go to Washington, and I want you to go along
with me. Our friends have already asked me to send you as Consul
to Paris. You know I would cheerfully give you anything for which
our friends may ask or which you may desire, but it looks as if
we might have war.

“In that case I want you with me. In fact, I must have you. So
get yourself ready and come along. It will be handy to have you
around. If there is to be a fight, I want you to help me to do my
share of it, as you have done in times past. You must go, and go
to stay.”

This is Lamon’s version of it.

To a party who wished to be empowered to negotiate reward for
promises of influence in the Chicago Convention, 1860, Mr.
Lincoln replied:

“No, gentlemen; I have not asked the nomination, and I will not
now buy it with pledges.

“If I am nominated and elected, I shall not go into the
Presidency as the tool of this man or that man, or as the
property of any factor or clique.”

After some very bad news had come in from the army in the field,
Lincoln remarked to Schuyler Colfax:

“How willingly would I exchange places to-day with the soldier
who sleeps on the ground in the Army of the Potomac!”

In the campaign of 1852, Lincoln, in reply to Douglas’ speech,
wherein he spoke of confidence in Providence, replied: “Let us
stand by our candidate (General Scott) as faithfully as he has
always stood by our country, and I much doubt if we do not
perceive a slight abatement of Judge Douglas’ confidence in
Providence as well as the people. I suspect that confidence is
not more firmly fixed with the judge than it was with the old
woman whose horse ran away with her in a buggy. She said she
‘trusted in Providence till the britchen broke,’ and then she
‘didn’t know what in airth to do.'”

Lincoln’s great generosity to his leaders was shown when, in
January, 1863, he assigned “Fighting Joe” Hooker to the command
of the Army of the Potomac. Hooker had believed in a military
dictatorship, and it was an open secret that McClellan might have
become such had he possessed the nerve. Lincoln, however, was not
bothered by this prattle, as he did not think enough of it to
relieve McClellan of his command. The President said to Hooker:

“I have heard, in such a way as to believe it, of your recently
saying that both the army and the Government needed a dictator.
Of course, it was not for this, but in spite of it, that I have
given you the command. Only those generals who gain success can
be dictators.

“What I now ask of you is military success, and I will risk the

Lincoln also believed Hooker had not given cordial support to
General Burnside when he was in command of the army. In Lincoln’s
own peculiarly plain language, he told Hooker that he had done “a
great wrong to the country and to a most meritorious and
honorable brother officer.”

At one time the President had the appointment of a large
additional number of brigadier and major generals. Among the
immense number of applications, Mr. Lincoln came upon one wherein
the claims of a certain worthy (not in the service at all), “for
a generalship” were glowingly set forth. But the applicant didn’t
specify whether he wanted to be brigadier or major general.

The President observed this difficulty, and solved it by a lucid
indorsement. The clerk, on receiving the paper again, found
written across its back, “Major General, I reckon. A. Lincoln.”

Judge Herndon, Lincoln’s law partner, said that he never saw
Lincoln more cheerful than on the day previous to his departure
from Springfield for Washington, and Judge Gillespie, who visited
him a few days earlier, found him in excellent spirits.

“I told him that I believed it would do him good to get down to
Washington,” said Herndon.

“I know it will,” Lincoln replied. “I only wish I could have got
there to lock the door before the horse was stolen. But when I
get to the spot, I can find the tracks.”

If all the days Lincoln attended school were added together, they
would not make a single year’s time, and he never studied grammar
or geography or any of the higher branches. His first teacher in
Indiana was Hazel Dorsey, who opened a school in a log
schoolhouse a mile and a half from the Lincoln cabin. The
building had holes for windows, which were covered over with
greased paper to admit light. The roof was just high enough for a
man to stand erect. It did not take long to demonstrate that
“Abe” was superior to any scholar in his class. His next teacher
was Andrew Crawford, who taught in the winter of 1822-3, in the
same little schoolhouse. “Abe” was an excellent speller, and it
is said that he liked to show off his knowledge, especially if he
could help out his less fortunate schoolmates. One day the
teacher gave out the word “defied.” A large class was on the
floor, but it seemed that no one would be able to spell it. The
teacher declared he would keep the whole class in all day and
night if “defied” was not spelled correctly.

When the word came around to Katy Roby, she was standing where
she could see young “Abe.” She started, “d-e-f,” and while trying
to decide whether to spell the word with an “i” or a “y,” she
noticed that Abe had his finger on his eye and a smile on his
face, and instantly took the hint. She spelled the word correctly
and school was dismissed.

Lincoln never forgot anyone or anything.

At one of the afternoon receptions at the White House a stranger
shook hands with him, and, as he did so, remarked casually, that
he was elected to Congress about the time Mr. Lincoln’s term as
representative expired, which happened many years before.

“Yes,” said the President, “You are from–(mentioning the
State). “I remember reading of your election in a newspaper one
morning on a steamboat going down to Mount Vernon.”

At another time a gentleman addressed him, saying, “I presume,
Mr, President, you have forgotten me?”

“No,” was the prompt reply; “your name is Flood. I saw you last,
twelve years ago, at–” (naming the place and the occasion).

“I am glad to see,” he continued, “that the Flood goes on.”

Subsequent to his re-election a deputation of bankers from
various sections were introduced one day by the Secretary of the

After a few moments of general conversation, Lincoln turned to
one of them and said:

“Your district did not give me so strong a vote at the last
election as it did in 1860.”

“I think, sir, that you must be mistaken,” replied the banker. “I
have the impression that your majority was considerably increased
at the last election.”

“No,” rejoined the President, “you fell off about six hundred

Then taking down from the bookcase the official canvass of 1860
and 1864, he referred to the vote of the district named, and
proved to be quite right in his assertion.

As President Lincoln, arm in arm with ex-President Buchanan,
entered the Capitol, and passed into the Senate Chamber, filled
to overflowing with Senators, members of the Diplomatic Corps,
and visitors, the contrast between the two men struck every

“Mr. Buchanan was so withered and bowed with age,” wrote George
W. Julian, of Indiana, who was among the spectators, “that in
contrast with the towering form of Mr. Lincoln he seemed little
more than half a man.”

As soon as the result of the Presidential election of 1864 was
known, General Grant telegraphed from City Point his
congratulations, and added that “the election having passed off
quietly . . . is a victory worth more to the country than a
battle won.”

London “Punch” persistently maintained throughout the War for the
Union that the question of what to do with the blacks was the
most bothersome of all the problems President Lincoln had to
solve. “Punch” thought the Rebellion had its origin in an effort
to determine whether there should or should not be slavery in the
United States, and was fought with this as the main end in view.
“Punch” of August 15th, 1863, contained the cartoon reproduced on
this page, the title being “Brutus and Caesar.”

President Lincoln was pictured as Brutus, while the ghost of
Caesar, which appeared in the tent of the American Brutus during
the dark hours of the night, was represented in the shape of a
husky and anything but ghost-like African, whose complexion would
tend to make the blackest tar look like skimmed milk in
comparison. This was the text below the cartoon: (From the
American Edition of Shakespeare.) The Tent of Brutus (Lincoln).
Night. Enter the Ghost of Caesar.

BRUTUS: “Wall, now! Do tell! Who’s you?”

CAESAR: “I am dy ebil genus, Massa Linking. Dis child am awful

“Punch’s” cartoons were decidedly unfriendly in tone toward
President Lincoln, some of them being not only objectionable in
the display of bad taste, but offensive and vulgar. It is true
that after the assassination of the President, “Punch,” in
illustrations, paid marked and deserved tribute to the memory of
the Great Emancipator, but it had little that was good to say of
him while he was among the living and engaged in carrying out the
great work for which he was destined to win eternal fame.

President Lincoln, well aware of Stanton’s unfriendliness, was
surprised when Secretary of the Treasury Chase told him that
Stanton had expressed the opinion that the arrest of the
Confederate Commissioners, Mason and Slidell, was legal and
justified by international law. The President asked Secretary
Chase to invite Stanton to the White House, and Stanton came. Mr.
Lincoln thanked him for the opinion he had expressed, and asked
him to put it in writing.

Stanton complied, the President read it carefully, and, after
putting it away, astounded Stanton by offering him the portfolio
of War. Stanton was a Democrat, had been one of the President’s
most persistent vilifiers, and could not realize, at first, that
Lincoln meant what he said. He managed, however to say:

“I am both surprised and embarrassed, Mr. President, and would
ask a couple of days to consider this most important matter.”

Lincoln fully understood what was going on in Stanton’s mind, and
then said:

“This is a very critical period in the life of the nation, Mr.
Stanton, as you are well aware, and I well know you are as much
interested in sustaining the government as myself or any other
man. This is no time to consider mere party issues. The life of
the nation is in danger. I need the best counsellors around me. I
have every confidence in your judgment, and have concluded to ask
you to become one of my counsellors. The office of the Secretary
of War will soon be vacant, and I am anxious to have you take Mr.
Cameron’s place.”

Stanton decided to accept.


“Abe” Lincoln’s father was never at loss for an answer. An old
neighbor of Thomas Lincoln–“Abe’s” father–was passing the
Lincoln farm one day, when he saw “Abe’s” father grubbing up some
hazelnut bushes, and said to him: “Why, Grandpap, I thought you
wanted to sell your farm?”

“And so I do,” he replied, “but I ain’t goin’ to let my farm know

“‘Abe’s’ jes’ like his father,” the old ones would say.

One of the most notable of Lincoln’s law cases was that in which
he defended William D. Armstrong, charged with murder. The case
was one which was watched during its progress with intense
interest, and it had a most dramatic ending.

The defendant was the son of Jack and Hannah Armstrong. The
father was dead, but Hannah, who had been very motherly and
helpful to Lincoln during his life at New Salem, was still
living, and asked Lincoln to defend him. Young Armstrong had been
a wild lad, and was often in bad company.

The principal witness had sworn that he saw young Armstrong
strike the fatal blow, the moon being very bright at the time.

Lincoln brought forward the almanac, which showed that at the
time the murder was committed there was no moon at all. In his
argument, Lincoln’s speech was so feelingly made that at its
close all the men in the jury-box were in tears. It was just half
an hour when the jury returned a verdict of acquittal.

Lincoln would accept no fee except the thanks of the anxious

Lincoln’s reading in his early days embraced a wide range. He was
particularly fond of all stories containing fun, wit and humor,
and every one of these he came across he learned by heart, thus
adding to his personal store.

He improved as a reciter and retailer of the stories he had read
and heard, and as the reciter of tales of his own invention, and
he had ready and eager auditors.

Judge Herndon, in his “Abraham Lincoln,” relates that as a mimic
Lincoln was unequalled. An old neighbor said: “His laugh was
striking. Such awkward gestures belonged to no other man. They
attracted universal attention, from the old and sedate down to
the schoolboy. Then, in a few moments, he was as calm and
thoughtful as a judge on the bench, and as ready to give advice
on the most important matters; fun and gravity grew on him

During the year Lincoln was in Denton Offutt’s store at New
Salem, that gentleman, whose business was somewhat widely and
unwisely spread about the country, ceased to prosper in his
finances and finally failed. The store was shut up, the mill was
closed, and Abraham Lincoln was out of business.

The year had been one of great advance, in many respects. He had
made new and valuable acquaintances, read many books, mastered
the grammar of his own tongue, won multitudes of friends, and
became ready for a step still further in advance.

Those who could appreciate brains respected him, and those whose
ideas of a man related to his muscles were devoted to him. It was
while he was performing the work of the store that he acquired
the sobriquet of “Honest Abe”–a characterization he never
dishonored, and an abbreviation that he never outgrew.

He was judge, arbitrator, referee, umpire, authority, in all
disputes, games and matches of man-flesh, horse-flesh, a
pacificator in all quarrels; everybody’s friend; the
best-natured, the most sensible, the best-informed, the most
modest and unassuming, the kindest, gentlest, roughest,
strongest, best fellow in all New Salem and the region round

Enduring friendship and love of old associations were prominent
characteristics of President Lincoln. When about to leave
Springfield for Washington, he went to the dingy little law
office which had sheltered his saddest hours.

He sat down on the couch, and said to his law partner, Judge

“Billy, you and I have been together for more than twenty years,
and have never passed a word. Will you let my name stay on the
old sign until I come back from Washington?”

The tears started to Herndon’s eyes. He put out his hand. “Mr.
Lincoln,” said he, “I never will have any other partner while you
live”; and to the day of assassination, all the doings of the
firm were in the name of “Lincoln & Herndon.”

Early in January, 1861, Colonel Alex. K. McClure, of
Philadelphia, received a telegram from President-elect Lincoln,
asking him (McClure) to visit him at Springfield, Illinois.
Colonel McClure described his disappointment at first sight of
Lincoln in these words:

“I went directly from the depot to Lincoln’s house and rang the
bell, which was answered by Lincoln himself opening the door. I
doubt whether a wholly concealed my disappointment at meeting

“Tall, gaunt, ungainly, ill clad, with a homeliness of manner
that was unique in itself, I confess that my heart sank within me
as I remembered that this was the man chosen by a great nation to
become its ruler in the gravest period of its history.

“I remember his dress as if it were but yesterday–snuff-colored
and slouchy pantaloons, open black vest, held by a few brass
buttons; straight or evening dresscoat, with tightly fitting
sleeves to exaggerate his long, bony arms, and all supplemented
by an awkwardness that was uncommon among men of intelligence.

“Such was the picture I met in the person of Abraham Lincoln. We
sat down in his plainly furnished parlor, and were uninterrupted
during the nearly four hours that I remained with him, and little
by little, as his earnestness, sincerity and candor were
developed in conversation, I forgot all the grotesque qualities
which so confounded me when I first greeted him.”

“If a man is honest in his mind,” said Lincoln one day, long
before he became President, “you are pretty safe in trusting

“Abe’s” nephew–or one of them–related a story in connection
with Lincoln’s first love (Anne Rutledge), and his subsequent
marriage to Miss Mary Todd. This nephew was a plain, every-day
farmer, and thought everything of his uncle, whose greatness he
quite thoroughly appreciated, although he did not pose to any
extreme as the relative of a President of the United States.

Said he one day, in telling his story:

“Us child’en, w’en we heerd Uncle ‘Abe’ wuz a-goin’ to be
married, axed Gran’ma ef Uncle ‘Abe’ never hed hed a gal afore,
an’ she says, sez she, ‘Well, “Abe” wuz never a han’ nohow to run
’round visitin’ much, or go with the gals, neither, but he did
fall in love with a Anne Rutledge, who lived out near
Springfield, an’ after she died he’d come home an’ ev’ry time
he’d talk ’bout her, he cried dreadful. He never could talk of
her nohow ‘thout he’d jes’ cry an’ cry, like a young feller.’

“Onct he tol’ Gran’ma they wuz goin’ ter be hitched, they havin’
promised each other, an’ thet is all we ever heered ’bout it.
But, so it wuz, that arter Uncle ‘Abe’ hed got over his mournin’,
he wuz married ter a woman w’ich hed lived down in Kentuck.

“Uncle ‘Abe’ hisself tol’ us he wuz married the nex’ time he come
up ter our place, an’ w’en we ast him why he didn’t bring his
wife up to see us, he said: ‘She’s very busy and can’t come.’

“But we knowed better’n that. He wuz too proud to bring her
up,’cause nothin’ would suit her, nohow. She wuzn’t raised the
way we wuz, an’ wuz different from us, and we heerd, tu, she wuz
as proud as cud be.

“No, an’ he never brought none uv the child’en, neither.

“But then, Uncle ‘Abe,’ he wuzn’t to blame. We never thought he
wuz stuck up.”

Replying to an editorial written by Horace Greeley, the President

“My paramount object is to save the Union, and not either to save
or to destroy slavery.

“If I could save the Union without freeing any slave, I would do

“If I could save it by freeing all the slaves, I would do it; and
if I could do it by freeing some and leaving others alone, I
would also do that.

“What I do about slavery and the colored race, I do because I
believe it helps to save this Union; and what I forbear, I
forbear because I do not believe it would help to save the Union.

“I shall do less whenever I shall believe what I am doing hurts
the cause, and I shall do more whenever I believe doing more will
help the cause.”

One of President Lincoln’s friends, visiting at the White House,
was finding considerable fault with the constant agitation in
Congress of the slavery question. He remarked that, after the
adoption of the Emancipation policy, he had hoped for something

“There was a man down in Maine,” said the President, in reply,
“who kept a grocery store, and a lot of fellows used to loaf
around for their toddy. He only gave ’em New England rum, and
they drank pretty considerable of it. But after awhile they began
to get tired of that, and kept asking for something new–
something new–all the time. Well, one night, when the whole
crowd were around, the grocer brought out his glasses, and says
he, ‘I’ve got something New for you to drink, boys, now.’

“‘Honor bright?’ said they.

“‘Honor bright,’ says he, and with that he sets out a jug.
‘Thar’ says he, ‘that’s something new; it’s New England rum!’
says he.

“Now,” remarked the President, in conclusion, “I guess we’re a
good deal like that crowd, and Congress is a good deal like that

When Mr. Lincoln was quite a small boy he met with an accident
that almost cost him his life. He was saved by Austin Gollaher, a
young playmate. Mr. Gollaher lived to be more than ninety years
of age, and to the day of his death related with great pride his
boyhood association with Lincoln.

“Yes,” Mr. Gollaher once said, “the story that I once saved
Abraham Lincoln’s life is true. He and I had been going to school
together for a year or more, and had become greatly attached to
each other. Then school disbanded on account of there being so
few scholars, and we did not see each other much for a long

“One Sunday my mother visited the Lincolns, and I was taken
along. ‘Abe’ and I played around all day. Finally, we concluded
to cross the creek to hunt for some partridges young Lincoln had
seen the day before. The creek was swollen by a recent rain, and,
in crossing on the narrow footlog, ‘Abe’ fell in. Neither of us
could swim. I got a long pole and held it out to ‘Abe,’ who
grabbed it. Then I pulled him ashore.

“He was almost dead, and I was badly scared. I rolled and pounded
him in good earnest. Then I got him by the arms and shook him,
the water meanwhile pouring out of his mouth. By this means I
succeeded in bringing him to, and he was soon all right.

“Then a new difficulty confronted us. If our mothers discovered
our wet clothes they would whip us. This we dreaded from
experience, and determined to avoid. It was June, the sun was
very warm, and we soon dried our clothing by spreading it on the
rocks about us. We promised never to tell the story, and I never
did until after Lincoln’s tragic end.”

In conversation with some friends at the White House on New
Year’s evening, 1863, President Lincoln said, concerning his
Emancipation Proclamation

“The signature looks a little tremulous, for my hand was tired,
but my resolution was firm.

“I told them in September, if they did not return to their
allegiance, and cease murdering our soldiers, I would strike at
this pillar of their strength.

“And now the promise shall be kept, and not one word of it will I
ever recall.”

During the time the enemies of General Grant were making their
bitterest attacks upon him, and demanding that the President
remove him from command, “Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper,”
of June 13, 1863, came out with the cartoon reproduced. The text
printed under the picture was to the following effect:

OLD ABE: “Greeley be hanged! I want no more new brooms. I begin
to think that the worst thing about my old ones was in not being
handled right.”

The old broom the President holds in his right hand is labeled
“Grant.” The latter had captured Fort Donelson, defeated the
Confederates at Shiloh, Iuka, Port Gibson, and other places, and
had Vicksburg in his iron grasp. When the demand was made that
Lincoln depose Grant, the President answered, “I can’t spare this
man; he fights!” Grant never lost a battle and when he found the
enemy he always fought him. McClellan, Burnside, Pope and Hooker
had been found wanting, so Lincoln pinned his faith to Grant. As
noted in the cartoon, Horace Greeley, editor of the New York
Tribune, Thurlow Weed, and others wanted Lincoln to try some
other new brooms, but President Lincoln was wearied with defeats,
and wanted a few victories to offset them. Therefore; he stood by
Grant, who gave him victories.

Abraham Lincoln
his hand and pen
he will be good
but god Knows When

These lines were found written in young Lincoln’s own hand at the
bottom of a page whereon he had been ciphering. Lincoln always
wrote a clear, regular “fist.” In this instance he evidently did
not appreciate the sacredness of the name of the Deity, when he
used a little “g.”

Lincoln once said he did not remember the time when he could not

It was the custom in Sangamon for the “menfolks” to gather at
noon and in the evening, when resting, in a convenient lane near
the mill. They had rolled out a long peeled log, on which they
lounged while they whittled and talked.

Lincoln had not been long in Sangamon before he joined this
circle. At once he became a favorite by his jokes and good-humor.
As soon as he appeared at the assembly ground the men would start
him to story-telling. So irresistibly droll were his “yarns” that
whenever he’d end up in his unexpected way the boys on the log
would whoop and roll off. The result of the rolling off was to
polish the log like a mirror. The men, recognizing Lincoln’s part
in this polishing, christened their seat “Abe’s log.”

Long after Lincoln had disappeared from Sangamon, “Abe’s log”
remained, and until it had rotted away people pointed it out, and
repeated the droll stories of the stranger.

President Lincoln, in company with General Grant, was inspecting
the Dutch Gap Canal at City Point. “Grant, do you know what this
reminds me of? Out in Springfield, Ill., there was a blacksmith
who, not having much to do, took a piece of soft iron and
attempted to weld it into an agricultural implement, but
discovered that the iron would not hold out; then he concluded it
would make a claw hammer; but having too much iron, attempted to
make an ax, but decided after working awhile that there was not
enough iron left. Finally, becoming disgusted, he filled the
forge full of coal and brought the iron to a white heat; then
with his tongs he lifted it from the bed of coals, and thrusting
it into a tub of water near by, exclaimed: ‘Well, if I can’t make
anything else of you, I will make a fizzle, anyhow.'” “I was
afraid that was about what we had done with the Dutch Gap Canal,”
said General Grant.

When Lincoln was in the Black Hawk War as captain, the volunteer
soldiers drank in with delight the jests and stories of the tall
captain. Aesop’s Fables were given a new dress, and the tales of
the wild adventures that he had brought from Kentucky and Indiana
were many, but his inspiration was never stimulated by recourse
to the whisky jug.

When his grateful and delighted auditors pressed this on him he
had one reply: “Thank you, I never drink it.”

President Lincoln was passing down Pennsylvania avenue in
Washington one day, when a man came running after him, hailed
him, and thrust a bundle of papers in his hands.

It angered him not a little, and he pitched the papers back,
saying, “I’m not going to open shop here.”

Lincoln delivered a remarkable speech at Springfield, Illinois,
when but twenty-eight years of age, upon the liberty possessed by
the people of the United States.

In part, he said:

“In the great journal of things happening under the sun, we, the
American people, find our account running under date of the
nineteenth century of the Christian era.

“We find ourselves in the peaceful possession of the fairest
portion of the earth as regards extent of territory, fertility of
soil, and salubrity of climate.

“We find ourselves under the government of a system of political
institutions conducing more essentially to the ends of civil and
religious liberty than any of which history of former times tells

“We, when mounting the stage of existence, found ourselves the
legal inheritors of these fundamental blessings.

“We toiled not in the acquisition or establishment of them; they
are a legacy bequeathed to us by a once hardy, brave, and
patriotic, but now lamented and departed race of ancestors.

“Theirs was the task (and nobly did they perform it) to possess
themselves, us, of this goodly land, to uprear upon its hills and
valleys a political edifice of liberty and equal rights; ’tis
ours to transmit these–the former unprofaned by the foot of an
intruder, the latter undecayed by the lapse of time and untorn by
usurpation–to the generation that fate shall permit the world to

“This task, gratitude to our fathers, justice to ourselves, duty
to posterity–all imperatively require us faithfully to perform.

“How, then, shall we perform it? At what point shall we expect
the approach of danger?

“Shall we expect some trans-Atlantic military giant to step the
ocean and crush us at a blow?

“Never! All the armies of Europe, Asia and Africa, combined, with
all the treasures of the earth (our own excepted) in their
military chest, with a Bonaparte for a commander, could not, by
force, take a drink from the Ohio, or make a track on the Blue
Ridge, in a trial of a thousand years.

“At what point, then, is this approach of danger to be expected?

“I answer, if ever it reach us, it must spring up amongst us. It
cannot come from abroad.

“If destruction be our lot, we must ourselves be its author and

“As a nation of freemen, we must live through all time or die by

“I hope I am not over-wary; but, if I am not, there is even now
something of ill-omen amongst us.

“I mean the increasing disregard for law which pervades the
country, the disposition to substitute the wild and furious
passions in lieu of the sober judgment of courts, and the worse
than savage mobs for the executive ministers of justice.

“This disposition is awfully fearful in any community, and that
it now exists in ours, though grating to our feelings to admit
it, it would be a violation of truth and an insult to deny.

“Accounts of outrages committed by mobs form the every-day news
of the times.

“They have pervaded the country from New England to Louisiana;
they are neither peculiar to the eternal snows of the former, nor
the burning sun of the latter.

“They are not the creatures of climate, neither are they confined
to the slave-holding or non-slave-holding States.

“Alike they spring up among the pleasure-hunting Southerners and
the order-loving citizens of the land of steady habits.

“Whatever, then, their cause may be, it is common to the whole

“Many great and good men, sufficiently qualified for any task
they may undertake, may ever be found, whose ambition would
aspire to nothing beyond a seat in Congress, a gubernatorial or
Presidential chair; but such belong not to the family of the
lion, or the tribe of the eagle.

“What! Think you these places would satisfy an Alexander, a
Caesar, or a Napoleon? Never!

“Towering genius disdains a beaten path. It seeks regions
hitherto unexplored.

“It seeks no distinction in adding story to story upon the
monuments of fame, erected to the memory of others.

“It denies that it is glory enough to serve under any chief.

“It scorns to tread in the footpaths of any predecessor, however

“It thirsts and burns for distinction, and, if possible, it will
have it, whether at the expense of emancipating the slaves or
enslaving freemen.

“Another reason which once was, but which to the same extent is
now no more, has done much in maintaining our institutions thus

“I mean the powerful influence which the interesting scenes of
the Revolution had upon the passions of the people, as
distinguished from their judgment.

“But these histories are gone. They can be read no more forever.
They were a fortress of strength.

“But what the invading foeman could never do, the silent
artillery of time has done,the levelling of the walls.

“They were a forest of giant oaks, but the all-resisting
hurricane swept over them and left only here and there a lone
trunk, despoiled of its verdure, shorn of its foliage, unshading
and unshaded, to murmur in a few more gentle breezes and to
combat with its mutilated limbs a few more rude storms, then to
sink and be no more.

“They were the pillars of the temple of liberty, and now that
they have crumbled away, that temple must fall, unless we, the
descendants, supply the places with pillars hewn from the same
solid quarry of sober reason.

“Passion has helped us, but can do so no more. It will in future
be our enemy.

“Reason–cold, calculating, unimpassioned reason–must furnish
all the materials for our support and defense.

“Let those materials be molded into general intelligence, sound
morality, and, in particular, a reverence for the Constitution
and the laws; and then our country shall continue to improve, and
our nation, revering his name, and permitting no hostile foot to
pass or desecrate his resting-place, shall be the first to hear
the last trump that shall awaken our Washington.

“Upon these let the proud fabric of freedom rest as the rock of
its basis, and as truly as has been said of the only greater
institution, ‘the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.'”

One of Mr. Lincoln’s warm friends was Dr. Robert Boal, of Lacon,
Illinois. Telling of a visit he paid to the White House soon
after Mr. Lincoln’s inauguration, he said: “I found him the same
Lincoln as a struggling lawyer and politician that I did in
Washington as President of the United States, yet there was a
dignity and self-possession about him in his high official
authority. I paid him a second call in the evening. He had thrown
off his reserve somewhat, and would walk up and down the room
with his hands to his sides and laugh at the joke he was telling,
or at one that was told to him. I remember one story he told to
me on this occasion.

“Tom Corwin, of Ohio, had been down to Alexandria, Va., that day
and had come back and told Lincoln a story which pleased him so
much that he broke out in a hearty laugh and said: ‘I must tell
you Tom Corwin’s latest. Tom met an old man at Alexandria who
knew George Washington, and he told Tom that George Washington
often swore. Now, Corwin’s father had always held the father of
our country up as a faultless person and told his son to follow
in his footsteps.

“‘”Well,” said Corwin, “when I heard that George Washington was
addicted to the vices and infirmities of man, I felt so relieved
that I just shouted for joy.”‘”

The lawyers on the circuit traveled by Lincoln got together one
night and tried him on the charge of accepting fees which tended
to lower the established rates. It was the understood rule that a
lawyer should accept all the client could be induced to pay. The
tribunal was known as “The Ogmathorial Court.”

Ward Lamon, his law partner at the time, tells about it:

“Lincoln was found guilty and fined for his awful crime against
the pockets of his brethren of the bar. The fine he paid with
great good humor, and then kept the crowd of lawyers in
uproarious laughter until after midnight.

“He persisted in his revolt, however, declaring that with his
consent his firm should never during its life, or after its
dissolution, deserve the reputation enjoyed by those shining
lights of the profession, ‘Catch ’em and Cheat ’em.'”

Lincoln had assisted in the prosecution of a man who had robbed
his neighbor’s hen roosts. Jogging home along the highway with
the foreman of the jury that had convicted the hen stealer, he
was complimented by Lincoln on the zeal and ability of the
prosecution, and remarked: “Why, when the country was young, and
I was stronger than I am now, I didn’t mind packing off a sheep
now and again, but stealing hens!” The good man’s scorn could not
find words to express his opinion of a man who would steal hens.

A lawyer, who was a stranger to Mr. Lincoln, once expressed to
General Linder the opinion that Mr. Lincoln’s practice of telling
stories to the jury was a waste of time.

“Don’t lay that flattering unction to your soul,” Linder
answered; “Lincoln is like Tansey’s horse, he ‘breaks to win.'”

On the 3rd of January, 1863, “Harper’s Weekly” appeared with a
cartoon representing Columbia indignantly demanding of President
Lincoln and Secretary of War Stanton that they restore to her
those of her sons killed in battle. Below the picture is the
reading matter

COLUMBIA: “Where are my 15,000 sons–murdered at Fredericksburg?”

LINCOLN: “This reminds me of a little joke–”

COLUMBIA: “Go tell your joke at Springfield!!”

The battle of Fredericksburg was fought on December 13th, 1862,
between General Burnside, commanding the Army of the Potomac, and
General Lee’s force. The Union troops, time and again, assaulted
the heights where the Confederates had taken position, but were
driven back with frightful losses. The enemy, being behind
breastworks, suffered comparatively little. At the beginning of
the fight the Confederate line was broken, but the result of the
engagement was disastrous to the Union cause. Burnside had one
thousand one hundred and fifty-two killed, nine thousand one
hundred and one wounded, and three thousand two hundred and
thirty-four missing, a total of thirteen thousand seven hundred
and seventy-one. General Lee’s losses, all told, were not much
more than five thousand men.

Burnside had succeeded McClellan in command of the Army of the
Potomac, mainly, it was said, through the influence of Secretary
of War Stanton. Three months before, McClellan had defeated Lee
at Antietam, the bloodiest battle of the War, Lee’s losses
footing up more than thirteen thousand men. At Fredericksburg,
Burnside had about one hundred and twenty thousand men; at
Antietam, McClellan had about eighty thousand. It has been
maintained that Burnside should not have fought this battle, the
chances of success being so few.

“Abe’s” school teacher, Crawford, endeavored to teach his pupils
some of the manners of the “polite society” of Indiana–1823 or
so. This was a part of his system:

One of the pupils would retire, and then come in as a stranger,
and another pupil would have to introduce him to all the members
of the school n what was considered “good manners.”

As “Abe” wore a linsey-woolsey shirt, buckskin breeches which
were too short and very tight, and low shoes, and was tall and
awkward, he no doubt created considerable merriment when his turn
came. He was growing at a fearful rate; he was fifteen years of
age, and two years later attained his full height of six feet
four inches.

Early in 1831, “Abe” was one of the guests of honor at a
boat-launching, he and two others having built the craft. The
affair was a notable one, people being present from the territory
surrounding. A large party came from Springfield with an ample
supply of whisky, to give the boat and its builders a send-off.
It was a sort of bipartisan mass-meeting, but there was one
prevailing spirit, that born of rye and corn. Speeches were made
in the best of feeling, some in favor of Andrew Jackson and some
in favor of Henry Clay. Abraham Lincoln, the cook, told a number
of funny stories, and it is recorded that they were not of too
refined a character to suit the taste of his audience. A
sleight-of-hand performer was present, and among other tricks
performed, he fried some eggs in Lincoln’s hat. Judge Herndon
says, as explanatory to the delay in passing up the hat for the
experiment, Lincoln drolly observed: “It was out of respect for
the eggs, not care for my hat.”

William G. Greene, an old-time friend of Lincoln, was a student
at Illinois College, and one summer brought home with him, on a
vacation, Richard Yates (afterwards Governor of Illinois) and
some other boys, and, in order to entertain them, took them up to
see Lincoln.

He found him in his usual position and at his usual occupation–
flat on his back, on a cellar door, reading a newspaper. This was
the manner in which a President of the United States and a
Governor of Illinois became acquainted with each other.

Greene says Lincoln repeated the whole of Burns, and a large
quantity of Shakespeare for the entertainment of the college
boys, and, in return, was invited to dine with them on bread and
milk. How he managed to upset his bowl of milk is not a matter of
history, but the fact is that he did so, as is the further fact
that Greene’s mother, who loved Lincoln, tried to smooth over the
accident and relieve the young man’s embarrassment.

Once “Abe” borrowed Weems’ “Life of Washington” from Joseph
Crawford, a neighbor. “Abe” devoured it; read it and re-read it,
and when asleep put it by him between the logs of the wall. One
night a rain storm wet it through and ruined it.

“I’ve no money,” said “Abe,” when reporting the disaster to
Crawford, “but I’ll work it out.”

“All right,” was Crawford’s response; “you pull fodder for three
days, an’ the book is your’n.”

“Abe” pulled the fodder, but he never forgave Crawford for
putting so much work upon him. He never lost an opportunity to
crack a joke at his expense, and the name “Blue-nose Crawford”
“Abe” applied to him stuck to him throughout his life.

When Mr. Lincoln was a candidate for the Legislature, it was the
practice at that date in Illinois for two rival candidates to
travel over the district together. The custom led to much
good-natured raillery between them; and in such contests Lincoln
was rarely, if ever, worsted. He could even turn the generosity
of a rival to account by his whimsical treatment.

On one occasion, says Mr. Weir, a former resident of Sangamon
county, he had driven out from Springfield in company with a
political opponent to engage in joint debate. The carriage, it
seems, belonged to his opponent. In addressing the gathering of
farmers that met them, Lincoln was lavish in praise of the
generosity of his friend.

“I am too poor to own a carriage,” he said, “but my friend has
generously invited me to ride with him. I want you to vote for me
if you will; but if not then vote for my opponent, for he is a
fine man.”

His extravagant and persistent praise of his opponent appealed to
the sense of humor in his rural audience, to whom his inability
to own a carriage was by no means a disqualification.

Lincoln admitted that he was not particularly energetic when it
came to real hard work.

“My father,” said he one day, “taught me how to work, but not to
love it. I never did like to work, and I don’t deny it. I’d
rather read, tell stories, crack jokes, talk, laugh–anything but

The opening of the year 1860 found Mr. Lincoln’s name freely
mentioned in connection with the Republican nomination for the
Presidency. To be classed with Seward, Chase, McLean, and other
celebrities, was enough to stimulate any Illinois lawyer’s pride;
but in Mr. Lincoln’s case, if it had any such effect, he was most
artful in concealing it. Now and then, some ardent friend, an
editor, for example, would run his name up to the masthead, but
in all cases he discouraged the attempt.

“In regard to the matter you spoke of,” he answered one man who
proposed his name, “I beg you will not give it a further mention.
Seriously, I do not think I am fit for the Presidency.”

There was a “social” at Lincoln’s house in Springfield, and “Abe”
introduced his wife to Ward Lamon, his law partner. Lamon tells
the story in these words:

“After introducing me to Mrs. Lincoln, he left us in
conversation. I remarked to her that her husband was a great
favorite in the eastern part of the State, where I had been

“‘Yes,’ she replied, ‘he is a great favorite everywhere. He is
to be President of the United States some day; if I had not
thought so I never would have married him, for you can see he is
not pretty.

“‘But look at him, doesn’t he look as if he would make a
magnificent President?'”

(Written By Abraham Lincoln.)

The following article on Niagara Falls, in Mr. Lincoln’s
handwriting, was found among his papers after his death:

“Niagara Falls! By what mysterious power is it that millions and
millions are drawn from all parts of the world to gaze upon
Niagara Falls? There is no mystery about the thing itself. Every
effect is just as any intelligent man, knowing the causes, would
anticipate without seeing it. If the water moving onward in a
great river reaches a point where there is a perpendicular jog of
a hundred feet in descent in the bottom of the river, it is plain
the water will have a violent and continuous plunge at that
point. It is also plain, the water, thus plunging, will foam and
roar, and send up a mist continuously, in which last, during
sunshine, there will be perpetual rainbows. The mere physical of
Niagara Falls is only this. Yet this is really a very small part
of that world’s wonder. Its power to excite reflection and
emotion is its great charm. The geologist will demonstrate that
the plunge, or fall, was once at Lake Ontario, and has worn its
way back to its present position; he will ascertain how fast it
is wearing now, and so get a basis for determining how long it
has been wearing back from Lake Ontario, and finally demonstrate
by it that this world is at least fourteen thousand years old. A
philosopher of a slightly different turn will say, ‘Niagara Falls
is only the lip of the basin out of which pours all the surplus
water which rains down on two or three hundred thousand square
miles of the earth’s surface.’ He will estimate with approximate
accuracy that five hundred thousand tons of water fall with their
full weight a distance of a hundred feet each minute–thus
exerting a force equal to the lifting of the same weight, through
the same space, in the same time.

“But still there is more. It calls up the indefinite past. When
Columbus first sought this continent–when Christ suffered on the
cross–when Moses led Israel through the Red Sea–nay, even when
Adam first came from the hand of his Maker; then, as now, Niagara
was roaring here. The eyes of that species of extinct giants
whose bones fill the mounds of America have gazed on Niagara, as
ours do now. Contemporary with the first race of men, and older
than the first man, Niagara is strong and fresh to-day as ten
thousand years ago. The Mammoth and Mastodon, so long dead that
fragments of their monstrous bones alone testify that they ever
lived, have gazed on Niagara–in that long, long time never still
for a single moment (never dried), never froze, never slept,
never rested.”

A lady relative, who lived for two years with the Lincolns, said
that Mr. Lincoln was in the habit of lying on the floor with the
back of a chair for a pillow when he read.

One evening, when in this position in the hall, a knock was heard
at the front door, and, although in his shirtsleeves, he answered
the call. Two ladies were at the door, whom he invited into the
parlor, notifying them in his open, familiar way, that he would
“trot the women folks out.”

Mrs. Lincoln, from an adjoining room, witnessed the ladies’
entrance, and, overhearing her husband’s jocose expression, her
indignation was so instantaneous she made the situation
exceedingly interesting for him, and he was glad to retreat from
the house. He did not return till very late at night, and then
slipped quietly in at a rear door.

During the rebellion the Austrian Minister to the United States
Government introduced to the President a count, a subject of the
Austrian government, who was desirous of obtaining a position in
the American army.

Being introduced by the accredited Minister of Austria he
required no further recommendation to secure the appointment;
but, fearing that his importance might not be fully appreciated
by the republican President, the count was particular in
impressing the fact upon him that he bore that title, and that
his family was ancient and highly respectable.

President Lincoln listened with attention, until this unnecessary
commendation was mentioned; then, with a merry twinkle in his
eye, he tapped the aristocratic sprig of hereditary nobility on
the shoulder in the most fatherly way, as if the gentleman had
made a confession of some unfortunate circumstance connected with
his lineage, for which he was in no way responsible, and said:

“Never mind,you shall be treated with just as much consideration
for all that. I will see to it that your bearing a title shan’t
hurt you.”

A young man living in Kentucky had been enticed into the rebel
army. After a few months he became disgusted, and managed to make
his way back home. Soon after his arrival, the Union officer in
command of the military stationed in the town had him arrested as
a rebel spy, and, after a military trial he was condemned to be

President Lincoln was seen by one of his friends from Kentucky,
who explained his errand and asked for mercy. “Oh, yes, I
understand; some one has been crying, and worked upon your
feelings, and you have come here to work on mine.”

His friend then went more into detail, and assured him of his
belief in the truth of the story. After some deliberation, Mr.
Lincoln, evidently scarcely more than half convinced, but still
preferring to err on the side of mercy, replied:

“If a man had more than one life, I think a little hanging would
not hurt this one; but after he is once dead we cannot bring him
back, no matter how sorry we may be; so the boy shall be

And a reprieve was given on the spot.

While the celebrated artist, Hicks, was engaged in painting Mr.
Lincoln’s portrait, just after the former’s first nomination for
the Presidency, he asked the great statesman if he could point
out the precise spot where he was born.

Lincoln thought the matter over for a day or two, and then gave
the artist the following memorandum:

“Springfield, Ill., June 14, 1860

“I was born February 12, 1809, in then Hardin county, Kentucky,
at a point within the now county of Larue, a mile or a mile and a
half from where Rodgen’s mill now is. My parents being dead, and
my own memory not serving, I know no means of identifying the
precise locality. It was on Nolen Creek.


In his message to Congress in December, 1864, just after his
re-election, President Lincoln, in his message of December 6th,
let himself out, in plain, unmistakable terms, to the effect that
the freedmen should never be placed in bondage again. “Frank
Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper” of December 24th, 1864, printed
the cartoon we herewith reproduce, the text underneath running in
this way:

UNCLE ABE: “Sambo, you are not handsome, any more than myself,
but as to sending you back to your old master, I’m not the man to
do it–and, what’s more, I won’t.” (Vice President’s message.)

Congress, at the previous sitting, had neglected to pass the
resolution for the Constitutional amendment prohibiting slavery,
but, on the 31st of January, 1865, the resolution was finally
adopted, and the United States Constitution soon had the new
feature as one of its clauses, the necessary number of State
Legislatures approving it. President Lincoln regarded the passage
of this resolution by Congress as most important, as the
amendment, in his mind, covered whatever defects a rigid
construction of the Constitution might find in his Emancipation

After the latter was issued, negroes were allowed to enlist in
the Army, and they fought well and bravely. After the War, in the
reorganization of the Regular Army, four regiments of colored men
were provided for–the Ninth and Tenth Cavalry and the
Twenty-fourth and Twenty-fifth Infantry. In the cartoon, Sambo
has evidently been asking “Uncle Abe” as to the probability or
possibility of his being again enslaved.

Some Lincoln enthusiast in Kansas, with much more pretensions
than power, wrote him in March, 1860 proposing to furnish a
Lincoln delegation from that State to the Chicago Convention, and
suggesting that Lincoln should pay the legitimate expenses of
organizing, electing, and taking to the convention the promised
Lincoln delegates.

To this Lincoln replied that “in the main, the use of money is
wrong, but for certain objects in a political contest the use of
some is both right and indispensable.” And he added: “If you
shall be appointed a delegate to Chicago, I will furnish $100 to
bear the expenses of the trip.”

He heard nothing further from the Kansas man until he saw an
announcement in the newspapers that Kansas had elected delegates
and instructed them for Seward.

Lincoln’s military service in the Back Hawk war had increased his
popularity at New Salem, and he was put up as a candidate for the

A. Y. Ellis describes his personal appearance at this time as
follows: “He wore a mixed jean coat, claw-hammer style, short in
the sleeves and bob-tailed; in fact, it was so short in the tail
that he could not sit on it; flax and tow linen pantaloons and a
straw hat. I think he wore a vest, but do not remember how it
looked; he wore pot-metal boots.”

Lincoln’s great love for children easily won their confidence.

A little girl, who had been told that the President was very
homely, was taken by her father to see the President at the White

Lincoln took her upon his knee and chatted with her for a moment
in his merry way, when she turned to her father and exclaimed

“Oh, Pa! he isn’t ugly at all; he’s just beautiful!”

To a curiosity-seeker who desired a permit to pass the lines to
visit the field of Bull Run, after the first battle, Lincoln made
the following reply:

“A man in Cortlandt county raised a porker of such unusual size
that strangers went out of their way to see it.

“One of them the other day met the old gentleman and inquired
about the animal.

“‘Wall, yes,’ the old fellow said, ‘I’ve got such a critter,
mi’ty big un; but I guess I’ll have to charge you about a
shillin’ for lookin’ at him.’

“The stranger looked at the old man for a minute or so, pulled
out the desired coin, handed it to him and started to go off.
‘Hold on,’ said the other. ‘don’t you want to see the hog?’

“‘No,’ said the stranger; ‘I have seen as big a hog as I want to

“And you will find that fact the case with yourself, if you
should happen to see a few live rebels there as well as dead

When Lincoln’s special train from Springfield to Washington
reached the Illinois State line, there was a stop for dinner.
There was such a crowd that Lincoln could scarcely reach the
dining-room. “Gentlemen,” said he, as he surveyed the crowd, “if
you will make me a little path, so that I can get through and get
something to eat, I will make you a speech when I get back.”

When complaints were made to President Lincoln by victims of
Secretary of War Stanton’s harshness, rudeness, and refusal to be
obliging–particularly in cases where Secretary Stanton had
refused to honor Lincoln’s passes through the lines–the
President would often remark to this effect “I cannot always be
sure that permits given by me ought to be granted. There is an
understanding between myself and Stanton that when I send a
request to him which cannot consistently be granted, he is to
refuse to honor it. This he sometimes does.”

“There won’t be a tar barrel left in Illinois to-night,” said
Senator Stephen A. Douglas, in Washington, to his Senatorial
friends, who asked him, when the news of the nomination of
Lincoln reached them, “Who is this man Lincoln, anyhow?”

Douglas was right. Not only the tar barrels, but half the fences
of the State of Illinois went up in the fire of rejoicing.
THE “GREAT SNOW” OF 1830-31.

In explanation of Lincoln’s great popularity, D. W. Bartlett, in
his “Life and Speeches of Abraham Lincoln,” published in 1860
makes this statement of “Abe’s” efficient service to his
neighbors in the “Great Snow” of 1830-31:

“The deep snow which occurred in 1830-31 was one of the chief
troubles endured by the early settlers of central and southern
Illinois. Its consequences lasted through several years. The
people were ill-prepared to meet it, as the weather had been
mild and pleasant–unprecedentedly so up to Christmas–when a
snow-storm set in which lasted two days, something never before
known even among the traditions of the Indians, and never
approached in the weather of any winter since.

“The pioneers who came into the State (then a territory) in 1800
say the average depth of snow was never, previous to 1830, more
than knee-deep to an ordinary man, while it was breast-high all
that winter.

It became crusted over, so as, in some cases, to bear teams.
Cattle and horses perished, the winter wheat was killed, the
meager stock of provisions ran out, and during the three months’
continuance of the snow, ice and continuous cold weather the most
wealthy settlers came near starving, while some of the poor ones
actually did. It was in the midst of such scenes that Abraham
Lincoln attained his majority, and commenced his career of bold
and manly independence . . . . .

“Communication between house and house was often entirely
obstructed for teams, so that the young and strong men had to do
all the traveling on foot; carrying from one neighbor what of his
store he could spare to another, and bringing back in return
something of his store sorely needed. Men living five, ten,
twenty and thirty miles apart were called ‘neighbors’ then. Young
Lincoln was always ready to perform these acts of humanity, and
was foremost in the counsels of the settlers when their troubles
seemed gathering like a thick cloud about them.”

A certain rich man in Springfield, Illinois, sued a poor attorney
for $2.50, and Lincoln was asked to prosecute the case. Lincoln
urged the creditor to let the matter drop, adding, “You can make
nothing out of him, and it will cost you a good deal more than
the debt to bring suit.” The creditor was still determined to
have his way, and threatened to seek some other attorney. Lincoln
then said, “Well, if you are determined that suit should be
brought, I will bring it; but my charge will be $10.”

The money was paid him, and peremptory orders were given that the
suit be brought that day. After the client’s departure Lincoln
went out of the office, returning in about an hour with an amused
look on his face.

Asked what pleased him, he replied, “I brought suit against –,
and then hunted him up, told him what I had done, handed him half
of the $10, and we went over to the squire’s office. He confessed
judgment and paid the bill.”

Lincoln added that he didn’t see any other way to make things
satisfactory for his client as well as the other.

Judge Thomas B. Bryan, of Chicago, a member of the Union Defense
Committee during the War, related the following concerning the
original copy of the Emancipation Proclamation:

“I asked Mr. Lincoln for the original draft of the Proclamation,”
said Judge Bryan, “for the benefit of our Sanitary Fair, in 1865.
He sent it and accompanied it with a note in which he said:

“‘I had intended to keep this paper, but if it will help the
soldiers, I give it to you.’

“The paper was put up at auction and brought $3,000. The buyer
afterward sold it again to friends of Mr. Lincoln at a greatly
advanced price, and it was placed in the rooms of the Chicago
Historical Society, where it was burned in the great fire of

An elegantly dressed young Virginian assured Lincoln that he had
done a great deal of hard manual labor in his time. Much amused
at this solemn declaration, Lincoln said:

“Oh, yes; you Virginians shed barrels of perspiration while
standing off at a distance and superintending the work your
slaves do for you. It is different with us. Here it is every
fellow for himself, or he doesn’t get there.”

When young Lincoln had fully demonstrated that he was the
champion wrestler in the country surrounding New Salem, the men
of “de gang” at Clary’s Grove, whose leader “Abe” had downed,
were his sworn political friends and allies.

Their work at the polls was remarkably effective. When the
“Butcherknife boys,” the “huge-pawed boys,” and the
“half-horse-half-alligator men” declared for a candidate the
latter was never defeated.

Soon after the opening of Congress in 1861, Mr. Shannon, from
California, made the customary call at the White House. In the
conversation that ensued, Mr Shannon said: “Mr. President, I met
an old friend of yours in California last summer, a Mr. Campbell,
who had a good deal to say of your Springfield life.”

“Ah!” returned Mr. Lincoln, “I am glad to hear of him. Campbell
used to be a dry fellow in those days,” he continued. “For a time
he was Secretary of State. One day during the legislative
vacation, a meek, cadaverous-looking man, with a white neckcloth,
introduced himself to him at his office, and, stating that he had
been informed that Mr. C. had the letting of the hall of
representatives, he wished to secure it, if possible, for a
course of lectures he desired to deliver in Springfield.

“‘May I ask,’ said the Secretary, ‘what is to be the subject of
your lectures?’

“‘Certainly,’ was the reply, with a very solemn expression of
countenance. ‘The course I wish to deliver is on the Second
Coming of our Lord.’

“‘It is of no use,’ said C.; ‘if you will take my advice, you
will not waste your time in this city. It is my private opinion
that, if the Lord has been in Springfield once, He will never
come the second time!'”

J. S. Moulton, of Chicago, a master in chancery and influential
in public affairs, looked upon the candidacy of Mr. Lincoln for
President as something in the nature of a joke. He did not rate
the Illinois man in the same class with the giants of the East.
In fact he had expressed himself as by no means friendly to the
Lincoln cause.

Still he had been a good friend to Lincoln and had often met him
when the Springfield lawyer came to Chicago. Mr. Lincoln heard of
Moulton’s attitude, but did not see Moulton until after the
election, when the President-elect came to Chicago and was
tendered a reception at one of the big hotels.

Moulton went up in the line to pay his respects to the
newly-elected chief magistrate, purely as a formality, he
explained to his companions. As Moulton came along the line Mr.
Lincoln grasped Moulton’s hand with his right, and with his left
took the master of chancery by the shoulder and pulled him out of
the line.

“You don’t belong in that line, Moulton,” said Mr. Lincoln. “You
belong here by me.”

Everyone at the reception was a witness to the honoring of
Moulton. From that hour every faculty that Moulton possessed was
at the service of the President. A little act of kindness,
skillfully bestowed, had won him; and he stayed on to the end.

If a client did not pay, Lincoln did not believe in suing for the
fee. When a fee was paid him his custom was to divide the money
into two equal parts, put one part into his pocket, and the other
into an envelope labeled “Herndon’s share.”

It is recorded that when “Abe” was born, the household goods of
his father consisted of a few cooking utensils, a little bedding,
some carpenter tools, and four hundred gallons of the fierce
product of the mountain still.

One of the cartoon-posters issued by the Democratic National
Campaign Committee in the fall of 1864 is given here. It had the
legend, “Running the Machine,” printed beneath; the “machine” was
Secretary Chase’s “Greenback Mill,” and the mill was turning out
paper money by the million to satisfy the demands of greedy
contractors. “Uncle Abe” is pictured as about to tell one of his
funny stories, of which the scene “reminds” him; Secretary of War
Stanton is receiving a message from the front, describing a great
victory, in which one prisoner and one gun were taken; Secretary
of State Seward is handing an order to a messenger for the arrest
of a man who had called him a “humbug,” the habeas corpus being
suspended throughout the Union at that period; Secretary of the
Navy Welles–the long-haired, long-bearded man at the head of the
table–is figuring out a naval problem; at the side of the table,
opposite “Uncle Abe,” are seated two Government contractors,
shouting for “more greenbacks,” and at the extreme left is
Secretary of the Treasury Fessenden (who succeeded Chase when the
latter was made Chief Justice of the United States Supreme
Court), who complains that he cannot satisfy the greed of the
contractors for “more greenbacks,” although he is grinding away
at the mill day and night.

Lincoln was the actual head of the administration, and whenever
he chose to do so he controlled Secretary of War Stanton as well
as the other Cabinet ministers.

Secretary Stanton on one occasion said: “Now, Mr. President,
those are the facts and you must see that your order cannot be

Lincoln replied in a somewhat positive tone: “Mr. Secretary, I
reckon you’ll have to execute the order.”

Stanton replied with vigor: “Mr. President, I cannot do it. This
order is an improper one, and I cannot execute it.”

Lincoln fixed his eyes upon Stanton, and, in a firm voice and
accent that clearly showed his determination, said: “Mr.
Secretary, it will have to be done.”

It was done.

Ward Lamon, once Lincoln’s law partner, relates a story which
places Lincoln’s high sense of honor in a prominent light. In a
certain case, Lincoln and Lamon being retained by a gentleman
named Scott, Lamon put the fee at $250, and Scott agreed to pay
it. Says Lamon:

“Scott expected a contest, but, to his surprise, the case was
tried inside of twenty minutes; our success was complete. Scott
was satisfied, and cheerfully paid over the money to me inside
the bar, Lincoln looking on. Scott then went out, and Lincoln
asked, ‘What did you charge that man?’

“I told him $250. Said he: ‘Lamon, that is all wrong. The service
was not worth that sum. Give him back at least half of it.’

“I protested that the fee was fixed in advance; that Scott was
perfectly satisfied, and had so expressed himself. ‘That may be,’
retorted Lincoln, with a look of distress and of undisguised
displeasure, ‘but I am not satisfied. This is positively wrong.
Go, call him back and return half the money at least, or I will
not receive one cent of it for my share.’

“I did go, and Scott was astonished when I handed back half the

“This conversation had attracted the attention of the lawyers and
the court. Judge David Davis, then on our circuit bench
(afterwards Associate Justice on the United States Supreme
bench), called Lincoln to him. The Judge never could whisper, but
in this instance he probably did his best. At all events, in
attempting to whisper to Lincoln he trumpeted his rebuke in about
these words, and in rasping tones that could be heard all over
the court-room: ‘Lincoln, I have been watching you and Lamon. You
are impoverishing this bar by your picayune charges of fees, and
the lawyers have reason to complain of you. You are now almost as
poor as Lazarus, and if you don’t make people pay you more for
your services you will die as poor as Job’s turkey!’

“Judge O. L. Davis, the leading lawyer in that part of the State,
promptly applauded this malediction from the bench; but Lincoln
was immovable.

“‘That money,’ said he, ‘comes out of the pocket of a poor,
demented girl, and I would rather starve than swindle her in this

“Billy, don’t shoot too high–aim lower, and the common people
will understand you,” Lincoln once said to a brother lawyer.

“They are the ones you want to reach–at least, they are the ones
you ought to reach.

“The educated and refined people will understand you, anyway. If
you aim too high, your idea will go over the heads of the masses,
and only hit those who need no hitting.”

One who afterward became one of Lincoln’s most devoted friends
and adherents tells this story regarding the manner in which
Lincoln received him when they met for the first time:

“After a comical survey of my fashionable toggery,–my
swallow-tail coat, white neck-cloth, and ruffled shirt (an
astonishing outfit for a young limb of the law in that
settlement), Lincoln said:

“‘Going to try your hand at the law, are you? I should know at a
glance that you were a Virginian; but I don’t think you would
succeed at splitting rails. That was my occupation at your age,
and I don’t think I have taken as much pleasure in anything else
from that day to this.'”

July 27th, 1863, Lincoln wrote the Postmaster-General:

“Yesterday little indorsements of mine went to you in two cases
of postmasterships, sought for widows whose husbands have fallen
in the battles of this war.

“These cases, occurring on the same day, brought me to reflect
more attentively than what I had before done as to what is fairly
due from us here in dispensing of patronage toward the men who,
by fighting our battles, bear the chief burden of saving our

“My conclusion is that, other claims and qualifications being
equal, they have the right, and this is especially applicable to
the disabled soldier and the deceased soldier’s family.”

When told how uneasy all had been at his going to Richmond,
Lincoln replied:

“Why, if any one else had been President and had gone to
Richmond, I would have been alarmed; but I was not scared about
myself a bit.”

On the 20th of July, 1864, Horace Greeley crossed into Canada to
confer with refugee rebels at Niagara. He bore with him this
paper from the President:

“To Whom It May Concern: Any proposition which embraces the
restoration of peace, the integrity of the whole Union, and the
abandonment of slavery, and which comes by and with an authority
that can control the armies now at war with the United States,
will be received and considered by the executive government of
the United States, and will be met by liberal terms and other
substantial and collateral points, and the bearer or bearers
thereof shall have safe conduct both ways.”

To this Jefferson Davis replied: “We are not fighting for
slavery; we are fighting for independence.”

Lincoln was compelled to contend with the results of the
ill-judged zeal of politicians, who forced ahead his flatboat and
rail-splitting record, with the homely surroundings of his
earlier days, and thus, obscured for the time, the other fact
that, always having the heart, he had long since acquired the
manners of a true gentleman.

So, too, did he suffer from Eastern censors, who did not take
those surroundings into account, and allowed nothing for his
originality of character. One of these critics heard at
Washington that Mr. Lincoln, in speaking at different times of
some move or thing, said “it had petered out;” that some other
one’s plan “wouldn’t gibe;” and being asked if the War and the
cause of the Union were not a great care to him, replied:

“Yes, it is a heavy hog to hold.”

The first two phrases are so familiar here in the West that they
need no explanation. Of the last and more pioneer one it may be
said that it had a special force, and was peculiarly Lincoln-like
in the way applied by him.

In the early times in Illinois, those having hogs, did their own
killing, assisted by their neighbors. Stripped of its hair, one
held the carcass nearly perpendicular in the air, head down,
while others put one point of the gambrel-bar through a slit in
its hock, then over the string-pole, and the other point through
the other hock, and so swung the animal clear of the ground.
While all this was being done, it took a good man to “hold the
hog,” greasy, warmly moist, and weighing some two hundred pounds.
And often those with the gambrel prolonged the strain, being
provokingly slow, in hopes to make the holder drop his burden.

This latter thought is again expressed where President Lincoln,
writing of the peace which he hoped would “come soon, to stay;
and so come as to be worth the keeping in all future time,” added
that while there would “be some black men who can remember that
with silent tongue and clenched teeth and steady eye, and
well-poised bayonet, they have helped mankind on to this great
consummation,” he feared there would “be some white ones unable
to forget that, with malignant heart and deceitful tongue, they
had striven to hinder it.”

He had two seemingly opposite elements little understood by
strangers, and which those in more intimate relations with him
find difficult to explain; an open, boyish tongue when in a happy
mood, and with this a reserve of power, a force of thought that
impressed itself without words on observers in his presence. With
the cares of the nation on his mind, he became more meditative,
and lost much of his lively ways remembered “back in Illinois.”

One of the most beautiful traits of Mr. Lincoln’s character was
his considerate regard for the poor and obscure relatives he had
left, plodding along in their humble ways of life. Wherever upon
his circuit he found them, he always went to their dwellings, ate
with them, and, when convenient, made their houses his home. He
never assumed in their presence the slightest superiority to
them. He gave them money when they needed it and he had it.
Countless times he was known to leave his companions at the
village hotel, after a hard day’s work in the court-room, and
spend the evening with these old friends and companions of his
humbler days. On one occasion, when urged not to go, he replied,
“Why, Aunt’s heart would be broken if I should leave town without
calling upon her;” yet, he was obliged to walk several miles to
make the call.

This was the reply made by Lincoln to an application for the
pardon of a soldier who had shown himself brave in war, had been
severely wounded, but afterward deserted:

“Did you say he was once badly wounded?

“Then, as the Scriptures say that in the shedding of blood is the
remission of sins, I guess we’ll have to let him off this time.”

President Lincoln and Postmaster-General Blair were talking of
the war.

“Blair,” said the President, “did you ever know that fright has
sometimes proven a cure for boils?” “No, Mr. President, how is
that?” “I’ll tell you. Not long ago when a colonel, with his
cavalry, was at the front, and the Rebs were making things rather
lively for us, the colonel was ordered out to a reconnoissance.
He was troubled at the time with a big boil where it made
horseback riding decidedly uncomfortable. He finally dismounted
and ordered the troops forward without him. Soon he was startled
by the rapid reports of pistols and the helter-skelter approach
of his troops in full retreat before a yelling rebel force. He
forgot everything but the yells, sprang into his saddle, and made
capital time over the fences and ditches till safe within the
lines. The pain from his boil was gone, and the boil, too, and
the colonel swore that there was no cure for boils so sure as
fright from rebel yells.”

When President Lincoln issued a military order, it was usually
expressive, as the following shows:

“War Department, Washington, July 22, ’62.

“First: Ordered that military commanders within the States of
Virginia, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi,
Louisiana, Texas and Arkansas, in an orderly manner, seize and
use any property, real or personal, which may be necessary or
convenient for their several commands, for supplies, or for other
military purposes; and that while property may be all stored for
proper military objects, none shall be destroyed in wantonness or

“Second: That military and naval commanders shall employ as
laborers within and from said States, so many persons of African
descent as can be advantageously used for military or naval
purposes, giving them reasonable wages for their labor.

“Third: That as to both property and persons of African descent,
accounts shall be kept sufficiently accurate and in detail to
show quantities and amounts, and from whom both property and such
persons shall have come, as a basis upon which compensation can
be made in proper cases; and the several departments of this
Government shall attend to and perform their appropriate parts
towards the execution of these orders.

“By order of the President.”

Judge David Davis, Justice of the United States Supreme Court,
and United States Senator from Illinois, was one of Lincoln’s
most intimate friends. He told this story on “Abe”:

“Lincoln was very bashful when in the presence of ladies. I
remember once we were invited to take tea at a friend’s house,
and while in the parlor I was called to the front gate to see

“When I returned, Lincoln, who had undertaken to entertain the
ladies, was twisting and squirming in his chair, and as bashful
as a schoolboy.”

There was much that was irritating and uncomfortable in the
circuit-riding of the Illinois court, but there was more which
was amusing to a temperament like Lincoln’s. The freedom, the
long days in the open air, the unexpected if trivial adventures,
the meeting with wayfarers and settlers–all was an entertainment
to him. He found humor and human interest on the route where his
companions saw nothing but commonplaces.

“He saw the ludicrous in an assemblage of fowls,” says H. C.
Whitney, one of his fellow-itinerants, “in a man spading his
garden, in a clothes-line full of clothes, in a group of boys, in
a lot of pigs rooting at a mill door, in a mother duck teaching
her brood to swim–in everything and anything.”

It was in the latter part of 1863 that Russia offered its
friendship to the United States, and sent a strong fleet of
warships, together with munitions of war, to this country to be
used in any way the President might see fit. Russia was not
friendly to England and France, these nations having defeated her
in the Crimea a few years before. As Great Britain and the
Emperor of the French were continually bothering him, President
Lincoln used Russia’s kindly feeling and action as a means of
keeping the other two powers named in a neutral state of mind.
Underneath the cartoon we here reproduce, which was labeled
“Drawing Things to a Head,” and appeared in the issue of
“Harper’s Weekly,” of November 28, 1863, was this DR. LINCOLN (to
smart boy of the shop): “Mild applications of Russian Salve for
our friends over the way, and heavy doses–and plenty of it for
our Southern patient!!”

Secretary of State Seward was the “smart boy” of the shop, and
“our friend over the way” were England and France. The latter
bothered President Lincoln no more, but it is a fact that the
Confederate privateer Alabama was manned almost entirely by
British seamen; also, that when the Alabama was sunk by the
Kearsarge, in the summer of 1864, the Confederate seamen were
picked up by an English vessel, taken to Southhampton, and set at

Lincoln was candor itself when conducting his side of a case in
court. General Mason Brayman tells this story as an illustration:

“It is well understood by the profession that lawyers do not read
authores favoring the opposite side. I once heard Mr. Lincoln, in
the Supreme Court of Illinois, reading from a reported case some
strong points in favor of his argument. Reading a little too far,
and before becoming aware of it, plunged into an authority
against himself.

“Pausing a moment, he drew up his shoulders in a comical way, and
half laughing, went on, ‘There, there, may it please the court, I
reckon I’ve scratched up a snake. But, as I’m in for it, I guess
I’ll read it through.’

“Then, in his most ingenious and matchless manner, he went on
with his argument, and won his case, convincing the court that it
was not much of a snake after all.”

Lincoln was fond of going all by himself to any little show or
concert. He would often slip away from his fellow-lawyers and
spend the entire evening at a little magic lantern show intended
for children.

A traveling concert company was always sure of drawing Lincoln. A
Mrs. Hillis, a member of the “Newhall Family,” and a good singer,
was the only woman who ever seemed to exhibit any liking for
him–so Lincoln said. He attended a negro-minstrel show in
Chicago, once, where he heard Dixie sung. It was entirely new,
and pleased him greatly.

An Eastern newspaper writer told how Lincoln, after his first
nomination, received callers, the majority of them at his law

“While talking to two or three gentlemen and standing up, a very
hard looking customer rolled in and tumbled into the only vacant
chair and the one lately occupied by Mr. Lincoln. Mr. Lincoln’s
keen eye took in the fact, but gave no evidence of the notice.

“Turning around at last he spoke to the odd specimen, holding out
his hand at such a distance that our friend had to vacate the
chair if he accepted the proffered shake. Mr. Lincoln quietly
resumed his chair.

“It was a small matter, yet one giving proof more positively than
a larger event of that peculiar way the man has of mingling with
a mixed crowd.”

Among the lawyers who traveled the circuit with Lincoln was Usher
F. Linder, whose daughter, Rose Linder Wilkinson, has left many
Lincoln reminiscences.

“One case in which Mr. Lincoln was interested concerned a member
of my own family,” said Mrs. Wilkinson. “My brother, Dan, in the
heat of a quarrel, shot a young man named Ben Boyle and was
arrested. My father was seriously ill with inflammatory
rheumatism at the time, and could scarcely move hand or foot. He
certainly could not defend Dan. I was his secretary, and I
remember it was but a day or so after the shooting till letters
of sympathy began to pour in. In the first bundle which I picked
up there was a big letter, the handwriting on which I recognized
as that of Mr. Lincoln. The letter was very sympathetic.

“‘I know how you feel, Linder,’ it said. ‘I can understand your
anger as a father, added to all the other sentiments. But may we
not be in a measure to blame? We have talked about the defense of
criminals before our children; about our success in defending
them; have left the impression that the greater the crime, the
greater the triumph of securing an acquittal. Dan knows your
success as a criminal lawyer, and he depends on you, little
knowing that of all cases you would be of least value in this.’

“He concluded by offering his services, an offer which touched my
father to tears.

“Mr. Lincoln tried to have Dan released on bail, but Ben Boyle’s
family and friends declared the wounded man would die, and
feeling had grown so bitter that the judge would not grant any
bail. So the case was changed to Marshall county, but as Ben
finally recovered it was dismissed.”

Lincoln at one time thought seriously of learning the
blacksmith’s trade. He was without means, and felt the immediate
necessity of undertaking some business that would give him bread.
While entertaining this project an event occurred which, in his
undetermined state of mind, seemed to open a way to success in
another quarter.

Reuben Radford, keeper of a small store in the village of New
Salem, had incurred the displeasure of the “Clary Grove Boys,”
who exercised their “regulating” prerogatives by irregularly
breaking his windows. William G. Greene, a friend of young
Lincoln, riding by Radford’s store soon afterward, was hailed by
him, and told that he intended to sell out. Mr. Greene went into
the store, and offered him at random $400 for his stock, which
offer was immediately accepted.

Lincoln “happened in” the next day, and being familiar with the
value of the goods, Mr. Greene proposed to him to take an
inventory of the stock, to see what sort of a bargain he had
made. This he did, and it was found that the goods were worth

Lincoln then made an offer of $125 for his bargain, with the
proposition that he and a man named Berry, as his partner, take
over Greene’s notes given to Radford. Mr. Greene agreed to the
arrangement, but Radford declined it, except on condition that
Greene would be their security. Greene at last assented.

Lincoln was not afraid of the “Clary Grove Boys”; on the
contrary, they had been his most ardent friends since the time he
thrashed “Jack” Armstrong, champion bully of “The Grove”–but
their custom was not heavy.

The business soon became a wreck; Greene had to not only assist
in closing it up, but pay Radford’s notes as well. Lincoln
afterwards spoke of these notes, which he finally made good to
Greene, as “the National Debt.”

When Lincoln’s sympathies were enlisted in any cause, he worked
like a giant to win. At one time (about 1855) he was in
attendance upon court at the little town of Clinton, Ill., and
one of the cases on the docket was where fifteen women from a
neighboring village were defendants, they having been indicted
for trespass. Their offense, as duly set forth in the indictment,
was that of swooping down upon one Tanner, the keeper of a saloon
in the village, and knocking in the heads of his barrels. Lincoln
was not employed in the case, but sat watching the trial as it

In defending the ladies, their attorney seemed to evince a little
want of tact, and this prompted one of the former to invite Mr.
Lincoln to add a few words to the jury, if he thought he could
aid their cause. He was too gallant to refuse, and their attorney
having consented, he made use of the following argument:

“In this case I would change the order of indictment and have it
read The State vs. Mr. Whiskey, instead of The State vs. The
Ladies; and touching these there are three laws: the law of
self-protection; the law of the land, or statute law; and the
moral law, or law of God.

“First the law of self-protection is a law of necessity, as
evinced by our forefathers in casting the tea overboard and
asserting their right to the pursuit of life, liberty and
happiness: In this case it is the only defense the Ladies have,
for Tanner neither feared God nor regarded man.

“Second, the law of the land, or statute law, and Tanner is
recreant to both.

“Third, the moral law, or law of God, and this is probably a law
for the violation of which the jury can fix no punishment.”

Lincoln gave some of his own observations on the ruinous effects
of whiskey in society, and demanded its early suppression.

After he had concluded, the Court, without awaiting the return of
the jury, dismissed the ladies, saying:

“Ladies, go home. I will require no bond of you, and if any fine
is ever wanted of you, we will let you know.”

Frank W. Tracy, President of the First National Bank of
Springfield, tells a story illustrative of two traits in Mr.
Lincoln’s character. Shortly after the National banking law went
into effect the First National of Springield was chartered, and
Mr. Tracy wrote to Mr. Lincoln, with whom he was well acquainted
in a business way, and tendered him an opportunity to subscribe
for some of the stock.

In reply to the kindly offer Mr. Lincoln wrote, thanking Mr.
Tracy, but at the same time declining to subscribe. He said he
recognized that stock in a good National bank would be a good
thing to hold, but he did not feel that he ought, as President,
profit from a law which had been passed under his administration.

“He seemed to wish to avoid even the appearance of evil,” said
Mr. Tracy, in telling of the incident. “And so the act proved
both his unvarying probity and his unfailing policy.”

Lincoln wrote a letter on October 2d, 1862, in which he observed

“I sincerely wish war was a pleasanter and easier business than
it is, but it does not admit of holidays.”

Old John Bull got himself into a precious fine scrape when he
went so far as to “play double” with the North, as well as the
South, during the great American Civil War. In its issue of
November 14th, 1863, London “Punch” printed a rather clever
cartoon illustrating the predicament Bull had created for
himself. John is being lectured by Mrs. North and Mrs. South–
both good talkers and eminently able to hold their own in either
social conversation, parliamentary debate or political argument–
but he bears it with the best grace possible. This is the way the
text underneath the picture runs:

MRS. NORTH. “How about the Alabama, you wicked old man?” MRS.
SOUTH: “Where’s my rams? Take back your precious consols–
there!!” “Punch” had a good deal of fun with old John before it
was through with him, but, as the Confederate privateer Alabama
was sent beneath the waves of the ocean at Cherbourg by the
Kearsarge, and Mrs. South had no need for any more rams, John got
out of the difficulty without personal injury. It was a tight
squeeze, though, for Mrs. North was in a fighting humor, and
prepared to scratch or pull hair. The fact that the privateer
Alabama, built at an English shipyard and manned almost entirely
by English sailors, had managed to do about $10,000,000 worth of
damage to United States commerce, was enough to make any one

After the war was well on, a patriot woman of the West urged
President Lincoln to make hospitals at the North where the sick
from the Army of the Mississippi could revive in a more bracing
air. Among other reasons, she said, feelingly: “If you grant my
petition, you will be glad as long as you live.”

With a look of sadness impossible to describe, the President

“I shall never be glad any more.”

Lincoln always regarded himself as the friend and protector of
unfortunate clients, and such he would never press for pay for
his services. A client named Cogdal was unfortunate in business,
and gave a note in settlenent of legal fees. Soon afterward he
met with an accident by which he lost a hand. Meeting Lincoln
some time after on the steps of the State-House, the kind lawyer
asked him how he was getting along.

“Badly enough,” replied Cogdal; “I am both broken up in business
and crippled.” Then he added, “I have been thinking about that
note of yours.”

Lincoln, who had probably known all about Cogdal’s troubles, and
had prepared himself for the meeting, took out his pocket-book,
and saying, with a laugh, “Well, you needn’t think any more about
it,” handed him the note.

Cogdal protesting, Lincoln said, “Even if you had the money, I
would not take it,” and hurried away.

(Dispatch to General Grant, August 17th, 1864.)

“I have seen your dispatch expressing your unwillingness to break
your hold where you are. Neither am I willing.

“Hold on with a bulldog grip.”

As a student (if such a term could be applied to Lincoln), one
who did not know him might have called him indolent. He would
pick up a book and run rapidly over the pages, pausing here and

At the end of an hour–never more than two or three hours–he
would close the book, stretch himself out on the office lounge,
and then, with hands under his head and eyes shut, would digest
the mental food he had just taken.

War Governor Richard Yates (he was elected Governor of Illinois
in 1860, when Lincoln was first elected President) told a good
story at Springfield (Ill.) about Lincoln.

One day the latter was in the Sangamon River with his trousers
rolled up five feet–more or less–trying to pilot a flatboat
over a mill-dam. The boat was so full of water that it was hard
to manage. Lincoln got the prow over, and then, instead of
waiting to bail the water out, bored a hole through the
projecting part and let it run out, affording a forcible
illustration of the ready ingenuity of the future President.

The Martyr President thus spoke of Washington in the course of an

“Washington is the mightiest name on earth–long since the
mightiest in the cause of civil liberty, still mightiest in moral

“On that name a eulogy is expected. It cannot be.

“To add brightness to the sun or glory to the name of Washington
is alike impossible.

“Let none attempt it.

“In solemn awe pronounce the name, and, in its naked, deathless
splendor, leave it shining on.”

Lincoln’s influence upon his audiences was wonderful. He could
sway people at will, and nothing better illustrates his
extraordinary power than he manner in which he stirred up the
newspaper reporters by his Bloomingon speech.

Joseph Medill, editor of the Chicago Tribune, told the story:

“It was my journalistic duty, though a delegate to the
convention, to make a ‘longhand’ report of the speeches delivered
for the Tribune. I did make a few paragraphs of what Lincoln said
in the first eight or ten minutes, but I became so absorbed in
his magnetic oratory that I forgot myself and ceased to take
notes, and joined with the convention in cheering and stamping
and clapping to the end of his speech.

“I well remember that after Lincoln sat down and calm had
succeeded the tempest, I waked out of a sort of hypnotic trance,
and then thought of my report for the paper. There was nothing
written but an abbreviated introduction.

“It was some sort of satisfaction to find that I had not been
‘scooped,’ as all the newspaper men present had been equally
carried away by the excitement caused by the wonderful oration
and had made no report or sketch of the speech.”

When “Abe” was fourteen years of age, John Hanks journeyed from
Kentucky to Indiana and lived with the Lincolns. He described
“Abe’s” habits thus:

“When Lincoln and I returned to the house from work, he would go
to the cupboard, snatch a piece of corn-bread, take down a book,
sit down on a chair, cock his legs up as high as his head, and

“He and I worked barefooted, grubbed it, plowed, mowed, cradled
together; plowed corn, gathered it, and shucked corn. ‘Abe’ read
constantly when he had an opportunity.”

During the Harrison Presidential campaign of 1840, Lincoln said,
in a speech at Springfield, Illinois:

“Many free countries have lost their liberty, and ours may lose
hers; but if she shall, be it my proudest plume, not that I was
last to desert, but that I never deserted her.

“I know that the great volcano at Washington, aroused and
directed by the evil spirit that reigns there, is belching forth
the lava of political corruption in a current broad and deep,
which is sweeping with frightful velocity over the whole length
and breadth of the land, bidding fair to leave unscathed no green
spot or living thing.

“I cannot deny that all may be swept away. Broken by it, I, too,
may be; bow to it I never will.

“The possibility that we may fail in the struggle ought not to
deter us from the support of a cause which we believe to be just.
It shall never deter me.

“If ever I feel the soul within me elevate and expand to those
dimensions not wholly unworthy of its Almighty Architect, it is
when I contemplate the cause of my country, deserted by all the
world beside, and I standing up boldly alone, and hurling
defiance at her victorious oppressors.

“Here, without contemplating consequences, before heaven, and in
the face of the world, I swear eternal fidelity to the just
cause, as I deem it, of the land of my life, my liberty, and my
love; and who that thinks with me will not fearlessly adopt the
oath that I take?

“Let none falter who thinks he is right, and we may succeed.

“But if, after all, we shall fail, be it so; we have the proud
consolation of saying to our consciences, and to the departed
shade of our country’s freedom, that the cause approved of our
judgment, and, adorned of our hearts in disaster, in chains, in
death, we never faltered in defending.”

Lincoln could not rest for as instant under the consciousness
that, even unwittingly, he had defrauded anybody. On one
occasion, while clerking in Offutt’s store, at New Salem, he sold
a woman a little bale of goods, amounting, by the reckoning, to
$2.20. He received the money, and the woman went away.

On adding the items of the bill again to make himself sure of
correctness, he found that he had taken six and a quarter cents
too much.

It was night, and, closing and locking the store, he started out
on foot, a distance of two or three miles, for the house of his
defrauded customer, and, delivering to her the sum whose
possession had so much troubled him, went home satisfied.

On another occasion, just as he was closing the store for the
night, a wooman entered and asked for half a pound of tea. The
tea was weighed out and paid for, and the store was left for the

The next morning Lincoln, when about to begin the duties of the
day, discovered a four-ounce weight on the scales. He saw at once
that he had made a mistake, and, shutting the store, he took a
long walk before breakfast to deliver the remainder of the tea.

These are very humble incidents, but they illustrate the man’s
perfect conscientiousness–his sensitive honesty–better,
perhaps, than they would if they were of greater moment.

Leonard Swett, of Chicago, whose counsels were doubtless among
the most welcome to Lincoln, in summing up Lincoln’s character,

“From the commencement of his life to its close I have sometimes
doubted whether he ever asked anybody’s advice about anything. He
would listen to everybody; he would hear everybody; but he
rarely, if ever, asked for opinions.

“As a politician and as President he arrived at all his
conclusions from his own reflections, and when his conclusions
were once formed he never doubted but what they were right.

“One great public mistake of his (Lincoln’s) character, as
generally received and acquiesced in, is that he is considered by
the people of this country as a frank, guileless, and
unsophisticated man. There never was a greater mistake.

“Beneath a smooth surface of candor and apparent declaration of
all his thoughts and feelings he exercised the most exalted tact
and wisest discrimination. He handled and moved men remotely as
we do pieces upon a chess-board.

“He retained through life all the friends he ever had, and he
made the wrath of his enemies to praise him. This was not by
cunning or intrigue in the low acceptation of the term, but by
far-seeing reason and discernment. He always told only enough of
his plans and purposes to induce the belief that he had
communicated all; yet he reserved enough to have communicated

When the United States found that a war with Black Hawk could not
be dodged, Governor Reynolds, of Illinois, issued a call for
volunteers, and among the companies that immediately responded
was one from Menard county, Illinois. Many of these volunteers
were from New Salem and Clary’s Grove, and Lincoln, being out of
business, was the first to enlist.

The company being full, the men held a meeting at Richland for
the election of officers. Lincoln had won many hearts, and they
told him that he must be their captain. It was an office to which
he did not aspire, and for which he felt he had no special
fitness; but he finally consented to be a candidate.

There was but one other candidate, a Mr. Kirkpatrick, who was one
of the most influential men of the region. Previously,
Kirkpatrick had been an employer of Lincoln, and was so
overbearing in his treatment of the young man that the latter
left him.

The simple mode of electing a captain adopted by the company was
by placing the candidates apart, and telling the men to go and
stand with the one they preferred. Lincoln and his competitor
took their positions, and then the word was given. At least three
out of every four went to Lincoln at once.

When it was seen by those who had arranged themselves with the
other candidate that Lincoln was the choice of the majority of
the company, they left their places, one by one, and came over to
the successful side, until Lincoln’s opponent in the friendly
strife was left standing almost alone.

“I felt badly to see him cut so,” says a witness of the scene.

Here was an opportunity for revenge. The humble laborer was his
employer’s captain, but the opportunity was never improved. Mr.
Lincoln frequently confessed that no subsequent success of his
life had given him half the satisfaction that this election did.

In one of his many stories of Lincoln, his law partner, W. H.
Herndon, told this as illustrating Lincoln’s shrewdness as a

“I was with Lincoln once and listened to an oral argument by him
in which he rehearsed an extended history of the law. It was a
carefully prepared and masterly discourse, but, as I thought,
entirely useless. After he was through and we were walking home,
I asked him why he went so far back in the history of the law. I
presumed the court knew enough history.

“‘That’s where you’re mistaken,’ was his instant rejoinder. ‘I
dared not just the case on the presumption that the court knows
everything–in fact I argued it on the presumption that the court
didn’t know anything,’ a statement, which, when one reviews the
decision of our appellate courts, is not so extravagant as one
would at first suppose.”

One day Thaddeus Stevens called at the White House with an
elderly woman, whose son had been in the army, but for some
offense had been court-martialed and sentenced to death. There
were some extenuating circumstances, and after a full hearing the
President turned to Stevens and said: “Mr. Stevens, do you think
this is a case which will warrant my interference?”

“With my knowledge of the facts and the parties,” was the reply,
“I should have no hesitation in granting a pardon.”

“Then,” returned Mr. Lincoln, “I will pardon him,” and proceeded
forthwith to execute the paper.

The gratitude of the mother was too deep for expression, save by
her tears, and not a word was said between her and Stevens until
they were half way down the stairs on their passage out, when she
suddenly broke forth in an excited manner with the words:

“I knew it was a copperhead lie!”

“What do you refer to, madam?” asked Stevens.

“Why, they told me he was an ugly-looking man,” she replied, with
vehemence. “He is the handsomest man I ever saw in my life.”

“Lincoln’s Last Warning” was the title of a cartoon which
appeared in “Harper’s Weekly,” on October 11, 1862. Under the
picture was the text:

“Now if you don’t come down I’ll cut the tree from under you.”

This illustration was peculiarly apt, as, on the 1st of January,
1863, President Lincoln issued his great Emancipation
Proclamation, declaring all slaves in the United States forever
free. “Old Abe” was a handy man with the axe, he having split
many thousands of rails with its keen edge. As the “Slavery Coon”
wouldn’t heed the warning, Lincoln did cut the tree from under
him, and so he came down to the ground with a heavy thump.

This Act of Emancipation put an end to the notion of the Southern
slave holders that involuntary servitude was one of the “sacred
institutions” on the Continent of North America. It also
demonstrated that Lincoln was thoroughly in earnest when he
declared that he would not only save the Union, but that he meant
what he said in the speech wherein he asserted, “This Nation
cannot exist half slave and half free.”

At fifteen years of age “Abe” wrote “pieces,” or compositions,
and even some doggerel rhyme, which he recited, to the great
amusement of his playmates.

One of his first compositions was against cruelty to animals. He
was very much annoyed and pained at the conduct of the boys, who
were in the habit of catching terrapins and putting coals of fire
on their backs, which thoroughly disgusted Abraham.

“He would chide us,” said “Nat” Grigsby, “tell us it was wrong,
and would write against it.”

When eighteen years old, “Abe” wrote a “piece” on “National
Politics,” and it so pleased a lawyer friend, named Pritchard,
that the latter had it printed in an obscure paper, thereby
adding much to the author’s pride. “Abe” did not conceal his
satisfaction. In this “piece” he wrote, among other things:

“The American government is the best form of government for an
intelligent people. It ought to be kept sound, and preserved
forever, that general education should be fostered and carried
all over the country; that the Constitution should be saved, the
Union perpetuated and the laws revered, respected and enforced.”

John A. Logan and a friend of Illinois called upon Lincoln at
Willard’s Hotel, Washington, February 23d, the morning of his
arrival, and urged a vigorous, firm policy.

Patiently listening, Lincoln replied seriously but cheerfully:

“As the country has placed me at the helm of the ship, I’ll try
to steer her through.”

Lincoln was a marked and peculiar young man. People talked about
him. His studious habits, his greed for information, his thorough
mastery of the difficulties of every new position in which he was
placed, his intelligence on all matters of public concern, his
unwearying good-nature, his skill in telling a story, his great
athletic power, his quaint, odd ways, his uncouth appearance–all
tended to bring him in sharp contrast with the dull mediocrity by
which he was surrounded.

Denton Offutt, his old employer, said, after having had a
conversation with Lincoln, that the young man “had talent enough
in him to make a President.”

When Lincoln was on his way to the National Cemetery at
Gettysburg, an old gentleman told him that his only son fell on
Little Round Top at Gettysburg, and he was going to look at the
spot. Mr. Lincoln replied: “You have been called on to make a
terrible sacrifice for the Union, and a visit to that spot, I
fear, will open your wounds afresh.

“But, oh, my dear sir, if we had reached the end of such
sacrifices, and had nothing left for us to do but to place
garlands on the graves of those who have already fallen, we could
give thanks even amidst our tears; but when I think of the
sacrifices of life yet to be offered, and the hearts and homes
yet to be made desolate before this dreadful war is over, my
heart is like lead within me, and I feel at times like hiding in
deep darkness.” At one of the stopping places of the train, a
very beautiful child, having a bunch of rosebuds in her hand, was
lifted up to an open window of the President’s car. “Floweth for
the President.” The President stepped to the window, took the
rosebuds, bent down and kissed the child, saying, “You are a
sweet little rosebud yourself. I hope your life will open into
perpetual beauty and goodness.”

There was a rough gallantry among the young people; and Lincoln’s
old comrades and friends in Indiana have left many tales of how
he “went to see the girls,” of how he brought in the biggest
back-log and made the brightest fire; of how the young people,
sitting around it, watching the way the sparks flew, told their

He helped pare apples, shell corn and crack nuts. He took the
girls to meeting and to spelling school, though he was not often
allowed to take part in the spelling-match, for the one who
“chose first” always chose “Abe” Lincoln, and that was equivalent
to winning, as the others knew that “he would stand up the

A lady reader or elocutionist came to Springfield in 1857. A
large crowd greeted her. Among other things she recited “Nothing
to Wear,” a piece in which is described the perplexities that
beset “Miss Flora McFlimsy” in her efforts to appear fashionable.

In the midst of one stanza in which no effort is made to say
anything particularly amusing, and during the reading of which
the audience manifested the most respectful silence and
attention, some one in the rear seats burst out with a loud,
coarse laugh, a sudden and explosive guffaw.

It startled the speaker and audience, and kindled a storm of
unsuppressed laughter and applause. Everybody looked back to
ascertain the cause of the demonstration, and were greatly
surprised to find that it was Mr. Lincoln.

He blushed and squirmed with the awkward diffidence of a
schoolboy. What caused him to laugh, no one was able to explain.
He was doubtless wrapped up in a brown study, and recalling some
amusing episode, indulged in laughter without realizing his
surroundings. The experience mortified him greatly.

Soon after Mr. Lincoln began to practice law at Springfield, he
was engaged in a criminal case in which it was thought there was
little chance of success. Throwing all his powers into it, he
came off victorious, and promptly received for his services five
hundred dollars. A legal friend, calling upon him the next
morning, found him sitting before a table, upon which his money
was spread out, counting it over and over.

“Look here, Judge,” said he. “See what a heap of money I’ve got
from this case. Did you ever see anything like it? Why, I never
had so much money in my life before, put it all together.” Then,
crossing his arms upon the table, his manner sobering down, he
added: “I have got just five hundred dollars; if it were only
seven hundred and fifty, I would go directly and purchase a
quarter section of land, and settle it upon my old step-mother.”

His friend said that if the deficiency was all he needed, he
would loan him the amount, taking his note, to which Mr. Lincoln
instantly acceded.

His friend then said:

“Lincoln, I would do just what you have indicated. Your
step-mother is getting old, and will not probably live many
years. I would settle the property upon her for her use during
her lifetime, to revert to you upon her death.”

With much feeling, Mr. Lincoln replied:

“I shall do no such thing. It is a poor return at best for all
the good woman’s devotion and fidelity to me, and there is not
going to be any halfway business about it.” And so saying, he
gathered up his money and proceeded forthwith to carry his
long-cherished purpose into execution.

Lincoln believed in preventing unnecessary litigation, and
carried out this in his practice. “Who was your guardian?” he
asked a young man who came to him to complain that a part of the
property left him had been withheld. “Enoch Kingsbury,” replied
the young man.

“I know Mr. Kingsbury,” said Lincoln, “and he is not the man to
have cheated you out of a cent, and I can’t take the case, and
advise you to drop the subject.”

And it was dropped.

Edwin M. Stanton was one of the attorneys in the great “reaper
patent” case heard in Cincinnati in 1855, Lincoln also having
been retained. The latter was rather anxious to deliver the
argument on the general propositions of law applicable to the
case, but it being decided to have Mr. Stanton do this, the
Westerner made no complaint.

Speaking of Stanton’s argument and the view Lincoln took of it,
Ralph Emerson, a young lawyer who was present at the trial, said:

“The final summing up on our side was by Mr. Stanton, and though
he took but about three hours in its delivery, he had devoted as
many, if not more, weeks to its preparation. It was very able,
and Mr. Lincoln was throughout the whole of it a rapt listener.
Mr. Stanton closed his speech in a flight of impassioned

“Then the court adjourned for the day, and Mr. Lincoln invited me
to take a long walk with him. For block after block he walked
rapidly forward, not saying a word, evidently deeply dejected.

“At last he turned suddenly to me, exclaiming, ‘Emerson, I am
going home.’ A pause. ‘I am going home to study law.’

“‘Why,’ I exclaimed, ‘Mr. Lincoln, you stand at the head of the
bar in llinois now! What are you talking about?’

“‘Ah, yes,’ he said, ‘I do occupy a good position there, and I
think that I can get along with the way things are done there
now. But these college-trained men, who have devoted their whole
lives to study, are coming West, don’t you see? And they study
their cases as we never do. They have got as far as Cincinnati
now. They will soon be in Illinois.’

“Another long pause; then stopping and turning toward me, his
countenance suddenly assuming that look of strong determination
which those who knew him best sometimes saw upon his face, he
exclaimed, ‘I am going home to study law! I am as good as any, of
them, and when they get out to Illinois, I will be ready for

The cartoon given here in facsimile was one of the posters which
decorated the picturesque Presidential campaign of 1864, and
assisted in making the period previous to the vote-casting a
lively and memorable one. This poster was a lithograph, and, as
the title, “The Rail-Splitter at Work Repairing the Union,” would
indicate, the President is using the Vice-Presidential candidate
on the Republican National ticket (Andrew Johnson) as an aid in
the work. Johnson was, in early life, a tailor, and he is
pictured as busily engaged in sewing up the rents made in the map
of the Union by the secessionists.

Both men are thoroughly in earnest, and, as history relates, the
torn places in the Union map were stitched together so nicely
that no one could have told, by mere observation, that a tear had
ever been made. Andrew Johnson, who succeeded Lincoln upon the
assassination of the latter, was a remarkable man. Born in North
Carolina, he removed to Tennessee when young, was Congressman,
Governor, and United States Senator, being made military Governor
of his State in 1862. A strong, stanch Union man, he was
nominated for the Vice-Presidency on the Lincoln ticket to
conciliate the War Democrats. After serving out his term as
President, he was again elected United States Senator from
Tennessee, but died shortly after taking his seat. But he was
just the sort of a man to assist “Uncle Abe” in sewing up the
torn places in the Union map, and as military Governor of
Tennessee was a powerful factor in winning friends in the South
to the Union cause.

“Several of us lawyers,” remarked one of his colleagues, “in the
eastern end of the circuit, annoyed Lincoln once while he was
holding court for Davis by attempting to defend against a note to
which there were many makers. We had no legal, but a good moral
defense, but what we wanted most of all was to stave it off till
the next term of court by one expedient or another.

“We bothered ‘the court’ about it till late on Saturday, the day
of adjournment. He adjourned for supper with nothing left but
this case to dispose of. After supper he heard our twaddle for
nearly an hour, and then made this odd entry.

“‘L. D. Chaddon vs. J. D. Beasley et al. April Term, 1856.
Champaign county Court. Plea in abatement by B. Z. Green, a
defendant not served, filed Saturday at 11 o’clock a. m., April
24, 1856, stricken from the files by order of court. Demurrer to
declaration, if there ever was one, overruled. Defendants who are
served now, at 8 o’clock p. m., of the last day of the term, ask
to plead to the merits, which is denied by the court on the
ground that the offer comes too late, and therefore, as by nil
dicet, judgment is rendered for Pl’ff. Clerk assess damages. A.
Lincoln, Judge pro tem.’

“The lawyer who reads this singular entry will appreciate its
oddity if no one else does. After making it, one of the lawyers,
on recovering from his astonishment, ventured to enquire: ‘Well,
Lincoln, how can we get this case up again?’

“Lincoln eyed him quizzically for a moment, and then answered,
‘You have all been so mighty smart about this case, you can find
out how to take it up again yourselves.”‘

Mr. Lincoln, one day, was talking with the Rev. Dr. Sunderland
about the Emancipation Proclamation and the future of the negro.
Suddenly a ripple of amusement broke the solemn tone of his
voice. “As for the negroes, Doctor, and what is going to become
of them: I told Ben Wade the other day, that it made me think of
a story I read in one of my first books, ‘Aesop’s Fables.’ It was
an old edition, and had curious rough wood cuts, one of which
showed three white men scrubbing a negro in a potash kettle
filled with cold water. The text explained that the men thought
that by scrubbing the negro they might make him white. Just about
the time they thought they were succeeding, he took cold and
died. Now, I am afraid that by the time we get through this War
the negro will catch cold and die.”

Personal encounters were of frequent occurrence in Gentryville in
early days, and the prestige of having thrashed an opponent gave
the victor marked social distinction. Green B. Taylor, with whom
“Abe” worked the greater part of one winter on a farm, furnished
an account of the noted fight between John Johnston, “Abe’s”
stepbrother, and William Grigsby, in which stirring drama “Abe”
himself played an important role before the curtain was rung

Taylor’s father was the second for Johnston, and William Whitten
officiated in a similar capacity for Grigsby. “They had a
terrible fight,” related Taylor, “and it soon became apparent
that Grigsby was too much for Lincoln’s man, Johnston. After they
had fought a long time without interference, it having been
agreed not to break the ring, ‘Abe’ burst through, caught
Grigsby, threw him off and some feet away. There Grigsby stood,
proud as Lucifer, and, swinging a bottle of liquor over his head,
swore he was ‘the big buck of the lick.’

“‘If any one doubts it,’ he shouted, ‘he has only to come on and
whet his horns.'”

A general engagement followed this challenge, but at the end of
hostilities the field was cleared and the wounded retired amid
the exultant shouts of their victors.

Lincoln delivered a speech at a Republican banquet at Chicago,
December l0th, 1856, just after the Presidential campaign of that
year, in which he said:

“Our government rests in public opinion. Whoever can change
public opinion can change the government practically just so

“Public opinion, on any subject, always has a ‘central idea,’
from which all its minor thoughts radiate.

“That ‘central idea’ in our political public opinion at the
beginning was, and until recently has continued to be, ‘the
equality of man.’

“And although it has always submitted patiently to whatever of
inequality there seemed to be as a matter of actual necessity,
its constant working has been a steady progress toward the
practical equality of all men.

“Let everyone who really believes, and is resolved, that free
society is not and shall not be a failure, and who can
conscientiously declare that in the past contest he has done only
what he thought best–let every such one have charity to believe
that every other one can say as much.

“Thus, let bygones be bygones; let party differences as nothing
be, and with steady eye on the real issue, let us reinaugurate
the good old ‘central ideas’ of the Republic.

“We can do it. The human heart is with us; God is with us.

“We shall never be able to declare that ‘all States as States are
equal,’ nor yet that ‘all citizens are equal,’ but to renew the
broader, better declaration, including both these and much more,
that ‘all men are created equal.'”

Up to the very last moment of the life of the Confederacy, the
London “Punch” had its fling at the United States. In a cartoon,
printed February 18th, 1865, labeled “The Threatening Notice,”
“Punch” intimates that Uncle Sam is in somewhat of a hurry to
serve notice on John Bull regarding the contentions in connection
with the northern border of the United States.

Lincoln, however, as attorney for his revered Uncle, advises
caution. Accordingly, he tells his Uncle, according to the text
under the picture

ATTORNEY LINCOLN: “Now, Uncle Sam, you’re in a darned hurry to
serve this here notice on John Bull. Now, it’s my duty, as your
attorney, to tell you that you may drive him to go over to that
cuss, Davis.” (Uncle Sam considers.) In this instance, President
Lincoln is given credit for judgment and common sense, his advice
to his Uncle Sam to be prudent being sound. There was trouble all
along the Canadian border during the War, while Canada was the
refuge of Northern conspirators and Southern spies, who, at
times, crossed the line and inflicted great damage upon the
States bordering on it. The plot to seize the great lake cities–
Chicago, Milwaukee, Detroit, Cleveland, Buffalo and others–was
figured out in Canada by the Southerners and Northern allies.
President Lincoln, in his message to Congress in December, 1864,
said the United States had given notice to England that, at the
end of six months, this country would, if necessary, increase its
naval armament upon the lakes. What Great Britain feared was the
abrogation by the United States of all treaties regarding Canada.
By previous stipulation, the United States and England were each
to have but one war vessel on the Great Lakes.

This story cannot be repeated in Lincoln’s own language, although
he told it often enough to intimate friends; but, as it was never
taken down by a stenographer in the martyred President’s exact
words, the reader must accept a simple narration of the strange

It was not long after the first nomination of Lincoln for the
Presidency, when he saw, or imagined he saw, the startling
apparition. One day, feeling weary, he threw himself upon a
lounge in one of the rooms of his house at Springfield to rest.
Opposite the lounge upon which he was lying was a large, long
mirror, and he could easily see the reflection of his form, full

Suddenly he saw, or imagined he saw, two Lincolns in the mirror,
each lying full length upon the lounge, but they differed
strangely in appearance. One was the natural Lincoln, full of
life, vigor, energy and strength; the other was a dead Lincoln,
the face white as marble, the limbs nerveless and lifeless, the
body inert and still.

Lincoln was so impressed with this vision, which he considered
merely an optical illusion, that he arose, put on his hat, and
went out for a walk. Returning to the house, he determined to
test the matter again–and the result was the same as before. He
distinctly saw the two Lincolns–one living and the other dead.

He said nothing to his wife about this, she being, at that time,
in a nervous condition, and apprehensive that some accident would
surely befall her husband. She was particularly fearful that he
might be the victim of an assassin. Lincoln always made light of
her fears, but yet he was never easy in his mind afterwards.

To more thoroughly test the so-called “optical illusion,” and
prove, beyond the shadow of a doubt, whether it was a mere
fanciful creation of the brain or a reflection upon the broad
face of the mirror which might be seen at any time, Lincoln made
frequent experiments. Each and every time the result was the
same. He could not get away from the two Lincolns–one living and
the other dead.

Lincoln never saw this forbidding reflection while in the White
House. Time after time he placed a couch in front of a mirror at
a distance from the glass where he could view his entire length
while lying down, but the looking-glass in the Executive Mansion
was faithful to its trust, and only the living Lincoln was

The late Ward Lamon, once a law partner of Lincoln, and Marshal
of the District of Columbia during his first administration,
tells, in his “Recollections of Abraham Lincoln,” of the dreams
the President had–all foretelling death.

Lamon was Lincoln’s most intimate friend, being, practically, his
bodyguard, and slept in the White House. In reference to
Lincoln’s “death dreams,” he says:

“How, it may be asked, could he make life tolerable, burdened as
he was with that portentous horror, which, though visionary, and
of trifling import in our eyes, was by his interpretation a
premonition of impending doom? I answer in a word: His sense of
duty to his country; his belief that ‘the inevitable’ is right;
and his innate and irrepressible humor.

“But the most startling incident in the life of Mr. Lincoln was a
dream he had only a few days before his assassination. To him it
was a thing of deadly import, and certainly no vision was ever
fashioned more exactly like a dread reality. Coupled with other
dreams, with the mirror-scene and with other incidents, there was
something about it so amazingly real, so true to the actual
tragedy which occurred soon after, that more than mortal strength
and wisdom would have been required to let it pass without a
shudder or a pang.

“After worrying over it for some days, Mr. Lincoln seemed no
longer able to keep the secret. I give it as nearly in his own
words as I can, from notes which I made immediately after its
recital. There were only two or three persons present.

“The President was in a melancholy, meditative mood, and had been
silent for some time. Mrs. Lincoln, who was present, rallied him
on his solemn visage and want of spirit. This seemed to arouse
him, and, without seeming to notice her sally, he said, in slow
and measured tones:

“‘It seems strange how much there is in the Bible about dreams.
There are, I think, some sixteen chapters in the Old Testament
and four or five in the New, in which dreams are mentioned; and
there are many other passages scattered throughout the book which
refer to visions. In the old days, God and His angels came to men
in their sleep and made themselves known in dreams.’

“Mrs. Lincoln here remarked, ‘Why, you look dreadfully solemn; do
you believe in dreams?’

“‘I can’t say that I do,’ returned Mr. Lincoln; ‘but I had one
the other night which has haunted me ever since. After it
occurred the first time, I opened the Bible, and, strange as it
may appear, it was at the twenty-eighth chapter of Genesis, which
relates the wonderful dream Jacob had. I turned to other
passages, and seemed to encounter a dream or a vision wherever I
looked. I kept on turning the leaves of the old book, and
everywhere my eyes fell upon passages recording matters strangely
in keeping with my own thoughts–supernatural visitations,
dreams, visions, etc.’

“He now looked so serious and disturbed that Mrs. Lincoln
exclaimed ‘You frighten me! What is the matter?’

“‘I am afraid,’ said Mr. Lincoln, observing the effect his words
had upon his wife, ‘that I have done wrong to mention the subject
at all; but somehow the thing has got possession of me, and, like
Banquo’s ghost, it will not down.’

“This only inflamed Mrs. Lincoln’s curiosity the more, and while
bravely disclaiming any belief in dreams, she strongly urged him
to tell the dream which seemed to have such a hold upon him,
being seconded in this by another listener. Mr. Lincoln
hesitated, but at length commenced very deliberately, his brow
overcast with a shade of melancholy.

“‘About ten days ago,’ said he, ‘I retired very late. I had been
up waiting for important dispatches from the front. I could not
have been long in bed when I fell into a slumber, for I was
weary. I soon began to dream. There seemed to be a deathlike
stillness about me. Then I heard subdued sobs, as if a number of
people were weeping.

“‘I thought I left my bed and wandered down-stairs. There the
silence was broken by the same pitiful sobbing, but the mourners
were invisible. I went from room to room; no living person was in
sight, but the same mournful sounds of distress met me as I
passed along. It was light in all the rooms; every object was
familiar to me; but where were all the people who were grieving
as if their hearts would break? I was puzzled and alarmed. What
could be the meaning of all this?

“‘Determined to find the cause of a state of things so
mysterious and so shocking, I kept on until I arrived at the East
Room, which I entered. There I met with a sickening surprise.
Before me was a catafalque, on which rested a corpse wrapped in
funeral vestments. Around it were stationed soldiers who were
acting as guards; and there was a throng of people, some gazing
mournfully upon the corpse, whose face was covered, others
weeping pitifully.

“‘”Who is dead in the White House?” I demanded of one of the

“‘”The President,” was his answer; “he was killed by an

“‘Then came a loud burst of grief from the crowd, which awoke me
from my dream. I slept no more that night; and although it was
only a dream, I have been strangely annoyed by it ever since.’

“‘That is horrid!’ said Mrs. Lincoln. ‘I wish you had not told
it. I am glad I don’t believe in dreams, or I should be in terror
from this time forth.’

“‘Well,’ responded Mr. Lincoln, thoughtfully, ‘it is only a
dream, Mary. Let us say no more about it, and try to forget it.’

“This dream was so horrible, so real, and so in keeping with
other dreams and threatening presentiments of his, that Mr.
Lincoln was profoundly disturbed by it. During its recital he was
grave, gloomy, and at times visibly pale, but perfectly calm. He
spoke slowly, with measured accents and deep feeling.

“In conversations with me, he referred to it afterwards, closing
one with this quotation from ‘Hamlet’: ‘To sleep; perchance to
dream! ay, there’s the rub!’ with a strong accent upon the last
three words.

“Once the President alluded to this terrible dream with some show
of playful humor. ‘Hill,’ said he, ‘your apprehension of harm to
me from some hidden enemy is downright foolishness. For a long
time you have been trying to keep somebody-the Lord knows who–
from killing me.

“‘Don’t you see how it will turn out? In this dream it was not
me, but some other fellow, that was killed. It seems that this
ghostly assassin tried his hand on some one else. And this
reminds me of an old farmer in Illinois whose family were made
sick by eating greens.

“‘Some poisonous herb had got into the mess, and members of the
family were in danger of dying. There was a half-witted boy in
the family called Jake; and always afterward when they had greens
the old man would say, “Now, afore we risk these greens, let’s
try ’em on Jake. If he stands ’em we’re all right.” Just so with
me. As long as this imaginary assassin continues to exercise
himself on others, I can stand it.’

“He then became serious and said: ‘Well, let it go. I think the
Lord in His own good time and way will work this out all right.
God knows what is best.’

“These words he spoke with a sigh, and rather in a tone of
soliloquy, as if hardly noting my presence.

“Mr. Lincoln had another remarkable dream, which was repeated so
frequently during his occupancy of the White House that he came
to regard it is a welcome visitor. It was of a pleasing and
promising character, having nothing in it of the horrible.

“It was always an omen of a Union victory, and came with unerring
certainty just before every military or naval engagement where
our arms were crowned with success. In this dream he saw a ship
sailing away rapidly, badly damaged, and our victorious vessels
in close pursuit.

“He saw, also, the close of a battle on land, the enemy routed,
and our forces in possession of vantage ground of inestimable
importance. Mr. Lincoln stated it as a fact that he had this
dream just before the battles of Antietam, Gettysburg, and other
signal engagements throughout the War.

“The last time Mr. Lincoln had this dream was the night before
his assassination. On the morning of that lamentable day there
was a Cabinet meeting, at which General Grant was present. During
an interval of general discussion, the President asked General
Grant if he had any news from General Sherman, who was then
confronting Johnston. The reply was in the negative, but the
general added that he was in hourly expectation of a dispatch
announcing Johnston’s surrender.

“Mr. Lincoln then, with great impressiveness, said, ‘We shall
hear very soon, and the news will be important.’

“General Grant asked him why he thought so.

“‘Because,’ said Mr. Lincoln, ‘I had a dream last night; and
ever since this War began I have had the same dream just before
every event of great national importance. It portends some
important event which will happen very soon.’

“On the night of the fateful 14th of April, 1865, Mrs. Lincoln’s
first exclamation, after the President was shot, was, ‘His dream
was prophetic!’

“Lincoln was a believer in certain phases of the supernatural.
Assured as he undoubtedly was by omens which, to his mind, were
conclusive, that he would rise to greatness and power, he was as
firmly convinced by the same tokens that he would be suddenly cut
off at the height of his career and the fullness of his fame. He
always believed that he would fall by the hand of an assassin.

“Mr. Lincoln had this further idea: Dreams, being natural
occurrences, in the strictest sense, he held that their best
interpreters are the common people; and this accounts, in great
measure, for the profound respect he always had for the
collective wisdom of plain people–‘the children of Nature,’ he
called them–touching matters belonging to the domain of
psychical mysteries. There was some basis of truth, he believed,
for whatever obtained general credence among these ‘children of

“Concerning presentiments and dreams, Mr. Lincoln had a
philosophy of his own, which, strange as it may appear, was in
perfect harmony with his character in all other respects. He was
no dabbler in divination–astrology, horoscopy, prophecy, ghostly
lore, or witcheries of any sort.

As the time drew near at which Mr. Lincoln said he would issue
the Emancipation Proclamation, some clergymen, who feared the
President might change his mind, called on him to urge him to
keep his promise.

“We were ushered into the Cabinet room,” says Dr. Sunderland. “It
was very dim, but one gas jet burning. As we entered, Mr. Lincoln
was standing at the farther end of the long table, which filled
the center of the room. As I stood by the door, I am so very
short, that I was obliged to look up to see the President. Mr.
Robbins introduced me, and I began at once by saying: ‘I have
come, Mr. President, to anticipate the new year with my respects,
and if I may, to say to you a word about the serious condition of
this country.’

“‘Go ahead, Doctor,’ replied the President; ‘every little
helps.’ But I was too much in earnest to laugh at his sally at my

President Lincoln (at times) said he felt sure his life would end
with the War. A correspondent of a Boston paper had an interview
with him in July, 1864, and wrote regarding it:

“The President told me he was certain he should not outlast the
rebellion. As will be remembered, there was dissension then among
the Republican leaders. Many of his best friends had deserted
him, and were talking of an opposition convention to nominate
another candidate, and universal gloom was among the people.

“The North was tired of the War, and supposed an honorable peace
attainable. Mr. Lincoln knew it was not–that any peace at that
time would be only disunion. Speaking of it, he said: ‘I have
faith in the people. They will not consent to disunion. The
danger is, they are misled. Let them know the truth, and the
country is safe.’

“He looked haggard and careworn; and further on in the interview
I remarked on his appearance, ‘You are wearing yourself out with

“‘I can’t work less,’ he answered; ‘but it isn’t that–work
never troubled me. Things look badly, and I can’t avoid anxiety.
Personally, I care nothing about a re-election, but if our
divisions defeat us, I fear for the country.’

“When I suggested that right must eventually triumph, he replied,
‘I grant that, but I may never live to see it. I feel a
presentiment that I shall not outlast the rebellion. When it is
over, my work will be done.’

“He never intimated, however, that he expected to be

Horace Greeley said, some time after the death of President

“After the Civil War began, Lincoln’s tenacity of purpose
paralleled his former immobility; I believe he would have been
nearly the last, if not the very last, man in America to
recognize the Southern Confederacy had its armies been
triumphant. He would have preferred death.”

London “Punch” was not satisfied with anything President Lincoln
did. On December 3rd, 1864, after Mr. Lincoln’s re-election to
the Presidency, a cartoon appeared in one of the pages of that
genial publication, the reproduction being printed here, labeled
“The Federal Phoenix.” It attracted great attention at the time,
and was particularly pleasing to the enemies of the United
States, as it showed Lincoln as the Phoenix arising from the
ashes of the Federal Constitution, the Public Credit, the Freedom
of the Press, State Rights and the Commerce of the North American

President Lincoln’s endorsement by the people of the United
States meant that the Confederacy was to be crushed, no matter
what the cost; that the Union of States was to be preserved, and
that State Rights was a thing of the past. “Punch” wished to
create the impression that President Lincoln’s re-election was a
personal victory; that he would set up a despotism, with himself
at its head, and trample upon the Constitution of the United
States and all the rights the citizens of the Republic ever

The result showed that “Punch” was suffering from an acute attack
of needless alarm.

Lincoln was particularly fascinated by the wonderful happenings
recorded in history. He loved to read of those mighty events
which had been foretold, and often brooded upon these subjects.
His early convictions upon occult matters led him to read all
books tending’ to strengthen these convictions.

The following lines, in Byron’s “Dream,” were frequently quoted
by him:

“Sleep hath its own world,
A boundary between the things misnamed
Death and existence: Sleep hath its own world
And a wide realm of wild reality.
And dreams in their development have breath,
And tears and tortures, and the touch of joy;
They leave a weight upon our waking thoughts,
They take a weight from off our waking toils,
They do divide our being.”

Those with whom he was associated in his early youth and young
manhood, and with whom he was always in cordial sympathy, were
thorough believers in presentiments and dreams; and so Lincoln
drifted on through years of toil and exceptional hardship–
meditative, aspiring, certain of his star, but appalled at times
by its malignant aspect. Many times prior to his first election
to the Presidency he was both elated and alarmed by what seemed
to him a rent in the veil which hides from mortal view what the
future holds.

He saw, or thought he saw, a vision of glory and of blood,
himself the central figure in a scene which his fancy transformed
from giddy enchantment to the most appalling tragedy.

The suspense of the days when the capital was isolated, the
expected troops not arriving, and an hourly attack feared, wore
on Mr. Lincoln greatly.

“I begin to believe,” he said bitterly, one day, to some
Massachusetts soldiers, “that there is no North. The Seventh
Regiment is a myth. Rhode Island is another. You are the only
real thing.”

And again, after pacing the floor of his deserted office for a
half-hour, he was heard to exclaim to himself, in an anguished
tone: “Why don’t they come! Why don’t they come!”

Lincoln was not a man of impulse, and did nothing upon the spur
of the moment; action with him was the result of deliberation and
study. He took nothing for granted; he judged men by their
performances and not their speech.

If a general lost battles, Lincoln lost confidence in him; if a
commander was successful, Lincoln put him where he would be of
the most service to the country.

“Grant is a drunkard,” asserted powerful and influential
politicians to the President at the White House time after time;
“he is not himself half the time; he can’t be relied upon, and it
is a shame to have such a man in command of an army.”

“So Grant gets drunk, does he?” queried Lincoln, addressing
himself to one of the particularly active detractors of the
soldier, who, at that period, was inflicting heavy damage upon
the Confederates.

“Yes, he does, and I can prove it,” was the reply.

“Well,” returned Lincoln, with the faintest suspicion of a
twinkle in his eye, “you needn’t waste your time getting proof;
you just find out, to oblige me, what brand of whiskey Grant
drinks, because I want to send a barrel of it to each one of my

That ended the crusade against Grant, so far as the question of
drinking was concerned.

A New York firm applied to Abraham Lincoln, some years before he
became President, for information as to the financial standing of
one of his neighbors. Mr. Lincoln replied:

“I am well acquainted with Mr.– and know his circumstances.
First of all, he has a wife and baby; together they ought to be
worth $50,000 to any man. Secondly, he has an office in which
there is a table worth $1.50 and three chairs worth, say, $1.
Last of all, there is in one corner a large rat hole, which will
bear looking into. Respectfully, A. Lincoln.”

President Lincoln appointed as consul to a South American country
a young man from Ohio who was a dandy. A wag met the new
appointee on his way to the White House to thank the President.
He was dressed in the most extravagant style. The wag horrified
him by telling him that the country to which he was assigned was
noted chiefly for the bugs that abounded there and made life

“They’ll bore a hole clean through you before a week has passed,”
was the comforting assurance of the wag as they parted at the
White House steps. The new consul approached Lincoln with
disappointment clearly written all over his face. Instead of
joyously thanking the President, he told him the wag’s story of
the bugs. “I am informed, Mr. President,” he said, “that the
place is full of vermin and that they could eat me up in a week’s
time.” “Well, young man,” replied Lincoln, “if that’s true, all
I’ve got to say is that if such a thing happened they would leave
a mighty good suit of clothes behind.”

A. W. Swan, of Albuquerque, New Mexico, told this story on
Lincoln, being an eyewitness of the scene:

“One day President Lincoln was met in the park between the White
House and the War Department by an irate private soldier, who was
swearing in a high key, cursing the Government from the President
down. Mr. Lincoln paused and asked him what was the matter.
‘Matter enough,’ was the reply. ‘I want my money. I have been
discharged here, and can’t get my pay.’ Mr. Lincoln asked if he
had his papers, saying that he used to practice law in a small
way, and possibly could help him.

“My friend and I stepped behind some convenient shrubbery where
we could watch the result. Mr. Lincoln took the papers from the
hands of the crippled soldier, and sat down with him at the foot
of a convenient tree, where he examined them carefully, and
writing a line on the back, told the soldier to take them to Mr.
Potts, Chief Clerk of the War Department, who would doubtless
attend to the matter at once.

“After Mr. Lincoln had left the soldier, we stepped out and asked
him if he knew whom he had been talking with. ‘Some ugly old
fellow who pretends to be a lawyer,’ was the reply. My companion
asked to see the papers, and on their being handed to him,
pointed to the indorsement they had received: This indorsement

“‘Mr. Potts, attend to this man’s case at once and see that he
gets his pay. A. L.'”

The following story illustrates the power of Mr. Lincoln’s memory
of names and faces. When he was a comparatively young man, and a
candidate for the Illinois Legislature, he made a personal
canvass of the district. While “swinging around the circle” he
stopped one day and took dinner with a farmer in Sangamon county.

Years afterward, when Mr. Lincoln had become President, a soldier
came to call on him at the White House. At the first glance the
Chief Executive said: “Yes, I remember; you used to live on the
Danville road. I took dinner with you when I was running for the
Legislature. I recollect that we stood talking out at the
barnyard gate while I sharpened my jackknife.”

“Y-a-a-s,” drawled the soldier, “you did. But say, wherever did
you put that whetstone? I looked for it a dozen times, but I
never could find it after the day you used it. We allowed as how
mabby you took it ‘long with you.”

“No,” said Lincoln, looking serious and pushing away a lot of
documents of state from the desk in front of him. “No, I put it
on top of that gatepost–that high one.”

“Well!” exclaimed the visitor, “mabby you did. Couldn’t anybody
else have put it there, and none of us ever thought of looking
there for it.”

The soldier was then on his way home, and when he got there the
first thing he did was to look for the whetstone. And sure
enough, there it was, just where Lincoln had laid it fifteen
years before. The honest fellow wrote a letter to the Chief
Magistrate, telling him that the whetstone had been found, and
would never be lost again.

When Abe Lincoln used to be drifting around the country,
practicing law in Fulton and Menard counties, Illinois, an old
fellow met him going to Lewiston, riding a horse which, while it
was a serviceable enough animal, was not of the kind to be
truthfully called a fine saddler. It was a weatherbeaten nag,
patient and plodding, and it toiled along with Abe–and Abe’s
books, tucked away in saddle-bags, lay heavy on the horse’s

“Hello, Uncle Tommy,” said Abe.

“Hello, Abe,” responded Uncle Tommy. “I’m powerful glad to see
ye, Abe, fer I’m gwyne to have sumthin’ fer ye at Lewiston co’t,
I reckon.”

“How’s that, Uncle Tommy?” said Abe.

“Well, Jim Adams, his land runs ‘long o’ mine, he’s pesterin’ me
a heap an’ I got to get the law on Jim, I reckon.”

“Uncle Tommy, you haven’t had any fights with Jim, have you?”


“He’s a fair to middling neighbor, isn’t he?”

“Only tollable, Abe.”

“He’s been a neighbor of yours for a long time, hasn’t he?”

“Nigh on to fifteen year.”

“Part of the time you get along all right, don’t you?”

“I reckon we do, Abe.”

“Well, now, Uncle Tommy, you see this horse of mine? He isn’t as
good a horse as I could straddle, and I sometimes get out of
patience with him, but I know his faults. He does fairly well as
horses go, and it might take me a long time to get used to some
other horse’s faults. For all horses have faults. You and Uncle
Jimmy must put up with each other as I and my horse do with one

“I reckon, Abe,” said Uncle Tommy, as he bit off about four
ounces of Missouri plug. “I reckon you’re about right.”

And Abe Lincoln, with a smile on his gaunt face, rode on toward

When Mr. Lincoln visited New York in 1860, he felt a great
interest in many of the institutions for reforming criminals and
saving the young from a life of crime. Among others, he visited,
unattended, the Five Points House of Industry, and the
superintendent of the Sabbath school there gave the following
account of the event:

“One Sunday morning I saw a tall, remarkable-looking man enter
the room and take a seat among us. He listened with fixed
attention to our exercises, and his countenance expressed such
genuine interest that I approached him and suggested that he
might be willing to say something to the children. He accepted
the invitation with evident pleasure, and coming forward began a
simple address, which at once fascinated every little hearer and
hushed the room into silence. His language was strikingly
beautiful, and his tones musical with intense feeling. The little
faces would droop into sad conviction when he uttered sentences
of warning, and would brighten into sunshine as he spoke cheerful
words of promise. Once or twice he attempted to close his
remarks, but the imperative shout of, ‘Go on! Oh, do go on!’
would compel him to resume.

“As I looked upon the gaunt and sinewy frame of the stranger, and
marked his powerful head and determined features, now touched
into softness by the impressions of the moment, I felt an
irrepressible curiosity to learn something more about him, and
while he was quietly leaving the room, I begged to know his name.
He courteously replied: ‘It is Abraham Lincoln, from Illinois.'”

A slight variation of the traditional sentry story is related by
C. C. Buel. It was a cold, blusterous winter night. Says Mr.

“Mr. Lincoln emerged from the front door, his lank figure bent
over as he drew tightly about his shoulders the shawl which he
employed for such protection; for he was on his way to the War
Department, at the west corner of the grounds, where in times of
battle he was wont to get the midnight dispatches from the field.
As the blast struck him he thought of the numbness of the pacing
sentry, and, turning to him, said: ‘Young man, you’ve got a cold
job to-night; step inside, and stand guard there.’

“‘My orders keep me out here,’ the soldier replied.

“‘Yes,’ said the President, in his argumentative tone; ‘but your
duty can be performed just as well inside as out here, and you’ll
oblige me by going in.’

“‘I have been stationed outside,’ the soldier answered, and
resumed his beat.

“‘Hold on there!’ said Mr. Lincoln, as he turned back again; ‘it
occurs to me that I am Commander-in-Chief of the army, and I
order you to go inside.'”

Perhaps the majority of people in the United States don’t know
why Lincoln “growed” whiskers after his first nomination for the
Presidency. Before that time his face was clean shaven.

In the beautiful village of Westfield, Chautauqua county, New
York, there lived, in 1860, little Grace Bedell. During the
campaign of that year she saw a portrait of Lincoln, for whom she
felt the love and reverence that was common in Republican
families, and his smooth, homely face rather disappointed her.
She said to her mother: “I think, mother, that Mr. Lincoln would
look better if he wore whiskers, and I mean to write and tell him

The mother gave her permission.

Grace’s father was a Republican; her two brothers were Democrats.
Grace wrote at once to the “Hon. Abraham Lincoln, Esq.,
Springfield, Illinois,” in which she told him how old she was,
and where she lived; that she was a Republican; that she thought
he would make a good President, but would look better if he would
let his whiskers grow. If he would do so, she would try to coax
her brothers to vote for him. She thought the rail fence around
the picture of his cabin was very pretty. “If you have not time
to answer my letter, will you allow your little girl to reply for

Lincoln was much pleased with the letter, and decided to answer
it, which he did at once, as follows:

“Springfield, Illinois, October i9, 1860.

“Miss Grace Bedell.

“My Dear Little Miss: Your very agreeable letter of the fifteenth
is received. I regret the necessity of saying I have no daughter.
I have three sons; one seventeen, one nine and one seven years of
age. They, with their mother, constitute my whole family. As to
the whiskers, having never worn any, do you not think people
would call it a piece of silly affectation if I should begin it
now? Your very sincere well-wisher, A. LINCOLN.”

When on the journey to Washington to be inaugurated, Lincoln’s
train stopped at Westfield. He recollected his little
correspondent and spoke of her to ex-Lieutenant Governor George
W. Patterson, who called out and asked if Grace Bedell was

There was a large surging mass of people gathered about the
train, but Grace was discovered at a distance; the crowd opened a
pathway to the coach, and she came, timidly but gladly, to the
President-elect, who told her that she might see that he had
allowed his whiskers to grow at her request. Then, reaching out
his long arms, he drew her up to him and kissed her. The act drew
an enthusiastic demonstration of approval from the multitude.

Grace married a Kansas banker, and became Grace Bedell Billings.

Lincoln made his first appearance in society when he was first
sent to Springfield, Ill., as a member of the State Legislature.
It was not an imposing figure which he cut in a ballroom, but
still he was occasionally to be found there. Miss Mary Todd, who
afterward became his wife, was the magnet which drew the tall,
awkward young man from his den. One evening Lincoln approached
Miss Todd, and said, in his peculiar idiom:

“Miss Todd, I should like to dance with you the worst way.” The
young woman accepted the inevitable, and hobbled around the room
with him. When she returned to her seat, one of her companions
asked mischievously

“Well, Mary, did he dance with you the worst way.”

“Yes,” she answered, “the very worst.”

An instance of young Lincoln’s practical humanity at an early
period of his life is recorded in this way:

One evening, while returning from a “raising” in his wide
neighborhood, with a number of companions, he discovered a stray
horse, with saddle and bridle upon him. The horse was recognized
as belonging to a man who was accustomed to get drunk, and it was
suspected at once that he was not far off. A short search only
was necessary to confirm the belief.

The poor drunkard was found in a perfectly helpless condition,
upon the chilly ground. Abraham’s companions urged the cowardly
policy of leaving him to his fate, but young Lincoln would not
hear to the proposition.

At his request, the miserable sot was lifted on his shoulders,
and he actually carried him eighty rods to the nearest house.

Sending word to his father that he should not be back that night,
with the reason for his absence, he attended and nursed the man
until the morning, and had the pleasure of believing that he had
saved his life.

On one occasion, exasperated at the discrepancy between the
aggregate of troops forwarded to McClellan and the number that
same general reported as having received, Lincoln exclaimed:
“Sending men to that army is like shoveling fleas across a
barnyard–half of them never get there.”

To a politician who had criticised his course, he wrote: “Would
you have me drop the War where it is, or would you prosecute it
in future with elder stalk squirts charged with rosewater?”

When, on his first arrival in Washington as President, he found
himself besieged by office-seekers, while the War was breaking
out, he said: “I feel like a man letting lodgings at one end of
his house while the other end is on fire.”

Ward Lamon, Marshal of the District of Columbia during Lincoln’s
time in Washington, accompanied the President everywhere. He was
a good singer, and, when Lincoln was in one of his melancholy
moods, would “fire a few rhythmic shots” at the President to
cheer the latter. Lincoln keenly relished nonsense in the shape
of witty or comic ditties. A parody of “A Life on the Ocean Wave”
was always pleasing to him:

“Oh, a life on the ocean wave,
And a home on the rolling deep!
With ratlins fried three times a day
And a leaky old berth for to sleep;
Where the gray-beard cockroach roams,
On thoughts of kind intent,
And the raving bedbug comes
The road the cockroach went.”

Lincoln could not control his laughter when he heard songs of
this sort.

He was fond of negro melodies, too, and “The Blue-Tailed Fly” was
a great favorite with him. He often called for that buzzing
ballad when he and Lamon were alone, and he wanted to throw off
the weight of public and private cares. The ballad of “The
Blue-Tailed Fly” contained two verses, which ran:

“When I was young I used to wait
At massa’s table, ‘n’ hand de plate,
An’ pass de bottle when he was dry,
An’ brush away de blue-tailed fly.

“Ol’ Massa’s dead; oh, let him rest!
Dey say all things am for de best;
But I can’t forget until I die
Ol’ massa an’ de blue-tailed fly.”

While humorous songs delighted the President, he also loved to
listen to patriotic airs and ballads containing sentiment. He was
fond of hearing “The Sword of Bunker Hill,” “Ben Bolt,” and “The
Lament of the Irish Emigrant.” His preference of the verses in
the latter was this:

“I’m lonely now, Mary,
For the poor make no new friends;
But, oh, they love the better still
The few our Father sends!
And you were all I had, Mary,
My blessing and my pride;
There’s nothing left to care for now,
Since my poor Mary died.”

Those who knew Lincoln were well aware he was incapable of so
monstrous an act as that of wantonly insulting the dead, as was
charged in the infamous libel which asserted that he listened to
a comic song on the field of Antietam, before the dead were

Mr. Lincoln once remarked to a friend that his religion was like
that of an old man named Glenn, in Indiana, whom he heard speak
at a church meeting, and who said: “When I do good, I feel good;
when I do bad, I feel bad; and that’s my religion.”

Mrs. Lincoln herself has said that Mr. Lincoln had no faith–no
faith, in the usual acceptance of those words. “He never joined a
church; but still, as I believe, he was a religious man by
nature. He first seemed to think about the subject when our boy
Willie died, and then more than ever about the time he went to
Gettysburg; but it was a kind of poetry in his nature, and he
never was a technical Christian.”

During the afternoon preceding his assassination the President
signed a pardon for a soldier sentenced to be shot for desertion,
remarking as he did so, “Well, I think the boy can do us more
good above ground than under ground.”

He also approved an application for the discharge, on taking the
oath of allegiance, of a rebel prisoner, in whose petition he
wrote, “Let it be done.”

This act of mercy was his last official order.

The first corps of the army commanded by General Reynolds was
once reviewed by the President on a beautiful plain at the north
of Potomac Creek, about eight miles from Hooker’s headquarters.
The party rode thither in an ambulance over a rough corduroy
road, and as they passed over some of the more difficult portions
of the jolting way the ambulance driver, who sat well in front,
occasionally let fly a volley of suppressed oaths at his wild
team of six mules.

Finally, Mr. Lincoln, leaning forward, touched the man on the
shoulder and said

“Excuse me, my friend, are you an Episcopalian?”

The man, greatly startled, looked around and replied:

“No, Mr. President; I am a Methodist.”

“Well,” said Lincoln, “I thought you must be an Episcopalian,
because you swear just like Governor Seward, who is a church

The first night after the departure of President-elect Lincoln
from Springfield, on his way to Washington, was spent in
Indianapolis. Governor Yates, O. H. Browning, Jesse K. Dubois, O.
M. Hatch, Josiah Allen, of Indiana, and others, after taking
leave of Mr. Lincoln to return to their respective homes, took
Ward Lamon into a room, locked the door, and proceeded in the
most solemn and impressive manner to instruct him as to his
duties as the special guardian of Mr. Lincoln’s person during the
rest of his journey to Washington. Lamon tells the story as

“The lesson was concluded by Uncle Jesse, as Mr. Dubois was
commonly, called, who said:

“‘Now, Lamon, we have regarded you as the Tom Hyer of Illinois,
with Morrissey attachment. We intrust the sacred life of Mr.
Lincoln to your keeping; and if you don’t protect it, never
return to Illinois, for we will murder you on sight.”‘

Professor Jonathan Baldwin Turner was one of the few men to whom
Mr. Lincoln confided his intention to issue the Proclamation of

Mr. Lincoln told his Illinois friend of the visit of a delegation
to him who claimed to have a message from God that the War would
not be successful without the freeing of the negroes, to whom Mr.
Lincoln replied: “Is it not a little strange that He should tell
this to you, who have so little to do with it, and should not
have told me, who has a great deal to do with it?”

At the same time he informed Professor Turner he had his
Proclamation in his pocket.

A writer who heard Mr. Lincoln’s famous speech delivered in New
York after his nomination for President has left this record of
the event:

“When Lincoln rose to speak, I was greatly disappointed. He was
tall, tall, oh, so tall, and so angular and awkward that I had
for an instant a feeling of pity for so ungainly a man. He began
in a low tone of voice, as if he were used to speaking out of
doors and was afraid of speaking too loud.

“He said ‘Mr. Cheerman,’ instead of ‘Mr. Chairman,’ and employed
many other words with an old-fashioned pronunciation. I said to
myself, ‘Old fellow, you won’t do; it is all very well for the
Wild West, but this will never go down in New York.’ But pretty
soon he began to get into the subject; he straightened up, made
regular and graceful gestures; his face lighted as with an inward
fire; the whole man was transfigured.

“I forgot the clothing, his personal appearance, and his
individual peculiarities. Presently, forgetting myself, I was on
my feet with the rest, yelling like a wild Indian, cheering the
wonderful man. In the close parts of his argument you could hear
the gentle sizzling of the gas burners.

“When he reached a climax the thunders of applause were terrific.
It was a great speech. When I came out of the hall my face was
glowing with excitement and my frame all a-quiver. A friend, with
his eyes aglow, asked me what I thought of ‘Abe’ Lincoln, the
rail-splitter. I said, ‘He’s the greatest man since St. Paul.’
And I think so yet.”

President Lincoln one day noticed a small, pale, delicate-looking
boy, about thirteen years old, among the number in the White
House antechamber.

The President saw him standing there, looking so feeble and
faint, and said: “Come here, my boy, and tell me what you want.”

The boy advanced, placed his hand on the arm of the President’s
chair, and, with a bowed head and timid accents, said: “Mr.
President, I have been a drummer boy in a regiment for two years,
and my colonel got angry with me and turned me off. I was taken
sick and have been a long time in the hospital.”

The President discovered that the boy had no home, no father–he
had died in the army–no mother.

“I have no father, no mother, no brothers, no sisters, and,”
bursting into tears, “no friends–nobody cares for me.”

Lincoln’s eyes filled with tears, and the boy’s heart was soon
made glad by a request to certain officials “to care for this
poor boy.”

One of the most noted murder cases in which Lincoln defended the
accused was tried in August, 1859. The victim, Crafton, was a
student in his own law office, the defendant, “Peachy” Harrison,
was a grandson of Rev. Peter Cartwright; both were connected with
the best families in the county; they were brothers-in-law, and
had always been friends.

Senator John M. Palmer and General John A. McClelland were on the
side of the prosecution. Among those who represented the
defendant were Lincoln and Senator Shelby M. Cullom. The two
young men had engaged in a political quarrel, and Crafton was
stabbed to death by Harrison. The tragic pathos of a case which
involved the deepest affections of almost an entire community
reached its climax in the appearance in court of the venerable
Peter Cartwright. Lincoln had beaten him for Congress in 1846.

Eccentric and aggressive as he was, he was honored far and wide;
and when he arose to take the witness stand, his white hair
crowned with this cruel sorrow, the most indifferent spectator
felt that his examination would be unbearable.

It fell to Lincoln to question Cartwright. With the rarest
gentleness he began to put his questions.

“How long have you known the prisoner?”

Cartwright’s head dropped on his breast for a moment; then
straightening himself, he passed his hand across his eyes and
answered in a deep, quavering voice:

“I have known him since a babe, he laughed and cried on my knee.”

The examination ended by Lincoln drawing from the witness the
story of how Crafton had said to him, just before his death: “I
am dying; I will soon part with all I love on earth, and I want
you to say to my slayer that I forgive him. I want to leave this
earth with a forgiveness of all who have in any way injured me.”

This examination made a profound impression on the jury. Lincoln
closed his argument by picturing the scene anew, appealing to the
jury to practice the same forgiving spirit that the murdered man
had shown on his death-bed. It was undoubtedly to his handling of
the grandfather’s evidence that Harrison’s acquittal was due.

During the War Congress appropriated $10,000 to be expended by
the President in defending United States Marshals in cases of
arrests and seizures where the legality of their actions was
tested in the courts. Previously the Marshals sought the
assistance of the Attorney-General in defending them, but when
they found that the President had a fund for that purpose they
sought to control the money.

In speaking of these Marshals one day, Mr. Lincoln said:

“They are like a man in Illinois, whose cabin was burned down,
and, according to the kindly custom of early days in the West,
his neighbors all contributed something to start him again. In
his case they had been so liberal that he soon found himself
better off than before the fire, and he got proud. One day a
neighbor brought him a bag of oats, but the fellow refused it
with scorn.

“‘No,’ said he, ‘I’m not taking oats now. I take nothing but

The resistance to the military draft of 1863 by the City of New
York, the result of which was the killing of several thousand
persons, was illustrated on August 29th, 1863, by “Frank Leslie’s
Illustrated Newspaper,” over the title of “The Naughty Boy,
Gotham, Who Would Not Take the Draft.” Beneath was also the text:

MAMMY LINCOLN: “There now, you bad boy, acting that way, when
your little sister Penn (State of Pennsylvania) takes hers like a

Horatio Seymour was then Governor of New York, and a prominent
“the War is a failure” advocate. He was in Albany, the State
capital, when the riots broke out in the City of New York, July
13th, and after the mob had burned the Colored Orphan Asylum and
killed several hundred negroes, came to the city. He had only
soft words for the rioters, promising them that the draft should
be suspended. Then the Government sent several regiments of
veterans, fresh from the field of Gettysburg, where they had
assisted in defeating Lee. These troops made short work of the
brutal ruffians, shooting down three thousand or so of them, and
the rioting was subdued. The “Naughty Boy Gotham” had to take his
medicine, after all, but as the spirit of opposition to the War
was still rampant, the President issued a proclamation suspending
the writ of habeas corpus in all the States of the Union where
the Government had control. This had a quieting effect upon those
who were doing what they could in obstructing the Government.

Mr. Lincoln had advised Lieutenant-General Winfield Scott,
commanding the United States Army, of the threats of violence on
inauguration day, 1861. General Scott was sick in bed at
Washington when Adjutant-General Thomas Mather, of Illinois,
called upon him in President-elect Lincoln’s behalf, and the
veteran commander was much wrought up. Said he to General Mather:

“Present my compliments to Mr. Lincoln when you return to
Springfield, and tell him I expect him to come on to Washington
as soon as he is ready; say to him that I will look after those
Maryland and Virginia rangers myself. I will plant cannon at both
ends of Pennsylvania avenue, and if any of them show their heads
or raise a finger, I’ll blow them to h—.”

One day, when the President was with the troops who were fighting
at the front, the wounded, both Union and Confederate, began to
pour in.

As one stretcher was passing Lincoln, he heard the voice of a lad
calling to his mother in agonizing tones. His great heart filled.
He forgot the crisis of the hour. Stopping the carriers, he
knelt, and bending over him, asked: “What can I do for you, my
poor child?”

“Oh, you will do nothing for me,” he replied. “You are a Yankee.
I cannot hope that my message to my mother will ever reach her.”

Lincoln, in tears, his voice full of tenderest love, convinced
the boy of his sincerity, and he gave his good-bye words without

The President directed them copied, and ordered that they be sent
that night, with a flag of truce, into the enemy’s lines.

When Mr. Lincoln made his famous humorous speech in Congress
ridiculing General Cass, he began to speak from notes, but, as he
warmed up, he left his desk and his notes, to stride down the
alley toward the Speaker’s chair.

Occasionally, as he would complete a sentence amid shouts of
laughter, he would return up the alley to his desk, consult his
notes, take a sip of water and start off again.

Mr. Lincoln received many congratulations at the close, Democrats
joining the Whigs in their complimentary comments.

One Democrat, however (who had been nicknamed “Sausage” Sawyer),
didn’t enthuse at all.

“Sawyer,” asked an Eastern Representative, “how did you like the
lanky Illinoisan’s speech? Very able, wasn’t it?”

“Well,” replied Sawyer, “the speech was pretty good, but I hope
he won’t charge mileage on his travels while delivering it.”

The Virginia (Ill.) Enquirer, of March 1, 1879, tells this story:

“John McNamer was buried last Sunday, near Petersburg, Menard
county. A long while ago he was Assessor and Treasurer of the
County for several successive terms. Mr. McNamer was an early
settler in that section, and, before the town of Petersburg was
laid out, in business in Old Salem, a village that existed many
years ago two miles south of the present site of Petersburg.

“‘Abe’ Lincoln was then postmaster of the place and sold whisky
to its inhabitants. There are old-timers yet living in Menard who
bought many a jug of corn-juice from ‘Old Abe’ when he lived at
Salem. It was here that Anne Rutledge dwelt, and in whose grave
Lincoln wrote that his heart was buried.

“As the story runs, the fair and gentle Anne was originally John
McNamer’s sweetheart, but ‘Abe’ took a ‘shine’ to the young lady,
and succeeded in heading off McNamer and won her affections. But
Anne Rutledge died, and Lincoln went to Springfield, where he
some time afterwards married.

“It is related that during the War a lady belonging to a
prominent Kentucky family visited Washington to beg for her son’s
pardon, who was then in prison under sentence of death for
belonging to a band of guerrillas who had committed many murders
and outrages.

“With the mother was her daughter, a beautiful young lady, who
was an accomplished musician. Mr. Lincoln received the visitors
in his usual kind manner, and the mother made known the object of
her visit, accompanying her plea with tears and sobs and all the
customary romantic incidents.

“There were probably extenuating circumstances in favor of the
young rebel prisoner, and while the President seemed to be deeply
pondering the young lady moved to a piano near by and taking a
seat commenced to sing ‘Gentle Annie,’ a very sweet and pathetic
ballad which, before the War, was a familiar song in almost every
household in the Union, and is not yet entirely forgotten, for
that matter.

“It is to be presumed that the young lady sang the song with more
plaintiveness and effect than ‘Old Abe’ had ever heard it in
Springfield. During its rendition, he arose from his seat,
crossed the room to a window in the westward, through which he
gazed for several minutes with a ‘sad, far-away look,’ which has
so often been noted as one of his peculiarities.

“His memory, no doubt, went back to the days of his humble life
on the Sangamon, and with visions of Old Salem and its rustic
people, who once gathered in his primitive store, came a picture
of the ‘Gentle Annie’ of his youth, whose ashes had rested for
many long years under the wild flowers and brambles of the old
rural burying-ground, but whose spirit then, perhaps, guided him
to the side of mercy.

“Be that as it may, President Lincoln drew a large red silk
handkerchief from his coatpocket, with which he wiped his face
vigorously. Then he turned, advanced quickly to his desk, wrote a
brief note, which he handed to the lady, and informed her that it
was the pardon she sought.

“The scene was no doubt touching in a great degree and proves
that a nice song, well sung, has often a powerful influence in
recalling tender recollections. It proves, also, that Abraham
Lincoln was a man of fine feelings, and that, if the occurrence
was a put-up job on the lady’s part, it accomplished the purpose
all the same.”

Lincoln made a political speech at Pappsville, Illinois, when a
candidate for the Legislature the first time. A free-for-all
fight began soon after the opening of the meeting, and Lincoln,
noticing one of his friends about to succumb to the energetic
attack of an infuriated ruffian, edged his way through the crowd,
and, seizing the bully by the neck and the seat of his trousers,
threw him, by means of his strength and long arms, as one witness
stoutly insists, “twelve feet away.” Returning to the stand, and
throwing aside his hat, he inaugurated his campaign with the
following brief but pertinent declaration

“Fellow-citizens, I presume you all know who I am. I am humble
Abraham Lincoln. I have been solicited by many friends to become
a candidate for the Legislature. My politics are short and sweet,
like the old woman’s dance. I am in favor of the national bank; I
am in favor of the internal improvement system and a high
protective tariff. These are my sentiments; if elected, I shall
be thankful; if not, it will be all the same.”

One day, when President Lincoln was alone and busily engaged on
an important subject, involving vexation and anxiety, he was
disturbed by the unwarranted intrusion of three men, who, without
apology, proceeded to lay their claim before him.

The spokesman of the three reminded the President that they were
the owners of some torpedo or other warlike invention which, if
the government would only adopt it, would soon crush the

“Now,” said the spokesman, “we have been here to see you time and
again; you have referred us to the Secretary of War, the Chief of
Ordnance, and the General of the Army, and they give us no
satisfaction. We have been kept here waiting, till money and
patience are exhausted, and we now come to demand of you a final
reply to our application.”

Mr. Lincoln listened to this insolent tirade, and at its close
the old twinkle came into his eye.

“You three gentlemen remind me of a story I once heard,” said he,
“of a poor little boy out West who had lost his mother. His
father wanted to give him a religious education, and so placed
him in the family of a clergyman, whom he directed to instruct
the little fellow carefully in the Scriptures. Every day the boy
had to commit to memory and recite one chapter of the Bible.
Things proceeded smoothly until they reached that chapter which
details the story of the trial of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego
in the fiery furnace. When asked to repeat these three names the
boy said he had forgotten them.

“His teacher told him that he must learn them, and gave him
another day to do so. The next day the boy again forgot them.

“‘Now,’ said the teacher, ‘you have again failed to remember
those names and you can go no farther until you have learned
them. I will give you another day on this lesson, and if you
don’t repeat the names I will punish you.’

“A third time the boy came to recite, and got down to the
stumbling block, when the clergyman said: ‘Now tell me the names
of the men in the fiery furnace.’

“‘Oh,’ said the boy, ‘here come those three infernal bores! I
wish the devil had them!'”

Having received their “final answer,” the three patriots retired,
and at the Cabinet meeting which followed, the President, in high
good humor, related how he had dismissed his unwelcome visitors.

In the Chicago Convention of 1860 the fight for Seward was
maintained with desperate resolve until the final ballot was
taken. Thurlow Weed was the Seward leader, and he was simply
incomparable as a master in handling a convention. With him were
Governor Morgan, Henry J. Raymond, of the New York Times, with
William M. Evarts as chairman of the New York delegation, whose
speech nominating Seward was the most impressive utterance of his
life. The Bates men (Bates was afterwards Lincoln’s
Attorney-General) were led by Frank Blair, the only Republican
Congressman from a slave State, who was nothing if not heroic,
aided by his brother Montgomery (afterwards Lincoln’s Postmaster
General), who was a politician of uncommon cunning. With them was
Horace Greeley, who was chairman of the delegation from the then
almost inaccessible State of Oregon.

It was Lincoln’s friends, however, who were the “hustlers” of
that battle. They had men for sober counsel like David Davis; men
of supreme sagacity like Leonard Swett; men of tireless effort
like Norman B. Judd; and they had what was more important than
all–a seething multitude wild with enthusiasm for “Old Abe.”

On one occasion when Mr. Lincoln was going to attend a political
convention one of his rivals, a liveryman, provided him with a
slow horse, hoping that he would not reach his destination in
time. Mr. Lincoln got there, however, and when he returned with
the horse he said: “You keep this horse for funerals, don’t you?”
“Oh, no,” replied the liveryman. “Well, I’m glad of that, for if
you did you’d never get a corpse to the grave in time for the

General McClellan, after being put in command of the Army,
resented any “interference” by the President. Lincoln, in his
anxiety to know the details of the work in the army, went
frequently to McClellan’s headquarters. That the President had a
serious purpose in these visits McClellan did not see.

“I enclose a card just received from ‘A. Lincoln,'” he wrote to
his wife one day; “it shows too much deference to be seen

In another letter to Mrs. McClellan he spoke of being
“interrupted” by the President and Secretary Seward, “who had
nothing in particular to say,” and again of concealing himself
“to dodge all enemies in shape of ‘browsing’ Presidents,” etc.

“I am becoming daily more disgusted with this Administration–
perfectly sick of it,” he wrote early in October; and a few days
later, “I was obliged to attend a meeting of the Cabinet at 8 P.
M., and was bored and annoyed. There are some of the greatest
geese in the Cabinet I have ever seen–enough to tax the patience
of Job.”

At a Cabinet meeting once, the advisability of putting a legend
greenbacks similar to the In God We Trust legend on the silver
coins was discussed, and the President was asked what his view
was. He replied: “If you are going to put a legend on the
greenback, I would suggest that of Peter and Paul: ‘Silver and
gold we have not, but what we have we’ll give you.'”

One of Mr. Lincoln’s notable religious utterances was his reply
to a deputation of colored people at Baltimore who presented him
a Bible. He said:

“In regard to the great book, I have only to say it is the best
gift which God has ever given man. All the good from the Savior
of the world is communicated to us through this book. But for
this book we could not know right from wrong. All those things
desirable to man are contained in it.”

When Lincoln was President he told this story of the Black Hawk

The only time he ever saw blood in this campaign, was one morning
when, marching up a little valley that makes into the Rock River
bottom, to reinforce a squad of outposts that were thought to be
in danger, they came upon the tent occupied by the other party
just at sunrise. The men had neglected to place any guard at
night, and had been slaughtered in their sleep.

As the reinforcing party came up the slope on which the camp had
been made, Lincoln saw them all lying with their heads towards
the rising sun, and the round red spot that marked where they had
been scalped gleamed more redly yet in the ruddy light of the
sun. This scene years afterwards he recalled with a shudder.

For a while during the Civil War, General Fremont was without a
command. One day in discussing Fremont’s case with George W.
Julian, President Lincoln said he did not know where to place
him, and that it reminds him of the old man who advised his son
to take a wife, to which the young man responded: “All right;
whose wife shall I take?”

On April 14, 1865, a few hours previous to his assassination,
President Lincoln sent a message by Congressman Schuyler Colfax,
Vice-President during General Grant’s first term, to the miners
in the Rocky Mountains and the regions bounded by the Pacific
ocean, in which he said:

“Now that the Rebellion is overthrown, and we know pretty nearly
the amount of our National debt, the more gold and silver we
we make the payment of that debt so much easier.

“Now I am going to encourage that in every possible way. We shall
have hundreds of thousands of disbanded soldiers, and many have
feared that their return home in such great numbers might
paralyze industry by furnishing, suddenly, a greater supply of
labor than there will be demand for. I am going to try to attract
them to the hidden wealth of our mountain ranges, where there is
room enough for all. Immigration, which even the War has not
stopped, will land upon our shores hundreds of thousands more per
year from overcrowded Europe. I intend to point them to the gold
and silver that wait for them in the West.

“Tell the miners for me that I shall promote their interests to
the utmost of my ability; because their prosperity as the
prosperity of the nation; and,” said he, his eye kindling with
enthusiasm, “we shall prove, in a very few years, that we are
indeed the treasury of the world.”

President Lincoln made a significant remark to a clergyman in the
early days of the War.

“Let us have faith, Mr. President,” said the minister, “that the
Lord is on our side in this great struggle.”

Mr. Lincoln quietly answered: “I am not at all concerned about
that, for I know that the Lord is always on the side of the
right; but it is my constant anxiety and prayer that I and this
nation may be on the Lord’s side.”

It was Lincoln’s custom to hold an informal reception once a
week, each caller taking his turn.

Upon one of these eventful days an old friend from Illinois stood
in line for almost an hour. At last he was so near the President
his voice could reach him, and, calling out to his old associate,
he startled every one by exclaiming, “Hallo, ‘Abe’; how are ye?
I’m in line and hev come for an orfice, too.”

Lincoln singled out the man with the stentorian voice, and

“a particularly old friend, one whose wife had befriended him at
a peculiarly trying time, the President responded to his greeting
in a cordial manner, and told him “to hang onto himself and not
kick the traces. Keep in line and you’ll soon get here.”

They met and shook hands with the old fervor and renewed their

The informal reception over, Lincoln sent for his old friend, and
the latter began to urge his claims.

After having given him some good advice, Lincoln kindly told him
he was incapable of holding any such position as he asked for.
The disappointment of the Illinois friend was plainly shown, and
with a perceptible tremor in his voice he said, “Martha’s dead,
the gal is married, and I’ve guv Jim the forty.”

Then looking at Lincoln he came a little nearer and almost
whispered, “I knowed I wasn’t eddicated enough to git the place,
but I kinder want to stay where I ken see ‘Abe’ Lincoln.”

He was given employment in the White House grounds.

Afterwards the President said, “These brief interviews, stripped
of even the semblance of ceremony, give me a better insight into
the real character of the person and his true reason for seeking

William H. Seward, idol of the Republicans of the East, six
months after Lincoln had made his “Divided House” speech,
delivered an address at Rochester, New York, containing this
famous sentence:

“It is an irrepressible conflict between opposing and enduring
forces, and it means that the United States must, and will,
sooner or later, become either entirely a slave-holding nation,
or entirely a free-labor nation.”

Seward, who had simply followed in Lincoln’s steps, was defeated
for the Presidential nomination at the Republican National
Convention of 1860, because he was “too radical,” and Lincoln,
who was still “radicaler,” was named.

The chief interest of the Illinois campaign of 1843 lay in the
race for Congress in the Capital district, which was between
Hardin–fiery, eloquent, and impetuous Democrat–and Lincoln–
plain, practical, and ennobled Whig. The world knows the result.
Lincoln was elected.

It is not so much his election as the manner in which he secured
his nomination with which we have to deal. Before that
ever-memorable spring Lincoln vacillated between the courts of
Springfield, rated as a plain, honest, logical Whig, with no
ambition higher politically than to occupy some good home office.

Late in the fall of 1842 his name began to be mentioned in
connection with Congressional aspirations, which fact greatly
annoyed the leaders of his political party, who had already
selected as the Whig candidate E. D. Baker, afterward the gallant
Colonel who fell so bravely and died such an honorable death on
the battlefield of Ball’s Bluff.

Despite all efforts of his opponents within his party, the name
of the “gaunt railsplitter” was hailed with acclaim by the
masses, to whom he had endeared himself by his witticisms, honest
tongue, and quaint philosophy when on the stump, or mingling with
them in their homes.

The convention, which met in early spring, in the city of
Springfield, was to be composed of the usual number of delegates.
The contest for the nomination was spirited and exciting.

A few weeks before the meeting of the convention the fact was
found by the leaders that the advantage lay with Lincoln, and
that unless they pulled some very fine wires nothing could save

They attempted to play the game that has so often won, by
“convincing” delegates under instructions for Lincoln to violate
them, and vote for Baker. They had apparently succeeded.

“The best laid plans of mice and men gang aft agley.” So it was
in this case. Two days before the convention Lincoln received an
intimation of this, and, late at night, wrote the following

The letter was addressed to Martin Morris, who resided at
Petersburg, an intimate friend of his, and by him circulated
among those who were instructed for him at the county convention.

It had the desired effect. The convention met, the scheme of the
conspirators miscarried, Lincoln was nominated, made a vigorous
canvass, and was triumphantly elected, thus paving the way for
his more extended and brilliant conquests.

This letter, Lincoln had often told his friends, gave him
ultimately the Chief Magistracy of the nation. He has also said,
that, had he been beaten before the convention, he would have
been forever obscured. The following is a verbatim copy of the

“April 14, 1843.

“Friend Morris: I have heard it intimated that Baker is trying to
get you or Miles, or both of you, to violate the instructions of
the meeting that appointed you, and to go for him. I have
insisted, and still insist, that this cannot be true.

“Sure Baker would not do the like. As well might Hardin ask me to
vote for him in the convention.

“Again, it is said there will be an attempt to get instructions
in your county requiring you to go for Baker. This is all wrong.
Upon the same rule, why might I not fly from the decision against
me at Sangamon and get up instructions to their delegates to go
for me. There are at least 1,200 Whigs in the county that took no
part, and yet I would as soon stick my head in the fire as
attempt it.

“Besides, if any one should get the nomination by such
extraordinary means, all harmony in the district would inevitably
be lost. Honest Whigs (and very nearly all of them are honest)
would not quietly abide such enormities.

“I repeat, such an attempt on Baker’s part cannot be true. Write
me at Springfield how the matter is. Don’t show or speak of this

Mr. Morris did show the letter, and Mr. Lincoln always thanked
his stars that he did.

Mr. Lincoln’s favorite poem was “Oh! Why Should the Spirit of
Mortal Be Proud?” written by William Knox, a Scotchman, although
Mr. Lincoln never knew the author’s name. He once said to a

“This poem has been a great favorite with me for years. It was
first shown to me, when a young man, by a friend. I afterward saw
it and cut it from a newspaper and learned it by heart. I would
give a great deal to know who wrote it, but I have never been
able to ascertain.”

“Oh! why should the spirit of mortal be proud?–
Like a swift-fleeing meteor, a fastflying cloud,
A flash of the lightning, a break of the wave,
He passeth from life to his rest in the grave.

“The leaves of the oak and the willow shall fade,
Be scattered around, and together be laid;
And the young and the old, and the low and the high,
Shall moulder to dust, and together shall lie.

“The infant a mother attended and loved;
The mother, that infant’s affection who proved,
The husband, that mother and infant who blessed–
Each, all, are away to their dwellings of rest.

“The maid on whose cheek, on whose brow, in whose eye,
Shone beauty and pleasure–her triumphs are by;
And the memory of those who loved her and praised,
Are alike from the minds of the living erased.

“The hand of the king, that the sceptre hath borne,
The brow of the priest, that the mitre hath worn,
The eye of the sage, and the heart of the brave,
Are hidden and lost in the depths of the grave.

“The peasant, whose lot was to sow and to reap,
The herdsman, who climbed with his goats up the steep;
The beggar, who wandered in search of his bread,
Have faded away like the grass that we tread.

“The saint, who enjoyed the communion of heaven,
The sinner, who dared to remain unforgiven;
The wise and the foolish, the guilty and just,
Have quietly mingled their bones in the dust.

“So the multitude goes–like the flower or the weed
That withers away to let others succeed;
So the multitude comes–even those we behold,
To repeat every tale that has often been told:

“For we are the same our fathers have been;
We see the same sights our fathers have seen;
We drink the same stream, we view the same sun,
And run the same course our fathers have run.

“The thoughts we are thinking, our fathers would think;
>From the death we are shrinking, our fathers would shrink;
To the life we are clinging, they also would cling–
But it speeds from us all like a bird on the wing.

“They loved–but the story we cannot unfold;
They scorned–but the heart of the haughty is cold;
They grieved–but no wail from their slumber will come;
They joyed–but the tongue of their gladness is dumb.

“They died–aye, they died–and we things that are now,
That walk on the turf that lies o’er their brow,
And make in their dwellings a transient abode,
Meet the things that they met on their pilgrimage road.

“Yea! hope and despondency, pleasure and pain,
Are mingled together in sunshine and rain;
And the smile and the tear, the song and the dirge,
Still follow each other, like surge upon surge.

“‘Tis the wink of an eye,–’tis the draught of a breath;–
>From the blossom of health to the paleness of death,
>From the gilded saloon to the bier and the shroud:–
Oh! why should the spirit of mortal be proud?”

President Lincoln had great doubt as to his right to emancipate
the slaves under the War power. In discussing the question, he
used to like the case to that of the boy who, when asked how many
legs his calf would have if he called its tail a leg, replied,
“five,” to which the prompt response was made that calling the
tail a leg would not make it a leg.

The following is told by Thomas H. Nelson, of Terre Haute,
Indiana, who was appointed minister to Chili by Lincoln:

Judge Abram Hammond, afterwards Governor of Indiana, and myself
arranged to go from Terre Haute to Indianapolis in a stage-coach.

As we stepped in we discovered that the entire back seat was
occupied by a long, lank individual, whose head seemd to protrude
from one end of the coach and his feet from the other. He was the
sole occupant, and was sleeping soundly. Hammond slapped him
familiarly on the shoulder, and asked him if he had chartered the
coach that day.

“Certainly not,” and he at once took the front seat, politely
giving us the place of honor and comfort. An odd-looking fellow
he was, with a twenty-five cent hat, without vest or cravat.
Regarding him as a good subject for merriment, we perpetrated
several jokes.

He took them all with utmost innocence and good nature, and
joined in the laugh, although at his own expense.

After an astounding display of wordy pyrotechnics, the dazed and
bewildered stranger asked, “What will be the upshot of this comet

Late in the evening we reached Indianapolis, and hurried to
Browning’s hotel, losing sight of the stranger altogether.

We retired to our room to brush our clothes. In a few minutes I
descended to the portico, and there descried our long, gloomy
fellow traveler in the center of an admiring group of lawyers,
among whom were Judges McLean and Huntington, Albert S. White,
and Richard W. Thompson, who seemed to be amused and interested
in a story he was telling. I inquired of Browning, the landlord,
who he was. “Abraham Lincoln, of Illinois, a member of Congress,”
was his response.

I was thunderstruck at the announcement. I hastened upstairs and
told Hammond the startling news, and together we emerged from the
hotel by a back door, and went down an alley to another house,
thus avoiding further contact with our distinguished fellow

Years afterward, when the President-elect was on his way to
Washington, I was in the same hotel looking over the
distinguished party, when a long arm reached to my shoulder, and
a shrill voice exclaimed, “Hello, Nelson! do you think, after
all, the whole world is going to follow the darned thing off?”
The words were my own in answer to his question in the
stage-coach. The speaker was Abraham Lincoln.

Lincoln had periods while “clerking” in the New Salem grocery
store during which there was nothing for him to do, and was
therefore in circumstances that made laziness almost inevitable.
Had people come to him for goods, they would have found him
willing to sell them. He sold all that he could, doubtless.

The store soon became the social center of the village. If the
people did not care (or were unable) to buy goods, they liked to
go where they could talk with their neighbors and listen to
stories. These Lincoln gave them in abundance, and of a rare

It was in these gatherings of the “Four Hundred” at the village
store that Lincoln got his training as a debater. Public
questions were discussed there daily and nightly, and Lincoln
always took a prominent part in the discussions. Many of the
debaters came to consider “Abe Linkin” as about the smartest man
in the village.

Lincoln wanted men of level heads for important commands. Not
infrequently he gave his generals advice.

He appreciated Hooker’s bravery, dash and activity, but was
fearful of the results of what he denominated “swashing around.”

This was one of his telegrams to Hooker:

“And now, beware of rashness; beware of rashness, but, with
energy and sleepless vigilance, go forward and give us

When the Confederate iron-clad Merrimac was sent against the
Union vessels in Hampton Roads President Lincoln expressed his
belief in the Monitor to Captain Fox, the adviser of Captain
Ericsson, who constructed the Monitor. “We have three of the most
effective vessels in Hampton Roads, and any number of small craft
that will hang on the stern of the Merrimac like small dogs on
the haunches of a bear. They may not be able to tear her down,
but they will interfere with the comfort of her voyage. Her trial
trip will not be a pleasure trip, I am certain.

“We have had a big share of bad luck already, but I do not
believe the future has any such misfortunes in store for us as
you anticipate.” Said Captain Fox: “If the Merrimac does not sink
our ships, who is to prevent her from dropping her anchor in the
Potomac, where that steamer lies,” pointing to a steamer at
anchor below the long bridge, “and throwing her hundred-pound
shells into this room, or battering down the walls of the

“The Almighty, Captain,” answered the President, excitedly, but
without the least affectation. “I expect set-backs, defeats; we
have had them and shall have them. They are common to all wars.
But I have not the slightest fear of any result which shall
fatally impair our military and naval strength, or give other
powers any right to interfere in our quarrel. The destruction of
the Capitol would do both.

“I do not fear it, for this is God’s fight, and He will win it in
His own good time. He will take care that our enemies will not
push us too far,

“Speaking of iron-clads,” said the President, “you do not seem to
take the little Monitor into account. I believe in the Monitor
and her commander. If Captain Worden does not give a good account
of the Monitor and of himself, I shall have made a mistake in
following my judgment for the first time since I have been here,

“I have not made a mistake in following my clear judgment of men
since this War began. I followed that judgment when I gave Worden
the command of the Monitor. I would make the appointment over
again to-day. The Monitor should be in Hampton Roads now. She
left New York eight days ago.”

After the captain had again presented what he considered the
possibilities of failure the President replied, “No, no, Captain,
I respect your judgments as you have reason to know, but this
time you are all wrong.

“The Monitor was one of my inspirations; I believed in her firmly
when that energetic contractor first showed me Ericsson’s plans.
Captain Ericsson’s plain but rather enthusiastic demonstration
made my conversion permanent. It was called a floating battery
then; I called it a raft. I caught some of the inventor’s
enthusiasm and it has been growing upon me. I thought then, and I
am confident now, it is just what we want. I am sure that the
Monitor is still afloat, and that she will yet give a good
account of herself. Sometimes I think she may be the veritable
sling with a stone that will yet smite the Merrimac Philistine in
the forehead.”

Soon was the President’s judgment verified, for the “Fight of the
Monitor and Merrimac” changed all the conditions of naval

After the victory was gained, the presiding Captain Fox and
others went on board the Monitor, and Captain Worden was
requested by the President to narrate the history of the

Captain Worden did so in a modest manner, and apologized for not
being able better to provide for his guests. The President
smilingly responded “Some charitable people say that old Bourbon
is an indispensable element in the fighting qualities of some of
our generals in the field, but, Captain, after the account that
we have heard to-day, no one will say that any Dutch courage is
needed on board the Monitor.”

“It never has been, sir,” modestly observed the captain.

Captain Fox then gave a description of what he saw of the
engagement and described it as indescribably grand. Then, turning
to the President, he continued, “Now standing here on the deck of
this battle-scarred vessel, the first genuine iron-clad–the
victor in the first fight of iron-clads–let me make a
confession, and perform an act of simple justice.

“I never fully believed in armored vessels until I saw this

“I know all the facts which united to give us the Monitor. I
withhold no credit from Captain Ericsson, her inventor, but I
know that the country is principally indebted for the
construction of the vessel to President Lincoln, and for the
success of her trial to Captain Worden, her commander.”

At one time a certain Major Hill charged Lincoln with making
defamatory remarks regarding Mrs. Hill.

Hill was insulting in his language to Lincoln who never lost his

When he saw his chance to edge a word in, Lincoln denied
emphatically using the language or anything like that attributed
to him.

He entertained, he insisted, a high regard for Mrs. Hill, and the
only thing he knew to her discredit was the fact that she was
Major Hill’s wife.

Among those who called to congratulate Mr. Lincoln upon his
nomination for President was an old lady, very plainly dressed.
She knew Mr. Lincoln, but Mr. Lincoln did not at first recognize
her. Then she undertook to recall to his memory certain incidents
connected with his ride upon the circuit–especially his dining
at her house upon the road at different times. Then he remembered
her and her home.

Having fixed her own place in his recollection, she tried to
recall to him a certain scanty dinner of bread and milk that he
once ate at her house. He could not remember it–on the contrary,
he only remembered that he had always fared well at her house.

“Well,” she said, “one day you came along after we had got
through dinner, and we had eaten up everything, and I could give
you nothing but a bowl of bread and milk, and you ate it; and
when you got up you said it was good enough for the President of
the United States!”

The good woman had come in from the country, making a journey of
eight or ten miles, to relate to Mr. Lincoln this incident,
which, in her mind, had doubtless taken the form of a prophecy.
Mr. Lincoln placed the honest creature at her ease, chatted with
her of old times, and dismissed her in the most happy frame of

The story of naming the town of Lincoln, the county seat of Logan
county, Illinois, is thus given on good authority:

The first railroad had been built through the county, and a
station was about to be located there. Lincoln, Virgil Hitchcock,
Colonel R. B. Latham and several others were sitting on a pile of
ties and talking about moving a county seat from Mount Pulaski.
Mr. Lincoln rose and started to walk away, when Colonel Latham
said: “Lincoln, if you will help us to get the county seat here,
we will call the place Lincoln.”

“All right, Latham,” he replied.

Colonel Latham then deeded him a lot on the west side of the
courthouse, and he owned it at the time he was elected President.

“Jeff” Davis had a large and threatening nightmare in November,
1864, and what he saw in his troubled dreams was the long and
lanky figure of Abraham Lincoln, who had just been endorsed by
the people of the United States for another term in the White
House at Washington. The cartoon reproduced here is from the
issue of “Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper” of December 3rd,
1864, it being entitled “Jeff Davis’ November Nightmare.”

Davis had been told that McClellan, “the War is a failure”
candidate for the Presidency, would have no difficulty whatever
in defeating Lincoln; that negotiations with the Confederate
officials for the cessation of hostilities would be entered into
as soon as McClellan was seated in the Chief Executive’s chair;
that the Confederacy would, in all probability, be recognized as
an independent government by the Washington Administration; that
the “sacred institution” of slavery would continue to do business
at the old stand; that the Confederacy would be one of the great
nations of the world, and have all the “State Rights” and other
things it wanted, with absolutely no interference whatever upon
the part of the North.

Therefore, Lincoln’s re-election was a rough, rude shock to
Davis, who had not prepared himself for such an event. Six months
from the date of that nightmare-dream he was a prisoner in the
hands of the Union forces, and the Confederacy was a thing of the

Probably the last official act of President Lincoln’s life was
the signing of the commission reappointing Alvin Saunders
Governor of Nebraska.

“I saw Mr. Lincoln regarding the matter,” said Governor Saunders,
“and he told me to go home; that he would attend to it all right.
I left Washington on the morning of the 14th, and while en route
the news of the assassination on the evening of the same day
reached me. I immediately wired back to find out what had become
of my commission, and was told that the room had not been opened.
When it was opened, the document was found lying on the desk.

“Mr. Lincoln signed it just before leaving for the theater that
fatal evening, and left it lying there, unfolded.

“A note was found below the document as follows: ‘Rather a
lengthy commission, bestowing upon Mr. Alvin Saunders the
official authority of Governor of the Territory of Nebraska.’
Then came Lincoln’s signature, which, with one exception, that of
a penciled message on the back of a card sent up by a friend as
Mr. Lincoln was dressing for the theater, was the very last
signature of the martyred President.”


A personal friend of President Lincoln is authority for this:

“I called on him one day in the early part of the War. He had
just written a pardon for a young man who had been sentenced to
be shot for sleeping at his post. He remarked as he read it to

“‘I could not think of going into eternity with the blood of the
poor young man on my skirts.’ Then he added:

“‘It is not to be wondered at that a boy, raised on a farm,
probably in the habit of going to bed at dark, should, when
required to watch, fall asleep; and I cannot consent to shoot him
for such an act.'”

By the Act of Emancipation President Lincoln built for himself
forever the first place in the affections of the African race in
this country. The love and reverence manifested for him by many
of these people has, on some occasions, almost reached adoration.
One day Colonel McKaye, of New York, who had been one of a
committee to investigate the condition of the freedmen, upon his
return from Hilton Head and Beaufort called upon the President,
and in the course of the interview said that up to the time of
the arrival among them in the South of the Union forces they had
no knowledge of any other power. Their masters fled upon the
approach of our soldiers, and this gave the slaves the conception
of a power greater than their masters exercised. This power they
called “Massa Linkum.”

Colonel McKaye said their place of worship was a large building
they called “the praise house,” and the leader of the “meeting,”
a venerable black man, was known as “the praise man.”

On a certain day, when there was quite a large gathering of the
people, considerable confusion was created by different persons
attempting to tell who and what “Massa Linkum” was. In the midst
of the excitement the white-headed leader commanded silence.
“Brederen,” said he, “you don’t know nosen’ what you’se talkin’
’bout. Now, you just listen to me. Massa Linkum, he ebery whar.
He know ebery ting.”

Then, solemnly looking up, he added: “He walk de earf like de

One of Lincoln’s most dearly loved friends, United States Senator
Edward D. Baker, of Oregon, Colonel of the Seventy-first
Pennsylvania, a former townsman of Mr. Lincoln, was killed at the
battle of Ball’s Bluff, in October, 1861. The President went to
General McClellan’s headquarters to hear the news, and a friend
thus described the effect it had upon him:

“We could hear the click of the telegraph in the adjoining room
and low conversation between the President and General McClellan,
succeeded by silence, excepting the click, click of the
instrument, which went on with its tale of disaster.

“Five minutes passed, and then Mr. Lincoln, unattended, with
bowed head and tears rolling down his furrowed cheeks, his face
pale and wan, his breast heaving with emotion, passed through the
room. He almost fell as he stepped into the street. We sprang
involuntarily from our seats to render assistance, but he did not

“With both hands pressed upon his heart, he walked down the
street, not returning the salute of the sentinel pacing his beat
before the door.”

Lincoln never indulged in profanity, but confessed that when Lee
was beaten at Malvern Hill, after seven days of fighting, and
Richmond, but twelve miles away, was at McClellan’s mercy, he
felt very much like swearing when he learned that the Union
general had retired to Harrison’s Landing.

Lee was so confident his opponent would not go to Richmond that
he took his army into Maryland–a move he would not have made had
an energetic fighting man been in McClellan’s place.

It is true McClellan followed and defeated Lee in the bloodiest
battle of the War–Antietam–afterwards following him into
Virginia; but Lincoln could not bring himself to forgive the
general’s inaction before Richmond.

President Lincoln said to General Sickles, just after the victory
of Gettysburg: “The fact is, General, in the stress and pinch of
the campaign there, I went to my room, and got down on my knees
and prayed God Almighty for victory at Gettysburg. I told Him
that this was His country, and the war was His war, but that we
really couldn’t stand another Fredericksburg or Chancellorsville.
And then and there I made a solemn vow with my Maker that if He
would stand by you boys at Gettysburg I would stand by Him. And
He did, and I will! And after this I felt that God Almighty had
taken the whole thing into His hands.”

President Lincoln, having arranged to go to New York, was late
for his train, much to the disgust of those who were to accompany
him, and all were compelled to wait several hours until the next
train steamed out of the station. President Lincoln was much
amused at the dissatisfaction displayed, and then ventured the
remark that the situation reminded him of “a little story.” Said

“Out in Illinois, a convict who had murdered his cellmate was
sentenced to be hanged. On the day set for the execution, crowds
lined the roads leading to the spot where the scaffold had been
erected, and there was much jostling and excitement. The
condemned man took matters coolly, and as one batch of
perspiring, anxious men rushed past the cart in which he was
riding, he called out, ‘Don’t be in a hurry, boys. You’ve got
plenty of time. There won’t be any fun until I get there.’

“That’s the condition of things now,” concluded the President;
“there won’t be any fun at New York until I get there.”

On the day the news of General Lee’s surrender at Appomattox
Court-House was received, so an intimate friend of President
Lincoln relates, the Cabinet meeting was held an hour earlier
than usual. Neither the President nor any member of the Cabinet
was able, for a time, to give utterance to his feelings. At the
suggestion of Mr. Lincoln all dropped on their knees, and
offered, in silence and in tears, their humble and heartfelt
acknowledgments to the Almighty for the triumph He had granted to
the National cause.

Mr. Lincoln was much impressed with the devotion and earnestness
of purpose manifested by a certain lady of the “Christian
Commission” during the War, and on one occasion, after she had
discharged the object of her visit, said to her:

“Madam, I have formed a high opinion of your Christian character,
and now, as we are alone, I have a mind to ask you to give me in
brief your idea of what constitutes a true religious experience.”

The lady replied at some length, stating that, in her judgment,
it consisted of a conviction of one’s own sinfulness and
weakness, and a personal need of the Saviour for strength and
support; that views of mere doctrine might and would differ, but
when one was really brought to feel his need of divine help, and
to seek the aid of the Holy Spirit for strength and guidance, it
was satisfactory evidence of his having been born again. This was
the substance of her reply.

When she had, concluded Mr. Lincoln was very thoughtful for a few
moments. He at length said, very earnestly: “If what you have
told me is really a correct view of this great subject I think I
can say with sincerity that I hope I am a Christian. I had
lived,” he continued, “until my boy Willie died without fully
realizing these things. That blow overwhelmed me. It showed me my
weakness as I had never felt it before, and if I can take what
you have stated as a test I think I can safely say that I know
something of that change of which you speak; and I will further
add that it has been my intention for some time, at a suitable
opportunity, to make a public religious profession.”

Mr. Lincoln once remarked to Mr. Noah Brooks, one of his most
intimate personal friends: “I should be the most presumptuous
blockhead upon this footstool if I for one day thought that I
could discharge the duties which have come upon me, since I came
to this place, without the aid and enlightenment of One who is
stronger and wiser than all others.”

He said on another occasion: “I am very sure that if I do not go
away from here a wiser man, I shall go away a better man, from
having learned here what a very poor sort of a man I am.”

One night Schuyler Colfax left all other business to go to the
White House to ask the President to respite the son of a
constituent, who was sentenced to be shot, at Davenport, for
desertion. Mr. Lincoln heard the story with his usual patience,
though he was wearied out with incessant calls, and anxious for
rest, and then replied:

“Some of our generals complain that I impair discipline and
subordination in the army by my pardons and respites, but it
makes me rested, after a hard day’s work, if I can find some good
excuse for saving a man’s life, and I go to bed happy as I think
how joyous the signing of my name will make him and his family
and his friends.”

And with a happy smile beaming over that care-furrowed face, he
signed that name that saved that life.

As the President and Mrs. Lincoln were leaving the White House, a
few minutes before eight o’clock, on the evening of April 14th,
1865, Lincoln wrote this note:

“Allow Mr. Ashmun and friend to come to see me at 9 o’clock a.
m., to-morrow, April 15th, 1865.”

One day during the War an attractively and handsomely dressed
woman called on President Lincoln to procure the release from
prison of a relation in whom she professed the deepest interest.

She was a good talker, and her winning ways seemed to make a deep
impression on the President. After listening to her story, he
wrote a few words on a card: “This woman, dear Stanton, is a
little smarter than she looks to be,” enclosed it in an envelope
and directed her to take it to the Secretary of War.

On the same day another woman called, more humble in appearance,
more plainly clad. It was the old story.

Father and son both in the army, the former in prison. Could not
the latter be discharged from the army and sent home to help his

A few strokes of the pen, a gentle nod of the head, and the
little woman, her eyes filling with tears and expressing a
grateful acknowledgment her tongue, could not utter, passed out.

A lady so thankful for the release of her husband was in the act
of kneeling in thankfulness. “Get up,” he said, “don’t kneel to
me, but thank God and go.”

An old lady for the same reason came forward with tears in her
eyes to express her gratitude. “Good-bye, Mr. Lincoln,” said she;
“I shall probably never see you again till we meet in heaven.”
She had the President’s hand in hers, and he was deeply moved. He
instantly took her right hand in both of his, and, following her
to the door, said, “I am afraid with all my troubles I shall
never get to the resting-place you speak of; but if I do, I am
sure I shall find you. That you wish me to get there is, I
believe, the best wish you could make for me. Good-bye.”

Then the President remarked to a friend, “It is more than many
can often say, that in doing right one has made two people happy
in one day. Speed, die when I may, I want it said of me by those
who know me best, that I have always plucked a thistle and
planted a flower when I thought a flower would grow.”

The President remarked to Admiral David D. Porter, while on board
the flagship Malvern, on the James River, in front of Richmond,
the day the city surrendered:

“Thank God that I have lived to see this!

“It seems to me that I have been dreaming a horrid dream for four
years, and now the nightmare is gone.

“I wish to see Richmond.”

Frederick Douglass told, in these words, of his first interview
with President Lincoln:

“I approached him with trepidation as to how this great man might
receive me; but one word and look from him banished all my fears
and set me perfectly at ease. I have often said since that
meeting that it was much easier to see and converse with a great
man than it was with a small man.

“On that occasion he said:

“‘Douglass, you need not tell me who you are. Mr. Seward has
told me all about you.’

“I then saw that there was no reason to tell him my personal
story, however interesting it might be to myself or others, so I
told him at once the object of my visit. It was to get some
expression from him upon three points:

“1. Equal pay to colored soldiers.

“2. Their promotion when they had earned it on the battle-field.

“3. Should they be taken prisoners and enslaved or hanged, as
Jefferson Davis had threatened, an equal number of Confederate
prisoners should be executed within our lines.

“A declaration to that effect I thought would prevent the
execution of the rebel threat. To all but the last, President
Lincoln assented. He argued, however, that neither equal pay nor
promotion could be granted at once. He said that in view of
existing prejudices it was a great step forward to employ colored
troops at all; that it was necessary to avoid everything that
would offend this prejudice and increase opposition to the

“He detailed the steps by which white soldiers were reconciled to
the employment of colored troops; how these were first employed
as laborers; how it was thought they should not be armed or
uniformed like white soldiers; how they should only be made to
wear a peculiar uniform; how they should be employed to hold
forts and arsenals in sickly locations, and not enter the field
like other soldiers.

“With all these restrictions and limitations he easily made me
see that much would be gained when the colored man loomed before
the country as a full-fledged United States soldier to fight,
flourish or fall in defense of the united republic. The great
soul of Lincoln halted only when he came to the point of

“The thought of hanging men in cold blood, even though the rebels
should murder a few of the colored prisoners, was a horror from
which he shrank.

“‘Oh, Douglass! I cannot do that. If I could get hold of the
actual murderers of colored prisoners I would retaliate; but to
hang those who have no hand in such murders, I cannot.’

“The contemplation of such an act brought to his countenance such
an expression of sadness and pity that it made it hard for me to
press my point, though I told him it would tend to save rather
than destroy life. He, however, insisted that this work of blood,
once begun, would be hard to stop–that such violence would beget
violence. He argued more like a disciple of Christ than a
commander-in-chief of the army and navy of a warlike nation
already involved in a terrible war.

“How sad and strange the fate of this great and good man, the
saviour of his country, the embodiment of human charity, whose
heart, though strong, was as tender as a heart of childhood; who
always tempered justice with mercy; who sought to supplant the
sword with counsel of reason, to suppress passion by kindness and
moderation; who had a sigh for every human grief and a tear for
every human woe, should at last perish by the hand of a desperate
assassin, against whom no thought of malice had ever entered his

One of the campaign songs of 1860 which will never be forgotten
was Whittier’s “The Quakers Are Out:–”

“Give the flags to the winds!
Set the hills all aflame!
Make way for the man with
The Patriarch’s name!
Away with misgivings–away
With all doubt,
For Lincoln goes in when the
Quakers are out!”

Speaking of this song (with which he was greatly pleased) one day
at the White House, the President said: “It reminds me of a
little story I heard years ago out in Illinois. A political
campaign was on, and the atmosphere was kept at a high
temperature. Several fights had already occurred, many men having
been seriously hurt, and the prospects were that the result would
be close. One of the candidates was a professional politician
with a huge wart on his nose, this disfigurement having earned
for him the nickname of ‘Warty.’ His opponent was a young lawyer
who wore ‘biled’ shirts, ‘was shaved by a barber, and had his
clothes made to fit him.

“Now, ‘Warty’ was of Quaker stock, and around election time made
a great parade of the fact. When there were no campaigns in
progress he was anything but Quakerish in his language or
actions. The young lawyer didn’t know what the inside of a
meeting house looked like.

“Well, the night before election-day the two candidates came
together at a joint debate, both being on the speakers’ platform.
The young lawyer had to speak after ‘Warty,’ and his reputation
suffered at the hands of the Quaker, who told the many Friends
present what a wicked fellow the young man was–never went to
church, swore, drank, smoked and gambled.

“After ‘Warty’ had finished the other arose and faced the
audience. ‘I’m not a good man,’ said he, ‘and what my opponent
has said about me is true enough, but I’m always the same. I
don’t profess religion when I run for office, and then turn
around and associate with bad people when the campaign’s over.
I’m no hypocrite. I don’t sing many psalms. Neither does my
opponent; and, talking about singing, I’d just like to hear my
friend who is running against me sing the song–for the benefit
of this audience–I heard him sing the night after he was
nominated. I yield the floor to him:

“Of course ‘Warty’ refused, his Quaker supporters grew
suspicious, and when they turned out at the polls the following
day they voted for the wicked young lawyer.

“So, it’s true that when ‘the Quakers are out’ the man they
support is apt to go in.”

“General Blank asks for more men,” said Secretary of War Stanton
to the President one day, showing the latter a telegram from the
commander named appealing for re-enforcements.

“I guess he’s killed off enough men, hasn’t he?” queried the

“I don’t mean Confederates–our own men. What’s the use in
sending volunteers down to him if they’re only used to fill

“His dispatch seems to imply that, in his opinion, you have not
the confidence in him he thinks he deserves,” the War Secretary
went on to say, as he looked over the telegram again.

“Oh,” was the President’s reply, “he needn’t lose any of his
sleep on that account. Just telegraph him to that effect; also,
that I don’t propose to send him any more men.”

During the progress of a Cabinet meeting the subject of food for
the men in the Army happened to come up. From that the
conversation changed to the study of the Latin language.

“I studied Latin once,” said Mr. Lincoln, in a casual way.

“Were you interested in it?” asked Mr. Seward, the Secretary of

“Well, yes. I saw some very curious things,” was the President’s

“What?” asked Secretary Seward.

“Well, there’s the word hominy, for instance. We have just
ordered a lot of that stuff for the troops. I see how the word
originated. I notice it came from the Latin word homo–a man.

“When we decline homo, it is:

“‘Homo–a man.

“‘Hominis–of man.

“‘Homini–for man.’

“So you see, hominy, being ‘for man,’ comes from the Latin. I
guess those soldiers who don’t know Latin will get along with it
all right–though I won’t rest real easy until I hear from the
Commissary Department on it.”

One day, while listening to one of the wise men who had called at
the White House to unload a large cargo of advice, the President
interjected a remark to the effect that he had a great reverence
for learning.

“This is not,” President Lincoln explained, “because I am not an
educated man. I feel the need of reading. It is a loss to a man
not to have grown up among books.”

“Men of force,” the visitor answered, “can get on pretty well
without books. They do their own thinking instead of adopting
what other men think.”

“Yes,” said Mr. Lincoln, “but books serve to show a man that
those original thoughts of his aren’t very new, after all.”

This was a point the caller was not willing to debate, and so he
cut his call short.

Lincoln made his first speech when he was a mere boy, going
barefoot, his trousers held up by one suspender, and his shock of
hair sticking through a hole in the crown of his cheap straw hat.

“Abe,” in company with Dennis Hanks, attended a political
meeting, which was addressed by a typical stump speaker–one of
those loud-voiced fellows who shouted at the top of his voice and
waved his arms wildly.

At the conclusion of the speech, which did not meet the views
either of “Abe” or Dennis, the latter declared that “Abe” could
make a better speech than that. Whereupon he got a dry-goods box
and called on “Abe” to reply to the campaign orator.

Lincoln threw his old straw hat on the ground, and, mounting the
dry-goods box, delivered a speech which held the attention of the
crowd and won him considerable applause. Even the campaign orator
admitted that it was a fine speech and answered every point in
his own “oration.”

Dennis Hanks, who thought “Abe” was about the greatest man that
ever lived, was delighted, and he often told how young “Abe” got
the better of the trained campaign speaker.

It was in 1830, when “Abe” was just twenty-one years of age, that
the Lincoln family moved from Gentryville, Indiana, to near
Decatur, Illinois, their household goods being packed in a wagon
drawn by four oxen driven by “Abe.”

The winter previous the latter had “worked” in a country store in
Gentryville and before undertaking the journey he invested all
the money he had–some thirty dollars–in notions, such as
needles, pins, thread, buttons and other domestic necessities.
These he sold to families along the route and made a profit of
about one hundred per cent.

This mercantile adventure of his youth “reminded” the President
of a very clever story while the members of the Cabinet were one
day solemnly debating a rather serious international problem. The
President was in the minority, as was frequently the case, and he
was “in a hole,” as he afterwards expressed it. He didn’t want to
argue the points raised, preferring to settle the matter in a
hurry, and an apt story was his only salvation.

Suddenly the President’s fact brightened. “Gentlemen,” said he,
addressing those seated at the Cabinet table, “the situation just
now reminds me of a fix I got into some thirty years or so ago
when I was peddling ‘notions’ on the way from Indiana to
Illinois. I didn’t have a large stock, but I charged large
prices, and I made money. Perhaps you don’t see what I am driving

Secretary of State Seward was wearing a most gloomy expression of
countenance; Secretary of War Stanton was savage and inclined to
be morose; Secretary of the Treasury Chase was indifferent and
cynical, while the others of the Presidential advisers resigned
themselves to the hearing of the inevitable “story.”

“I don’t propose to argue this matter,” the President went on to
say, “because arguments have no effect upon men whose opinions
are fixed and whose minds are made up. But this little story of
mine will make some things which now are in the dark show up more

There was another pause, and the Cabinet officers, maintaining
their previous silence, began wondering if the President himself
really knew what he was “driving at.”

“Just before we left Indiana and crossed into Illinois,”
continued Mr. Lincoln solemnly, speaking in a grave tone of
voice, “we came across a small farmhouse full of nothing but
children. These ranged in years from seventeen years to seventeen
months, and all were in tears. The mother of the family was
red-headed and red-faced, and the whip she held in her right hand
led to the inference that she had been chastising her brood. The
father of the family, a meek-looking, mild-mannered, tow-headed
chap, was standing in the front door-way, awaiting–to all
appearances–his turn to feel the thong.

“I thought there wasn’t much use in asking the head of that house
if she wanted any ‘notions.’ She was too busy. It was evident an
insurrection had been in progress, but it was pretty well quelled
when I got there. The mother had about suppressed it with an iron
hand, but she was not running any risks. She kept a keen and wary
eye upon all the children, not forgetting an occasional glance at
the ‘old man’ in the doorway.

“She saw me as I came up, and from her look I thought she was of
the opinion that I intended to interfere. Advancing to the
doorway, and roughly pushing her husband aside, she demanded my

“‘Nothing, madame,’ I answered as gently as possible; ‘I merely
dropped in as I came along to see how things were going.’

“‘Well, you needn’t wait,’ was the reply in an irritated way;
‘there’s trouble here, an’ lots of it, too, but I kin manage my
own affairs without the help of outsiders. This is jest a family
row, but I’ll teach these brats their places ef I hev to lick the
hide off ev’ry one of them. I don’t do much talkin’, but I run
this house, an’ I don’t want no one sneakin’ round tryin’ to find
out how I do it, either.’

“That’s the case here with us,” the President said in conclusion.
“We must let the other nations know that we propose to settle our
family row in our own way, and ‘teach these brats their places’
(the seceding States) if we have to ‘lick the hide off’ of each
and every one of them. And, like the old woman, we don’t want any
‘sneakin’ ’round’ by other countries who would like to find out
how we are to do it, either.

“Now, Seward, you write some diplomatic notes to that effect.”

And the Cabinet session closed.

As the President considered it his duty to keep in touch with all
the improvements in the armament of the vessels belonging to the
United States Navy, he was necessarily interested in the various
types of these floating fortresses. Not only was it required of
the Navy Department to furnish seagoing warships, deep-draught
vessels for the great rivers and the lakes, but this Department
also found use for little gunboats which could creep along in the
shallowest of water and attack the Confederates in by-places and

The consequence of the interest taken by Mr. Lincoln in the Navy
was that he was besieged, day and night, by steamboat
contractors, each one eager to sell his product to the Washington
Government. All sorts of experiments were tried, some being dire
failures, while others were more than fairly successful. More
than once had these tiny war vessels proved themselves of great
service, and the United States Government had a large number of
them built.

There was one particular contractor who bothered the President
more than all the others put together. He was constantly
impressing upon Mr. Lincoln the great superiority of his boats,
because they would run in such shallow water.

“Oh, yes,” replied the President, “I’ve no doubt they’ll run
anywhere where the ground is a little moist!”

“It seems to me,” remarked the President one day while reading,
over some of the appealing telegrams sent to the War Department
by General McClellan, “that McClellan has been wandering around
and has sort of got lost. He’s been hollering for help ever since
he went South–wants somebody to come to his deliverance and get
him out of the place he’s got into.

“He reminds me of the story of a man out in Illinois who, in
company with a number of friends, visited the State penitentiary.
They wandered all through the institution and saw everything, but
just about the time to depart this particular man became
separated from his friends and couldn’t find his way out.

“He roamed up and down one corridor after another, becoming more
desperate all the time, when, at last, he came across a convict
who was looking out from between the bars of his cell-door. Here
was salvation at last. Hurrying up to the prisoner he hastily

“‘Say! How do you get out of this place?”

President Lincoln often avoided interviews with delegations
representing various States, especially when he knew the objects
of their errands, and was aware he could not grant their
requests. This was the case with several commissioners from
Kentucky, who were put off from day to day.

They were about to give up in despair, and were leaving the White
House lobby, their speech being interspersed with vehement and
uncomplimentary terms concerning “Old Abe,” when “Tad” happened
along. He caught at these words, and asked one of them if they
wanted to see “Old Abe,” laughing at the same time.

“Yes,” he replied.

“Wait a minute,” said “Tad,” and rushed into his father’s office.
Said he, “Papa, may I introduce some friends to you?”

His father, always indulgent and ready to make him happy, kindly
said, “Yes, my son, I will see your friends.”

“Tad” went to the Kentuckians again, and asked a very dignified
looking gentleman of the party his name. He was told his name. He
then said, “Come, gentlemen,” and they followed him.

Leading them up to the President, “Tad,” with much dignity, said,
“Papa, let me introduce to you Judge –, of Kentucky;” and
quickly added, “Now Judge, you introduce the other gentlemen.”

The introductions were gone through with, and they turned out to
be the gentlemen Mr. Lincoln had been avoiding for a week. Mr.
Lincoln reached for the boy, took him in his lap, kissed him, and
told him it was all right, and that he had introduced his friend
like a little gentleman as he was. Tad was eleven years old at
this time.

The President was pleased with Tad’s diplomacy, and often laughed
at the incident as he told others of it. One day while caressing
the boy, he asked him why he called those gentlemen “his
friends.” “Well,” said Tad, “I had seen them so often, and they
looked so good and sorry, and said they were from Kentucky, that
I thought they must be our friends.” “That is right, my son,”
said Mr. Lincoln; “I would have the whole human race your friends
and mine, if it were possible.”

The President told a story which most beautifully illustrated the
muddled situation of affairs at the time McClellan’s fate was
hanging in the balance. McClellan’s s work was not satisfactory,
but the President hesitated to remove him; the general was so
slow that the Confederates marched all around him; and, to add to
the dilemma, the President could not find a suitable man to take
McClellan’s place.

The latter was a political, as well as a military, factor; his
friends threatened that, if he was removed, many war Democrats
would cast their influence with the South, etc. It was,
altogether, a sad mix-up, and the President, for a time, was at
his wits’ end. He was assailed on all sides with advice, but none
of it was worth acting upon.

“This situation reminds me,” said the President at a Cabinet
meeting one day not long before the appointment of General
Halleck as McClellan’s successor in command of the Union forces,
“of a Union man in Kentucky whose two sons enlisted in the
Federal Army. His wife was of Confederate sympathies. His nearest
neighbor was a Confederate in feeling, and his two sons were
fighting under Lee. This neighbor’s wife was a Union woman and it
nearly broke her heart to know that her sons were arrayed against
the Union.

“Finally, the two men, after each had talked the matter over with
his wife, agreed to obtain divorces; this they, did, and the
Union man and Union woman were wedded, as were the Confederate
man and the Confederate woman–the men swapped wives, in short.
But this didn’t seem to help matters any, for the sons of the
Union woman were still fighting for the South, and the sons of
the Confederate woman continued in the Federal Army; the Union
husband couldn’t get along with his Union wife, and the
Confederate husband and his Confederate wife couldn’t agree upon
anything, being forever fussing and quarreling.

“It’s the same thing with the Army. It doesn’t seem worth while
to secure divorces and then marry the Army and McClellan to
others, for they won’t get along any better than they do now, and
there’ll only be a new set of heartaches started. I think we’d
better wait; perhaps a real fighting general will come along some
of these days, and then we’ll all be happy. If you go to mixing
in a mixup, you only make the muddle worse.”

George M. Pullman, the great sleeping-car builder, once told a
joke in which Lincoln was the prominent figure. In fact, there
wouldn’t have been any joke had it not been for “Long Abe.” At
the time of the occurrence, which was the foundation for the
joke–and Pullman admitted that the latter was on him–Pullman
was the conductor of his only sleeping-car. The latter was an
experiment, and Pullman was doing everything possible to get the
railroads to take hold of it.

“One night,” said Pullman in telling the story, “as we were about
going out of Chicago–this was long before Lincoln was what you
might call a renowned man–a long, lean, ugly man, with a wart on
his cheek, came into the depot. He paid me fifty cents, and half
a berth was assigned him. Then he took off his coat and vest and
hung them up, and they fitted the peg about as well as they
fitted him. Then he kicked off his boots, which were of
surprising length, turned into the berth, and, undoubtedly having
an easy conscience, was sleeping like a healthy baby before the
car left the depot.

“Pretty soon along came another passenger and paid his fifty
cents. In two minutes he was back at me, angry as a wet hen.

“‘There’s a man in that berth of mine,’ said he, hotly, ‘and
he’s about ten feet high. How am I going to sleep there, I’d like
to know? Go and look at him.’

“In I went–mad, too. The tall, lank man’s knees were under his
chin, his arms were stretched across the bed and his feet were
stored comfortably–for him. I shook him until he awoke, and then
told him if he wanted the whole berth he would have to pay $1.

“‘My dear sir,’ said the tall man, ‘a contract is a contract. I
have paid you fifty cents for half this berth, and, as you see,
I’m occupying it. There’s the other half,’ pointing to a strip
about six inches wide. ‘Sell that and don’t disturb me again.’

“And so saying, the man with a wart on his face went to sleep
again. He was Abraham Lincoln, and he never grew any shorter
afterward. We became great friends, and often laughed over the

When the enemies of General Grant were bothering the President
with emphatic and repeated demands that the “Silent Man” be
removed from command, Mr. Lincoln remained firm. He would not
consent to lose the services of so valuable a soldier. “Grant
fights,” said he in response to the charges made that Grant was a
butcher, a drunkard, an incompetent and a general who did not
know his business.

“That reminds me of a story,” President Lincoln said one day to a
delegation of the “Grant-is-no-good” style.

“Out in my State of Illinois there was a man nominated for
sheriff of the county. He was a good man for the office, brave,
determined and honest, but not much of an orator. In fact, he
couldn’t talk at all; he couldn’t make a speech to save his life.

“His friends knew he was a man who would preserve the peace of
the county and perform the duties devolving upon him all right,
but the people of the county didn’t know it. They wanted him to
come out boldly on the platform at political meetings and state
his convictions and principles; they had been used to speeches
from candidates, and were somewhat suspicious of a man who was
afraid to open his mouth.

“At last the candidate consented to make a speech, and his
friends were delighted. The candidate was on hand, and, when he
was called upon, advanced to the front and faced the crowd. There
was a glitter in his eye that wasn’t pleasing, and the way he
walked out to the front of the stand showed that he knew just
what he wanted to say.

“‘Feller Citizens,’ was his beginning, the words spoken quietly,
‘I’m not a speakin’ man; I ain’t no orator, an’ I never stood up
before a lot of people in my life before; I’m not goin’ to make
no speech, ‘xcept to say that I can lick any man in the crowd!'”

Charles E. Anthony’s one meeting with Mr. Lincoln presents an
interesting contrast to those of the men who shared the
emancipator’s interest in public affairs. It was in the latter
part of the winter of 1861, a short time before Mr. Lincoln left
for his inauguration at Washington. Judge Anthony went to the
Sherman House, where the President-elect was stopping, and took
with him his son, Charles, then but a little boy. Charles played
about the room as a child will, looking at whatever interested
him for the time, and when the interview with his father was over
he was ready to go.

But Mr. Lincoln, ever interested in little children, called the
lad to him and took him upon his great knee.

“My impression of him all the time I had been playing about the
room,” said Mr. Anthony, “was that he was a terribly homely man.
I was rather repelled. But no sooner did he speak to me than the
expression of his face changed completely, or, rather, my view of
it changed. It at once became kindly and attractive. He asked me
some questions, seeming instantly to find in the turmoil of all
the great questions that must have been heavy upon him, the very
ones that would go to the thought of a child. I answered him
without hesitation, and after a moment he patted my shoulder and

“‘Well, you’ll be a man before your mother yet,’ and put me

“I had never before heard the homely old expression, and it
puzzled me for a time. After a moment I understood it, but he
looked at me while I was puzzling over it, and seemed to be
amused, as no doubt he was.”

The incident simply illustrates the ease and readiness with which
Lincoln could turn from the mighty questions before the nation,
give a moment’s interested attention to a child, and return at
once to matters of state.

Donn Piatt, one of the brightest newspaper writers in the
country, told a good story on the President in regard to the
refusal of the latter to sanction the death penalty in cases of
desertion from the Union Army.

“There was far more policy in this course,” said Piatt, “than
kind feeling. To assert the contrary is to detract from Lincoln’s
force of character, as well as intellect. Our War President was
not lost in his high admiration of brigadiers and major-generals,
and had a positive dislike for their methods and the despotism
upon which an army is based. He knew that he was dependent upon
volunteers for soldiers, and to force upon such men as those the
stern discipline of the Regular Army was to render the service
unpopular. And it pleased him to be the source of mercy, as well
as the fountain of honor, in this direction.

“I was sitting with General Dan Tyler, of Connecticut, in the
antechamber of the War Department, shortly after the adjournment
of the Buell Court of Inquiry, of which we had been members, when
President Lincoln came in from the room of Secretary Stanton.
Seeing us, he said: ‘Well, gentlemen, have you any matter worth

“‘I think so, Mr. President,’ replied General Tyler. ‘We had it
proven that Bragg, with less than ten thousand men, drove your
eighty-three thousand men under Buell back from before
Chattanooga, down to the Ohio at Louisville, marched around us
twice, then doubled us up at Perryville, and finally got out of
the State of Kentucky with all his plunder.’

“‘Now, Tyler,’ returned the President, ‘what is the meaning of
all this; what is the lesson? Don’t our men march as well, and
fight as well, as these rebels? If not, there is a fault
somewhere. We are all of the same family–same sort.’

“‘Yes, there is a lesson,’ replied General Tyler; ‘we are of the
same sort, but subject to different handling. Bragg’s little
force was superior to our larger number because he had it under
control. If a man left his ranks, he was punished; if he
deserted, he was shot. We had nothing of that sort. If we attempt
to shoot a deserter you pardon him, and our army is without

“The President looked perplexed. ‘Why do you interfere?’
continued General Tyler. ‘Congress has taken from you all

“‘Yes,’ answered the President impatiently, ‘Congress has taken
the responsibility and left the women to howl all about me,’ and
so he strode away.”

One of the droll stories brought into play by the President as an
ally in support of his contention, proved most effective.
Politics was rife among the generals of the Union Army, and there
was more “wire-pulling” to prevent the advancement of fellow
commanders than the laying of plans to defeat the Confederates in

However, when it so happened that the name of a particularly
unpopular general was sent to the Senate for confirmation, the
protest against his promotion was almost unanimous. The
nomination didn’t seem to please anyone. Generals who were
enemies before conferred together for the purpose of bringing
every possible influence to bear upon the Senate and securing the
rejection of the hated leader’s name. The President was
surprised. He had never known such unanimity before.

“You remind me,” said the President to a delegation of officers
which called upon him one day to present a fresh protest to him
regarding the nomination, “of a visit a certain Governor paid to
the Penitentiary of his State. It had been announced that the
Governor would hear the story of every inmate of the institution,
and was prepared to rectify, either by commutation or pardon, any
wrongs that had been done to any prisoner.

“One by one the convicts appeared before His Excellency, and each
one maintained that he was an innocent man, who had been sent to
prison because the police didn’t like him, or his friends and
relatives wanted his property, or he was too popular, etc., etc.
The last prisoner to appear was an individual who was not all
prepossessing. His face was against him; his eyes were shifty; he
didn’t have the appearance of an honest man, and he didn’t act
like one.

“‘Well,’ asked the Governor, impatiently, ‘I suppose you’re
innocent like the rest of these fellows?’

“‘No, Governor,’ was the unexpected answer; ‘I was guilty of the
crime they charged against me, and I got just what I deserved.’

“When he had recovered from his astonishment, the Governor,
looking the fellow squarely in the face, remarked with emphasis:
‘I’ll have to pardon you, because I don’t want to leave so bad a
man as you are in the company of such innocent sufferers as I
have discovered your fellow-convicts to be. You might corrupt
them and teach them wicked tricks. As soon as I get back to the
capital, I’ll have the papers made out.’

“You gentlemen,” continued the President, “ought to be glad that
so bad a man, as you represent this officer to be, is to get his
promotion, for then you won’t be forced to associate with him and
suffer the contamination of his presence and influence. I will do
all I can to have the Senate confirm him.”

And he was confirmed.

The President was often in opposition to the general public
sentiment of the North upon certain questions of policy, but he
bided his time, and things usually came out as he wanted them. It
was Lincoln’s opinion, from the first, that apology and
reparation to England must be made by the United States because
of the arrest, upon the high seas, of the Confederate
Commissioners, Mason and Slidell. The country, however (the
Northern States), was wild for a conflict with England.

“One war at a time,” quietly remarked the President at a Cabinet
meeting, where he found the majority of his advisers unfavorably
disposed to “backing down.” But one member of the Cabinet was a
really strong supporter of the President in his attitude.

“I am reminded,” the President said after the various arguments
had been put forward by the members of the Cabinet, “of a fellow
out in my State of Illinois who happened to stray into a church
while a revival meeting was in progress. To be truthful, this
individual was not entirely sober, and with that instinct which
seems to impel all men in his condition to assume a prominent
part in proceedings, he walked up the aisle to the very front

“All noticed him, but he did not care; for awhile he joined
audibly in the singing, said ‘Amen’ at the close of the prayers,
but, drowsiness overcoming him, he went to sleep. Before the
meeting closed, the pastor asked the usual question–‘Who are on
the Lord’s side?’–and the congregation arose en masse. When he
asked, ‘Who are on the side of the Devil?’ the sleeper was about
waking up. He heard a portion of the interrogatory, and, seeing
the minister on his feet, arose.

“‘I don’t exactly understand the question,’ he said, ‘but I’ll
stand by you, parson, to the last. But it seems to me,’ he added,
‘that we’re in a hopeless minority.’

“I’m in a hopeless minority now,” said the President, “and I’ll
have to admit it.”

John Morrissey, the noted prize fighter, was the “Boss” of
Tammany Hall during the Civil War period. It pleased his fancy to
go to Congress, and his obedient constituents sent him there.
Morrissey was such an absolute despot that the New York City
democracy could not make a move without his consent, and many of
the Tammanyites were so afraid of him that they would not even
enter into business ventures without consulting the autocrat.

President Lincoln had been seriously annoyed by some of his
generals, who were afraid to make the slightest move before
asking advice from Washington. One commander, in particular, was
so cautious that he telegraphed the War Department upon the
slightest pretext, the result being that his troops were lying in
camp doing nothing, when they should have been in the field.

“This general reminds me,” the President said one day while
talking to Secretary Stanton, at the War Department, “of a story
I once heard about a Tammany man. He happened to meet a friend,
also a member of Tammany, on the street, and in the course of the
talk the friend, who was beaming with smiles and good nature,
told the other Tammanyite that he was going to be married.

“This first Tammany man looked more serious than men usually do
upon hearing of the impending happiness of a friend. In fact, his
face seemed to take on a look of anxiety and worry.

“‘Ain’t you glad to know that I’m to get married?’ demanded the
second Tammanyite, somewhat in a huff.

“‘Of course I am,’ was the reply; ‘but,’ putting his mouth close
to the ear of the other, ‘have ye asked Morrissey yet?’

“Now, this general of whom we are speaking, wouldn’t dare order
out the guard without asking Morrissey,” concluded the President.

At one time, when Lincoln and Douglas were “stumping” Illinois,
they met at a certain town, and it was agreed that they would
have a joint debate. Douglas was the first speaker, and in the
course of his talk remarked that in early life, his father, who,
he said, was an excellent cooper by trade, apprenticed him out to
learn the cabinet business.

This was too good for Lincoln to let pass, so when his turn came
to reply, he said:

“I had understood before that Mr. Douglas had been bound out to
learn the cabinet-making business, which is all well enough, but
I was not aware until now that his father was a cooper. I have no
doubt, however, that he was one, and I am certain, also, that he
was a very good one, for (here Lincoln gently bowed toward
Douglas) he has made one of the best whiskey casks I have ever

As Douglas was a short heavy-set man, and occasionally imbibed,
the pith of the joke was at once apparent, and most heartily
enjoyed by all.

On another occasion, Douglas made a point against Lincoln by
telling the crowd that when he first knew Lincoln he was a
“grocery-keeper,” and sold whiskey, cigars, etc.

“Mr. L.,” he said, “was a very good bar-tender!” This brought the
laugh on Lincoln, whose reply, however, soon came, and then the
laugh was on the other side.

“What Mr. Douglas has said, gentlemen,” replied Lincoln, “is true
enough; I did keep a grocery and I did sell cotton, candles and
cigars, and sometimes whiskey; but I remember in those days that
Mr. Douglas was one of my best customers.”
“I can also say this; that I have since left my side of the
counter, while Mr. Douglas still sticks to his!”

This brought such a storm of cheers and laughter that Douglas was
unable to reply.

Mrs. Lincoln knew her husband was not “pretty,” but she liked to
have him presentable when he appeared before the public. Stephen
Fiske, in “When Lincoln Was First Inaugurated,” tells of Mrs.
Lincoln’s anxiety to have the President-elect “smoothed down” a
little when receiving a delegation that was to greet them upon
reaching New York City.

“The train stopped,” writes Mr. Fiske, “and through the windows
immense crowds could be seen; the cheering drowning the blowing
off of steam of the locomotive. Then Mrs. Lincoln opened her
handbag and said:

“‘Abraham, I must fix you up a bit for these city folks.’

“Mr. Lincoln gently lifted her upon the seat before him; she
parted, combed and brushed his hair and arranged his black

“‘Do I look nice now, mother?’ he affectionately asked.

“‘Well, you’ll do, Abraham,’ replied Mrs. Lincoln critically. So
he kissed her and lifted her down from the seat, and turned to
meet Mayor Wood, courtly and suave, and to have his hand shaken
by the other New York officials.”

The Rev. Mr. Shrigley, of Philadelphia, a Universalist, had been
nominated for hospital chaplain, and a protesting delegation went
to Washington to see President Lincoln on the subject.

“We have called, Mr. President, to confer with you in regard to
the appointment of Mr. Shrigley, of Philadelphia, as hospital

The President responded: “Oh, yes, gentlemen. I have sent his
name to the Senate, and he will no doubt be confirmed at an early
date.” One of the young men replied: “We have not come to ask for
the appointment, but to solicit you to withdraw the nomination.”

“Ah!” said Lincoln, “that alters the case; but on what grounds do
you wish the nomination withdrawn?”

The answer was: “Mr. Shrigley is not sound in his theological

The President inquired: “On what question is the gentleman

Response: “He does not believe in endless punishment; not only
so, sir, but he believes that even the rebels themselves will be
finally saved.”

“Is that so?” inquired the President.

The members of the committee responded, “Yes, yes.’

“Well, gentlemen, if that be so, and there is any way under
Heaven whereby the rebels can be saved, then, for God’s sake and
their sakes, let the man be appointed.”

The Rev. Mr. Shrigley was appointed, and served until the close
of the war.

John M. Palmer, Major-General in the Volunteer Army, Governor of
the State of Illinois, and United States Senator from the Sucker
State, became acquainted with Lincoln in 1839, and the last time
he saw the President was at the White House in February, 1865.
Senator Palmer told the story of his interview as follows:

“I had come to Washington at the request of the Governor, to
complain that Illinois had been credited with 18,000 too few
troops. I saw Mr. Lincoln one afternoon, and he asked me to come
again in the morning.

“Next morning I sat in the ante-room while several officers were
relieved. At length I was told to enter the President’s room. Mr.
Lincoln was in the hands of the barber.

“‘Come in, Palmer,’ he called out, ‘come in. You’re home folks.
I can shave before you. I couldn’t before those others, and I
have to do it some time.’

“We chatted about various matters, and at length I said:

“‘Well, Mr. Lincoln, if anybody had told me that in a great
crisis like this the people were going out to a little one-horse
town and pick out a one-horse lawyer for President I wouldn’t
have believed it.’

“Mr. Lincoln whirled about in his chair, his face white with
lather, a towel under his chin. At first I thought he was angry.
Sweeping the barber away he leaned forward, and, placing one hand
on my knee, said:

“‘Neither would I. But it was time when a man with a policy
would have been fatal to the country. I have never had a policy.
I have simply tried to do what seemed best each day, as each day

England was anything but pleased when the Czar Alexander, of
Russia, showed his friendship for the United States by sending a
strong fleet to this country with the accompanying suggestion
that Uncle Sam, through his representative, President Lincoln,
could do whatever he saw fit with the ironclads and the munitions
of war they had stowed away in their holds.

London “Punch,” on November 7th, 1863, printed the cartoon shown
on this page, the text under the picture reading in this way:
“Holding a candle to the * * * * *.” (Much the same thing.)

Of course, this was a covert sneer, intended to convey the
impression that President Lincoln, in order to secure the support
and friendship of the Emperor of Russia as long as the War of the
Rebellion lasted, was willing to do all sorts of menial offices,
even to the extent of holding the candle and lighting His Most
Gracious Majesty, the White Czar, to his imperial bed-chamber.

It is a somewhat remarkable fact that the Emperor Alexander, who
tendered inestimable aid to the President of the United States,
was the Lincoln of Russia, having given freedom to millions of
serfs in his empire; and, further than that, he was, like
the victim of assassination. He was literally blown to pieces by
a bomb thrown under his carriage while riding through the streets
near the Winter Palace at St. Petersburg.

“I was told a mighty good story,” said the President one day at a
Cabinet meeting, “by Colonel Granville Moody, ‘the fighting
Methodist parson,’ as they used to call him in Tennessee. I
happened to meet Moody in Philadelphia, where he was attending a

“The story was about ‘Andy’ Johnson and General Buell. Colonel
Moody happened to be in Nashville the day it was reported that
Buell had decided to evacuate the city. The rebels, strongly
re-inforced, were said to be within two days’ march of the
capital. Of course, the city was greatly excited. Moody said he
went in search of Johnson at the edge of the evening and found
him at his office closeted with two gentlemen, who were walking
the floor with him, one on each side. As he entered they retired,
leaving him alone with Johnson, who came up to him, manifesting
intense feeling, and said:

“‘Moody, we are sold out. Buell is a traitor. He is going to
evacuate the city, and in forty-eight hours we will all be in the
hands of the rebels!’

“Then he commenced pacing the floor again, twisting his hands and
chafing like a caged tiger, utterly insensible to his friend’s
entreaties to become calm. Suddenly he turned and said:

“‘Moody, can you pray?’

“‘That is my business, sir, as a minister of the gospel,’
returned the colonel.

“‘Well, Moody, I wish you would pray,’ said Johnson, and
instantly both went down upon their knees at opposite sides of
the room.

“As the prayer waxed fervent, Johnson began to respond in true
Methodist style. Presently he crawled over on his hands and knees
to Moody’s side and put his arms over him, manifesting the
deepest emotion.

“Closing the prayer with a hearty ‘amen’ from each, they arose.

“Johnson took a long breath, and said, with emphasis:

“‘Moody, I feel better.’

“Shortly afterward he asked:

“‘Will you stand by me?’

“‘Certainly I will,’ was the answer.

“‘Well, Moody, I can depend upon you; you are one in a hundred

“He then commenced pacing the floor again. Suddenly he wheeled,
the current of his thought having changed, and said:

“‘Oh, Moody, I don’t want you to think I have become a religious
man because I asked you to pray. I am sorry to say it, I am not,
and never pretended to be religious. No one knows this better
than you, but, Moody, there is one thing about it, I do believe
in Almighty God, and I believe also in the Bible, and I say, d–n
me if Nashville shall be surrendered!’

“And Nashville was not surrendered!”

General Fisk, attending a reception at the White House, saw
waiting in the ante-room a poor old man from Tennessee, and
learned that he had been waiting three or four days to get an
audience, on which probably depended the life of his son, under
sentence of death for some military offense.

General Fisk wrote his case in outline on a card and sent it in,
with a a special request that the President would see the man. In
a moment the order came; and past impatient senators, governors
and generals, the old man went.

He showed his papers to Mr. Lincoln, who said he would look into
the case and give him the result next day.

The old man, in an agony of apprehension, looked up into the
President’s sympathetic face and actually cried out:

“To-morrow may be too late! My son is under sentence of death! It
ought to be decided now!”

His streaming tears told how much he was moved.

“Come,” said Mr. Lincoln, “wait a bit and I’ll tell you a story;”
and then he told the old man General Fisk’s story about the
swearing driver, as follows:

“The general had begun his military life as a colonel, and when
he raised his regiment in Missouri he proposed to his men that he
should do all the swearing of the regiment. They assented; and
for months no instance was known of the violation of the promise.

“The colonel had a teamster named John Todd, who, as roads were
not always the best, had some difficulty in commanding his temper
and his tongue.

“John happened to be driving a mule team through a series of
mudholes a little worse than usual, when, unable to restrain
himself any longer, he burst forth into a volley of energetic

“The colonel took notice of the offense and brought John to

“‘John,’ said he, ‘didn’t you promise to let me do all the
swearing of the regiment?’

“‘Yes, I did, colonel,’ he replied, ‘but the fact was, the
swearing had to be done then or not at all, and you weren’t there
to do it.'”

As he told the story the old man forgot his boy, and both the
President and his listener had a hearty laugh together at its

Then he wrote a few words which the old man read, and in which he
found new occasion for tears; but the tears were tears of joy,
for the words saved the life of his son.

The President was heard to declare one day that the story given
below was one of the funniest he ever heard.

One of General Fremont’s batteries of eight Parrott guns,
supported by a squadron of horse commanded by Major Richards, was
in sharp conflict with a battery of the enemy near at hand.
Shells and shot were flying thick and fast, when the commander of
the battery, a German, one of Fremont’s staff, rode suddenly up
to the cavalry, exclaiming, in loud and excited terms, “Pring up
de shackasses! Pring up de shackasses! For Cot’s sake, hurry up
de shackasses, im-me-di-ate-ly!”

The necessity of this order, though not quite apparent, will be
more obvious when it is remembered that “shackasses” are mules,
carry mountain howitzers, which are fired from the backs of that
much-abused but valuable animal; and the immediate occasion for
the “shackasses” was that two regiments of rebel infantry were at
that moment discovered ascending a hill immediately behind our

The “shackasses,” with the howitzers loaded with grape and
canister, were soon on the ground.

The mules squared themselves, as they well knew how, for the

A terrific volley was poured into the advancing column, which
immediately broke and retreated.

Two hundred and seventy-eight dead bodies were found in the
ravine next day, piled closely together as they fell, the effects
of that volley from the backs of the “shackasses.”

Mr. Lincoln enjoyed a joke at his own expense. Said he: “In the
days when I used to be in the circuit, I was accosted in the cars
by a stranger, who said, ‘Excuse me, sir, but I have an article
in my possession which belongs to you.’ ‘How is that?’ I asked,
considerably astonished.

“The stranger took a jackknife from his pocket. ‘This knife,’
said he, ‘was placed in my hands some years ago, with the
injunction that I was to keep it until I had found a man uglier
than myself. I have carried it from that time to this. Allow me
to say, sir, that I think you are fairly entitled to the

It so happened that an official of the War Department had escaped
serious punishment for a rather flagrant offense, by showing
where grosser irregularities existed in the management of a
certain bureau of the Department. So valuable was the information
furnished that the culprit who “gave the snap away” was not even

“That reminds me,” the President said, when the case was laid
before him, “of a story about Daniel Webster, when the latter was
a boy.

“When quite young, at school, Daniel was one day guilty of a
gross violation of the rules. He was detected in the act, and
called up by the teacher for punishment.

“This was to be the old-fashioned ‘feruling’ of the hand. His
hands happened to be very dirty.

“Knowing this, on the way to the teacher’s desk, he spit upon the
palm of his right hand, wiping it off upon the side of his

“‘Give me your hand, sir,’ said the teacher, very sternly.

“Out went the right hand, partly cleansed. The teacher looked at
it a moment, and said:

“‘Daniel, if you will find another hand in this school-room as
filthy as that, I will let you off this time!’

“Instantly from behind the back came the left hand.

“‘Here it is, sir,’ was the ready reply.

“‘That will do,’ said the teacher, ‘for this time; you can take
your seat, sir.'”

The President did not consider that every soldier who ran away in
battle, or did not stand firmly to receive a bayonet charge, was
a coward. He was of opinion that self-preservation was the first
law of Nature, but he didn’t want this statute construed too
liberally by the troops.

At the same time he took occasion to illustrate a point he wished
to make by a story in connection with a darky who was a member of
the Ninth Illinois Infantry Regiment. This regiment was one of
those engaged at the capture of Fort Donelson. It behaved
gallantly, and lost as heavily as any.

“Upon the hurricane-deck of one of our gunboats,” said the
President in telling the story, “I saw an elderly darky, with a
very philosophical and retrospective cast of countenance,
squatted upon his bundle, toasting his shins against the chimney,
and apparently plunged into a state of profound meditation.

“As the negro rather interested me, I made some inquiries, and
found that he had really been with the Ninth Illinois Infantry at
Donelson. and began to ask him some questions about the capture
of the place.

“‘Were you in the fight?’

“‘Had a little taste of it, sa.’

“‘Stood your ground, did you?’

“‘No, sa, I runs.’

“‘Run at the first fire, did you?

“‘Yes, sa, and would hab run soona, had I knowd it war comin’.”

“‘Why, that wasn’t very creditable to your courage.’

“‘Dat isn’t my line, sa–cookin’s my profeshun.’

“‘Well, but have you no regard for your reputation?’

“‘Reputation’s nuffin to me by de side ob life.’

“‘Do you consider your life worth more than other people’s?’

“‘It’s worth more to me, sa.’

“‘Then you must value it very highly?’

“‘Yes, sa, I does, more dan all dis wuld, more dan a million ob
dollars, sa, for what would dat be wuth to a man wid de bref out
ob him? Self-preserbation am de fust law wid me.’

“‘But why should you act upon a different rule from other men?’

“‘Different men set different values on their lives; mine is not
in de market.’

“‘But if you lost it you would have the satisfaction of knowing
that you died for your country.’

“‘Dat no satisfaction when feelin’s gone.’

“‘Then patriotism and honor are nothing to you?’

“‘Nufin whatever, sat–I regard them as among the vanities.’

“‘If our soldiers were like you, traitors might have broken up
the government without resistance.’

“‘Yes, sa, dar would hab been no help for it. I wouldn’t put my
life in de scale ‘g’inst any gobernment dat eber existed, for no
gobernment could replace de loss to me.’

“‘Do you think any of your company would have missed you if you
had been killed?’

“‘Maybe not, sa–a dead white man ain’t much to dese sogers, let
alone a dead nigga–but I’d a missed myse’f, and dat was de p’int
wid me.’

“I only tell this story,” concluded the President, “in order to
illustrate the result of the tactics of some of the Union
generals who would be sadly ‘missed’ by themselves, if no one
else, if they ever got out of the Army.”

President Lincoln and some members of his Cabinet were with a
part of the Army some distance south of the National Capital at
one time, when Secretary of War Stanton remarked that just before
he left Washington he had received a telegram from General
Mitchell, in Alabama. General Mitchell asked instructions in
regard to a certain emergency that had arisen.

The Secretary said he did not precisely understand the emergency
as explained by General Mitchell, but had answered back, “All
right; go ahead.”

“Now,” he said, as he turned to Mr. Lincoln, “Mr. President, if I
have made an error in not understanding him correctly, I will
have to get you to countermand the order.”

“Well,” exclaimed President Lincoln, “that is very much like the
happening on the occasion of a certain horse sale I remember that
took place at the cross-roads down in Kentucky, when I was a boy.

“A particularly fine horse was to be sold, and the people in
large numbers had gathered together. They had a small boy to ride
the horse up and down while the spectators examined the horse’s

“At last one man whispered to the boy as he went by: ‘Look here,
boy, hain’t that horse got the splints?’

“The boy replied: ‘Mister, I don’t know what the splints is, but
if it’s good for him, he has got it; if it ain’t good for him, he
ain’t got it.’

“Now,” said President Lincoln, “if this was good for Mitchell, it
was all right; but if it was not, I have got to countermand it.”

There were strange, queer, odd things and happenings in the Army
at times, but, as a rule, the President did not allow them to
worry him. He had enough to bother about.

A quartermaster having neglected to present his accounts in
proper shape, and the matter being deemed of sufficient
importance to bring it to the attention of the President, the
latter remarked:

“Now this instance reminds me of a little story I heard only a
short time ago. A certain general’s purse was getting low, and he
said it was probable he might be obliged to draw on his banker
for some money.

“‘How much do you want, father?’ asked his son, who had been
with him a few days.

“‘I think I shall send for a couple of hundred,’ replied the

“Why, father,’ said his son, very quietly, ‘I can let you have

“‘You can let me have it! Where did you get so much money?

“‘I won it playing draw-poker with your staff, sir!’ replied the

“The earliest morning train bore the young man toward his home,
and I’ve been wondering if that boy and that quartermaster had
happened to meet at the same table.”

Governor Hoyt of Wisconsin tells a story of Mr. Lincoln’s great
admiration for physical strength. Mr. Lincoln, in 1859, made a
speech at the Wisconsin State Agricultural Fair. After the
speech, in company with the Governor, he strolled about the
grounds, looking at the exhibits. They came to a place where a
professional “strong man” was tossing cannon balls in the air and
catching them on his arms and juggling with them as though they
were light as baseballs. Mr. Lincoln had never before seen such
an exhibition, and he was greatly surprised and interested.

When the performance was over, Governor Hoyt, seeing Mr.
Lincoln’s interest, asked him to go up and be introduced to the
athlete. He did so, and, as he stood looking down musingly on the
man, who was very short, and evidently wondering that one so much
smaller than he could be so much stronger, he suddenly broke out
with one of his quaint speeches. “Why,” he said, “why, I could
lick salt off the top of your hat.”

A prominent volunteer officer who, early in the War, was on duty
in Washington and often carried reports to Secretary Stanton at
the War Department, told a characteristic story on President
Lincoln. Said he:

“I was with several other young officers, also carrying reports
to the War Department, and one morning we were late. In this
instance we were in a desperate hurry to deliver the papers, in
order to be able to catch the train returning to camp.

“On the winding, dark staircase of the old War Department, which
many will remember, it was our misfortune, while taking about
three stairs at a time, to run a certain head like a catapult
into the body of the President, striking him in the region of the
right lower vest pocket.

“The usual surprised and relaxed grunt of a man thus assailed
came promptly.

“We quickly sent an apology in the direction of the dimly seen
form, feeling that the ungracious shock was expensive, even to
the humblest clerk in the department.

“A second glance revealed to us the President as the victim of
the collision. Then followed a special tender of ‘ten thousand
pardons,’ and the President’s reply:

“‘One’s enough; I wish the whole army would charge like that.'”

“You can’t do anything with them Southern fellows,” the old man
at the table was saying.

“If they get whipped, they’ll retreat to them Southern swamps and
bayous along with the fishes and crocodiles. You haven’t got the
fish-nets made that’ll catch ’em.”

“Look here, old gentleman,” remarked President Lincoln, who was
sitting alongside, “we’ve got just the nets for traitors, in the
bayous or anywhere.”

“Hey? What nets?”

“Bayou-nets!” and “Uncle Abraham” pointed his joke with his fork,
spearing a fishball savagely.

Mr. Lincoln’s skill in parrying troublesome questions was
wonderful. Once he received a call from Congressman John Ganson,
of Buffalo, one of the ablest lawyers in New York, who, although
a Democrat, supported all of Mr. Lincoln’s war measures. Mr.
Ganson wanted explanations. Mr. Ganson was very bald with a
perfectly smooth face. He had a most direct and aggressive way of
stating his views or of demanding what he thought he was entitled
to. He said: “Mr. Lincoln, I have supported all of your measures
and think I am entitled to your confidence. We are voting and
acting in the dark in Congress, and I demand to know–think I
have the right to ask and to know–what is the present situation,
and what are the prospects and conditions of the several
campaigns and armies.”

Mr. Lincoln looked at him critically for a moment and then said:
“Ganson, how clean you shave!”

Most men would have been offended, but Ganson was too broad and
intelligent a man not to see the point and retire at once,
satisfied, from the field.

Chauncey M. Depew says that Mr. Lincoln told him the following
story, which he claimed was one of the best two things he ever
originated: He was trying a case in Illinois where he appeared
for a prisoner charged with aggravated assault and battery. The
complainant had told a horrible story of the attack, which his
appearance fully justified, when the District Attorney handed the
witness over to Mr. Lincoln, for cross-examination. Mr. Lincoln
said he had no testimony, and unless he could break down the
complainant’s story he saw no way out. He had come to the
conclusion that the witness was a bumptious man, who rather
prided himself upon his smartness in repartee and, so, after
looking at him for some minutes, he said:

“Well, my friend, how much ground did you and my client here
fight over?”

The fellow answered: “About six acres.”

“Well,” said Mr. Lincoln, “don’t you think that this is an
almighty small crop of fight to gather from such a big piece of

The jury laughed. The Court and District-Attorney and complainant
all joined in, and the case was laughed out of court.

A simple remark one of the party might make would remind Mr.
Lincoln of an apropos story.

Secretary of the Treasury Chase happened to remark, “Oh, I am so
sorry that I did not write a letter to Mr. So-and-so before I
left home!”

President Lincoln promptly responded:

“Chase, never regret what you don’t write; it is what you do
write that you are often called upon to feel sorry for.”

In an interview between President Lincoln and Petroleum V. Nasby,
the name came up of a recently deceased politician of Illinois
whose merit was blemished by great vanity. His funeral was very
largely attended.

“If General — had known how big a funeral he would have had,”
said Mr. Lincoln, “he would have died years ago.”

A Senator, who was calling upon Mr. Lincoln, mentioned the name
of a most virulent and dishonest official; one, who, though very
brilliant, was very bad.

“It’s a good thing for B—” said Mr. Lincoln. “that there is
such a thing as a deathbed repentance.”

A member of Congress from Ohio came into Mr. Lincoln’s presence
in a state of unutterable intoxication, and sinking into a chair,
exclaimed in tones that welled up fuzzy through the gallon or
more of whiskey that he contained, “Oh, ‘why should (hic) the
spirit of mortal be proud?'”

“My dear sir,” said the President, regarding him closely, “I see
no reason whatever.”


When Abraham Lincoln once was asked to tell the story of his
life, he replied:

“It is contained in one line of Gray’s ‘Elegy in a Country

“‘The short and simple annals of the poor.'”

That was true at the time he said it, as everything else he said
was Truth, but he was then only at the beginning of a career that
was to glorify him as one of the heroes of the world, and place
his name forever beside the immortal name of the mighty

Many great men, particularly those of America, began life in
humbleness and poverty, but none ever came from such depths or
rose to such a height as Abraham Lincoln.

His birthplace, in Hardin county, Kentucky, was but a wilderness,
and Spencer county, Indiana, to which the Lincoln family removed
when Abraham was in his eighth year, was a wilder and still more
uncivilized region.

The little red schoolhouse which now so thickly adorns the
country hillside had not yet been built. There were scattered
log schoolhouses, but they were few and far between. In several
of these Mr. Lincoln got the rudiments of an education–an
education that was never finished, for to the day of his death he
was a student and a seeker after knowledge.

Some records of his schoolboy days are still left us. One is a
book made and bound by Lincoln himself, in which he had written
the table of weights and measures, and the sums to be worked out
therefrom. This was his arithmetic, for he was too poor to own a
printed copy.


On one of the pages of this quaint book he had written these four
lines of schoolboy doggerel:

“Abraham Lincoln,
His Hand and Pen,
He Will be Good,
But God knows when.”

The poetic spirit was strong in the youngscholar just then for on
another page
of the same book he had
written these two verses, which are supposed to have been
original with him:

“Time, what an empty vapor ’tis,
And days, how swift they are;
Swift as an Indian arrow
Fly on like a shooting star.

The present moment just is here,
Then slides away in haste,
That we can never say they’re ours,
But only say they’re past.”

Another specimen of the poetical, or rhyming ability, is found in
the following couplet, written by him for his friend, Joseph C.

“Good boys who to their books apply,
Will all be great men by and by.”

In all, Lincoln’s “schooling” did not amount to a year’s time,
he was a constant student outside of the schoolhouse. He read all
the books he could borrow, and it was his chief delight during
the day to lie under the shade of some tree, or at night in front
of an open fireplace, reading and studying. His favorite books
were the Bible and Aesop’s fables, which he kept always within
reach and read time and again.

The first law book he ever read was “The Statutes of Indiana,”
and it was from this work that he derived his ambition to be a

When he was but a barefoot boy he would often make political
speeches to the boys in the neighborhood, and when he had reached
young manhood and was engaged in the labor of chopping wood or
splitting rails he continued this practice of speechmaking with
only the stumps and surrounding trees for hearers.

At the age of seventeen he had attained his full height of six
feet four inches and it was at this time he engaged as a ferry
boatman on the Ohio river, at thirty-seven cents a day.

That he was seriously beginning to think of public affairs even
at this early age is shown by the fact that about this time he
wrote a composition on the American Government, urging the
necessity for
preserving the Constitution and perpetuating the Union. A
Rockport lawyer,
by the name of Pickert, who read this composition, declared that
“the world couldn’t beat it.”

When the dreaded disease, known as the “milk-sick” created such
havoc in Indiana in 1829, the father of Abraham Lincoln, who was
of a roving disposition, sought and found a new home in Illinois,
locating near the town of Decatur, in Macon county, on a bluff
overlooking the Sangamon river. A short time thereafter Abraham
Lincoln came of age, and having done his duty to his father,
began life on his own account.

His first employer was a man named Denton Offut, who engaged
Lincoln, together with his step-brother and John Hanks, to take a
boat-load of stock and provisions to New Orleans. Offut was so
well pleased with the energy and skill that Lincoln displayed on
this trip that he engaged him as clerk in a store which Offut
opened a few months later at New Salem.

It was while clerking for Offut that Lincoln performed many of
those marvelous feats of strength for which he was noted in his
youth, and displayed his wonderful skill as a wrestler. In
addition to being six feet four inches high he now weighed two
hundred and fourteen pounds. And his strength and skill were so
great combined that he could out-wrestle and out-lift any man in
that section of the country.

During his clerkship in Offut’s store Lincoln continued to read
and study and made considerable progress in grammar and
mathematics. Offut failed in business and disappeared from the
village. In the language of Lincoln he “petered out,” and his
tall, muscular clerk had to seek other employment.

In his first public speech, which had already been delivered,
Lincoln had contended that the Sangamon river was navigable, and
it now fell to his lot to assist in giving practical proof of his
argument. A steamboat had arrived at New Salem from Cincinnati,
and Lincoln was hired as an assistant in piloting the vessel
through the uncertain channel of the Sangamon river to the
Illinois river. The way was obstructed by a milldam. Lincoln
insisted to the owners of the dam that under the Federal
Constitution and laws no one had a right to dam up or obstruct a
navigable stream and as he had already proved that the Sangamon
was navigable a portion of the dam was torn away and the boat
passed safely through.

At this period in his career the Blackhawk War broke out, and
Lincoln was one of the first to respond to Governor Reynold’s
call for a thousand mounted volunteers to assist the United
States troops in driving Blackhawk back across the Mississippi.
Lincoln enlisted in the company from Sangamon county and was
elected captain. He often remarked that this gave him greater
pleasure than anything that had happened in his life up to this
time. He had, however, no opportunities in this war to perform
any distinguished service.

Upon his return from the Blackhawk War, in which, as he said
afterward, in a humorous speech, when in Congress, that he
“fought, bled and came away,” he was an unsuccessful candidate
for the Legislature. This was the only time in his life, as he
himself has said, that he was ever beaten by the people. Although
defeated, in his own town of New Salem he received all of the two
hundred and eight votes cast except three.

Lincoln’s next business venture was with William Berry in a
general store, under the firm name of Lincoln & Berry, but did
not take long to show that he was not adapted for a business
career. The firm failed, Berry died and the debts of the firm
fell entirely upon Lincoln. Many of these debts he might have
escaped legally, but he assumed them all and it was not until
fifteen years later that the last indebtedness of Lincoln & Berry
was discharged. During his membership in this firm he had applied
himself to the study of law, beginning at the beginning, that is
with Blackstone. Now that he had nothing to do he spent much of
his time lying under the shade of a tree poring over law books,
borrowed from a comrade in the Blackhawk War, who was then a
practicing lawyer at Springfield.

It was about this time, too, that Lincoln’s fame as a
story-teller began to spread far and wide. His sayings and his
jokes were repeated throughout that section of the country, and
he was famous as a story-teller before anyone ever heard of him
as a lawyer or a politician.

It required no little moral courage to resist the temptation that
beset an idle young man on every hand at that time, for drinking
and carousing were of daily and nightly occurrence. Lincoln never
drank intoxicating liquors, nor did he at that time use tobacco,
but in any sports that called for skill or muscle he took a
lively interest, even in horse races and cock fights.

John Calhoun was at that time surveyor of Sangamon county. He had
been a lawyer and had noticed the studious Lincoln. Needing an
assistant he offered the place to Lincoln. The average young man
without any regular employment and hard-pressed for means to pay
his board as Lincoln was, would have jumped at the opportunity,
but a question of principle was involved which had to be settled
before Lincoln would accept. Calhoun was a Democrat and Lincoln
was a Whig, therefore Lincoln said, “I will take the office if I
can be perfectly free in my political actions, but if my
sentiments or even expression of them are to be abridged in any
way, I would not have it or any other office.”

With this understanding he accepted the office and began to study
books on surveying, furnished him by his employer. He was not a
natural mathematician, and in working out his most difficult
problems he sought the assistance of Mentor Graham, a famous
schoolmaster in those days, who had previously assisted Lincoln
in his studies. He soon became a competent surveyor, however, and
was noted for the accurate way in which he ran his lines and
located his corners.

Surveying was not as profitable then as it has since become, and
the young surveyor often had to take his pay in some article
other than money. One old settler relates that for a survey made
for him by Lincoln he paid two buckskins, which Hannah Armstrong
“foxed” on his pants so that the briars would not wear them out.

About this time, 1833, he was made postmaster at New Salem, the
first Federal office he ever held. Although the postoffice was
located in a store, Lincoln usually carried the mail around in
his hat and distributed it to people when he met them.

The following year Lincoln again ran for the Legislature, this
time as an avowed Whig. Of the four successful candidates,
received the second highest number of votes.

When Lincoln went to take his seat in the Legislature at
Vandalia he was so poor that he was obliged to borrow $200 to buy
suitable clothes and uphold the dignity of his new position. He
took little part in the proceedings, keeping in the background,
but forming many lasting acquaintances and friendships.

Two years later, when he was again a candidate for the same
office, there were more political issues to be met, and Lincoln
met them with characteristic honesty and boldness. During the
campaign he issued the following letter

“New Salem, June 13, 1836.

“To the Editor of The Journal:

“In your paper of last Saturday I see a communication over the
signature of ‘Many Voters’ in which the candidates who are
announced in the journal are called upon to ‘show their hands.’
Agreed. Here’s mine:

“I go for all sharing the privileges of the government who assist
in bearing its burdens. Consequently, I go for admitting all
whites to the right of suffrage who pay taxes or bear arms (by no
means excluding females).

“If elected, I shall consider the whole people of Sangamon my
constituents, as well those that oppose as those that support me.

“While acting as their Representative, I shall be governed by
their will on all subjects upon which I have the means of knowing
what their will is; and upon all others I shall do what my own
judgment teaches me will best advance their interests. Whether
elected or not, I go for distributing the proceeds of the sales
of public lands to the several States to enable our State, in
common with others, to dig canals and construct railroads without
borrowing money and paying the interest on it.

“If alive on the first Monday in November, I shall vote for Hugh
L. White, for President.

“Very respectfully


This was just the sort of letter to win the support of the
plain-spoken voters of Sangamon county. Lincoln not only received
more votes than any other candidate on the Legislative ticket,
but the county which had always been Democratic was turned Whig.

The other candidates elected with Lincoln were Ninian W. Edwards,
John Dawson, Andrew McCormick, “Dan” Stone, William F. Elkin,
Robert L. Wilson, “Joe” Fletcher, and Archer G. Herndon. These
were known as the “Long Nine.” Their average height was six feet,
and average weight two hundred pounds.

This Legislature was one of the most famous that ever convened in
Illinois. Bonds to the amount of $12,000,000 were voted to assist
in building thirteen hundred miles of railroad, to widen and
deepen all the streams in the State and to dig a canal from the
Illinois river to Lake Michigan. Lincoln favored all these plans,
but in justice to him it must be said that the people he
represented were also in favor of them.

It was at this session that the State capital was changed from
Vandalia to Springfield. Lincoln, as the leader of the “Long
Nine,” had charge of the bill and after a long and bitter
struggle succeeded in passing it.

At this early stage in his career Abraham Lincoln began his
opposition to slavery which eventually resulted in his giving
liberty to four million human beings. This Legislature passed the
following resolutions on slavery

“Resolved by the General Assembly, of the State of Illinois: That
we highly disapprove of the formation of Abolition societies and
of the doctrines promulgated by them,

“That the right of property in slaves is sacred to the
slave-holding States by the Federal Constitution, and that they
cannot be deprived of that right without their consent,

“That the General Government cannot abolish slavery in the
District of Columbia against the consent of the citizens of said
district without a manifest breach of good faith.”

Against this resolution Lincoln entered a protest, but only
succeeded in getting one man in the Legislature to sign the
protest with him.

The protest was as follows:

“Resolutions upon the subject of domestic slavery having passed
both branches of the General Assembly at its present session, the
undersigned hereby protest against the passage of the same.

“They believe that the institution of slavery is founded on both
injustice and bad policy, but that the promulgation of abolition
doctrines tends rather o increase than abate its evils.

“They believe that the Congress of the United States has no power
under the Constitution to interfere with the institution of
slavery in the different States.

“They believe that the Congress of the United States has the
power under the Constitution to abolish slavery in the District
of Columbia, but that the power ought not to be exercised unless
at the request of the people of the District.

“The difference between these opinions and those contained in the
above resolutions is their reason for entering this protest.

“Representatives from the county of Sangamon.”

At the end of this session of the Legislature, Mr. Lincoln
decided to remove to Springfield and practice law. He entered the
office of John T. Stuart, a former comrade in the Blackhawk War,
and in March, 1837, was licensed to practice.

Stephen T. Logan was judge of the Circuit Court, and Stephen A.
Douglas, who was destined to become Lincoln’s greatest political
opponent, was prosecuting attorney. When Lincoln was not in his
law office his headquarters were in the store of his friend
Joshua F. Speed, in which gathered all the youthful orators and
statesmen of that day, and where many exciting arguments and
discussions were held. Lincoln and Douglas both took part in the
discussion held in Speed’s store. Douglas was the acknowledged
leader of the Democratic side and Lincoln was rapidly coming to
the front as a leader among the Whig debaters. One evening in the
midst of a heated argument Douglas, or “the Little Giant,” as he
was called, exclaimed:

“This store is no place to talk politics.”

Arrangements were at once made for a joint debate between the
leading Democrats and Whigs to take place in a local church. The
Democrats were represented by Douglas, Calhoun, Lamborn and
Thomas. The Whig speakers were Judge Logan, Colonel E. D. Baker,
Mr. Browning and Lincoln. This discussion was the forerunner of
the famous joint-debate between Lincoln and Douglas, which took
place some years later and attracted the attention of the people
throughout the United States. Although Mr. Lincoln was the last
speaker in the first discussion held, his speech attracted more
attention than any of the others and added much to his reputation
as a public debater.

Mr. Lincoln’s last campaign for the Legislature was in 1840. In
the same year he was made an elector on the Harrison presidential
ticket, and in his canvass of the State frequently met the
Democratic champion, Douglas, in debate. After 1840 Mr. Lincoln
declined re-election to the Legislature, but he was a
presidential elector on the Whig tickets of 1844 and 1852, and
on the Republican ticket for the State at large in 1856.

Among the social belles of Springfield was Mary Todd, a handsome
and cultivated girl of the illustrious descent which could be
traced back to the sixth century, to whom Mr. Lincoln was married
in 1842. Stephen A. Douglas was his competitor in love as well as
in politics. He courted Mary Todd until it became evident that
she preferred Mr. Lincoln.

Previous to his marriage Mr. Lincoln had two love affairs, one of
them so serious that it left an impression upon his whole future
life. One of the objects of his affection was Miss Mary Owen, of
Green county, Kentucky, who decided that Mr. Lincoln “was
deficient in those little links which make up the chain of
woman’s happiness.” The affair ended without any damage to Mr.
Lincoln’s heart or the heart of the lady.

Lincoln’s first love, however, had a sad termination. The object
of his affections at that time was Anne Rutledge, whose father
was one of the founders of New Salem. Like Miss Owen, Miss
Rutledge was also born in Kentucky, and was gifted with the
beauty and graces that distinguish many Southern women. At the
time that Mr. Lincoln and Anne Rutledge were engaged to be
married, he thought himself too poor to properly support a wife,
and they decided to wait until such time as he could better his
financial condition. A short time thereafter Miss Rutledge was
attacked with a fatal illness, and her death was such a blow to
her intended husband that for a long time his friends feared that
he would lose his mind.

Just previous to his marriage with Mary Todd, Mr. Lincoln was
challenged to fight a duel by James Shields, then Auditor of
State. The challenge grew out of some humorous letters concerning
Shields, published in a local paper. The first of these letters
was written by Mr. Lincoln. The others by Mary Todd and her
sister. Mr. Lincoln acknowledged the authorship of the letters
without naming the ladies, and agreed to meet Shields on the
field of honor. As he had the choice of weapons he named
broadswords, and actually went to the place selected for the

The duel was never fought. Mutual friends got together and
patched up an understanding between Mr. Lincoln and the
hot-headed Irishman.

Before this time Mr. Lincoln had dissolved partnership with
Stuart and entered into a law partnership with Judge Logan. In
1843 both Lincoln and Logan were candidates for nomination for
Congress and the personal ill-will caused by their rivalry
resulted in the dissolution of the firm and the formation of a
new law firm of Lincoln & Herndon, which continued, nominally at
least, until Mr. Lincoln’s death.

The congressional nomination, however, went to Edward D. Baker,
who was elected. Two years later the principal candidates for the
Whig nomination for Congress were Mr. Lincoln and his former law
partner, Judge Logan. Party sentiment was so strongly in favor of
Lincoln that Judge Logan withdrew and Lincoln was nominated
unanimously. The campaign that followed was one of the most
memorable and interesting ever held in Illinois.

Mr. Lincoln’s opponent on the Democratic ticket was no less a
person than old Peter Cartwright, the famous Methodist preacher
and circuit rider. Cartwright had preached to almost every
congregation in the district and had a strong following in all
the churches. Mr. Lincoln did not underestimate the strength of
his great rival. He abandoned his law business entirely and gave
his whole attention to the canvass. This time Mr. Lincoln was
victorious and was elected by a large majority.

When Lincoln took his seat in Congress, in 1847, he was the only
Whig member from Illinois. His great political rival, Douglas,
was in the Senate. The Mexican War had already broken out,
which, in common with his party, he had opposed. Later in life he
was charged with having opposed the voting of supplies to the
American troops in Mexico, but this was a falsehood which he
easily disproved. He was strongly opposed to the War, but after
it was once begun he urged its vigorous prosecution and voted
with the Democrats on all measures concerning the care and pay of
the soldiers. His opposition to the War, however, cost him a
re-election; it cost his party the congressional district, which
was carried by the Democrats in 1848. Lincoln’s former law
partner, Judge Logan, secured the Whig nomination that year and
was defeated.

In the national convention at Philadelphia, in 1848, Mr. Lincoln
was a delegate and advocated the nomination of General Taylor.

After the nomination of General Taylor, or “Old Zach,” or
“rough and Ready,” as he was called, Mr. Lincoln made a tour of
New York and several New England States, making speeches for his

Mr. Lincoln went to New England in this campaign on account of
the great defection in the Whig party. General Taylor’s
nomination was unsatisfactory to the free-soil element, and such
leaders as Henry Wilson, Charles Francis Adams, Charles Allen,
Charles Sumner, Stephen C. Phillips, Richard H. Dana, Jr., and
Anson Burlingame, were in open revolt. Mr. Lincoln’s speeches
were confined largely to a defense of General Taylor, but at the
same time he denounced the free-soilers for helping to elect
Cass. Among other things he said that the free-soilers had but
one principle and that they reminded him of the Yankee peddler
going to sell a pair of pantaloons and describing them as “large
enough for any man, and small enough for any boy.”

It is an odd fact in history that the prominent Whigs of
Massachusetts at that time became the opponents of Mr. Lincoln’s
election to the presidency and the policy of his administration,
while the free-soilers, whom he denounced, were among his
strongest supporters, advisers and followers.

At the second session of Congress Mr. Lincoln’s one act of
consequence was the introduction of a bill providing for the
gradual emancipation of the slaves in the District of Columbia.
Joshua R. Giddings, the great antislavery agitator, and one or
two lesser lights supported it, but the bill was laid on the

After General Taylor’s election Mr. Lincoln had the distribution
of Federal patronage in his own Congressional district, and this
added much to his political importance, although it was a
ceaseless source of worry to him.

Just before the close of his term in Congress Mr. Lincoln was an
applicant for the office of Commissioner of the General Land
Office, but was unsuccessful. He had been such a factor in
General Taylor’s election that the administration thought
something was due him, and after his return to Illinois he was
called to Washington and offered the Governorship of the
Territory of Oregon. It is likely he would have accepted this had
not Mrs. Lincoln put her foot down with an emphatic no.

He declined a partnership with a well-known Chicago lawyer and
returning to his Springfield home resumed the practice of law.

>From this time until the repeal of the Missouri Compromise,
opened the way for the admission of slavery into the territories,
Mr. Lincoln devoted himself more industriously than ever to the
practice of law, and during those five years he was probably a
greater student than he had ever been before. His partner, W. H.
Herndon, has told of the changes that took place in the courts
and in the methods of practice while Mr. Lincoln was away.

When he returned to active practice he saw at once that the
courts had grown more learned and dignified and that the bar
relied more upon method and system and a knowledge of the statute
law than upon the stump speech method of early days.

Mr. Herndon tells us that Lincoln would lie in bed and read by
candle light, sometimes until two o’clock in the morning, while
his famous colleagues, Davis, Logan, Swett, Edwards and Herndon,
were soundly and sometimes loudly sleeping. He read and reread
the statutes and books of practice, devoured Shakespeare, who was
always a favorite of his, and studied Euclid so diligently that
he could easily demonstrate all the propositions contained in the
six books.

Mr. Lincoln detested office work. He left all that to his
partner. He disliked to draw up legal papers or to write letters.
The firm of which he was a member kept no books. When either
Lincoln or Herndon received a fee they divided the money then and
there. If his partner were not in the office at the time Mr.
Lincoln would wrap up half of the fee in a sheet of paper, on
which he would write, “Herndon’s half,” giving the name of the
case, and place it in his partner’s desk.

But in court, arguing a case, pleading to the jury and laying
down the law, Lincoln was in his element. Even when he had a weak
case he was a strong antagonist, and when he had right and
justice on his side, as he nearly always had, no one could beat

He liked an outdoor life, hence he was fond of riding the
circuit. He enjoyed the company of other men, liked discussion
and argument, loved to tell stories and to hear them, laughing as
heartily at his own stories as he did at those that were told to

The court circuit in those days was the scene of many a
story-telling joust, in which Lincoln was always the chief.
Frequently he would sit up until after midnight reeling off story
after story, each one followed by roars of laughter that could be
heard all over the country tavern, in which the story-telling
group was gathered. Every type of character would be represented
in these groups, from the learned judge on the bench down to the
village loafer.

Lincoln’s favorite attitude was to sit with his long legs propped
up on the rail of the stove, or with his feet against the wall,
and thus he would sit for hours entertaining a crowd, or being

One circuit judge was so fond of Lincoln’s stories that he often
would sit up until midnight listening to them, and then declare
that he had laughed so much he believed his ribs were shaken

The great success of Abraham Lincoln as a trial lawyer was due to
a number of facts. He would not take a case if he believed that
the law and justice were on the other side. When he addressed a
jury he made them feel that he only wanted fair play and justice.
He did not talk over their heads, but got right down to a
friendly tone such as we use in ordinary conversation, and talked
at them, appealing to their honesty and common sense,

And making his argument plain by telling a story or two that
brought the matter clearly within their understanding.

When he did not know the law in a particular case he never
pretended to know it. If there were no precedents to cover a case
he would state his side plainly and fairly; he would tell the
jury what he believed was right for them to do, and then conclude
with his favorite expression, “it seems to me that this ought to
be the law.”

Some time before the repeal of the Missouri Compromise a lawyer
friend said to him: “Lincoln, the time is near at hand when we
shall have to be all Abolitionists or all Democrats.”

“When that time comes my mind is made up,” he replied, “for I
believe the slavery question never can be compromised.”

While Lincoln took a mild interest in politics, he was not a
candidate for office, except as a presidential elector, from the
time of leaving Congress until the repeal of the Missouri
Compromise. This repeal Legislation was the work of Lincoln’s
political antagonist, Stephen A. Douglas, and aroused Mr. Lincoln
to action as the lion is roused by some foe worthy of his great
strength and courage.

Mr. Douglas argued that the true intent and meaning of the act
was not to legislate slavery into any territory or state, nor to
exclude it therefrom, but to leave the people perfectly free to
form and regulate their domestic institutions in their own way.

“Douglas’ argument amounts to this,” said Mr. Lincoln, “that if
any one man chooses to enslave another no third man shall be
allowed to object.”

After the adjournment of Congress Mr. Douglas returned to
Illinois and began to defend his action in the repeal of the
Missouri Compromise. His most important speech was made at
Springfield, and Mr. Lincoln was selected to answer it. That
speech alone was sufficient to make Mr. Lincoln the leader of
anti-Slavery sentiment in the West, and some of the men who heard
it declared that it was the greatest speech he ever made.

With the repeal of the Missouri Compromise the Whig party began
to break up, the majority of its members who were pronounced
Abolitionists began to form the nucleus of the Republican party.
Before this party was formed, however, Mr. Lincoln was induced to
follow Douglas around the State and reply to him, but after one
meeting at Peoria, where they both spoke, they entered into an
agreement to return to their homes and make no more speeches
during the campaign.

Mr. Lincoln made no secret at this time of his ambition to
represent Illinois in the United States Senate. Against his
protest he was nominated and elected to the Legislature, but
resigned his seat. His old rival, James Shields, with whom he was
once near to a duel, was then senator, and his term was to expire
the following year.

A letter, written by Mr. Lincoln to a friend in Paris, Illinois,
at this time is interesting and significant. He wrote:

“I have a suspicion that a Whig has been elected to the
Legislature from Eagar. If this is not so, why, then, ‘nix cum
arous;’ but if it is so, then could you not make a mark with him
for me for United States senator? I really have some chance.”

Another candidate besides Mr. Lincoln was seeking the seat in the
United States Senate, soon to be vacated by Mr. Shields. This was
Lyman Trumbull, an anti-slavery Democrat. When the Legislature
met it was found that Mr. Lincoln lacked five votes of an
election, while Mr. Trumbull had but five supporters. After
several ballots Mr. Lincoln feared that Trumbull’s votes would be
given to a Democratic candidate and he determined to sacrifice
himself for the principle at stake. Accordingly he instructed his
friends in the Legislature to vote for Judge Trumbull, which they
did, resulting in Trumbull’s election.

The Abolitionists in the West had become very radical in their
views, and did not hesitate to talk of opposing the extension of
slavery by the use of force if necessary. Mr. Lincoln, on the
other hand, was conservative and counseled moderation. In the
meantime many outrages, growing out of the extension of slavery,
were being perpetrated on the borders of Kansas and Missouri, and
they no doubt influenced Mr. Lincoln to take a more radical stand
against the slavery question.

An incident occurred at this time which had great effect in this
direction. The negro son of a colored woman in Springfield had
gone South to work. He was born free, but did not have his free
papers with him. He was arrested and would have been sold into
slavery to pay his prison expenses, had not Mr. Lincoln and some
friends purchased his liberty. Previous to this Mr. Lincoln had
tried to secure the boy’s release through the Governor of
Illinois, but the Governor informed him that nothing could be

Then it was that Mr. Lincoln rose to his full height and

“Governor, I’ll make the ground in this country too hot for the
foot of a slave, whether you have the legal power to secure the
release of this boy or not.”

The year after Mr. Trumbull’s election to the Senate the
Republican party was formally organized. A state convention of
that party was called to meet at Bloomington May 29, 1856. The
call for this convention was signed by many Springfield Whigs,
and among the names was that of Abraham Lincoln. Mr. Lincoln’s
name had been signed to the call by his law partner, but when he
was informed of this action he endorsed it fully. Among the
famous men who took part in this convention were Abraham
Lincoln, Lyman Trumbull, David Davis, Leonard Swett, Richard
Yates, Norman, B. Judd and Owen Lovejoy, the Alton editor, whose
life, like Lincoln’s, finally paid the penalty for his Abolition
views. The party nominated for Governor, Wm. H. Bissell, a
veteran of the Mexican War, and adopted a platform ringing with
anti-slavery sentiment.

Mr. Lincoln was the greatest power in the campaign that followed.
He was one of the Fremont Presidential electors, and he went to
work with all his might to spread the new party gospel and make
votes for the old “Path-Finder of the Rocky Mountains.”

An amusing incident followed close after the Bloomington
convention. A meeting was called at Springfield to ratify the
action at Bloomington. Only three persons attended–Mr. Lincoln,
his law partner and a man named John Paine. Mr. Lincoln made a
speech to his colleagues, in which, among other things, he said:
“While all seems dead, the age itself is not. It liveth as sure
as our Maker liveth.”

In this campaign Mr. Lincoln was in general demand not only in
his own state, but in Indiana, Iowa and Wisconsin as well.

The result of that Presidential campaign was the election of
Buchanan as President, Bissell as Governor, leaving Mr. Lincoln
the undisputed leader of the new party. Hence it was that two
years later he was the inevitable man to oppose Judge Douglas in
the campaign for United States Senator.

No record of Abraham Lincoln’s career would be complete without
the story of the memorable joint debates between the
“Rail-Splitter of the Sangamon Valley” and the “Little Giant.”
The opening lines in Mr. Lincoln’s speech to the Republican
Convention were not only prophetic of the coming rebellion, but
they clearly made the issue between the Republican and Democratic
parties for two Presidential campaigns to follow. The memorable
sentences were as follows:

“A house divided against itself cannot stand. I believe this
Government cannot endure permanently half slave and half free. I
do not expect the Union to be dissolved; I do not expect the
house to fall; but I do expect it will cease to be divided. It
will become all the one thing or the other. Either the opponents
of slavery will arrest the further spread of it and place it
where the public mind shall rest in the belief that it is in the
course of ultimate extinction, or its advocates will push it
forward till it becomes alike lawful in all the states, old as
well as new, North as well as South.”

It is universally conceded that this speech contained the most
important utterances of Mr. Lincoln’s life.

Previous to its delivery, the Democratic convention had endorsed
Mr. Douglas for re-election to the Senate, and the Republican
convention had resolved that “Abraham Lincoln is our first and
only choice for United States Senator, to fill the vacancy
about to be created by the expiration of Mr. Douglas’ term of

Before Judge Douglas had made many speeches in this Senatorial
campaign, Mr. Lincoln challenged him to a joint debate, which
was accepted, and seven memorable meetings between these two
great leaders followed. The places and dates were: Ottawa, August
21st; Freeport, August 27th; Jonesboro, September 15th;
Charleston, September 18th; Galesburg, October 7th; Quincy,
October 13th; and Alton, October 15th.

The debates not only attracted the attention of the people in the
state of Illinois, but aroused an interest throughout the whole
country equal to that of a Presidential election.

All the meetings of the joint debate were attended by immense
crowds of people. They came in all sorts of vehicles, on
horseback, and many walked weary miles on foot to hear these two
great leaders discuss the issues of the campaign. There had never
been political meetings held under such unusual conditions as
these, and there probably never will be again. At every place the
speakers were met by great crowds of their friends and escorted
to the platforms in the open air where the debates were held. The
processions that escorted the speakers were most unique. They
carried flags and banners and were preceded by bands of music.
The people discharged cannons when they had them, and, when they
did not, blacksmiths’ anvils were made to take their places.

Oftentimes a part of the escort would be mounted, and in most of
the processions were chariots containing young ladies
representing the different states of the Union designated by
banners they carried. Besides the bands, there was usually vocal
music. Patriotic songs were the order of the day, the
“Star-Spangled Banner” and “Hail Columbia” being great favorites.

So far as the crowds were concerned, these joint debates took on
the appearance of a circus day, and this comparison was
strengthened by the sale of lemonade, fruit, melons and
confectionery on the outskirts of the gatherings.

At Ottawa, after his speech, Mr. Lincoln was carried around on
the shoulders of his enthusiastic supporters, who did not put him
down until they reached the place where he was to spend the

In the joint debates, each of the candidates asked the other a
series of questions. Judge Douglas’ replies to Mr. Lincoln’s
shrewd questions helped Douglas to win the Senatorial election,
but they lost him the support of the South in the campaign for
President two years thereafter. Mr. Lincoln was told when he
framed his questions that if Douglas answered them in the way it
was believed he would that the answers would make him Senator.

“That may be,” said Mr. Lincoln, “but if he takes that shoot he
never can be President.”

The prophecy was correct. Mr. Douglas was elected Senator, but
two years later only carried one state–Missouri–for President.

After the close of this canvass, Mr. Lincoln again devoted
himself to the practice of his profession, but he was destined to
remain but a short time in retirement. In the fall of 1859 Mr.
Douglas went to Ohio to stump the state for his friend, Mr. Pugh,
the Democratic candidate for Governor. The Ohio Republicans at
once asked Mr. Lincoln to come to the state and reply to the
“Little Giant.” He accepted the invitation and made two masterly
speeches in the campaign. In one of them, delivered at
Cincinnati, he prophesied the outcome of the rebellion if the
Southern people attempted to divide the Union by force.

Addressing himself particularly to the Kentuckians in the
audience, he said:

“I have told you what we mean to do. I want to know, now, when
that thing takes place, what do you mean to do? I often hear it
intimated that you mean to divide the Union whenever a
Republican, or anything like it, is elected President of the
United States. [A Voice–“That is so.”] ‘That is so,’ one of them
says; I wonder if he is a Kentuckian? [A Voice–“He is a Douglas
man.”] Well, then, I want to know what you are going to do with
your half of it?

“Are you going to split the Ohio down through, and push your half
off a piece? Or are you going to keep it right alongside of us
outrageous fellows? Or are you going to build up a wall some way
between your country, and ours, by which that movable property of
yours can’t come over here any more, to the danger of your losing
it? Do you think you can better yourselves on that subject by
leaving us here under no obligation whatever to return those
specimens of your movable property that come hither?

“You have divided the Union because we would not do right with
you, as you think, upon that subject; when we cease to be under
obligations to do anything for you, how much better off do you
think you will be? Will you make war upon us and kill us all?
Why, gentlemen, I think you are as gallant and as brave men as
live; that you can fight as bravely in a good cause, man for man,
as any other people living; that you have shown yourselves
capable of this upon various occasions; but, man for man, you are
not better than we are, and there are not so many of you as there
are of us.

“You will never make much of a hand at whipping us. If we were
fewer in numbers than you, I think that you could whip us; if we
were equal, it would likely be a drawn battle; but, being
inferior in numbers, you will make nothing by attempting to
master us.

“But perhaps I have addressed myself as long, or longer, to the
Kentuckians than I ought to have done, inasmuch as I have said
that, whatever course you take, we intend in the end to beat

Later in the year Mr. Lincoln also spoke in Kansas, where he was
received with great enthusiasm, and in February of the following
year he made his great speech in Cooper Union, New York, to an
immense gathering, presided over by William Cullen Bryant, the
poet, who was then editor of the New York Evening Post. There was
great curiosity to see the Western rail-splitter who had so
lately met the famous “Little Giant” of the West in debate, and
Mr. Lincoln’s speech was listened to by many of the ablest men in
the East.

This speech won for him many supporters in the Presidential
campaign that followed, for his hearers at once recognized his
wonderful ability to deal with the questions then uppermost in
the public mind.

The Republican National Convention of 1860 met in Chicago, May
16, in an immense building called the “Wigwam.” The leading
candidates for President were William H. Seward of New York and
Abraham Lincoln of Illinois. Among others spoken of were Salmon
P. Chase of Ohio and Simon Cameron of Pennsylvania.

On the first ballot for President, Mr. Seward received one
hundred and seventy-three and one-half votes; Mr. Lincoln, one
hundred and two votes, the others scattering. On the first
ballot, Vermont had divided her vote, but on the second the
chairman of the Vermont delegation announced: “Vermont casts her
ten votes for the young giant of the West–Abraham Lincoln.”

This was the turning point in the convention toward Mr. Lincoln’s
nomination. The second ballot resulted: Seward, one hundred and
eighty-four and one-half; Lincoln, one hundred and eighty-one. On
the third ballot, Mr. Lincoln received two hundred and thirty
votes. One and one-half votes more would nominate him. Before the
ballot was announced, Ohio made a change of four votes in favor
of Mr. Lincoln, making him the nominee for President.

Other states tried to follow Ohio’s example, but it was a long
time before any of the delegates could make themselves heard.
Cannons planted on top of the wigwam were roaring and booming;
the large crowd in the wigwam and the immense throng outside were
cheering at the top of their lungs, while bands were playing
victorious airs.

When order had been restored, it was announced that on the third
ballot Abraham Lincoln of Illinois had received three hundred and
fifty-four votes and was nominated by the Republican party to the
office of President of the United States.

Mr. Lincoln heard the news of his nomination while sitting in a
newspaper office in Springfield, and hurried home to tell his

As Mr. Lincoln had predicted, Judge Douglas’ position on slavery
in the territories lost him the support of the South, and when
the Democratic convention met at Charleston, the slave-holding
states forced the nomination of John C. Breckinridge. A
considerable number of people who did not agree with either party
nominated John Bell of Tennessee.

In the election which followed, Mr. Lincoln carried all of the
free states, except New Jersey, which was divided between himself
and Douglas; Breckinridge carried all the slave states, except
Kentucky, Tennessee and Virginia, which went for Bell, and
Missouri gave its vote to Douglas.

The election was scarcely over before it was evident that the
Southern States did not intend to abide by the result, and that a
conspiracy was on foot to divide the Union. Before the
Presidential election even, the Secretary of War in President
Buchanan’s Cabinet had removed one hundred and fifty thousand
muskets from Government armories in the North and sent them to
Government armories in the South.

Before Mr. Lincoln had prepared his inaugural address, South
Carolina, which took the lead in the secession movement, had
declared through her Legislature her separation from the Union.
Before Mr. Lincoln took his seat, other Southern States had
followed the example of South Carolina, and a convention had been
held at Montgomery, Alabama, which had elected Jefferson Davis
President of the new Confederacy, and Alexander H. Stevens, of
Georgia, Vice-President.

Southern men in the Cabinet, Senate and House had resigned their
seats and gone home, and Southern States were demanding that
Southern forts and Government property in their section should be
turned over to them.

Between his election and inauguration, Mr. Lincoln remained
silent, reserving his opinions and a declaration of his policy
for his inaugural address.

Before Mr. Lincoln’s departure from Springfield for Washington,
threats had been freely made that he would never reach the
capital alive, and, in fact, a conspiracy was then on foot to
take his life in the city of Baltimore.

Mr. Lincoln left Springfield on February 11th, in company with
his wife and three sons, his brother-in-law, Dr. W. S. Wallace;
David Davis, Norman B. Judd, Elmer E. Elsworth, Ward H. Lamon,
Colonel E. V. Sunder of the United States Army, and the
President’s two secretaries.

Early in February, before leaving for Washington, Mr. Lincoln
slipped away from Springfield and paid a visit to his aged
step-mother in Coles county. He also paid a visit to the unmarked
grave of his father and ordered a suitable stone to mark the

Before leaving Springfield, he made an address to his
fellow-townsmen, in which he displayed sincere sorrow at parting
from them.

“Friends,” he said, “no one who has never been placed in a like
position can understand my feelings at this hour, nor the
oppressive sadness I feel at this parting. For more than a
quarter of a century I have lived among you, and during all that
time I have received nothing but kindness at your hands. Here I
have lived from my youth until now I am an old man. Here the most
sacred ties of earth were assumed. Here all my children were
born, and here one of them lies buried.
“To you, dear friends, I owe all that I have, all that I am. All
the strange, checkered past seems to crowd now upon my mind.
To-day I leave you. I go to assume a task more difficult than
that which devolved upon Washington. Unless the great God who
assisted him shall be with and aid me, I must fail; but if the
same omniscient mind and almighty arm that directed and protected
him shall guide and support me, I shall not fail–I shall
succeed. Let us all pray that the God of our fathers may
not forsake us now.

“To Him I commend you all. Permit me to ask that with equal
sincerity and faith you will invoke His wisdom and guidance for
me. With these words I must leave you, for how long I know not.
Friends, one and all, I must now bid you an affectionate

The journey from Springfield to Philadelphia was a continuous
ovation for Mr. Lincoln. Crowds assembled to meet him at the
various places along the way, and he made them short speeches,
full of humor and good feeling. At Harrisburg, Pa., the party was
met by Allan Pinkerton, who knew of the plot in Baltimore to take
the life of Mr. Lincoln.

Throughout his entire life, Abraham Lincoln’s physical courage
was as great and superb as his moral courage. When Mr. Pinkerton
and Mr. Judd urged the President-elect to leave for Washington
that night, he positively refused to do it. He said he had made
an engagement to assist at a flag raising in the forenoon of the
next day and to show himself to the people of Harrisburg in the
afternoon, and that he intended to keep both engagements.

At Philadelphia the Presidential party was met by Mr. Seward’s
son, Frederick, who had been sent to warn Mr. Lincoln of the plot
against his life. Mr. Judd, Mr. Pinkerton and Mr. Lamon figured
out a plan to take Mr. Lincoln through Baltimore between midnight
and daybreak, when the would-be assassins would not be expecting
him, and this plan was carried out so thoroughly that even the
conductor on the train did not know the President-elect was on

Mr. Lincoln was put into his berth and the curtains drawn. He was
supposed to be a sick man. When the conductor came around, Mr.
Pinkerton handed him the “sick man’s” ticket and he passed on
without question.

When the train reached Baltimore, at half-past three o’clock in
the morning, it was met by one of Mr. Pinkerton’s detectives, who
reported that everything was “all right,” and in a short time the
party was speeding on to the national capital, where rooms had
been engaged for Mr. Lincoln and his guard at Willard’s Hotel.

Mr. Lincoln always regretted this “secret passage” to Washington,
for it was repugnant to a man of his high courage. He had agreed
to the plan simply because all of his friends urged it as the
best thing to do.

Now that all the facts are known, it is assured that his friends
were right, and that there never was a moment from the day he
crossed the Maryland line until his assassination that his life
was not in danger, and was only saved as long as it was by the
constant vigilance of those who were guarding him.

The wonderful eloquence of Abraham Lincoln–clear, sincere,
natural–found grand expression in his first inaugural address,
in which he not only outlined his policy toward the States in
rebellion, but made that beautiful and eloquent plea for
conciliation. The closing sentences of Mr. Lincoln’s first
inaugural address deservedly take rank with his Gettysburg speech

“In your hands, my dissatisfied fellow-countrymen,” he said, “and
not in mine, is the momentous issue of civil war. The Government
will not assail you.

“You can have no conflict without being yourselves the
aggressors. You have no oath registered in heaven to destroy the
Government, while I shall have the most solemn one to ‘preserve,
protect and defend’ it.

“I am loath to close. We are not enemies, but friends. We must
not be enemies. Though passion may have strained, it must not
break our bonds of affection.

“The mystic cord of memory, stretching from every battle-field
and patriot grave to every living heart and hearthstone all over
this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union, when
again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of
our nature.”

In selecting his Cabinet, Mr. Lincoln, consciously or
unconsciously, followed a precedent established by Washington, of
selecting men of almost opposite opinions. His Cabinet was
composed of William H. Seward of New York, Secretary of State;
Salmon P. Chase of Ohio, Secretary of the Treasury; Simon Cameron
of Pennsylvania, Secretary of War; Gideon E. Welles of
Connecticut, Secretary of the Navy; Caleb B. Smith of Indiana,
Secretary of the Interior; Montgomery Blair of Maryland,
Postmaster-General; Edward Bates of Missouri, Attorney-General.

Mr. Chase, although an anti-slavery leader, was a States-Rights
Federal Republican, while Mr. Seward was a Whig, without having
connected himself with the anti-slavery movement.

Mr. Chase and Mr. Seward, the leading men of Mr. Lincoln’s
Cabinet, were as widely apart and antagonistic in their views as
were Jefferson, the Democrat, and Hamilton, the Federalist, the
two leaders in Washington’s Cabinet. But in bringing together
these two strong men as his chief advisers, both of whom had been
rival candidates for the Presidency, Mr. Lincoln gave another
example of his own greatness and self-reliance, and put them both
in a position to render greater service to the Government than
they could have done, probably, as President.

Mr. Lincoln had been in office little more than five weeks when
the War of the Rebellion began by the firing on Fort Sumter.

The War of the Rebellion revealed to the people–in fact, to the
whole world–the many sides of Abraham Lincoln’s character. It
showed him as a real ruler of men–not a ruler by the mere power
of might, but by the power of a great brain. In his Cabinet were
the ablest men in the country, yet they all knew that Lincoln was
abler than any of them.

Mr. Seward, the Secretary of State, was a man famed in
statesmanship and diplomacy. During the early stages of the Civil
War, when France and England were seeking an excuse to interfere
and help the Southern Confederacy, Mr. Seward wrote a letter to
our minister in London, Charles Francis Adams, instructing him
concerning the attitude of the Federal government on the question
of interference, which would undoubtedly have brought about a war
with England if Abraham Lincoln had not corrected and amended the
letter. He did this, too, without yielding a point or sacrificing
in any way his own dignity or that of the country.

Throughout the four years of war, Mr. Lincoln spent a great deal
of time in the War Department, receiving news from the front and
conferring with Secretary of War Stanton concerning military

Mr. Lincoln’s War Secretary, Edwin M. Stanton, who had succeeded
Simon Cameron, was a man of wonderful personality and iron will.
It is generally conceded that no other man could have managed the
great War Secretary so well as Lincoln. Stanton had his way in
most matters, but when there was an important difference of
opinion he always found Lincoln was the master.

Although Mr. Lincoln’s communications to the generals in the
field were oftener in the nature of suggestions than positive
orders, every military leader recognized Mr. Lincoln’s ability in
military operations. In the early stages of the war, Mr. Lincoln
followed closely every plan and movement of McClellan, and the
correspondence between them proves Mr. Lincoln to have been far
the abler general of the two. He kept close watch of Burnside,
too, and when he gave the command of the Army of the Potomac to
“Fighting Joe” Hooker he also gave that general some fatherly
counsel and advice which was of great benefit to him as a

It was not until General Grant had been made Commander-in-Chief
that President Lincoln felt he had at last found a general who
did not need much advice. He was the first to recognize that
Grant was a great military leader, and when he once felt sure of
this fact nothing could shake his confidence in that general.
Delegation after delegation called at the White House and asked
for Grant’s removal from the head of the army. They accused him
of being a butcher, a drunkard, a man without sense or feeling.

President Lincoln listened to all of these attacks, but he always
had an apt answer to silence Grant’s enemies. Grant was doing
what Lincoln wanted done from the first–he was fighting and
winning victories, and victories are the only things that count
in war.

The crowning act of Lincoln’s career as President was the
emancipation of the slaves. All of his life he had believed in
gradual emancipation, but all of his plans contemplated payment
to the slaveholders. While he had always been opposed to slavery,
he did not take any steps to use it as a war measure until about
the middle of 1862. His chief object was to preserve the Union.

He wrote to Horace Greeley that if he could save the Union
without freeing any of the slaves he would do it; that if he
could save it by freeing some and leaving the others in slavery
he would do that; that if it became necessary to free all the
slaves in order to save the Union he would take that course.

The anti-slavery men were continually urging Mr. Lincoln to set
the slaves free, but he paid no attention to their petitions and
demands until he felt that emancipation would help him to
preserve the Union of the States.

The outlook for the Union cause grew darker and darker in 1862,
and Mr. Lincoln began to think, as he expressed it, that he must
“change his tactics or lose the game.” Accordingly he decided to
issue the Emancipation Proclamation as soon as the Union army won
a substantial victory. The battle of Antietam, on September 17,
gave him the opportunity he sought. He told Secretary Chase that
he had made a solemn vow before God that if General Lee should be
driven back from Pennsylvania he would crown the result by a
declaration of freedom to the slaves.

On the twenty-second of that month he issued a proclamation
stating that at the end of one hundred days he would issue
another proclamation declaring all slaves within any State or
Territory to be forever free, which was done in the form of the
famous Emancipation Proclamation.

In the conduct of the war and in his purpose to maintain the
Union, Abraham Lincoln exhibited a will of iron and determination
that could not be shaken, but in his daily contact with the
mothers, wives and daughters begging for the life of some soldier
who had been condemned to death for desertion or sleeping on duty
he was as gentle and weak as a woman.

It was a difficult matter for him to refuse a pardon if the
slightest excuse could be found for granting it.

Secretary Stanton and the commanding generals were loud in
declaring that Mr. Lincoln would destroy the discipline of the
army by his wholesale pardoning of condemned soldiers, but when
we come to examine the individual cases we find that Lincoln was
nearly always right, and when he erred it was always on the side
of humanity.

During the four years of the long struggle for the preservation
of the Union, Mr. Lincoln kept “open shop,” as he expressed it,
where the general public could always see him and make known
their wants and complaints. Even the private soldier was not
denied admittance to the President’s private office, and no
request or complaint was too small or trivial to enlist his
sympathy and interest.

It was once said of Shakespeare that the great mind that
conceived the tragedies of “Hamlet,” “Macbeth,” etc., would have
lost its reason if it had not found vent in the sparkling humor
of such comedies as “The Merry Wives of Windsor” and “The Comedy
of Errors.”

The great strain on the mind of Abraham Lincoln produced by four
years of civil war might likewise have overcome his reason had it
not found vent in the yarns and stories he constantly told. No
more fun-loving or humor-loving man than Abraham Lincoln ever
lived. He enjoyed a joke even when it was on himself, and
probably, while he got his greatest enjoyment from telling
stories, he had a keen appreciation of the humor in those that
were told him.

His favorite humorous writer was David R. Locke, better known as
“Petroleum V. Nasby,” whose political satires were quite famous
in their day. Nearly every prominent man who has written his
recollections of Lincoln has told how the President, in the
middle of a conversation on some serious subject, would suddenly
stop and ask his hearer if he ever read the Nasby letters.

Then he would take from his desk a pamphlet containing the
letters and proceed to read them, laughing heartily at all the
good points they contained. There is probably no better evidence
of Mr. Lincoln’s love of humor and appreciation of it than his
letter to Nasby, in which he said: “For the ability to
write these things I would gladly trade places with you.”

Mr. Lincoln was re-elected President in 1864. His opponent on the
Democratic ticket was General George B. McClellan, whose command
of the Army of the Potomac had been so unsatisfactory at the
beginning of the war. Mr. Lincoln’s election was almost
unanimous, as McClellan carried but three States–Delaware,
Kentucky and New Jersey.

General Grant, in a telegram of congratulation, said that it was
“a victory worth more to the country than a battle won.”

The war was fast drawing to a close. The black war clouds were
breaking and rolling away. Sherman had made his famous march to
the sea. Through swamp and ravine, Grant was rapidly tightening
the lines around Richmond. Thomas had won his title of the “Rock
of Chickamauga.” Sheridan had won his spurs as the great modern
cavalry commander, and had cleaned out the Shenandoah Valley.
Sherman was coming back from his famous march to join Grant at

The Confederacy was without a navy. The Kearsarge had sunk the
Alabama, and Farragut had fought and won the famous victory in
Mobile Bay. It was certain that Lee would soon have to evacuate
Richmond only to fall into the hands of Grant.

Lincoln saw the dawn of peace. When he came to deliver his second
inaugural address, it contained no note of victory, no exultation
over a fallen foe. On the contrary, it breathed the spirit of
brotherly love and of prayer for an early peace: “With malice
toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as
God gives us to see the right, let us finish the work we are in,
to bind up the nation’s wounds, to care for him who shall have
borne the battle and for his widow and his orphans, to do all
which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among
ourselves and with all nations.”

Not long thereafter, General Lee evacuated Richmond with about
half of his original army, closely pursued by Grant. The boys in
blue overtook their brothers in gray at Appomattox Court House,
and there, beneath the warm rays of an April sun, the great
Confederate general made his final surrender. The war was over,
the American flag was floated over all the territory of the
United States, and peace was now a reality. Mr. Lincoln visited
Richmond and the final scenes of the war and then returned to
Washington to carry out his announced plan of “binding up the
nation’s wounds.”

He had now reached the climax of his career and touched the
highest point of his greatness. His great task was over, and the
heavy burden that had so long worn upon his heart was lifted.

While the whole nation was rejoicing over the return of peace,
the Saviour of the Union was stricken down by the hand of an

>From early youth, Mr. Lincoln had presentiments that he would
a violent death, or, rather, that his final days would be marked
by some great tragic event. From the time of his first election
to the Presidency, his closest friends had tried to make him
understand that he was in constant danger of assassination, but,
notwithstanding his presentiments, he had such splendid courage
that he only laughed at their fears.

During the summer months he lived at the Soldiers’ Home, some
miles from Washington, and frequently made the trip between the
White House and the Home without a guard or escort. Secretary of
War Stanton and Ward Lamon, Marshal of the District, were almost
constantly alarmed over Mr. Lincoln’s carelessness in exposing
himself to the danger of assassination.

They warned him time and again, and provided suitable body-guards
to attend him. But Mr. Lincoln would often give the guards the
slip, and, mounting his favorite riding horse, “Old Abe,” would
set out alone after dark from the White House for the Soldiers’

While riding to the Home one night, he was fired upon by some one
in ambush, the bullet passing through his high hat. Mr. Lincoln
would not admit that the man who fired the shot had tried to kill
him. He always attributed it to an accident, and begged his
friends to say nothing about it.

Now that all the circumstances of the assassination are known, it
is plain that there was a deep-laid and well-conceived plot to
kill Mr. Lincoln long before the crime was actually committed.
When Mr. Lincoln was delivering his second inaugural address on
the steps of the Capitol, an excited individual tried to force
his way through the guards in the building to get on the platform
with Mr. Lincoln.

It was afterward learned that this man was John Wilkes Booth, who
afterwards assassinated Mr. Lincoln in Ford’s Theatre, on the
night of the 14th of April.

The manager of the theatre had invited the President to witness a
performance of a new play known as “Our American Cousin,” in
which the famous actress, Laura Keane, was playing. Mr. Lincoln
was particularly fond of the theatre. He loved Shakespeare’s
plays above all others and never missed a chance to see the
leading Shakespearean actors.

As “Our American Cousin” was a new play, the President did not
care particularly to see it, but as Mrs. Lincoln was anxious to
go, he consented and accepted the invitation.

General Grant was in Washington at the time, and as he was
extremely anxious about the personal safety of the President, he
reported every day regularly at the White House. Mr. Lincoln
invited General Grant and his wife to accompany him and Mrs.
Lincoln to the theatre on the night of the assassination, and the
general accepted, but while they were talking he received a note
from Mrs. Grant saying that she wished to leave Washington that
evening to visit her daughter in Burlington. General Grant made
his excuses to the President and left to accompany Mrs. Grant to
the railway station. It afterwards became known that it was also
a part of the plot to assassinate General Grant, and only Mrs.
Grant’s departure from Washington that evening prevented the
attempt from being made.

General Grant afterwards said that as he and Mrs. Grant were
riding along Pennsylvania avenue to the railway station a
horseman rode rapidly by at a gallop, and, wheeling his horse,
rode back, peering into their carriage as he passed.

Mrs. Grant remarked to the general: “That is the very man who sat
near us at luncheon to-day and tried to overhear our
conversation. He was so rude, you remember, as to cause us to
leave the dining-room. Here he is again, riding after us.”

General Grant attributed the action of the man to idle curiosity,
but learned afterward that the horseman was John Wilkes Booth.

Probably one reason why Mr. Lincoln did not particularly care to
go to the theatre that night was a sort of half promise he had
made to his friend and bodyguard, Marshal Lamon. Two days
previous he had sent Lamon to Richmond on business connected with
a call of a convention for reconstruction. Before leaving, Mr.
Lamon saw Mr. Usher, the Secretary of the Interior, and asked him
to persuade Mr. Lincoln to use more caution about his personal
safety, and to go out as little as possible while Lamon was
absent. Together they went to see Mr. Lincoln, and Lamon asked
the President if he would make him a promise.

“I think I can venture to say I will,” said Mr. Lincoln. “What is

“Promise me that you will not go out after night while I am
gone,” said Mr. Lamon, “particularly to the theatre.”

Mr. Lincoln turned to Mr. Usher and said: “Usher, this boy is a
monomaniac on the subject of my safety. I can hear him or hear of
his being around at all times in the night, to prevent somebody
from murdering me. He thinks I shall be killed, and we think he
is going crazy. What does any one want to assassinate me for? If
any one wants to do so, he can do it any day or night if he is
ready to give his life for mine. It is nonsense.”

Mr. Usher said to Mr. Lincoln that it was well to heed Lamon’s
warning, as he was thrown among people from whom he had better
opportunities to know about such matters than almost any one.

“Well,” said Mr. Lincoln to Lamon, “I promise to do the best I
can toward it.”

The assassination of President Lincoln was most carefully
planned, even to the smallest detail. The box set apart for the
President’s party was a double one in the second tier at the left
of the stage. The box had two doors with spring locks, but Booth
had loosened the screws with which they were fastened so that it
was impossible to secure them from the inside. In one door he had
bored a hole with a gimlet, so that he could see what was going
on inside the box.

An employee of the theatre by the name of Spangler, who was an
accomplice of the assassin, had even arranged the seats in the
box to suit the purposes of Booth.

On the fateful night the theatre was packed. The Presidential
party arrived a few minutes after nine o’clock, and consisted of
the President and Mrs. Lincoln, Miss Harris and Major Rathbone,
daughter and stepson of Senator Harris of New York. The immense
audience rose to its feet and cheered the President as he passed
to his box.

Booth came into the theatre about ten o’clock. He had not only,
planned to kill the President, but he had also planned to escape
into Maryland, and a swift horse, saddled and ready for the
journey, was tied in the rear of the theatre. For a few minutes
he pretended to be interested in the performance, and then
gradually made his way back to the door of the President’s box.

Before reaching there, however, he was confronted by one of the
President’s messengers, who had been stationed at the end of the
passage leading to the boxes to prevent any one from intruding.
To this man Booth handed a card saying that the President had
sent for him, and was permitted to enter.

Once inside the hallway leading to the boxes, he closed the hall
door and fastened it by a bar prepared for the occasion, so that
it was impossible to open it from without. Then he quickly
entered the box through the right-hand door. The President was
sitting in an easy armchair in the left-hand corner of the box
nearest the audience. He was leaning on one hand and with the
other had hold of a portion of the drapery. There was a smile on
his face. The other members of the party were intently watching
the performance on the stage.

The assassin carried in his right hand a small silver-mounted
derringer pistol and in his left a long double-edged dagger. He
placed the pistol just behind the President’s left ear and fired.

Mr. Lincoln bent slightly forward and his eyes closed, but in
every other respect his attitude remained unchanged.

The report of the pistol startled Major Rathbone, who sprang to
his feet. The murderer was then about six feet from the
President, and Rathbone grappled with him, but was shaken off.
Dropping his pistol, Booth struck at Rathbone with the dagger and
inflicted a severe wound. The assassin then placed his left hand
lightly on the railing of the box and jumped to the stage, eight
or nine feet below.

The box was draped with the American flag, and, in jumping,
Booth’s spurs caught in the folds, tearing down the flag, the
assassin falling heavily to the stage and spraining his ankle. He
arose, however, and walked theatrically across the stage,
brandished his knife and shouted, “Sic semper tyrannis!” and then
added, “The South is avenged.”

For the moment the audience was horrified and incapable of
action. One man only, a lawyer named Stuart, had sufficient
presence of mind to leap upon the stage and attempt to capture
the assassin. Booth went to the rear door of the stage, where his
horse was held in readiness for him, and, leaping into the
saddle, dashed through the streets toward Virginia. Miss Keane
rushed to the President’s box with water and stimulants, and
medical aid was summoned.

By this time the audience realized the tragedy that had been
enacted, and then followed a scene such as has never been
witnessed in any public gathering in this country. Women wept,
shrieked and fainted; men raved and swore, and horror was
depicted on every face. Before the audience could be gotten out
of the theatre, horsemen were dashing through the streets and the
telegraph was carrying the terrible details of the tragedy
throughout the nation.

Walt Whitman, the poet, has sketched in graphic language the
scenes of that most eventful fourteenth of April. His account of
the assassination has become historic, and is herewith given:

“The day (April 14, 1865) seems to have been a pleasant one
throughout the whole land–the moral atmosphere pleasant, too–
the long storm, so dark, so fratricidal, full of blood and doubt
and gloom, over and ended at last by the sunrise of such an
absolute national victory, and utter breaking down of
secessionism–we almost doubted our senses! Lee had capitulated,
beneath the apple tree at Appomattox. The other armies, the
flanges of the revolt, swiftly followed.

“And could it really be, then? Out of all the affairs of this
world of woe and passion, of failure and disorder and dismay, was
there really come the confirmed, unerring sign of peace, like a
shaft of pure light–of rightful rule–of God?

“But I must not dwell on accessories. The deed hastens. The
popular afternoon paper, the little Evening Star, had scattered
all over its third page, divided among the advertisements in a
sensational manner in a hundred different places:

“‘The President and his lady will be at the theatre this

“Lincoln was fond of the theatre. I have myself seen him there
several times. I remember thinking how funny it was that he, the
leading actor in the greatest and stormiest drama known to real
history’s stage, through centuries, should sit there and be so
completely interested in those human jackstraws, moving about
with their silly little gestures, foreign spirit, and flatulent

“So the day, as I say, was propitious. Early herbage, early
flowers, were out. I remember where I was stopping at the time,
the season being advanced, there were many lilacs in full bloom.

“By one of those caprices that enter and give tinge to events
without being a part of them, I find myself always reminded of
the great tragedy of this day by the sight and odor of these
blossoms. It never fails.

“On this occasion the theatre was crowded, many ladies in rich
and gay costumes, officers in their uniforms, many well-known
citizens, young folks, the usual cluster of gas lights, the usual
magnetism of so many people, cheerful with perfumes, music of
violins and flutes–and over all, that saturating, that vast,
vague wonder, Victory, the nation’s victory, the triumph of the
Union, filling the air, the thought, the sense, with exhilaration
more than all the perfumes.

“The President came betimes, and, with his wife, witnessed the
play from the large stage boxes of the second tier, two thrown
into one, and profusely draped with the national flag. The acts
and scenes of the piece–one of those singularly witless
compositions which have at the least the merit of giving entire
relief to an audience engaged in mental action or business
excitements and cares during the day, as it makes not the
slightest call on either the moral, emotional, esthetic or
spiritual nature–a piece in which among other characters, so
called, a Yankee–certainly such a one as was never seen, or at
least like it ever seen in North America, is introduced in
England, with a varied fol-de-rol of talk, plot, scenery, and
such phantasmagoria as goes to make up a modern popular
drama–had progressed perhaps through a couple of its acts, when,
in the midst of this comedy, or tragedy, or non-such, or whatever
it is to be called, and to offset it, or finish it out, as if in
Nature’s and the Great Muse’s mockery of these poor mimics, comes
interpolated that scene, not really or exactly to be described at
all (for on the many hundreds who were there it seems to this
hour to have left little but a passing blur, a dream, a
blotch)–and yet partially described as I now proceed to give it:

“There is a scene in the play, representing the modern parlor, in
which two unprecedented ladies are informed by the unprecedented
and impossible Yankee that he is not a man of fortune, and
therefore undesirable for marriage-catching purposes; after
which, the comments being finished, the dramatic trio make exit,
leaving the stage clear for a moment.

“There was a pause, a hush, as it were. At this period came the
death of Abraham Lincoln.

“Great as that was, with all its manifold train circling around
it, and stretching into the future for many a century, in the
politics, history, art, etc., of the New World, in point of fact,
the main thing, the actual murder, transpired with the quiet and
simplicity of any commonest occurrence–the bursting of a bud or
pod in the growth of vegetation, for instance.

“Through the general hum following the stage pause, with the
change of positions, etc., came the muffled sound of a pistol
shot, which not one-hundredth part of the audience heard at the
time–and yet a moment’s hush–somehow, surely a vague, startled
thrill–and then, through the ornamented, draperied, starred and
striped space-way of the President’s box, a sudden figure, a man,
raises himself with hands and feet, stands a moment on the
railing, leaps below to the stage, falls out of position,
catching his bootheel in the copious drapery (the American flag),
falls on one knee, quickly recovers himself, rises as if nothing
had happened (he really sprains his ankle, unfelt then)–and the
figure, Booth, the murderer, dressed in plain black broadcloth,
bareheaded, with a full head of glossy, raven hair, and his eyes,
like some mad animal’s, flashing with light and resolution, yet
with a certain strange calmness holds aloft in one hand a large
knife–walks along not much back of the footlights–turns fully
towards the audience, his face of statuesque beauty, lit by those
basilisk eyes, flashing with desperation, perhaps
insanity–launches out in a firm and steady voice the words, ‘Sic
semper tyrannis’–and then walks with neither slow nor very rapid
pace diagonally across to the back of the stage, and disappears.

“(Had not all this terrible scene–making the mimic ones
preposterous–had it not all been rehearsed, in blank, by Booth,

“A moment’s hush, incredulous–a scream–a cry of murder–Mrs.
Lincoln leaning out of the box, with ashy cheeks and lips, with
involuntary cry, pointing to the retreating figure, ‘He has
killed the President!’

“And still a moment’s strange, incredulous suspense–and then the
deluge!–then that mixture of horror, noises, uncertainty–the
sound, somewhere back, of a horse’s hoofs clattering with speed–
the people burst through chairs and railings, and break them
up–that noise adds to the queerness of the scene–there is
inextricable confusion and terror–women faint–quite feeble
persons fall, and are trampled on–many cries of agony are heard
–the broad stage suddenly fills to suffocation with a dense and
motley crowd, like some horrible carnival–the audience rush
generally upon it–at least the strong men do–the actors and
actresses are there in their play costumes and painted faces,
with mortal fright showing through the rouge–some trembling,
some in tears–the screams and calls, confused talk–redoubled,
trebled–two or three manage to pass up water from the stage to
the President’s box, others try to clamber up, etc., etc.

“In the midst of all this the soldiers of the President’s Guard,
with others, suddenly drawn to the scene, burst in–some two
hundred altogether–they storm the house, through all the tiers,
especially the upper ones–inflamed with fury, literally charging
the audience with fixed bayonets, muskets and pistols, shouting,
‘Clear out! clear out!’

“Such a wild scene, or a suggestion of it, rather, inside the
playhouse that night!

“Outside, too, in the atmosphere of shock and craze, crowds of
people filled with frenzy, ready to seize any outlet for it, came
near committing murder several times on innocent individuals.

“One such case was particularly exciting. The infuriated crowd,
through some chance, got started against one man, either for
words he uttered, or perhaps without any cause at all, and were
proceeding to hang him at once to a neighboring lamp-post, when
he was rescued by a few heroic policemen, who placed him in their
midst and fought their way slowly and amid great peril toward the

“It was a fitting episode of the whole affair. The crowd rushing
and eddying to and fro, the night, the yells, the pale faces,
many frightened people trying in vain to extricate themselves,
the attacked man, not yet freed from the jaws of death, looking
like a corpse; the silent, resolute half-dozen policemen, with no
weapons but their little clubs, yet stern and steady through all
those eddying swarms, made, indeed, a fitting side scene to the
grand tragedy of the murder. They gained the station-house with
the protected man, whom they placed in security for the night,
and discharged in the morning.

“And in the midst of that night pandemonium of senseless hate,
infuriated soldiers, the audience and the crowd–the stage, and
all its actors and actresses, its paint pots, spangles,
gas-light–the life-blood from those veins, the best and sweetest
of the land, drips slowly down, and death’s ooze already begins
its little bubbles on the lips.

“Such, hurriedly sketched, were the accompaniments of the death
of President Lincoln. So suddenly, and in murder and horror
unsurpassed, he was taken from us. But his death was painless.”

The assassin’s bullet did not produce instant death, but the
President never again became conscious. He was carried to a house
opposite the theatre, where he died the next morning. In the
meantime the authorities had become aware of the wide-reaching
conspiracy, and the capital was in a state of terror.

On the night of the President’s assassination, Mr. Seward,
Secretary of State, was attacked while in bed with a broken arm,
by Booth’s fellow-conspirators, and badly wounded.

The conspirators had also planned to take the lives of
Vice-President Johnson and Secretary Stanton. Booth had called on
Vice-President Johnson the day before, and, not finding him in,
left a card.

Secretary Stanton acted with his usual promptness and courage.
During the period of excitement he acted as President, and
directed the plans for the capture of Booth.

Among other things, he issued the following reward:

War Department, Washington, April 20, 1865.
Major-General John A. Dix, New York:

The murderer of our late beloved President, Abraham Lincoln, is
still at large. Fifty thousand dollars reward will be paid by
this Department for his apprehension, in addition to any reward
offered by municipal authorities or State Executives.

Twenty-five thousand dollars reward will be paid for the
apprehension of G. W. Atzerodt, sometimes called “Port Tobacco,”
one of Booth’s accomplices. Twenty-five thousand dollars reward
will be paid for the apprehension of David C. Herold, another of
Booth’s accomplices.

A liberal reward will be paid for any information that shall
conduce to the arrest of either the above-named criminals or
their accomplices.

All persons harboring or secreting the said persons, or either of
them, or aiding or assisting their concealment or escape, will be
treated as accomplices in the murder of the President and the
attempted assassination of the Secretary of State, and shall be
subject to trial before a military commission, and the punishment
of death.

Let the stain of innocent blood be removed from the land by the
arrest and punishment of the murderers.

All good citizens are exhorted to aid public justice on this
occasion. Every man should consider his own conscience charged
with this solemn duty, and rest neither night nor day until it be

EDWIN M. STANTON, Secretary of War.

Booth, accompanied by David C. Herold, a fellow-conspirator,
finally made his way into Maryland, where eleven days after the
assassination the two were discovered in a barn on Garrett’s farm
near Port Royal on the Rappahannock. The barn was surrounded by a
squad of cavalrymen, who called upon the assassins to surrender.
Herold gave himself up and was roundly cursed and abused by
Booth, who declared that he would never be taken alive.

The cavalrymen then set fire to the barn and as the flames leaped
up the figure of the assassin could be plainly seen, although the
wall of fire prevented him from seeing the soldiers. Colonel
Conger saw him standing upright upon a crutch with a carbine in
his hands.

When the fire first blazed up Booth crept on his hands and knees
to the spot, evidently for the purpose of shooting the man who
had applied the torch, but the blaze prevented him from seeing
anyone. Then it seemed as if he were preparing to extinguish the
flames, but seeing the impossibility of this he started toward
the door with his carbine held ready for action.

His eyes shone with the light of fever, but he was pale as death
and his general appearance was haggard and unkempt. He had shaved
off his mustache and his hair was closely cropped. Both he and
Herold wore the uniforms of Confederate soldiers.

The last orders given to the squad pursuing Booth were: “Don’t
shoot Booth, but take him alive.” Just as Booth started to the
door of the barn this order was disobeyed by a sergeant named
Boston Corbett, who fired through a crevice and shot Booth in the
neck. The wounded man was carried out of the barn and died four
hours afterward on the grass where they had laid him. Before he
died he whispered to Lieutenant Baker, “Tell mother I died for my
country; I thought I did for the best.” What became of Booth’s
body has always been and probably always will be a mystery. Many
different stories have been told concerning his final resting
place, but all that is known positively is that the body was
first taken to Washington and a post-mortem examination of it
held on the Monitor Montauk. On the night of April 27th it was
turned over to two men who took it in a rowboat and disposed of
it secretly. How they disposed of it none but themselves know and
they have never told.

The conspiracy to assassinate the President involved altogether
twenty-five people. Among the number captured and tried were
David C. Herold, G. W. Atzerodt, Louis Payne, Edward Spangler,
Michael O’Loughlin, Samuel Arnold, Mrs. Surratt and Dr. Samuel
Mudd, a physician, who set Booth’s leg, which was sprained by his
fall from the stage box. Of these Herold, Atzerodt, Payne and
Mrs. Surratt were hanged. Dr. Mudd was deported to the Dry
Tortugas. While there an epidemic of yellow fever broke out and
he rendered such good service that he was granted a pardon and
died a number of years ago in Maryland.

John Surratt, the son of the woman who was hanged, made his
escape to Italy, where he became one of the Papal guards in the
Vatican at Rome. His presence there was discovered by Archbishop
Hughes, and, although there were no extradition laws to cover his
case, the Italian Government gave him up to the United States

He had two trials. At the first the jury disagreed; the long
delay before his second trial allowed him to escape by pleading
the statute of limitation. Spangler and O’Loughlin were sent to
the Dry Tortugas and served their time.

Ford, the owner of the theatre in which the President was
assassinated, was a Southern sympathizer, and when he attempted
to re-open his theatre after the great national tragedy,
Secretary Stanton refused to allow it. The Government afterward
bought the theatre and turned it into a National museum.

President Lincoln was buried at Springfield, and on the day of
his funeral there was universal grief.

No final words of that great life can be more fitly spoken than
the eulogy pronounced by Henry Ward Beecher:

“And now the martyr is moving in triumphal march, mightier than
when alive. The nation rises up at every stage of his coming.
Cities and States are his pall-bearers, and the cannon speaks the
hours with solemn progression. Dead, dead, dead, he yet speaketh.

“Is Washington dead? Is Hampden dead? Is any man that was ever
fit to live dead? Disenthralled of flesh, risen to the
unobstructed sphere where passion never comes, he begins
his illimitable work. His life is now grafted upon the infinite,
and will be fruitful as no earthly life can be.

“Pass on, thou that hast overcome. Ye people, behold the martyr
whose blood, as so many articulate words, pleads for fidelity,
for law, for liberty.”

Abraham Lincoln was married on November 4, 1842, to Miss Mary
Todd, four sons being the issue of the union.

Robert Todd, born August 1, 1843, removed to Chicago after his
father’s death, practiced law, and became wealthy; in 1881 he was
appointed Secretary of War by President Garfield, and served
through President Arthur’s term; was made Minister to England in
1889, and served four years; became counsel for the Pullman
Palace Car Company, and succeeded to the presidency of that
corporation upon the death of George M. Pullman.

Edward Baker, born March 10, 1846, died in infancy.

William Wallace, born December 21, 1850, died in the White House
in February, 1862.

Thomas (known as “Tad”), born April 4, 1853, died in 1871.

Mrs. Lincoln died in her sixty-fourth year at the home of her
sister, Mrs. Ninian W. Edwards, at Springfield, Illinois, in
1882. She was the daughter of Robert S. Todd, of Kentucky. Her
great-uncle, John Todd, and her grandfather, Levi Todd,
accompanied General George Rogers Clark to Illinois, and were
present at the capture of Kaskaskia and Vincennes. In December,
1778, John Todd was appointed by Patrick Henry, Governor of
Virginia, to be lieutenant of the County of Illinois, then a part
of Virginia. Colonel John Todd was one of the original
proprietors of the town of Lexington, Kentucky. While encamped on
the site of the present city, he heard of the opening battle of
the Revolution, and named his infant settlement in its honor.

Mrs. Lincoln was a proud, ambitious woman, well-educated,
speaking French fluently, and familiar with the ways of the best
society in Lexington, Kentucky, where she was born December 13,
1818. She was a pupil of Madame Mantelli, whose celebrated
seminary in Lexington was directly opposite the residence of
Henry Clay. The conversation at the seminary was carried on
entirely in French.

She visited Springfield, Illinois, in 1837, remained three months
and then returned to her native State. In 1839 she made
Springfield her permanent home. She lived with her eldest sister,
Elizabeth, wife of Ninian W. Edwards, Lincoln’s colleague in the
Legislature, and it was not strange she and Lincoln should meet.
Stephen A. Douglas was also a friend of the Edwards family, and a
suitor for her hand, but she rejected him to accept the future
President. She was one of the belles of the town.

She is thus described at the time she made her home in

“She was of the average height, weighing about a hundred and
thirty pounds. She was rather compactly built, had a well rounded
face, rich dark-brown hair, and bluish-gray eyes. In her bearing
she was proud, but handsome and vivacious; she was a good
conversationalist, using with equal fluency the French and
English languages.

“When she used a pen, its point was sure to be sharp, and she
wrote with wit and ability. She not only had a quick intellect
but an intuitive judgment of men and their motives. Ordinarily
she was affable and even charming in her manners; but when
offended or antagonized she could be very bitter and sarcastic.

“In her figure and physical proportions, in education, bearing,
temperament, history–in everything she was the exact reverse of

That Mrs. Lincoln was very proud of her husband there is no
doubt; and it is probable that she married him largely from
motives of ambition. She knew Lincoln better than he knew
himself; she instinctively felt that he would occupy a proud
position some day, and it is a matter of record that she told
Ward Lamon, her husband’s law partner, that “Mr. Lincoln will yet
be President of the United States.”

Mrs. Lincoln was decidedly pro-slavery in her views, but this
never disturbed Lincoln. In various ways they were unlike. Her
fearless, witty, and austere nature had nothing in common with
the calm, imperturbable, and simple ways of her thoughtful and
absent-minded husband. She was bright and sparkling in
conversation, and fit to grace any drawing-room. She well knew
that to marry Lincoln meant not a life of luxury and ease, for
Lincoln was not a man to accumulate wealth; but in him she saw
position in society, prominence in the world, and the grandest
social distinction. By that means her ambition was certainly
satisfied, for nineteen years after her marriage she was “the
first lady of the land,” and the mistress of the White House.

After his marriage, by dint of untiring efforts and the
recognition of influential friends, the couple managed through
rare frugality to move along.

In Lincoln’s struggles, both in the law and for political
advancement, his wife shared his sacrifices. She was a plucky
little woman, and in fact endowed with a more restless ambition
than he. She was gifted with a rare insight into the motives that
actuate mankind, and there is no doubt that much of Lincoln’s
success was in a measure attributable to her acuteness and the
stimulus of her influence.

His election to Congress within four years after their marriage
afforded her extreme gratification. She loved power and
prominence, and was inordinately proud of her tall and ungainly
husband. She saw in him bright prospects ahead, and his every
move was watched by her with the closest interest. If to other
persons he seemed homely, to her he was the embodiment of noble
manhood, and each succeeding day impressed upon her the wisdom of
her choice of Lincoln over Douglas–if in reality she ever
seriously accepted the latter’s attentions.

“Mr. Lincoln may not be as handsome a figure,” she said one day
in Lincoln’s law office during her husband’s absence, when the
conversation turned on Douglas, “but the people are perhaps not
aware that his heart is as large as his arms are long.”

The remains of Abraham Lincoln rest beneath a magnificent
monument in Oak Ridge Cemetery, Springfield, Ill. Before they
were deposited in their final resting place they were moved many

On May 4, 1865, all that was mortal of Abraham Lincoln was
deposited in the receiving vault at the cemetery, until a tomb
could be built. In 1876 thieves made an unsuccessful attempt to
steal the remains. From the tomb the body of the martyred
President was removed later to the monument.

A flight of iron steps, commencing about fifty yards east of the
vault, ascends in a curved line to the monument, an elevation of
more than fifty feet.

Excavation for this monument commenced September 9, 1869. It is
built of granite, from quarries at Biddeford, Maine. The rough
ashlers were shipped to Quincy, Massachusetts, where they were
dressed and numbered, thence shipped to Springfield. It is 721
feet from east to west, 119 1/2 feet from north to south, and l00
feet high. The total cost is about $230,000 to May 1, 1885. All
the statuary is orange-colored bronze. The whole monument was
designed by Larkin G. Mead; the statuary was modeled in plaster
by him in Florence, Italy, and cast by the Ames Manufacturing
Company, of Chicopee, Massachusetts. A statue of Lincoln and Coat
of Arms were first placed on the monument; the statue was
unveiled and the monument dedicated October 15, 1874. Infantry
and Naval Groups were put on in September, 1877, an Artillery
Group, April 13, 1882, and a Cavalry Group, March 13, 1883.

The principal front of the monument is on the south side, the
statue of Lincoln being on that side of the obelisk, over
Memorial Hall. On the east side are three tablets, upon which are
the letters U. S. A. To the right of that, and beginning with
Virginia, we find the the abbreviations of the original thirteen
States. Next comes Vermont, the first state admitted after the
Union was perfected, the States following in the order they were
admitted, ending with Nebraska on the east, thus forming the
cordon of thirty-seven States composing the United States of
America when the monument was erected. The new States admitted
since the monument was built have been added.

The statue of Lincoln is just above the Coat of Arms of the
United States. The grand climax is indicated by President
Lincoln, with his left hand holding out as a golden scepter the
emancipation Proclamation, while in his right he holds the pen
with which he has just written it. The right hand is resting on
another badge of authority, the American flag, thrown over the
fasces. At the foot of the fasces lies a wreath of laurel, with
which to crown the President as the victor over slavery and

On March 10, 1900, President Lincoln’s body was removed to a
temporary vault to permit of alterations to the monument. The
shaft was made twenty feet higher, and other changes were made
costing $100,000.

April 24, 1901. the body was again transferred to the monument
without public ceremony.
End of Etext of Lincoln’s Yarns and Stories by
Colonel Alexander K. McClure

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