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´╗┐Title: Boys' and Girls' Biography of Abraham Lincoln
Author: Shaw, James H.
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Boys' and Girls' Biography of Abraham Lincoln" ***

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              Boys' and Girls' Biography of Abraham Lincoln.

                            By James H. Shaw.

    Evergreen City Publishing Company,
    Bloomington, Illinois.



Boys' and Girls' Biography of Abraham Lincoln.


A great English writer[1] in a lecture on America and the Americans said
that when an American gets to heaven he will not be satisfied unless he
can move farther west.

[Footnote 1: Charles Dickens.]

He said this because it has been so much the custom of our people to
"move West." It is not so common now as it was a few years ago because
the great public lands, free to those who would settle on them or plant
trees, are mostly occupied.

The Lincoln family a couple of hundred years ago first "moved west" from
England to Massachusetts; then they moved west again to Pennsylvania;
then west and south to Virginia; then west again to Kentucky.

Way back in the last century a man was digging in the rich soil of
Kentucky. He turned up clods, planted seed and God sent the rain-drops
and sun-beams and the grain sprang up and became gold. The surest gold
mine in the world is our fertile soil and the surest miner is our

    "Whoever plants a seed beneath the sod
    And waits to see it push away the clod
    He trusts in God."

A little boy watched his father work and learned the lesson that man
lives best by the sweat of his own brow, not by the sweat of other men's
brows. While they toiled, through the shadows of the surrounding forest
a savage stole secretly toward them on his soft moccasins. He paused,
aimed his gun and fired. The man fell over dead; then the Indian came
rapidly, caught up the boy and ran off toward the woods with him. But
his older brother, Mordecai, ran to the log hut and catching up the ever
ready gun shot the Indian through the heart and sent him to the "happy
hunting ground," and saved little Thomas Lincoln, who grew up to be a
man and became the father of our beloved martyr president, Abraham

You have no doubt read of the adventures of Daniel Boone and the
pioneers of Kentucky. A little boy thought these pioneers were so grand
he said he wanted to be a "pioneer" when he went to heaven. But these
pioneers had many hardships we do not have. They were constantly
fighting the Indians and did not have the pleasant homes we have, but
lived in rough log cabins, without plaster on the walls and with only
the earth for floors. The snow drifted through the cracks of the logs
and sometimes the children would wake up in the morning and find a
little drift of snow on top of the bed quilt.

Though these Kentucky pioneers had hard times, they must have had a good
place to live in after all, for some of the most honored men of our
history, such as Andrew Jackson, Daniel Boone, David Crockett, Senator
Benton, Henry Clay and Abraham Lincoln came from this pioneer country.

The little boy, Thomas Lincoln, who was saved by his brother Mordecai,
was born in Jefferson county, Kentucky in 1778. He grew to be a man in
these wild surroundings. It was common to have a fight with the Indians
and many and many a time he shot deer and bears. The people did not have
much beef then but the meat was mostly wild turkeys, geese, prairie
chickens, quail, venison and bears' meat. Every boy learned to shoot
well and nearly always carried his gun with him even when he was working
in the field, for an Indian might steal up on him or some wild game pass
by. A large part of the clothing was made out of the skins of wild

September 2d, 1806, Thomas Lincoln and Nancy Hanks were married; he was
twenty-eight years old and she was twenty-three. A Methodist minister,
Rev. Jesse Head, performed the ceremony.

The preachers were called circuit riders then because they preached at
so many places and all the places were united into what was called a

This often included hundreds of miles and the preacher would only be at
one of the points once in several months. He rode on horseback and
carried his things in saddle bags hung across the horse's back.

Thomas and Nancy settled on Rock

Creek farm in Hardin county. Thomas built a new log cabin and fixed
things up. In this log cabin on the 12th of February, 1809, Abraham
Lincoln was born. He had a sister two years older and one young brother
who died while a little baby. Thomas Lincoln was a slow-moving man and
fond of jokes. He could not read until after he was married. This is not
so very strange for you must remember that at that time, in Kentucky,
there were very few schools. His wife taught him to read by spelling out
the words in the Bible.

Nancy, Abraham's mother, was a very pretty woman. She was naturally
refined and was considered well educated and had a cultivated and strong
mind. Her son is supposed to have inherited his strong intellect from
his mother and his fondness for stories and jokes from his father.

The mother taught her children to read and write and made them fond of
books so that her son Abraham became a hard student and thus laid the
foundation for his greatness. She was also a religious woman and trained
the children to love God and keep his commandments.

Though Abraham grew up in very rough surroundings he did not learn to
think that his words were made more emphatic or his expressions stronger
by oaths. Abraham Lincoln never swore; he did not think it manly to take
God's name in vain. One time when he was clerking, a rowdy swore in the
store and in the presence of ladies. When they were gone Lincoln asked
the man to step outside. He then threw him down and rubbed smart-weed in
his eyes to punish him for his swearing, but as he was also kind-hearted
he got some water afterwards and helped wash the smart out.

Kentucky has always been a great tobacco raising state and though little
Abe grew up to be quite a good-sized boy in that state he did not think,
as many boys foolishly do, that it is manly to use tobacco, for Abraham
Lincoln never used tobacco in any form.

His mother taught him these good things and he learned to do what his
mother taught him and many years after she was dead and he had become a
great man he said, "All I am or hope to be I owe to my angel mother."
These incidents seem all the more wonderful because there were but few
Sunday-schools then to teach such lessons and churches were so few
Abraham did not see one until he was twenty-one years old.


The year Indiana was admitted into the Union, 1816, Thomas Lincoln moved
his family to Spencer county in the southern part of that state. Little
Abe was nearly eight years old at this time. It was a long, hard trip.
They said good bye to their old home and friends and with their goods on
a wagon drawn by oxen, slowly moved along. There were no such roads as
we have; often there was only a path through the woods and at other
times they had to cut down trees and tear away underbrush to get
through. They also had to ford some uncertain streams because there were
no bridges. They were ferried over the Ohio river.

They settled in southern Indiana, near the town of Gentryville and built
a log cabin house which was called a half-faced camp because it was
enclosed on all sides but one. There was no floor other than the ground
and no door or window. Part of the land around it was cultivated, and on
this they raised corn and vegetables; but the most of it was woods.
Their neighbors were few and so far away even the smoke from their
chimneys could not be seen. At this time there were no steamers going up
the Ohio river to bring them news from Washington, to say nothing of
news from Europe, and as for railroads, there were none at all in this
western country, so that you can see it was very lonesome. They had no
such opportunities as we have. Abraham learned to use the ax and wedge
because with them most of the home was built. They did not even have
saws. For their clothing, they cut the wool from the sheep's back, and
mother would card, spin and weave it. They used needles from the pine
trees and buttons were made by sewing a bit of cloth on a piece of bone.
The one table they had in the one room, was made by cutting a rough slab
of wood, boring holes in the corners and making rough legs. The chairs
were made much the same way. They did not have any bed-steads; but made
a frame by putting holes in the logs of the house and fastening side
pieces to a pole driven down into the ground, then they covered it with
skin, dry leaves and some rough cloth. Little Abraham slept in the loft.
He had a corner there filled with dry leaves, to which he had to climb
by means of pegs driven into the logs. Their food was of the plainest
kind as far as bread went, corn dodger being the most common. Wheat
bread, which they called cake, they sometimes had for Sunday. Once in a
while they would have potatoes for a meal; but most of the time they had
fish and game, such as deer, bear, wild turkeys, ducks, etc., for all of
these were plentiful there. They did not have stoves as we have; but
used a large fireplace built of brick or stone in the side of the log
house. They had what was called a Dutch oven to do the baking. They did
not have the many cooking vessels we have now and hence did not have the
variety of food. They raised their own indigo with which they colored
the cloth they made. They also used sumac berries and white walnut bark
to color. They raised some cotton, which they would put near the
fireplace, to keep warm and make it sweat, and then card it, spin it and
finally color it. This would make what they called a pretty linsey dress
or suit. They had to make their own soap by taking the fat of hogs and
boiling it in a kettle with lye. Abraham's clothes were often made of
deerskin, and he wore a coonskin for a cap.

One October day, a few of the friends of the Lincolns gathered around an
open grave under a large cypress tree, and they buried the mother of
Abraham Lincoln. They had lived but two years is that southern Indiana
home. When all the others had gone away, and the shades of night were
coming on, little Abraham threw himself on the new made grave and wept
hours, for the greatest sadness and loss that could come to him was the
death of his mother. Mother does more for us than any one else; when we
are helpless she cares for us, and waits on us, and teaches us and does
more for us than we can ever do for her. When a boy or girl loses his
mother, he loses the one who will always do the most for him. It was not
strange then that this little ten year old boy should feel so sad, when
he knew he never could have the kind care of his own mother again. There
were no preachers there who could perform the ceremony at the burial;
but Abraham wrote to an old preacher friend down in Kentucky, one of
those circuit riders I told you about, and many months later, he came
and preached the funeral sermon. The man's name was David Elkin. At this
time, all the friends from far and near came to hear the funeral sermon.

Some time after his wife's death, Thomas Lincoln went back to Kentucky,
and there married a widow, Mrs. Sallie Johnson, who with her three
children, came to the log cabin home near Gentryville, where had been
left little Abraham and Sarah. Mrs. Johnson had a nice lot of household
furniture, and when she came, she brought it with her. There was a
bureau, table, set of chairs, clothes chest, knives and forks and
bedding. All of these seemed wonderfully nice to Abraham and Sarah, for
they did not have them before. Thomas Lincoln built a new log cabin
house that had four sides and a kind of door and window in it. They also
put a floor in the cabin made of slabs, and put plastering between the
cracks in the logs. A feather bed was made for the children to sleep on.
The step-mother was very good to them and took much interest in
Abraham's studies. They did not have many books at that time; but
Abraham was a great reader, and borrowed from all the neighbors. The
books he was most familiar with, were the Bible, Bunyan's Pilgrim's
Progress, Weems' Life of Washington and the poems of Robert Burns. He
did not have many books, and he read the ones he had over and over
again, and became very familiar with them. Edward Eggelston, the author
of the famous book "The Hoosier Schoolmaster," was one time confined by
a storm in a house where the only books they had were the Bible and a
dictionary. He said he learned more in those three days than in any
other three days of his life. There has been no statesman who quoted the
Bible so well as Mr. Lincoln, and the reason is, that he studied the
Bible thoroughly when a small boy. Hardly any of his speeches but have
many quotations from the Bible. His step-mother urged him all she could
to study. In reading the life of Washington, he came to think he might
make something out of himself. At this time, they were poor, and there
were few opportunities, and the chances for becoming a great and
prominent man seemed very small; yet young Abraham thought if he would
study hard, he might make something out of himself, and so he did. The
school was very small, and as he had to work a great deal of the time on
the farm, he could not attend it very much; but at night, he would
often, after working hard all day, lie in front of the fireplace and
figure on a piece of board. When he had used up all the space he scraped
it off, and figured again. He would also read books by this same light.
One night while reading the Life of Washington, lying in bed, he placed
the book in the crack between the logs and went to sleep. In the night,
it snowed, and some snow drifted between the logs on the book and
injured it a great deal. It was borrowed from one of the neighbors.
Abraham took it to the owner, and asked him what he could do to pay for
it, and the man said he could work three days on the farm, and Abraham
asked him if that would pay for the injury or pay for the book. The man
said, "Well Abraham, you may have the book, I do not want it." Perhaps
not many of us would be willing to work that hard to get the Life of
Washington; but it was that very hard work and liking to study that made
it possible for Mr. Lincoln to rise from such humble surroundings to be
the great man he was. If he had not worked hard and studied in that way,
he never could have become great. We cannot amount to much of anything
if we are not willing, as boys and girls, to study and work.

He was always a good speller in school. They used to stand up in two
rows and spell down. When you failed on the word, you sat down and the
next one had a chance at it. A girl was trying to spell "definite," she
was afraid she would miss it and she became nervous, and was about to
spell it with a "y," when Abraham, who was standing across the room, put
his finger up to his eye, giving her a sign, and then she knew it was
"i" instead of "y." Abraham also made a habit of committing to memory
pieces out of the books he was reading, and thus it became possible in
after years for him to use fine quotations in his speeches. He was one
of the best scholars in school. He was also noted for keeping his
clothes clean longer than the others. Sometimes when Abraham was plowing
in the field, at the end of a long row, the horse was allowed to rest,
and he would then get his book from the corner of the fence and read a
little, until it was time to start again. His father did not want him to
do so much reading because he thought he was neglecting the necessary
work; but his step-mother persuaded his father that Abraham was a good
boy and ought to be allowed to read all he could, because it would make
a better man of him. A Mr. Jones, who kept a store in Gentryville took
about the only paper that was received there, and Abraham used to go
into the store regularly to borrow it. He would often read aloud to the
men who gathered there, and make comments. He was so bright in this that
there would always be a great crowd around to listen to him. Abraham was
a great story teller, and would give them many a hearty laugh with the
stories he could tell. Special subjects were also much discussed. About
this time, a few people began to claim that negro slavery was a bad
thing, and there was general discussion over it. Slavery was universally
common in the South. One question of debate was, which was the most to
be complained of, the Indian or the Negro. Soon Mr. Lincoln's habit of
making comments grew into speech making, and he sometimes gave sort of
stump speeches to the crowd in which he would recite passages that he
had committed from the speeches of some of the great orators. He used to
get up on the stump of an old tree to deliver these speeches. This is
why they were called stump speeches. His father did not like this
because it took his attention away from the farm work. Once in a while,
Abraham used to go to Booneville, the county seat to hear law suits. He
also wrote an essay on temperance, and a preacher thought it was so
good, he sent it to Ohio and it was published in a paper. He heard one
of the celebrated Breckenridges make a very fine speech in a law suit.
Although he was a rough country boy, when Mr. Breckenridge, after the
speech, came by where he sat, Lincoln told him the speech was fine; but
the great lawyer thought the young man too cheeky in speaking to him and
snubbed him. In after years when Mr. Lincoln was president, Mr.
Breckenridge called on him, and Mr. Lincoln reminded him of this
incident. In the spring of 1828 when he was nineteen, Mr. Gentry,
proprietor of the store at Gentryville, hired him to take a flat boat
loaded with bacon and farm produce to New Orleans. A son of Mr. Gentry's
was his companion. The boys had quite a time boating down the Ohio to
the Mississippi and then down the Mississippi to New Orleans. One night
when they had tied up the boat and were asleep, some negroes attacked
them and tried to steal their goods, but they successfully drove the
negroes away. At this time, there were a few steamers going up and down
the Mississippi and the boys came home by one of them. It was a
wonderful trip for these boys, Abraham was at this time, a remarkably
strong young man. He grew to be six feet four inches tall, and could
lift far more than any ordinary man, and could strike a heavier blow
with a maul and sink an ax deeper into the wood than almost any other
man. He got eight dollars a month and his board as pay for his hard trip
to New Orleans. He became a very good penman in school, and was known in
that neighborhood for his good writing. One of the copies in his
copy-book that was a favorite was:

"Good boys who to their books apply, will all be great men bye and bye."

His step-mother who was fond of him, said "Abraham was a good boy, and I
can say what scarcely a mother can say: Abraham never gave me a cross
word or look, and never refused in fact or appearance anything I
requested. I never gave him a cross word in all my life. His mind and
mine seemed to run together. Abraham was the best boy I ever saw or
expect to see."

They used to teach politeness in school those days. One of the scholars
would go outside and knock at the door and another would admit him and
ask him to be seated, and the boy was to take off his hat and bow and be
as careful and polite as he could. Although Abraham was very tall and
awkward, he was said to be very gentlemanly in his manners, and the lady
for whom he worked, said he always lifted his hat when he bowed to her.
That was not common then. His sister Sarah, who was two years older than
himself, was married to Aaron Grigsby in 1828 and only lived a year and
a half after her marriage.

After fourteen years of hard labor on the Spencer county soil, Thomas
Lincoln had learned what has proved ever since true, that it was very
poor farm land. In addition, the milk sickness was a sort of an epidemic
disease in those parts. It came about every year. It was from this that
Abe's mother died. These things, together with some word that he had
received, that Illinois had rich farm land, made him decide to move to
that state. A cousin had already moved there and gave splendid reports
of it. The company which moved to Illinois included Thomas Lincoln, his
wife and her three children, Abraham and some of the other relatives,
thirteen in all. They sold their land, cattle and grain in March, 1830
and started on their trip. Their goods were packed in a big wagon, the
first one Thomas Lincoln ever owned. It was drawn by four oxen. The
people around Gentryville were very sorry to see them go, for the
neighbors in those days were almost like relatives, and those of them
that still live there, remember the leaving of the Lincoln's as quite an
event. The Lincoln family spent the last night with Mr. Gentry, the man
for whom Gentryville was named, and he went part of the way with them
along the road. One of the boys, James Gentry, planted a cedar tree in
memory of Abraham Lincoln on the ground where the Lincoln home had
stood. It must have been sad to Abraham to know he was leaving behind
him the graves of his mother and sister and the scene of so many
struggles to be a better man. As they drove through the country,
Abraham, who had some thirty dollars he had saved, purchased some things
and sold them as they came to settlements, and in this practical way
earned something along the trip.

The things he sold were needles, pins, thread, buttons, knives and
forks, etc. Abraham wrote back to one of his friends that he doubled his
money on the way. This was Abraham's first effort as a merchant. They
were about two weeks on their trip. When they passed through Vincennes,
Indiana, they saw for the first time, a printing press. They landed in
Macon county, where John Hanks, their relative had already cut logs for
a new cabin. Many years afterward, when Decatur, the county seat, had
become a large city and Mr. Lincoln a great man, he walked out a few
feet in front of the court house with a friend, stood looking up at the
building and said, "Here is the exact spot where I stood by our wagon
when we moved from Indiana twenty-six years ago. This is not six feet
from the exact spot." The friend asked him if at that time he expected
to be a lawyer and practice law in that court house. He replied, "No, I
did not know I had sense enough to be a lawyer then."

They fenced in with a rail fence, ten acres of ground, and raised a crop
of corn upon it. Mr. Lincoln and Dennis Hanks split the rails for the
fence, and many years afterwards, men carried some of them into a state
convention at Decatur, where Mr. Lincoln was nominated as the Illinois
candidate for president, with a banner, saying they were split by him,
and he was the "rail candidate."


Thomas Lincoln was now well fixed to begin life over again, and as
Abraham was twenty-one, he wished to do for himself and started out. He
never afterwards was a member of his father's household. Thomas Lincoln
lived here a number of years; but afterwards moved to Coles county,
where he lived on a farm near the village of Farmington, that Abraham
bought for him. He died January 17th, 1851. Abraham at the time could
not be present on account of sickness in his own family, so he wrote as
follows: "I sincerely hope that father may recover his health. Tell him
to remember to call upon the great God and all-wise Maker, who will not
turn away from him in any extremity. He notes the fall of the sparrow,
He numbers the hairs of our heads, and will not forget the dying man who
puts his trust in Him. Say to him that if we could meet now it is
doubtful whether it would not be more painful than pleasant; but that if
it be His will for him to go now, he will soon have the joyous meeting
of the loved ones gone before, where the rest of us with the help of God
will hope ere long to join them." Talking to a friend after the death of
his father about his mother, he said "that whatever might be said of his
parents, however unpromising the surroundings of his mother may have
been, she was highly intellectual by nature and had a strong memory and
acute judgment." She had no doubt risen above her surroundings, and had
she lived, the stimulus of her nature would have accelerated the son's

When Abraham started out for himself, he had almost nothing, not even a
nice suit of clothes, and the very first work he did was to split four
hundred rails for enough money to buy him a pair of brown jeans pants.
He had no trade or influence; but he was strong and good natured. He
could out-lift and out-wrestle and out-work any man he came across. His
friends used to boast of his strength a great deal. One time when he was
president, a man came to him, who was shy on account of being before the
president. After his errand was done, Mr. Lincoln asked him to measure
with him, and the man proved to be even taller, and went away seeming to
think there was something wrong in his being taller than the president
of the United States. While his strength made him popular with the hard
working men, his good nature, wit, stories, and ability to make a good
speech made him popular with everybody! The people liked to have him
around, so he could always get work in the various kinds of labor
necessary on the farm about there. He remained in Macon county a year,
and made for one man alone, three thousand rails. He continued at this
time to read all the books he could get, and also to make stump
speeches, often doing it alone in the woods. A man came along making
political speeches. John Banks told Abraham that he could do better.
Abraham tried it, and the man after hearing his speech took him aside
and asked him how he learned so much and how he could do so well.
Abraham told him that he read a great deal and the man encouraged him to

A Mr. Benton Offut wanted to send some produce to New Orleans. Abraham
had had some experience on a trip you will remember before, and so Mr.
Offut hired him at the rate of fifty cents a day to take a flat boat of
goods to New Orleans and sell them. When they were building this boat at
Sangamon, a town that is now gone, Lincoln used to tell stories
particularly in the evening when work was done. They would sit along a
log, and when they came to a funny part, they would laugh so hard that
the men would roll off the log. It is said they did this so often that
it polished the log. They called this "Abraham's log," and many years
afterward, even when Mr. Lincoln was noted, this log was pointed out to
strangers as "Abraham's log."

When they started to New Orleans their boat got stuck on a dam in the
Sangamon River at New Salem, but Mr. Lincoln thought out a good plan for
getting it off and they finally reached New Orleans in May 1831. They
remained there a month. It was a large city and was very interesting to
Abraham. It was the great business center of the South, and as negro
slavery was a very prominent feature of the South, they saw it in all
its wickedness. At New Orleans one day, John Hanks and Abraham were
walking along the street and came to a slave market. They saw a
beautiful slave girl put up for sale. They pinched her and trotted her
up and down the street just as you would a horse to show its fine parts.
This disgusted Abraham so much that he turned to Hanks and said, "John,
if I ever get a chance to hit that thing (slavery) I will hit it hard."
Strange was it not that he should be the man that would hit it so hard
that it died.

When he returned from New Orleans, Mr. Offut hired him to take charge of
a little store at New Salem, which he started. This town was a very
little village twenty miles north-west of Springfield. The place where
it was located is now simply a pasture for cattle and sheep, the town
having entirely passed away; but it will always be noted in history as
the place where Abraham Lincoln, the great man lived and conducted a
store. Thus you see that men are so much more important than places, and
it is _their deeds_ that make history. In after years when Mr. Douglas
was debating with Mr. Lincoln he joked him about this store keeping, and
said that he sold liquor over the New Salem bar. When it came Mr.
Lincoln's turn to reply, he was just as witty in his reply and said that
if he did sell liquor over the New Salem bar as his friend had said, he
could assure his audience that the best patron he had was Stephen A.
Douglas. This was simply a joke between these two debaters; but it
illustrates how quick Mr. Lincoln's wit was.

We all no doubt think ourselves honest; but I wonder if we are as
strictly honest as Mr. Lincoln was. After measuring out some tea for a
lady one evening in the store, he gave it to her. After attending to
other work in the store, he happened to pass by the scales and noticed
he had made a mistake and given her too little. He measured out the
difference, wrapped it up, and although the woman lived a long distance
away, he hastened off to bring her the difference. Perhaps the most of
us might have thought that we would wait until she came in again and
give it to her and perhaps then forget all about it; but that was not
Mr. Lincoln's way. One evening after discovering that he had taken six
and a fourth cents too much from a customer, he walked three miles and
returned the money at once. He also was postmaster, but the postoffice
was so small and did such a little business that the government closed
it up. They neglected, however, to get the balance due them of about
sixteen dollars. Many years afterwards when Mr. Lincoln was living in
Springfield, the agent for the government came to his office for the
money. In the meantime Mr. Lincoln had been through some very great
poverty, and often needed just a little money very much. I presume many
people would have borrowed that sixteen dollars for the time and
returned it when the agent came for it. A friend of Mr. Lincoln's called
him to one side when the agent came for the money, and said he knew he
was poor, and probably did not have that amount with him, and he would
loan it to him; but Mr. Lincoln said he did not need it, and asking the
agent to wait awhile, he went over to his room and got an old sock out
of his trunk and bringing this back to the office, untied it and dumped
on the table the exact money he had received as the postmaster many
years before. Here is a good lesson for us in strict and exact honesty.
This instance illustrates Mr. Lincoln's very strict honesty, and as he
became known about New Salem, and this characteristic was seen by the
people, he was nicknamed "Honest Abe," and this name for honesty went
with him ever afterward, and when he would speak to the jury in a law
suit, and tell them the facts, they would always believe him because he
was known as "Honest Abe," and would not tell a lie. So you see that it
was a very great advantage to him in after years to have been so
strictly honest. It proves the old saying true, that "Honesty is the
best policy."

Mr. Offut, Abraham's employer was very proud of his strength and was
wont to boast of it very often. There was a settlement near New Salem
called Clary's Grove. A large number of young men who lived in that
vicinity ran together and were known as the Clary's Grove boys. They
were large and strong young men, and very much given to fun and sport.
They were rude and rough and would wrestle, fight and do a great many
tricks. Abraham, being a stranger bragged on by his employer they
thought it was necessary to "take the starch out of him," so they put up
their best man, Jack Armstrong to wrestle against Abraham. Jack
Armstrong was a square built fellow and strong as an ox. Abraham did not
like this sort of thing, but it was hard to avoid it. So they met on a
certain day for the wrestling match. The crowd came to witness the
contest. For a long time they struggled without either gaining a
victory, and both keeping on their feet. Finally Armstrong made a foul
and this made Abraham furious, so he caught Jack by the throat, held him
out at arm's length and shook him as though he was only a child.
Armstrong's friends rushed to his aid, but Abraham backed up to the
building and stood ready. His friends came to his support, and when all
knew about Armstrong's trick and also recognized Abraham's wonderful
strength, they became admirers of him, and ever after the Clary's Grove
boys were staunch friends of Mr. Lincoln.

He used the influence thus acquired to teach them that the mind is the
measure of the man, and not physical strength and by his example taught
them that to cultivate the mind by reading and study was the more
important thing and he did them a great deal of good.


While Abraham clerked in Mr. Offut's store he studied hard. Some one
told him he ought to study grammar. In all the neighborhood there was
but one grammar. He heard where it was, and started off at once, and got
Kirkham's grammar. He applied himself to learning it, and would recite
to his friend, Green, and then would consult the school teacher, Mr.
Graham about points. In a few weeks he had learned it, and then took up
other studies. The men thereabouts, seeing him study so much, got the
idea that he was going to be a great man.

One morning in April, 1832, a messenger from the governor came into New
Salem, scattering circulars asking for volunteers for the Black Hawk
war. Black Hawk was one of the Indian chiefs who had caused the
government a great deal of trouble.

He made an attack on the settlers. The governor called for help, and
volunteers. Mr. Lincoln with a number of the Clary's Grove boys and
others about New Salem volunteered and went down to Beardstown on the
22nd of April, 1832 to form a regiment. They did not have regular
uniform, but each was dressed in whatever clothing he had. Many of them
wore buckskin breeches and coonskin caps. Each man had his own blanket,
and carried flint lock rifles, with a powder horn slung over his
shoulder. Mr. Kirkpatrick wanted to be captain, and Lincoln thought he
would like to be. This same Mr. Kirkpatrick had owed Abraham some money
for a long time and would not pay it; so Lincoln said to a friend, he
would run for the place, and may be Kirkpatrick would pay him. Each one
stood out, and the men were told to stand beside the man they preferred
for captain, and about two-thirds of them stood beside Lincoln, and thus
he was made captain. He said afterwards when he was president, that he
was never so proud of any election as that. They were not very well
trained soldiers, and Mr. Lincoln did not know the commands very well.
One day he wanted to get his company through a gateway, and he said, "I
could not for the life of me remember the word of command for getting my
company endwise so that it would get through the gate. So as we came
near the gate, I shouted, this company will disband for two minutes,
then it will fall in again on the other side of the gate."

A helpless Indian came to the camp one day and seven men wanted to kill
him, but Captain Lincoln stood in front of the seven men and told them
they should not hurt the helpless savage. The warfare was not very
successful and the company mustered out in May; but in the latter end of
the same month, Lincoln joined another company. A strange incident then
occurred, the meeting of four men, who afterwards became very
celebrated. It was on the Rock River near Dixon. There were together,
Colonel Zachary Taylor, afterwards commander in general and president of
the United States; Abraham Lincoln, afterwards president of the United
States; Lieut. Anderson, afterwards commander of Ft. Sumter when it was
fired upon and Lieut. Davis, afterwards president of the Southern
Confederacy. On July 10th, Lincoln's company mustered out. It was three
weeks before the last battle of the war which finally killed most of the
Indians and scattered the rest.

He returned to New Salem, ran for a member of the legislature. There
were eight candidates. He issued a circular in favor of widening the
Sangamon River and made a canvass of the district, going largely to
public sales and shaking hands with the people, and making speeches. At
one place he helped settle a fight and then got upon the platform and
went on with his speech. Lincoln was beaten in the election, although he
was third man in the number of votes of the eight candidates. This was
the only time that Abraham was ever defeated in a direct vote of the

After the election, he bought an interest with a man named Berry in a
store. At the same time Lincoln began to study law. The law books were
not very numerous. One day a man going past drove up to the store, and
wanted him to buy a barrel of rubbish for which he had no room in his
wagon. Lincoln paid half a dollar for it. Sometime afterwards in looking
over the stuff, he found a complete edition of Blackstone's law
commentary. "The more I read," said he, "the more interested I became.
Never in my life was my mind so thoroughly possessed. I read until I
devoured it." These books are quite a large set of books and it must
have required a good deal of work to have learned them.

Lincoln was postmaster. The rates of postage then, were much higher than
they are now. For instance, a single sheet letter carried thirty miles
or under eighty was ten cents, four hundred miles, eighteen and one-half
cents, and over that twenty-five cents. As Mr. Lincoln studied so hard,
and his partner Berry did not attend to the business very well, the
store was not prosperous. They gave it up and sold out. Lincoln then
studied surveying, and became a surveyor. He also began to practice a
little law, and when anybody had a law suit about New Salem, he was
frequently employed. It is said that when he first took up surveying, he
was too poor to buy him a chain, and had to use a grape vine. Between
the surveying and a little law practice, Lincoln made his living; but it
was not until fifteen years afterwards that he was able to settle all
the debts made by the store of Berry & Lincoln.

The summer of 1834 he again ran for the legislature and was elected. The
capital at this time was located at Vandalia instead of Springfield.
They only had rough tables and benches for the legislators, and they did
not receive as much pay as they do now. They wore the same kind of
suits, buckskin trousers and coonskin caps as the soldiers of the Black
Hawk war. At the time Mr. Lincoln was a member of the legislature it was
very unpopular to be an abolitionist. The legislature passed a
resolution condemning the abolitionists because they stirred up the
people by agitating the freedom of slaves. Mr. Lincoln and one other man
signed a protest against the resolution, and were the only members of
the Illinois legislature at this time who were willing to stand up for
the freedom of the slaves.

Mr. Lincoln continued to study law quite hard while he was a member of
the legislature. He had four terms, and met some men there as
fellow-members who afterwards became very prominent men.

It was about one hundred miles from New Salem to Vandalia, the capital
of the state, where the legislature met. There were few railroads at
that time and in addition Abraham Lincoln was very poor, so he walked to
and from Vandalia. He was quite a big man and of course had big feet.
They tell a funny story of one time he and a companion were walking home
from Vandalia. It was cold weather and Mr. Lincoln complained of being
very cold. His companion said: "Well, Abe, I don't see how you can help
it when there is so much of you on the ground."

Mr. Lincoln was eight years a member of the state legislature and was
one of the most active members in securing the change of the capital
from Vandalia to Springfield, where it now is. Stephen A. Douglas was
also a member of the legislature. There is another funny story I might
tell you of Mr. Lincoln's peculiarity of appearance. Mr. Lovejoy, who
was a congressman from Princeton, Illinois, and a great abolitionist was
talking with Mr. Douglas one day in Washington when Mr. Lincoln was
passing by. They called over Mr. Lincoln and Mr. Lovejoy said: "Abe, I
have been telling Judge Douglas that his legs are too short (Mr. Douglas
was a very short, heavy-set man), and yours are too long; what do you
think about it?" Mr. Lincoln replied, "Well, I never gave the matter
much thought but I have always been of the opinion that a man's legs
ought to be long enough to reach from his body to the ground." In March,
1837, he was licensed to practice law, and concluded to move from New
Salem to Springfield. A pathetic incident is related of his moving. He
had very little goods, so borrowed a horse and put most of them into a
pair of saddle-bags, rode up to Springfield and went into the store of
his friend Speed and asked him how much it would cost to buy a bedroom
set of furniture. Mr. Speed figured it up. About the cheapest would be
seventeen dollars. A sad look came over Abraham's face, and he said,
"Well Speed, I suppose that is cheap enough, but cheap as it is, I have
not the money to pay for it." "Well," said Speed, "I tell you, Abraham,
I have a big double bed up stairs, and if you want to occupy half of it
with me, you are welcome." Mr. Lincoln grabbed his saddle-bags and went
up stairs. In another minute he was down, with a smile on his face.
"Well Speed, I moved," and he never moved again but once, and that was
when he moved as president of the United States from Springfield to
Washington. A strange comparison.

I must tell you a little story that happened to Mr. Lincoln at New
Salem, before he moved to Springfield. One of the prominent families
there was that of James Rutledge. They had a very pretty and sweet
daughter named Anne. She was gentle, kind and good, and everyone loved
her. She was also bright intellectually as a student, and a good many
young men about there tried to court her. Although Mr. Lincoln was a
very homely man, he had studied and developed his mind so much, and had
so much information that he really was handsome.

It proves that what we know, not how we look is the important thing, and
so he was the one favored by Anne Rutledge. They became quite in love
with each other and were engaged.

While Mr. Lincoln was away, Anne was taken sick and continued to get
worse. When he returned he found her past recovery. She died August
25th, 1835. Mr. Lincoln was wonderfully overcome with grief, and said to
a friend who tried to cheer him, and urge him to control his sorrow, "I
cannot. The thought of snow and rain on her grave fills me with
indescribable grief," and it was a long time before he could shake off
the melancholy and sadness of her death so as to apply himself to his
regular duties. He was wont to go off to her grave, and said, "My heart
is buried there." In years after, he said, "I really and truly loved the
girl, and think often of her now, and I have always loved the name of
Rutledge to this day."


After settling in Springfield, Mr. Lincoln formed a law partnership with
Mr. John T. Stewart, who was known as one of the leading lawyers in
Springfield. They were quite successful. At that time it was customary
for the lawyers to go around with the judge from one county-seat to
another where court was held in the district. Judge David Davis was
Circuit Judge at this time, and there were a number of men in the group
that went around Central Illinois together, who afterward became famous
men. Mr. Lincoln was one of the most popular in the crowd, for he was a
splendid story-teller, and would keep the crowd amused for hours with
funny stories after court was over for the day. One time the son of Jack
Armstrong, whom Abraham had thrown in the wrestling match at New Salem,
was accused of committing a murder. His mother was poor and Jack
Armstrong was dead. She came to Mr. Lincoln and told him she had no
money, but wished very much he could help her and defend her son. He did
so. A man at the trial swore he saw by the moonlight this young
Armstrong strike the man who was killed. Mr. Lincoln got the almanac and
proved by it that there was no moon shining at that time. Then when he
told the jury with tears in his eyes how the poor old mother was down in
the pasture waiting with a sad heart for the verdict and that he
believed the young man was innocent, they all believed him, for they
knew him as "Honest Abe Lincoln," so they cleared young Armstrong and
sent him to support his poor old mother. Mr. Lincoln used to win very
many cases, for the juries all believed him. You remember he was so
honest in the little New Salem store that he got the name of "Honest Abe
Lincoln." Thus it was proved in his case very clearly that "honesty is
the best policy." He never made much money, although he was so
successful, because he was low in his charges and he was never a rich
man. He tried many cases for poor people without charging them anything.
One day as the lawyers were riding their horses along the road, some one
said: "Where is Abe?" and another lawyer spoke up and said: "I left him
back there hunting the nest for some birds that had lost it." You see by
this how kind-hearted he was even towards birds and animals.

They used to have debating societies in Springfield and Abraham was fond
of taking part. The practice he got in this way helped make him a fine
speaker. The Washingtonian society was a strong temperance organization
at that time. At one of its meetings, February 22, 1842, Mr. Lincoln
spoke and said what has often been quoted since: "When the victory shall
be complete, when there shall be neither a slave nor a drunkard on the
earth, how proud the title of that land which may claim to be the
birth-place and cradle of those resolutions that shall have ended in

You see by this, that as far back as 1842 Mr. Lincoln was a strong
temperance man as well as opposer of slavery. When the committee came to
notify him of his nomination for president, instead of treating them to
wine, as was the custom, Mr. Lincoln gave them water and remarked that
he would continue his habit of using and giving his guests "Adam's Ale,"
or pure water. Mr. Lincoln ran for congress against the famous Illinois
pioneer preacher, Peter Cartwright. Mr. Cartwright was a very noted and
popular man and it is therefore all the more to the credit of Mr.
Lincoln that he was elected. He was only two years in congress and was
not able in that length of time to make much of a record, as new men do
not get heard very easily.

A beautiful young lady, Miss Mary Todd, came from Kentucky to live with
her sister, Mrs. Edwards, in Springfield. The Edwards family was very
prominent for the father had been governor of Illinois. Miss Todd was
one of the popular belles in Springfield and was courted by many of the
leading young men. Mr. Lincoln was the successful suitor, however, and
they were married November 4, 1842. They had three boys. Only one of
them is living now; the Honorable Robert Lincoln, a lawyer in Chicago
and former American minister to Great Britain. The other boys died while
little fellows.

Two young men who became very famous in the history of our country
really started their careers at Springfield, Illinois. One was Stephen
A. Douglas and the other Abraham Lincoln. It would be hard to say which
of these young men was the smarter; they were both brilliant and hard
workers. That is, they studied hard and that made them successful.
Although they were both great men, they were not much alike in
appearance or in disposition or in the quality of their minds.

Mr. Lincoln came from the South where they liked slavery and Mr. Douglas
from Vermont where they hated slavery. They both came to Illinois at
about the age of twenty-one, when they became citizens according to the

At this time Illinois was a sort of debating battle-ground. Emigrants
came to it from the north and east, who were opposed to slavery; others
came from the south, who were in favor of slavery, and these two
classes, in the absence of slavery and on rather mutual ground, debated
the rights and wrongs of slavery with constant and energetic debate.

The Democratic party at this time was mostly in the South and the Whig
party mostly in the North. Slavery was in the South, but not in the
North. Naturally, therefore, the Democratic party favored slavery, and
the Whig party, while it did not oppose slavery, yet did not favor it.
You would think, under the circumstances, that Mr. Lincoln coming from
the South, would have been a Democrat, and Mr. Douglas coming from the
North would have been a Whig. But they each did the opposite. The
Democratic party was in the majority in Illinois at this time and I
presume Mr. Douglas, coming to the state, ambitious to succeed, thought
he could best succeed if he went in with the popular party, for it had
control of the offices and could give him a place and then advance him
higher and higher as he proved his worth. After events proved that he
was thus advanced and to very great honors.

When Mr. Lincoln was making a speech at Charleston, Illinois, one time,
a man in the audience tried to ridicule him, and shouted out: "Say,
Lincoln, when you came to Illinois, didn't you come barefoot and driving
a yoke of oxen?"

Showing how coming poor from a slave state, he was helped to be what he
was, by the free state of Illinois. Mr. Lincoln wound up the reply with
these magnificent words:

"Yes, and we will speak for freedom and against slavery as long as the
constitution of our country guarantees free speech, until everywhere on
this wide land, the sun shall shine and the rain fall and the wind blow
upon no man who goes forth to unrequited toil."

Thus you see Mr. Lincoln was opposed to slavery, and though he was as
ambitious as Mr. Douglas and would have been glad to be on the
successful and winning side so he could be advanced, he was nevertheless
so strictly honest that he would not join the popular party because it
endorsed slavery, and he was so determined to be strictly honest in his
politics as well as everything else that he was willing to apparently
throw away his chances of success and join the unpopular party because
it did not endorse slavery, which he thought a wicked institution.

So these two young men started out. One went into the popular and
successful party and succeeded with it. The other went into the
unpopular and unsuccessful party and failed with it, yet did not fail,
because he kept his principles. Mr. Douglas went on higher and higher in
honors and fame and was United States senator a number of years. In the
senate he ranked as one of the greatest statesmen of the day.

Mr. Lincoln was only a well-to-do lawyer, unknown out of Central
Illinois. Twenty years after their start he thus wrote of it:

"Twenty years ago Douglas and I first became acquainted. We were both
young then. Even then we were both ambitious. I, perhaps quite as much
as he. With me the race of ambition has been a failure--a flat failure.
With him it has been one of splendid success. His name fills the nation
and is not unknown even in foreign lands. I affect no contempt for the
high eminence he has reached. So reached, that the oppressed of my
species might have shared with me in the elevation, I would rather stand
on that eminence than wear the richest crown that ever pressed a
monarch's brow."

By this you see he appreciated Mr. Douglas' honors, but would not accept
them himself if to do so, he had to endorse slavery.

In 1858 Mr. Douglas was generally recognized as the ablest man in the
Democratic party, and it was thought that two years later, he would be
the Democratic nominee for president, and as the Democrats were in the
majority he would certainly be the next president of the United States.
Mr. Lincoln was not known much outside of Central Illinois, where he
practiced law.

One of the political doctrines of Mr. Douglas was called "Squatter
Sovereignty." It meant that in the new territories and states being
added to the Union, that if they wanted slavery there, the people could
vote to have it or they could vote not to have it. Mr. Lincoln was
opposed to this, and wanted no more slave states added to the Union. He
challenged Mr. Douglas, as the representative of Illinois in the United
States senate to a joint debate. Mr. Douglas finally agreed, and they
held seven wonderful debates in different parts of the state. Great
crowds came from far and near to hear them. They were drawn by the fame
of Mr. Douglas, who rode on special trains and had bands of music, and
cannons fired off when he entered the town. Mr. Lincoln often rode in
the caboose of a freight train or was hauled over-land in the wagon of
some farmer friend. The people, when they had heard these debates, went
home and talked them over, and it was seen that two wonderful men had
met in the political battlefield. Mr. Douglas seemed just as able as Mr.
Lincoln, and they said so; but they saw Mr. Lincoln was right, and
standing by a principle, while Douglas was wrong, and compromising with
a principle. Mr. Douglas did receive the Democratic nomination for
president although his party split.

These debates and Mr. Lincoln's right stand made him suddenly famous.
His fame spread rapidly over the whole country east and west. He was
asked to go and speak in New York city in Cooper Institute, and
delivered a wonderful address there and at other places in the East. He
came to Bloomington, Illinois and delivered a speech in which he said:
"As long as Almighty God reigns and the school children read, this foul,
black lie of African slavery shall not continue; it shall not remain
half slave and half free." Mr. Seward, of New York, a great statesman,
who was the author of the famous "irrepressible conflict" expression was
thought to be the man who would be nominated for president by the
Republican party which had taken the place of the Whig party and was
standing stronger against slavery. There were several others, like Mr.
Chase, of Ohio, and Mr. Stanton, who it was thought might also receive
the nomination. Some were advocating Mr. Lincoln for vice president; but
he said he would not have that. The Illinois state convention met at
Decatur, and in the midst of it, some men came in carrying a banner
supported by two fence rails on which was this: "Abraham Lincoln, the
rail candidate for president in 1860. Two rails from a lot of three
thousand made in 1830 by Thomas Hanks and Abraham Lincoln, whose father
was the first pioneer of Macon county." This created a wonderful
excitement, and the vote of Illinois became in favor of Lincoln as the
nominee for president.

A large, rough building was erected in Chicago, called the Wigwam, in
which the Republican convention was held. Large delegations with bands
of music came on special trains from all over the country. The
excitement was great. Illinois sent thousands to shout for Mr. Lincoln.
The hotels were packed with noisy people. Banners and mottes in
profusion floated from the business houses and public buildings. But a
small part of the crowd could get into the Wigwam, although it held
several thousand. Mr. Seward, of New York, the author of "the
irrepressible conflict" was the most popular and most noted of the
candidates and it was thought he would receive the nomination. The
Illinois men and Mr. Lincoln's friends started to work for Mr. Lincoln's
nomination. They worked day and night, scarcely eating or sleeping. The
first ballot showed Mr. Seward to be considerably ahead but not enough
to win. Then breaking began on the following ballots from the smaller
candidates to Mr. Lincoln, and he received a majority of the votes and
was nominated as the Republican candidate for president May 16, 1860. A
man was on top of the Wigwam; as soon as the result of the last ballot
was announced he shouted to a man on the edge of the building, "Fire the
salute, Lincoln is nominated." He passed it on to others. Soon the bells
began to ring, cannon were fired and the people on the streets were wild
with enthusiasm.

Mr. Douglas received the Democratic nomination, but that party split and
Mr. Breckenridge was nominated by a few. There was now the direct
conflict between the extension and non-extension of slavery. Mr. Lincoln
became very much worked up on the slavery question, and talking to Dr.
Bateman, whose room, as State Superintendent of Public Instruction, was
next his in the capital at Springfield, he said:

"I know there is a God, and he hates injustice and slavery. I see the
storm coming. I know that His hand is in it. If He has a place for me
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 don'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 that they have not read
their Bible right."

The election came off in November, and Mr. Lincoln found the people had
read their Bibles' right on slavery and elected him by a tremendous

March 4, 1861, Mr. Lincoln stood at the Capitol building to deliver his
inaugural address as president of the United States. He did not see a
place to put his hat and Mr. Douglas reached forward, took it and held
it while Mr. Lincoln spoke.

Now you see the outcome of these two men. One compromised with this
great principle, and, after thus holding the hat of his successful
rival, who would not compromise with the principle, went out and died a
few months afterward with a broken heart for his lost ambition. Before
he died, however, Mr. Douglas became an outspoken defender of the Union
and opposed to the war of the rebellion. On the other hand, Mr. Lincoln,
true to this principle suffered defeat for many years, but in the end
won the greatest honor and became the greatest president of our nation.
It pays to be true to principle, no matter how unpopular it may be and
though seeming defeat of our ambitions stare us in the face. "This above
all things, to thine own self be true," was the wise advice of Polonius
to his son in Shakespeare's play of Hamlet.

The preceding president had been favorable to the South and slavery and
many of their men were in command of the military posts and other
important parts. The navy was scattered to distant ports and large
quantities of arms and ammunition were stored in the Southern forts. The
election of Mr. Lincoln seemed to anger the Southern men beyond
endurance and there were loud threats of secession. When he delivered
his inaugural address he saw many scowling, angry faces in front of him.
In great kindness he appealed to them and his last thought was very
beautiful when he said:

"In your hands, my dissatisfied fellow countrymen, and not in mine, are
the momentous issues of civil war.

"You have no oath registered in Heaven to destroy the government. While
I have the most solemn one to preserve, protect and defend it.

"We are not enemies, but friends. Though passion may have strained, it
must not break our bonds of affection.

"The mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battlefield 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."

It was all in vain and South Carolina, Mississippi, Florida, Alabama,
Georgia, Louisiana and Texas in turn led off in secession. They met at
Montgomery, Alabama and formed the "Confederate States of America," with
Jefferson Davis, of Mississippi as president and Alexander H. Stephens
of Georgia as vice-president. Arsenals, custom-houses, forts and ships
of the United States were seized. Fort Sumter was fired upon by Gen.
Beauregard April 14, 1861, and the great Civil war, the greatest in
history, began.

This was the hardest place a president of the United States was ever in.
There was but a small army, and as I said the navy was scattered.
President Lincoln at once called for volunteer troops. The attack on
Fort Sumter so aroused the North that men rapidly left their families
and homes, that which one most loves, and rushed to enlist as volunteer
soldiers. They had a song in which were these words:

"We are coming Father Abraham, Three hundred thousand strong."

Thus they called the great president "Father Abraham" and showed how
much they loved him.

Gen. George B. McClellan was put in command of the army. The first
battle of any note was that of Bull Run, near Washington. In this the
Northern soldiers were driven back and beaten. It seemed very
discouraging then for the cause of the Union.

More soldiers enlisted and the army was trained and drilled until Mr.
Lincoln thought they ought to attack Gen. Lee, who commanded the
Confederate army. He felt sure as they had more men they could defeat
him and capture Richmond, which was now the capital of the Confederate
States. General McClellan seemed to be afraid to move forward and wanted
more time to drill the men he had and make other preparations and also
wanted more men. In the meantime, of course Gen. Lee was making stronger
his army and preparing more defences around Richmond so that it was
harder to defeat him.

The army in the West was not doing very well either. But at last
Illinois furnished another son in the person of General Grant, who won
great and decisive victories. Vicksburg, which was the great stronghold
of the Southern army in the West surrendered to him July 4, 1863.
President Lincoln had been trying in every way to get General McClellan
to move on the enemy but could not, and at last the general was moved
from command. General Meade had command of the Eastern army which fought
the battle of Gettysburg and won that great victory on the same Fourth
of July that General Grant captured Vicksburg.

The battle of Gettysburg is said to have been about the greatest in
history; 23,000 soldiers were killed. Now there was great rejoicing in
the North. In these early years of the war, President Lincoln was placed
in a very hard position. The abolitionists abused him because he did not
issue the emancipation proclamation, freeing the slaves; the Middle
states, that had not seceded, threatened to do so if he did. Some of his
own Cabinet were not true to him. The people cried out because General
McClellan would not move forward, and Mr. Lincoln tried in vain to get
him to do so. Therefore these great victories of Vicksburg and
Gettysburg came to him as a wonderful blessing and relief from the awful
strain he had been enduring. General Grant had won some other grand
victories preceding the capture of Vicksburg, and the Union, as the old
ship of state, seemed to be sailing into more peaceful waters.

    "Sail on, O ship of state,
    Sail on, O Union, strong and great;
    Humanity with all its fears,
    With all its hopes of future years,
    Is hanging breathless on thy fate.
    In spite of rock and tempest roar,
    In spite of false lights on the shore;
    Sail on, nor fear to breast the sea,
    Our hearts, our hopes, our prayers are all with thee."

General Grant was given command of the Eastern army, and pushing the
enemy hard, victory after victory came to the North. Gen. Sherman
marched his army right through the middle of the enemy, dividing it into
two parts. He captured Atlanta and then went on to the sea. The song,
"Marching through Georgia," was written over this wonderful march. There
were more victories in the South and West. General Grant was made
commander-in-chief of the armies, and it soon became clear that the
cause of secession was lost.

Mr. Lincoln had written an emancipation proclamation and was working it
over, thinking and consulting about it. He did not know just when was
the best time to issue so momentous a document, that would set free four
million of colored men in the degradation and bondage of human slavery.
Mr. Seward was Secretary of State and a very wise man; he gave him some
good advice about it. Mr. Carpenter quotes Mr. Lincoln's words as

"I put the draft of the proclamation aside, waiting for a victory. Well,
the next news we had was of Pope's disaster at Bull Run. Things looked
darker than ever. Finally came the week of the battle of Antietam. I
determined to wait no longer. The news came, I think on Wednesday, that
the advantage was on our side. I was then staying at the Soldiers' Home.
Here I finished writing the second draft of the proclamation; came up on
Saturday; called the Cabinet together to hear it, and it was published
the following Monday. I made a solemn vow before God, that if General
Lee was driven back from Maryland I would crown the result by the
declaration of freedom to the slaves."

The Emancipation Proclamation is certainly the greatest thing in the
nineteenth century.

The Confederate army continued to grow weaker. They were short of food
and rest. General Grant's army gave them no rest but pushed after them
day and night. They made one more gallant and brave attack on the Union
forces, but in vain, and April 9, 1865, Gen. Lee surrendered
unconditionally to Gen. Grant at Appomatox Court House, Va. At the
instance of President Lincoln, Gen. Lee's soldiers were allowed to ride
home their horses, and, no longer rebel soldiers, but American citizens,
begin to plow the ground with their horses, to till the soil and make a
living for themselves and families. To-day there are none that rejoice
more than the men of the South that African slavery is forever

In 1864 Mr. Lincoln was again elected president by a very large majority
over Gen. McClellan, the Democratic nominee. At his second inaugural he
uttered some very fine things. Some of them are as follows:

"Neither party expected for the war the magnitude or the duration it has
already obtained. Both read the same Bible and pray to the same God, and
each invokes His aid against the other. It may seem strange that any men
should dare to ask a just God's assistance in wringing their bread from
the sweat of other men's faces. But let us judge not that we be not
judged. The prayers of both could not be answered. * * * The Almighty
had his own purposes. 'Woe unto the world because of offenses, for it
must needs be that offenses come; but woe to that man by whom the
offense cometh.' If we shall suppose that American slavery is one of
these offenses, which in the providence of God must needs come * * * and
he gives to both North and South this terrible war as the woe due to
those by whom the offense came, shall we discern there any departure
from those divine attributes, which the believers in a living God always
ascribe to him? Fondly do we hope, fervently do we pray, that this
mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away. Yet if God wills that it
continue until all the wealth piled by the bondsman's two hundred and
fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of
blood drawn by the lash shall be paid by another drawn by the sword, as
was said three thousand years ago, so still it must be said that 'the
judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.'"

Saturday, April 8, 1865, was a glad day throughout the North. Men met
each other early on that day and shook hands with smiling faces. Many
shouted and threw their hats in the air. Great bonfires were kindled and
bands came out and played happy airs. Flags floated everywhere. That
morning word came on the telegraph wires that Richmond had been
captured. Lee had surrendered and the war was over.

Just one week later men met each other on the street with tears in their
eyes; signs of mourning were seen everywhere, and the bands played sad
tunes. Word came on the telegraph wire that morning that the beloved
president was dead; killed by an assassin's bullet.

Mr. Lincoln and his wife were out riding around Washington, and he said,
"Mary, we have had a stormy life in Washington, and after this term of
office is over, we will go back to Springfield and live a quiet life."
But God had willed otherwise. That evening while he was resting from his
hard labors and duties as president by attending Ford's theater, John
Wilkes Booth, a wild fanatic, who had been a southern rebel, stole upon
him from the rear and shot him in the back of the head, then jumped to
the stage, and shouted, "Sic semper tyrannis." Booth then leaped out of
the window. Although his leg had been broken by the first jump, he got
on a horse and rode day and night until he got into Virginia, and there
hid in a barn. When they tried to capture him, he would not come out of
the barn, so they set the barn on fire, and when he came out they shot
him. Several others who were in this plot were hung. They carried
President Lincoln to the house across the street, where, as the dawn of
day came, his soul departed to its everlasting rest in Heaven.

There probably has never been a death more sudden and unexpected and
terrible in the history of the nations. Not only in this country did men
everywhere cease their work as people do when a relative dies; but even
in the countries of Europe they did so. All organizations passed
resolutions of sympathy and the governments universally expressed
theirs. It was a world-wide calamity.

He had gone through the four years of a terrible civil war unharmed, and
now, when he had saved his country, conquered the enemy, and made him a
friend again, and beautiful peace had come everywhere, to think his life
should be taken by a cruel murderer, seemed more than men could bear.
Every family mourned as though one of its own number had died suddenly.

The Washington funeral took place at the White House, Wednesday, April
19. The body was then taken to the rotunda of the capitol and covered
with flowers. It lay in state until Friday, April 21. Thousands of
people came to look at the calm, sad face that so many had looked at for
hope through the long years of the awful war. It was now cold in death,
but had a peaceful, natural look.

A great funeral train was formed that moved slowly across the country,
going back along the route he came as the new president in 1861. It was
over a week on the journey, as at many of the cities and towns it had to
be stopped, so memorial exercises might be held and the people get a
chance to see for the last time, the face of the martyr president. More
than a million people, no doubt, thus looked on the dead face of
President Lincoln.

They reached Springfield May 3 and there the greatest funeral ceremony
took place and he was buried in Oakwood cemetery. Bishop Simpson
preached the funeral sermon. In the beautiful tomb and under the
magnificent monument since erected, Abraham Lincoln, his wife and two
sons now sleep, awaiting the great resurrection day.

The nations of the world passed so many tributes in his honor that they
were bound into a book of nearly a thousand pages.

As Mr. Lincoln was returning from Richmond on the steamer, the last
Sunday of his life, he read aloud to some friends this seeming tribute
for himself, from Shakespeare:

      "Duncan is in his grave;
    After life's fitful fever he sleeps well;
    Treason has done his worst; nor steel nor poison,
    Malice domestic, foreign levy, nothing
    Can touch him further."

The other passage might have been well added:

                  "This Duncan
    Hath borne his faculties so meek, hath been
    So clear in his great office, that his virtues
    Will plead like angels, trumpet-tongued, against
    The deep damnation of his taking off."

May we be able to imitate the virtues of Abraham Lincoln.

      "Lives of great men all remind us
    We can make our lives sublime
      And departing leave behind us
    Footprints on the sands of time."

Little Stories of Lincoln.

There always cluster around a great man like Mr. Lincoln, many
interesting incidents and stories. They are not always entirely true,
and it is not always possible to prove or disprove them. Nevertheless,
they often show true traits of the character, and as side lights help us
form the proper estimate. I have therefore added some of these incidents
and stories.


Mr. Lincoln was tall and rugged. His face had even more strength than
his person. He had very simple manners and as natural as though among
neighbors. He wrote a plain hand. He was very kind-hearted and inclined
to pardon those who did wrong, particularly those who from fatigue fell
asleep when on guard. He was kind to the poor and thoughtful of their
needs. He was an example of that saying--"There is nothing so kingly as
kindness." He was a very modest man and without pretense or jealousy. He
often appointed to places of honor, those who had been his rivals and
even those who had said ugly things about him.


Secretary Usher relates some interesting facts.

"I was in the Cabinet somewhat more than two years. It was very
ill-assorted. There was hardly ever such a thing as a regular cabinet
meeting in the sense of form. Under Johnson and Grant the chairs were
placed in regular order around the table. Nothing of the kind ever
occurred in Mr. Lincoln's Cabinet. Seward would come in and lie down on
a settee. Stanton hardly ever stayed more than five or ten minutes.
Sometimes Seward would tell the president the outline of some paper he
was writing on a State matter. Lincoln generally stood up and walked
about. In fact every member of the Cabinet ran his own department in his
own way. I don't suppose that such a historic period was ever so simply
operated. Lincoln trusted all his subordinates and they worked out their
own performances."


He was one of the greatest men who ever lived. It has now been many
years since I was in his Cabinet and some of the things which happened
there have been forgotten, and the whole of it is rather dreamy. But
Lincoln's extraordinary personality is still one of the most distinct
things in my memory. He was as wise as a serpent. He had the skill of
the greatest statesman in the world. Everything he handled came to
success. Nobody took up his work and brought it to the same perfection.


That Mr. Lincoln was not only kind-hearted, but forgiving, is shown by
his treatment of the secession leaders. He never spoke unkindly of them,
including even Jefferson Davis, who caused so much of the trouble. Some
at the close of the war said: "Do not let Davis escape. He must be
hanged." To which Mr. Lincoln replied: "Judge not, that ye be not
judged." When he was assassinated he was planning pardon and kind
treatment for those who were defeated in the rebellion.


Fairness was the predominating quality of Mr. Lincoln as a trial lawyer.
He did not claim his side was all right and the other side all wrong.
Sometimes he would say: "I do not think my client is entitled to the
whole of what he claims. In this or that point he may be in error." He
was not abusive, as so many lawyers are, of the opposing side, but if he
said a stern thing under necessity he would qualify it by saying he was
sorry to have to make a severe statement.


Mr. Lincoln was not vain of his personal appearance. Indeed if you look
at his picture in the front of this book you will see he was a homely
man. He only wore a beard while president. Previous to that time he
shaved all his beard. He would laugh at a joke on himself as heartily as
anyone else. He used to tell and laugh over the following:

"When I was traveling the circuit in Illinois, practicing law, I was
accosted one day on the cars by a stranger who said:

"'Excuse me, sir, but I have an article which belongs to you.'

"'How is that?' I asked, astonished.

"The stranger took a pocket knife out and said: 'This knife was put in
my hands some time ago with the instruction that I was to keep it until
I found an uglier man than myself. I have carried it ever since. Allow
me to say I think it now rightly belongs to you, sir, and I respectfully
hand you your property.'"


One day when he was crossing a field a fierce bull saw him and made a
charge. Mr. Lincoln ran for the fence but even his long legs could not
go fast enough to reach it before the bull would catch him, so he ran to
a hay-stack and began running around it. The bull could not make the
sharp curves around the hay-stack as well as Mr. Lincoln, so he began to
gain on the bull, until instead of the bull overtaking him, he began to
overtake the bull and at last catching up, he seized the tail of the
bull with a tight grip. Then as often as he could, he began to kick the
bull until he bellowed in pain and dashed across the field with Mr.
Lincoln still hanging to his tail, kicking him whenever he could and
shouting "Who began this fight, anyhow?"


Mr. Lincoln was seated in the Journal office at Springfield with some
friends, when a telegraph boy came running across the street from the
telegraph office, waving a telegram, and shouting, "Mr. Lincoln, you are
nominated." His friends gathered around to shake his hand in
congratulation as he stood reading the momentous little yellow sheet. In
a sort of absent-minded way he shook hands with them and then said:
"Gentlemen, excuse me, there is a little woman down the street that is
more interested in this than I am, and I will take it to her." He then
started down the street with long strides toward his home. This nicely
shows how thoughtful he was of his wife and how much he loved her. She
was the first to him in his hour of great success and honor.


In the time of the Civil war there was a danger that Mr. Lincoln might
be killed because he was president and conducting the war. It was
thought that some traitor might watch until he got a good chance, when
the president was unprotected, and then shoot him. Mr. Lincoln never
seemed to fear this, however. He would walk over from the White House to
the War department at night and alone. It would be midnight and two
o'clock in the morning sometimes. At the War department Secretary
Stanton would receive dispatches from the officers in the army on the
situation at the front and Mr. Lincoln, after the day's work desired to
get the latest word from the battles. When he was cautioned about danger
he said: "If anyone desires to kill me, I do not suppose any amount of
care could prevent it." How sadly true this was even when the war was


A while before his assassination, two Tennessee ladies called on the
president, asking for the release of their husbands, who were prisoners
of war at Johnson's Island. One of the ladies urged upon the president
as a cause for her husband's release, that he was a religious man. He
finally released them, but said:

"You say your husband is a religious man: tell him when you meet him
that I say I am not much of a judge of religion, but that in my opinion,
the religion that sets men to rebel and fight against their government,
because, as they think, that government does not sufficiently help some
men to eat their bread by the sweat of other men's faces, is not the
sort of religion upon which people can get to Heaven."


In the president's chamber some men were conversing one evening, and the
conversation running on that line Mr. Lincoln said: "Seward, you never
heard, did you, how I earned my first dollar? I was about eighteen years
old and we were quite poor. We had raised some produce and I got
mother's consent to take it down the river on a flat boat and sell it.
There were then no wharves on the river. I was down at the bank looking
over my flat boat to see that it was all right before I started out. Two
men came along and wanted to get out to a steamer in the river and asked
me if I would take them and their trunks out. I said, 'Certainly.' So
they got on the flat boat and I pulled them out to the steamer and they
got aboard and I lifted on the trunks. The steamer was about to go and
the men had forgotten to pay me, so I shouted to them and each of them
threw a silver half dollar on the floor of my boat. I could scarcely
believe my eyes when I saw the amount of the money. It may seem a small
sum to you gentlemen, but it seemed an immense sum to me. To think that
I, a poor boy, had earned a dollar in less than a day and by honest
work, was almost too good to be true. But there it was and the world did
not not seem such an awful big and terrible place after all, and I
thought perhaps I could do great things yet, even if I was such a poor
and helpless chap."


Five Points in New York for many years was considered about the most
wicked place in the city. They started missions there and made it
better. One Sunday morning when Sunday School commenced, a tall, strange
looking man entered and sat down. He listened with close attention to
the exercises and when the lesson was over, the superintendent asked him
if he would say something to the children. He said he would gladly; and
going forward he talked in a plain, simple, earnest way and fascinated
the children so that they all became very quiet and listened to all he
had to say very eagerly. The faces of the children would brighten as he
told some beautiful lesson or break into laughter as he quaintly told a
humorous incident and then they would look serious as he warned them of
sin and wrong and what would follow. Once or twice he tried to stop, but
the little folks shouted, "Go on, Oh, do go on!" The superintendent
wondered who this unusually interesting man was and when he was leaving,
asked his name. The reply was, "I am Abraham Lincoln."


During the war many fairs were held to raise money to send extra food,
clothing and medicine to the soldiers in the fields and hospitals. The
ladies generally managed these fairs in the different towns. They asked
Mr. Lincoln to speak at one of them and he gladly consented. He said:

"This extraordinary war in which we are engaged falls heavily on all
classes of people, but the most heavily on the soldier. 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 soldier. In this 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. The chief agents of
these fairs are the women of America. I am not accustomed to the
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 were applied to the women of America, it would not do them justice
for their conduct during this war. I will close by saying, God bless the
women of America."


Another of Mr. Lincoln's stories was this:

A traveler on the frontier lost his way one stormy night. It was a
terrible thunder storm. He floundered along until his horse played out.
He could see only when the flashes of lightning came. The peals of
thunder, however, were proportionately strong and frightening. One roar
and all around him seemed crashing; he fell on his knees. He was not
much given to praying so his prayer was short:

"O, Lord, if it's all the same to you, give us a little more light and a
little less noise."


Mr. Lincoln used to tell the story of a shaggy old man, who was a great
hunter and lived in the edge of the timber. One morning he stood out in
front of his door firing away at a squirrel in a tree. He kept shooting,
but the squirrel did not come down. His son came up and asked what he
was firing at. The father said: "Don't you see that squirrel up there in
the tree?" The son looked and looked in every possible way but could see
no squirrel. Still the father kept firing away. At last the son looking
at him said: "Father I see what's the matter. There is an ant hanging on
the end of your eyebrow and you have been looking at it."


Attorney-General Bates objected to the appointment of a certain Judge to
a government position. Mr. Lincoln said: "He did me a favor once, let me
tell you about it."

"I was walking to court one morning with ten miles of bad road before
me. The Judge overtook me and said:

"'Hello, Lincoln, going to the court house? Get in and I will give you a

"I got in and the Judge went on reading some court papers. Soon the
carriage struck a stump on one side of the road and then something else
on the other side. I looked out and saw the driver jerking from one side
to the other on his seat, so I said, 'Judge I think your driver has
taken a drop too much of liquor this morning.'

"'Well I declare Lincoln,' said he, 'I should not much wonder if you are
right, for he has nearly upset me half a dozen times since starting.'
Putting his head out of the window he shouted, 'You scoundrel, you are

"Upon which pulling up his horses and turning around with gravity, the
driver said, 'Golly, but that's the first rightful decision your honor
has given for the last twelve months.'"


"Among the numerous applicants who visited the White House one day was a
well-dressed lady. She came forward without apparent embarassment in her
air or manner, and addressed the president. Giving her a very close and
scrutinizing look, he said:

"'Well, madam, what can I do for you?'

"She told him that she lived in Alexandria; that the church where she
worshiped had been taken for a hospital.

"'What church, madam?' Mr. Lincoln asked in a quick, nervous manner.

"'The ---- Church,' she replied; 'and as there are only two or three
wounded soldiers in it, I came to see if you would not let us have it,
as we want it very much to worship God in.'

"'Madam, have you been to see the Post Surgeon at Alexandria about this

"'Yes sir; but we could do nothing with him.'

"'Well, 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. See here; you say you live in Alexandria;
probably you own property there. How much will you give to assist in
building a hospital?"

"'You know, Mr. Lincoln, our property is very much embarassed by the
war;--so, really, I could hardly afford to give much for such a

"'Well, madam, I expect we shall have another fight soon; and my opinion
is, God wants that church for poor wounded Union soldiers as much as he
does for secesh people to worship in.' Turning to his table he said,
quite abruptly: 'You will excuse me; I can do nothing for you. Good day,


In Abbott's "History of the Civil War," the following story is told as
one of Lincoln's "hardest hits:"

"I once knew," said Lincoln, "a sound churchman by the name of Brown,
who was a member of a very sober and pious committee having in charge
the erection of a bridge over a dangerous and rapid river. Several
architects failed, and at last Brown said he had a friend named Jones,
who had built several bridges and undoubtedly could build that one. So
Mr. Jones was called in.

"'Can you build this bridge?' inquired the committee.

"'Yes,' replied Jones, 'or any other. I could build a bridge to the
infernal regions if necessary!'

"The committee was shocked, and Brown felt called upon to defend his
friend. 'I know Jones so well,' said he, 'and he is so honest a man and
so good an architect, that if he states soberly and positively that he
can build a bridge to--to--why, I believe it; but I feel bound to say
that I have my doubts about the abutment on the infernal side.'

"So," said Mr. Lincoln, "when politicians told me that the northern and
southern wings of the Democracy could be harmonized, why, I believed
them, of course; but I always had my doubts about the 'abutment' on the
other side."


"The Emancipation Proclamation was taken to Mr. Lincoln at noon on the
first day of January, 1863, by Secretary Seward and Frederick, his son.
As it lay unrolled before him, Mr. Lincoln took a pen, dipped it in ink,
moved his hand to the place for the signature, held it for a moment, and
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, slowly and firmly
wrote 'Abraham Lincoln,' with which the whole world is now familiar. He
then looked up, smiled and said: 'That will do.'"


"On the Monday before the assassination, when the President was on his
return from Richmond, he stopped at City Point. Calling upon the head
surgeon at that place, Mr. Lincoln told him he wished to visit all the
hospitals under his charge, and shake hands with every soldier. The
surgeon asked him if he knew what he was undertaking, there being five
or six thousand soldiers at that place, and it would be quite a tax upon
his strength to visit all the wards and shake hands with every soldier.
Mr. Lincoln answered, with a smile, he 'guessed he was equal to the
task; at any rate he would try, and go as far as he could; he should
never, probably, see the boys again, and he wanted them to know that he
appreciated what they had done for their country.'

"Finding it useless to try to dissuade him, the surgeon began his rounds
with the President, who walked from bed to bed, extending his hand to
all, saying a few words of sympathy to some, making kind inquiries of
others, and welcomed by all with the heartiest cordiality.

"As they passed along they came to a ward in which lay a rebel who had
been wounded and was then a prisoner. As the tall figure of the kindly
visitor appeared in sight, he was recognized by the rebel soldier who,
raising himself on his elbow in bed, watched Mr. Lincoln as he
approached and, extending his hand, exclaimed while tears ran down his

"'Mr. Lincoln, I have long wanted to see you, to ask your forgiveness
for ever raising my hand against the old flag.'

"Mr. Lincoln was moved to tears. He heartily shook the hand of the
repentant rebel, and assured him of his good-will, and with a few words
of kind advice passed on. After some hours the tour of the various
hospitals was made, and Mr. Lincoln returned with the surgeon to his
office. They had scarcely entered, however, when a messenger boy came,
saying that one ward had been omitted, and 'the boys' wanted to see the
President. The surgeon who was thoroughly tired and knew Mr. Lincoln
must be, tried to dissuade him from going; but the good man said he must
go back; he would not knowingly omit any one; 'the boys' would be so
disappointed. So he went with the messenger, accompanied by the surgeon,
and shook hands with the gratified soldiers, and then returned again to
his office.

"The surgeon expressed the fear that the President's arm would be lamed
with so much hand-shaking, saying that it certainly must ache. Mr.
Lincoln smiled, and saying something about his 'strong muscles,' stepped
out at the open door, took up a very large, heavy axe which lay there by
a log of wood, and chopped vigorously for a few moments, sending the
chips flying in all directions; and then pausing, he extended his right
arm to its full length, holding the axe out horizontally, without its
even quivering as he held it. Strong men who looked on--men accustomed
to manual labor--could not hold that same axe in that position for a
moment. Returning to the office, he took a glass of lemonade, for he
would take no stronger beverage; and while he was within, the chips he
had chopped were gathered up and safely cared for by the hospital
steward, because they were 'the chips that Abraham Lincoln chopped.'"


"General Fisk, attending the reception at the White House, on one
occasion saw, waiting in the ante-room, a poor old man from Tennessee.
Sitting down beside him, he inquired his errand, and learned that he had
been waiting three or four days to get an audience, he said that on
seeing Mr. Lincoln probably depended the life of his son, who was under
sentence of death for some military offense.

"General Fisk wrote his case in outline on a card, and sent it in, with
a special request that the President would see the man. In a moment the
order came; and past senators, governors and generals, waiting
impatiently, the old man went into the President's presence.

"He showed Mr. Lincoln his papers, and he, on taking them, said he would
look into the case and give him the result on the following day.

"'To-morrow may be too late! My son is under sentence of death! The
decision ought to be made now!' and the 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, as he was a
religious man, 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 this 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 mud holes a little worse than usual, when,
unable to restrain himself any longer, he burst forth into a volley of
energetic oaths. The Colonel took notice of the offense, and brought
John to an account."

"'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 were not 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
conclusion. Then he wrote a few words which the old man read, and in
which he found new occasion for tears; but these tears were tears of
joy, for the words saved the life of his son."


President Lincoln was quite ill one winter at Washington, and was not
inclined to listen to all the bores who called at the White House. One
day just as one of these pests had seated himself for a long interview,
the President's physician happened to enter the room, and Mr. Lincoln
said, holding out his hands: "Doctor, what are those blotches?" "That's
variloid, or mild small-pox," said the doctor. "They're all over me. It
is contagious, I believe?" said Mr. Lincoln. "I just called to see how
you were," said the visitor. "Oh, don't be in a hurry sir," placidly
remarked the executive. "Thank you sir; I'll call again," replied the
visitor, making towards the door. "Do sir," said the President. "Some
people said they could not take very well to my proclamation, but now I
have something everybody can take." By this time the visitor was quite
out of sight.


"Judge Baldwin, of California, being in Washington, called one day on
General Halleck, and, presuming upon a familiar acquaintance in
California a few years before, 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 Baldwin 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 Baldwin.

"'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


"When Abraham Lincoln was a 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 9 o'clock they should make a trade, the
horse to be unseen up to that hour, and no backing out, under a
forfeiture of $25.00.

"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 the laughter of the crowd, and both were
greatly increased when Mr. 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 following first speech of Abraham Lincoln was delivered at
Poppsville, Ill., just after the close of a public sale, at which time
and in those early days speaking was in order. Mr. Lincoln was then but
twenty-three years of age, but being called for, mounted a stump and
gave a concise statement of his policy:

"'Gentlemen, fellow-citizens: I presume you 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 can be briefly stated. I am
in favor of the internal improvement system, and a high protective
tariff. These are my sentiments and political principles. If elected, I
shall be thankful. If not it will be all the same.'"


"A little fact in Mr. Lincoln's work will illustrate his ever present
desire to deal honestly and justly with men. He had always a partner in
his professional life, and, when he went out upon the circuit, this
partner was usually at home. While out, he frequently took up and
disposed of cases that were never entered at the office. In these cases,
after receiving his fees, he divided the money in his pocket-book,
labeling each sum (wrapped in a piece of paper), that belonged to his
partner, stating his name, and the case on which it was received. He
could not be content to keep an account. He divided the money, so that
if he, by any casualty, should fail of an opportunity to pay it over,
there could be no dispute as to the exact amount that was his partner's
due. This may seem trivial, nay, boyish, but it was like Mr. Lincoln."


"Soon after Mr. Lincoln entered upon his profession 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 Lincoln; 'see what a heap of money I've got
from the ---- 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 not 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 the best, for all the good woman's devotion and
fidelity to me, and there is not going to be any half-way business about
it" and so saying he gathered up his money and proceeded forthwith to
carry out his long-cherished purpose into execution.


Mr. Herndon got out a huge poster announcing a speech by Mr. Lincoln,
employed a band to drum up the crowd, and bells were rung, but only
three persons were present. Mr. Lincoln was to have spoken on the
slavery question.

     GENTLEMEN: This meeting is larger than I knew it would be, as
     I knew Herndon (Lincoln's partner) and myself would be here,
     but I did not know any one else would be here: and yet another
     has come--you John Pain, (the janitor.)

     These are bad times, and seem out of joint. All seems dead,
     dead, dead: but the age is not yet dead; it liveth as our Maker
     liveth. Under all this seeming want of life and motion, the
     world does move nevertheless.

     Be hopeful. And now let us adjourn and appeal to the people.


"When General Phelps took possession of Ship Island, near New Orleans,
early in the war it will be remembered that he issued a proclamation,
somewhat bombastic in tone, freeing the slaves. To the surprise of many
people, on both sides, the President took no official notice of this
movement. Some time had elapsed, when one day a friend took him to task
for his seeming indifference on so important a matter.

"'Well,' said Mr. Lincoln, 'I feel about that a good deal as a man whom
I will call 'Jones,' whom I once knew, did about his wife. He was one of
your meek men, and had the reputation of being badly henpecked. At last,
one day his wife was seen switching him out of the house. A day or two
afterward a friend met him on the street, and said: 'Jones, I have
always stood up for you, as you know; but I am not going to do it any
longer. Any man who will stand quietly and take a switching from his
wife, deserves to be horsewhipped.' Jones looked up with a wink, patting
his friend on the back. 'Now don't,' said he: 'why, it didn't hurt me
any, and you've no idea what a power of good it did Sarah Ann.'"


In response to an address from the Sons of Temperance in Washington, on
the 29th of September, 1863, Mr. Lincoln made the following remarks:

"As a matter of course, it will not be possible for me to make a
response co-extensive with the address which you have presented to me.
If I were better known than I am, you would not need to be told that, in
the advocacy of the cause of temperance, you have a friend and
sympathiser in me. When a young man--long ago--before the Sons of
Temperance, as an organization had an existence, I, in an humble way,
made temperance speeches, and I think I may say that to this day I have
never, by my example belied what I then said.

"I think the reasonable men of the world have long since agreed that
intemperance is one of the greatest, if not the very greatest of all
evils among mankind. That is not a matter of dispute, I believe. That
the disease exists, and that it is a very great one, is agreed upon by
all. The mode of cure is one about which there may be differences of
opinions. You have suggested that in an army--our army, drunkenness is a
great evil, and one which while it exists to a very great extent, we
cannot expect to overcome so entirely as to leave such success in our
arms as we might have without it. This, undoubtedly, is true, and while
it is, perhaps rather a bad source to derive comfort from, nevertheless,
in a hard struggle, I do not know but what it is some consolation to be
aware that there is some intemperance on the other side, too; and that
they have no right to beat us in physical combat on that ground."


Mr. Lincoln, in 1844 upon a visit to the old neighborhood in which he
was raised was moved to write the following little poem. It is the only
one he is known to have written.

    "My childhood's home I see again,
      And sadden with the view;
    And still, as memory crowds my brain,
      There's pleasure in it too.

    "O Memory! thou midway world
      'Twixt earth and paradise,
    Where things decayed and loved ones lost
      In dreamy shadows rise.

    "And, freed from all that's earthly vile,
      Seem hallowed, pure and bright,
    Like scenes in some enchanted isle
      All bathed in liquid light."

To Be Memorized.

Mr. Lincoln wrote many passages worthy of being committed to memory. His
phrase "Government of the people, for the people and by the people," is
more quoted than any other on the question of government. I add a few
that are well worthy of memorizing and remark, that every boy and girl
in America ought to be able to recite the Gettysburg speech.

       *       *       *       *       *

"Let us have faith that right makes might and in that faith let us to
the end dare to do our duty as we understand it."

       *       *       *       *       *

"With malice toward none and charity to all, with firmness in the right
as God gives us to see the right, let us finish the work we are in."

       *       *       *       *       *

"A house divided against itself cannot stand. I believe this government
cannot permanently endure 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 further until it becomes alike lawful in all the states,
old as well as new, North as well as South."

       *       *       *       *       *

"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
chords of memory stretching from every battlefield and patriot's grave
to every loving heart and hearthstone all over this broad land, will
swell the chorus of the Union, when again touched, as surely they will
be, by the better angels of our nature."

       *       *       *       *       *

"We shall nobly save, or meanly lose, the last best hope of earth."

       *       *       *       *       *

"In giving freedom to the slave, we assure freedom to the free."

       *       *       *       *       *

"'The Father of Waters' again goes unvexed to the sea."

       *       *       *       *       *

"Among free men there can be no successful appeal from the ballot to the

       *       *       *       *       *

"And then there will be some black men who can remember that with silent
tongue, and clinched teeth and steady eye and well-poised bayonet they
have helped mankind on to this great consummation; while I fear there
will be some white ones unable to forget that with malignant heart and
deceitful speech they strove to hinder it."


Four score and ten years ago our fathers brought forth upon this
continent a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the
proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or
any nation so conceived or so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on
a great battlefield of that war. We are met to dedicate a portion of it
as the final resting place of those who here gave their lives that that
nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do
this. But, in a larger sense we cannot dedicate--we cannot
consecrate--we cannot hallow this ground. The brave men, living and
dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it far above our power to add
or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say
here; but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the
living, rather to be dedicated here to the unfinished work that they
have thus far so nobly carried on. It is for us to be here dedicated to
the great task remaining before us, that from these honored dead we take
increased devotion, that we here highly resolve that the dead shall not
have died in vain; that the nation shall under God, have a new birth of
freedom; and that government of the people, by the people and for the
people shall not perish from the earth.

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