By Author [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Title [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Language
all Classics books content using ISYS

Download this book: [ ASCII | HTML | PDF ]

Look for this book on Amazon

We have new books nearly every day.
If you would like a news letter once a week or once a month
fill out this form and we will give you a summary of the books for that week or month by email.

Title: Recollections of Abraham Lincoln 1847-1865
Author: Lamon, Ward Hill
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
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 "Recollections of Abraham Lincoln 1847-1865" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.


Internet Archive/American Libraries (http://archive.org/details/americana)

      Images of the original pages are available through
      Internet Archive/American Libraries. See

Transcriber's note:

      Text enclosed by underscores is in italics (_italics_).

      Small capital text has been replaced with all capitals.

      Text enclosed by plus signs (+plus+) is underlined.

      The carat character (^) indicates that the following
      letter is superscripted (example: D^r Randall). If two
      curly brackets (example: M^{rs} Herron).

      An asterisk following a word in the hand written letters
      means the word is unclear.


[Illustration: _ABRAHAM LINCOLN._]




Edited by Dorothy Lamon Teillard

Washington, D. C.
Published by the Editor

By Dorothy Lamon
A.D. 1895

Copyright, 1911
By Dorothy Lamon Teillard
All rights reserved

The University Press, Cambridge, U. S. A.


The reason for thinking that the public may be interested in my father's
recollections of MR. LINCOLN, will be found in the following letter from
HON. J. P. USHER, Secretary of the Interior during the war:--

                                      LAWRENCE, KANSAS, May 20, 1885.

     _Ward H. Lamon, Esq., Denver, Col._

     DEAR SIR,--There are now but few left who were intimately
     acquainted with Mr. Lincoln. I do not call to mind any one who was
     so much with him as yourself. You were his partner for years in the
     practice of law, his confidential friend during the time he was
     President. I venture to say there is now none living other than
     yourself in whom he so much confided, and to whom he gave free
     expression of his feeling towards others, his trials and troubles
     in conducting his great office. You were with him, I know, more
     than any other one. I think, in view of all the circumstances and
     of the growing interest which the rising generation takes in all
     that he did and said, you ought to take the time, if you can, to
     commit to writing your recollections of him, his sayings and
     doings, which were not necessarily committed to writing and made
     public. Won't you do it? Can you not, through a series of articles
     to be published in some of the magazines, lay before the public a
     history of his inner life, so that the multitude may read and know
     much more of that wonderful man? Although I knew him quite well for
     many years, yet I am deeply interested in all that he said and did,
     and I am persuaded that the multitude of the people feel a like

                         Truly and sincerely yours,
           (Signed)                                  J. P. USHER.

In compiling this little volume, I have taken as a foundation some
anecdotal reminiscences already published in newspapers by my father,
and have added to them from letters and manuscript left by him.

If the production seems fragmentary and lacking in purpose, the fault is
due to the variety of sources from which I have selected the material.
Some of it has been taken from serious manuscript which my father
intended for a work of history, some from articles written in a lighter
vein; much has been gleaned from copies of letters which he wrote to
friends, but most has been gathered from notes jotted down on a
multitude of scraps scattered through a mass of miscellaneous material.

                                                           D. L.
  March, 1895.


In deciding to bring out this book I have had in mind the many letters
to my father from men of war times urging him to put in writing his
recollections of Lincoln. Among them is one from Mr. Lincoln's friend,
confidant, and adviser, A. K. McClure, one of the most eminent of
American journalists, founder and late editor of "The Philadelphia
Times," of whom Mr. Lincoln said in 1864 that he had more brain power
than any man he had ever known. Quoted by Leonard Swett, in the "North
American Review," the letter is as follows:--

                                       PHILADELPHIA, Sept. 1, 1891.

     _Hon. Ward H. Lamon, Carlsbad, Bohemia_:

     MY DEAR OLD FRIEND,--....I think it a great misfortune that you
     did not write the history of Lincoln's administration. It is much
     more needed from your pen than the volume you published some years
     ago, giving the history of his life. That straw has been thrashed
     over and over again and you were not needed in that work; but
     there are so few who had any knowledge of the inner workings of Mr.
     Lincoln's administration that I think you owe it to the proof of
     history to finish the work you began. ---- and ---- never knew
     anything about Mr. Lincoln. They knew the President in his routine
     duties and in his official ways, but the man Lincoln and his plans
     and methods were all Greek to them. They have made a history that
     is quite correct so far as data is concerned, but beyond that it is
     full of gross imperfections, especially when they attempt to speak
     of Mr. Lincoln's individual qualities and movements. Won't you
     consider the matter of writing another volume on Lincoln? I
     sincerely hope that you will do so. Herndon covered about
     everything that is needed outside of confidential official circles
     in Washington. That he could not write as he knew nothing about it,
     and there is no one living who can perform that task but

                                           Yours truly,
      (Signed)                                       A. K. MCCLURE.

I have been influenced also by a friend who is a great Lincoln scholar
and who, impressed with the injustice done my father, has urged me for
several years to reissue the book of "Recollections," add a sketch of
his life and publish letters that show his standing during Lincoln's
administration. I hesitated to do this, remembering the following words
of Mr. Lincoln at Lancaster, Pennsylvania, on his way to Washington: "It
is well known that the more a man speaks the less he is understood--the
more he says one thing, the more his adversaries contend he meant
something else." I am now yielding to these influences with the hope
that however much the book may suggest a "patchwork quilt" and be
permeated with Lamon as well as Lincoln, it will yet appeal to those
readers who care for documentary evidence in matters historical.

                                           DOROTHY LAMON TEILLARD.

     April, 1911.




  Prominent Features of Mr. Lincoln's Life written by himself          9

  Purpose of Present Volume                                           13

  Riding the Circuit                                                  14

  Introduction to Mr. Lincoln                                         14

  Difference in Work in Illinois and in Virginia                      15

  Mr. Lincoln's Victory over Rev. Peter Cartwright                    15

  Lincoln Subject Enough for the People                               16

  Mr. Lincoln's Love of a Joke--Could "Contribute Nothing
      to the End in View"                                             16

  A Branch of Law Practice which Mr. Lincoln could not learn          17

  Refusal to take Amount of Fee given in Scott Case                   18

  Mr. Lincoln tried before a Mock Tribunal                            19

  Low Charges for Professional Service                                20

  Amount of Property owned by Mr. Lincoln when he took the
      Oath as President of the United States                          20

  Introduction to Mrs. Lincoln                                        21

  Mrs. Lincoln's Prediction in 1847 that her Husband would be
      President                                                       21

  The Lincoln and Douglas Senatorial Campaign in 1858                 22

  "Smelt no Royalty in our Carriage"                                  22

  Mr. Lincoln denies that he voted against the Appropriation
      for Supplies to Soldiers during Mexican War                     23

  Jostles the Muscular Democracy of a Friend                          24

  Political Letter of 1858                                            26

  Prediction of Hon. J. G. Blaine regarding Lincoln and
      Douglas                                                         27

  Time between Election and Departure for Washington                  28



  Mr. Lincoln's Farewell to his Friends in Springfield                30

  At Indianapolis                                                     32

  Speeches made with the Object of saying Nothing                     33

  At Albany--Letter of Mr. Thurlow Weed                               34

  Loss of Inaugural Address                                           35

  At Philadelphia--Detective and alleged Conspiracy to murder
      Mr. Lincoln                                                     38

  Plans for Safety                                                    40

  At Harrisburg                                                       40

  Col. Sumner's Opinion of the Plan to thwart Conspiracy              41

  Selection of One Person to accompany Mr. Lincoln                    42

  At West Philadelphia--Careful Arrangements to avoid Discovery       43

  At Baltimore--"It's Four O'clock"                                   45

  At Washington                                                       45

  Arrival at Hotel                                                    46



  Formation of Cabinet and Administration Policy                      48

  Opposition to Mr. Chase                                             49

  Alternative List of Cabinet Members                                 50

  Politicians realize for the First Time the Indomitable Will of
      Mr. Lincoln                                                     51

  Mr. Seward and Mr. Chase, Men of Opposite Principles                51

  Mr. Seward not to be the real Head of the Administration            52

  Preparations for Inauguration                                       53

  Introduction by Senator Baker                                       53

  Impression made by Inaugural Address                                54

  Oath of Office Administered                                         54

  The Call of the New York Delegation on the President                55



  Geographical Lines distinctly drawn                                 56

  Behavior of the 36th Congress                                       57

  Letter of Hon. Joseph Holt on the "Impending Tragedy"               58

  South Carolina formally adopts the Ordinance of Secession           62

  Southern Men's Opinion of Slavery                                   62

  Mr. Lincoln imagines Himself in the Place of the Slave-Holder       65

  Judge J. S. Black on Slavery as regarded by the Southern Man        66

  Emancipation a Question of Figures as well as Feeling               66

  Mission to Charleston                                               68

  "Bring back a Palmetto, if you can't bring Good News"               70

  Why General Stephen A. Hurlbut went to Charleston                   70

  Visit to Mr. James L. Pettigrew--Peaceable Secession or
      War Inevitable                                                  71

  "A great Goliath from the North"--"A Yankee Lincoln-Hireling"       72

  Initiated into the great "Unpleasantness"                           73

  Interview with Governor Pickens--No Way out of Existing
      Difficulties but to fight out                                   74

  Passes written by Governor Pickens                              75, 78

  Interview with Major Anderson                                       75

  Rope strong enough to hang a Lincoln-Hireling                       76

  Timely Presence of Hon. Lawrence Keith                              77

  Extremes of Southern Character exemplified                          77

  Interview with the Postmaster of Charleston                         78

  Experience of General Hurlbut in Charleston                         79



  The Ease with which Mr. Lincoln could be reached                    80

  Visit of a Committee from Missouri                                  81

  A Missouri "Orphan" in Trouble                                      82

  Protection Paper for Betsy Ann Dougherty                            83

  Case of Young Man convicted of Sleeping at his Post                 86

  Reprieve given to a Man whom a "little Hanging would not
      hurt"                                                           87

  An Appeal for Mercy that failed                                     88

  An Appeal for the Release of a Church in Alexandria                 89

  "Reason" why Sentence of Death should not be passed upon
      a Parricide                                                     90

  The Tennessee Rebel Prisoner who was Religious                      90

  The Lord on our Side or We on the Side of the Lord                  91

  Clergymen at the White House                                        91

  Number of Rebels in the Field                                       92

  Mr. Lincoln dismisses Committee of Fault-Finding Clergymen          93

  Mistaken Identity and the Sequel                                    94

  Desire to be _like_ as well as _of_ and _for_ the People            96

  Hat Reform                                                          97

  Mr. Lincoln and his Gloves                                          97

  Bearing a Title should not injure the Austrian Count                99



  Mr. Lincoln's Tenderness toward Animals                            101

  Mr. Lincoln refuses to sign Death Warrants for Deserters--Kind
      Words better than Cold Lead                                    102

  How Mr. Lincoln shared the Sufferings of the Wounded
      Soldiers                                                       103

  Letters of Condolence                                          106-108



  Superstition--A Rent in the Veil which hides from Mortal
      View what the Future holds                                     111

  The Day of Mr. Lincoln's Renomination at Baltimore                 112

  Double Image in Looking-Glass--Premonition of Impending
      Doom                                                           112

  Mr. Lincoln relates a Dream which he had a Few Days before
      his Assassination                                              114

  A Dream that always portended an Event of National Importance      118

  Mr. Lincoln's Last Drive                                           119

  Mr. Lincoln's Philosophy concerning Presentiments and
      Dreams                                                         121



  Mr. Lincoln calls himself "Only a Retail Story-Dealer"             123

  The Purpose of Mr. Lincoln's Stories                               124

  Mr. Lincoln shocks the Public Printer                              124

  A General who had formed an Intimate Acquaintance with
      himself                                                        125

  Charles I. held up as a Model for Mr. Lincoln's Guidance in
      Dealing with Insurgents--Had no Head to Spare                  127

  Question of whether Slaves would starve if Emancipated             127

  Mr. Lincoln expresses his Opinion of Rebel Leaders to Confederate
      Commissioners at the Peace Conference                          128

  Impression made upon Mr. Lincoln by Alex. H. Stephens              129

  Heading a Barrel                                                   129

  A Fight, its Serious Outcome, and Mr. Lincoln's Kindly
      View of the Affair                                             130

  Not always easy for Presidents to have Special Trains furnished
      them                                                           132

  Mr. Lincoln's Reason for not being in a Hurry to Catch the
      Train                                                          133

  "Something must be done in the Interest of the Dutch"              134

  San Domingo Affair                                                 134

  Cabinet had _shrunk up_ North                                      135

  Ill Health of Candidates for the Position of Commissioner
      of the Sandwich Islands                                        135

  Encouragement to Young Lawyer who lost his Case                    136

  Settle the Difficulty without Reference to Who commenced
      the Fuss                                                       137

  "Doubts about the Abutment on the Other Side"                      138

  Mr. Anthony J. Bleeker tells his Experience in Applying for
      a Position--Believed in Punishment after Death                 138

  Mr. Lincoln points out a Marked Trait in one of the Northern
      Governors                                                      140

  "Ploughed around him"                                              142

  Revenge on Enemy                                                   143



  If a Cause of Action is Good it needs no Vindication               144

  Letter from A. J. Perkins                                          145

  Mr. Lincoln's Own Statement of the Antietam Affair                 147

  One "Little Sad Song"                                              150

  Well Timed Rudeness of Kind Intent                                 151

  Favorite Songs                                                     152

  Adam and Eve's Wedding Day                                         152

  Favorite Poem: "O Why Should the Spirit of Mortal be
      Proud?"                                                        153



  The Incident which led Mr. Lincoln to wear a Beard                 158

  The Knife that fairly belonged to Mr. Lincoln                      159

  Mr. Lincoln is introduced to the Painter of his "Beautiful
      Portrait"                                                      160

  Death of Mr. Lincoln's Favorite Child                              161

  Measures taken to break the Force of Mr. Lincoln's Grief           162

  The Invasion of Tad's Theatre                                      164

  Tad introduces some Kentucky Gentlemen                             166



  The Gettysburg Speech                                              169

  A Modesty which scorned Eulogy for Achievements not
      his Own                                                        170

  Mr. Lincoln's Regret that he had not prepared the Gettysburg
      Speech with Greater Care                                       173

  Mr. Everett's and Secretary Seward's Opinion of the Speech         174

  The Reported Opinion of Mr. Everett                                174

  Had unconsciously risen to a Height above the Cultured
      Thought of the Period                                          176

  Intrinsic Excellence of the Speech first discovered by European
      Journals                                                       176

  How the News of Mr. Lincoln's Death was received by
      Other Nations                                                  176

  Origin of Phrase "Government of the People, by the People,
      and for the People"                                            177



  An Intrigue to appoint a Dictator                                  180

  "Power, Plunder, and Extended Rule"                                181

  Feared Nothing except to commit an Involuntary Wrong               182

  President of One Part of a Divided Country--Not a Bed of
      Roses                                                          182

  Mr. Lincoln asserts himself                                        184

  Demands for General Grant's Removal                                184

  Distance from the White House to the Capitol                       185

  Stoical Firmness of Mr. Lincoln in standing by General Grant       185

  Letter from Mr. Lincoln to General Grant                           186

  The Only Occasion of a Misunderstanding between the President
      and General Grant                                              187

  Special Order Relative to Trade-Permits                            188

  Extract from Wendell Phillips's Speech                             189

  Willing to abide the Decision of Time                              190

  Unworthy Ambition of Politicians and the Jealousies in the
      Army                                                           191

  Resignation of General Burnside--Appointment of Successor          192

  War conducted at the Dictation of Political Bureaucracy            193

  Letter to General Hooker                                           194

  Mr. Lincoln's Treatment of the Subject of Dictatorship             195

  Symphony of Bull-Frogs                                             196

  "A Little More Light and a Little Less Noise"                      198



  Mr. Lincoln not a Creature of Circumstances                        199

  Subordination of High Officials to Mr. Lincoln                     200

  The Condition of the Army at Beginning and Close of General
      McClellan's Command                                            201

  Mr. Lincoln wanted to "borrow" the Army if General
      McClellan did not want to use it                               202

  Mr. Lincoln's Opinion of General McClellan. A Protest
      denouncing the Conduct of McClellan                            203

  Mr. Lincoln alone Responsible to the Country for General
      McClellan's Appointment as Commander of the Forces
      at Washington                                                  204

  Confidential Relationship between Francis P. Blair and Mr.
      Lincoln                                                        205

  Mr. Blair's Message to General McClellan                           206

  General McClellan repudiates the Obvious Meaning of the
      Democratic Platform                                            207

  Mr. Lincoln hopes to be "Dumped on the Right Side of the
      Stream"                                                        208

  Last Appeal to General McClellan's Patriotism                      208

  Proposition Declined                                               210



  Public Offices in no Sense a Fund upon which to draw for
      the Payment of Private Accounts                                212

  Busy letting Rooms while the House was on Fire                     214

  Peremptory Order to General Meade                                  214

  Conditions of Proposition to renounce all Claims to Presidency
      and throw Entire Influence in Behalf of Horatio
      Seymour                                                        215

  Mr. Thurlow Weed to effect Negotiation                             216

  Mr. Lincoln deterred from making the Magnanimous Self-Sacrifice    217

  How Mr. Lincoln thought the Currency was made                      217

  Mr. Chase explains the System of Checks--The President
      impressed with Danger from this Source                         218

  First Proposition to Mr. Lincoln to issue Interest-Bearing
      Notes as Currency--The Interview between David
      Taylor and Secretary Chase                                     220

  Mr. Lincoln's Honesty--Some Legal Rights and Moral
      Wrongs                                                         222

  Mr. Lincoln annuls the Proceedings of Court-Martial in Case
      of Franklin W. Smith and Brother                               222

  Senator Sherman omits Criticism of Lincoln                         223

  Release of Roger A. Pryor                                          224



  The "Trent" Affair                                                 227

  Spirit of Forgiveness (?) toward England                           229

  The Interview which led to the Appointment of Mr. Stanton
      as Secretary of War                                            230

  Correspondence with Hon. William A. Wheeler                        231

  The Appointment of Mr. Stanton a Surprise to the Country           232

  Mr. Stanton's Rudeness to Mr. Lincoln in 1858                      236

  Mr. Lincoln abandons a Message to Congress in Deference
      to the Opinion of his Cabinet--Proposed Appropriation
      of $3,000,000 as Compensation to Owners of Liberated
      Slaves                                                         237

  Mr. Stanton's Refusal of Permits to go through the Lines
      into Insurgent Districts                                       239

  Not Much Influence with this Administration                        239

  Mr. Stanton's Resignation not accepted                             239

  The Seven Words added by Mr. Chase to the Proclamation
      of Emancipation                                                240

  Difference between "Qualified Voters" and "Citizens of the
      State"                                                         240

  Letter of Governor Hahn                                            241

  Universal Suffrage One of Doubtful Propriety                       242

  Not in Favor of Unlimited Social Equality                          242

  The Conditions under which Mr. Lincoln wanted the War
      to Terminate                                                   243

  The Rights and Duties of the Gentleman and of the Vagrant
      are the Same in Time of War                                    245

  What was to be the Disposition of the Leaders of the Rebellion     246

  Mr. Lincoln and Jefferson Davis on an Imaginary Island             247

  Disposition of Jefferson Davis discussed at a Cabinet
      Meeting                                                        248

  Principal Events of Life of Mr. Davis after the War                249

  Discussing the Military Situation--Terms of Peace must
      emanate from Mr. Lincoln                                       250

  Telegram to General Grant                                          251

  Dignified Reply of General Grant                                   252



  Difficulties attending the Execution of the Fugitive Slave
      Law                                                            254

  Civil Authority outranked the Military                             255

  District Jail an Objective Point                                   257

  Resignation of Marshal                                             258

  Marshal's Office made a Subject of Legislation in Congress         259

  A Result of Blundering Legislation                                 259

  Mr. Lincoln's Existence embittered by Personal and Political
      Attacks                                                        260

  Rev. Robert Collyer and the Rustic Employee                        261



  Conspiracy to kidnap Mr. Buchanan                                  264

  Second Scheme of Abduction                                         265

  Mr. Lincoln relates the Details of a Dangerous Ride                265

  A Search for Mr. Lincoln                                           271

  Mr. Lincoln's Peril during Ceremonies of his Second
      Inauguration--Booth's Phenomenal Audacity                      271

  The Polish Exile from whom Mr. Lincoln feared Assault              273

  An Impatient Letter appealing to Mr. Lincoln's Prudence            274

  Mr. Lincoln's high Administrative Qualities                        276

  But Few Persons apprehended Danger to Mr. Lincoln                  276

  General Grant receives the News of the Assassination of
      Mr. Lincoln--A Narrow Escape                                   278

  Last Passport written by Mr. Lincoln                               280

  Mr. Lincoln requested to make a Promise                            280

  Mr. Lincoln's Farewell to his Marshal                              281

  Lincoln's Last Laugh                                               282

  Willing to concede Much to Democrats                               286

  Eastern Shore Maryland                                             287

  Honesty in Massachusetts and Georgia                               287

  McClellan seems to be Lost                                         288

  Battle of Antietam, Turning-point in Lincoln's Career              289

  Motto for the Greenback                                            289

  "Niggers will never be higher"                                     290

  Lincoln in a Law Case                                              291

  Lincoln's Views of the American or Know-Nothing Party              299

  Account of Arrangement for Cooper Institute Speech                 300

  "Rail Splitter"                                                    303

  Temperance                                                         305

  Shrewdness                                                         309

  Religion                                                           333


  Black, Jeremiah S., 329

  Briggs, Jas. A., 300

  Catron, J., 330

  Davis, David, xxxii, 317, 324

  Doubleday, A., 326

  Douglas, S. A., 319

  Faulkner, Chas. J., 327

  Fell, Jesse W., 11

  Field, Eugene, xxxv

  Field, Kate, 306

  Foster, Chas. H., 325

  Grant, Gen., to Secy. Stanton, 252

  Hanna, W. H., 317, 320, 326, 331

  Harmon, O. F., 314

  Hatch, O. M., 313, 316

  Henderson, D. P., 331

  Holt, J., 58

  Hurlburt, Stephen A., 79

  Kress, Jno. A., 256

  Lamon, W. H., xxvi, 231, 274, 307, 333

  Lemon, J. E., 319

  Lincoln, A., xxiii, xxix, 26, 106, 108, 186, 194, 241, 301, 309

  Logan, S. T., xxviii, 328

  McClure, A. K., vii

  Murray, Bronson, 311, 312

  Oglesby, R. J., 330

  Perkins, A. J., 145

  Pickens, Gov. F. W., 75, 78

  Pleasanton, A., 289

  Pope, John, 316

  Scott, Winfield, 314

  Seward, W. H., xxxi

  Shaffer, J. W., 329

  Smith, Jas. H., 312

  Stanton, Ed. M., 252

  Swett, Leonard, 313, 318

  Taylor, Hawkins, 315, 327

  Usher, Secy. J. P., v, xxv, 320, 322

  Weed, Thurlow, 34

  Weldon, Lawrence, xxxii, 318

  Wentworth, Jno., 331

  Wheeler, Wm. A., 234

  Yates, Richard, xxiv

[Illustration: _WARD HILL LAMON._]

[Illustration: Hand written letter]


Ward H. Lamon was born in Frederick County, about two miles north of
Winchester, in the state of Virginia, on the 6th day of January, 1828.
Two years after his birth his parents moved to Berkeley County in what
is now West Virginia, near a little town called Bunker Hill, where he
received a common school education. At the age of seventeen he began the
study of medicine which he soon abandoned for law. When nineteen years
of age he went to Illinois and settled in Danville; afterwards attending
lectures at the Louisville (Ky.) Law School. Was admitted to the Bar of
Kentucky in March, 1850, and in January, 1851, he was admitted to the
Illinois Bar, which comprised Abraham Lincoln, Judge Stephen T. Logan,
Judge David Davis, Leonard Swett, and others of that famous coterie, all
of whom were his fast friends.

[Illustration: Conclusion of a Legal Document signed by Lincoln and

They all rode the circuit together, there being no railroads at that
time in the State. And it has been said that, "It is doubtful if the bar
of any other state of the union equalled that of the frontier state of
Illinois in professional ability when Lincoln won his spurs." A legal
partnership was formed between Mr. Lamon and Mr. Lincoln for the
practice of law in the eighth District. Headquarters of this
partnership was first at Danville and then at Bloomington. Was elected
District Attorney for the eighth District in 1856, which office he
continued to hold until called upon by Mr. Lincoln to accompany him to
Washington. It was upon Mr. Lamon that Mr. Lincoln and his friends
relied to see him safely to the National Capitol, when it became
necessary at Harrisburg to choose one companion for the rest of the

    [A]                           EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENT,
                                    SPRINGFIELD, ILL., Feb. 9, 1861.

    DEAR GOVERNOR,--You will bear me witness that I seldom trouble my
    friends in Washington with letters of introduction. I must now ask
    you to indulge me in a suspension of this general rule, especially
    as my object has as much to do with your future as my own.

    W. H. Lamon, Esq., of our state visits Washington upon the
    invitation of Mr. Lincoln as his escort and companion. He is one of
    our ablest young lawyers, a man of strong and vigorous intellect and
    of influence throughout the entire state equal to any man in the

    His social qualities upon intimate acquaintance are of the finest
    type. He is chivalrous, courageous, generous.

    His integrity is unquestioned. Though inclined to be conservative,
    he is a republican firm, and from principle. He is, however,
    retiring and not disposed to press himself on any one. May I ask of
    you that you will be kind to him as you were to me, and very much
                                             Your friend,
                                                      RICHARD YATES.

He was appointed Marshal of the District of Columbia, which position at
that time was much more of a social function than it was in after years.
The Marshal performed some of the ceremonies which have since been
delegated to the Superintendent of Public Buildings and Grounds. He
introduced people to the President on state occasions and was the
general social factotum of the Executive Mansion. The position of
Marshal was not of his own choosing. Had he consulted his own taste he
would have preferred some appointment in Europe.[B] It was almost
settled that he was to be sent as Consul to Paris, but in deference to
Mr. Lincoln's wish to have him near him in the trying times which he
anticipated, he shouldered the duties of Marshal at this dangerous
period, when it was one of much friction and difficulty, as slavery
ruled for a hundred miles north and a thousand miles south and west of
the Capitol.

    [B]                                                  Feb. 4, 1861.

    DEAR SIR,--It affords me much satisfaction to hear that you have
    invited our excellent friend W. H. Lamon to accompany you to
    Washington and hope that there may be no necessity to interfere with
    his appointment to the consulate at Paris, that will give us all
    unbounded pleasure.

            Very truly your friend,
                                                         J. P. USHER.

After the law was passed emancipating the slaves in the District of
Columbia, that territory was made, or sought to be made, the asylum for
the unemancipated slaves of the States of Maryland and Virginia. Mr.
Lincoln was not yet ready to issue his general emancipation
proclamation; the Fugitive Slave law was still in force and was sought
to be enforced. This condition of things was seized upon by many
political demagogues to abuse the President over the shoulders of the
Marshal. They exaggerated the truly deplorable condition of the bondmen
and made execrable all officers of the Government, whose duty it became
to execute laws of their own making.

The jail was at that time in the custody of the Marshal, and he was
responsible for the safe keeping of twice as many criminals as his means
of keeping them safely justified; Congress being responsible for the
insufficiency of those means. To have performed the official
requirements of that office in pursuance of the then existing laws and
the official oath required, and at the same time given satisfaction to
the radical element of the Republican party, was impossible; hence the
vindictive persecution that followed which continued in the Republican
party against Marshal Lamon to the end of his life.

Colonel Lamon was a strong Union man but was greatly disliked by the
Abolitionists; was considered proslavery by them for permitting his
subordinates to execute the old Maryland laws in reference to negroes,
which had been in force since the District was ceded to the Federal
Government. After an unjust attack upon him in the Senate, they at last
reached the point where they should have begun, introduced a bill to
repeal the obnoxious laws which the Marshal was bound by his oath of
office to execute. When the fight on the Marshal was the strongest in
the Senate, he sent in the following resignation to Mr. Lincoln:

                                   WASHINGTON, D. C., Jany. 31, 1862.

     HON. A. LINCOLN, President, United States:

     SIR,--I hereby resign my office as Marshal for the District of
     Columbia. Your invariable friendship and kindness for a long course
     of years which you have ever extended to me impel me to give the
     reasons for this course. There appears to be a studious effort upon
     the part of the more radical portion of that party which placed you
     in power to pursue me with a relentless persecution, and I am now
     under condemnation by the United States Senate for doing what I am
     sure meets your approval, but by the course pursued by that
     honorable body I fear you will be driven to the necessity of either
     sustaining the action of that body, or breaking with them and
     sustaining me, which you cannot afford to do under the

     I appreciate your embarrassing position in the matter, and feel as
     unselfish in the premises as you have ever felt and acted towards
     me in the course of fourteen years of uninterrupted friendship; now
     when our country is in danger, I deem it but proper, having your
     successful administration of this Government more at heart than my
     own pecuniary interests, to relieve you of this embarrassment by
     resigning that office which you were kind enough to confide to my
     charge, and in doing so allow me to assure you that you have my
     best wishes for your health and happiness, for your successful
     administration of this Government, the speedy restoration to peace,
     and a long and useful life in the enjoyment of your present high
     and responsible office.

           I have the honor to be
                              Your friend and obedient servant,
                                                          WARD H. LAMON.

Mr. Lincoln refused to accept this resignation for reasons which he
partly expressed to Hon. William Kellogg, Member of Congress from
Illinois, at a Presidential reception about this time. When Judge
Kellogg was about to pass on after shaking the President's hand Mr.
Lincoln said, "Kellogg, I want you to stay here. I want to talk to you
when I have a chance. While you are waiting watch Lamon (Lamon was
making the presentations at the time). He is most remarkable. He knows
more people and can call more by name than any man I ever saw."

After the reception Kellogg said, "I don't know but you are mistaken in
your estimate of Lamon; there are many of our associates in Congress who
don't place so high an estimate on his character and have little or no
faith in him whatever." "Kellogg," said Lincoln, "you fellows at the
other end of the Avenue seem determined to deprive me of every friend I
have who is near me and whom I can trust. Now, let me tell you, sir, he
is the most unselfish man I ever saw; is discreet, powerful, and the
most desperate man in emergency I have ever seen or ever expect to see.
He is my friend and I am his and as long as I have these great
responsibilities on me I intend to insist on his being with me, and I
will stick by him at all hazards." Kellogg, seeing he had aroused the
President more than he expected, said, "Hold on, Lincoln; what I said of
our mutual friend Lamon was in jest. I am also his friend and believe
with you about him. I only intended to draw you out so that I might be
able to say something further in his favor with your endorsement. In the
House today I defended him and will continue to do so. I know Lamon
clear through." "Well, Judge," said Lincoln, "I thank you. You can say
to your friends in the House and elsewhere that they will have to bring
stronger proof than any I have seen yet to make me think that Hill Lamon
is not the most important man to me I have around me."

       *       *       *       *       *

Every charge preferred against the Marshal was proven groundless, but
the Senators and Representatives who had joined in this inexcusable
persecution ever remained his enemies as did also the radical press.[C]

  [C] At this time the Grand Jury of Washington County, District of
  Columbia, found a bill of indictment against Horace Greeley, of the New
  York "Tribune," for malicious libel of a public officer, the U. S.
  Marshal. The Marshal was averse to this procedure, but the jury having
  the facts before them regarded the offence as so flagrant that the case
  was vigorously prosecuted.

The following is a sample of many letters received by Colonel Lamon
about this time:--

                                            March, 23, 1862.

     ...--I was rather sorry that you should have thought that I
     needed to see any evidence in regard to the war Grimes & Company
     were making on you to satisfy me as to what were the facts. No one,
     however, had any doubt but that they made the attack on you for
     doing your duty under the law. Such men as he and his coadjutors
     think every man ought to be willing to commit perjury or any other
     crime in pursuit of their abolition notions.

     We suppose, however, that they mostly designed the attack on you as
     a blow at Lincoln and as an attempt to reach him through his
     friends. I do not doubt but they would be glad to drive every
     personal friend to Lincoln out of Washington.

     I ought to let you know, however, that you have risen more than an
     hundred per cent in the estimation of my wife on account of your
     having so acted as to acquire the enmity of the Abolitionists. I
     believe firmly that if we had not got the Republican nomination for
     him (Lincoln) the Country would have been gone. I don't know
     whether it can be saved yet, but I hope so....

     Write whenever you have leisure.

                                        Yours respectfully,
                                                     S. T. LOGAN.

Mr. Lincoln had become very unpopular with the politicians--not so with
the masses, however. Members of Congress gave him a wide berth and
eloquently "left him alone with his Martial Cloak around him." It pained
him that he could not please everybody, but he said it was impossible.
In a conversation with Lamon about his personal safety Lincoln said, "I
have more reason today to apprehend danger to myself personally from my
own partisan friends than I have from all other sources put together."
This estrangement between him and his former friends at such a time no
doubt brought him to a more confidential relation with Colonel Lamon
than would have been otherwise.

In May, 1861, Lamon was authorized to organize and command a regiment of
volunteer Infantry, and subsequently his command was increased to a

 [Illustration: Hand written letter]

    [D]                                   WASHINGTON, D. C.,
                                         June 25, 1861.

    COL. W. H. LAMON:

    MY DEAR SIR,--I spoke to the Secretary of War yesterday, and he
    consents, and so do I, that as fast as you get Companies, you may
    procure a U. S. officer, and have them mustered in. Have this done
    quietly; because we can not do the labor of adopting it as a general

                                                          Yours as ever,
                                                             A. LINCOLN.

Raising troops at the commencement of the war cost Colonel Lamon
$22,000, for which he never asked the Government to reimburse a dollar.
Mr. Lincoln urged him to put in his vouchers and receive it back, but
Lamon did not want to place himself in the position that any
evil-disposed person could question his integrity or charge him with
having wrongfully received from the Government one dollar.

His military service in the field, however, was of short duration--from
May, 1861, to December of that year--for his services were in greater
demand at the Nation's Capital. He held the commission of Colonel during
the war.

Colonel Lamon was charged with several important missions for Mr.
Lincoln, one of the most delicate and dangerous being a confidential
mission to Charleston, S. C., less than three weeks before the firing on

At the time of the death of Mr. Lincoln, Lamon was in Richmond. It was
believed by many who were familiar with Washington affairs, including
Mr. Seward, Secretary of State, that had Lamon been in the city on the
14th of April, 1865, that appalling tragedy at Ford's Theatre would have
been averted.

From the time of the arrival of the President-elect at Washington until
just before his assassination, Lamon watched over his friend and Chief
with exceeding intelligence and a fidelity that knew no rest. It has
been said of Lamon that, "The faithful watch and vigil long with which
he guarded Lincoln's person during those four years was seldom, if ever,
equalled by the fidelity of man to man." Lamon is perhaps best known for
the courage and watchful devotion with which he guarded Lincoln during
the stormy days of the Civil War.

After Lincoln's death it was always distasteful to Lamon to go to the
White House. He resigned his position in June following Mr. Lincoln's
death in the face of the remonstrance of the Administration.

[Illustration: Hand written note]

The following is a copy of a letter of Mr. Seward accepting his

                                 DEPARTMENT OF STATE,
                                       WASHINGTON, June 10, 1865.

     To WARD H. LAMON, Esq.,
       Marshal of the United States
        for the District of Columbia,
           Washington, D. C.

     MY DEAR SIR,--The President directs me to acknowledge the receipt
     of your letter of the 8th instant, in which you tender your
     resignation as Marshal of the United States for the District of

     He accepts your resignation, as you desire, to take effect on
     Monday, the 12th instant, but in so doing deems it no more than
     right to say that he regrets that you should have asked him to do
     so. Since his advent here, he has heard from those well qualified
     to speak of your unwavering loyalty and of your constant personal
     fidelity to the late President. These are qualities which have
     obtained for you the reputation of a faithful and fearless public
     officer, and they are just such qualities as the Government can ill
     afford to lose in any of its Departments. They will, I doubt not,
     gain for you in any new occupation which you may undertake the same
     reputation and the same success you have obtained in the position
     of United States Marshal of this District.

                                   Very truly yours,
    (Signed)                                        WILLIAM H. SEWARD.

Colonel Lamon was never just to himself. He cared little for either fame
or fortune. He regarded social fidelity as one of the highest virtues.
When President Johnson wished to make him a Member of his Cabinet and
offered him the position of Postmaster-General, Lamon pleaded the cause
of the incumbent so effectually that the President was compelled to
abandon the purpose.

Judge David Davis, many years on the U. S. Supreme Bench, and
administrator of Mr. Lincoln's estate, wrote the following under date of
May 23, 1865, to Hon. Wm. H. Seward, Secretary of State.

     There is one matter of a personal nature which I wish to suggest to
     you. Mr. Lincoln was greatly attached to our friend Col. Ward H.
     Lamon. I doubt whether he had a warmer attachment to anybody, and I
     know that it was reciprocated. Col. Lamon has for a long time
     wanted to resign his office and had only held it at the earnest
     request of Mr. Lincoln.

     Mr. Lincoln would have given him the position of Governor of Idaho.
     Col. Lamon is well qualified for that place. He would be popular
     there. He understands Western people and few men have more friends.
     I should esteem it as a great favor personally if you could secure
     the place for him. If you can't succeed nobody else can. Col. Lamon
     will make no effort and will use no solicitation.

     He is one of the dearest friends I have in the world. He may have
     faults, and few of us are without them, but he is as true as steel,
     honorable, high minded, and never did a mean thing in his life.
     Excuse the freedom with which I have written.

     May I beg to be remembered to your son and to your family.

                                             Yours most truly,
                                                      DAVID DAVIS.

The faithfulness till death of this noble man's friendship is shown in
the following letter written for him when he was dying, twenty-one years

                                             BLOOMINGTON, ILL.,
                                                   June 22, 1886.

     COL. W. H. LAMON:

     DEAR SIR,--On my return from Washington about a month since Judge
     Davis said to me that he had a long letter from you which he
     intended to answer as soon as he was able to do so. Since that time
     the Judge has been declining in health until he is now beyond all
     capability of writing. I have not seen him for three weeks until
     yesterday morning when I found him in lowest condition of life.
     Rational when aroused but almost unconscious of his surroundings
     except when aroused.

     He spoke in the kindest terms of you and was much annoyed because
     an answer to your letter was postponed. He requested me this
     morning through Mrs. Davis to write you, while Mrs. Davis handed me
     the letter. I have not read it as it is a personal letter to the
     Judge. I don't know that I can say any more. It was one of the
     saddest sights of my life to see the best and truest friend I ever
     had emaciated with disease, lingering between life and death.
     Before this reaches you the world may know of his death. I
     understood Mrs. Davis has written you.

                                            Very truly,
                                               LAWRENCE WELDON.

In striking contrast to this beautiful friendship is another which one
would pronounce equally strong were he to judge the man who professed it
from his letters to Lamon, covering a period of twenty-five years,
letters filled throughout with expressions of the deepest trust, love,
admiration, and even gratitude; but in a book published last November
[1910] there appear letters from this same man to one of Lamon's
_bitterest_ enemies. In one he says, "Lamon was no solid firm friend of
Lincoln." Let us _hope_ he was sincere when he expressed just the
opposite sentiment to Lamon, for may it not have been his poverty and
not his will which consented to be thus "interviewed." He alludes twice
in this same correspondence to his poverty, once when he gives as his
reason for selling something he regretted to have sold that "I was a
poor devil and had to sell to live," and again, "---- are you getting
rich? I am as poor as Job's turkey."

One of Lamon's friends describes him:--

     "Of herculean proportions and almost fabulous strength and agility,
     Lamon never knew what fear was and in the darkest days of the war
     he never permitted discouragement to affect his courage or weaken
     his faith in the final success of the Nation. Big-hearted, genial,
     generous, and chivalrous, his memory will live long in the land
     which he served so well."

Leonard Swett wrote in the "North American Review":--

     "Lamon was all over a Virginian, strong, stout and athletic--a
     Hercules in stature, tapering from his broad shoulders to his
     heels, and the handsomest man physically I ever saw. He was six
     feet high and although prudent and cautious, was thoroughly
     courageous and bold. He wore that night [when he accompanied
     Lincoln from Harrisburg to Washington] two ordinary pistols, two
     derringers and two large knives. You could put no more elements of
     attack or defence in a human skin than were in Lamon and his armory
     on that occasion.... Mr. Lincoln knew the shedding the last drop of
     blood in his defence would be the most delightful act of Lamon's
     life, and that in him he had a regiment armed and drilled for the
     most efficient service."

The four or five thousand letters left by Colonel Lamon show that his
influence was asked on almost every question, and show that Mr. Lincoln
was more easily reached through Colonel Lamon than by any other one man;
even Mrs. Lincoln herself asked Lamon's influence with her husband.
Extracts from some of these letters may be found at the end of this
volume. They breathe the real atmosphere of other days.

After his resignation as Marshal, he resumed the practice of law in
company with Hon. Jeremiah S. Black and his son, Chauncey F. Black.

Broken in health and in fortune, he went to Colorado in 1879, where he
remained seven years. It was here that the beautiful friendship began
between Colonel Lamon and Eugene Field. This friendship meant much to
both of them. To Eugene Field, then one of the editors of the Denver
"Tribune," who had only a boyhood recollection of Lincoln, it meant much
to study the history of the War and the martyred President with one who
had seen much of both. To Colonel Lamon it was a solace and a tonic,
this association with one in whom sentiment and humor were so delicately

One little incident of this friendship is worth the telling because of
the pathetic beauty of the verses which it occasioned.

One day when Field dropped in to see Lamon he found him asleep on the
floor. (To take a nap on the floor was a habit of both Lamon and
Lincoln, perhaps because they both experienced difficulty in finding
lounges suited to their length--Lamon was six feet two inches, Lincoln
two inches taller.) Field waited some time thinking Lamon would wake up,
but he did not; so finally Field penciled the following verses on a
piece of paper, pinned it to the lapel of Lamon's coat, and quietly

  As you, dear Lamon, soundly slept
    And dreamed sweet dreams upon the floor,
  Into your hiding place I crept
    And heard the music of your snore.

  A man who sleeps as now you sleep,
    Who pipes as music'ly as thou--
  Who loses self in slumbers deep
    As you, O happy man, do now,

  Must have a conscience clear and free
    From troublous pangs and vain ado;
  So ever may thy slumbers be--
    So ever be thy conscience too!

  And when the last sweet sleep of all
    Shall smooth the wrinkles from thy brow,
  May God on high as gently guard
    Thy slumbering soul as I do now.

This incident occurred in the summer of 1882. Eleven years after Colonel
Lamon lay dying. He was conscious to the last moment, but for the last
sixteen hours he had lost the power of speech. His daughter watched him
for those sixteen hours, hoping every moment he would be able to speak.
She was so stunned during this long watch that she could not utter a
prayer to comfort her father's soul, but just before the end came, the
last lines of the little poem came to her like an inspiration which she
repeated aloud to her dying father:

  "And when the last sweet sleep of all
    Shall smooth the wrinkles from thy brow,
  May God on high as gently guard
    Thy slumbering soul as I do now."

These were the last words Colonel Lamon ever heard on earth. He died at
eleven o'clock on the night of May 7th, 1893; and many most interesting
chapters of Lincoln's history have perished with him.

[Illustration: Letter page 1]

[Illustration: Letter page 2]






When Mr. Lincoln was nominated for the Presidency in 1860, a campaign
book-maker asked him to give the prominent features of his life. He
replied in the language of Gray's "Elegy," that his life presented
nothing but

  "The short and simple annals of the poor."

He had, however, a few months previously, written for his friend Jesse
W. Fell the following:--

     I was born Feb. 12, 1809, in Harden County, Kentucky. My parents
     were both born in Virginia, of undistinguished families--second
     families, perhaps I should say. My mother, who died in my tenth
     year, was of a family of the name of Hanks, some of whom now reside
     in Adams, some others in Macon counties, Illinois--My paternal
     grandfather, Abraham Lincoln, emigrated from Rockingham County,
     Virginia, to Kentucky, about 1781 or 2, where, a year or two
     later, he was killed by indians,--not in battle, but by stealth,
     when he was laboring to open a farm in the forest--His ancestors,
     who were quakers, went to Virginia from Berks County,
     Pennsylvania--An effort to identify them with the New England
     family of the same name ended in nothing more definite, than a
     similarity of Christian names in both families, such as Enoch,
     Levi, Mordecai, Solomon, Abraham, and the like--

     My father, at the death of his father, was but six years of age;
     and he grew up, literally without education--He removed from
     Kentucky to what is now Spencer county, Indiana, in my eighth
     year--We reached our new home about the time the State came into
     the Union--It was a wild region, with many bears and other wild
     animals still in the woods--There I grew up--There were some
     schools, so called; but no qualification was ever required of a
     teacher, beyond "_readin, writin, and cipherin_" to the Rule of
     Three--If a straggler supposed to understand latin happened to
     sojourn in the neighborhood, he was looked upon as a wizzard--There
     was absolutely nothing to excite ambition for education. Of course
     when I came of age I did not know much--Still, somehow, I could
     read, write, and cipher to the Rule of Three; but that was all--I
     have not been to school since--The little advance I now have upon
     this store of education, I have picked up from time to time under
     the pressure of necessity--

     I was raised to farm work, which I continued till I was twenty
     two--At twenty one I came to Illinois, and passed the first year in
     Macon county--Then I got to New-Salem at that time in Sangamon, now
     in Menard county, where I remained a year as a sort of Clerk in a
     store--Then came the Black Hawk war; and I was elected a Captain of
     Volunteers--a success which gave me more pleasure than any I have
     had since--I went the campaign, was elected, ran for the
     Legislature the same year (1832) and was beaten--the only time I
     ever have been beaten by the people--The next, and three succeeding
     biennial elections, I was elected to the Legislature--I was not a
     candidate afterwards. During this Legislative period I had studied
     law, and removed to Springfield to practice it--In 1846 I was once
     elected to the lower House of Congress--Was not a candidate for
     re-election--From 1849 to 1854, both inclusive, practiced law more
     assiduously than ever before--Always a whig in politics; and
     generally on the whig electoral tickets, making active canvasses--I
     was losing interest in politics, when the repeal of the Missouri
     Compromise aroused me again--What I have done since then is pretty
     well known--

     If any personal description of me is thought desirable, it may be
     said, I am, in height, six feet, four inches, nearly; lean in
     flesh, weighing, on an average, one hundred and eighty pounds; dark
     complexion, with coarse black hair, and grey eyes--No other marks
     or brands recollected--

                                                Yours very truly
                                                          A. LINCOLN.

  J. W. Fell, Esq.
                                     WASHINGTON, D. C., March 20, 1872.

     We the undersigned hereby certify that the foregoing statement is
     in the hand-writing of Abraham Lincoln.

                                               DAVID DAVIS.
                                               LYMAN TRUMBULL.
                                               CHARLES SUMNER.[E]

  [E] The circumstances under which the original preceding sketch was
  written are explained in the following letter:--

                                 NATIONAL HOTEL, WASHINGTON, D. C.,
                                             Feb. 19, 1872.


    DEAR SIR,--In compliance with your request, I place in your hands
    a copy of a manuscript in my possession written by Abraham Lincoln,
    giving a brief account of his early history, and the commencement of
    that political career which terminated in his election to the

    It may not be inappropriate to say, that some time preceding the
    writing of the enclosed, finding, in Pennsylvania and elsewhere, a
    laudable curiosity in the public mind to know more about the early
    history of Mr. Lincoln, and looking, too, to the possibilities of
    his being an available candidate for the presidency in 1860, I had
    on several occasions requested of him this information, and that it
    was not without some hesitation he placed in my hands even this very
    modest account of himself, which he did in the month of December,

    To this were added, by myself, other facts bearing upon his
    legislative and political history, and the whole forwarded to a
    friend residing in my native county (Chester, Pa.),--the Hon. Joseph
    J. Lewis, former commissioner of internal revenue,--who made them
    the basis of an ably-written and somewhat elaborate memoir of the
    late president, which appeared in the Pennsylvania and other papers
    of the country in January, 1860, and which contributed to prepare
    the way for the subsequent nomination at Chicago the following June.

    Believing this brief and unpretending narrative, written by himself
    in his own peculiar vein,--and in justice to him I should add,
    without the remotest expectation of its ever appearing in
    public,--with the attending circumstances, may be of interest to the
    numerous admirers of that historic and truly great man, I place it
    at your disposal.

                                       I am truly yours,
                                                  JESSE W. FELL.

Were I to say in this polite age that Abraham Lincoln was born in a
condition of life most humble and obscure, and that he was surrounded by
circumstances most unfavorable to culture and to the development of that
nobility and purity which his wonderful character afterward displayed,
it would shock the fastidious and super-fine sensibilities of the
average reader, would be regarded as _prima facie_ evidence of felonious
intent, and would subject me to the charge of being inspired by an
antagonistic animus. In justice to the truth of history, however, it
must be acknowledged that such are the facts concerning this great man,
regarding whom nothing should be concealed from public scrutiny, either
in the surroundings of his birth, his youth, his manhood, or his private
and public life and character. Let all the facts concerning him be
known, and he will appear brighter and purer by the test.

It may well be said of him that he is probably the only man, dead or
living, whose _true_ and _faithful_ life could be written and leave the
subject more ennobled by the minutiæ of the record. His faults are but
"the shadows which his virtues cast." It is my purpose in these
recollections to give the reader a closer view of the great war
President than is afforded by current biographies, which deal mainly
with the outward phases of his life; and in carrying out this purpose I
will endeavor to present that many-sided man in those relations where
his distinguishing traits manifest themselves most strongly.

With the grandeur of his figure in history, with his genius and his
achievements as the model statesman and chief magistrate, all men are
now familiar; but there yet remain to be sketched many phases of his
inner life. Many of the incidents related in these sketches came to my
knowledge through my long-continued association with him both in his
private and public life; therefore, if the _Ego_ shall seem at times
pushed forward to undue prominence, it will be because of its
convenience, or rather necessity, certainly not from any motive of

My personal acquaintance with Mr. Lincoln dates back to the autumn of
1847. In that year, attracted by glowing accounts of material growth and
progress in that part of the West, I left my home in what was then
Berkeley County, Virginia, and settled at Danville, Vermillion County,
Illinois. That county and Sangamon, including Springfield, the new
capital of the State, were embraced in the Eighth Judicial Circuit,
which at that early day consisted of fourteen counties. It was then the
custom of lawyers, like their brethren of England, "to ride the
circuit." By that circumstance the people came in contact with all the
lawyers in the circuit, and were enabled to note their distinguishing
traits. I soon learned that the man most celebrated, even in those
pioneer days, for oddity, originality, wit, ability, and eloquence in
that region of the State was Abraham Lincoln. My great curiosity to see
him was gratified soon after I took up my residence at Danville.

I was introduced to Mr. Lincoln by the Hon. John T. Stuart, for some
years his partner at Springfield. After a comical survey of my
fashionable toggery,--my swallow-tail coat, white neck-cloth, and
ruffled shirt (an astonishing outfit for a young limb of the law in that
settlement),--Mr. Lincoln said: "And so you are a cousin of our friend
John J. Brown; he told me you were coming. Going to try your hand at the
law, are you? I should know at a glance that you were a Virginian; but
I don't think you would succeed at splitting rails. That was my
occupation at your age, and I don't think I have taken as much pleasure
in anything else from that day to this."

I assured him, perhaps as a sort of defence against the eloquent
condemnation implied in my fashionable clawhammer, that I had done a
deal of hard manual labor in my time. Much amused at this solemn
declaration, Mr. Lincoln said: "Oh, yes; you Virginians shed barrels of
perspiration while standing off at a distance and superintending the
work your slaves do for you. It is different with us. Here it is every
fellow for himself, or he doesn't get there."

Mr. Lincoln soon learned, however, that my detestation of slave labor
was quite as pronounced as his own, and from that hour we were friends.
Until the day of his death it was my pleasure and good fortune to retain
his confidence unshaken, as he retained my affection unbroken.

I was his local partner, first at Danville, and afterward at
Bloomington. We rode the circuit together, traveling by buggy in the dry
seasons and on horse-back in bad weather, there being no railroads then
in that part of the State. Mr. Lincoln had defeated that redoubtable
champion of pioneer Methodism, the Rev. Peter Cartwright, in the last
race for Congress. Cartwright was an oddity in his way, quite as
original as Lincoln himself. He was a foeman worthy of Spartan steel,
and Mr. Lincoln's fame was greatly enhanced by his victory over the
famous preacher. Whenever it was known that Lincoln was to make a
speech or argue a case, there was a general rush and a crowded house. It
mattered little what subject he was discussing,--Lincoln was subject
enough for the people. It was Lincoln they wanted to hear and see; and
his progress round the circuit was marked by a constantly recurring
series of ovations.

Mr. Lincoln was from the beginning of his circuit-riding the light and
life of the court. The most trivial circumstance furnished a back-ground
for his wit. The following incident, which illustrates his love of a
joke, occurred in the early days of our acquaintance. I, being at the
time on the infant side of twenty-one, took particular pleasure in
athletic sports. One day when we were attending the circuit court which
met at Bloomington, Ill., I was wrestling near the court house with some
one who had challenged me to a trial, and in the scuffle made a large
rent in the rear of my trousers. Before I had time to make any change, I
was called into court to take up a case. The evidence was finished. I,
being the Prosecuting Attorney at the time, got up to address the jury.
Having on a somewhat short coat, my misfortune was rather apparent. One
of the lawyers, for a joke, started a subscription paper which was
passed from one member of the bar to another as they sat by a long table
fronting the bench, to buy a pair of pantaloons for Lamon,--"he being,"
the paper said, "a poor but worthy young man." Several put down their
names with some ludicrous subscription, and finally the paper was laid
by some one in front of Mr. Lincoln, he being engaged in writing at the
time. He quietly glanced over the paper, and, immediately taking up his
pen, wrote after his name, "I can contribute nothing to the end in

Although Mr. Lincoln was my senior by eighteen years, in one important
particular I certainly was in a marvelous degree his acknowledged
superior. One of the first things I learned after getting fairly under
way as a lawyer was to charge well for legal services,--a branch of the
practice that Mr. Lincoln never could learn. In fact, the lawyers of the
circuit often complained that his fees were not at all commensurate with
the service rendered. He at length left that branch of the business
wholly to me; and to my tender mercy clients were turned over, to be
slaughtered according to my popular and more advanced ideas of the
dignity of our profession. This soon led to serious and shocking

Early in our practice a gentleman named Scott placed in my hands a case
of some importance. He had a demented sister who possessed property to
the amount of $10,000, mostly in cash. A "conservator," as he was
called, had been appointed to take charge of the estate, and we were
employed to resist a motion to remove the conservator. A designing
adventurer had become acquainted with the unfortunate girl, and knowing
that she had money, sought to marry her; hence the motion. Scott, the
brother and conservator, before we entered upon the case, insisted that
I should fix the amount of the fee. I told him that it would be $250,
adding, however, that he had better wait; it might not give us much
trouble, and in that event a less amount would do. He agreed at once to
pay $250, as he expected a hard contest over the motion.

The case was tried inside of twenty minutes; our success was complete.
Scott was satisfied, and cheerfully paid over the money to me inside the
bar, Mr. Lincoln looking on. Scott then went out, and Mr. Lincoln asked,
"What did you charge that man?" I told him $250. Said he: "Lamon, that
is all wrong. The service was not worth that sum. Give him back at least
half of it."

I protested that the fee was fixed in advance; that Scott was perfectly
satisfied, and had so expressed himself. "That may be," retorted Mr.
Lincoln, with a look of distress and of undisguised displeasure, "but
_I_ am not satisfied. This is positively wrong. Go, call him back and
return half the money at least, or I will not receive one cent of it for
my share."

I did go, and Scott was astonished when I handed back half the fee.

This conversation had attracted the attention of the lawyers and the
court. Judge David Davis, then on our circuit bench, called Mr. Lincoln
to him. The judge never could whisper, but in this instance he probably
did his best. At all events, in attempting to whisper to Mr. Lincoln he
trumpeted his rebuke in about these words, and in rasping tones that
could be heard all over the court room: "Lincoln, I have been watching
you and Lamon. You are impoverishing this bar by your picayune charges
of fees, and the lawyers have reason to complain of you. You are now
almost as poor as Lazarus, and if you don't make people pay you more for
your services you will die as poor as Job's turkey!"

Judge O. L. Davis, the leading lawyer in that part of the State,
promptly applauded this malediction from the bench; but Mr. Lincoln was
immovable. "That money," said he, "comes out of the pocket of a poor,
demented girl, and I would rather starve than swindle her in this

That evening the lawyers got together and tried Mr. Lincoln before a
moot tribunal called "The Ogmathorial Court." He was found guilty and
fined for his awful crime against the pockets of his brethren of the
bar. The fine he paid with great good humor, and then kept the crowd of
lawyers in uproarious laughter until after midnight. He persisted in his
revolt, however, declaring that with his consent his firm should never
during its life, or after its dissolution, deserve the reputation
enjoyed by those shining lights of the profession, "Catch 'em and Cheat

In these early days Mr. Lincoln was once employed in a case against a
railroad company in Illinois. The case was concluded in his favor,
except as to the pronouncement of judgment. Before this was done, he
rose and stated that his opponents had not proved all that was justly
due to them in offset, and proceeded to state briefly that justice
required that an allowance should be made against his client for a
certain amount. The court at once acquiesced in his statement, and
immediately proceeded to pronounce judgment in accordance therewith. He
was ever ready to sink his selfish love of victory as well as his
partiality for his client's favor and interest for the sake of exact

In many of the courts on the circuit Mr. Lincoln would be engaged on one
side or the other of every case on the docket, and yet, owing to his low
charges and the large amount of professional work which he did for
nothing, at the time he left Springfield for Washington to take the oath
of office as President of the United States he was not worth more than
seven thousand dollars,--his property consisting of the house in which
he had lived, and eighty acres of land on the opposite side of the river
from Omaha, Neb. This land he had entered with his bounty land-warrant
obtained for services in the Black Hawk War.[1]

  [1] Page 20, line 21, after the word "war."

Mr. Lincoln did not think money for its own sake a fit object of any
man's ambition.

Mr. Lincoln was always simple in his habits and tastes. He was
economical in everything, and his wants were few. He was a good liver;
and his family, though not extravagant, were much given to
entertainments, and saw and enjoyed many ways of spending money not
observable by him. After all his inexpensive habits, and a long life of
successful law practice, he was reduced to the necessity of borrowing
money to defray expenses for the first months of his residence at the
White House. This money he repaid after receiving his salary as
President for the first quarter.

A few months after meeting Mr. Lincoln, I attended an entertainment
given at his residence in Springfield. After introducing me to Mrs.
Lincoln, he left us in conversation. I remarked to her that her husband
was a great favorite in the eastern part of the State, where I had been
stopping. "Yes," she replied, "he is a great favorite everywhere. He is
to be President of the United States some day; if I had not thought so I
never would have married him, for you can see he is not pretty. But look
at him! Doesn't he look as if he would make a magnificent President?"

"Magnificent" somewhat staggered me; but there was, without appearing
ungallant, but one reply to make to this pointed question. I made it,
but did so under a mental protest, for I am free to admit that he did
not look promising for that office; on the contrary, to me he looked
about as unpromising a candidate as I could well imagine the American
people were ever likely to put forward. At that time I felt convinced
that Mrs. Lincoln was running Abraham beyond his proper distance in that
race. I did not thoroughly know the man then; afterward I never saw the
time when I was not willing to apologize for my misguided secret
protest. Mrs. Lincoln, from that day to the day of his inauguration,
never wavered in her faith that her hopes in this respect would be

In 1858, when Mr. Lincoln and Judge Douglas were candidates for the
United States Senate, and were making their celebrated campaign in
Illinois, General McClellan was Superintendent of the Illinois Central
Railroad, and favored the election of Judge Douglas. At all points on
the road where meetings between the two great politicians were held,
either a special train or a special car was furnished to Judge Douglas;
but Mr. Lincoln, when he failed to get transportation on the regular
trains in time to meet his appointments, was reduced to the necessity of
going as freight. There being orders from headquarters to permit no
passenger to travel on freight trains, Mr. Lincoln's persuasive powers
were often brought into requisition. The favor was granted or refused
according to the politics of the conductor.

On one occasion, in going to meet an appointment in the southern part of
the State,--that section of Illinois called Egypt,--Mr. Lincoln and I,
with other friends, were traveling in the "caboose" of a freight train,
when we were switched off the main track to allow a special train to
pass in which Mr. Lincoln's more aristocratic rival was being conveyed.
The passing train was decorated with banners and flags, and carried a
band of music which was playing "Hail to the Chief." As the train
whistled past, Mr. Lincoln broke out in a fit of laughter and said,
"Boys, the gentleman in that car evidently smelt no royalty in our

On arriving at the point where these two political gladiators were to
test their strength, there was the same contrast between their
respective receptions. The judge was met at the station by the
distinguished Democratic citizens of the place, who constituted almost
the whole population, and was marched to the camping ground to the sound
of music, shouts from the populace, and under floating banners borne by
his enthusiastic admirers. Mr. Lincoln was escorted by a few Republican
politicians; no enthusiasm was displayed, no music greeted his ears,
nor, in fact, any other sound except the warble of the bull-frogs in a
neighboring swamp. The signs and prospects for Mr. Lincoln's election by
the support of the people looked gloomy indeed.

Judge Douglas spoke first, and so great was the enthusiasm excited by
his speech that Mr. Lincoln's friends became apprehensive of trouble.
When spoken to on the subject he said: "I am not going to be terrified
by an excited populace, and hindered from speaking my honest sentiments
upon this infernal subject of human slavery." He rose, took off his hat,
and stood before that audience for a considerable space of time in a
seemingly reflective mood, looking over the vast throng of people as if
making a preliminary survey of their tendencies. He then bowed, and
commenced by saying: "My fellow-citizens, I learn that my friend Judge
Douglas said in a public speech that I, while in Congress, had voted
against the appropriation for supplies to the Mexican soldiers during
the late war. This, fellow-citizens, is a perversion of the facts. It is
true that I was opposed to the policy of the Administration in
declaring war against Mexico[2]; but when war was declared, I never
failed to vote for the support of any proposition looking to the comfort
of our poor fellows who were maintaining the dignity of our flag in a
war that I thought unnecessary and unjust."[F] He gradually became more
and more excited; his voice thrilled and his whole frame shook. I was at
the time sitting on the stand beside Hon. O. B. Ficklin, who had served
in Congress with Mr. Lincoln in 1847. Mr. Lincoln reached back and took
Ficklin by the coat-collar, back of his neck, and in no gentle manner
lifted him from his seat as if he had been a kitten, and said:
"Fellow-citizens, here is Ficklin, who was at that time in Congress with
me, and he knows it is a lie." He shook Ficklin until his teeth
chattered. Fearing that he would shake Ficklin's head off, I grasped Mr.
Lincoln's hand and broke his grip. Mr. Ficklin sat down, and Lincoln
continued his address.

  [2] Page 24, line 2, after the word "Mexico."

  In a speech delivered in the House July 27, 1848, on General Politics,
  Mr. Lincoln said: "The declaration that we (the Whigs) have always
  opposed the Mexican War is true or false accordingly as one may
  understand the term 'opposing the war.' If to say 'the war was
  unnecessarily and unconstitutionally commenced by the President' be
  opposing the war, then the Whigs have very generally opposed it.
  Whenever they have spoken at all, they have said this; and they said it
  on what appeared good reasons to them: the marching an army into the
  midst of a peaceful Mexican settlement, frightening the inhabitants
  away, leaving their growing crops and other property to destruction to
  you may appear a perfectly amiable, peaceful, unprovoking procedure, but
  it does not appear so to us. So to call such an act to us appears no
  other than a naked, impudent absurdity, and we speak of it accordingly.
  But if, when the war had begun and had become the cause of the country,
  the giving of our money and our blood, in common with yours, was support
  of the war, then it is not true that we have always opposed the war."

  On another occasion Mr. Lincoln said that the claim that the Mexican War
  was not aggressive reminded him of the farmer who asserted, "I ain't
  greedy 'bout land, I only just wants what jines mine."

  [F] For some time before this speech Mr. Lincoln had been receiving
  letters from friends inquiring as to the truth or falsity of Mr.
  Douglas's charge. Knowing that he had opposed the war with Mexico, while
  in Congress, they were in doubt whether or not the charge was true, and
  believed that if true it would be dangerous to his prospects. To one of
  these anxious friends he writes under date of June 24, 1858: "Give
  yourself no concern about my voting against the supplies, unless you are
  without faith that a lie can be successfully contradicted. There is not
  a word of truth in the charge, and I am just considering a little as to
  the best shape to put a contradiction in. Show this to whom you please,
  but do not publish it in the papers."

After the speaking was over, Mr. Ficklin, who had been opposed to
Lincoln in politics, but was on terms of warm personal friendship with
him, turned to him and said: "Lincoln, you nearly shook all the
Democracy out of me to-day."

Mr. Lincoln replied: "That reminds me of what Paul said to Agrippa,
which in language and substance I will formulate as follows: I would to
God that such Democracy as you folks here in Egypt have were not only
almost, but altogether shaken out of, not only you, but all that heard
me this day, and that you would all join in assisting in shaking off the
shackles of the bondmen by all legitimate means, so that this country
may be made free as the good Lord intended it."

Ficklin continued: "Lincoln, I remember of reading somewhere in the same
book from which you get your Agrippa story, that Paul, whom you seem to
desire to personate, admonished all servants (slaves) to be obedient to
them that are their masters according to the flesh, in fear and
trembling. It would seem that neither our Saviour nor Paul saw the
iniquity of slavery as you and your party do. But you must not think
that where you fail by argument to convince an old friend like myself
and win him over to your heterodox abolition opinions, you are justified
in resorting to violence such as you practiced on me to-day. Why, I
never had such a shaking up in the whole course of my life. Recollect
that that good old book that you quote from somewhere says in effect
this, 'Woe be unto him who goeth to Egypt for help, for he shall fall.
The holpen shall fall, and they shall all fall together.' The next thing
we know, Lincoln, you and your party will be advocating a war to kill
all of us pro-slavery people off."

"No," said Lincoln, "I will never advocate such an extremity; but it
will be well for you folks if you don't force such a necessity on the

Lincoln then apologized for his rudeness in jostling the muscular
Democracy of his friend, and they separated, each going his own way,
little thinking then that what they had just said in badinage would be
so soon realized in such terrible consequences to the country.

[Illustration: Letter page 1]

[Illustration: Letter page 2]

The following letter shows Lincoln's view of the political situation at
that time:--

                                       SPRINGFIELD, June 11, 1858.

     W. H. LAMON, Esq.:

     MY DEAR SIR,--Yours of the 9th written at Joliet is just
     received. Two or three days ago I learned that McLean had appointed
     delegates in favor of Lovejoy, and thenceforward I have considered
     his renomination a fixed fact. My _opinion_--if my opinion is of
     any consequence in this case, in which it is no business of mine to
     interfere--remains unchanged, that running an independent candidate
     against Lovejoy will not do; that it will result in nothing but
     disaster all round. In the first place, whoever so runs will be
     beaten and will be spotted for life; in the second place, while the
     race is in progress, he will be under the strongest temptation to
     trade with the Democrats, and to favor the election of certain of
     their friends to the Legislature; thirdly, I shall be held
     responsible for it, and Republican members of the Legislature, who
     are partial to Lovejoy, will for that purpose oppose us; and,
     lastly, it will in the end lose us the District altogether. There
     is no safe way but a convention; and if in that convention, upon a
     common platform which all are willing to stand upon, one who has
     been known as an Abolitionist, but who is now occupying none but
     common ground, can get the majority of the votes to which _all_
     look for an election, there is no safe way but to submit.

     As to the inclination of some Republicans to favor Douglas, that is
     one of the chances I have to run, and which I intend to run with

     I write in the court room. Court has opened, and I must close.

                             Yours as ever,

     (Signed)                                             A. LINCOLN.

During this senatorial campaign in 1858, Hon. James G. Blaine predicted
in a letter, which was extensively published, that Douglas would beat
Lincoln for the United States Senate, but that Lincoln would beat
Douglas for President in 1860. Mr. Lincoln cut out the paragraph of the
letter containing this prediction, and placed it in his pocket-book,
where I have no doubt it was found after his death, for only a very
short time before that event I saw it in his possession.[3]

  [3] Page 27, line 19, after the word "possession."

Mr. Lincoln felt deeply the responsibility of his great trust; and he
felt still more keenly the supposed impossibility of administering the
government for the sole benefit of an organization which had no
existence in one-half of the Union. He was therefore willing, not only
to appoint Democrats to office, but to appoint them to the very highest
offices within his gift. At this time he thought very highly of Mr.
Stephens of Georgia, and would gladly have taken him into his cabinet
but for the fear that Georgia might secede, and take Mr. Stephens along
with her. He commissioned Thurlow Weed to place a seat in the Cabinet at
the disposal of Mr. Gilmore of North Carolina; but Mr. Gilmore, finding
that his state was likely to secede, was reluctantly compelled to
decline it. I had thought that Mr. Lincoln had authorized his friend Mr.
Speed to offer the Treasury Department to Mr. Guthrie of Kentucky. Mr.
Speed writes of this incident in a letter to me dated June 24, 1872.

In one instance I find a palpable mistake. It is in regard to a tender
to Mr. Guthrie through me of a position in his Cabinet. The history of
that transaction was about this: I met Mr. Lincoln by appointment in
Chicago after his election but before he had gone to Washington. He
seemed very anxious to avoid bloodshed and said that he would do almost
anything saving the sacrifice of personal honor and the dignity of the
position to which he had been elevated to avoid war.

He asked about Mr. Guthrie and spoke of him as a suitable man for
Secretary of War. He asked very particularly as to his strength with the
people and if I knew him well enough to say what would be his course in
the event of war. I frankly gave my opinion as to what I thought would
be his course--which is not necessary here to repeat. He requested me to
see Mr. Guthrie. But by all means to be guarded and not to give any man
the advantage of the tender of a Cabinet appointment to be declined by
an insulting letter. I did see Mr. Guthrie and never tendered him any
office for I was not authorized to do so. This is a very different thing
from being authorized to _tender_ an appointment.

                                                      Yours truly
                                                         J. F. SPEED.

When Mr. Lincoln was asked during conferences incident to making up his
cabinet if it was just or wise to concede so many seats to the
Democratic element of the Republican party he replied that as a Whig he
thought he could afford to be liberal to a section of the Republican
party without whose votes he could not have been elected.

After Mr. Lincoln's election he was sorely beset by rival claimants for
the spoils of office in his own State, and distracted by jealousies
among his own party adherents. The State was divided so far as the
Republican party was concerned into three cliques or factions. The
Chicago faction was headed by Norman B. Judd and Ebenezer Peck, the
Bloomington faction by Judge David Davis, Leonard Swett, and others, and
that of Springfield by J. K. Dubois, O. M. Hatch, William Butler, and
others; and however anxious Mr. Lincoln might be to honor his State by a
Cabinet appointment, he was powerless to do so without incurring the
hostility of the factions from which he could not make a selection.
Harmony was, however, in a large measure preserved among the Republican
politicians by sending Judd as Minister to Prussia, and by anticipating
a place on the Supreme Bench for Judge Davis. Swett wanted nothing, and
middle Illinois was satisfied. Springfield controlled the lion's share
of State patronage, and satisfaction was given all round as far as
circumstances would allow.

Between the time of Mr. Lincoln's election and the 11th of February,
1861, he spent his time in a room in the State House which was assigned
to him as an office. Young Mr. Nicolay, a very clever and competent
clerk, was lent to him by the Secretary of State to do his writing.
During this time he was overrun with visitors from all quarters of the
country,--some to assist in forming his Cabinet, some to direct how
patronage should be distributed, others to beg for or demand personal
advancement. So painstaking was he, that every one of the many thousand
letters which poured in upon him was read and promptly answered. The
burden of the new and overwhelming labor came near prostrating him with
serious illness.

Some days before his departure for Washington, he wrote to me at
Bloomington that he desired to see me at once. I went to Springfield,
and Mr. Lincoln said to me: "Hill, on the 11th I go to Washington, and I
want you to go along with me. Our friends have already asked me to send
you as Consul to Paris. You know I would cheerfully give you anything
for which our friends may ask or which you may desire, but it looks as
if we might have war. In that case I want you with me. In fact, I must
have you. So get yourself ready and come along. It will be handy to have
you around. If there is to be a fight, I want you to help me to do my
share of it, as you have done in times past. You must go, and go to



On the 11th of February, 1861, the arrangements for Mr. Lincoln's
departure from Springfield were completed. It was intended to occupy the
time remaining between that date and the 4th of March with a grand tour
from State to State and city to city. Mr. Wood, "recommended by Senator
Seward," was the chief manager. He provided special trains, to be
preceded by pilot engines all the way through.

It was a gloomy day: heavy clouds floated overhead, and a cold rain was
falling. Long before eight o'clock, a great mass of people had collected
at the station of the Great Western Railway to witness the event of the
day. At precisely five minutes before eight, Mr. Lincoln, preceded by
Mr. Wood, emerged from a private room in the station, and passed slowly
to the car, the people falling back respectfully on either side, and as
many as possible shaking his hand. Having reached the train he ascended
the rear platform, and, facing the throng which had closed around him,
drew himself up to his full height, removed his hat, and stood for
several seconds in profound silence. His eye roved sadly over that sea
of upturned faces; and he thought he read in them again the sympathy
and friendship which he had often tried, and which he never needed more
than he did then. There was an unusual quiver on his lip, and a still
more unusual tear on his furrowed cheek. His solemn manner, his long
silence, were as full of melancholy eloquence as any words he could have
uttered. Of what was he thinking? Of the mighty changes which had lifted
him from the lowest to the highest estate in the nation; of the weary
road which had brought him to this lofty summit; of his poverty-stricken
boyhood; of his poor mother lying beneath the tangled underbrush in a
distant forest? Whatever the particular character of his thoughts, it is
evident that they were retrospective and painful. To those who were
anxiously waiting to catch words upon which the fate of the nation might
hang, it seemed long until he had mastered his feelings sufficiently to
speak. At length he began in a husky tone of voice, and slowly and
impressively delivered his farewell to his neighbors. Imitating his
example, every man in the crowd stood with his head uncovered in the
fast-falling rain.

     "Friends, no one who has never been placed in a like position can
     understand my feelings at this hour, nor the oppressive sadness I
     feel at this parting. For more than a quarter of a century I have
     lived among you, and during all that time I have received nothing
     but kindness at your hands. Here I have lived from my youth, until
     now I am an old man. Here the most sacred ties of earth were
     assumed; here all my children were born; and here one of them lies
     buried. To you, dear friends, I owe all that I have, all that I am.
     '_All the strange, checkered past seems to crowd now upon my
     mind._' To-day I leave you. I go to assume a task more difficult
     than that which devolved upon Washington. Unless the great God, who
     assisted him, shall be with me and aid me, I must fail; but if the
     same omniscient mind and almighty arm that directed and protected
     him shall guide and support me, I shall not fail,--I shall succeed.
     Let us all pray that the God of our fathers may not forsake us now.
     To Him I commend you all. Permit me to ask that, with equal
     security and faith, you will invoke His wisdom and guidance for me.
     With these few words I must leave you,--for how long I know not.
     Friends, one and all, I must now bid you an affectionate farewell."

Few more impressive utterances were ever made by any one than found
expression in this simple speech. This farewell meant more to him than
to his hearers. To them it meant, "Good-by for the present,"--a
commendation of his dearest friends to the watchful care of God until
his return. To him it foreboded eternity ere their reunion,--his last
solemn benediction until the resurrection. He never believed he would
return to the hallowed scenes of his adopted State, to his friends and
his home. He had felt for many years that he would suffer a violent
death, and at different times expressed his apprehensions before and
after his election as President.

The first night after our departure from Springfield was spent in
Indianapolis. Governor Yates, the Hon. O. H. Browning, Jesse K. Dubois,
O. M. Hatch, Josiah Allen, of Indiana, and others, after taking leave of
Mr. Lincoln to return to their respective homes, took me into a room,
locked the door, and proceeded in the most solemn and impressive manner
to instruct me as to my duties as the special guardian of Mr. Lincoln's
person during the rest of his journey to Washington. The lesson was
concluded by Uncle Jesse, as Mr. Dubois was commonly called, who said:
"Now, Lamon, we have regarded you as the Tom Hyer of Illinois, with
Morrissey attachment. We intrust the sacred life of Mr. Lincoln to your
keeping; and if you don't protect it, never return to Illinois, for we
will murder you on sight."

With this amiable threat, delivered in a jocular tone, but with a
feeling of deep, ill-disguised alarm for the safety of the
President-elect, in which they all shared, the door was unlocked and
they took their leave. If I had been remiss in my duty toward Mr.
Lincoln during that memorable journey, I have no doubt those sturdy men
would have made good some part of their threat.

The journey from Springfield to Philadelphia was not characterized by
any scene unusual or more eventful than what was ordinary on such
occasions, notwithstanding that so much has been written about thrilling
dangers, all of which were imagined but not encountered. Mr. Lincoln's
speeches were the all-absorbing events of the hour. The people
everywhere were eager to hear a forecast of his policy, and he was as
determined to keep silence on that subject until it was made manifest in
his Inaugural Address. After having been _en route_ a day or two, he
told me that he had done much hard work in his life, but to make
speeches day after day, with the object of speaking and saying nothing,
was the hardest work he ever had done. "I wish," said he, "that this
thing were through with, and I could find peace and quiet somewhere."

On arriving at Albany, N. Y., Mr. Thurlow Weed asked me where Mr.
Lincoln was going to be domiciled in Washington until he was
inaugurated. I told him Messrs. Trumbull and Washburne had provided
quarters for him; that they had rented a house on Thirteenth or
Fourteenth Street, N. W., for his reception, and that Mr. Lincoln had
submitted the matter to me, asking me to confer with Capt. John Pope,
one of our party who was an old friend of his, and to make just such
arrangements as I thought best for his quarters in Washington. Mr. Weed
said, "It will never do to allow him to go to a private house to be
under the influence of State control. He is now public property, and
ought to be where he can be reached by the people until he is
inaugurated." We then agreed that Willard's Hotel would be the best
place, and the following letter was written to Mr. Willard to arrange
for the reception of the Presidential party:--

                                              ALBANY, Feb. 19, 1861.

     DEAR WILLARD,--Mr. Lincoln will be your guest.

     In arranging his apartments, please reserve nearest him apartments
     for two of his friends, Judge Davis and Mr. Lamon.

                           Truly yours,

     (Signed)                                             THURLOW WEED.

Mrs. Lincoln and one son accompany him.

[Illustration: Hand written letter above]

This arrangement was reported to Mr. Lincoln, who said: "I fear it will
give mortal offense to our friends, but I think the arrangement a good
one. I can readily see that many other well meant plans will 'gang
aglee,' but I am sorry. The truth is, I suppose I am now public
property; and a public inn is the place where people can have access to

Mr. Lincoln had prepared his Inaugural Address with great care, and up
to the time of his arrival in Washington he had not shown it to any one.
No one had been consulted as to what he should say on that occasion.
During the journey the Address was made an object of special care, and
was guarded with more than ordinary vigilance. It was carefully stored
away in a satchel, which for the most of the time received his personal
supervision. At Harrisburg, however, the precious bag was lost sight of.
This was a matter which for prudential reasons could not be much talked
about, and concerning which no great amount of anxiety could be shown.
Mr. Lincoln had about concluded that his Address was lost. It at length
dawned upon him that on arriving at Harrisburg he had intrusted the
satchel to his son Bob, then a boy in his teens. He at once hunted up
the boy and asked him what he had done with the bag. Robert confessed
that in the excitement of the reception he thought that he had given it
to a waiter of the hotel or to some one, he couldn't tell whom. Lincoln
was in despair. Only ten days remained until the inauguration, and no
Address; not even a trace of the notes was preserved from which it had
been prepared.

I had never seen Mr. Lincoln so much annoyed, so much perplexed, and for
the time so angry. He seldom manifested a spirit of anger toward his
children,--this was the nearest approach to it I had ever witnessed. He
and I started in search of the satchel. We went first to the hotel
office, where we were informed that if an employé of the hotel had taken
charge of it, it would be found in the baggage-room. On going there, we
found a great pile of all kinds of baggage in promiscuous confusion. Mr.
Lincoln's keen eye soon discovered a satchel which he thought his own;
taking it in his hand eagerly he tried his key; it fitted the lock,--the
bag opened, and to our astonishment it contained nothing but a soiled
shirt, several paper collars, a pack of cards, and a bottle of whiskey
nearly full. In spite of his perplexity, the ludicrous mistake overcame
Mr. Lincoln's gravity, and we both laughed heartily, much to the
amusement of the bystanders. Shortly afterward we found among the mass
the bag containing the precious document.

I shall never forget Mr. Lincoln's expression and what he said when he
first informed me of his supposed loss, and enlisted my services in
search of it. He held his head down for a moment, and then whispered:
"Lamon, I guess I have lost my certificate of moral character, written
by myself. Bob has lost my gripsack containing my Inaugural Address. I
want you to help me to find it. I feel a good deal as the old member of
the Methodist Church did when he lost his wife at the camp-meeting, and
went up to an old elder of the church and asked him if he could tell him
whereabouts in hell his wife was. In fact, I am in a worse fix than my
Methodist friend; for if it were nothing but a wife that was missing,
mine would be sure to pop up serenely somewhere. That Address may be a
loss to more than one husband in this country, but I shall be the
greatest sufferer."

On our dark journey from Harrisburg to Philadelphia the lamps of the car
were not lighted, because of the secret journey we were making. The loss
of the Address and the search for it was the subject of a great deal of
amusement. Mr. Lincoln said many funny things in connection with the
incident. One of them was that he knew a fellow once who had saved up
fifteen hundred dollars, and had placed it in a private banking
establishment. The bank soon failed, and he afterward received ten per
cent of his investment. He then took his one hundred and fifty dollars
and deposited it in a savings bank, where he was sure it would be safe.
In a short time this bank also failed, and he received at the final
settlement ten per cent on the amount deposited. When the fifteen
dollars was paid over to him, he held it in his hand and looked at it
thoughtfully; then he said, "Now, darn you, I have got you reduced to a
portable shape, so I'll put you in my pocket." Suiting the action to the
word, Mr. Lincoln took his Address from the bag and carefully placed it
in the inside pocket of his vest, but held on to the satchel with as
much interest as if it still contained his "certificate of moral

While Mr. Lincoln, in the midst of his suite of attendants, was being
borne in triumph through the streets of Philadelphia, and a countless
multitude of people were shouting themselves hoarse, and jostling and
crushing each other round his carriage, Mr. Felton, the president of the
Philadelphia, Wilmington, and Baltimore Railway, was engaged with a
private detective discussing the details of an alleged conspiracy to
murder him at Baltimore. At various places along the route Mr. Judd, who
was supposed to exercise unbounded influence over the new President, had
received vague hints of the impending danger.

Mr. Lincoln reached Philadelphia on the afternoon of the 21st. The
detective had arrived in the morning, and improved the interval to
impress and enlist Mr. Felton. In the evening he got Mr. Judd and Mr.
Felton into his room at the St. Louis Hotel, and told them all he had
learned. Mr. Judd was very much startled, and was sure that it would be
extremely imprudent for Mr. Lincoln to pass through Baltimore in open
daylight, according to the published programme. But he thought the
detective ought to see the President himself; and, as it was wearing
toward nine o'clock, there was no time to lose. It was agreed that the
part taken by the detective and Mr. Felton should be kept secret from
every one but the President. Mr. Sanford, president of the American
Telegraph Company, had also been co-operating in the business, and the
same stipulation was made with regard to him.

Mr. Judd went to his own room at the Continental, and the detective
followed. The crowd in the hotel was very dense, and it took some time
to get a message to Mr. Lincoln. But it finally reached him, and he
responded in person. Mr. Judd introduced the detective; and the latter
told his story again. Mr. Judd and the detective wanted Mr. Lincoln to
leave for Washington that night. This he flatly refused to do. He had
engagements with the people, he said, to raise a flag over Independence
Hall in the morning, and to exhibit himself at Harrisburg in the
afternoon,--and these engagements he would not break in any event. But
he would raise the flag, go to Harrisburg, get away quietly in the
evening, and permit himself to be carried to Washington in the way they
thought best. Even this, however, he conceded with great reluctance. He
condescended to cross-examine the detective on some parts of his
narrative; but at no time did he seem in the least degree alarmed. He
was earnestly requested not to communicate the change of plan to any
member of his party except Mr. Judd, nor permit even a suspicion of it
to cross the mind of another.

In the mean time, Mr. Seward had also discovered the conspiracy, and
despatched his son to Philadelphia to warn the President-elect of the
terrible snare into whose meshes he was about to run. Mr. Lincoln turned
him over to Judd, and Judd told him they already knew about it. He went
away with just enough information to enable his father to anticipate the
exact moment of Mr. Lincoln's surreptitious arrival in Washington.

Early on the morning of the 22d, Mr. Lincoln raised the flag over
Independence Hall, and departed for Harrisburg. On the way, Mr. Judd
gave him a full and precise detail of the arrangements that had been
made the previous night. After the conference with the detective, Mr.
Sanford, Colonel Scott, Mr. Felton, and the railroad and telegraph
officials had been sent for, and came to Mr. Judd's room. They occupied
nearly the whole of the night in perfecting the plan. It was finally
agreed that about six o'clock the next evening Mr. Lincoln should slip
away from the Jones Hotel at Harrisburg, in company with a single member
of his party. A special car and engine was to be provided for him on the
track outside the depot; all other trains on the road were to be
"side-tracked" until this one had passed. Mr. Sanford was to forward
skilled "telegraph-climbers," and see that all the wires leading out of
Harrisburg were cut at six o'clock, and kept down until it was known
that Mr. Lincoln had reached Washington in safety. The detective was to
meet Mr. Lincoln at the West Philadelphia Station with a carriage, and
conduct him by a circuitous route to the Philadelphia, Wilmington, and
Baltimore Station. Berths for four were to be pre-engaged in the
sleeping-car attached to the regular midnight train for Baltimore. This
train Mr. Felton was to cause to be detained until the conductor should
receive a package, containing important "government despatches,"
addressed to "E. J. Allen, Willard's Hotel, Washington." This package
was to be made up of old newspapers, carefully wrapped and sealed, and
delivered to the detective to be used as soon as Mr. Lincoln was lodged
in the car.

Mr. Lincoln acquiesced in this plan. Then Mr. Judd, forgetting the
secrecy which the spy had so impressively enjoined, told Mr. Lincoln
that the step he was about to take was one of such transcendent
importance that he thought "it should be communicated to the other
gentlemen of the party." Therefore, when they had arrived at Harrisburg,
and the public ceremonies and speech-making were over, Mr. Lincoln
retired to a private parlor in the Jones House; and Mr. Judd summoned to
meet him there Judge Davis, Colonel Sumner, Major Hunter, Captain Pope,
and myself. Judd began the conference by stating the alleged fact of the
Baltimore conspiracy, how it was detected, and how it was proposed to
thwart it by a midnight expedition to Washington by way of Philadelphia.
It was a great surprise to all of us.

Colonel Sumner was the first to break the silence. "That proceeding,"
said he, "will be a damned piece of cowardice."

Mr. Judd considered this a "pointed hit," but replied that "that view of
the case had already been presented to Mr. Lincoln." Then there was a
general interchange of opinions, which Sumner interrupted by saying,--

"I'll get a squad of cavalry, sir, and _cut_ our way to Washington,

"Probably before that day comes," said Mr. Judd, "the inauguration day
will have passed. It is important that Mr. Lincoln should be in
Washington on that day."

Thus far Judge Davis had expressed no opinion, but had put various
questions to test the truthfulness of the story. He now turned to Mr.
Lincoln, and said, "You personally heard the detective's story. You have
heard this discussion. What is your judgment in the matter?"

"I have thought over this matter considerably since I went over the
ground with the detective last night. The appearance of Mr. Frederick
Seward with warning from another source confirms my belief in the
detective's statement. Unless there are some other reasons besides fear
of ridicule, I am disposed to carry out Judd's plan."

There was no longer any dissent as to the plan itself; but one question
still remained to be disposed of. Who should accompany the President on
his perilous ride? Mr. Judd again took the lead, declaring that he and
Mr. Lincoln had previously determined that but one man ought to go, and
that I had been selected as the proper person. To this Sumner violently
demurred. "_I_ have undertaken," he exclaimed, "to see Mr. Lincoln to

Mr. Lincoln was dining when a close carriage was brought to the side
door of the hotel. He was called, hurried to his room, changed his coat
and hat, and passed rapidly through the hall and out of the door. As he
was stepping into the carriage, it became manifest that Sumner was
determined to get in also. "Hurry with him!" whispered Judd to me; and
at the same time, placing his hand on Sumner's shoulder, he said aloud,
"One moment, Colonel!" Sumner turned round, and in that moment the
carriage drove rapidly away. "A madder man," says Mr. Judd, "you never

We got on board the car without discovery or mishap. Besides ourselves,
there was no one in or about the car except Mr. Lewis, general
superintendent of the Pennsylvania Central Railroad, and Mr. Franciscus,
superintendent of the division over which we were about to pass. The
arrangements for the special train were made ostensibly to take these
two gentlemen to Philadelphia.

At ten o'clock we reached West Philadelphia, and were met by the
detective and one Mr. Kenney, an under-official of the Philadelphia,
Wilmington, and Baltimore Railroad, from whose hands the "important
parcel" was to be delivered to the conductor of the 10.50 P.M. train.
Mr. Lincoln, the detective, and myself seated ourselves in a carriage
which stood in waiting; and Mr. Kenney sat upon the box with the driver.
It was nearly an hour before the Baltimore train was to start; and Mr.
Kenney found it necessary to consume the time by driving northward in
search of some imaginary person.

As the moment for the departure of the Baltimore train drew near, the
carriage paused in the dark shadows of the depot building. It was not
considered prudent to approach the entrance.

We were directed to the sleeping-car. Mr. Kenney ran forward and
delivered the "important package," and in three minutes the train was in
motion. The tickets for the whole party had been procured by George R.
Dunn, an express agent, who had selected berths in the rear of the car,
and had insisted that the rear door of the car should be opened on the
plea that one of the party was an invalid, who would arrive late, and
did not desire to be carried through the narrow passage-way of the
crowded car. Mr. Lincoln got into his berth immediately, the curtains
were carefully closed, and the rest of the party waited until the
conductor came round, when the detective handed him the "sick man's"
ticket. During the night Mr. Lincoln indulged in a joke or two, in an
undertone; but with that exception the two sections occupied by us were
perfectly silent. The detective said he had men stationed at various
places along the road to let him know if all was right; and he rose and
went to the platform occasionally to observe their signals, returning
each time with a favorable report.

At thirty minutes past three the train reached Baltimore. One of the
spy's assistants came on board and informed him in a whisper that "all
was right." Mr. Lincoln lay still in his berth; and in a few moments the
car was being slowly drawn through the quiet streets of the city toward
what was called the Washington depot. There again was another pause, but
no sound more alarming than the noise of shifting cars and engines. The
passengers, tucked away on their narrow shelves, dozed on as peacefully
as if Mr. Lincoln had never been born, until they were awakened by the
loud strokes of a huge club against a night-watchman's box, which stood
within the depot and close to the track. It was an Irishman, trying to
arouse a sleepy ticket-agent comfortably ensconced within. For twenty
minutes the Irishman pounded the box with ever-increasing vigor, and at
each blow shouted at the top of his voice, "Captain! it's four o'clock!
it's four o'clock!" The Irishman seemed to think that time had ceased to
run at four o'clock, and making no allowance for the period consumed by
his futile exercises, repeated to the last his original statement that
it was four o'clock. The passengers were intensely amused; and their
jokes and laughter at the Irishman's expense were not lost upon the
occupants of the two sections in the rear.

In due time the train sped out of the suburbs of Baltimore, and the
apprehensions of the President and his friends diminished with each
welcome revolution of the wheels. At six o'clock the dome of the Capitol
came in sight, and a moment later we rolled into that long, unsightly
building, the Washington depot. We passed out of the car unobserved, and
pushed along with the living stream of men and women toward the outer
door. One man alone in the great crowd seemed to watch Mr. Lincoln with
special attention. Standing a little to one side, he looked very sharply
at him, and, as he passed, seized hold of his hand, and said in a loud
tone of voice, "Abe, you can't play that on me!" We were instantly
alarmed, and would have struck the stranger had not Mr. Lincoln hastily
said, "Don't strike him! It is Washburne. Don't you know him?" Mr.
Seward had given to Mr. Washburne a hint of the information received
through his son; and Mr. Washburne knew its value as well as another.

The detective admonished Washburne to keep quiet for the present, and we
passed on together. Taking a hack, we drove toward Willard's Hotel. Mr.
Lincoln, Mr. Washburne, and the detective got out in the street, and
approached the ladies' entrance, while I drove on to the main entrance,
and sent the proprietor to meet his distinguished guest at the side
door. A few minutes later Mr. Seward arrived, and was introduced to the
company by Mr. Washburne. He spoke in very strong terms of the great
danger which Mr. Lincoln had so narrowly escaped, and most heartily
applauded the wisdom of the "secret passage."

It now soon became apparent that Mr. Lincoln wished to be left alone. He
said he was "rather tired;" and, upon this intimation, the party
separated. The detective went to the telegraph-office and loaded the
wires with despatches in cipher, containing the pleasing intelligence
that "Plums" had brought "Nuts" through in safety.

Mr. Lincoln soon learned to regret the midnight ride to which he had
yielded under protest. He was convinced that he had committed a grave
mistake in listening to the solicitations of a professional spy and of
friends too easily alarmed, and frequently upbraided me for having aided
him to degrade himself at the very moment in all his life when his
behavior should have exhibited the utmost dignity and composure. Neither
he nor the country generally then understood the true facts concerning
the dangers to his life. It is now an acknowledged fact that there never
was a moment from the day he crossed the Maryland line, up to the time
of his assassination, that he was not in danger of death by violence,
and that his life was spared until the night of the 14th of April, 1865,
only through the ceaseless and watchful care of the guards thrown around



If before leaving Springfield Mr. Lincoln had become weary of the
pressure upon him for office, he found no respite on his arrival at the
focus of political intrigue and corruption. The time intervening between
his arrival at Washington and his Inauguration was, for the most part,
employed in giving consideration to his Inaugural Address, the formation
of his Cabinet, and the conventional duties required by his elevated

The question of the new Administration's policy absorbed nearly every
other consideration. To get a Cabinet that would work harmoniously in
carrying out the policy determined on by Mr. Lincoln was very difficult.
He was pretty well determined on the construction of his Cabinet before
he reached Washington; but in the minds of the public, beyond the
generally accepted fact that Mr. Seward was to be the Premier of the new
Administration, all was speculation and conjecture. All grades of
opinion were advanced for his consideration: conciliation was strongly
urged; a vigorous war policy; a policy of quiescent neutrality
recommending delay of demonstrative action for or against war,--and all,
or nearly all these suggestions were prompted by the most unselfish and
patriotic motives. He was compelled to give a patient ear to these
representations, and to hold his decisions till the last moment, in
order that he might decide with a full view of the requirements of
public policy and party fealty.[4]

  [4] Page 49, line 5, after the word "fealty."

  When Mr. Lincoln was being importuned to appoint to his Cabinet another
  man from Maryland rather than Mr. Blair, he said laughingly: "Maryland
  must, I think, be a good State to move from," and then told a story of a
  witness who on being asked his age replied, "Sixty." Being satisfied
  that he was much older, the judge repeated the question, and on
  receiving the same answer, admonished the witness, saying that the Court
  knew him to be much older than sixty. "Oh," said the witness, "you're
  thinking about that fifteen years that I lived down on eastern shore of
  Maryland; that was so much lost time and don't count."

As late as the second of March a large and respectable delegation of
persons visited Mr. Lincoln to bring matters to a conclusion. Their
object was to prevent at all hazards the appointment of Mr. Chase in the
Cabinet. They were received civilly and treated courteously. The
President listened to them with great patience. They were unanimous in
their opposition to Mr. Chase. Mr. Seward's appointment, they urged, was
absolutely and indispensably required to secure for the Administration
either the support of the North or a respectful hearing at the South.
They portrayed the danger of putting into the Cabinet a man like Mr.
Chase, who was so notoriously identified with and supported by men who
did not desire the perpetuation of the Union. They strongly insisted
that Mr. Chase would be an unsafe counsellor, and that he and his
supporters favored a Northern republic, extending from the Ohio River to
Canada, rather than the Union which our fathers had founded. They urged
another argument, which to them seemed of vital importance and
conclusive,--that it would not be possible for Mr. Seward to sit in the
Cabinet with Mr. Chase as a member. To think of it was revolting to him,
and neither he nor his State could or would tolerate it.

These arguments, so earnestly put forth, distressed Mr. Lincoln greatly.
At length, after a long pause, he replied that it was very difficult to
reconcile conflicting claims and interests; that his greatest desire was
to form an Administration that would command the confidence and respect
of the country, and of the party which had placed him in power. He spoke
of his high regard for Mr. Seward, of his eminent services, his great
genius, and the respect in which he was held by the country. He said Mr.
Chase had also great claims that no one could gainsay. His claims were,
perhaps, not so great as Mr. Seward's; but this he would not then
discuss: the party and the country wanted the hearty and harmonious
co-operation of all good men without regard to sections.

Then there was an ominous pause. Mr. Lincoln went to a drawer and took
out a paper, saying, "I had written out my choice and selection of
members for the Cabinet after most careful and deliberate consideration;
and now you are here to tell me I must break the slate and begin the
thing all over again." He admitted that he had sometimes apprehended
that it might be as they had suggested,--that he might be forced to
reconsider what he regarded as his judicious conclusions; and in view of
this possibility he had constructed an alternative list of members. He
did not like the alternative list so well as the original. He had hoped
to have Mr. Seward as Secretary of State and Mr. Chase his Secretary of
Treasury. He expressed his regrets that he could not be gratified in
this desire, and added that he could not reasonably expect to have
things just as he wanted them. Silence prevailed for some time, and he
then added: "This being the case, gentlemen, how would it do for us to
agree upon a change like this? To appoint Mr. Chase Secretary of the
Treasury, and offer the State Department to Mr. William L. Dayton, of
New Jersey?"

The delegation was shocked, disappointed, outraged. Mr. Lincoln,
continuing in the same phlegmatic manner, again referred to his high
appreciation of the abilities of Mr. Seward. He said Mr. Dayton was an
old Whig, like Mr. Seward and himself, and that he was from New Jersey,
and was "next door to New York." Mr. Seward, he added, could go as
Minister to England, where his genius would find wonderful scope in
keeping Europe straight about our home troubles. The delegation was
nonplussed. They, however, saw and accepted the inevitable. For the
first time they realized that indomitable will of the President-elect
which afterward became so notable throughout the trying times of his
Administration. They saw that "the mountain would not come to Mahomet,
with the conditions imposed, and so Mahomet had to go to the mountain."
The difficulty was accommodated by Mr. Seward coming into the Cabinet
with Mr. Chase, and the Administrative organization was effected to Mr.
Lincoln's satisfaction.

Mr. Seward was a Republican with centralizing tendencies, and had been a
prominent and powerful member of the old Whig party, which had gone into
decay. Mr. Chase was a State's Rights Federal Republican, not having
been strictly attached to either the Whig or the Democratic
organization; he had for years been a conspicuous leader of the
Antislavery party, which had risen on the ruins of the Whig party, while
Mr. Seward had cautiously abstained from any connection with the
Antislavery party _per se_. Mr. Lincoln adopted, whether consciously or
unconsciously, the policy of Washington in bringing men of opposite
principles into his Cabinet, as far as he could do so, hoping that they
would harmonize in administrative measures; and in doing this in the
case of Mr. Seward and Mr. Chase he entirely reversed the original
arrangement,--by giving Mr. Seward, a Republican centralist, the post of
Jefferson, a State's Rights Federal Republican; and to Mr. Chase, a
Federal Republican, the post assigned to Hamilton, a centralist.

There was a prevailing opinion among a great many politicians that Mr.
Seward had an overpowering influence with Mr. Lincoln; and the belief
was general that he, in whose ability and moderation the conservative
people at the North seemed to have the most confidence, would be the
real head of the Administration. This supposition was a great mistake.
It underrated the man who had been elected to wield the helm of
government in the troubled waters of the brewing storm. Mr. Lincoln was
as self-reliant a man as ever breathed the atmosphere of patriotism. Up
to the 2d of March, Mr. Seward had no intimation of the purport of the
Inaugural Address. The conclusion was inevitable that if he was to be
at the head of the Administration, he would not have been left so long
in the dark as to the first act of Mr. Lincoln's official life. When the
last faint hope was destroyed that Mr. Seward was virtually to be
President, the outlook of the country seemed to these politicians

The 4th of March at last arrived. Mr. Lincoln's feelings, as the hour
approached which was to invest him with greater responsibilities than
had fallen upon any of his predecessors, may readily be imagined. If he
saw in his elevation another step toward the fulfilment of that destiny
which he at times believed awaited him, the thought served but to tinge
with a peculiar, almost poetic, sadness the manner in which he addressed
himself to the solemn duties of the hour.

There were apprehensions of danger to Mr. Lincoln's person, and
extensive preparations were made for his protection, under the direction
of Lieutenant-General Scott. The carriage in which the President-elect
rode to the Capitol was closely guarded by marshals and cavalry,
selected with care from the most loyal and efficient companies of the
veteran troops and marines. Mr. Lincoln appeared as usual, composed and
thoughtful, apparently unmoved and indifferent to the excitement around
him. On arriving at the platform, he was introduced to the vast audience
awaiting his appearance by Senator Baker, of Oregon. Stepping forward,
in a manner deliberate and impressive, the President-elect delivered in
a clear, penetrating voice his Inaugural Address, closing this
remarkable production with the words, which so forcibly exemplified his
character and so clearly indicated his goodness of heart: "I am loath to
close. We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though
passion may have strained, it must not break, our bonds of affection.
The mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battle-field and
patriot grave to every living heart and hearthstone all over this broad
land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union when again touched, as
surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature."

The immense audience present was deeply impressed, and with awe viewed
the momentous character of the occasion they were given to contemplate.
The Address produced comparatively little applause and no manifestations
of disapprobation. All were moved with a profound anxiety concerning
their own respective States and the future of their country; and the
sentiments they had just heard uttered from the Chief Executive
foreshadowed the storm awaiting the nation.

After the oath of office was administered to him by the venerable
Chief-Justice of the United States, Judge Roger B. Taney, Mr. Lincoln
was escorted to the Presidential Mansion in the same order that was
observed in going to the Capitol, amid the firing of cannon and the
sound of music. Mr. Buchanan accompanied him, and in taking his leave
expressed his wish and hope, in earnest and befitting language, that Mr.
Lincoln's Administration of the government would be a happy and
prosperous one.

The Inauguration over, every one seemed to have a sense of relief: there
had been no accident, no demonstration which could be construed as
portending disturbance.

The New York delegation, on the night of the Inauguration, paid their
respects to the President. He said to them that he was rejoiced to see
the good feeling manifested by them, and hoped that our friends of the
South would be satisfied, when they read his Inaugural Address, that he
had made it as nearly right as it was possible for him to make it in
accordance with the Constitution, which he thought was as good for the
people who lived south of the Mason and Dixon line as for those who
lived north of it.



After the first shout of triumph and the first glow of exultation
consequent on his Inauguration, Mr. Lincoln soon began to realize with
dismay what was before him. Geographical lines were at last distinctly
drawn. He was regarded as a sectional representative, elected President
with most overwhelming majorities north of Mason and Dixon's line, and
not a single electoral vote south of it. He saw a great people,
comprising many millions and inhabiting a vast region of our common
country, exasperated by calumny, stung by defeat, and alarmed by the
threats of furious fanatics whom demagogues held up to them as the real
and only leaders of the triumphant party. His election had brought the
nation face to face with the perils that had been feared by every rank
and party since the dawn of Independence,--with the very contingency,
the crisis in which all venerable authority had declared from the
beginning that the Union would surely perish, and the fragments, after
exhausting each other by commercial restrictions and disastrous wars,
would find ignominious safety in as many paltry despotisms as there were

On the 3d of March, 1861, the Thirty-sixth Congress had reached the
prescribed period of its existence, and had died a constitutional death.
Its last session of three months had been spent in full view of an awful
public calamity, which it had made no effort to avert or to mitigate. It
saw the nation compassed round with a frightful danger, but it proposed
no plan either of conciliation or defence. It adjourned forever, and
left the law precisely as it found it.

In his message to Congress, President Buchanan had said: "Congress alone
has power to decide whether the present laws can or cannot be amended so
as to carry out more effectually the objects of the Constitution." With
Congress rested the whole responsibility of peace or war, and with them
the message left it. But Congress behaved like a body of men who thought
that the calamities of the nation were no special business of theirs.
The members from the extreme South were watching for the proper moment
to retire; those from the middle slave States were a minority which
could only stand and wait upon the movements of others; while the great
and all-powerful Northern party was what the French minister called "a
mere aggregation of individual ambitions." They had always denied the
possibility of a dissolution of the Union in any conjuncture of
circumstances; and their habit of disregarding the evidence was too
strong to be suddenly changed. In the philosophy of their politics it
had not been dreamed of as a possible thing. Even when they saw it
assume the shape of a fixed and terrible fact, they could not
comprehend its meaning. They looked at the frightful phenomenon as a
crowd of barbarians might look at an eclipse of the sun: they saw the
light of heaven extinguished and the earth covered with strange and
unaccountable darkness, but they could neither understand its cause nor
foresee its end,--they knew neither whence it came nor what it
portended. The nation was going to pieces, and Congress left it to its
fate. The vessel, freighted with all the hopes and all the wealth of
thirty millions of free people was drifting to her doom, and they who
alone had power to control her course refused to lay a finger on the

Only a few days before the convening of this Congress the following
letter was written by Hon. Joseph Holt, Postmaster-General, afterward
Secretary of War, under Buchanan:--

                                       WASHINGTON, NOV. 30, 1860.

     MY DEAR SIR,--I am in receipt of yours of the 27th inst., and
     thank you for your kindly allusion to myself, in connection with
     the fearful agitation which now threatens the dismemberment of our
     government. I think the President's message will meet your
     approbation, but I little hope that it will accomplish anything in
     moderating the madness that rules the hour. The indications are
     that the movement has passed beyond the reach of human control. God
     alone can disarm the cloud of its lightnings. South Carolina will
     be out of the Union, and in the armed assertion of a distinct
     nationality probably before Christmas. This is certain, unless the
     course of events is arrested by prompt and decided action on the
     part of the people and Legislatures of the Northern States; the
     other slave States will follow South Carolina in a few weeks or
     months. The border States, now so devoted to the Union, will
     linger a little while; but they will soon unite their fortunes with
     those of their Southern sisters. Conservative men have now no
     ground to stand upon, no weapon to battle with. All has been swept
     from them by the guilty agitations and infamous legislation of the
     North. I do not anticipate, with any confidence, that the North
     will act up to the solemn responsibilities of the crisis, by
     retracing those fatal steps which have conducted us to the very
     brink of perdition, politically, morally, and financially.

     There is a feeling growing in the free States which says, "Let the
     South go!" and this feeling threatens rapidly to increase. It is,
     in part, the fruit of complete estrangement, and in part a
     weariness of this perpetual conflict between North and South, which
     has now lasted, with increasing bitterness, for the last thirty
     years. The country wants repose, and is willing to purchase it at
     any sacrifice. Alas for the delusion of the belief that repose will
     follow the overthrow of the government!

     I doubt not, from the temper of the public mind, that the _Southern
     States will be allowed to withdraw peacefully_; but when the work
     of dismemberment begins, we shall break up the fragments from month
     to month, with the nonchalance with which we break the bread upon
     our breakfast-table. If all the grave and vital questions which
     will at once arise among these fragments of the ruptured Republic
     can be adjusted without resort to arms, then we have made vast
     progress since the history of our race was written. But the tragic
     events of the hour will show that we have made no progress at all.
     We shall soon grow up a race of chieftains, who will rival the
     political bandits of South America and Mexico, and who will carve
     out to us our miserable heritage with their bloody swords. The
     _masses_ of the people dream not of these things. They suppose the
     Republic can be destroyed to-day, and that peace will smile over
     its ruins to-morrow. They know nothing of civil war: this Marah in
     the pilgrimage of nations has happily been for them a sealed
     fountain; they know not, as others do, of its bitterness, and that
     civil war is a scourge that darkens every fireside, and wrings
     every heart with anguish. They are to be commiserated, for they
     know not what to do. Whence is all this? It has come because the
     pulpit and press and the cowering, unscrupulous politicians of the
     North have taught the people that they are responsible for the
     domestic institutions of the South, and that they have been
     faithful to God only by being unfaithful to the compact which they
     have made to their fellow-men. Hence those Liberty Bills which
     degrade the statute-books of some ten of the free States, and are
     confessedly a _shameless_ violation of the federal Constitution in
     a point vital to her honor. We have presented, from year to year,
     the humiliating spectacle of free and sovereign States, by a solemn
     act of legislation, _legalizing the theft of their neighbors'
     property_. I say _theft_, since it is not the less so because the
     subject of the despicable crime chances to be a slave, instead of a
     horse or bale of goods.

     From this same teaching has come the perpetual agitation of the
     slavery question, which _has reached the minds of the slave
     population of the South_, and has rendered every home in that
     distracted land insecure. This is the feature of the irrepressible
     conflict with which the Northern people are not familiar. In almost
     every part of the South miscreant fanatics have been found, and
     poisonings and conflagrations have marked their footsteps. Mothers
     there lie down at night trembling beside their children, and wives
     cling to their husbands as they leave their homes in the morning. I
     have a brother residing in Mississippi, who is a lawyer by
     profession, and a cotton planter, but has never had any connection
     with politics. Knowing the calm and conservative tone of his
     character, I wrote him a few weeks since, and implored him to exert
     his influence in allaying the frenzy of the popular mind around
     him. He has replied to me at much length, and after depicting the
     machinations of the wretches to whom I have alluded, and the
     consternation which reigns in the homes of the South, he says it is
     the unalterable determination of the Southern people to overthrow
     the government as the only refuge which is left to them from these
     insupportable wrongs; and he adds: "On the success of this movement
     depends my every interest,--the safety of my roof from the
     firebrand, and of my wife and children from the poison and the

     I give you his language because it truthfully expresses the
     Southern mind which at this moment glows as a furnace in its hatred
     to the North because of these infernal agitations. Think you that
     any people can endure this condition of things? When the Northern
     preacher infuses into his audience the spirit of assassins and
     incendiaries in his crusade against slavery, does he think, as he
     lies down quietly at night, of the Southern homes he has robbed of
     sleep, and the helpless women and children he has exposed to all
     the _nameless horrors of servile insurrections_?

     I am still for the Union, because I have yet a faint, hesitating
     hope that the North will do justice to the South, and save the
     Republic, before the wreck is complete. But action, to be
     available, must be prompt. If the free States will sweep the
     Liberty Bills from their codes, propose a convention of the States,
     and offer guaranties which will afford the same repose and safety
     to Southern homes and property enjoyed by those of the North, the
     impending tragedy may be averted, but not otherwise. I feel a
     positive personal humiliation as a member of the human family in
     the events now preparing. If the Republic is to be offered as a
     sacrifice upon the altar of American servitude, then the question
     of man's capacity for self-government is forever settled. The
     derision of the world will henceforth justly treat the pretension
     as a farce; and the blessed hope which for five thousand years our
     race, amid storms and battles, has been hugging to its bosom, will
     be demonstrated to be a phantom and a dream.

     Pardon these hurried and disjointed words. They have been pressed
     out of my heart by the sorrows that are weighing upon it.

                      Sincerely your friend,
                                                           J. HOLT.

Within forty-eight hours after the election of Mr. Lincoln, the
Legislature of South Carolina called a State Convention. It met on the
17th of December, and three days later the inevitable ordinance of
secession was formally adopted, and the little commonwealth began to act
under the erroneous impression that she was a sovereign and independent
nation. She benignantly accepted the postal service of the "late United
States of America," and even permitted the gold and silver coins of the
federal government to circulate within her sacred limits. But
intelligence from the rest of the country was published in her
newspapers under the head of "foreign news;" her governor appointed a
"cabinet," commissioned "ambassadors," and practised so many fantastic
imitations of greatness and power, that, but for the serious purpose and
the bloody event, his proceedings would have been very amusing. It was a
curious little comedy between the acts of a hideous tragedy.

In the practice which provoked the fury of his Northern countrymen, the
slaveholder could see nothing but what was right in the sight of God,
and just as between man and man. Slavery, he said, was as old almost as
time. From the hour of deliverance to the day of dispersion, it had been
practised by the peculiar people of God, with the awful sanction of a
theocratic State. When the Saviour came with his fan in his hand, he not
only spared it from all rebuke, but recognized and regulated it as an
institution in which he found no evil. The Church had bowed to the
authority and emulated the example of the Master. With her aid and
countenance, slavery had flourished in every age and country since the
Christian era; in new lands she planted it, in the old she upheld and
encouraged it. Even the modest of the sectaries had bought and sold,
without a shade of doubt or a twinge of conscience, the bondmen who fell
to their lot, until the stock was exhausted or the trade became
unprofitable. To this rule the Puritans and Quakers were no exceptions.
Indeed, it was but a few years since slavery in Massachusetts had been
suffered to die of its own accord, and the profits of the slave-trade
were still to be seen in the stately mansions and pleasant gardens of
her maritime towns.

The Southern man could see no reason of State, of law, or of religion
which required him to yield his most ancient rights and his most
valuable property to the new-born zeal of adversaries whom he more than
suspected of being actuated by mere malignity under the guise of
philanthropy. All that he knew or had ever known of the policy of the
State, of religion, or of law was on the side of slavery. It was his
inheritance in the land descended from his remotest ancestry; recorded
in the deeds and written in the wills of his nearest kindred; interwoven
more or less intimately with every tradition and every precious memory;
the basis of public economy and of private prosperity, fostered by the
maternal care of Great Britain, and, unlike any other domestic
institution, solemnly protected by separate and distinct provisions in
the fundamental law of the federal Union. It was, therefore, as much a
part of his religion to cherish and defend it as it was part of the
religion of an Abolitionist to denounce and assail it. To him, at least,
it was still pure and of good report; he held it as sacred as marriage,
as sacred as the relation of parent and child. Forcible abolition was in
his eyes as lawless and cruel as arbitrary divorce, or the violent
abduction of his offspring; it bereft his fireside, broke up his family,
set his own household in arms against him, and deluded to their ruin
those whom the Lord had given into his hand for a wise and beneficent
purpose. He saw in the extinction of slavery the extinction of society
and the subversion of the State; his imagination could compass no crime
more daring in the conception, or more terrible in the execution. He saw
in it the violation of every law, human and divine, from the Ten
Commandments to the last Act of Assembly,--the inauguration of every
disaster and of every enormity which men in their sober senses equally
fear and detest; it was the knife to his throat, the torch to his roof,
a peril unutterable to his wife and daughter, and certain penury, or
worse, to such of his posterity as might survive to other times. We
smile at his delusion, and laugh at his fears; but we forget that they
were shared by eight millions of intelligent people, and had been
entertained by the entire generation of patriots and statesmen who made
the Union,--by Jefferson who opposed slavery and "trembled" for the
judgment, as by the New-England ship-owner and the Georgia planter, who
struck hands to continue the African slave-trade till 1808.

Mr. Lincoln himself, with that charity for honest but mistaken opinions
which more than once induced him to pause long and reflect seriously
before committing his Administration to the extremities of party rage,
declared in an elaborate speech, that, had his lot been cast in the
South, he would no doubt have been a zealous defender of the "peculiar
institution,"--and confessed, that, were he then possessed of unlimited
power, he would not know how to liberate the slaves without fatally
disturbing the peace and prosperity of the country. He had once said in
a speech; "The Southern people are just what we would be in their
situation. If slavery did not now exist among them, they would not
introduce it: if it did now exist among us, we should not instantly give
it up. This I believe of the masses North and South. Doubtless, there
are individuals on both sides who would not hold slaves under any
circumstances; and others would gladly introduce slavery anew if it were
out of existence. We know that some Southern men do free their slaves,
go North, and become tip-top Abolitionists; while some Northern men go
South, and become cruel slave-masters."

Judge Jeremiah S. Black, in a paper written in response to a memorial
address on William H. Seward, said: "The Southern people sprang from a
race accustomed for two thousand years to dominate over all other races
with which it came in contact. They supposed themselves greatly superior
to negroes, most of them sincerely believing that if they and the
African must live together, the best and safest relations that could be
established between them was that of master and servant.... Some of them
believed slavery a dangerous evil, but did not see how to get rid of it.
They felt as Jefferson did, that they had the wolf by the ears: they
could neither hold on with comfort nor let go with safety, and it made
them extremely indignant to be goaded in the rear. In all that country
from the Potomac to the Gulf there was probably not one man who felt
convinced that this difficult subject could be determined for them by
strangers and enemies; seeing that we in the North had held fast to
every pound of human flesh we owned, and either worked it to death or
sold it for a price, our provision for the freedom of unborn negroes did
not tend much to their edification. They had no confidence in that
'ripening' influence of humanity which turned up the white of its eyes
at a negro compelled to hoe corn and pick cotton, and yet gloated over
the prospect of insurrection and massacre."

Further, emancipation was a question of figures as well as feeling. The
loss of four millions of slaves, at an average value of six hundred
dollars each, constituted in the aggregate a sacrifice too vast to be
contemplated for a moment. Yet this was but a single item. The cotton
crop of 1860 was worth the round sum of a hundred and ninety-eight
million dollars, while that of 1859 was worth two hundred and
forty-seven million dollars, and the demand still in excess of the
supply. It formed the bulk of our exchanges with Europe; paid our
foreign indebtedness; maintained a great marine; built towns, cities,
and railways; enriched factors, brokers, and bankers; filled the federal
treasury to overflowing, and made the foremost nations of the world
commercially our tributaries and politically our dependants. A short
crop embarrassed and distressed all western Europe; a total failure, a
war, or non-intercourse, would reduce whole communities to famine, and
probably precipitate them into revolution. It was an opinion generally
received, and scarcely questioned anywhere, that cotton-planting could
be carried on only by African labor, and that African labor was possible
only under compulsion. Here, then, was another item of loss, which,
being prospective, could neither be measured by statistics nor computed
in figures. Add to this the sudden conversion of millions of producers
into mere consumers, the depreciation of real estate, the depreciation
of stocks and securities as of banks and railways, dependent for their
value upon the inland commerce in the products of slave-labor, with the
waste, disorder, and bloodshed inevitably attending a revolution like
this, and you have a sum-total literally appalling. Could any people on
earth tamely submit to spoliation so thorough and so fatal? The very
Bengalese would muster the last man, and stake the last jewel, to avert

In the last days of March, 1861, I was sent by President Lincoln on a
confidential mission to Charleston, South Carolina. It was in its nature
one of great delicacy and importance; and the state of the public mind
in the South at that juncture made it one not altogether free from
danger to life and limb, as I was rather roughly reminded before the
adventure was concluded. Throughout the entire land was heard the tumult
of mad contention; the representative men, the politicians and the press
of the two sections were hurling at one another deadly threats and
fierce defiance; sober and thoughtful men heard with sickening alarm the
deep and not distant mutterings of the coming storm; and all minds were
agitated by gloomy forebodings, distressing doubts, and exasperating
uncertainty as to what the next move in the strange drama would be.
Following the lead of South Carolina, the secession element of other
Southern States had cut them loose, one by one, from their federal
moorings, and "The Confederate States of America" was the result. It was
at the virtual Capital of the State which had been the pioneer in all
this haughty and stupendous work of rebellion that I was about to trust
my precious life and limbs as a stranger within her gates and an enemy
to her cause.

Up to this time, Mr. Lincoln had been slow to realize or to acknowledge,
even to himself, the awful gravity of the situation, and the danger that
the gathering clouds portended. Certain it is that Mr. Seward wildly
underrated the courage and determination of the Southern people, and
both men indulged the hope that pacific means might yet be employed to
arrest the tide of passion and render a resort to force unnecessary. Mr.
Seward was inclined, as the world knows, to credit the Southern leaders
with a lavish supply of noisy bravado, quite overlooking the dogged
pertinacity and courage which Mr. Lincoln well knew would characterize
those men, as well as the Southern masses, in case of armed conflict
between the sections. Mr. Lincoln had Southern blood in his veins, and
he knew well the character of that people. He believed it possible to
effect some accommodation by dealing directly with the most chivalrous
among their leaders; at all events he thought it his duty to try, and my
embassy to Charleston was one of his experiments in that direction.

It was believed in the South that Mr. Seward had given assurances,
before and after Lincoln's inauguration, that no attempt would be made
to reinforce the Southern forts, or to resupply Fort Sumter, under a
Republican Administration. This made matters embarrassing, as Mr.
Lincoln's Administration had, on the contrary, adopted the policy of
maintaining the federal authority at all points, and of tolerating no
interference in the enforcement of that authority from any source

When my mission to Charleston was suggested by Mr. Lincoln, Mr. Seward
promptly opposed it. "Mr. President," said he, "I greatly fear that you
are sending Lamon to his grave. I fear they may kill him in Charleston.
Those people are greatly excited, and are very desperate. We can't spare
Lamon, and we shall feel very badly if anything serious should happen to

"Mr. Secretary," replied Mr. Lincoln, "I have known Lamon to be in many
a close place, and he has never been in one that he didn't get out of.
By Jing! I'll risk him. Go, Lamon, and God bless you! Bring back a
Palmetto, if you can't bring us good news."

Armed with certain credentials--from the President, Mr. Seward, General
Scott, Postmaster-General Blair, and others--I set out on my doubtful
and ticklish adventure.

While I was preparing my baggage at Willard's Hotel, General (then Mr.
Stephen A.) Hurlbut, of Illinois, entered my room, and seeing how I was
engaged inquired as to the object. He being an old and reliable friend,
I told him without hesitation; and he immediately asked if he might not
be allowed to accompany me. He desired, he said, to pay a last visit to
Charleston, the place of his birth, and to a sister living there, before
the dread outbreak which he knew was coming. I saw no objection. He
hurried to his rooms to make his own preparations, whence, an hour
later, I took him and his wife to the boat.

On arriving at Charleston about eight o'clock Saturday night, the
Hurlbuts went to the house of a kinsman, and I went to the Charleston
Hotel. It so happened that several young Virginians arrived on the same
train, and stopped at the same hotel. They all registered from Virginia,
and made the fact known with some show of enthusiasm that they had come
to join the Confederate army. I registered simply "Ward H. Lamon,"
followed by a long dash of the pen.

That evening, and all the next day (Sunday), little attention was paid
to me, and no one knew me. I visited the venerable and distinguished
lawyer, Mr. James L. Petigru, and had a conference with him,--having
been enjoined to do so by Mr. Lincoln, who personally knew that Mr.
Petigru was a Union man. At the close of the interview Mr. Petigru said
to me that he seldom stirred from his house; that he had no sympathy
with the rash movements of his people, and that few sympathized with
him; that the whole people were infuriated and crazed, and that no act
of headlong violence by them would surprise him. In saying farewell,
with warm expressions of good-will, he said that he hoped he should not
be considered inhospitable if he requested me not to repeat my visit, as
every one who came near him was watched, and intercourse with him could
only result in annoyance and danger to the visitor as well as to
himself, and would fail to promote any good to the Union cause. It was
now too late, he said; peaceable secession or war was inevitable.

Governor Pickens and his admirable and beautiful wife were boarding at
the Charleston Hotel. Early Monday morning I sent my card to the
governor requesting an interview, and stating that I was from the
President of the United States. The answer came that he would see me as
soon as he was through with his breakfast. I then strolled downstairs
into the main lobby and corridors, where, early as the hour was, I soon
discovered that something wonderful was "in the wind," and, moreover,
that that wonderful something was embodied in my own person. I was not,
like Hamlet, "the glass of fashion and the mould of form," yet I was
somehow "the observed of all observers." I was conscious that I did not
look like "the expectancy and rose of the fair state;" that my "personal
pulchritude," as a witty statesman has it, was not overwhelming to the
beholder; and yet I found myself at that moment immensely, not to say
_alarmingly_, attractive.

The news had spread far and wide that a great Goliath from the North, a
"Yankee Lincoln-hireling," had come suddenly into their proud city,
uninvited, unheralded. Thousands of persons had gathered to see the
strange ambassador. The corridors, the main office and lobby, were
thronged, and the adjacent streets were crowded as well with excited
spectators, mainly of the lower order,--that class of dowdy patriots who
in times of public commotion always find the paradise of the coward, the
bruiser, and the blackguard. There was a wagging of heads, a chorus of
curses and epithets not at all complimentary, and all eyes were fixed
upon the daring stranger, who seemed to be regarded not as the bearer of
the olive-branch of peace, but as a demon come to denounce the curse of
war, pestilence, and famine. This was my initiation into the great
"Unpleasantness," and the situation was certainly painful and
embarrassing; but there was plainly nothing to do but to assume a bold

I pressed my way through the mass of excited humanity to the clerk's
counter, examined the register, then turned, and with difficulty elbowed
my way through the dense crowd to the door of the breakfast-room. There
I was touched upon the shoulder by an elderly man, who asked in a tone
of peremptory authority,--

"Are you Mark Lamon?"

"No, sir; I am Ward H. Lamon, at your service."

"Are you the man who registered here as Lamon, from Virginia?"

"I registered as Ward H. Lamon, without designating my place of
residence. What is your business with me, sir?"

"Oh, well," continued the man of authority, "have you any objection to
state what business you have here in Charleston?"

"Yes, I have." Then after a pause, during which I surveyed my questioner
with as much coolness as the state of my nerves would allow, I added,
"My business is with your governor, who is to see me as soon as he has
finished his breakfast. If he chooses to impart to you my business in
this city, you will know it; otherwise, not."

"Beg pardon; if you have business with our governor, it's all right;
we'll see."

Shortly after breakfast I was waited upon by one of the governor's
staff, a most courtly and agreeable gentleman, in full military uniform,
who informed me that the governor was ready to receive me.

My interview with Governor Pickens was, to me, a memorable one. After
saying to him what President Lincoln had directed me to say, a general
discussion took place touching the critical state of public affairs.
With a most engaging courtesy, and an open frankness for which that
brave man was justly celebrated, he told me plainly that he was
compelled to be both radical and violent; that he regretted the
necessity of violent measures, but that he could see no way out of
existing difficulties but _to fight out_. "Nothing," said he, "can
prevent war except the acquiescence of the President of the United
States in secession, and his unalterable resolve _not_ to attempt any
reinforcement of the Southern forts. To think of longer remaining in the
Union is simply preposterous. We have five thousand well-armed soldiers
around this city; all the States are arming with great rapidity; and
this means war with all its consequences. Let your President attempt to
reinforce Sumter, and the tocsin of war will be sounded from every
hill-top and valley in the South."

This settled the matter so far as accommodation was concerned. There
was no doubt in my mind that Pickens voiced the sentiment of Rebellion.

My next duty was to confer with Major Anderson at the beleaguered fort.
On my intimating a desire to see that officer, Governor Pickens promptly
placed in my hands the following:--

                                           STATE OF SOUTH CAROLINA,
                                  EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENT, 25 March, 1861.

     Mr. Lamon, from the President of the United States, requests to see
     Major Anderson at Fort Sumter, on business entirely pacific; and my
     aid, Colonel Duryea, will go with him and return, merely to see
     that every propriety is observed toward Mr. Lamon.

                                          F. W. PICKENS, _Governor_.

[Illustration: Hand written letter above]

A flag-of-truce steamer was furnished by the governor, under charge of
Colonel Duryea, a genial and accomplished gentleman to whom I am
indebted for most considerate courtesy, and I proceeded to Fort Sumter.
I found Anderson in a quandary, and deeply despondent. He fully realized
the critical position he and his men occupied, and he apprehended the
worst possible consequences if measures were not promptly taken by the
government to strengthen him. His subordinates generally, on the
contrary, seemed to regard the whole affair as a sort of picnic, and
evinced a readiness to meet any fate. They seemed to be "spoiling for a
fight," and were eager for anything that might relieve the monotony of
their position. War seemed as inevitable to them as to Governor

After a full and free conference with Major Anderson, I returned to the
Charleston Hotel. The excited crowds were still in the streets, and the
hotel was overflowing with anxious people. The populace seemed maddened
by their failure to learn anything of the purpose or results of my
visit. The aspect of things was threatening to my personal safety, and
Governor Pickens had already taken steps to allay the excitement.

A rope had been procured by the rabble and thrown into one corner of the
reading-room; and as I entered the room I was accosted by a seedy
patriot, somewhat past the middle age. He was dressed in a fork-tailed
coat with brass buttons, which looked as if it might have done service
at Thomas Jefferson's first reception. He wore a high bell-crowned hat,
with an odor and rust of antiquity which seemed to proclaim it a relic
from the wardrobe of Sir Walter Raleigh. His swarthy throat was
decorated with a red bandana cravat and a shirt-collar of amazing
amplitude, and of such fantastic pattern that it might have served as a
"fly" to a Sibley tent. This individual was in a rage. Kicking the rope
into the middle of the room, and squaring himself before me, he said,--

"Do you think _that_ is strong enough to hang a damned ---- Lincoln
abolition hireling?"

To this highly significant interrogatory I replied, aiming my words more
at the crowd than at the beggarly ruffian who had addressed me, "Sir, I
am a Virginian by birth, and a gentleman, I hope, by education and
instinct. I was sent here by the President of the United States to see
your governor--"

The seedy spokesman interrupted with, "Damn your President!"

I continued: "You, sir, are surrounded by your friends--by a mob; and
you are brutal and cowardly enough to insult an unoffending stranger in
the great city that is noted for its hospitality and chivalry; and let
me tell you that your conduct is cowardly in the extreme. Among
gentlemen, the brutal epithets you employ are neither given nor

This saucy speech awoke a flame of fury in the mob, and there is no
telling what might have happened but for the lucky entrance into the
room at that moment of Hon. Lawrence Keitt, who approached me and laying
his hand familiarly on my shoulder, said,--

"Why, Lamon, old fellow, where did you come from? I am glad to see you."

The man with the brass buttons showed great astonishment. "Keitt," said
he, "do you speak to that Lincoln hireling?"

"Stop!" thundered Keitt; "you insult Lamon, and you insult me! He is a
gentleman, and _my_ friend. Come, Lamon, let us take a drink."

The noble and generous Keitt knew me well, and it may be supposed that
his "smiling" invitation was music in one sinner's ears at least.
Further insults to the stranger from the loafer element of Charleston
were not indulged in. The extremes of Southern character--the top and
the bottom of the social scale in the slaveholding States--were
exemplified in the scene just described, by Keitt and the blustering
bully with the shirt-collar. The first, cultivated, manly, noble,
hospitable, brave, and generous; the other, mean, unmanly, unkempt,
untaught, and reeking with the fumes of the blackguard and the brute.[5]

  [5] Page 78, line 7, after the word "brute."

  That neither section had the monopoly of all the virtues reminds us of
  the conversation between General Butler and a gentleman from Georgia in
  1861, when the latter said, "I do not believe there is an honest man in
  Massachusetts." After a moment's reflection he added: "I beg to assure
  you, Mr. Butler, I mean nothing personal." The General responded: "I
  believe there are a great many honest men in Georgia; but in saying so,
  sir, I too mean nothing personal."

My instructions from Mr. Lincoln required me to see and confer with the
postmaster of Charleston. By this time the temper of the riotous portion
of the populace, inflamed by suspicion and disappointed rage, made my
further appearance on the streets a hazardous adventure. Again Governor
Pickens, who despised the cowardice as he deplored the excesses of the
mob, interposed his authority. To his thoughtful courtesy I was indebted
for the following pass, which enabled me to visit the postmaster without

                                          HEADQUARTERS, 25 March, 1861.

     The bearer, Mr. Lamon, has business with Mr. Huger, Postmaster of
     Charleston, and must not be interrupted by any one, as his business
     in Charleston is entirely pacific in all matters.

                                             F. W. PICKENS, _Governor_.

At eight o'clock that Monday night I took the train for my return to
Washington. At a station in the outskirts of the city my friends,
General Hurlbut and wife, came aboard. Hurlbut knew the conductor, who
gave him seats that were as private as possible. Very soon the conductor
slipped a note into my hands that was significant as well as amusing.
It was from General Hurlbut, and was in the following words:--

     Don't you recognize us until this train gets out of South Carolina.
     There is danger ahead, and a damned sight of it.


This injunction was scrupulously observed. I learned afterward that
about all of Hurlbut's time in Charleston had been employed in eluding
the search of the vigilants, who, it was feared, would have given him a
rough welcome to Charleston if they had known in time of his presence

Without further adventure we reached Washington in safety, only a few
days before the tocsin of war was sounded by the firing on Fort Sumter.
On my return, the President learned for the first time that Hurlbut had
been in South Carolina. He laughed heartily over my unvarnished recital
of Hurlbut's experience in the hot-bed of secession, though he listened
with profound and saddened attention to my account of the condition of
things in the fort on the one hand, and in the State and city on the

I brought back with me a Palmetto branch, but I brought no promise of
peace. I had measured the depth of madness that was hurrying the
Southern masses into open rebellion; I had ascertained the real temper
and determination of their leaders by personal contact with them; and
this made my mission one that was not altogether without profit to the
great man at whose bidding I made the doubtful journey.



Political definitions have undergone some curious changes in this
country since the beginning of the present century. In the year 1801,
Thomas Jefferson was the first "republican" President of the United
States, as the term was then defined. Sixty years later, Abraham Lincoln
was hailed as our first Republican President. The Sage of Monticello
was, indeed, the first to introduce at the Executive Mansion a genuine
republican code of social and official etiquette. It was a wide
departure from the ceremonial and showy observances for which Hamilton,
his great rival, had so long contended, and which were peculiarly
distasteful to the hardy freemen of the new Republic.

Mr. Lincoln profoundly admired the Virginian. Nothing in the career or
the policy of Jefferson was nearer his heart than the homely and
healthful republicanism implied in the term "Jeffersonian simplicity."
While Mr. Lincoln occupied the White House, his intercourse with his
fellow-citizens was fashioned after the Jeffersonian idea. He believed
that there should be the utmost freedom of intercourse between the
people and their President. Jefferson had the truly republican idea
that he was the servant of the people, not their master. That was
Lincoln's idea also. Jefferson welcomed to the White House the humble
mechanic and the haughty aristocrat with the same unaffected cordiality.
Mr. Lincoln did the same. "There is no smell of royalty about this
establishment," was a jocular expression which I have heard Mr. Lincoln
use many times; and it was thoroughly characteristic of the man.

"Lincolnian simplicity" was, in fact, an improvement on the code of his
illustrious predecessor. The doors of the White House were always open.
Mr. Lincoln was always ready to greet visitors, no matter what their
rank or calling,--to hear their complaints, their petitions, or their
suggestions touching the conduct of public affairs. The ease with which
he could be approached vastly increased his labor. It also led to many
scenes at the White House that were strangely amusing and sometimes

Early in the year 1865, certain influential citizens of Missouri, then
in Washington, held a meeting to consider the disturbed state of the
border counties, and to formulate a plan for securing Executive
interference in behalf of their oppressed fellow-citizens. They
"where-ased" and "resolved" at great length, and finally appointed a
committee charged with the duty of visiting Mr. Lincoln, of stating
their grievances, and of demanding the removal of General Fisk and the
appointment of Gen. John B. McPherson in his place. The committee
consisted of an ex-governor and several able and earnest gentlemen
deeply impressed with the importance of their mission.

They entered the White House with some trepidation. It was at a critical
period of the war, and they supposed it would be difficult to get the
ear of the President. Grant was on the march to Richmond, and Sherman's
army was returning from the sea. The committee knew that Mr. Lincoln
would be engaged in considering the momentous events then developing,
and they were therefore greatly surprised to find the doors thrown open
to them. They were cordially invited to enter Mr. Lincoln's office.

The ex-governor took the floor in behalf of the oppressed Missourians.
He first presented the case of a certain lieutenant, who was described
as a very lonely Missourian, an orphan, his family and relatives having
joined the Confederate army. Through evil reports and the machinations
of enemies this orphan had got into trouble. Among other things the
orator described the orphan's arrest, his trial and conviction on the
charge of embezzling the money of the government; and he made a moving
appeal to the President for a reopening of the case and the restoration
of the abused man to his rank and pay in the army. The papers in the
case were handed to Mr. Lincoln, and he was asked to examine them for

The bulky package looked formidable. Mr. Lincoln took it up and began
reading aloud: "Whereas, conduct unbecoming an officer and a
gentleman"--"Whereas, without resentment the said lieutenant received a
letter from a man named ----, stating that the President must be a
negro;" and "Whereas, the said lieutenant corruptly received while an
officer on duty, from a man in ----, the sum of forty dollars--"

"Stop there!" exclaimed the lieutenant, who was at that moment behind
the ex-governor's chair. "Why, Mr. Lincoln--beg pardon--Mr. President,
it wa'n't but thirty dollars."

"Yes," said the governor, "that charge, Mr. President, is clearly wrong.
It was only thirty dollars, as we can prove."

"Governor," said Mr. Lincoln, who was by this time thoroughly amused,
but grave as a judge, "that reminds me of a man in Indiana, who was in a
battle of words with a neighbor. One charged that the other's daughter
had three illegitimate children. 'Now,' said the man whose family was so
outrageously scandalized, 'that's a lie, and I can prove it, for she
only has two.' This case is no better. Whether the amount was thirty
dollars or thirty thousand dollars, the culpability is the same." Then,
after reading a little further, he said: "I believe I will leave this
case where it was left by the officers who tried it."

The ex-governor next presented a very novel case. With the most solemn
deliberation he began: "Mr. President, I want to call your attention to
the case of Betsy Ann Dougherty,--a good woman. She lived in ----
County, and did my washing for a long time. Her husband went off and
joined the rebel army, and I wish you would give her a protection
paper." The solemnity of this appeal struck Mr. Lincoln as uncommonly

The two men looked at each other,--the governor desperately in earnest,
and the President masking his humor behind the gravest exterior. At last
Mr. Lincoln asked with inimitable gravity, "Was Betsy Ann a good

"Oh, yes, sir; she was indeed."

"Was your Betsy Ann an obliging woman?"

"Yes, she was certainly very kind," responded the governor, soberly.

"Could she do other things than wash?" continued Mr. Lincoln, with the
same portentous gravity.

"Oh, yes; she was very kind--very."

"Where is Betsy Ann?"

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

"Is anybody meddling with her?"

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

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

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

                                                      A. LINCOLN.

He handed this card to her advocate, saying, "Give this to Betsy Ann."

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

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

A critical observer of this ludicrous scene could not fail to see that
Mr. Lincoln was seeking needed relaxation from overburdening cares,
relief from the severe mental strain he was daily undergoing. By giving
attention to mirth-provoking trifles along with matters of serious
concern, he found needed diversion. We can never know how much the
country profited by the humor-loving nature of this wonderful man.

After patiently hearing all the Missouri committee had to say, and
giving them the best assurances circumstances would allow, he dismissed
them from his presence, enjoyed a hearty laugh, and then relapsed into
his accustomed melancholy, contemplative mood, as if looking for
something else,--looking for the end. He sat for a time at his desk
thinking, then turning to me he said: "This case of our old friend, the
governor, and his Betsy Ann, is a fair sample of the trifles I am
constantly asked to give my attention to. I wish I had no more serious
questions to deal with. If there were more Betsy Anns and fewer fellows
like her husband, we should be better off. She seems to have laundered
the governor to his full satisfaction, but I am sorry she didn't keep
her husband washed cleaner."

Mr. Lincoln was by nature singularly merciful. The ease with which he
could be reached by persons who might profit by his clemency gave rise
to many notable scenes in the White House during the war.

Mr. Wheeler tells of a young man who had been convicted by a military
court of sleeping at his post,--a grave offence, for which he had been
sentenced to death. He was but nineteen years of age, and the only son
of a widowed mother. He had suffered greatly with homesickness, and
overpowered at night with cold and watching, was overcome by sleep. He
had always been an honest, faithful, temperate soldier. His comrades
telegraphed his mother of his fate. She at once went to Orlando Kellogg,
whose kind heart promptly responded to her request, and he left for
Washington by the first train. He arrived in that city at midnight. The
boy was to be executed on the afternoon of the next day. With the aid of
his friend, Mr. Wheeler, he passed the military guard about the White
House and reached the doorkeeper, who, when he knew Mr. Kellogg's
errand, took him to Mr. Lincoln's sleeping-room. Arousing Mr. Lincoln,
Mr. Kellogg made known the emergency in a few words. Without stopping to
dress, the President went to another room and awakened a messenger. Then
sitting down, still in undress, he wrote a telegram to the officer
commanding at Yorktown to suspend the execution of the boy until further
orders. The telegram was sent at once to the War Department, with
directions to the messenger to remain until an answer was received.
Getting uneasy at the seeming delay, Mr. Lincoln dressed, went to the
Department, and remained until the receipt of his telegram was
acknowledged. Then turning to Kellogg, with trembling voice he said,
"Now you just telegraph that mother that her boy is safe, and I will go
home and go to bed. I guess we shall all sleep better for this night's

A somewhat similar proof of Mr. Lincoln's mercy is the story told of a
very young man living in one of the southern counties of Kentucky, who
had been enticed into the rebel army. After remaining with it in
Tennessee a few months he became disgusted or weary, and managed to make
his way back to his home. Soon after his arrival, some of the military
stationed in the town heard of his return and arrested him as a rebel
spy, and, after a military trial, he was condemned to be hanged. His
family was overwhelmed with distress and horror. Mr. Lincoln was seen by
one of his friends from Kentucky, who explained his errand and asked for
mercy. "Oh, yes, I understand; some one has been crying, and worked upon
your feelings, and you have come here to work on mine."

His friend then went more into detail, and assured him of his belief in
the truth of the story. After some deliberation, Mr. Lincoln, evidently
scarcely more than half convinced, but still preferring to err on the
side of mercy, replied: "If a man had more than one life, I think a
little hanging would not hurt this one; but after he is once dead we
cannot bring him back, no matter how sorry we may be; so the boy shall
be pardoned." And a reprieve was given on the spot.

The following incident will illustrate another phase of Mr. Lincoln's
character. A man who was then in jail at Newburyport, Mass., as a
convicted slave-trader, and who had been fined one thousand dollars and
sentenced to imprisonment for five years, petitioned for a pardon. The
petition was accompanied by a letter to the Hon. John B. Alley, a member
of Congress from Lynn, Mass. Mr. Alley presented the papers to the
President, with a letter from the prisoner acknowledging his guilt and
the justice of his sentence. He had served out the term of sentence of
imprisonment, but was still held on account of the fine not being paid.
Mr. Lincoln was much moved by the pathetic appeal. He then, after
pausing some time, said to Mr. Alley: "My friend, this appeal is very
touching to my feelings, and no one knows my weakness better than you.
It is, if possible, to be too easily moved by appeals for mercy; and I
must say that if this man had been guilty of the foulest murder that the
arm of man could perpetrate, I might forgive him on such an appeal. But
the man who could go to Africa and rob her of her children, and then
sell them into interminable bondage, with no other motive than that
which is furnished by dollars and cents, is so much worse than the most
depraved murderer that he can never receive pardon at my hand. No, sir;
he may stay in jail forever before he shall have liberty by any act of

After the war had been fairly inaugurated, and several battles had been
fought, a lady from Alexandria visited Mr. Lincoln, and importuned him
to give an order for the release of a certain church in that place which
had been seized and used as a hospital. He asked and was told the name
of the church, and that there were but three or four wounded persons
occupying it, and that the inhabitants wanted it to worship in. Mr.
Lincoln asked her if she had applied to the post surgeon at Alexandria
to give it up. She answered that she had, and that she could do nothing
with him. "Well, madam," said he, "that is an end of it then. We put him
there to attend to just such business, and it is reasonable to suppose
that he knows better what should be done under the circumstances than I

More for the purpose of testing the sentiments of this visitor than for
any other reason, Mr. Lincoln said: "You say you live in Alexandria. How
much would you be willing to subscribe towards building a hospital

She replied: "You may be aware, Mr. Lincoln, that our property has been
very much embarrassed by the war, and I could not afford to give much
for such a purpose."

"Yes," said Mr. Lincoln, "and this war is not over yet; and I expect we
shall have another fight soon, and that church may be very useful as a
hospital in which to nurse our poor wounded soldiers. It is my candid
opinion that God wants that church for our wounded fellows. So, madam,
you will excuse me. I can do nothing for you."

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

Two ladies from Tennessee called at the White House one day, and begged
Mr. Lincoln to release their husbands, who were rebel prisoners at
Johnson's Island. One of the fair petitioners urged as a reason for the
liberation of her husband that he was a very religious man; and she rang
the changes on this pious plea _ad nauseam_. "Madam," said Mr. Lincoln,
"you say your husband is a religious man. Perhaps I am not a good judge
of such matters, but in my opinion the religion that makes men rebel and
fight against their government is not the genuine article; nor is the
religion the right sort which reconciles them to the idea of eating
their bread in the sweat of other men's faces. It is not the kind to get
to heaven on." After another interview, however, the order of release
was made,--Mr. Lincoln remarking, with impressive solemnity, that he
would expect the ladies to subdue the rebellious spirit of their
husbands, and to that end he thought it would be well to reform their
religion. "True patriotism," said he, "is better than the wrong kind of

This is in keeping with a significant remark made by him to a clergyman,
in the early days of the war. "Let us have faith, Mr. President," said
the minister, "that the Lord is on our side in this great struggle." Mr.
Lincoln quietly answered: "I am not at all concerned about that, for I
know that the Lord is always on the side of the right; but it is my
constant anxiety and prayer that I and this nation may be on the Lord's

Clergymen were always welcomed by Mr. Lincoln at the White House with
the respectful courtesy due to their sacred calling. During the progress
of the war, and especially in its earlier stages, he was visited almost
daily by reverend gentlemen, sometimes as single visitors, but more
frequently in delegations. He was a patient listener to the words of
congratulation, counsel, admonition, exhortation, and sometimes reproof,
which fell from the lips of his pious callers, and generally these
interviews were entertaining and agreeable on both sides. It sometimes
happened, however, that these visits were painfully embarrassing to the
President. One delegation, for example, would urge with importunate zeal
a strict observance of the Sabbath day by the army; others would insist
upon a speedy proclamation of emancipation; while some recounted the
manifold errors of commanding generals, complained of the tardy action
of the government in critical emergencies, and proposed sweeping changes
of policy in the conduct of the war.

There was scarcely a day when there were not several delegations of this
kind to visit him, and a great deal of the President's valuable time was
employed in this unimportant manner. One day he was asked by one of
these self-constituted mentors, how many men the rebels had in the
field? Mr. Lincoln promptly but seriously answered, "Twelve hundred
thousand, according to the best authority." His listeners looked aghast.
"Good heavens!" they exclaimed in astonishment. "Yes, sir; twelve
hundred thousand, no doubt of it. You see, all of our generals when they
get whipped say the enemy outnumbers them from three or five to one, and
I must believe them. We have four hundred thousand men in the field, and
three times four make twelve,--don't you see it? It is as plain to be
seen as the nose on a man's face; and at the rate things are now going,
with the great amount of speculation and the small crop of fighting, it
will take a long time to overcome twelve hundred thousand rebels in
arms. If they can get subsistence they have everything else, except a
just cause. Yet it is said that 'thrice is he armed that hath his
quarrel just.' I am willing, however, to risk our advantage of thrice in
justice against their thrice in numbers."

On but one occasion that I can now recall was Mr. Lincoln's habitual
good humor visibly overtaxed by these well-meaning but impatient
advisers. A committee of clergymen from the West called one day; and the
spokesman, fired with uncontrollable zeal, poured forth a lecture which
was fault-finding in tone from beginning to end. It was delivered with
much energy, and the shortcomings of the Administration were rehearsed
with painful directness. The reverend orator made some keen thrusts,
which evoked hearty applause from other gentlemen of the committee.

Mr. Lincoln's reply was a notable one. With unusual animation, he said:
"Gentlemen, suppose all the property you possess were in gold, and you
had placed it in the hands of Blondin to carry across the Niagara River
on a rope. With slow, cautious, steady step he walks the rope, bearing
your all. Would you shake the cable, and keep shouting to him, 'Blondin!
stand up a little straighter! Blondin! stoop a little more; go a little
faster; lean more to the south! Now lean a little more to the
north!'--would that be your behavior in such an emergency? No; you would
hold your breath, every one of you, as well as your tongues. You would
keep your hands off until he was safe on the other side. This
government, gentlemen, is carrying an immense weight; untold treasures
are in its hands. The persons managing the ship of state in this storm
are doing the best they can. Don't worry them with needless warnings and
complaints. Keep silence, be patient, and we will get you safe across.
Good day, gentlemen. I have other duties pressing upon me that must be
attended to."

This incident made Mr. Lincoln a little shy of preachers for a time.
"But the latch-string is out," said he, "and they have the right to come
here and preach to me if they will go about it with some gentleness and
moderation." He firmly believed that--

  "To speak his thoughts is every freeman's right,
  In peace and war, in council and in fight."

And from this republican idea he would suffer not the slightest
departure while he was President.

Soon after the affair just described, a man of remarkable appearance
presented himself at the White House and requested an audience with Mr.
Lincoln. He was a large, fleshy man, of a stern but homely countenance,
and of a solemn and dignified carriage. He was dressed in a
neatly-fitting swallow-tailed coat, ruffled shirt of faultless fabric,
white cravat, and orange-colored gloves. An immense fob chain, to which
was attached a huge topaz seal, swung from his watch-pocket, and he
carried a large gold-headed cane. His whole appearance was that of a man
of great intellect, of stern qualities, of strong piety, and of
dignified uncomeliness. He looked in every way like a minister of the
gospel, whose vigorous mind was bent on godly themes, and whose present
purpose was to discourse to Mr. Lincoln on matters of grave import.

"I am in for it now," thought the President. "This pious man means
business. He is no common preacher. Evidently his gloomy mind is big
with a scheme of no ordinary kind."

The ceremony of introduction was unusually formal, and the few words of
conversation that followed were constrained. The good man spoke with
great deliberation, as if feeling his way cautiously; but the evident
restraint which his manner imposed upon Mr. Lincoln seemed not to please
him. The sequel was amazing.

Quitting his chair, the portly visitor extended his hand to Mr. Lincoln,
saying as the latter rose and confronted him: "Well, Mr. President, I
have no business with you, none whatever. I was at the Chicago
convention as a friend of Mr. Seward. I have watched you narrowly ever
since your inauguration, and I called merely to pay my respects. What I
want to say is this: I think you are doing everything for the good of
the country that is in the power of man to do. You are on the right
track. As one of your constituents I now say to you, do in future as you
damn please, and I will support you!" This was spoken with tremendous

"Why," said Mr. Lincoln in great astonishment, "I took you to be a
preacher. I thought you had come here to tell me how to take Richmond,"
and he again grasped the hand of his strange visitor. Accurate and
penetrating as Mr. Lincoln's judgment was concerning men, for once he
had been wholly mistaken. The scene was comical in the extreme. The two
men stood gazing at each other. A smile broke from the lips of the
solemn wag and rippled over the wide expanse of his homely face like
sunlight overspreading a continent, and Mr. Lincoln was convulsed with

"Sit down, my friend," said the President; "sit down. I am delighted to
see you. Lunch with us to-day. Yes, you must stay and lunch with us, my
friend, for I have not seen enough of you yet."

The stranger did lunch with Mr. Lincoln that day. He was a man of rare
and racy humor,--and the good cheer, the fun, the wit, the anecdotes and
sparkling conversation that enlivened the scene was the work of two of
the most original characters ever seen in the White House.

Shortly after the election of Mr. Lincoln, I talked with him earnestly
about the habits, manners, customs, and style of the people with whom he
had now to associate, and the difference between his present
surroundings and those of his Illinois life, and wherein his plain,
practical, common-sense actions differed from the polite, graceful, and
elegant bearing of the cultivated diplomat and cultured gentlemen of
polite society. Thanks to his confidence in my friendship and his
affectionate forbearance with me, he would listen to me with the most
attentive interest, always evincing the strongest desire to correct
anything in which he failed to be and appear like the people with whom
he acted; for it was one of the cardinal traits of his character to be
like, of, and for the people, whether in exalted or humble life.

A New Hampshire lady having presented to him a soft felt hat of her own
manufacture, he was at a loss what to do on his arrival in Washington,
as the felt hat seemed unbecoming for a President-elect. He therefore
said to me: "Hill, this hat of mine won't do. It is a felt one, and I
have been uncomfortable in it ever since we left Harrisburg. Give me
that plug of yours, until you can go out in the city and buy one either
for yourself or for me. I think your hat is about the style. I may have
to do some trotting around soon, and if I can't feel natural with a
different hat, I may at least look respectable in it."

I went to a store near by and purchased a hat, and by the ironing
process soon had it shaped to my satisfaction; and I must say that when
Mr. Lincoln put it on, he looked more presentable and more like a
President than I had ever seen him. He had very defective taste in the
choice of hats, the item of dress that does more than any other for the
improvement of one's personal appearance.

After the hat reform, I think Mr. Lincoln still suffered much annoyance
from the tyranny of fashion in the matter of gloves. His hat for years
served the double purpose of an ornamental head-gear and a kind of
office or receptacle for his private papers and memoranda. But the
necessity to wear gloves he regarded as an affliction, a violation of
the statute against "cruelty to animals." Many amusing stories could be
told of Mr. Lincoln and his gloves. At about the time of his third
reception he had on a tight-fitting pair of white kids, which he had
with difficulty got on. He saw approaching in the distance an old
Illinois friend named Simpson, whom he welcomed with a genuine Sangamon
County shake, which resulted in bursting his white-kid glove with an
audible sound. Then raising his brawny hand up before him, looking at it
with an indescribable expression, he said,--while the whole procession
was checked, witnessing this scene,--"Well, my old friend, this is a
general bustification. You and I were never intended to wear these
things. If they were stronger they might do well enough to keep out the
cold, but they are a failure to shake hands with between old friends
like us. Stand aside, Captain, and I'll see you shortly." The procession
then advanced. Simpson stood aside, and after the unwelcome pageantry
was terminated, he rejoined his old Illinois friend in familiar

Mr. Lincoln was always delighted to see his Western friends, and always
gave them a cordial welcome; and when the proprieties justified it, he
met them on the old familiar footing, entertaining them with anecdotes
in unrestrained, free-and-easy conversation. He never spoke of himself
as President,--always referred to his office as "this place;" would
often say to an old friend, "Call me Lincoln: 'Mr. President' is
entirely too formal for us." Shortly after the first inauguration, an
old and respected friend accompanied by his wife visited Washington, and
as a matter of course paid their respects to the President and his
family, having been on intimate social terms with them for many years.
It was proposed that at a certain time Mr. and Mrs. Lincoln should call
at the hotel where they were stopping and take them out for a ride in
the Presidential carriage,--a gorgeous and grandly caparisoned coach,
the like of which the visitors had seldom seen before that time. As
close as the intimacy was, the two men had never seen each other with
gloves on in their lives, except as a protection from the cold. Both
gentlemen, realizing the propriety of their use in the changed condition
of things, discussed the matter with their respective wives, who decided
that gloves were the proper things. Mr. Lincoln reluctantly yielded to
this decree, and placed his in his pocket, to be used or not according
to circumstances. On arriving at the hotel he found his friend, who
doubtless had yielded to his wife's persuasion, gloved in the most
approved style. The friend, taking in the situation, was hardly seated
in the carriage when he began to take off the clinging kids; and at the
same time Mr. Lincoln began to draw his on,--seeing which they both
burst into a hearty laugh, when Mr. Lincoln exclaimed, "Oh, why should
the spirit of mortals be proud?" Then he added, "I suppose it is polite
to wear these things, but it is positively uncomfortable for me to do
so. Let us put them in our pockets; that is the best place for them, and
we shall be able to act more like folks in our bare hands." After this
the ride was as enjoyable as any one they had ever taken in early days
in a lumber wagon over the prairies of Illinois.

An instance showing that the deserving low-born commanded Mr. Lincoln's
respect and consideration as well as the high-born and distinguished,
may be found in what he said on one occasion to an Austrian count
during the rebellion. The Austrian minister to this government
introduced to the President a count, subject of the Austrian government,
who was desirous of obtaining a position in the American army. Being
introduced by the accredited minister of Austria, he required no further
recommendation to secure the appointment; but fearing that his
importance might not be fully appreciated by the republican President,
the count was particular in impressing the fact upon him that he bore
that title, and that his family was ancient and highly respectable. Mr.
Lincoln listened with attention, until this unnecessary commendation was
mentioned; then, with a merry twinkle in his eye, he tapped the
aristocratic sprig of hereditary nobility on the shoulder in the most
fatherly way, as if the gentleman had made a confession of some
unfortunate circumstance connected with his lineage, for which he was in
no way responsible, saying, "Never mind, you shall be treated with just
as much consideration for all that. I will see to it that your bearing a
title sha'n't hurt you."



Mr. Lincoln was one of the bravest men that ever lived, and one of the
gentlest. The instances in his earlier career in which he put his life
in peril to prevent injury to another are very numerous. I have often
thought that his interposition in behalf of the friendless Indian who
wandered into camp during the Black Hawk war and was about to be
murdered by the troops, was an act of chivalry unsurpassed in the whole
story of knighthood. So in the rough days of Gentryville and New Salem,
he was always on the side of the weak and the undefended; always daring
against the bully; always brave and tender; always invoking peace and
good-will, except where they could be had only by dishonor. He could not
endure to witness the needless suffering even of a brute. When riding
once with a company of young ladies and gentlemen, dressed up in his
best, he sprang from his horse and released a pig which was fast in a
fence and squealing in pain, because, as he said in his homely way, the
misery of the poor pig was more than he could bear.

Hon. I. N. Arnold tells of an incident in the early days of Mr.
Lincoln's practice at the Springfield bar. He was coming home from a
neighboring county seat, with a party of lawyers, riding two by two
along a country lane. Lincoln and a comrade brought up the rear, and
when the others stopped to water their horses his comrade came up alone.
"Where is Lincoln?" was the inquiry. "Oh," replied the friend, "when I
saw him last he had caught two young birds which the wind had blown out
of their nest, and was hunting up the nest to put them back into it."

How instinctively Mr. Lincoln turned from the deliberate, though lawful
and necessary, shedding of blood during the war is well known. His
Secretaries of War, his Judge-Advocate General, and generals in the
field, were often put to their wits' end to maintain the discipline of
the army against this constant softness of the President's good heart.

Upward of twenty deserters were sentenced at one time to be shot. The
warrants for their execution were sent to Mr. Lincoln for his approval;
but he refused to sign them. The commanding general to whose corps the
condemned men belonged was indignant. He hurried to Washington. Mr.
Lincoln had listened to moving petitions for mercy from humane persons
who, like himself, were shocked at the idea of the cold-blooded
execution of more than a score of misguided men. His resolution was
fixed, but his rule was to see every man who had business with him. The
irate commander, therefore, was admitted into Mr. Lincoln's private
office. With soldierly bluntness he told the President that mercy to
the few was cruelty to the many; that Executive clemency in such a case
would be a blow at military discipline; and that unless the condemned
men were made examples of, the army itself would be in danger.
"General," said Mr. Lincoln, "there are too many weeping widows in the
United States now. For God's sake don't ask me to add to the number;
for, I tell you plainly, _I won't do it_!" He believed that kind words
were better for the poor fellows than cold lead; and the sequel showed
that he was right.

Death warrants: execution of unfortunate soldiers,--how he dreaded and
detested them, and longed to restore every unfortunate man under
sentence to life and honor in his country's service! I had personally an
almost unlimited experience with him in this class of cases, and could
fill volumes with anecdotes exhibiting this trait in the most touching
light, though the names of the persons concerned--disgraced soldiers,
prisoners of war, civilian spies--would hardly be recognized by the
readers of this generation.

But it was the havoc of the war, the sacrifice of patriotic lives, the
flow of human blood, the mangling of precious limbs in the great Union
host that shocked him most,--indeed, on some occasions shocked him
almost beyond his capacity to control either his judgment or his
feelings. This was especially the case when the noble victims were of
his own acquaintance, or of the narrower circle of his familiar friends;
and then he seemed for the moment possessed of a sense of personal
responsibility for their individual fate, which was at once most
unreasonable and most pitiful. Of this latter class were many of the
most gallant men of Illinois and Indiana, who fell dead or cruelly
wounded in the early battles of the Southwest.

The "Black boys" were notable among the multitude of eager youths who
rushed to the field at the first call to arms. Their mother, the widow
of a learned Presbyterian minister, had married Dr. Fithian, of
Danville, Ill.; and the relations between Dr. Fithian and his stepsons
were of the tenderest paternal nature. His pride in them and his
devotion to them was the theme of the country side. Mr. Lincoln knew
them well. In his frequent visits to Danville on the circuit he seldom
failed to be the guest of their mother and the excellent Dr. Fithian.
They were studious and industrious boys, earning with their own hands at
least a part of the money required for their education. When Sumter was
fired upon they were at Wabash College, Crawfordsville, Ind., and
immediately enlisted as privates in the Crawfordsville Guards. Their
career in the field needs no recital here. Mr. Lincoln watched it with
intense interest. At the battle of Pea Ridge, having reached high
rank,--each promotion for some special act of gallantry,--they both fell
desperately wounded within five minutes of each other, and only thirty
yards apart. Dr. Fithian hastened to them with a father's solicitude,
and nursed them back to life, through fearful vicissitudes. They had
scarcely returned to the army when the elder, John Charles Black, again
fell, terribly mangled, at Prairie Grove. He was hopelessly shattered;
yet he remained in the service and at the front until the last gun was
fired, and is now among the badly wounded survivors of the war. I shall
never forget the scene, when I took to Mr. Lincoln a letter written by
Dr. Fithian to me, describing the condition of the "Black boys," and
expressing his fears that they could not live. Mr. Lincoln read it, and
broke into tears: "Here, now," he cried, "are these dear, brave boys
killed in this cursed war! My God, my God! It is too bad! They worked
hard to earn money enough to educate themselves, and this is the end! I
loved them as if they were my own." I took his directions about my reply
to Dr. Fithian, and left him in one of the saddest moods in which I ever
saw him, burdened with an unreasonable sense of personal responsibility
for the lives of these gallant men.

Lieut.-Colonel William McCullough, of whom a very eminent gentleman said
on a most solemn occasion, "He was the most thoroughly courageous man I
have ever known," fell leading a hopeless charge in Mississippi. He had
entered the service at the age of fifty, with one arm and one eye. He
had been clerk of McLean County Circuit Court, Ill., for twenty years,
and Mr. Lincoln knew him thoroughly. His death affected the President
profoundly, and he wrote to the Colonel's daughter, now Mrs. Frank D.
Orme, the following peculiar letter of condolence:--

                                         EXECUTIVE MANSION, WASHINGTON,
                                                   Dec. 23, 1862.

     DEAR FANNY,--It is with deep regret that I learn of the death of
     your kind and brave father, and especially that it is affecting
     your young heart beyond what is common in such cases. In this sad
     world of ours sorrow comes to all, and to the young it comes with
     bitterer agony because it takes them unawares. The older have
     learned ever to expect it. I am anxious to afford some alleviation
     of your present distress. Perfect relief is not possible, except
     with time. You cannot now realize that you will ever feel better.
     Is not this so? And yet it is a mistake. You are sure to be happy
     again. To know this, which is certainly true, will make you some
     less miserable now. I have had experience enough to know what I
     say, and you need only to believe it to feel better at once. The
     memory of your dear father, instead of an agony, will yet be a sad,
     sweet feeling in your heart, of a purer and holier sort than you
     have known before.

     Please present my kind regards to your afflicted mother.

                         Your sincere friend,
                                                 A. LINCOLN.

       Bloomington, Ill.

Gen. W. H. L. Wallace, who fell at Shiloh, was a friend whom Lincoln
held in the tenderest regard. He knew his character as a man and his
inestimable value as a soldier quite as well as they are now known to
the country. Those who have read General Grant's "Memoirs" will
understand from that great general's estimate of him what was the loss
of the federal service in the untimely death of Wallace. Mr. Lincoln
felt it bitterly and deeply. But his was a public and a private grief
united, and his lamentations were touching to those who heard them, as
I did. The following account of General Wallace's death is taken from an
eloquent memorial address, by the Hon. Leonard Swett in the United
States Circuit Court, upon our common friend the late Col. T. Lyle
Dickey, who was the father-in-law of Wallace:--

"Mrs. Gen. W. H. L. Wallace, who was Judge Dickey's eldest daughter, as
the battle of Shiloh approached, became impressed with the sense of
impending danger to her husband, then with Grant's army. This impression
haunted her until she could stand it no longer; and in one of the most
severe storms of the season, at twelve o'clock at night, she started
alone for the army where her husband was. At Cairo she was told that no
women could be permitted to go up the Tennessee River. But affection has
a persistency which will not be denied. Mrs. Wallace finding a party
bearing a flag to the Eleventh Infantry from the ladies of Ottawa, to be
used instead of their old one, which had been riddled and was
battle-worn, got herself substituted to carry that flag: and thus with
one expedient and another she finally reached Shiloh, six hundred miles
from home and three hundred through a hostile country, and through the
more hostile guards of our own forces.

"She arrived on Sunday, the 6th of April, 1862, when the great
storm-centre of that battle was at its height, and in time to receive
her husband as he was borne from the field terribly mangled by a shot in
the head, which he had received while endeavoring to stay the retreat
of our army as it was falling back to the banks of the river on that
memorable Sunday, the first day of that bloody battle. She arrived in
time to recognize him, and be recognized by him; and a few days
afterward, saying, 'We shall meet again in heaven,' he died in the arms
of that devoted wife, surrounded by Judge Dickey and his sons and the
brothers of General Wallace."

These are but a few cases of death and mutilation in the military
service cited to show how completely Mr. Lincoln shared the sufferings
of our soldiers. It was with a weight of singular personal
responsibility that some of these misfortunes and sorrows seemed to
crowd upon his sympathetic heart.

Soon after his election in 1864, when any other man would have been
carried away on the tide of triumph and would have had little thought
for the sorrows of a stranger, he found time to write the following

                                  EXECUTIVE MANSION, Nov. 21, 1864.

     DEAR MADAM,--I have been shown, in the files of the War
     Department, a statement of the Adjutant-General of Massachusetts,
     that you are the mother of five sons who have died gloriously on
     the field of battle. I feel how weak and fruitless must be any
     words of mine which should attempt to beguile you from the grief of
     a loss so overwhelming. But I cannot refrain from tendering to you
     the consolation that may be found in the thanks of the republic
     they died to save. I pray that our Heavenly Father may assuage the
     anguish of your bereavement, and leave you only the cherished
     memory of the loved and lost and the solemn pride that must be
     yours to have laid so costly a sacrifice upon the altar of freedom.

                        Yours very sincerely and respectfully,
                                                       ABRAHAM LINCOLN.


Once when Mr. Lincoln had released a prisoner at the request of his
mother she, in expressing her gratitude, said, "Good-bye, Mr. Lincoln. I
shall probably never see you again till we meet in heaven." She had the
President's hand in hers, and he was deeply moved. He instantly took her
hand in both of his and, following her to the door, said, "I am afraid
with all my troubles I shall never get to the resting place you speak
of, but if I do I am sure I shall find you. Your wish that you will meet
me there has fully paid for all I have done for you."

Perhaps none of Mr. Lincoln's ambitions were more fully realized than
the wish expressed to Joshua F. Speed: Die when I may, I want it said of
me by those who know me best that I always plucked a thistle and planted
a flower where I thought a flower would grow.



That "every man has within him his own Patmos," Victor Hugo was not far
wrong in declaring. "Revery," says the great French thinker, "fixes its
gaze upon the shadow until there issues from it light. Some power that
is very high has ordained it thus." Mr. Lincoln had his Patmos, his
"kinship with the shades;" and this is, perhaps, the strangest feature
of his character. That his intellect was mighty and of exquisite mould,
that it was of a severely logical cast, and that his reasoning powers
were employed in the main on matters eminently practical, all men know
who know anything about the real Lincoln. The father of modern
philosophy tells us that "the master of superstition is the people; and
in all superstitions wise men follow fools." Lord Bacon, however, was
not unwilling to believe that storms might be dispersed by the ringing
of bells,--a superstition that is not yet wholly dead, even in countries
most distinguished by modern enlightenment. Those whom the great
Englishman designated "masters of superstition,--fools," were the common
people whose collective wisdom Mr. Lincoln esteemed above the highest
gifts of cultured men. That the Patmos of the _plain people_, as Mr.
Lincoln called them, was his in a large measure he freely acknowledged;
and this peculiarity of his nature is shown in his strange dreams and
presentiments, which sometimes elated and sometimes disturbed him in a
very astonishing degree.

From early youth he seemed conscious of a high mission. Long before his
admission to the bar, or his entrance into politics, he believed that he
was destined to rise to a great height; that from a lofty station to
which he should be called he would be able to confer lasting benefits on
his fellow-men. He believed also that from a lofty station he should
fall. It was a vision of grandeur and of gloom which was confirmed in
his mind by the dreams of his childhood, of his youthful days, and of
his maturer years. The plain people with whom his life was spent, and
with whom he was in cordial sympathy, believed also in the marvellous as
revealed in presentiments and dreams; and so Mr. Lincoln drifted on
through years of toil and exceptional hardship, struggling with a noble
spirit for honest promotion,--meditative, aspiring, certain of his star,
but appalled at times by its malignant aspect. Many times prior to his
election to the Presidency he was both elated and alarmed by what seemed
to him a rent in the veil which hides from mortal view what the future
holds. He saw, or thought he saw, a vision of glory and of blood,
himself the central figure in a scene which his fancy transformed from
giddy enchantment to the most appalling tragedy.

On the day of his renomination at Baltimore, Mr. Lincoln was engaged at
the War Department in constant telegraphic communication with General
Grant, who was then in front of Richmond. Throughout the day he seemed
wholly unconscious that anything was going on at Baltimore in which his
interests were in any way concerned. At luncheon time he went to the
White House, swallowed a hasty lunch, and without entering his private
office hurried back to the War Office. On his arrival at the War
Department the first dispatch that was shown him announced the
nomination of Andrew Johnson for Vice-President.

"This is strange," said he, reflectively; "I thought it was usual to
nominate the candidate for President first."

His informant was astonished. "Mr. President," said he, "have you not
heard of your own renomination? It was telegraphed to you at the White
House two hours ago."

Mr. Lincoln had not seen the dispatch, had made no inquiry about it, had
not even thought about it. On reflection, he attached great importance
to this singular occurrence. It reminded him, he said, of an ominous
incident of mysterious character which occurred just after his election
in 1860. It was the double image of himself in a looking-glass, which he
saw while lying on a lounge in his own chamber at Springfield. There was
Abraham Lincoln's face reflecting the full glow of health and hopeful
life; and in the same mirror, at the same moment of time, was the face
of Abraham Lincoln showing a ghostly paleness. On trying the experiment
at other times, as confirmatory tests, the illusion reappeared, and then
vanished as before.

Mr. Lincoln more than once told me that he could not explain this
phenomenon; that he had tried to reproduce the double reflection at the
Executive Mansion, but without success; that it had worried him not a
little; and that the mystery had its meaning, which was clear enough to
him. To his mind the illusion was a sign,--the life-like image
betokening a safe passage through his first term as President; the
ghostly one, that death would overtake him before the close of the
second. Wholly unmindful of the events happening at Baltimore, which
would have engrossed the thoughts of any other statesman in his place
that day,--forgetful, in fact, of all earthly things except the
tremendous events of the war,--this circumstance, on reflection, he wove
into a volume of prophecy, a sure presage of his re-election. His mind
then instantly travelled back to the autumn of 1860; and the vanished
wraith--the ghostly face in the mirror, mocking its healthy and hopeful
fellow--told him plainly that although certain of re-election to the
exalted office he then held, he would surely hear the fatal summons from
the silent shore during his second term. With that firm conviction,
which no philosophy could shake, Mr. Lincoln moved on through a maze of
mighty events, calmly awaiting the inevitable hour of his fall by a
murderous hand.

How, it may be asked, could he make life tolerable, burdened as he was
with that portentous horror which though visionary, and of trifling
import in _our_ eyes, was by his interpretation a premonition of
impending doom? I answer in a word: His sense of duty to his country;
his belief that "the inevitable" is right; and his innate and
irrepressible humor.

But the most startling incident in the life of Mr. Lincoln was a dream
he had only a few days before his assassination. To him it was a thing
of deadly import, and certainly no vision was ever fashioned more
exactly like a dread reality. Coupled with other dreams, with the
mirror-scene and with other incidents, there was something about it so
amazingly real, so true to the actual tragedy which occurred soon after,
that more than mortal strength and wisdom would have been required to
let it pass without a shudder or a pang. After worrying over it for some
days, Mr. Lincoln seemed no longer able to keep the secret. I give it as
nearly in his own words as I can, from notes which I made immediately
after its recital. There were only two or three persons present. The
President was in a melancholy, meditative mood, and had been silent for
some time. Mrs. Lincoln, who was present, rallied him on his solemn
visage and want of spirit. This seemed to arouse him, and without
seeming to notice her sally he said, in slow and measured tones:--

"It seems strange how much there is in the Bible about dreams. There
are, I think, some sixteen chapters in the Old Testament and four or
five in the New in which dreams are mentioned; and there are many other
passages scattered throughout the book which refer to visions. If we
believe the Bible, we must accept the fact that in the old days God and
His angels came to men in their sleep and made themselves known in
dreams. Nowadays dreams are regarded as very foolish, and are seldom
told, except by old women and by young men and maidens in love."

Mrs. Lincoln here remarked: "Why, you look dreadfully solemn; do _you_
believe in dreams?"

"I can't say that I do," returned Mr. Lincoln; "but I had one the other
night which has haunted me ever since. After it occurred, the first time
I opened the Bible, strange as it may appear, it was at the
twenty-eighth chapter of Genesis, which relates the wonderful dream
Jacob had. I turned to other passages, and seemed to encounter a dream
or a vision wherever I looked. I kept on turning the leaves of the old
book, and everywhere my eye fell upon passages recording matters
strangely in keeping with my own thoughts,--supernatural visitations,
dreams, visions, etc."

He now looked so serious and disturbed that Mrs. Lincoln exclaimed: "You
frighten me! What is the matter?"

"I am afraid," said Mr. Lincoln, observing the effect his words had upon
his wife, "that I have done wrong to mention the subject at all; but
somehow the thing has got possession of me, and, like Banquo's ghost, it
will not down."

This only inflamed Mrs. Lincoln's curiosity the more, and while bravely
disclaiming any belief in dreams, she strongly urged him to tell the
dream which seemed to have such a hold upon him, being seconded in this
by another listener. Mr. Lincoln hesitated, but at length commenced very
deliberately, his brow overcast with a shade of melancholy.

"About ten days ago," said he, "I retired very late. I had been up
waiting for important dispatches from the front. I could not have been
long in bed when I fell into a slumber, for I was weary. I soon began to
dream. There seemed to be a death-like stillness about me. Then I heard
subdued sobs, as if a number of people were weeping. I thought I left my
bed and wandered downstairs. There the silence was broken by the same
pitiful sobbing, but the mourners were invisible. I went from room to
room; no living person was in sight, but the same mournful sounds of
distress met me as I passed along. It was light in all the rooms; every
object was familiar to me; but where were all the people who were
grieving as if their hearts would break? I was puzzled and alarmed. What
could be the meaning of all this? Determined to find the cause of a
state of things so mysterious and so shocking, I kept on until I arrived
at the East Room, which I entered. There I met with a sickening
surprise. Before me was a catafalque, on which rested a corpse wrapped
in funeral vestments. Around it were stationed soldiers who were acting
as guards; and there was a throng of people, some gazing mournfully
upon the corpse, whose face was covered, others weeping pitifully. 'Who
is dead in the White House?' I demanded of one of the soldiers. 'The
President,' was his answer; 'he was killed by an assassin!' Then came a
loud burst of grief from the crowd, which awoke me from my dream. I
slept no more that night; and although it was only a dream, I have been
strangely annoyed by it ever since."

"That is horrid!" said Mrs. Lincoln. "I wish you had not told it. I am
glad I don't believe in dreams, or I should be in terror from this time

"Well," responded Mr. Lincoln, thoughtfully, "it is only a dream, Mary.
Let us say no more about it, and try to forget it."

This dream was so horrible, so real, and so in keeping with other dreams
and threatening presentiments of his, that Mr. Lincoln was profoundly
disturbed by it. During its recital he was grave, gloomy, and at times
visibly pale, but perfectly calm. He spoke slowly, with measured accents
and deep feeling. In conversations with me he referred to it afterward,
closing one with this quotation from "Hamlet": "To sleep; perchance to
dream! ay, _there's the rub_!" with a strong accent on the last three

Once the President alluded to this terrible dream with some show of
playful humor. "Hill," said he, "your apprehension of harm to me from
some hidden enemy is downright foolishness. For a long time you have
been trying to keep somebody--the Lord knows who--from killing me.
Don't you see how it will turn out? In this dream it was not me, but
some other fellow, that was killed. It seems that this ghostly assassin
tried his hand on some one else. And this reminds me of an old farmer in
Illinois whose family were made sick by eating greens. Some poisonous
herb had got into the mess, and members of the family were in danger of
dying. There was a half-witted boy in the family called Jake; and always
afterward when they had greens the old man would say, 'Now, afore we
risk these greens, _let's try 'em on Jake_. _If he stands 'em_, we're
all right.' Just so with me. As long as this imaginary assassin
continues to exercise himself on others _I_ can stand it." He then
became serious and said: "Well, let it go. I think the Lord in His own
good time and way will work this out all right. God knows what is best."

These words he spoke with a sigh, and rather in a tone of soliloquy, as
if hardly noting my presence.

Mr. Lincoln had another remarkable dream, which was repeated so
frequently during his occupancy of the White House that he came to
regard it as a welcome visitor. It was of a pleasing and promising
character, having nothing in it of the horrible. It was always an omen
of a Union victory, and came with unerring certainty just before every
military or naval engagement where our arms were crowned with success.
In this dream he saw a ship sailing away rapidly, badly damaged, and our
victorious vessels in close pursuit. He saw, also, the close of a
battle on land, the enemy routed, and our forces in possession of
vantage ground of incalculable importance. Mr. Lincoln stated it as a
fact that he had this dream just before the battles of Antietam,
Gettysburg, and other signal engagements throughout the war.

The last time Mr. Lincoln had this dream was the night before his
assassination. On the morning of that lamentable day there was a Cabinet
meeting at which General Grant was present. During an interval of
general discussion, the President asked General Grant if he had any news
from General Sherman, who was then confronting Johnston. The reply was
in the negative, but the general added that he was in hourly expectation
of a dispatch announcing Johnston's surrender. Mr. Lincoln then with
great impressiveness said: "We shall hear very soon, and the news will
be important." General Grant asked him why he thought so. "Because,"
said Mr. Lincoln, "I had a dream last night; and ever since this war
began I have had the same dream just before every event of great
national importance. It portends some important event that will happen
very soon."

After this Mr. Lincoln became unusually cheerful. In the afternoon he
ordered a carriage for a drive. Mrs. Lincoln asked him if he wished any
one to accompany them. "No, Mary," said he, "I prefer that we ride by
ourselves to-day."

Mrs. Lincoln said afterwards that she never saw him look happier than
he did during that drive. In reply to a remark of hers to that effect,
Mr. Lincoln said: "And well may I feel so, Mary; for I consider that
this day the war has come to a close. Now, we must try to be more
cheerful in the future; for between this terrible war and the loss of
our darling son we have suffered much misery. Let us both try to be

On the night of the fatal 14th of April, 1865, when the President was
assassinated, Mrs. Lincoln's first exclamation was, "His dream was

History will record no censure against Mr. Lincoln for believing, like
the first Napoleon, that he was a man of destiny; for such he surely
was, if the term is at all admissible in a philosophic sense. And our
estimate of his greatness must be heightened by conceding the fact that
he was a believer in certain phases of the supernatural. Assured as he
undoubtedly was by omens which to his mind were conclusive that he would
rise to greatness and power, he was as firmly convinced by the same
tokens that he would be suddenly cut off at the height of his career and
the fulness of his fame. He always believed that he would fall by the
hand of an assassin; and yet with that appalling doom clouding his
life,--a doom fixed and irreversible, as he was firmly convinced,--his
courage never for a moment forsook him, even in the most trying
emergencies. Can greatness, courage, constancy in the pursuit of exalted
aims, be tried by a severer test? He believed with Tennyson that--

  "Because right is right, to follow right
  Were wisdom in the scorn of consequence."

Concerning presentiments and dreams Mr. Lincoln had a philosophy of
his own, which, strange as it may appear, was in perfect harmony
with his character in all other respects. He was no dabbler in
divination,--astrology, horoscopy, prophecy, ghostly lore, or witcheries
of any sort. With Goethe, he held that "Nature cannot but do right
eternally." Dreams and presentiments, in his judgment, are not of
supernatural origin; that is, they proceed in natural order, their
essence being preternatural, but not _above_ Nature. The moving power of
dreams and visions of an extraordinary character he ascribed, as did the
Patriarchs of old, to the Almighty Intelligence that governs the
universe, their processes conforming strictly to natural laws. "Nature,"
said he, "is the workmanship of the Almighty; and we form but links in
the general chain of intellectual and material life."

Mr. Lincoln had this further idea. Dreams being natural occurrences, in
the strictest sense, he held that their best interpreters are _the
common people_; and this accounts in large measure for the profound
respect he always had for the collective wisdom of plain people,--"the
children of Nature," he called them,--touching matters belonging to the
domain of psychical mysteries. There was some basis of truth, he
believed, for whatever obtained general credence among these "children
of Nature;" and as he esteemed himself one of their number, having
passed the greater part of his life among them, we can easily account
for the strength of his convictions on matters about which they and he
were in cordial agreement.

The natural bent of Mr. Lincoln's mind, aided by early associations,
inclined him to read books which tended to strengthen his early
convictions on occult subjects. Byron's "Dream" was a favorite poem, and
I have often heard him repeat the following lines:--

            "Sleep hath its own world,
  A boundary between the things misnamed
  Death and existence: Sleep hath its own world
  And a wide realm of wild reality.
  And dreams in their development have breath,
  And tears and tortures, and the touch of joy;
  They leave a weight upon our waking thoughts,
  They take a weight from off our waking toils,
  They do divide our being."

He seemed strangely fascinated by the wonderful in history,--such as the
fall of Geta by the hand of Caracalla, as foretold by Severus; the
ghosts of Caracalla's father and murdered brother threatening and
upbraiding him; and kindred passages. It is useless further to pursue
this account of Mr. Lincoln's peculiar views concerning these
interesting mysteries. Enough has been said to show that the more
intense the light which is poured upon what may be regarded as Mr.
Lincoln's weakest points, the greater and grander will his character



No one knew better than Mr. Lincoln that genuine humor is "a plaster
that heals many a wound;" and certainly no man ever had a larger stock
of that healing balm or knew better how to use it. His old friend I. N.
Arnold once remarked that Lincoln's laugh had been his "life-preserver."
Wit, with that illustrious man, was a jewel whose mirth-moving flashes
he could no more repress than the diamond can extinguish its own
brilliancy. In no sense was he vain of his superb ability as a wit and

Noah Brooks says in an article written for Harper's Monthly, three
months after Mr. Lincoln's death, that the President once said, that, as
near as he could reckon, about one sixth only of the stories credited to
him were old acquaintances,--all the others were the productions of
other and better story-tellers than himself. "I remember," said he, "a
good story when I hear it; but I never invented anything original. I am
only a retail-dealer." No man was readier than he to acknowledge the
force of Shakespeare's famous lines,

  "A jest's prosperity lies in the ear
  Of him that hears it; never in the tongue
    Of him that makes it."

Mr. Lincoln's stories were generally told with a well-defined
purpose,--to cheer the drooping spirits of a friend; to lighten the
weight of his own melancholy,--"a pinch, as it were, of mental
snuff,"--to clinch an argument, to expose a fallacy, or to disarm an
antagonist; but most frequently he employed them simply as "labor-saving
contrivances." He believed, with the great Ulysses of old, that there is
naught "so tedious as a twice-told tale;" and during my long and
intimate acquaintance with Mr. Lincoln I seldom heard him relate a story
the second time. The most trifling circumstances, or even a word, was
enough to remind him of a story, the aptness of which no one could fail
to see. He cared little about high-flown words, fine phrases, or merely
ornamental diction; and yet, for one wholly without scholastic training,
he was master of a style which was remarkable for purity, terseness,
vigor, and force. As Antenor said of the Grecian king, "he spoke no more
than just the thing he thought;" and that thought he clothed in the
simplest garb, often sacrificing the elegant and poetic for the homely
and prosaic in the structure of his sentences.

In one of his messages to Congress Mr. Lincoln used the term
"sugar-coated." When the document was placed in the hands of the public
printer, Hon. John D. Defrees, that officer was terribly shocked and
offended. Mr. Defrees was an accomplished scholar, a man of fastidious
taste, and a devoted friend of the President, with whom he was on terms
of great intimacy. It would never do to leave the forbidden term in the
message; it must be expunged,--otherwise it would forever remain a
ruinous blot on the fair fame of the President. In great distress and
mortification the good Defrees hurried away to the White House, where he
told Mr. Lincoln plainly that "sugar-coated" was not in good taste.

"You ought to remember, Mr. President," said he, "that a message to the
Congress of the United States is quite a different thing from a speech
before a mass meeting in Illinois; that such messages become a part of
the history of the country, and should therefore be written with
scrupulous care and propriety. Such an expression in a State paper is
undignified, and if I were you I would alter the structure of the whole

Mr. Lincoln laughed, and then said with a comical show of gravity:
"John, that term expresses precisely my idea, and I am not going to
change it. 'Sugar-coated' must stand! The time will never come in this
country when the people will not understand exactly what 'sugar-coated'

Mr. Defrees was obliged to yield, and the message was printed without

One day at a critical stage of the war, Mr. Lincoln sat in his office in
deep meditation. Being suddenly aroused, he said to a gentleman whose
presence he had not until that moment observed: "Do you know that I
think General ---- is a philosopher? He has proved himself a really
great man. He has grappled with and mastered that ancient and wise
admonition, 'Know thyself;' he has formed an intimate acquaintance with
himself, knows as well for what he is fitted and unfitted as any man
living. Without doubt he is a remarkable man. This war has not produced
another like him."

"Why is it, Mr. President," asked his friend, "that you are now so
highly pleased with General ----? Has your mind not undergone a change?"

"Because," replied Mr. Lincoln, with a merry twinkle of the eye,
"greatly to my relief, and to the interests of the country, _he has
resigned_. And now I hope some other dress-parade commanders will study
the good old admonition, 'Know thyself,' and follow his example."

On the 3d of February, 1865, during the so-called Peace Conference at
Hampton Roads between Mr. Lincoln and Mr. Seward on the one side and the
Messrs. Stephens, Campbell, and Hunter on the other, Mr. Hunter remarked
that the recognition of the Confederate government by President Lincoln
was indispensable as the first step towards peace; and he made an
ingenious argument in support of his proposition, citing as a precedent
for the guidance of constitutional rulers in dealing with insurgents the
case of Charles I. and his rebel Parliament. This reference to King
Charles as a model for imitation by a President of the United States was
a little unfortunate, but Mr. Lincoln was more amused than offended by
it. Turning to Mr. Hunter he said: "On the question of history I must
refer you to Mr. Seward, who is posted in such matters. I don't pretend
to be; but I have a tolerably distinct recollection, in the case you
refer to, that Charles lost his head, and I have no head to spare."

Mr. Hunter, during the same conference, in speaking of emancipation,
remarked that the slaves had always been accustomed to work on
compulsion, under an overseer; and he apprehended they would, if
suddenly set free, precipitate themselves and the whole social fabric of
the South into irretrievable ruin. In that case neither the whites nor
the blacks would work. They would all starve together. To this Mr.
Lincoln replied: "Mr. Hunter, you ought to know a great deal more about
this matter than I do, for you have always lived under the slave system.
But the way you state the case reminds me of an Illinois farmer who was
not over-fond of work, but was an adept in shirking. To this end he
conceived a brilliant scheme of hog culture. Having a good farm, he
bought a large herd of swine. He planted an immense field in potatoes,
with the view of turning the whole herd into it late in the fall,
supposing they would be able to provide for themselves during the
winter. One day his scheme was discussed between himself and a neighbor,
who asked him how the thing would work when the ground was frozen one or
two feet deep. He had not thought of that contingency, and seemed
perplexed over it. At length he answered: 'Well, it will be a leetle
hard on their snouts, I reckon; but them shoats will have to root, hog,
or die.' And so," concluded Mr. Lincoln, "in the dire contingency you
name, whites and black alike will have to look out for themselves; and I
have an abiding faith that they will go about it in a fashion that will
undeceive you in a very agreeable way."

During the same conference, in response to certain remarks by the
Confederate commissioners requiring explicit contradiction, Mr. Lincoln
animadverted with some severity upon the conduct of the rebel leaders,
and closed with the statement that they had plainly forfeited all right
to immunity from punishment for the highest crime known to the law.
Being positive and unequivocal in stating his views concerning
individual treason, his words seemed to fall upon the commissioners with
ominous import. There was a pause, during which Mr. Hunter regarded the
speaker with a steady, searching look. At length, carefully measuring
his own words, Mr. Hunter said: "Then, Mr. President, if we understand
you correctly, you think that we of the Confederacy have committed
treason; that we are traitors to your government; that we have forfeited
our rights, and are proper subjects for the hangman. Is not that about
what your words imply?"

"Yes," said Mr. Lincoln, "you have stated the proposition better than I
did. That is about the size of it!"

There was another pause, and a painful one, after which Mr. Hunter, with
a pleasant smile, replied: "Well, Mr. Lincoln, we have about concluded
that we shall not be hanged as long as you are President--if we behave

There is here as high a compliment as could have been paid to Mr.
Lincoln,--a trust in his magnanimity and goodness of heart. From the
gentleness of his character, such were the sentiments he inspired even
among his enemies,--that he was incapable of inflicting pain,
punishment, or injury if it could possibly be avoided; that he was
always resolutely merciful and forbearing.

On his return to Washington after this conference, Mr. Lincoln recounted
the pleasure he had had in meeting Alexander H. Stephens, who was an
invalid all his life; and in commenting upon his attenuated appearance
as he looked after emerging from layers of overcoats and comforters, Mr.
Lincoln said, "Was there ever such a nubbin after so much shucking?"

At one time when very lively scenes were being enacted in West Virginia,
a Union general allowed himself and his command to be drawn into a
dangerous position, from which it was feared he would be unable to
extricate himself without the loss of his whole command. In speaking of
this fiasco, Mr. Lincoln said: "General ---- reminds me of a man out
West who was engaged in what they call heading a barrel. He worked
diligently for a time driving down the hoops; but when the job seemed
completed, the head would fall in, and he would have to do the work all
over again. Suddenly, after a deal of annoyance, a bright idea struck
him. He put his boy, a chunk of a lad, into the barrel to hold up the
head while he pounded down the hoops. This worked like a charm. The job
was completed before he once thought about how he was to get the little
fellow out again. Now," said Mr. Lincoln, "that is a fair sample of the
way some people do business. They can succeed better in getting
themselves and others _corked up_ than in getting uncorked."

During the year 1861 it was difficult to preserve peace and good order
in the city of Washington. Riots and disturbances were occurring daily,
and some of them were of a serious and sometimes dangerous nature. The
authorities were in constant apprehension, owing to the disloyal
sentiment prevailing, that a riot might occur of such magnitude as to
endanger the safety of the capital; and this necessitated the utmost
vigilance on their part to preserve order.

On one occasion, when the fears of the loyal element of the city were
excited to fever-heat, a free fight near the old National Theatre
occurred about eleven o'clock one night. An officer in passing the place
observed what was going on; and seeing the great number of persons
engaged, he felt it to be his duty to command the peace. The imperative
tone of his voice stopped the fighting for a moment; but the leader, a
great bully, roughly pushed back the officer, and told him to go away,
or he would whip him. The officer again advanced and said, "I arrest
you," attempting to place his hand on the man's shoulder, when the bully
struck a fearful blow at the officer's face. This was parried, and
instantly followed by a blow from the fist of the officer, striking the
fellow under the chin and knocking him senseless. Blood issued from his
mouth, nose, and ears. It was believed that the man's neck was broken. A
surgeon was called, who pronounced the case a critical one, and the
wounded man was hurried away on a litter to the hospital. There the
physicians said there was concussion of the brain, and that the man
would die. All medical skill that the officer could procure was employed
in the hope of saving the life of the man. His conscience smote him for
having, as he believed, taken the life of a fellow-creature, and he was

Being on terms of intimacy with the President, about two o'clock that
night the officer went to the White House, woke up Mr. Lincoln, and
requested him to come into his office, where he told him his story. Mr.
Lincoln listened with great interest until the narrative was completed,
and then asked a few questions; after which he remarked: "I am sorry you
had to kill the man; but these are times of war, and a great many men
deserve killing. This one, according to your story, is one of them; so
give yourself no uneasiness about the matter. I will stand by you."

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

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

The officer then went home, but not to sleep. The occurrence had a great
effect upon him, and was a real source of discomfort to his mind during
the fourteen months the unfortunate invalid lived, and it left a sincere
regret impressed upon him ever after; but the conciliatory and kindly
view prompted by Mr. Lincoln's tender heart, and his fidelity to
friendship on that occasion, is to this day cherished in the officer's
memory with a feeling of consecration.

About the first time Mr. Lincoln contemplated leaving Washington, he was
to attend some gathering of the people in Baltimore, Philadelphia, or
New York. A committee waited upon him and urged his attendance on the
occasion, saying that they were sure Mr. Garrett, the president of the
only road then going east out of Washington, would take great pleasure
in furnishing a special train of cars for him. "Well," said the
President, "I have no doubt of that. I know Mr. Garrett well, and like
him very much; but if I were to believe (which I don't) everything some
people say of him about his 'secesh' principles, he might say to you as
was said by the superintendent of a railroad to a son of one of my
predecessors in office. Some two years after the death of President
Harrison, the son of the incumbent of this office, contemplating an
excursion for his father somewhere or other, went to order a special
train of cars. At that time politics were very bitter between the Whigs
and the Democrats, and the railroad superintendent happened to be an
uncompromising Whig. The son made known his demand, which was bluntly
refused by the railroad official, saying that his road was not running
special trains for the accommodation of Presidents just then. 'What!'
said the young man, 'did you not furnish a special train for the funeral
of General Harrison?' 'Yes,' said the superintendent, very calmly; 'and
if you will only bring your father here in that shape you shall have the
best train on the road.' But, gentlemen," continued Mr. Lincoln, "I have
no doubts of Mr. Garrett's loyalty for the government or his respect for
me personally, and I will take pleasure in going."

General James B. Fry, the Provost-Marshal General during Mr. Lincoln's
Administration, was designated by the Secretary of War as a special
escort to accompany Mr. Lincoln to the field of Gettysburg upon the
occasion of the anniversary of that battle. The general, on arriving at
the White House and finding the President late in his preparations for
the trip, remarked to him that it was late, and there was little time to
lose in getting to the train. "Well," said Mr. Lincoln, "I feel about
that as the convict did in Illinois, when he was going to the gallows.
Passing along the road in custody of the sheriff, and seeing the people
who were eager for the execution crowding and jostling one another past
him, he at last called out, 'Boys! you needn't be in such a hurry to get
ahead, for there won't be any fun till I get there.'"

General Fry also tells of a conversation between Mr. Lincoln and Mr.
Stanton, in relation to the selection of brigadier-generals. Mr. Lincoln
was heard to say: "Well, Mr. Secretary, I concur in pretty much all you
say. The only point I make is, that there has got to be something done
which will be unquestionably in the interest of the Dutch; and to that
end I want Schimmelpfennig appointed." The secretary replied: "Mr.
President, perhaps this Schimmel--what's-his-name--is not as highly
recommended as some other German officer." "No matter about that," said
Mr. Lincoln; "his name will make up for any difference there may be, and
I'll take the risk of his coming out all right." Then, with a laugh, he
repeated, dwelling upon each syllable of the name and accenting the last
one, "Schim-mel-pfen-_nig_ must be appointed."

Mr. Welles, in speaking of the complication into which Spain attempted
to draw the government of the United States in regard to reclaiming her
possessions in San Domingo, says that the pressure was great on both
sides, and the question a grave and delicate one as to what position we
should take and what course pursue. On the one side Spain, whose favor
we wished to conciliate, and on the other the appeal of the negroes
against Spanish oppression. Mr. Seward detailed the embarrassments
attending the negotiations to Mr. Lincoln, whose countenance indicated
that his mind was relieved before Mr. Seward had concluded. He remarked
that the dilemma of the Secretary of State reminded him of an interview
between two negroes in Tennessee; one was a preacher, who, with the
crude and strange notions of his ignorant race, was endeavoring to
admonish and enlighten his brother African of the importance of religion
and the danger of the future. "'Dar are,' said Josh the preacher, 'two
roads befo' you, Joe; be careful which ob dem you take. Narrow am de way
dat leads straight to destruction; but broad am de way dat leads right
to damnation.' Joe opened his eyes with affright, and under the inspired
eloquence of the awful danger before him, exclaimed, 'Josh, take which
road you please; I shall go troo de woods.' I am not willing," said the
President, "to assume any new troubles or responsibilities at this time,
and shall therefore avoid going to the one place with Spain or with the
negro to the other, but shall take to the woods. We will maintain an
honest and strict neutrality."

When Attorney-General Bates resigned, late in 1864, after the
resignation of Postmaster-General Blair in that year, the Cabinet was
left without a Southern member. A few days before the meeting of the
Supreme Court, which then met in December, Mr. Lincoln sent for Titian
F. Coffey, and said: "My Cabinet has _shrunk up_ North, and I must find
a Southern man. I suppose if the twelve Apostles were to be chosen
nowadays, the shrieks of locality would have to be heeded."

Mr. Coffey acted as Attorney-General during the time intervening between
the resignation of Mr. Bates and the appointment of Mr. Speed. He tells
about a delegation that called on Mr. Lincoln to ask the appointment of
a gentleman as commissioner to the Sandwich Islands. They presented
their case as earnestly as possible; and besides their candidate's
fitness for the place they urged that he was in bad health, and that a
residence in that balmy climate would be of great benefit to him. The
President closed the interview with this discouraging remark:
"Gentlemen, I am sorry to say that there are eight other applicants for
that place, and they are all sicker than your man."

In 1858 Mr. Lincoln was engaged at Bloomington, in a case of very great
importance. The attorney on the other side was a young lawyer of fine
abilities, who has since become a judge. He was a sensible and sensitive
young man, and the loss of a case always gave him great pain,--to avoid
which he invariably manifested an unusual zeal, and made great
preparation for the trial of his cases. This case of which I speak
lasted till late at night, when it was submitted to the jury. In
anticipation of a favorable verdict, the young attorney spent a
sleepless night in anxiety, and early next morning learned to his great
chagrin that he had lost the case. Mr. Lincoln met him at the court
house some time after the jury had come in, and asked him what had
become of his case. With lugubrious countenance and in a melancholy tone
the young man replied, "It's gone to hell." "Oh, well," said Mr.
Lincoln, "then you will see it again."

Mr. Lincoln had shown great wisdom in appreciating the importance of
holding such Democrats as Mr. Douglas close to the Administration, on
the issue of a united country or a dissolution of the Union. He said:
"They are just where we Whigs were in 1848, about the Mexican war. We
had to take the Locofoco preamble when Taylor wanted help, or else vote
against helping Taylor; and the Democrats must vote to hold the Union
now, without bothering whether we or the Southern men got things where
they are; and we must make it easy for them to do this, for we cannot
live through the case without them." He further said: "Some of our
friends are opposed to an accommodation because the South began the
trouble and is entirely responsible for the consequences, be they what
they may. This reminds me of a story told out in Illinois where I lived.
There was a vicious bull in a pasture, and a neighbor passing through
the field, the animal took after him. The man ran to a tree, and got
there in time to save himself; and being able to run round the tree
faster than the bull, he managed to seize him by the tail. His bullship
seeing himself at a disadvantage, pawed the earth and scattered gravel
for awhile, then broke into a full run, bellowing at every jump, while
the man, holding on to the tail, asked the question, 'Darn you, who
commenced this fuss?' Now, our plain duty is to settle the fuss we have
before us, without reference to who commenced it."

Mr. Lincoln told another anecdote in connection with the probable
adjustment of the difficulties. Said he: "Once on a time, a number of
very pious gentlemen, all strict members of the church, were appointed
to take in charge and superintend the erection of a bridge over a very
dangerous and turbulent river. They found great difficulty in securing
the services of an engineer competent for the work. Finally, Brother
Jones said that Mr. Meyers had built several bridges, and he had no
doubt he could build this one. Mr. Meyers was sent for. The committee
asked, 'Can you build this bridge?' 'Yes,' was the answer, 'I can build
a bridge to the infernal regions, if necessary.' The committee was
shocked, and Brother Jones felt called upon to say something in defence
of his friend, and commenced by saying: 'Gentlemen, I know my friend
Meyers so well, and he is so honest a man and so good an architect, that
if he states positively that he can build a bridge to hell, why, I
believe he can do it; but I feel bound to say that I have my doubts
about the abutment on the infernal side.' So," said Mr. Lincoln, "when
the politicians told me that the Northern and Southern wings of the
Democracy could be harmonized, why, I believed them of course; but I had
always my doubts about the abutment on the other side."

Anthony J. Bleeker tells his experience in applying for a position under
Mr. Lincoln. He was introduced by Mr. Preston King, and made his
application verbally, handing the President his vouchers. The President
requested him to read them, which he commenced to do. Before Mr. Bleeker
had got half through with the documents, the President cried out, "Oh,
stop! you are like the man who killed the dog." Not feeling
particularly flattered by the comparison, Mr. Bleeker inquired, "In what
respect?" Mr. Lincoln replied, "He had a vicious animal which he
determined to dispatch, and accordingly knocked out his brains with a
club. He continued striking the dog until a friend stayed his hand,
exclaiming, 'You needn't strike him any more, the dog is dead; you
killed him at the first blow.' 'Oh, yes,' said he, 'I know that; but I
believe in punishment after death.' So, I see, you do." Mr. Bleeker
acknowledged that it was possible to do too much sometimes, and he in
his turn told an anecdote of a good priest who converted an Indian from
heathenism to Christianity; the only difficulty he had with him was to
get him to pray for his enemies. "The Indian had been taught by his
father to overcome and destroy them. 'That,' said the priest, 'may be
the Indian's creed, but it is not the doctrine of Christianity or the
Bible. Saint Paul distinctly says, "If thine enemy hunger, feed him; if
he thirst, give him drink."' The Indian shook his head at this and
seemed dejected, but when the priest added, '"For in so doing thou shalt
heap coals of fire on his head,"' the poor convert was overcome with
emotion, fell on his knees, and with outstretched hands and uplifted
eyes invoked all sorts of blessings on his adversary's head,
supplicating for pleasant hunting-grounds, a large supply of squaws,
lots of papooses, and all other Indian comforts, till the good priest
interrupted him (as you did me), exclaiming, 'Stop, my son! You have
discharged your Christian duty, and have done more than enough.' 'Oh,
no, father,' says the Indian, 'let me pray! I want to burn him down to
the stump!'" Mr. Bleeker got the position.

"Mr. Lincoln," wrote one who knew him very well,[G] "was a good judge of
men, and quickly learned the peculiar traits of character in those he
had to deal with. He pointed out a marked trait in one of the Northern
governors who was earnest, able, and untiring in keeping up the war
spirit of his State, but was at times overbearing and exacting in his
intercourse with the general government. Upon one occasion he complained
and protested more bitterly than usual, and warned those in authority
that the execution of their orders in his State would be beset by
difficulties and dangers. The tone of his dispatches gave rise to an
apprehension that he might not co-operate fully in the enterprise in
hand. The Secretary of War, therefore, laid the dispatches before the
President for advice or instructions. They did not disturb Mr. Lincoln
in the least. In fact, they rather amused him. After reading all the
papers, he said in a cheerful and reassuring tone: 'Never mind, those
dispatches don't mean anything. Just go right ahead. The governor is
like the boy I saw once at the launching of a ship. When everything was
ready, they picked out a boy and sent him under the ship to knock away
the trigger and let her go. At the critical moment everything depended
on the boy. He had to do the job well by a direct, vigorous blow, and
then lie flat and keep still while the ship slid over him. The boy did
everything right; but he yelled as if he were being murdered, from the
time he got under the keel until he got out. I thought the skin was all
scraped off his back; but he wasn't hurt at all. The master of the yard
told me that this boy was always chosen for that job, that he did his
work well, that he never had been hurt, but that he always squealed in
that way. That's just the way with Governor ----. Make up your minds
that he is not hurt, and that he is doing his work right, and pay no
attention to his squealing. He only wants to make you understand how
hard his task is, and that he is on hand performing it.'"

  [G] General Fry, in the New York "Tribune."

Time proved that the President's estimation of the governor was correct.

Upon another occasion a Governor went to the office of the
Adjutant-General bristling with complaints. The Adjutant, finding it
impossible to satisfy his demands, accompanied him to the Secretary of
War's office, whence, after a stormy interview with Secretary Stanton he
went alone to see the President. The Adjutant-General expected important
orders from the President or a summons to the White House for
explanation. After some hours the Governor returned and said with a
pleasant smile that he was going home by the next train and merely
dropped in to say good-bye, making no allusion to the business upon
which he came nor his interview with the President. As soon as the
Adjutant-General could see Mr. Lincoln he told him he was very anxious
to learn how he disposed of Governor ----, as he had started to see him
in a towering rage, and said he supposed it was necessary to make large
concessions to him as he seemed after leaving the President to be
entirely satisfied. "O, no," replied Mr. Lincoln, "I did not concede
anything. You know how that Illinois farmer managed the big log that lay
in the middle of his field? To the inquiries of his neighbors one Sunday
he announced that he had got rid of the big log. 'Got rid of it!' said
they. 'How did you do it? It was too big to haul out, too knotty to
split, and too wet and soggy to burn. What did you do?' 'Well, now,
boys,' replied the farmer, 'if you won't divulge the secret, I'll tell
you how I got rid of it. I plowed around it.' Now," said Lincoln, "don't
tell anybody, but that is the way I got rid of Governor ----, I plowed
around him, but it took me three mortal hours to do it, and I was afraid
every minute he would see what I was at."

Mr. Lincoln enjoyed telling of the youth who emigrated to the West and
wrote back East to his father who was something of a politician: "Dear
Dad,--I have settled at ---- and like it first rate. Do come out here,
for almighty mean men get office here."

Thurlow Weed tells of breakfasting with Lincoln and Judge Davis while in
Springfield in December prior to Mr. Lincoln's first inauguration. Judge
Davis remarked Mr. Weed's fondness for sausage and said, "You seem fond
of our Chicago sausages." To which Mr. Weed responded that he was, and
thought the article might be relied on where pork was cheaper than dogs.
"That," said Mr. Lincoln, "reminds me of what occurred down in Joliet,
where a popular grocer supplied all the villagers with sausages. One
Saturday evening, when his grocery was filled with customers, for whom
he and his boys were busily engaged in weighing sausages, a neighbor
with whom he had had a violent quarrel that day came into the grocery,
made his way up to the counter, holding two enormous dead cats by the
tail, which he deliberately threw onto the counter saying, 'This makes
seven to-day. I'll call round Monday and get my money for them.'"

Mr. Lincoln read men and women quickly, and was so keen a judge of their
peculiarities that none escaped his observation.

Once a very attractive woman consumed a good deal of Mr. Lincoln's time.
He finally dismissed her with a card directed to Secretary Stanton on
which he had written: "This woman, dear Stanton, is a little smarter
than she looks to be."



In the autumn of 1862 I chanced to be associated with Mr. Lincoln in a
transaction which, though innocent and commonplace in itself, was blown
by rumor and surmise into a revolting and deplorable scandal. A
conjectural lie, although mean, misshapen, and very small at its birth,
grew at length into a tempest of defamation, whose last echoes were not
heard until its noble victim had yielded his life to a form of
assassination only a trifle more deadly.

Mr. Lincoln was painted as the prime mover in a scene of fiendish levity
more atrocious than the world had ever witnessed since human nature was
shamed and degraded by the capers of Nero and Commodus. I refer to what
is known as the Antietam song-singing; and I propose to show that the
popular construction put upon that incident was wholly destitute of

Mr. Lincoln persistently declined to read the harsh comments of the
newspaper press and the fierce mouthings of platform orators; and under
his advice I as persistently refused to make any public statement
concerning that ill-judged affair. He believed with Sir Walter Scott,
that, if a cause of action is good, it needs no vindication from the
actor's motives; if bad, it can derive none. When I suggested to him
that the slander ought to be refuted,--that a word from him would
silence his defamers,--Mr. Lincoln replied with great earnestness: "No,
Hill; there has already been too much said about this falsehood. Let the
thing alone. If I have not established character enough to give the lie
to this charge, I can only say that I am mistaken in my own estimate of
myself. In politics, every man must skin his own skunk. These fellows
are welcome to the hide of this one. Its body has already given forth
its unsavory odor."

The newspapers and the stump-speakers went on "stuffing the ears of men
with false reports" until the fall of 1864, when I showed to Mr. Lincoln
a letter, of which the following is a copy. It is a fair sample of
hundreds of letters received by me about that time, the Antietam
incident being then discussed with increased virulence and new
accessions of false coloring.

                                        PHILADELPHIA, Sept. 10, 1864.


     _Dear Sir_,--Enclosed is an extract from the New York "World" of
     Sept. 9, 1864:--

     "ONE OF MR. LINCOLN'S JOKES.--The second verse of our campaign song
     published on this page was probably suggested by an incident which
     occurred on the battle-field of Antietam a few days after the
     fight. While the President was driving over the field in an
     ambulance, accompanied by Marshal Lamon, General McClellan, and
     another officer, heavy details of men were engaged in the task of
     burying the dead. The ambulance had just reached the neighborhood
     of the old stone bridge, where the dead were piled highest, when
     Mr. Lincoln, suddenly slapping Marshal Lamon on the knee,
     exclaimed: 'Come, Lamon, give us that song about Picayune Butler;
     McClellan has never heard it.' 'Not now, if you please,' said
     General McClellan, with a shudder; 'I would prefer to hear it some
     other place and time.'"

     This story has been repeated in the New York "World" almost daily
     for the last three months. Until now it would have been useless to
     demand its authority. By this article it limits the inquiry to
     three persons as its authority,--Marshal Lamon, another officer,
     and General McClellan. That it is a damaging story, if believed,
     cannot be disputed. That it is believed by some, or that they
     pretend to believe it, is evident by the accompanying verse from
     the doggerel, in which allusion is made to it:--

      "Abe may crack his jolly jokes
      O'er bloody fields of stricken battle,
      While yet the ebbing life-tide smokes
      From men that die like butchered cattle;
      He, ere yet the guns grow cold,
      To pimps and pets may crack his stories," etc.

     I wish to ask you, sir, in behalf of others as well as myself,
     whether any such occurrence took place; or if it did not take
     place, please to state who that "other officer" was, if there was
     any such, in the ambulance in which the President "was driving over
     the field [of Antietam] whilst details of men were engaged in the
     task of burying the dead." You will confer a great favor by an
     immediate reply.

              Most respectfully your obedient servant,
                                                       A. J. PERKINS.

Along with the above I submitted to Mr. Lincoln my own draft of what I
conceived to be a suitable reply. The brutal directness and falsity of
the "World's" charge, and the still more brutal and insulting character
of the doggerel with which it was garnished, impelled me to season my
reply to Mr. Perkins's letter with a large infusion of "vinegar and
gall." After carefully reading both letters, Mr. Lincoln shook his head.
"No, Lamon," said he, "I would not publish this reply; it is too
belligerent in tone for so grave a matter. There is a heap of
'cussedness' mixed up with your usual amiability, and you are at times
too fond of a fight. If I were you, I would simply state the facts as
they were. I would give the statement as you have here, without the
pepper and salt. Let me try my hand at it." He then took up a pen and
wrote the following. It was to be copied by me and forwarded to Mr.
Perkins as my refutation of the slander.

     "The President has known me intimately for nearly twenty years, and
     has often heard me sing little ditties. The battle of Antietam was
     fought on the 17th day of September, 1862. On the first day of
     October, just two weeks after the battle, the President, with some
     others including myself, started from Washington to visit the Army,
     reaching Harper's Ferry at noon of that day. In a short while
     General McClellan came from his headquarters near the
     battle-ground, joined the President, and with him reviewed the
     troops at Bolivar Heights that afternoon, and at night returned to
     his headquarters, leaving the President at Harper's Ferry. On the
     morning of the second the President, with General Sumner, reviewed
     the troops respectively at Loudon Heights and Maryland Heights, and
     at about noon started to General McClellan's headquarters, reaching
     there only in time to see very little before night. On the morning
     of the third all started on a review of the third corps and the
     cavalry, in the vicinity of the Antietam battle-ground. After
     getting through with General Burnside's corps, at the suggestion of
     General McClellan he and the President left their horses to be led,
     and went into an ambulance or ambulances to go to General Fitz John
     Porter's corps, which was two or three miles distant. I am not sure
     whether the President and General McClellan were in the same
     ambulance, or in different ones; but myself and some others were in
     the same with the President. On the way, and on no part of the
     battle-ground, and on what suggestions I do not remember, the
     President asked me to sing the little sad song that follows, which
     he had often heard me sing, and had always seemed to like very
     much. I sang it. After it was over, some one of the party (I do not
     think it was the President) asked me to sing something else; and I
     sang two or three little comic things, of which 'Picayune Butler'
     was one. Porter's corps was reached and reviewed; then the
     battle-ground was passed over, and the most noted parts examined;
     then, in succession, the cavalry and Franklin's corps were
     reviewed, and the President and party returned to General
     McClellan's headquarters at the end of a very hard, hot, and dusty
     day's work. Next day, the 4th, the President and General McClellan
     visited such of the wounded as still remained in the vicinity,
     including the now lamented General Richardson; then proceeded to
     and examined the South-Mountain battle-ground, at which point they
     parted,--General McClellan returning to his camp, and the President
     returning to Washington, seeing, on the way, General Hartsoff, who
     lay wounded at Frederick Town.

     "This is the whole story of the singing and its surroundings.
     Neither General McClellan nor any one else made any objections to
     the singing; the place was not on the battle-field; the time was
     sixteen days after the battle; no dead body was seen during the
     whole time the President was absent from Washington, nor even a
     grave that had not been rained on since it was made."

[Illustration: Hand written letter quoted above page 1]

[Illustration: Hand written letter quoted above page 2]

This perfectly truthful statement was written by Mr. Lincoln about the
12th of September, 1864, less than two years after the occurrence of the
events therein described. It was done slowly, and with great
deliberation and care. The statement, however, was never made public.
Mr. Lincoln said to me: "You know, Hill, that this is the truth and the
whole truth about that affair; but I dislike to appear as an apologist
for an act of my own which I know was right. Keep this paper, and we
will see about it." The momentous and all-engrossing events of the war
caused the Antietam episode to be forgotten by the President for a time;
the statement was not given to the press, but has remained in my
possession until this day.

Mark how simple the explanation is! Mr. Lincoln did not ask me to sing
"Picayune Butler." No song was sung on the battle-field. The singing
occurred on the way from Burnside's corps to Fitz John Porter's corps,
some distance from the battle-ground, and sixteen days after the battle.
Moreover, Mr. Lincoln had said to me, "Lamon, sing one of your little
sad songs,"--and thereby hangs a tale which is well worth the telling,
as it illustrates a striking phase of Mr. Lincoln's character which has
never been fully revealed.

I knew well what Mr. Lincoln meant by "the little sad songs." The
sentiment that prompted him to call for such a song had its history,
and one of deep and touching interest to me. One "little sad song"--a
simple ballad entitled "Twenty Years Ago"--was, above all others, his
favorite. He had no special fondness for operatic music; he loved simple
ballads and ditties, such as the common people sing, whether of the
comic or pathetic kind; but no one in the list touched his great heart
as did the song of "Twenty Years Ago." Many a time, in the old days of
our familiar friendship on the Illinois circuit, and often at the White
House when he and I were alone, have I seen him in tears while I was
rendering, in my poor way, that homely melody. The late Judge David
Davis, the Hon. Leonard Swett, and Judge Corydon Beckwith were equally
partial to the same ballad. Often have I seen those great men overcome
by the peculiar charm they seemed to find in the sentiment and melody of
that simple song. The following verses seemed to affect Mr. Lincoln more
deeply than any of the others:--

  "I've wandered to the village, Tom; I've sat beneath the tree
  Upon the schoolhouse play-ground, that sheltered you and me:
  But none were left to greet me, Tom, and few were left to know
  Who played with us upon the green, some twenty years ago.

  "Near by the spring, upon the elm you know I cut your name,--
  Your sweetheart's just beneath it, Tom; and you did mine the same.
  Some heartless wretch has peeled the bark,--'twas dying sure but slow,
  Just as _she_ died whose name you cut, some twenty years ago.

  "My lids have long been dry, Tom, but tears came to my eyes;
  I thought of her I loved so well, those early broken ties:
  I visited the old churchyard, and took some flowers to strew
  Upon the graves of these we loved, some twenty years ago."

This is the song Mr. Lincoln called for, and the one I sang to him in
the vicinity of Antietam. He was at the time weary and sad. As I well
knew it would, the song only deepened his sadness. I then did what I had
done many times before: I startled him from his melancholy by striking
up a comic air, singing also a snatch from "Picayune Butler," which
broke the spell of "the little sad song," and restored somewhat his
accustomed easy humor. It was not the first time I had pushed
hilarity--simulated though it was--to an extreme for his sake. I had
often recalled him from a pit of melancholy into which he was prone to
descend, by a jest, a comic song, or a provoking sally of a startling
kind; and Mr. Lincoln always thanked me afterward for my well-timed
rudeness "of kind intent."

This reminds me of one or two little rhythmic shots I often fired at him
in his melancholy moods, and it was a kind of nonsense that he always
keenly relished. One was a parody on "Life on the Ocean Wave."

Mr. Lincoln would always laugh immoderately when I sang this jingling
nonsense to him. It reminded him of the rude and often witty ballads
that had amused him in his boyhood days. He was fond of negro melodies,
and "The Blue-Tailed Fly" was a favorite. He often called for that
buzzing ballad when we were alone, and he wanted to throw off the weight
of public and private cares.

A comic song in the theatre always restored Mr. Lincoln's cheerful
good-humor. But while he had a great fondness for witty and
mirth-provoking ballads, our grand old patriotic airs and songs of the
tender and sentimental kind afforded him the deepest pleasure. "Ben
Bolt" was one of his favorite ballads; so was "The Sword of Bunker
Hill;" and he was always deeply moved by "The Lament of the Irish
Emigrant," especially the following touching lines:--

  "I'm very lonely now, Mary,
    For the poor make no new friends;
  But, oh, they love the better still
    The few our Father sends!
  And you were all I had, Mary,
    My blessing and my pride;
  There's nothing left to care for now,
    Since my poor Mary died."

Many examples can be given illustrative of this phase of Mr. Lincoln's
character,--the blending of the mirthful and the melancholy in his
singular love of music and verse. When he was seventeen years old, his
sister was married. The festivities of the occasion were made memorable
by a song entitled "Adam and Eve's Wedding Song," which many believed
was composed by Mr. Lincoln himself. The conceits embodied in the verses
were old before Mr. Lincoln was born; but there is some intrinsic as
well as extrinsic evidence to show that the doggerel itself was his.


  When Adam was created, he dwelt in Eden's shade,
  As Moses has recorded; and soon an Eve was made.
          Ten thousand times ten thousand
          Of creatures swarmed around
          Before a bride was formed,
          And yet no mate was found.

  The Lord then was not willing
  The man should be alone,
  But caused a sleep upon him,
  And took from him a bone.

  And closed the flesh in that place of;
  And then he took the same,
  And of it made a woman,
  And brought her to the man.

  Then Adam he rejoiced
  To see his loving bride,--
  A part of his own body,
  The product of his side.

  This woman was not taken
  From Adam's feet, we see;
  So he must not abuse her,
  The meaning seems to be.

  This woman was not taken
  From Adam's head, we know;
  To show she must not rule him,
  'Tis evidently so.

  This woman she was taken
  From under Adam's arm;
  So she must be protected
  From injuries and harm.

But the lines which Mr. Lincoln liked best of all, and which were
repeated by him more often than any other, were--

  "Oh, why should the spirit of mortal be proud?"

Mr. Carpenter in his "Six Months at the White House" gives them in full
as follows:--

  "Oh, why should the spirit of mortal be proud?
  Like a swift-fleeting meteor, a fast-flying cloud,
  A flash of the lightning, a break of the wave,
  He passeth from life to his rest in the grave.

  "The leaves of the oak and the willow shall fade,
  Be scattered around, and together be laid;
  And the young and the old, and the low and the high,
  Shall moulder to dust, and together shall lie.

  "The infant a mother attended and loved;
  The mother that infant's affection who proved;
  The husband that mother and infant who blest,--
  Each, all, are away to their dwellings of rest.

  "The maid on whose cheek, on whose brow, in whose eye,
  Shone beauty and pleasure, her triumphs are by;
  And the memory of those who loved her and praised,
  Are alike from the minds of the living erased.

  "The hand of the king that the sceptre hath borne,
  The brow of the priest that the mitre hath worn,
  The eye of the sage, and the heart of the brave,
  Are hidden and lost in the depths of the grave.

  "The peasant whose lot was to sow and to reap,
  The herdsman who climbed with his goats up the steep,
  The beggar who wandered in search of his bread,
  Have faded away like the grass that we tread.

  "The saint who enjoyed the communion of Heaven,
  The sinner who dared to remain unforgiven,
  The wise and the foolish, the guilty and just,
  Have quietly mingled their bones in the dust.

  "So the multitude goes, like the flower or the weed,
  That withers away to let others succeed;
  So the multitude comes, even those we behold,
  To repeat every tale that has often been told.

  "For we are the same our fathers have been;
  We see the same sights our fathers have seen;
  We drink the same stream, we view the same sun,
  And run the same course our fathers have run.

  "The thoughts we are thinking our fathers would think;
  From the death we are shrinking our fathers would shrink;
  To the life we are clinging they also would cling,
  But it speeds from us all like a bird on the wing.

  "They loved, but the story we cannot unfold;
  They scorned, but the heart of the haughty is cold;
  They grieved, but no wail from their slumber will come;
  They joyed, but the tongue of their gladness is dumb.

  "They died,--ay, they died: we things that are now,
  That walk on the turf that lies over their brow,
  And make in their dwellings a transient abode,
  Meet the things that they met on their pilgrimage road.

  "Yea, hope and despondency, pleasure and pain,
  Are mingled together in sunshine and rain;
  And the smile and the tear, the song and the dirge,
  Still follow each other like surge upon surge.

  "'Tis the wink of an eye, 'tis the draught of a breath,
  From the blossom of health to the paleness of death,
  From the gilded saloon to the bier and the shroud,--
  Oh, why should the spirit of mortal be proud?"

These curiously sad lines were chosen by Mr. Lincoln when he was a very
young man to commemorate a grief which lay with continual heaviness on
his heart, but to which he could not otherwise allude,--the death of Ann
Rutledge, in whose grave Mr. Lincoln said that his heart lay buried. He
muttered these verses as he rambled through the woods; he was heard to
murmur them as he slipped into the village at nightfall; they came
unbidden to his lips in all places, and very often in his later life. In
the year of his nomination, he repeated them to some friends. When he
had finished them, he said "they sounded to him as much like true poetry
as anything that he had ever heard." The poem is now his; it is
imperishably associated with his memory and interwoven with the history
of his greatest sorrow. Mr. Lincoln's adoption of it has saved it from
oblivion, and translated it from the "poet's corner" of the country
newspaper to a place in the story of his own life.

But enough has been given to show that Mr. Lincoln was as incapable of
insulting the dead, in the manner credited to him in the Antietam
episode, as he was of committing mean and unmanly outrages upon the
living. If hypercritical and self-appointed judges are still disposed to
award blame for anything that happened on that occasion, let their
censure fall upon me, and not upon the memory of the illustrious dead,
who was guiltless of wrong and without the shadow of blame for the part
he bore in that misjudged affair. My own part in the incident, in the
light of the facts here given, needs no apology.



No sketch of Mr. Lincoln's character can be called complete which does
not present him as he appeared at his own fireside, showing his love for
his own children, his tenderness toward the little ones generally, and
how in important emergencies he was influenced by them. A great writer
has said that it were "better to be driven out from among men than to be
disliked by children." So Mr. Lincoln firmly believed; and whenever it
chanced that he gave offence to a child unwittingly he never rested
until he had won back its favor and affection. He beheld in the face of
a little child a record of innocence and love, of truth and trust; and
in the society of children he was always happy.

Owing, perhaps, to his homely countenance and ungainly figure, strange
children generally repelled his first advances; but I never saw him fail
to win the affection of a child when its guileless friendship became a
matter of interest to him. He could persuade any child from the arms of
its mother, nurse, or play-fellow, there being a peculiar fascination in
his voice and manner which the little one could not resist. As a student
of child nature and a lover of its artless innocence, he had no
patience with people who practise upon the credulity of children; and it
was a rule of his life never to mislead a child, even in the most
trifling matter, or if in his power to prevent it to be misled or
deceived by others. On making the acquaintance of a child he at once
became its friend, and never afterward forgot its face or the
circumstances under which the acquaintance was formed; for his little
friends always made some impression on his mind and feelings that was
certain to be lasting.

A striking instance of this character deserves especial mention. Shortly
after his first election to the Presidency he received a pleasant letter
from a little girl living in a small town in the State of New York. The
child told him that she had seen his picture, and it was her opinion, as
she expressed it in her artless way, that he "would be a better looking
man if he would let his beard grow." Mr. Lincoln passed that New York
town on his way to Washington, and his first thought on reaching the
place was about his little correspondent. In his brief speech to the
people he made a pleasing reference to the child and her charming note.
"This little lady," said he, "saw from the first that great improvement
might be made in my personal appearance. You all see that I am not a
very handsome man; and to be honest with you, neither I nor any of my
friends ever boasted very much about my personal beauty." He then passed
his hand over his face and continued: "But I intend to follow that
little girl's advice, and if she is present I would like to speak to
her." The child came forward timidly, and was warmly greeted by the
President-elect. He took her in his arms and kissed her affectionately,
expressing the hope that he might have the pleasure of seeing his little
friend again sometime.

Shortly after this, Mr. Lincoln, for the first time in his life, allowed
his beard to grow all over his face, with the exception of the upper
lip; and this fashion he continued as long as he lived. In speaking of
the incident which led him to wear a full beard, he afterward remarked,
reflectively, "How small a thing will sometimes change the whole aspect
of our lives!"

That Mr. Lincoln realized that an improvement was necessary in his
personal appearance is evidenced by many amusing stories told by him.
The one he especially enjoyed telling was, how once, when "riding the
circuit," he was accosted in the cars by a stranger, who said, "Excuse
me, sir, but I have an article in my possession which belongs to you."
"How is that?" Mr. Lincoln asked, much astonished. The stranger took a
knife from his pocket, saying, "This knife was placed in my hands some
years ago with the injunction that I was to keep it until I found a man
uglier than myself. I have carried it from that time to this. Allow me
now to say, sir, that I think you are fairly entitled to the property."

Mr. Carpenter, the artist who painted the picture of "The Proclamation
of Emancipation," tells in his book of an incident which occurred the
day following the adjournment of the Baltimore Convention: "Various
political organizations called to pay their respects to the President.
While the Philadelphia delegation was being presented, the chairman of
that body, in introducing one of the members, said: 'Mr. President, this
is Mr. S. of the second district of our State,--a most active and
earnest friend of yours and the cause. He has, among other things, been
good enough to paint, and present to our league rooms, a most beautiful
portrait of yourself.' Mr. Lincoln took the gentleman's hand in his, and
shaking it cordially said, with a merry voice, 'I presume, sir, in
painting your beautiful portrait, you took your idea of me from my
principles and not from my person.'"

Before leaving the old town of Springfield, Mr. Lincoln was often seen,
on sunny afternoons, striking out on foot to a neighboring wood,
attended by his little sons. There he would romp with them as a
companion, and enter with great delight into all their childish sports.
This joyous companionship with his children suffered no abatement when
he became a resident of the White House and took upon himself the
perplexing cares of his great office. To find relief from those cares he
would call his boys to some quiet part of the house, throw himself at
full length upon the floor, and abandon himself to their fun and frolic
as merrily as if he had been of their own age. The two children who were
his play-fellows in these romping scenes the first year of his
residence at the Executive Mansion were Willie and Thomas, the latter of
whom he always called "Tad;" and these children were the youngest of his

In February, 1862, this fond father was visited by a sorrowful
bereavement. The Executive Mansion was turned into a house of mourning.
Death had chosen a shining mark, and the beloved Willie, the apple of
his father's eye, the brightest and most promising of his children, was
taken away. The dreadful stroke wellnigh broke the President's heart,
and certainly an affliction more crushing never fell to the lot of man.
In the lonely grave of the little one lay buried Mr. Lincoln's fondest
hopes, and, strong as he was in the matter of self-control, he gave way
to an overmastering grief, which became at length a serious menace to
his health. Never was there witnessed in an American household a scene
of distress more touching than that in which the President and Mrs.
Lincoln mingled their tears over the coffin that inclosed the lifeless
form of their beloved child. A deep and settled despondency took
possession of Mr. Lincoln; and when it is remembered that this
calamity--for such it surely was--befell him at a critical period of the
war, just when the resources of his mighty intellect were most in
demand, it will be understood how his affliction became a matter of the
gravest concern to the whole country, and especially to those who stood
in close personal and official relations with him.

The measures taken by his friends to break the force of his great
grief, and to restore him to something like his old-time cheerfulness,
seemed for a while unavailing. The nearest approach to success in this
humane endeavor was made, I believe, by the Rev. Dr. Vinton, of Trinity
Church, New York, who visited the White House not long after the death
of Willie. The doctor's effort led to a very remarkable scene, one that
shows how terrible is a great man's grief. Mr. Lincoln had a high
respect for Dr. Vinton. He knew him to be an able man, and believed him
to be conscientious and sincere. The good doctor, profoundly impressed
with the importance of his mission, determined that in administering
consolation to the stricken President it would be necessary to use great
freedom of speech. Mr. Lincoln was over-burdened with the weight of his
public cares, weak in body, and sick in mind; and his thoughts seemed to
linger constantly about the grave of his lost darling. Ill health and
depression made him apparently listless, and this the worthy doctor
mistook for a sign of rebellion against the just decree of Providence.
He began by exhorting the President to remember his duty to the common
Father who "giveth and taketh away," and to whom we owe cheerful
obedience and thanks for worldly afflictions as well as for temporal
benefits. He chided Mr. Lincoln for giving way to excessive grief,
declaring without reserve that the indulgence of such grief, though
natural, was sinful; that greater fortitude was demanded; that his
duties to the living were imperative; and that, as the chosen leader of
the people in a national crisis, he was unfitting himself for the
discharge of duties and responsibilities which could not be evaded. Mr.
Lincoln listened patiently and respectfully for a time to this strong
and pointed exhortation. He was evidently much affected by it, but as
the doctor proceeded he became lost in his own reflections. From this
revery he was aroused by words which had a magical effect.

"To mourn excessively for the departed as lost," continued Dr. Vinton,
"is foreign to our religion. It belongs not to Christianity, but to
heathenism. Your son is alive in Paradise."

When these last words were uttered, Mr. Lincoln, as if suddenly awakened
from a dream, exclaimed, "Alive! alive! Surely you mock me!" These magic
words had startled him, and his countenance showed that he was
profoundly distressed.

Without heeding the President's emotion, the doctor continued, in a tone
of deep solemnity, "Seek not your son among the dead, for he is not
there. God is not the God of the dead, but of the living. Did not the
ancient patriarch mourn for his son as dead? 'Joseph is not, and Simeon
is not, and ye will take Benjamin also.' The fact that Benjamin was
taken away made him the instrument, eventually, in saving the whole
family." Applying this Scriptural test, the doctor told Mr. Lincoln that
his little son had been called by the All-Wise and Merciful Father to
His upper kingdom; that, like Joseph, the departed boy might be the
means of saving the President's household; and that it must be
considered as a part of the Lord's plan for the ultimate happiness of
the family.

Mr. Lincoln was deeply moved by this consolatory exhortation. The
respected divine had touched a responsive chord. His strong words,
spoken with such evident sincerity and in a manner so earnest and
impressive, brought strength as well as comfort to the illustrious
mourner; and there is no doubt that this remarkable interview had a good
effect in helping to recall to Mr. Lincoln a more healthful state of
feeling, and in restoring his accustomed self-control. Willie had
inherited the amiable disposition and a large share of the talent of his
father. He was a child of great promise, and his death was sincerely
mourned by all who knew him.

Mr. Lincoln's fondness for his children knew no bounds. It wellnigh
broke his heart to use his paternal authority in correcting their
occasional displays of temper or insubordination; but when occasion
required the sacrifice, he showed great firmness in teaching them the
strictest obedience. I remember a very amusing instance of this sort of
contest between his indulgent fondness and his sense of what was due to
his guiding authority as a father.

At the time to which I refer, Tad seemed to his fond father the most
lovable object on earth. That fondness had been intensified by the death
of Willie just mentioned. In one of the vacant rooms of the White House
Tad had fitted up, with the aid of the servants, a miniature theatre.
The little fellow had rare skill and good taste in such matters, and
after long and patient effort the work was completed. There were the
stage, the orchestra, the parquet, the curtains, and all the
paraphernalia pertaining to what he called "a real theatre," and Tad was
in a delirium of childish joy. About this time, just after the review of
Burnside's division of the army of the Potomac, a certain photographer
came to the Executive Mansion to make some stereoscopic studies of the
President's office for Mr. Carpenter, who had been much about the house.
Mr. Carpenter and the photographer appeared at the same time. The
artists told Mr. Lincoln that they must have a dark closet in which to
develop their pictures. There was such a closet attached to the room
which Tad had appropriated for his theatre, and it could not be reached
without passing through the room.

With Mr. Lincoln's permission the artists took possession of the
"theatre," and they had taken several pictures before Tad discovered the
trespass upon his premises. When he took in the situation there was an
uproar. Their occupancy of his "theatre," without his consent, was an
offence that stirred his wrath into an instant blaze. The little fellow
declared indignantly that he would not submit to any such impudence. He
locked the door and carried off the key. The artists hunted him up, and
coaxed, remonstrated, and begged, but all in vain. The young theatre
manager, in a flame of passion, blamed Carpenter with the whole outrage.
He declared that they should neither use his room nor go into it to get
their instruments and chemicals. "No one," said he, "has any business in
my room, unless invited by me, and I never invited you." Here was a
pretty state of things. Tad was master of the situation.

Finally, Mr. Lincoln was appealed to. Tad was called, and Mr. Lincoln
said to him, "Go, now, and unlock the door." The offended boy went off
to his mother's room, muttering a positive refusal to obey his father's
command. On hearing of the child's disobedience, Mr. Lincoln soon had
the key, and "the theatre" was again invaded by the artists. Soon after
this, Mr. Lincoln said to Carpenter, half apologetically: "Tad is a
peculiar child. He was violently excited when I went to him for the key.
I said to him, 'Tad, do you know that you are making your father very
unhappy? You are causing a deal of trouble.' He burst into tears, and
gave up the key. I had not the heart to say much to him in the way of
reproof, for the little man certainly thought his rights had been
shamefully disregarded." The distress which this unlucky affair brought
upon his little pet caused Mr. Lincoln more concern than anything else
connected with it.

During the first year of the war, owing to the great press of business,
it was at times difficult to get at the President. Some four or five
distinguished gentlemen from Kentucky, who had come to visit him as
commissioners or agents from that State, had been endeavoring, for a
number of days, without success, to see him. Mr. Lincoln having learned
the object of their intended visit to him through some source or other,
wanted to avoid the interview if possible, and had given them no
opportunity for presenting themselves. One day after waiting in the
lobby for several hours, they were about to give up the effort in
despair, and in no amiable terms expressed their disappointment as they
turned to the head of the stairs, saying something about "seeing old
Abe." Tad caught at these words, and asked them if they wanted to see
"old Abe," laughing at the same time. "Yes," they replied. "Wait a
minute," said Tad, and he rushed into his father's office and said,
"Papa, may I introduce some friends to you?" His father, always
indulgent and ready to make him happy, kindly said, "Yes, my son, I will
see your friends." Tad went to the Kentuckians again, and asked a very
dignified looking gentleman of the party what his name was. He was told
his name. He then said, "Come, gentlemen," and they followed him.
Leading them up to Mr. Lincoln, Tad, with much dignity, said, "Papa, let
me introduce to you Judge ----, of Kentucky;" and quickly added, "Now,
Judge, you introduce the other gentlemen." The introductions were gone
through with, and they turned out to be the gentlemen Mr. Lincoln had
been avoiding for a week. Mr. Lincoln reached for the boy, took him on
his lap, kissed him, and told him it was all right, and that he had
introduced his friend like a little gentleman as he was. Tad was eleven
years old at this time.

Mr. Lincoln was pleased with Tad's diplomacy, and often laughed at the
incident as he told others of it. One day while caressing the boy, he
asked him why he called those gentlemen "his friends." "Well," said Tad,
"I had seen them so often, and they looked so good and sorry, and said
they were from Kentucky, that I thought they must be our friends." "That
is right, my son," said Mr. Lincoln; "I would have the whole human race
your friends and mine, if it were possible."



Among the many historic scenes in which President Lincoln was an actor
there is not one, perhaps, where a single incident gave rise to
speculations so groundless and guesses so wide of the truth as his
justly celebrated Gettysburg speech.[H] Since his death there has been
an enormous expenditure, not to say a very great waste, of literary
talent on that extraordinary address, as there has been on almost
everything else he did, or was supposed to have done, from his boyhood
until the moment of his assassination. That reporters, critics,
chroniclers, eulogists, flatterers, and biographers have not only failed
to give a true account of that famous speech, but that they have
subjected Mr. Lincoln's memory to hurtful misrepresentation, it is the
purpose of this chapter to show.

  [H] Fourscore and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on 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 civil war, testing whether that nation, or any
  nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a
  great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of
  that field as a final resting-place for those who 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 poor 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 which they
  who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to
  be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us; that from these
  honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they
  gave the last full measure of devotion; that we here highly resolve that
  these dead shall not have died in vain; that this nation, under God,
  shall have a new birth of freedom; and that government of the people, by
  the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

It was my good fortune to have known Mr. Lincoln long and well,--so long
and so intimately that as the shadows lengthen and the years recede I am
more and more impressed by the rugged grandeur and nobility of his
character, his strength of intellect, and his singular purity of heart.
Surely I am the last man on earth to say or do aught in derogation of
his matchless worth, or to tarnish the fair fame of him who was, during
eighteen of the most eventful years of my life, a constant, considerate,
and never-failing friend.

The world has long since conceded that Abraham Lincoln was great in all
the elements that go to make up human greatness. He had a stamp of
originality entirely his own. With his unique individuality and his
commanding intellect--at once strong, sagacious, and profoundly acute
and critical--were associated a mental integrity and a moral purpose as
firm as granite, a thorough knowledge of himself, and a modesty that
scorned not only self-laudation but eulogy by others for fame or
achievements not his own. An act accomplished by him, either in his
character of a citizen or as a public servant, he regarded more as a
duty discharged than as an achievement of which to be proud. He was
charitable to a fault; and yet no man ever discriminated more narrowly
in forming a judgment concerning the character, the acts, and the
motives of other men, or had a keener appreciation of merit or demerit
in others. With his characteristic honesty and simplicity we may well
suppose, that, were he alive to-day, he would feel under little
obligation to the swarm of fulsome eulogists who have made up a large
part of the current chronicles of his life and public conduct by
ascribing to him ornamental virtues which he never possessed, and
motives, purposes, and achievements which he would promptly disown if he
could now speak for himself.

Discriminating observers and students of history have not failed to note
the fact that the ceremony of Mr. Lincoln's apotheosis was not only
planned but executed by men who were unfriendly to him while he lived,
and that the deification took place with showy magnificence some time
after the great man's lips were sealed in death. Men who had exhausted
the resources of their skill and ingenuity in venomous detraction of the
living Lincoln, especially during the last years of his life, were the
first, when the assassin's bullet had closed the career of the
great-hearted statesman, to undertake the self-imposed task of guarding
his memory,--not as a human being endowed with a mighty intellect and
extraordinary virtues, but as a god. In fact, the tragic death of Mr.
Lincoln brought a more fearful panic to his former traducers than to
his friends. The latter's legacy was deep sorrow and mourning; the
former were left to the humiliating necessity of a change of base to
place themselves _en rapport_ with the millions who mourned the loss of
their greatest patriot and statesman.

If there was one form of flattery more offensive to the noble and manly
pride of Mr. Lincoln than all others, it was that in which credit was
given him for a meritorious deed done by some other man, or which
ascribed to him some sentimental or saintly virtue that he knew he did
not possess. In the same spirit he rejected all commendations or
flattering compliments touching anything which he had written or spoken,
when, in his own judgment, there was nothing especially remarkable in
the speech or the composition referred to. Although superior, I
readily concede, to any other man I have ever known, Mr. Lincoln
was yet thoroughly human; and with his exact knowledge of his own
character,--its weakness and its strength,--he once said to me, speaking
of what historians and biographers might say of him, "Speak of me as I
am; nothing extenuate, nor set down aught in malice." He had a clear
perception of the value of that history which is truthful; and he
believed that hosannas sung to the memory of the greatest of men, as if
they were demi-gods, are hurtful to their fame.

A day or two before the dedication of the National Cemetery at
Gettysburg, Mr. Lincoln told me that he would be expected to make a
speech on the occasion; that he was extremely busy, and had no time for
preparation; and that he greatly feared he would not be able to acquit
himself with credit, much less to fill the measure of public
expectation. From his hat (the usual receptacle for his private notes
and memoranda) he drew a sheet of foolscap, one side of which was
closely written with what he informed me was a memorandum of his
intended address. This he read to me, first remarking that it was not at
all satisfactory to him. It proved to be in substance, if not in exact
words, what was afterwards printed as his famous Gettysburg speech.

After its delivery on the day of commemoration, he expressed deep regret
that he had not prepared it with greater care. He said to me on the
stand, immediately after concluding the speech: "Lamon, that speech
won't _scour_! It is a flat failure, and the people are disappointed."
(The word "scour" he often used in expressing his positive conviction
that a thing lacked merit, or would not stand the test of close
criticism or the wear of time.) He seemed deeply concerned about what
the people might think of his address; more deeply, in fact, than I had
ever seen him on any public occasion. His frank and regretful
condemnation of his effort, and more especially his manner of expressing
that regret, struck me as somewhat remarkable; and my own impression was
deepened by the fact that the orator of the day, Mr. Everett, and
Secretary Seward both coincided with Mr. Lincoln in his unfavorable view
of its merits.

The occasion was solemn, impressive, and grandly historic. The people,
it is true, stood apparently spell-bound; and the vast throng was hushed
and awed into profound silence while Mr. Lincoln delivered his brief
speech. But it seemed to him that this silence and attention to his
words arose more from the solemnity of the ceremonies and the awful
scenes which gave rise to them, than from anything he had said. He
believed that the speech was a failure. He thought so at the time, and
he never referred to it afterwards, in conversation with me, without
some expression of unqualified regret that he had not made the speech
better in every way.

On the platform from which Mr. Lincoln delivered his address, and only a
moment after it was concluded, Mr. Seward turned to Mr. Everett and
asked him what he thought of the President's speech. Mr. Everett
replied, "It is not what I expected from him. I am disappointed." Then
in his turn Mr. Everett asked, "What do you think of it, Mr. Seward?"
The response was, "He has made a failure, and I am sorry for it. His
speech is not equal to him." Mr. Seward then turned to me and asked,
"Mr. Marshal, what do you think of it?" I answered, "I am sorry to say
that it does not impress me as one of his great speeches."

In the face of these facts it has been repeatedly published that this
speech was received by the audience with loud demonstrations of
approval; that "amid the tears, sobs, and cheers it produced in the
excited throng, the orator of the day, Mr. Everett, turned to Mr.
Lincoln, grasped his hand and exclaimed, 'I congratulate you on your
success!' adding in a transport of heated enthusiasm, 'Ah, Mr.
President, how gladly would I give my hundred pages to be the author of
your twenty lines!'" Nothing of the kind occurred. It is a slander on
Mr. Everett, an injustice to Mr. Lincoln, and a falsification of
history. Mr. Everett could not have used the words attributed to him, in
the face of his own condemnation of the speech uttered a moment before,
without subjecting himself to the charge of being a toady and a
hypocrite; and he was neither the one nor the other.

As a matter of fact, the silence during the delivery of the speech, and
the lack of hearty demonstrations of approval immediately after its
close, were taken by Mr. Lincoln as certain proof that it was not well
received. In that opinion we all shared. If any person then present saw,
or thought he saw, the marvellous beauties of that wonderful speech, as
intelligent men in all lands now see and acknowledge them, his
superabundant caution closed his lips and stayed his pen. Mr. Lincoln
said to me after our return to Washington, "I tell you, Hill, that
speech fell on the audience like a wet blanket. I am distressed about
it. I ought to have prepared it with more care." Such continued to be
his opinion of that most wonderful of all his platform addresses up to
the time of his death.

I state it as a fact, and without fear of contradiction, that this
famous Gettysburg speech was not regarded by the audience to whom it
was addressed, or by the press and people of the United States, as a
production of extraordinary merit, nor was it commented on as such until
after the death of its author. Those who look thoughtfully into the
history of the matter must own that Mr. Lincoln was, on that occasion,
"wiser than he knew." He was wiser than his audience, wiser than the
great scholars and orators who were associated with him in the events of
that solemn day. He had unconsciously risen to a height above the level
of even the "cultured thought" of that period.[6]

  [6] Page 174, line 11, after the word "period."

  The words of Clark E. Carr are entitled to credit, for no one present
  had more at heart than he the success of these ceremonies--he being one
  of the original commissioners comprising the board that purchased this,
  the first ground set apart for a national cemetery for our soldiers. He
  was on the platform from which Mr. Lincoln spoke. He says in his
  "Lincoln at Gettysburg" that, "Before the great multitude of people
  could prepare themselves to listen intelligently, before their thoughts
  had become sufficiently centred upon the speaker to take up his line of
  thought and follow him, he had finished and returned to his seat. So
  short a time [only about three minutes] was Mr. Lincoln before them that
  the people could scarcely believe their eyes when he disappeared from
  their view. They could not possibly in so short a time mentally grasp
  the ideas that were conveyed. Many persons said to me that they would
  have supposed that on such a great occasion the President would have
  made a speech. Every one thought he made only a very few 'dedicatory
  remarks.' Mr. Carr further says that the general impression was that the
  remarks consisted of 'a dozen commonplace sentences scarcely one of
  which contained anything new, anything that when stated was not

The marvellous perfection, the intrinsic excellence of the Gettysburg
speech as a masterpiece of English composition, seem to have escaped the
scrutiny of even the most scholarly critics of that day, on this side of
the Atlantic. That discovery was made, it must be regretfully owned, by
distinguished writers on the other side. The London "Spectator," the
"Saturday Review," the "Edinburgh Review," and some other European
journals were the first to discover, or at least to proclaim, the
classical merits of the Gettysburg speech. It was then that we began to
realize that it was indeed a masterpiece; and it dawned upon many minds
that we had entertained an angel unawares, who had left us
unappreciated. In no country and in no age of the world has the death of
any man caused an outpouring of sorrow so universal. Every nation of the
earth felt and expressed its sense of the loss to progressive
civilization and popular government. In his life and death, thoughtful
men in all lands found an inspiring theme. England's greatest thinker,
John Stuart Mill, pronounced Abraham Lincoln to be "the greatest
citizen, who has afforded a noble example of the qualities befitting the
first magistrate of a free people." The London "Times" declared that the
news of his death would be received throughout Europe "with sorrow as
sincere and profound as it awoke in the United States," and that
"Englishmen had learned to respect a man who showed the best
characteristics of their race." The London "Spectator" spoke of him as
"certainly the best, if not the ablest man ruling over any country in
the civilized world."

For using in his Gettysburg speech the celebrated phrase, "the
government of the people, by the people, and for the people," Mr.
Lincoln has been subjected to the most brutal criticism as well as to
the most groundless flattery. Some have been base enough to insinuate
against that great and sincere man that he was guilty of the crime of
wilful plagiarism; others have ascribed to him the honor of originating
the phrase entire. There is injustice to him in either view of the case.
I personally know that Mr. Lincoln made no pretence of originality in
the matter; nor was he, on the other hand, conscious of having
appropriated the thought, or even the exact words, of any other man. If
he is subject to the charge of plagiarism, so is the great Webster, who
used substantially the same phrase in his celebrated reply to Hayne.
Both men may have acquired the peculiar form of expression (the thought
itself being as old as the republican idea of government) by the
process known as unconscious appropriation. Certain it is that neither
Lincoln nor Webster originated the phrase. Let us see how the case

In an address before the New England Antislavery Convention in Boston,
May 29, 1850, Theodore Parker defined Democracy as "a government of _all
the people, by all the people, for all the people_, of course," which
language is identical with that employed by Mr. Lincoln in his
Gettysburg speech. Substantially the same phrase was used by Judge Joel
Parker in the Massachusetts Constitutional Convention in 1853. A
distinguished diplomat has acquainted me with the singular fact that
almost the identical phrase employed by Mr. Lincoln was used in another
language by a person whose existence even was not probably known to Mr.
Webster, the Parkers, or to Mr. Lincoln. On the thirty-first page of a
work entitled "Geschichte der Schweizerischen Regeneration von 1830 bis
1848, von P. Feddersen," appears an account of a public meeting held at
Olten, Switzerland, in May, 1830. On that occasion a speaker named
Schinz used the following language, as translated by my friend just
referred to: "All the governments of Switzerland [referring to the
cantons] must acknowledge that they are simply from _all the people, by
all the people, and for all the people_."

These extracts are enough to show that no American statesman or writer
can lay claim to the origin or authorship of the phrase in question. No
friend of Mr. Lincoln will pretend that it is the coinage of his
fertile brain; nor will any fair-minded man censure him for using it as
he did in his Gettysburg speech. As a phrase of singular compactness and
force, it was employed by him, legitimately and properly, as a fitting
conclusion to an address which the judgment of both hemispheres has
declared will live as a model of classic oratory while free government
shall continue to be known and revered among men.

  "The world will little note, | "The speech will live when
  nor long remember, what we   | the memory of the battle will
  say here; but it can never   | be lost or only remembered
  forget what they did here."  | because of the speech."

                      LINCOLN.                    SUMNER.



During the long series of defeats and disasters which culminated in the
battles of Fredericksburg and of Chancellorsville, there arose in
certain circles of the army and of the National Legislature a feeling of
distrust and dissatisfaction, that reached its climax in an intrigue to
displace Mr. Lincoln, if not from his position at least from the
exercise of his prerogatives, by the appointment of a dictator. Such a
measure would have been scarcely less revolutionary than many others
which were openly avowed and advocated.

In this cabal were naturally included all those self-constituted
advisers whose counsels had not been adopted in the conduct of the war;
all those malcontents and grumblers who, conscious of their incapacity
to become makers of pots and pitchers, are always so eager to exhibit
their skill and ingenuity as menders of them. In this coalition of
non-combatant guardian angels of the country and civilian warriors were
to be found patriots of every shade and of every degree.

First, the political patriot, who recognized in a brilliant succession
of Federal victories the only probable prospect of preserving the
ascendency of his party and promoting his own personal fortunes.

Second, the commercial patriot, whose dominant passion was a love
of--self; to whom the spoliation of the South and the swindling of his
own government afforded the most fruitful expedient for feathering his

Third, the religious patriot, whose love of country was subordinate to
his hatred of slavery and of slaveholders; who having recanted his
dictum that the Constitution of the United States was a "covenant with
death and an agreement with hell," was now one of the most vindictive
and unscrupulous advocates of a war of extermination. As is frequently
the case where one class of persons is severely exercised over the
iniquities of another, to a sentiment of philanthropy had succeeded the
most violent animosity and intolerance, until sympathy for the slave
degenerated into the most envenomed hostility toward his owner.

Among the most aggressive assailants of the President were thus
comprised all those elements in his party, with whom the logic of the
war might be summed up in the comprehensive formula, "Power, plunder,
and extended rule." The evolution of events and his consistent policy,
as foreshadowed and indicated on the close of hostilities, have clearly
demonstrated that with such minds Mr. Lincoln could have little sympathy
or fellowship. Conscientiously observant of his solemn oath to maintain
the Constitution, he could not be persuaded to evade the obligations of
his high trust by lending his authority to the accomplishment of their
revolutionary and nefarious designs. _Hinc illæ lachrymæ_; hence,
disappointed at the failure of their endeavor to shape his policy in
obedience to the suggestions of their own ignoble designs, their open

No member of the cabal was better advised of its progress or of the
parties concerned in it than Mr. Lincoln himself. He often talked with
me on the subject. He did not fear it; he feared nothing except to
commit an involuntary wrong or mistake of judgment in the administration
of his high and responsible trust. He would willingly have resigned
office and retired to the unobtrusive life and simple duties of a
private citizen, if by so doing he could have restored the integrity of
the Union, or in anywise have promoted the success of the Union cause.
In this connection he would often say to me: "In God's name! if any one
can do better in my place than I have done, or am endeavoring to do, let
him try his hand at it, and no one will be better contented than

One time I went to Mr. Lincoln's office at the White House and found the
door locked. I went through a private room and through a side entrance
into the office, where I found the President lying on a sofa, evidently
greatly disturbed and much excited, manifestly displeased with the
outlook. Jumping up from his reclining position he advanced, saying:
"You know better than any man living that from my boyhood up my ambition
was to be President. I am President of one part of this divided country
at least; but look at me! I wish I had never been born! It is a white
elephant on my hands, and hard to manage. With a fire in my front and
rear; having to contend with the jealousies of the military commanders,
and not receiving that cordial co-operation and support from Congress
which could reasonably be expected; with an active and formidable enemy
in the field threatening the very life-blood of the government,--my
position is anything but a bed of roses."

I remarked to him: "It strikes me that you are somewhat in the position
of the great Richelieu, of whom it was said that he was the first man in
Europe but the second only in his own country."

"Oh, no! very far from it," he replied. "Richelieu never had a fire in
his front and rear at the same time, but a united constituency, which it
has never been my good fortune to have." Then brightening up, his whole
nature seemed all at once to change. I could see a merry twinkle in his
eye as he said: "If I can only keep my end of the animal pointed in the
right direction, I will yet get him through this infernal jungle and get
my end of him and his tail placed in their proper relative positions. I
have never faltered in my faith of being ultimately able to suppress
this rebellion and of reuniting this divided country; but this
improvised vigilant committee to watch my movements and keep me
straight, appointed by Congress and called the 'committee on the conduct
of the war,' is a marplot, and its greatest purpose seems to be to
hamper my action and obstruct the military operations."

Earnestly desirous of conciliating and harmonizing every element, with
a view to the accomplishment of the one--the dearest--aspiration of his
heart, a restoration of the Union, Mr. Lincoln had yielded until further
concessions would have implied ductility or imbecility, until every
sentiment of dignity and of self-respect would have uttered an indignant
protest. He then well knew that he must assert himself, or be an
unimportant factor in the body-politic in the struggle for the life and
preservation of the nation; and rising at length to the full height of
his matchless self-reliance and independence, he exclaimed: "This state
of things shall continue no longer. I will show them at the other end of
the Avenue whether I am President or not!"

From this moment he never again hesitated or wavered as to his course.
From this moment he was recognized as the Executive Chief and
Constitutional Commander of the Armies and Navy of the United States.
His opponents and would-be masters were now, for the most part,
silenced; but they hated him all the more cordially.

A short time before the fall of Vicksburg, great dissatisfaction became
rife at General Grant's tardiness in moving on the enemy's works. There
was a pretty general feeling in favor of relieving Grant from his
command, and appointing some one who would make short work of that
formidable stronghold of the enemy and relieve the people from their
state of anxiety. Mr. Lincoln had great faith in General Grant. He was
being constantly importuned and beset by the leading politicians to
turn Grant out of the command. One day about this time he said to me, "I
fear I have made Senator Wade, of Ohio, my enemy for life." "How?" I
asked. "Wade was here just now urging me to dismiss Grant, and in
response to something he said I remarked, 'Senator, that reminds me of a
story.' 'Yes, yes!' Wade petulantly replied, 'it is with you, sir, all
story, story! You are the father of every military blunder that has been
made during the war. You are on your road to hell, sir, with this
government, by your obstinacy; and you are not a mile off this minute.'
I good-naturedly said to him: 'Senator, that is just about the distance
from here to the Capitol, is it not?' He was very angry, and grabbed up
his hat and cane and went away."

Lincoln then continued to say: "To show to what extent this sentiment
prevails, even Washburne, who has always claimed Grant as his by right
of discovery, has deserted him, and demands his removal; and I really
believe I am the only friend Grant has left. Grant advises me [Mr.
Lincoln had never seen General Grant up to that time] that he will take
Vicksburg by the Fourth of July, and I believe he will do it; and he
shall have the chance."

Had it not been for the stoic firmness of Mr. Lincoln in standing by
Grant, which resulted in the speedy capture of Vicksburg, it is hard to
predict what would have been the consequences. If nothing worse, certain
it is that President Lincoln would have been deposed, and a dictator
would have been placed in his stead as chief executive until peace could
be restored to the nation by separation or otherwise. Mr. Lincoln thus
expressed himself shortly before his death: "If I had done as my
Washington friends, who fight battles with their tongues at a safe
distance from the enemy, would have had me do, Grant, who proved himself
so great a captain, would never have been heard of again."

That Mr. Lincoln sought to interfere as little as possible with the
military affairs after General Grant took charge of the army will be
shown by the following letter:--

                                                EXECUTIVE MANSION,
                                        WASHINGTON, April 30, 1864.

     LIEUTENANT-GENERAL GRANT,--Not expecting to see you before the
     spring campaign opens, I wish to express in this way my entire
     satisfaction with what you have done up to this time, so far as I
     understand it. The particulars of your plan I neither know nor seek
     to know. You are vigilant and self-reliant, and [I put no]
     restraints or constraints upon you. While I am very anxious that
     any great disaster or capture of any of our men in great numbers
     shall be avoided, I know that these points are less likely to
     escape your attention than they would be mine. If there be anything
     wanting which is within my power to give, do not fail to let me
     know it. And now with a brave army and a just cause, may God
     sustain you!

                                 Yours very truly,
    (Signed)                                                A. LINCOLN.

I am not aware that there was ever a serious discord or misunderstanding
between Mr. Lincoln and General Grant except on a single occasion. From
the commencement of the struggle, Lincoln's policy was to break the
back-bone of the Confederacy by depriving it of its principal means of
subsistence. Cotton was its vital aliment; deprive it of this, and the
rebellion must necessarily collapse. The Hon. Elihu B. Washburne from
the outset was opposed to any contraband traffic with the Confederates.
Lincoln had given permits and passes through the lines to two
persons,--Mr. Joseph Mattox, of Maryland, and General Singleton, of
Illinois,--to enable them to bring cotton and other Southern products
from Virginia. Washburne heard of it, called immediately on Mr. Lincoln,
and after remonstrating with him on the impropriety of such a
_démarche_, threatened to have General Grant countermand the permits if
they were not revoked. Naturally, both became excited. Lincoln declared
that he did not believe General Grant would take upon himself the
responsibility of such an act. "I will show you, sir, I will show you
whether Grant will do it or not," responded Mr. Washburne as he abruptly

By the next boat, subsequent to this interview, the Congressman left
Washington for the headquarters of General Grant. He returned shortly
afterward to the city, and so likewise did Mattox and Singleton. Grant
had countermanded the permits.

The following important order relative to trade-permits was issued by
Lieutenant-General Grant about this time:--

                                       HEADQUARTERS ARMIES OF THE U. S.
                                       CITY POINT, VA., March 10, 1865.

     _Special Orders, No. 48._

     1. The operations on all Treasury trade-permits, and all other
     trade-permits and licenses to trade, by whomsoever granted, within
     the State of Virginia, except that portion known as the Eastern
     Shore, and the States of North Carolina and South Carolina, and
     that portion of the State of Georgia immediately bordering on the
     Atlantic, including the City of Savannah, are hereby suspended
     until further orders. All contracts and agreements made under or by
     virtue of any trade-permit or license within any of said States or
     parts of States, during the existence of this order, will be deemed
     void, and the subject of such contracts or agreements will be
     seized by the military authorities for the benefit of the
     government, whether the same is at the time of such contracts or
     agreements within their reach or at any time thereafter comes
     within their reach, either by the operations of war or the acts of
     the contracting parties or their agents. The delivery of all goods
     contracted for and not delivered before the publication of this
     order is prohibited.

     Supplies of all kinds are prohibited from passing into any of said
     States or parts of States, except such as are absolutely necessary
     for the wants of those living within the lines of actual military
     occupation, and under no circumstances will military commanders
     allow them to pass beyond the lines they actually hold.

     By command of Lieutenant-General Grant.

                                                  T. S. BOWERS,
                                    _Assistant Adjutant-General_.

Under all the circumstances it was a source of exultation to Mr.
Washburne and his friends, and of corresponding surprise and
mortification to the President. But he suppressed the resentment to
which General Grant's conduct might naturally have given rise, and, with
the equanimity and self-control that was habitual with him, merely
remarked: "I wonder when General Grant changed his mind on this subject.
He was the first man, after the commencement of the war, to grant a
permit for the passage of cotton through the lines, and that to his own
father." In referring afterwards to the subject, he said: "It made me
feel my insignificance keenly at the moment; but if my friends
Washburne, Henry Wilson, and others derive pleasure from so unworthy a
victory over me, I leave them to its full enjoyment." This ripple on the
otherwise unruffled current of their intercourse did not disturb the
personal relations between Lincoln and Grant; but there was little
cordiality between the President and Messrs. Washburne and Wilson

Mr. Lincoln, when asked if he had seen the Wade-Davis manifesto, the
Phillips speech[I] etc., replied: "No, I have not seen them, nor do I
care to see them. I have seen enough to satisfy me that I am a failure,
not only in the opinion of the people in rebellion, but of many
distinguished politicians of my own party. But time will show whether I
am right or they are right, and I am content to abide its decision. I
have enough to look after without giving much of my time to the
consideration of the subject of who shall be my successor in office. The
position is not an easy one; and the occupant, whoever he may be, for
the next four years, will have little leisure to pluck a thorn or plant
a rose in his own pathway." It was urged that this opposition must be
embarrassing to his Administration, as well as damaging to the party. He
replied: "Yes, that is true; but our friends Wade, Davis, Phillips, and
others are hard to please. I am not capable of doing so. I cannot please
them without wantonly violating not only my oath, but the most vital
principles upon which our government was founded. As to those who, like
Wade and the rest, see fit to depreciate my policy and cavil at my
official acts, I shall not complain of them. I accord them the utmost
freedom of speech and liberty of the press, but shall not change the
policy I have adopted in the full belief that I am right. I feel on this
subject as an old Illinois farmer once expressed himself while eating
cheese. He was interrupted in the midst of his repast by the entrance of
his son, who exclaimed, 'Hold on, dad! there's skippers in that cheese
you're eating!' 'Never mind, Tom,' said he, as he kept on munching his
cheese, 'if they can stand it I can.'"

  [I] In a speech at Cooper Institute in New York City, on the
  Presidential election (1864), Wendell Phillips said that for thirty
  years he had labored to break up the Union in the interest of justice,
  and now he labored to save it in the same interest. The same curse that
  he invoked on the old Union he would invoke on a new Union if it is not
  founded on justice to the negro. "Science must either demonstrate that
  the negro is not a man, or politics must accord to him equality at the
  ballot-box and in offices of trust." He judged Mr. Lincoln by his words
  and deeds, and so judging he was "unwilling to trust Abraham Lincoln
  with the future of the country. Let it be granted that Mr. Lincoln is
  pledged to Liberty and Union; but this pledge was wrung out of him by
  the Cleveland movement, and was a mere electioneering pledge. Mr.
  Lincoln is a politician. Politicians are like the bones of a horse's
  fore-shoulder,--not a straight one in it. A reformer is like a Doric
  column of iron,--straight, strong, and immovable. It is a momentous
  responsibility to trust Mr. Lincoln where we want a Doric column to
  stand stern and strong for the Nation.... I am an Abolitionist, but I am
  also a citizen watchful of constitutional Liberty; and I say if
  President Lincoln is inaugurated on the votes of Tennessee, Louisiana,
  and Arkansas, every citizen is bound to resist him. Are you willing to
  sacrifice the constitutional rights of seventy years for your fondness
  for an individual?"

  Mr. Phillips then quoted some opinions from prominent men in the
  Republican party. "A man in the field said, 'The re-election of Abraham
  Lincoln will be a disaster.' Another said, 'The re-election of Abraham
  Lincoln will be national destruction.' Said another, 'There is no
  government at Washington,--nothing there.' Winter Davis of Maryland
  testifies to his [Lincoln's] inability. Said another, 'That proclamation
  will not stand a week before the Supreme Court; but I had rather trust
  it there than Abraham Lincoln to make the judges.' Mr. Lincoln has
  secured his success just as the South used to secure its success. He
  says to the radicals of the Republican party, 'I am going to nominate
  myself at Baltimore: risk a division of the party if you dare!' and the
  radicals submitted. Political Massachusetts submitted, and is silent;
  but Antislavery Massachusetts calls to the people to save their own
  cause." Mr. Phillips said he "wanted by free speech to let Abraham
  Lincoln know that we are stronger than Abraham Lincoln, and that he is a
  servant to obey us. I distrust the man who uses whole despotism in
  Massachusetts and half despotism in South Carolina, and that man is
  Abraham Lincoln."

On another occasion Mr. Lincoln said to me: "If the unworthy ambition of
politicians and the jealousy that exists in the army could be repressed,
and all unite in a common aim and a common endeavor, the rebellion would
soon be crushed." He conversed with me freely and repeatedly on the
subject of the unfairness and intemperance of his opponents in Congress,
of the project of a dictatorship, etc. The reverses at Fredericksburg
and Chancellorsville Mr. Lincoln fully comprehended; and he believed
them to have been caused by the absence of a proper support of Burnside
and Hooker, prompted by the jealousies of other superior officers.

The appointment of a general to the supreme command of the Army of the
Potomac, made vacant by the resignation of General Burnside, became a
question of urgent import. General Rosecrans was the choice of the
Secretary of War. The President regarded it as inexpedient to make the
appointment outside the general officers serving in the Army of the
Potomac. Having little preference in the selection of a successor to
General Burnside, Mr. Lincoln, after advisement, adopted the views of
the military department of the government, and offered the chief command
to General Reynolds. The latter, however, declined to accept the trust,
unless a wider latitude of action were granted him than had hitherto
been accorded to officers occupying this high post.

The reverses in the field already referred to having occurred since
General McClellan was relieved from the chief command of the Union
forces, there now arose among his old companions-in-arms, and in the
army generally, a clamor for his reinstatement as Commander of the Army
of the Potomac. The propriety of such action was made the subject of a
Cabinet consultation, which resulted in the rejection of an expedient
so manifestly looking towards a dictatorship.

A strong influence was now exerted by the immediate friends of General
Hooker in behalf of his appointment as Commander-in-Chief,--some of them
being prompted by personal ambition, others by even less worthy motives.
These partisans of a worthy and deserving officer, whose aspirations
were known to be entirely within the sphere of military preferment,
united their forces with a powerful political coterie, having for their
chief object the elevation of Mr. Chase to the Presidency upon the
expiration of Mr. Lincoln's first term. It was believed by this faction
that Hooker, in the event of his bringing the war to a successful
conclusion, being himself unambitious of office, might not be unwilling
to lend his prestige and influence to a movement in favor of that
distinguished statesman as the successor of Mr. Lincoln in the
Presidency. Up to the present time the war had been conducted rather at
the dictation of a political bureaucracy than in accordance purely with
considerations of military strategy. Hooker was appointed by the
President under a full knowledge of his political affinities.

In conversation with Mr. Lincoln one night about the time General
Burnside was relieved, I was urging upon him the necessity of looking
well to the fact that there was a scheme on foot to depose him, and to
appoint a military dictator in his stead. He laughed, and said: "I
think, for a man of accredited courage, you are the most panicky person
I ever knew; you can see more dangers to me than all the other friends I
have. You are all the time exercised about somebody taking my
life,--murdering me; and now you have discovered a new danger: now you
think the people of this great government are likely to turn me out of
office. I do not fear this from the people any more than I fear
assassination from an individual. Now, to show you my appreciation of
what my French friends would call a _coup d'état_, let me read you a
letter I have written to General Hooker, whom I have just appointed to
the command of the Army of the Potomac." He then opened the drawer of
his table and took out and read the letter to General Hooker, which
accompanied his commission as Commander of the Army of the Potomac, of
which letter the following is a copy:--


                                             EXECUTIVE MANSION,
                                     WASHINGTON, D. C., Jan. 26, 1863.

     _Major-General Hooker_:

     GENERAL,--I have placed you at the head of the Army of the
     Potomac. Of course I have done this upon what appears to me
     sufficient reasons; and yet I think it best for you to know that
     there are some things in regard to which I am not quite satisfied
     with you.

     I believe you to be a brave and skilful soldier, which of course I
     like. I also believe you do not mix politics with your profession,
     in which you are right. You have confidence in yourself, which is a
     valuable, if not indispensable, quality. You are ambitious, which,
     within reasonable bounds, does good rather than harm. But I think
     that during General Burnside's command of the army you have taken
     counsel of your ambition solely, and thwarted him as much as you
     could; in which you did a great wrong to the country and to a most
     meritorious and honorable brother officer. I have heard, in such a
     way as to believe it, of your saying that both the country and the
     army needed a dictator. Of course it was not for this, but in spite
     of it, that I have given you the command. Only those generals who
     gain success can set themselves up as dictators. What I ask of you
     is military success, and I will risk the dictatorship. The
     government will support you to the utmost of its ability, which is
     neither more nor less than it has done and will do for all its

     I much fear that the spirit which you have aided to infuse into the
     army, of criticising their commander and withholding confidence
     from him, will now turn upon you; and I shall assist you as far as
     I can to put it down. Neither you nor Napoleon, if he were alive
     again, could get any good out of an army while such a spirit
     prevails in it.

     And now, beware of rashness, but with energy and sleepless
     vigilance go forward and give us victories.

                             Yours very truly,
                                                      A. LINCOLN.

Some little time afterwards, in referring with much feeling to this
letter, General Hooker declared: "It was just such a letter as a father
might have addressed to his son. It was a great rebuke, however, to me
at the time."

The question of a dictatorship had been everywhere ventilated. The
President had heard a great deal about it; but he treated the whole
subject as a pure vagary, not apprehending any serious danger from it.
At first it may have given him some annoyance; but it soon ceased to
disturb him, and ultimately it became the source of no little mirth and
amusement to him. I was present upon one occasion when a party of the
intimate friends of Mr. Lincoln were assembled at the White House, and
the project of a dictatorship was the topic of conversation. The
President gave full play to the exuberance of his humor and his sense of
the ridiculous, entirely banishing the anxieties and apprehensions of
such of his friends as were inclined to regard the question from a more
serious point of view. "I will tell you," said he, "a story which I
think illustrates the situation.

"Some years ago a couple of emigrants from the Emerald Isle were wending
their way westward in search of employment as a means of subsistence.
The shades of night had already closed in upon them as they found
themselves in the vicinity of a large sheet of standing water, more
vulgarly called a big pond. They were greeted upon their approach by a
symphony of bull-frogs, which was the only manifestation of life in the
darkness that surrounded them, literally 'making night hideous' with
noise. This sort of harmony was altogether new to them, and for a moment
they were greatly terrified at the diabolic din. Instinctively and
resolutely grasping their shillalahs, under the impression that
Beelzebub or some of his deputies was about to dispute their farther
progress, they cautiously advanced toward the spot from whence the
strange concert proceeded. The frogs, however, alarmed at their
approaching footsteps, had beat a precipitate retreat, and taken refuge
in their watery hiding-places, and all was as silent as the grave. After
waiting for some seconds in breathless suspense for the appearance of
the enemy, not a sound being audible, in great disappointment and
disgust at the loss of so favorable an opportunity for a free fight, one
of our heroes, seizing his companion by the coat-sleeve, whispered
confidentially in his ear: 'Faith, Pat, and it's my deliberate opinion
that it was nothing but a blasted noise!'"

Pursuing the topic in the same humorous vein, Mr. Lincoln again
convulsed his auditors by relating the following story:--

"A benighted wayfarer having lost his way somewhere amidst the wilds of
our Northwestern frontiers, the embarrassments of his position were
increased by a furious tempest which suddenly burst upon him. To add to
the discomforts of the situation his horse had given out, leaving him
exposed to all the dangers of the pitiless storm. The peals of thunder
were terrific, the frequent flashes of lightning affording the only
guide to the route he was pursuing as he resolutely trudged onward
leading his jaded steed. The earth seemed fairly to tremble beneath him
in the war of elements. One bolt threw him suddenly upon his knees. Our
traveller was not a prayerful man, but finding himself involuntarily
brought to an attitude of devotion, he addressed himself to the Throne
of Grace in the following prayer for his deliverance: O God! hear my
prayer this time, for Thou knowest it is not often that I call upon
Thee. And, O Lord! if it is all the same to Thee, give us a little more
light and a little less noise!' I hope," said Mr. Lincoln, pointing the
moral of the anecdote, "that we may have a much stronger disposition
manifested hereafter, on the part of our civilian warriors, to unite in
suppressing the rebellion, and a little less noise as to how and by whom
the chief executive office shall be administered."



The character of no statesman in all the history of the world has been
more generally or more completely misunderstood than that of Abraham
Lincoln. Many writers describe him as a mere creature of circumstances
floating like a piece of driftwood on the current of events; and about
the only attribute of statesmanship they concede to him is a sort of
instinctive divination of the popular feeling at a given period, and on
a given subject. They do not thus dwarf Mr. Lincoln in set phrase or
formal propositions, but that is the logic and effect of their
narratives. Some of these writers go even further, and represent him as
an almost unconscious instrument in the hands of the Almighty,--about as
irresponsible as the cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night which
went before the Israelites through the wilderness.

The truth is, that Mr. Lincoln was at once the ablest and the most
adroit politician of modern times. In all the history of the world I can
recall no example of a great leader, having to do with a people in any
degree free, who himself shaped and guided events to the same extent,
unless it was Julius Cæsar. Mr. Lincoln was not the creature of
circumstances. He _made_ circumstances to suit the necessities of his
own situation. He was less influenced by the inferior minds around him
than was Washington, Jefferson, or Jackson. His policy was invariably
formed by his own judgment, and it seldom took even the slightest color
from the opinions of others, however decided. In this originality and
independence of understanding he resembled somewhat the great William of

Mr. Lincoln was supposed at the outset of his Administration to have
placed himself, as it were, under the tutelage of William H. Seward; and
later he was generally believed to have abjectly endured the almost
insulting domination of Edwin M. Stanton. But I say without the
slightest fear of contradiction, that neither Mr. Seward nor Mr.
Stanton, great men as they both were, ever succeeded either in leading
or misleading Mr. Lincoln in a single instance. The Administration was
not a week old when Mr. Seward had found his level, and the larger
purposes, dangerous and revolutionary, with which Mr. Stanton entered
the War Department, were baffled and defeated before he had time to
fashion the instruments of usurpation. Consciously or unconsciously, Mr.
Seward and Mr. Stanton, like others, wrought out the will of the great
man who had called them to his side to be appropriately used in
furtherance of plans far greater and more comprehensive than they
themselves had conceived.

I shall not linger here to present instances of this subordination of
high officials and party leaders to Mr. Lincoln; they may be gleaned
without number from the published histories of the times. I shall
content myself with recounting some of his relations with the
illustrious, and at that time powerful, Democratic captain, George B.

General McClellan was as bitterly disliked by the politicians of the
country as he was cordially loved by the troops under his command.
Whatever may be said by the enemies of this unsuccessful general, it
must be remembered that he took command of the Army of the Potomac when
it was composed of a mass of undisciplined and poorly armed men. Yet
after fighting some of the hardest battles of the war, he left it, in
less than eighteen months, a splendid military organization, well
prepared for the accomplishment of the great achievements afterward
attained by General Grant. At the time McClellan took command of that
army, the South was powerful in all the elements of successful warfare.
It had much changed when General Grant took command. Long strain had
greatly weakened and exhausted the forces and resources of the South.
There had come a change from the former buoyant bravery of hope to the
desperate bravery of doubtful success; and it may well be questioned
whether any commander could have crushed the rebellion in the time
during which General McClellan was at the head of the army. That he
lacked aggressiveness must be admitted by his most ardent admirers. His
greatness as a defensive general precluded this quality.[7]

  [7] Page 199, last line, after the word "quality."

  While reading over some of the appealing telegrams sent to the War
  Department by General McClellan, Lincoln said, "It seems to me that
  McClellan has been wandering around and has got lost. He's been
  hollering for help ever since he went south--wants somebody to come to
  his deliverance and get him out of the place he's got into. He reminds
  me of the story of a man out in Illinois, who, in company with a number
  of friends, visited the state penitentiary. They wandered all through
  the institution and saw everything, but just about the time to depart,
  this man became separated from his friends and couldn't find his way
  out. At last he came across a convict who was looking out from between
  the bars of his cell door; he hastily asked: 'Say! How do you get out of
  this place?'"

At one time when things seemed at a standstill, and no aggressive
movements could be induced by the anxious Washington authorities, Mr.
Lincoln went to General McClellan's headquarters to have a talk with
him; but for some reason he was unable to get an audience with the
general. He returned to the White House much disturbed at his failure to
see the commander of the Union forces, and immediately sent for two
other general officers, to have a consultation. On their arrival, he
told them he must have some one to talk to about the situation; and as
he had failed to see General McClellan, he had sent for them to get
their views as to the possibility or probability of soon commencing
active operations with the Army of the Potomac. He said he desired an
expression of their opinion about the matter, for his was, that, if
something were not done and done soon, the bottom would fall out of the
whole thing; and he intended, if General McClellan did not want to use
the Army, to "borrow" it from him, provided he could see how it could be
made to do something; for, said he, "If McClellan can't fish, he ought
to cut bait at a time like this."

Mr. Lincoln never regarded General McClellan with personal or political
jealousy. He never feared him. He once profoundly trusted him, and to
the very last he hoped to employ his genius and his popularity in the
deliverance of their common country. His unfailing sagacity saw in him a
rising general, who should be at once Democratic and patriotic,--the
readiest possible instrument of harmonizing the North, unifying the
sentiment of the army, crushing the rebellion, and restoring the Union.
Having, then, no thought of imparting to the war any other object or
result than the restoration of the Union, pure and simple, and this
being likewise McClellan's view, the harmony and confidence that
obtained between them were plants of easy growth. The rise of discord,
the political intrigues, Democratic and Republican, which steadily aimed
to separate these noble characters, who were as steadily, of their own
impulses, tending toward each other,--these are matters of public
history. Through it all, Mr. Lincoln earnestly endeavored to support
McClellan in the field; and the diversion of men and the failure of
supplies were never in any degree due to a desire upon his part to
cripple the Democratic general. The success of this Democratic general
was the one thing necessary to enable the President to hold in check the
aggressive leaders of his own party, to restore the Union with the
fewest sacrifices, and to complete the triumph of his Administration
without dependence upon interests and factions which he seriously and
constantly dreaded.

One of the most striking instances of Mr. Lincoln's great moral courage
and self-reliance occurred just after the second battle of Bull Run. The
loss of this battle caused great consternation, not only in Washington,
but throughout the whole country. Everything was thrown into confusion.
All the Cabinet officers, except Secretary Welles and Secretary Seward
(the latter being absent at the time), signed a protest denouncing the
conduct of McClellan and demanding his immediate dismissal from the
service,--which protest, however, was not delivered to the President.
The feeling of indignation was very general throughout the country
against McClellan, and it was greatly intensified by exaggerated reports
of his supposed misconduct. Notwithstanding this deplorable state of
things, McClellan was appointed in command of the forces at Washington.
At a Cabinet meeting held three days after this battle, the members
first learned of this appointment. They were thunderstruck at the
announcement, and great regret was expressed. Mr. Stanton, with some
excitement, remarked that no such order had issued from the War
Department. The President then said with great calmness, but with some
degree of emphasis, "No, Mr. Secretary, the order was mine; and I will
be responsible for it to the country." By way of explanation, he said
something had to be done; but there did not appear to be any one to do
it, and he therefore took the responsibility on himself. He then
continued to say that McClellan had the confidence of the troops beyond
any other officer, and could, under the circumstances, more speedily and
effectively reorganize them and put them into fighting trim than any
other general. "This is what is now wanted most; and these," said the
President, "were my reasons for placing him in command."

Mr. Lincoln well knew the danger, and was apprehensive of losing
perhaps all except one of his Cabinet members by this action; but he
felt at the same time deeper apprehension of danger to the whole country
if the army were not immediately reorganized and fitted for instant
action. He knew he could replace his Cabinet from the patriotic men of
his acquaintance, but he feared he could not replace the army _in statu
quo_ unless he took the risk of losing them. He fully realized, as he
said, that nearly all the trouble had grown out of military jealousies,
and that it was time for some one to assert and exercise power. He
caused personal considerations to be sacrificed for the public good, and
in doing so he subdued his own personal feelings in the spirit of
unselfish patriotism.[8]

  [8] Page 203, line 14, after the word "patriotism."

  Whether the act proved his wisdom or not, the result certainly sustained
  and justified his course; the proceeding at least exemplified his
  firmness and determination in desperate emergencies. There is perhaps no
  act recorded in our history that demanded greater courage or more heroic

  In a conversation with me shortly after this Mr. Lincoln said, "Well, I
  suppose our victory at Antietam will condone my offence in reappointing
  McClellan. If the battle had gone against us poor McClellan (and I too)
  would be in a bad row of stumps."

  Had not the tide of success and victory turned in our favor about this
  time, there is little doubt that Mr. Lincoln would have been deposed and
  a military dictatorship erected upon the ruins of his administration.
  The victory at Antietam was, without doubt, the turning point for fame
  or for downfall in the career of Mr. Lincoln.

Between Francis P. Blair and Mr. Lincoln there existed from first to
last a confidential relationship as close as that maintained by Mr.
Lincoln with any other man. To Mr. Blair he almost habitually revealed
himself upon delicate and grave subjects more fully than to any other.
When he had conceived an important but difficult plan, he was almost
certain, before giving it practical form, to try it by the touchstone of
Mr. Blair's fertile and acute mind. Mr. Blair understood Mr. Lincoln's
conception of the importance of McClellan to the President and to the
country, and, like the President himself, he realized that McClellan's
usefulness, unless destroyed by some disaster in the field, could be
abridged only by some needless misunderstanding between the two. He knew
the stubborn spirit of the Democratic party from long experience in it
and with it; and he early foresaw the tremendous influence which would
inevitably be brought to bear on McClellan to separate him from Lincoln.
It was because he foresaw this that he desired to place nearest to
General McClellan in the field some one who, having the complete
confidence of both, would form a connecting link which could not be

To this end, about the time General Pleasanton was appointed
brigadier-general, and assigned to report to General McClellan, Mr.
Blair sought a conference with him and said: "You are going to
McClellan. You will have confidential relations with him. I like him,
and I want him to succeed; but no general can succeed without proper
relations with the Administration. Say to him from me that Frank P.
Blair, Jr., can be of great service to him. I shall have access to the
Administration, and can do much to keep McClellan right. Say to him that
he ought to ask for the assignment of Blair to him, and to make him his
chief of staff. Now, Pleasanton, when you get down in Virginia, say this
to Mac, and telegraph me the result."

It was then agreed that the communication should be in cipher. If
favorable, "The weather is fair;" if otherwise, "The weather is fair,
but portends a storm." Mr. Blair's message was given to McClellan, and
General Pleasanton saw that it made an impression; but General McClellan
faltered, subject, no doubt, to some of the influences that Mr. Blair
had foreseen. After three days' deliberation, the "bad weather" was
indicated to Mr. Blair.

In the campaign for Presidential honors in 1864, General McClellan, in
his letter of acceptance, repudiated the obvious meaning of the
Democratic platform framed for his candidacy. The Convention demanded "a
cessation of hostilities with a view of an ultimate convention of
States." To this McClellan responded: "So soon as it is clear, or even
probable, that our present adversaries are ready for peace on the basis
of the Union, we should exhaust all the resources of statesmanship ...
to secure such a peace." In this he stood precisely with Lincoln. The
sentiments of the representatives of the Democratic party in Convention
assembled seemed to be: Peace first, and Union would inevitably follow.
The sentiments of the respective chosen party standard-bearers were:
Union first, that peace might follow.

There was at no time during the campaign a reasonable doubt of the
election of Mr. Lincoln over General McClellan. Early in this campaign,
on going into Mr. Lincoln's office one night, I found him in a more
gleeful humor than usual. He was alone, and said, "I am glad you have
come in. Lamon, do you know that 'we have met the enemy, and they are
_ourn_?' I think the cabal of obstructionists 'am busted!' I feel
certain that if I live, I am going to be re-elected. Whether I deserve
to be or not, it is not for me to say; but on the score even of
remunerative chances for speculative service, I now am inspired with the
hope that our disturbed country further requires the valuable services
of your humble servant. 'Jordan has been a hard road to travel,' but I
feel now that, notwithstanding the enemies I have made and the faults I
have committed, I'll be _dumped_ on the right side of that stream. I
hope, however, that I may never have another four years of such anxiety,
tribulation, and abuse. My only ambition is and has been to put down the
rebellion and restore peace; after which I want to resign my office, go
abroad, take some rest, study foreign governments, see something of
foreign life, and in my old age die in peace with the good will of all
of God's creatures."

About two weeks before the election, Mr. Lincoln began to consider how
to make the result most decisive. He again recurred to McClellan, and
again consulted Mr. Blair. It seemed that neither of these sagacious men
could entirely free himself from the thought that in one way or another
General McClellan, with the Democratic party at his back, was somehow to
contribute a mighty blow toward the suppression of the rebellion and the
pacification of the country. With the respect which they both
entertained for General McClellan's intelligence, with the faith they
both had in his patriotism, they did not doubt that, seeing as they did
the utter impossibility of his own election to the Presidency, he would
be willing, if the way were graciously opened to him, to save his party
from the humiliation of a crushing defeat, to use his remaining power to
restore the Union without further unnecessary bloodshed, and to
tranquilize the country without more needless and heedless political

Mr. Lincoln said to Mr. Blair: "I shall be re-elected. No one can doubt
it. I do not doubt it, nor do you. It is patent to all. General
McClellan must see it as plainly as we do. Why should he not act upon
it, and help me to give peace to this distracted country? Would it not
be a glorious thing for the Union cause and the country, now that my
re-election is certain, for him to decline to run, favor my election,
and make certain a speedy termination of this bloody war? Don't you
believe that such a course upon his part would unify public partisan
sentiment, and give a decisive and fatal blow to all opposition to the
re-establishment of peace in the country? I think he is man enough and
patriot enough to do it. Do you? You have been his friend and mine. Will
you try this last appeal to General McClellan's patriotism?"

Mr. Blair heartily assented; and, as the result of their consultation,
Mr. Lincoln wrote a most remarkable autograph letter to his rival,
suggesting that he retire from the canvass and allow Mr. Lincoln's
election, then visibly impending, to be as nearly unanimous as might be.
The compensations to General McClellan and his party for the timely
relinquishment of a mere shadow were to be McClellan's immediate
elevation to be General of the Army, the appointment of his
father-in-law, Marcy, to be major-general, and the very substantial
recognition of the Democracy which would necessarily have followed these

This letter containing these distinct propositions was placed in Mr.
Blair's hands, and by him delivered to General McClellan.[9] It was the
attempted stroke of a master. Had it succeeded,--had the propositions
contained in the letter been accepted,--Mr. Lincoln might have lived to
prevent the follies and the crimes of reconstruction, and to bless his
country with an era of peace and good-will,--thus preventing those long
years of ferocious political contention over the results of the war
which followed its conclusion and his murder.

  [9] Page 208, line 3, after the word "McClellan."

                                      WASHINGTON, April 13, 1888.

     MY DEAR MARSHAL LAMON,--I received the proof sheet of your
     article enclosed in your note of the 8th. I have read it very
     carefully and I find the facts as stated are correct.

     Mr. F. P. Blair, Senior, told me the incident of conveying in
     person President Lincoln's letter to McClellan.

     I liked McClellan, but I have always believed he was politically
     slaughtered in the house of his alleged friends.

                                             Yours truly,
                                                     A. PLEASONTON.

What the great soldier might have done, if left alone to determine for
himself the proper course of action in the premises, can never be known.

The letter was submitted by General McClellan to some of his party
friends in New York, and its wise and statesmanlike propositions were
declined. On the morning of the election he resigned his commission. His
party was routed, and upon the death of Mr. Lincoln was opened the new
Iliad of partisan conflict and reconstruction woes.

Mr. Lincoln fearlessly struck out and boldly pursued, in situations the
most exacting, capital plans, of which none knew except those who might
be absolutely necessary to their execution. If he failed in the
patriotic objects which he proposed to accomplish by coalition with
McClellan, and was ultimately compelled to achieve them by less
Napoleonic and more tedious methods, the splendid conception and the
daring attempt were his alone, and prove him one of the most masterful
politicians of this or any recent age. The division of the Roman world
between the members of the Triumvirate was not comparable to this
proposal of his, because the Roman was a smaller world than the
American, and it was partitioned among three, while this was only to be

More than a quarter of a century has passed, and still the press teems
with inquiries concerning the relations between Lincoln and McClellan,
with accusation and defense by the literary partisans of each. Had the
general seen fit to respond to the magnanimous tender of the President,
their names would have been equally sacred in every American household,
and their fame would have been united, like their parties and their
country, by an act of patriotic statesmanship unparalleled in the
history of this world.



Mr. Lincoln regarded all public offices within his gift as a sacred
trust, to be administered solely for the people, and as in no sense a
fund upon which he could draw for the payment of private accounts. He
was exempt from the frailties common to most men, and he cast aside the
remembrance of all provocations for which he had cause to nourish
resentment. Here is a notable instance: A rather distinguished man had
been for years a respected acquaintance; his son, who was in the army,
was convicted of a grave offence, the penalty of which might have been
death. Lincoln, at the solicitation of the father, pardoned the son.
Time passed on until the political campaign of 1864, when a secret
military organization was formed in the State of Illinois to oppose the
re-election of Lincoln, and that father was at the head of this secret
organization. Some time after the election, the filling of an important
bureau office in the Treasury Department was under advisement. Among the
applicants was an old acquaintance of Mr. Lincoln, who was strongly
recommended by his friends. After a pause, Mr. Lincoln thoughtfully
said, "Well, gentlemen, whatever you may think, I never thought Mr. ----
had any more than an average amount of ability when we were young men
together,--I really didn't;" and then, after a short silence, he added:
"But this is a matter of opinion, and I suppose he thought just the same
about me; he had reason to, and--here I am! I guess we shall have to
give him some good place, but not this one. This position requires a man
of peculiar ability to fill it. I have been thinking seriously of giving
it to a man who does not like me very well, and who sought to defeat my
renomination. I can't afford to take notice of and punish every person
who has seen fit to oppose my election. We want a competent man for this
place. I know of no one who could perform the duties of this most
responsible office better than ----," calling him by name. And this
ingrate father got the appointment!

At another time there was an interview at the White House between a
prominent politician of New York and Mr. Lincoln, in reference to the
removal of an office-holder in New York. Every reason that could be
thought of was urged in favor of the removal, and finally it was urged
that this office-holder abused Mr. Lincoln personally. Mr. Lincoln at
last got out of patience, and ended the interview as follows: "You
cannot think ---- to be half as mean to me as I _know_ him to be; but I
cannot run this thing upon the theory that every office-holder must
think I am the greatest man in the nation, and I will not." The man
named, notwithstanding his meanness to Mr. Lincoln, remained in office
as long as Mr. Lincoln was President.

So much of Mr. Lincoln's time was taken up with questions of
office-seeking and office-holding, when he felt every moment should be
devoted to plans to avert the perils then threatening the country, that
he once compared himself to "a man so busy in letting rooms in one end
of his house that he cannot stop to put out the fire that is burning the

Mr. Lincoln was an ambitious man, but he desired power less for the sake
of prestige or authority than for the opportunities it presented of
being useful and beneficent in its exercise. Eagerly as he sought the
approval of his fellow-citizens where this could be attained without the
sacrifice of principle, he was always generous in according to others
whatever would lead to public approval. Immediately after the battle of
Gettysburg, Mr. Lincoln sat down and wrote a peremptory order to General
Meade to intercept Lee in his retreat, give him battle, and by this bold
stroke crush the rebel army and end the rebellion. The order was
accompanied by a friendly note, in which the great patriot said to
Meade: "The order I inclose is not of record. If you succeed, you need
not publish the order. If you fail, publish it. Then if you succeed, you
will have all the credit of the movement. If not, I'll take the

The manifestation of popular admiration and esteem as the people's
choice for the highest position within their gift, Mr. Lincoln most
highly valued, while his self-reliance and his _amour propre_ led him
at times to look upon favors bestowed upon him as a matter of personal
right, as a consideration due to himself individually. With all this,
his love of country was his paramount incentive. There was no period in
the progress of the war at which he would not willingly have laid down
his life, if by so doing he could have averted further bloodshed, and
remanded his fellow-countrymen to the enjoyment of a restored
tranquillity and renewed brotherhood. One instance in which this
sentiment led him to propose an extraordinary act of self-immolation is
deserving of special mention.

Mr. Lincoln ardently desired, on the return of peace, to exercise his
functions as Chief Magistrate of a reunited country. This, with the
reconstruction of the general government, was the darling aspiration of
his heart, the dearest heritage which the advent of peace could bestow.
But he subjected this ambition to the promptings of a Roman patriotism,
and proposed upon certain conditions a frank, full, and honest
renunciation of all claims to the Presidency for a second term; and in
declining, under any circumstances, to be a candidate for re-election,
he would cordially throw his entire influence, in so far as he could
control it, in behalf of Horatio Seymour, then governor of New York, for
President. The conditions were substantially as follows: Governor
Seymour was to withdraw his opposition to the draft, use his authority
and influence as governor in putting down the riots in New York, and
co-operate in all reasonable ways with the Administration in the
suppression of the Southern rebellion. This proposition was to be made
through Mr. Thurlow Weed.

It so happened that at this time Mr. Weed was dissatisfied with the
President for something he had either done or omitted to do, and had on
several occasions refused to come to Washington when his presence was
earnestly desired there. He must now be seen and advised with; he must
personally effect the negotiation, for he could accomplish it more
successfully than any other man. How to induce him to come to Washington
was the question to be solved. "The tinkling of Mr. Seward's little
bell" had struck terror to the souls of evil-doers in the North, and all
his dispatches over the wires were narrowly watched. It was inexpedient
for him to use telegraphic facilities of communication except upon the
most commonplace subjects, since everything emanating from him was
eagerly scanned and devoured by the _quid nuncs_ throughout the country.
A special messenger was therefore decided on, for affairs were now in a
precarious condition, and daily, hourly growing worse, and time was
important. The messenger started immediately for New York, but was
recalled before reaching the train. He was thereupon directed to
telegraph in his own name to Mr. Weed, and that gentleman arrived in
Washington by the next succeeding train. After a lengthy interview with
the President and Mr. Seward, Mr. Weed telegraphed to Governor Seymour
requesting him to come to Washington on business of urgent importance.
This the governor declined to do, adding, in his reply, that the
distance to and from Washington and Albany was precisely the same, and
that if they wanted to confer with him, to come to Albany, where he
would be glad to meet them. Mr. Weed, upon this, left for that city, and
after making a very brief stay there, returned to Washington and
reported "Proposition declined."

This answer was not expected by Mr. Lincoln, especially in time of civil
war, and from the governor of the great and influential State of New
York; and it was with sincere and manifest chagrin that the President
saw himself deterred from making the magnanimous self-sacrifice

Nothing that affected the interests of the government escaped Mr.
Lincoln's vigilant thought and careful consideration. I recollect that
on one occasion, just after the greenback currency got under full
headway of circulation, I was in his office when the conversation turned
on the condition of our finances, and on the greenback as a
representative of money. He was in high spirits that day, and seemed to
feel happier than I had seen him for a long time. I casually asked him
if he knew how our currency was made.

"Yes," said he; "I think it is about--as the lawyers would say--in the
following manner, to wit: the engraver strikes off the sheets, passes
them over to the Register of the currency, who places his earmarks upon
them, signs them, hands them over to Father Spinner, who then places
his wonderful signature at the bottom, and turns them over to Mr. Chase,
who, as Secretary of the United States Treasury, issues them to the
public as money,--and may the good Lord help any fellow that doesn't
take all he can honestly get of them!" Taking from his pocket a five
dollar greenback, with a twinkle of his eye, he said: "Look at Spinner's
signature! Was there ever anything like it on earth? Yet it is
unmistakable; no one will ever be able to counterfeit it!"[J]

  [J] [Illustration: Signature]

"But," I said, "you certainly don't suppose that Spinner actually wrote
his name on that bill, do you?"

"Certainly I do; why not?"

I then asked, "How much of this currency have we afloat?"

He remained thoughtful for a moment, and then stated the amount.

I continued: "How many times do you think a man can write a signature
like Spinner's in the course of twenty-four hours?"

The beam of hilarity left his countenance at once. He put the greenback
into his vest pocket, and walked the floor; after awhile he stopped,
heaved a long breath and said, "This thing frightens me!" He then rang
for a messenger, and told him to ask the Secretary of the Treasury to
please come over to see him. Mr. Chase soon put in an appearance. Mr.
Lincoln stated the cause of his alarm, and asked Mr. Chase to explain in
detail the _modus operandi_, the system of checks in his office, etc.,
and a lengthy discussion followed,--Lincoln contending that there were
not sufficient checks to afford any degree of safety in the money-making
department, and Mr. Chase insisting that all the guards for protection
were afforded that he could devise. "In the nature of things," he said,
"somebody must be trusted in this emergency. You have entrusted me, and
Mr. Spinner is entrusted with untold millions, and we have to trust our
subordinates." Words waxed warmer than I had ever known them to do
between these distinguished gentlemen, when Mr. Lincoln feelingly
apologized by saying,--

"Don't think that I am doubting or could doubt your integrity, or that
of Mr. Spinner; nor am I finding fault with either of you; but it
strikes me that this thing is all wrong, and dangerous. I and the
country know you and Mr. Spinner, but we don't know your subordinates,
who are great factors in making this money, and have the power to
bankrupt the government in an hour. Yet there seems to be no protection
against a duplicate issue of every bill struck, and I can see no way of
detecting duplicity until we come to redeem the currency; and even then,
the duplicate cannot be told from the original."

The result of this conversation was, that Lincoln became so impressed
with danger from this source that he called the attention of Congress to
the matter, and a joint committee was appointed. Senator Sprague of
Rhode Island was its chairman; but the result of the investigation,
like many others during the war, was never made public to my knowledge.
Considering the crippled financial condition of our country, and the
importance of first-class credit abroad during our war, as little
publicity on the subject as possible was doubtless the best for us

_Apropos_ of greenbacks, Don Piatt gave a description in the "North
American Review," a few years ago, of the first proposition to Mr.
Lincoln to issue interest-bearing notes as currency, which was as

     "Amasa Walker, a distinguished financier of New England, suggested
     that notes issued directly from the government to the people, as
     currency, should bear interest. This for the purpose, not only of
     making the notes popular, but for the purpose of preventing
     inflation, by inducing people to hoard the notes as an investment
     when the demands of trade would fail to call them into circulation
     as a currency.

     "This idea struck David Taylor, of Ohio, with such force that he
     sought Mr. Lincoln and urged him to put the project into immediate
     execution. The President listened patiently, and at the end said,
     'That is a good idea, Taylor; but you must go to Chase. He is
     running that end of the machine, and has time to consider your
     proposition.' Taylor sought the Secretary of the Treasury, and laid
     before him Amasa Walker's plan. Chase heard him through in a cold,
     unpleasant manner, and then said: 'That is all very well, Mr.
     Taylor; but there is one little obstacle in the way that makes the
     plan impracticable, and that is the Constitution.' Saying this, he
     turned to his desk, as if dismissing both Mr. Taylor and his
     proposition at the same moment.

     "The poor enthusiast felt rebuked and humiliated. He returned to
     the President, however, and reported his defeat. Mr. Lincoln
     looked at the would-be financier with the expression at times so
     peculiar to his homely face, that left one in doubt whether he was
     jesting or in earnest. 'Taylor!' he exclaimed, 'go back to Chase
     and tell him not to bother himself about the Constitution. Say that
     I have that sacred instrument here at the White House, and I am
     guarding it with great care.' Taylor demurred to this, on the
     ground that Mr. Chase showed by his manner that he knew all about
     it, and didn't wish to be bored by any suggestion. 'We'll see about
     that,' said the President, and taking a card from the table he
     wrote upon it, 'The Secretary of the Treasury will please consider
     Mr. Taylor's proposition. We must have money, and I think this a
     good way to get it.--A. LINCOLN.'

     "Armed with this, the real father of the greenbacks again sought
     the Secretary. He was received more politely than before, but was
     cut short in his advocacy of the measure by a proposition for both
     of them to see the President. They did so, and Mr. Chase made a
     long and elaborate constitutional argument against the proposed

     "'Chase,' said Mr. Lincoln, after the Secretary had concluded,
     'down in Illinois I was held to be a pretty good lawyer, and I
     believe I could answer every point you have made; but I don't feel
     called upon to do it.... These rebels are violating the
     Constitution to destroy the Union; I will violate the Constitution,
     if necessary, to save the Union: and I suspect, Chase, that our
     Constitution is going to have a rough time of it before we get done
     with this row. Now, what I want to know is, whether, Constitution
     aside, this project of issuing interest-bearing notes is a good

     "'I must say,' responded Mr. Chase, 'that, with the exception you
     make, it is not only a good one, but the only one open to us to
     raise money. If you say so, I will do my best to put it into
     immediate and practical operation, and you will never hear from me
     any opposition on this subject.'"[10]

  [10] Page 219, last line, after the word "subject."

  At a cabinet meeting, the advisability of putting a motto on greenbacks
  similar to the "In God We Trust" on the silver coins was discussed and
  the President was asked what his view was. He replied, "if you are going
  to put a motto on the greenback, I would suggest that of Peter and John:
  'Silver and gold we have not, but what we have we'll give you.'"

Mr. Lincoln acquired the name of "honest Abe Lincoln" by a kind of
honesty much higher than that which restrains a man from the
appropriation of his neighbor's goods. He did not feel at liberty to
take every case that was offered him. He was once overheard saying to a
man who was consulting him and earnestly urging his legal rights, "Yes,
I can gain your suit. I can set a neighborhood at loggerheads. I can
distress a widowed mother and six fatherless children, and get for you
six hundred dollars, to which, for all I can see, she has as good a
right as you have. But I will not do so. There are some legal rights
which are moral wrongs."

Mr. Lincoln at no time in his life could tolerate anything like
persecution; his whole nature appeared to rebel against any appearance
of such a thing, and he never failed to act in the promptest manner when
any such case was brought to his attention. One of the most celebrated
cases ever tried by any court-martial during the war was that of
Franklin W. Smith and his brother, charged with defrauding the
government. These men bore a high character for integrity. At this time,
however, courts-martial were seldom invoked for any other purpose than
to convict the accused, regardless of the facts in the case, and the
Smiths shared the usual fate of persons whose charges were submitted to
such an arbitrament. They had been kept in prison, their papers seized,
their business destroyed, and their reputation ruined, all which was
followed by a conviction. After the judgment of the court, the matter
was submitted to the President for his approval. The case was such a
remarkable one, and was regarded as so monstrous in its unjust and
unwarrantable conclusion, that Mr. Lincoln, after a full and careful
investigation of it, annulled the whole proceeding. It is very
remarkable that the record of the President's decision could never be
found afterward in the Navy Department. No exact copy can be obtained of
it. Some one in the office, however, familiar with the tenor and effect
of it, furnished its wording as nearly as possible. The following
embraces the sentiment, if not the exact words, of that remarkable

     "_WHEREAS_, Franklin W. Smith had transactions with the Navy
     Department to the amount of a million and a quarter of dollars; and
     _Whereas_, he had a chance to steal at least a quarter of a million
     and was only charged with stealing twenty-two hundred dollars, and
     the question now is about his stealing one hundred, I don't believe
     he stole anything at all. _Therefore_, the record and the findings
     are disapproved, declared null and void, and the defendants are
     fully discharged."

In 1862 Senator Sherman had prepared a very elaborate speech in which he
devoted a good portion of it to prove that Mr. Lincoln was a failure and
unless something was soon done by Congress, the war would be a failure.
Someone told Mr. Lincoln that Senator Sherman intended to make such a
speech. Lincoln said: "Well Sherman is a patriot and a statesman and is
thoroughly for the Union; perhaps his opinion of me may be just. It may
do good. I would not have him change a word." Lincoln's remarks that
night were repeated to Sherman and they made such an impression on him
that he omitted from his speech the criticism on Lincoln.

Colonel J. W. Forney relates a characteristic incident of Mr. Lincoln's
generosity to an adversary. He says that one afternoon in February or
March of 1865, he was startled by a visit from his old friend Washington
McLean of the Cincinnati "Inquirer." "I have called," Mr. McLean said,
"to ask you to do me a favor I shall never forget, and you must do it. I
will not take no for an answer. You, and you alone can serve me."

"Well, old friend," said Colonel Forney, "you know I will serve you if I
can; what is it?" "Now don't be alarmed when I tell you that Roger A.
Pryor is in Fort Lafayette, having been captured within our lines, and
that I want you to get him out."

"Roger A. Pryor, of Petersburg; Roger A. Pryor, who fired on Sumter;
Roger A. Prior, the hot-spur of Congress?"

"Yes, and your old coadjutor of the Washington Union when you were both
Democrats together. He went into the Rebellion, is now a prisoner, and I
appeal to you to go with me to the President and ask his release." As
there was no denying his impetuous friend, Colonel Forney got into his
carriage and they were soon at the White House. Mr. McLean was
introduced and it was soon found that Mr. Lincoln knew all about him and
his paper. He told his story, which was patiently heard. Colonel Forney
followed with a statement of his former relations with Mr. Pryor, and
said that he thought an act of liberality to such a man, and on a
request from a frank political opponent like Washington McLean would be
worthy of the head of a great nation.

"Let me see," said Mr. Lincoln, as he fixed his spectacles and turned to
a little drawer in the desk behind him, "I think I have a memorandum
here that refers to some good thing done by General Pryor to a party of
our Pennsylvania boys who were taken prisoners in an attack upon the
Petersburg fortifications." And with that he took out from a small
package a statement signed by the men who had enjoyed the hospitality of
General Pryor on the occasion referred to.

He had, it appears, given them food from his larder at a time when his
own family were in a most desperate condition for provisions. "The man
who can do such kindness to an enemy," said the President, "cannot be
cruel and revengeful;" then he wrote some lines on a card which he
handed to Mr. McLean with the remark: "I think that will do; at any rate
it is all that I can give you," and they took their leave. Going down
stairs they looked with amazement at the writing on the card, which read
thus: "To Colonel Burke, Commanding at Fort Lafayette, New York. Please
release General Roger A. Pryor, who will report to Colonel Forney on
Capitol Hill. A. Lincoln." "Report to Colonel Forney!" Colonel Forney
who was "bubbling over with resentment against the Southern leaders who
had hindered his advancement when Buchanan was elected President." But
there was no changing the order, so Mr. McLean dashed off in the next
train to New York, the happiest Democrat in the United States, and two
days after he walked into Colonel Forney's office with the "prisoner."
General Pryor took the upper rooms of Colonel Forney's lodgings and was
his guest for more than a week, "during which time he was visited by all
the chivalry, male and female, of the vicinage." The President enjoyed
the fact that Colonel Forney had such good company, and Thaddeus
Stephens, his neighbor, habitually accosted him in the morning with the
grim salute: "How's your Democratic friend and brother this morning?"
Colonel Forney had to admit that a more courteous gentleman he had never
met than General Pryor, and did him the justice to say that he expressed
the most fervent gratitude to Mr. Lincoln for his kindness.



In November, 1861, the public mind was wildly agitated by an episode of
the war, which, although without military significance, at one time
threatened to predetermine the final issue of the contest in favor of
the independence of the Southern States, by the accession of a powerful
ally and auxiliary to their cause. It not only seriously imperilled our
existing relations of peace and amity with a foreign power, but came
near converting its declared neutrality into an active sympathy and
co-operation with the Confederacy. This incident, commonly known as the
"Trent" affair, originated in the unauthorized and illegal arrest of the
Confederate Commissioners, Messrs. Mason and Slidell, with their
secretaries, on board a British mail packet, by Capt. Charles Wilkes of
the United States Navy, and their forcible transfer from the protection
of the British flag to the frigate "San Jacinto," under Wilkes's

This arbitrary proceeding, wholly unauthorized by the government and in
flagrant violation of every principle of public law, was received with a
universal outburst of joy and exultation throughout the entire country.
The Confederates saw in this wanton aggression and outrage the
realization of their cherished hopes of an imbroglio--possibly of a
war--between England and the United States. The satisfaction evinced in
the Northern States seemed less comprehensible, as the first outgoing
blockade-runner could easily have supplied substitutes for the captured
and imprisoned Commissioners. Yet for this act, which was acclaimed and
sanctioned by a verdict of popular approval, indorsed by a special
resolution of thanks in the National Legislature, Captain Wilkes was
commended and congratulated in a letter from the chief of his
Department. In fact, every one seemed to vie with every one else in
weaving a civic chaplet to the commander of the "San Jacinto" for his
lawless deed.

Amidst the wild excitement created by this international interlude, the
President alone maintained an imperturbable calmness and composure. From
the very first moment he regarded the capture of the Commissioners as
unwise and inexpedient. He was heard to say repeatedly that it would
lead to dangerous complications with England. "Unfortunately," said he,
"we have played into the hands of that wily power, and placed in their
grasp a whip with which to scourge us." He went on to say further that
the "Trent" affair had occurred at the most inopportune and critical
period of the war, and would greatly tend to its prolongation by
creating a genuine bond of sympathy between England and the insurgent

When interrogated, on one occasion, as to whether it was not a great
humiliation to him to surrender the captured Commissioners on the
peremptory demand of John Bull, Mr. Lincoln replied, "Yes, it was the
bitterest pill I have ever swallowed. There is, however, this
counterbalancing consideration, that England's triumph will not have a
long tenure of life. After our war is over, I trust and believe
successfully to ourselves, we shall be powerful enough to call her to an
account and settlement for the embarrassment and damage she has
inflicted upon us in our hour of trouble; and this reminds me of a story
which I think aptly illustrates the condition of things existing between
their government and ours." He then related the following anecdote:

A sick man in Illinois, the hope of whose recovery was far from
encouraging, was admonished by his friends present that as probably he
had not many hours to live he should bear malice to none, and before
closing his earthly account should make peace with all his enemies.
Turning his face to the wall and drawing a long sigh, the invalid was
lost for a few moments in deep reflection. Giving utterance to a deep
groan as he mentally enumerated the long catalogue of enmities incurred,
which would render the exertion of peace-making a somewhat prolonged
one, he admitted in a feeble voice that he undoubtedly believed this to
be the best course, and added: "The man whom I hate most cordially of
all is Bill Johnson, and so I guess I'll begin with him." Johnson was
summoned, and at once repaired to the bedside of his repentant friend.
The latter extended to him his hand, saying with a meekness that would
have done honor to Moses, that he wanted to die at peace with all the
world, and to bury all his past enmity. Bill, who was much inclined to
the melting mood, here burst into tears, making free use of his
bandanna, and warmly returning the pressure of the dying man's hand,
solemnly and impressively assured him of his forgiveness. As the now
reconciled friends were about to separate, in the expectation of never
again seeing each other on earth, "Stop," exclaimed the penitent invalid
to his departing visitor, who had now reached the door; "the account is
now square between us, Bill Johnson; but, see here, if I _should_ happen
to get well, that old grudge stands!"

In December, about one month after the arrest of the Confederate
Commissioners, when Mr. Lincoln and his Cabinet were in a state of
alarm, fearing a war with England, Mr. Chase one day came to the
President and told him that Mr. Stanton, who had been attorney-general
under Buchanan, had talked with him on the subject of this trouble with
Great Britain, and had expressed the opinion that the action of the
American government in arresting Mason and Slidell was legal and could
be sustained by international law. The President told Mr. Chase that
Stanton did not like him, and had treated him rudely on one occasion;
but that if Mr. Chase thought Stanton would meet him, he would be glad
to have him do so and give his views on the subject. In an hour Mr.
Chase had Stanton in Mr. Lincoln's presence. Mr. Lincoln expressed his
gratification at hearing of Mr. Stanton's views, and asked him to
repeat them. When Mr. Stanton had finished the discussion of the case,
and of the laws bearing thereon, Mr. Lincoln expressed his thanks, and
asked Stanton to put his opinion in writing, which he promised to do by
ten o'clock the next morning. The opinion was brought at the appointed
time. Mr. Lincoln read it and filed it, and then said: "Mr. Stanton,
this is a time of war, and you are as much interested in sustaining the
government as myself or any other man. This is no time to consider mere
party issues. The life of the nation is in danger. I need the best
counsellors around me. I have every confidence in your judgment, and
have concluded to ask you to become one of my counsellors. The office of
the Secretary of War will be vacant, and I want you to accept the
position. Will you do it?"

Stanton was amazed, and said: "Why, Mr. President, you take me by
surprise! This is an embarrassing question, but if you will give me a
day or two to consider, I will give you an answer." Two days later he
called on the President and signified his intention to accept. On the
15th day of January, 1862, the portfolio of Secretary of War was placed
in his hands.[K]

                                       [K] DENVER, COL., May 23, 1885.

     _Hon. Wm. A. Wheeler, Malone, N. Y._

     MY DEAR SIR,--A few days since I had the pleasure of reading your
     "Recollections of Lincoln" from the Malone (N. Y.) "Palladium," in
     which you say: "At the extra session of Congress in July, 1861, a
     law was passed authorizing the appointment of additional paymasters
     for the Army;" that the President assented to your request that
     your life-long friend, Major Sabin, should be one of the
     appointees; that, in September following, Mr. Lincoln wrote you
     saying he had sent the appointment of Mr. Sabin to the Secretary of
     War, who would notify him to appear for muster into the Service.
     October passed, and no notice came. Then, you say, a letter written
     to "Secretary Stanton" failed to bring a response; that the latter
     part of November you went to Washington to attend the regular
     session of Congress, taking Mr. Sabin with you. You then say: "The
     day after my arrival I waited upon Secretary Stanton," etc.; you
     then detail the conversation had with Mr. Lincoln, and the fact of
     his making a somewhat imperative order to the Secretary to make the
     appointment "at once." You say, "I called on Mr. Stanton the next
     morning, who on its [the letter's or order's] presentation was
     simply furious." And after this you speak of what was said and done
     by "Mr. Stanton, the Secretary of War."

     Allow me, my dear sir, to assure you that I now entertain, and
     always have entertained, for you the most profound respect, and to
     express my sincere regret that you were not President instead of
     Vice-President of the United States. I therefore venture to hope
     that you will pardon me for saying that I am unable to reconcile
     the statements purporting to be made by you, alluded to above, with
     the historical fact that Mr. Stanton was not appointed Secretary of
     War until in January the year following,--namely, 1862. It occurs
     to me that there must be a mistake made in your paper, either of
     _dates_ or of the name of the Secretary of War. I am certain this
     irreconcilable statement was not made by you as was the blunder
     made by Sir Walter Scott in his "Ivanhoe" (chap. i.). "The date of
     this story," as he says, "refers to a period towards the end of the
     reign of Richard I." Richard died in 1199; nevertheless, Sir Walter
     makes the disguised Wamba style himself "a poor brother of the
     Order of St. Francis," although the Order of St. Francis was not
     founded until 1210, and of course the saintship of the founder had
     still a later date.

     If my recollection serves me correctly, Mr. Stanton, whose memory
     is now cherished by the great mass of the Republican party, at the
     dates you speak of and refer to was regarded as a Bourbon of the
     strictest sect. Up to the time of the capture of the "Trent," with
     Mason and Slidell aboard, on the 8th of November, 1861, if Mr.
     Stanton had conceived any "change of heart" and cessation of
     hostility to the Administration, it never was publicly manifested.
     It was something over a month after this capture that he was
     consulted by Mr. Lincoln, at the suggestion of Secretary Chase, as
     an international lawyer concerning the legality of the capture and
     arrest of Messrs. Mason and Slidell, which was the first interview
     that was had between Mr. Lincoln and Mr. Stanton since the
     commencement of the Administration. This interview led to Mr.
     Stanton's appointment as Secretary of War. Mr. Lincoln had occasion
     for regret about the "Trent" capture, but never for the capture of
     Mr. Stanton.

     The immortal Shakespeare, like yourself and others, sometimes got
     his dates confused; for instance, in his "Coriolanus," he says of
     C. Marcius, "Thou wast a soldier even to Cato's will," when in fact
     Marcius Coriolanus was banished from Rome and died over two hundred
     years before Cato was born. Again, his reference in the same play,
     of Marcius sitting in state like Alexander: the latter was not born
     for a hundred and fifty years after Coriolanus's death. He also
     says in "Julius Cæsar," "The clock strikes three," when in truth
     and in fact there were no striking clocks until more than eight
     hundred years after the death of Cæsar. Another inaccuracy is to be
     found in "King Lear" in regard to spectacles. Spectacles were not
     worn until the thirteenth century. And still another in this
     immortal writer's statements in his play of "Macbeth," where he
     speaks of cannon: cannon were not invented until 1346, and Macbeth
     was killed in 1054.

     You will pardon me these citations, for they are made in a spirit
     of playful illustration, to show how great minds often become
     confused about dates.

      "What you have said
      I have considered; what you have to say
      I will with patience wait to hear."

     I read your "Recollections of Lincoln" with great interest, as I do
     everything I see written about that most wonderful, interesting,
     and unique of all of our public men. I sincerely hope you will
     receive this in the same kindly spirit that it is written, prompted
     as it is by a curiosity to know how this variance about Mr.
     Stanton's official status during the first year of Mr. Lincoln's
     Administration can be reconciled. I will regard it as an esteemed
     favor if you will drop me a line explaining it.

     Your interesting and graphic description of Mr. Lincoln's pardon of
     the soldier convicted and condemned for sleeping at his post
     interested me very much. I have a curiosity to know whether this
     soldier's name was not William Scott? If Scott was his name, I have
     a reason to believe he was the person whom Francis De Haes Janvier
     immortalized in verse.

     I have the honor to be, very sincerely,

                               Your humble servant,
                                                       WARD H. LAMON.

       *       *       *       *       *

                                          MALONE, N. Y., June 2, 1885.

     _Ward H. Lamon, Denver, Col._

     MY DEAR SIR,--I thank you most sincerely for your letter of the
     23d ultimo, and for the friendly feeling you evince for me.

     I am simply mortified at my gross blunder, and can only plead in
     mitigation the lapse of more than twenty years since the affairs
     alluded to transpired, in which time, aside from having performed a
     large amount of hard public and private work, I have experienced an
     amount of trouble exceptional to ordinary men, having buried every
     one near to me,--father, mother, brothers, and sisters. I have no
     one left of nearer kin to me than cousins, and no one to care for
     my house except servants. For the last three years I have been an
     invalid, confined to my house and for a considerable portion of the
     time to my bed: what wonder that "the warder of the brain" should
     be sometimes at fault! The mistake must be one of _time_, for the
     actors in the transaction are too vividly impressed upon my memory
     ever to be forgotten until that faculty is wholly dethroned.

     I may be mistaken in the fact that Sabin accompanied me when I went
     on for the regular session in December, 1861; but so sure was I of
     it that before your letter I would have sworn to it. You have
     furnished me with a needed caution. It is unpleasant to find out
     that years are telling upon us, but it is healthful nevertheless.
     And so I may be mistaken as to the time intervening between the
     successive stages of the appointment. Sabin is somewhere in the
     West, and I will endeavor to find his whereabouts and get his
     statement of the facts. Brevet Brig.-Genl. Chauncey McKeever, now
     Assistant Adjutant-General of the Army, was at the time in
     Stanton's office in a confidential capacity, and I think will
     remember the transaction.

     I do not remember the name of the pardoned soldier. One of
     Kellogg's sons lives in the southern part of the State; I will
     endeavor to get the name, and if successful will write you.

     Now, my dear sir, mortified as I am, I feel almost compensated in
     having drawn from you such an admirable collection of anachronisms
     of famous literary men of the world. I am greatly interested in it,
     and shall take the liberty of showing it to my literary friends. In
     your readings have you ever encountered the "Deathless City," a
     beautiful poem written by Elizabeth A. Allen? I never saw but this
     single production from her pen. Who was or is she, and did she
     write other things?

     My memories of Mr. Lincoln are a source of great pleasure to me.
     Many of them recall illustrations just a little "off color."

     If you ever come east, I wish you would come across northern New
     York and drop in upon me. I should greatly delight to live over the
     days of the war with you.

     Again thanking you for your letter, and fully reciprocating your
     good-will, I am

                               Very cordially yours,
                                                    WM. A. WHEELER.

The appointment of Mr. Stanton in Mr. Lincoln's Cabinet was a great
surprise to the country. Those who were acquainted with the relations
existing between these two men when they were both practising lawyers
were not only astonished at this appointment, but were apprehensive that
there could not possibly be harmony of action and co-operation between
them. There were perhaps seldom, if ever, two really great men who were
as unlike in all respects as Mr. Lincoln and Mr. Stanton. They were
dissimilar in their habits of life, disposition, taste, in fact in every
particular of the general make-up of man. But Mr. Lincoln fully
appreciated Mr. Stanton's great ability, both as a lawyer and as a
Cabinet counsellor under Mr. Buchanan. The President needed the ablest
counsel he could obtain, and allowed no personal consideration to
influence him in selecting the right man for the service.

In order to make the history of this appointment complete in its
personal element, it will be necessary to go back to the year 1858, when
Abraham Lincoln was practising law in Springfield, Illinois, and Edwin
M. Stanton was at the head of his profession in Cincinnati. The
celebrated McCormick Reaper and Mower case was before the United States
Court in Cincinnati. Mr. Stanton had been retained as counsel-in-chief
on one side of the case, and to be associated with him were T. D.
Lincoln of Cincinnati, and Abraham Lincoln of Illinois. When Mr. Lincoln
arrived in Cincinnati to attend the trial, he called upon Mr. Stanton,
who treated him in so impolite and rude a manner that he went to his
client and informed him that he should have to withdraw as his counsel
in the case and stated his reasons therefor. Mr. Lincoln was entreated
to remain in the case, and Mr. Stanton was seen and was talked to about
the matter. Mr. Lincoln happened to be in a room adjoining where this
conversation occurred, and overheard Mr. Stanton say that he would not
associate with such a d----, gawky, long-armed ape as that; if he could
not have a man who was a gentleman in appearance associated with him in
the case, he would himself abandon it. When the client returned, Mr.
Lincoln refunded to him the five-hundred dollar retainer fee,
peremptorily declining to keep it. He then returned to Urbana, Illinois,
where court was in session, and, to explain his unexpected return,
related the fact and his mortification to his associate members of the
bar. After this event, Mr. Lincoln never met Mr. Stanton until the
"Trent" affair brought them together; yet it is certain that Mr. Lincoln
never forgot the gratuitous insult then cast upon him.

To this day there is a settled belief that at this time the
Administration councils manifested a lack of hearty co-operation and
unity of purpose and sentiment. This is a mistake, for throughout Mr.
Lincoln's Administration as much harmony as could reasonably be expected
existed between him and his Cabinet ministers. Differences arose between
them at times in regard to minor considerations of policy, but never to
the extent that the differences were not eventually harmonized,
compromised, or accommodated. To be sure, many things occurred during
the fearful war-struggle about which he and his Cabinet differed in
their estimates and conclusions, and Mr. Lincoln thereby was often
disappointed and grieved. As one instance of his disappointment, may be
mentioned his abandonment of a message to Congress in deference to the
opinion and counsel of his advisers. This occurred directly after his
return from the conference he and Mr. Seward had with Messrs. Stephens,
Campbell, and Hunter at City Point on the James River.

Notwithstanding his hatred of the institution of slavery, Mr. Lincoln
believed that the holder of slaves had a right of property in them which
the government had no right, legally or morally, to interfere with in
the States unless forced thereto by the necessities of war. He gladly
approved the action of Congress in providing for the payment of
compensation for the slaves liberated in the District of Columbia. The
message above referred to recommended an appropriation of three hundred
million dollars to be apportioned among the several slave States, in
proportion to slave population, as compensation to the owners of
liberated slaves in the insurgent States, with the condition that the
insurgents should lay down their arms, disband their troops, and return
and renew their allegiance to the United States government. Mr. Seward
at this time was not present, being confined to bed by injuries he had
received by being thrown from his carriage. All the other members of the
Cabinet were present, every one of whom opposed the message. Lincoln
then asked: "How long will this war last?" No reply came. He then
answered his own question, saying: "It will doubtless last one hundred
days longer; we are now spending three million dollars a day, which rate
will aggregate the amount I propose to appropriate in order to put an
end to this terrible blood-shedding." Then with a deep sigh he said,
"Since you are all opposed to me I will not send this message," and
turning round he placed the paper in his drawer. It is rather a curious
coincidence that the war did last just about a hundred days after
Lincoln's remarkable interview with his Cabinet on this subject.

There is also a prevailing opinion that the Secretary of War (Stanton)
at times arbitrarily refused to obey or carry out Mr. Lincoln's orders.
This is also not true. This opinion is largely based upon Mr. Stanton's
refusal of permits to persons desirous of going through the lines into
insurgent districts. The persons who were disobliged in this respect
were very severe in their comments on Mr. Stanton's course, which they
considered harsh, disobliging, and sometimes cruel. On refusal of Mr.
Stanton to accommodate in many such cases, Mr. Lincoln was appealed to,
and his invariable reply was: "I cannot always know whether a permit
ought to be granted, and I want to oblige everybody when I can; and
Stanton and I have an understanding that if I send an order to him which
cannot be consistently granted, he is to refuse it. This he sometimes
does." This state of things caused him to say to a man who complained of
Stanton, "I have not much influence with this Administration, but I
expect to have more with the next."

Not long before the death of Mr. Lincoln, Mr. Stanton tendered his
resignation as Secretary of War. His letter of resignation was couched
in the kindest language, paying a heartfelt tribute to Mr. Lincoln's
uniform and constant friendship, and his faithful devotion to the
country. It stated that the writer had accepted the position of
Secretary of War for the purpose of holding it only till the war should
end, and that now he felt that his work was completed, and that it was
his duty to resign. Mr. Lincoln was greatly moved by the tone of the
letter, and said: "Mr. Stanton, you have been a faithful public officer,
and it is not for you to say when you will be no longer needed here." At
the President's earnest solicitation, the letter of resignation was
withdrawn, and Mr. Stanton continued to occupy the War Office until
after Mr. Lincoln's death.

When Mr. Lincoln submitted his Proclamation of Emancipation for the
consideration of the Cabinet, he had not conferred with any one about
the phraseology of the instrument. He read the document through, without
a single interruption or comment. They all concurred in opinion that it
was an admirable paper. Mr. Chase then said: "Mr. President, you have
invoked the considerate judgment of mankind, but you have not invoked
the blessing of Almighty God on your action in this matter. I believe He
has something to do with this question." Mr. Lincoln then said: "You are
right, Mr. Secretary. I most humbly thank you for that suggestion; it
was an oversight of mine. Do me the favor of taking a pen and paper and
adding what you would have in conclusion." Mr. Chase wrote seven
words,--namely, "and the gracious favor of Almighty God." Mr. Lincoln
then added them to the end of the last paragraph, which made it read as
follows: "And upon this act, sincerely believed to be an act of justice,
warranted by the Constitution upon military necessity, I invoke the
considerate judgment of mankind and the gracious favor of Almighty

  [11] Page 235, line 25, after the word "God."

  John W. Crisfield served in Congress with Mr. Lincoln in 1847 and was a
  warm friend of Lincoln. Being elected again as Representative in 1861,
  he was in Congress when the proposition was made for gradual
  emancipation in the border states by paying the loyal owners for their
  slaves. Mr. Crisfield was on the committee that was to draft the reply
  to this proposition. When he was at the White House one day in July,
  1862, Mr. Lincoln said: "Well, Crisfield, how are you getting along with
  your report, have you written it yet?" Mr. Crisfield replied that he had
  not. Mr. Lincoln--knowing that the Emancipation Proclamation was coming,
  in fact was then only two months away--said, "You had better come to an
  agreement. Niggers will never be higher."

In referring to the differences of opinion entertained between Mr.
Lincoln and the members of his Cabinet, it will be observed that in the
matter of reconstruction of the State governments his policy was,
according to his proclamation, that the persons who were authorized to
re-establish such governments were to be "the qualified voters of the
respective States before the acts of secession." Mr. Chase alone of all
the Cabinet objected to this clause of the proclamation, and insisted
that it should be changed so as to read, instead of "qualified voters,"
"citizens of the State." But the Attorney-General in the year 1862 had
given an opinion that the colored men born in the United States were
citizens of the United States; and if the phrase "one-tenth of the
qualified voters required to re-organize" were changed to "one-tenth of
the citizens," the organization might have been legally composed
entirely of colored men. Mr. Lincoln was set in his purpose that the
restored governments in the seceded States should be organized by the
"qualified voters" of those States before secession was attempted, and
Mr. Chase had to submit to the inevitable.

The great caution with which Mr. Lincoln approached the important
subject of elective franchise may be shown in his letter to Governor


                                             EXECUTIVE MANSION,
                                           WASHINGTON, March 13, 1864.

     _Hon. Michael Hahn_:

     MY DEAR SIR,--I congratulate you on having fixed your name in
     history as the first free-state Governor of Louisiana. Now, you are
     about to have a convention, which among other things will probably
     define the elective franchise. I barely suggest for your private
     consideration, whether some of the colored people may not be let
     in,--as, for instance, the very intelligent, and especially those
     who have fought gallantly in our ranks. They would probably help,
     in some trying time to come, to keep the jewel of liberty within
     the family of freedom. But this is only a suggestion,--not to the
     public, but to you alone.

                               Yours truly,
    (Signed)                                               A. LINCOLN.

This would seem to show conclusively that Mr. Lincoln did not intend to
force negro suffrage upon the people in the rebel States. Doubtless, he
desired that the negroes should have the right of suffrage, but he
expected and hoped that the people would confer the right of their own
will. He knew that if this right were forced upon them, it could not or
would not be exercised in peace. He realized in advance that the
experiment of legislative equality was one fraught with difficulties and
dangers, not only to the well-being of the negro, but to the peace of
society. "While I am," said he, "in favor of freedom to all of God's
human creatures, with equal political rights under prudential
restrictions, I am not in favor of unlimited social equality. There are
questions arising out of our complications that trouble me greatly. The
question of universal suffrage to the freedman in his unprepared state
is one of doubtful propriety. I do not oppose the justice of the
measure; but I do think it is of doubtful political policy, and may
rebound like a boomerang not only on the Republican party, but upon the
freedman himself and our common country."

As the war approached its conclusion, and Mr. Lincoln foresaw the
inevitable submission of the insurgents, his mind did not become less
seriously affected by the contemplation of the new responsibilities
which would devolve upon him as Chief Magistrate of the reorganized and
reconstructed nation. His second Inaugural Address mirrored his frame of
mind to a great extent. He was oppressed with great care, resulting from
a consciousness that changes would occur in the near future which would
impose upon him new and difficult duties, in which he might possibly
find himself in conflict not only with the men in his own party who
already persistently opposed him, but with many other public men who had
supported his Administration throughout the existence of the war. There
seemed to be no settled policy for the contemplated new state of things,
and few men thought alike on the subject. There were almost as many
theories as there were distinguished men to advance them. This state of
things devolved the greater responsibility upon Mr. Lincoln, and he
keenly felt the weight of it.

Upon no occasion, either public or private, did Mr. Lincoln hesitate to
express freely his views and sentiments as to the conditions under which
he would have liked the War of the Rebellion to terminate. All that he
desired was that the enemy should cease fighting, lay down their arms,
and return to their homes, their duties, and their allegiance to their
country. He harbored no feeling of revenge, no thirst for the blood of
his erring fellow-countrymen, his highest aspiration being peace and a
restored Union. From what he has been repeatedly heard to declare, he
would gladly have spared to his vanquished foes the humiliation of a
public surrender if the war could otherwise have been brought to a
close. He fondly hoped for a condition of things which would render
reconstruction and love of country assured, fixed, and immutable. In
discussing the question of reconstruction previous to the surrender of
General Lee, I have more than once heard him say: "We cannot hang all
these people, even if they were in our power; there are too many of
them. Think of the consequences of such an act! Since this government
was established, there have been comparatively few trials or executions
for treason or offences against the State. This has been eminently a
government of loyal citizens."

A distinguished gentleman, an earnest advocate for punishment of the
rebels, once asked him what he intended to do when the moment arrived
for him to act. "Do?" said he; "why, reconstruct the machinery of this
government! This is all that I see I can properly do." The gentleman,
with much asperity, exclaimed: "Mr. President, it does appear to some of
your friends, myself included, as if you had taken final leave of your
senses! As if it were intended that treason should henceforth not be
regarded as odious, and the offenders, cut-throats, and authors of this
war should not only go unpunished, but receive encouragement to repeat
their outrages on the government with impunity! They should be hanged
higher than Haman, sir!"

Mr. Lincoln here asked: "Mr. ----, suppose, when the moment has arrived,
the hanging policy you recommend be adopted,--will you agree to be chief
executioner? If so, let me know, and I will at once appoint you a
brigadier-general and prospective public hangman of the United States.
Will you serve, if so appointed?"

"Mr. Lincoln," responded his interlocutor, "I supposed you regarded me
as a gentleman; at least you ought to know better than to ask me to do,
or believe me capable of doing, such dirty work."

"You speak," said Mr. Lincoln, interrupting him, "of being a gentleman.
In this free country of ours, when it comes to rights and duties,
especially in time of war, the gentleman and the vagrant stand on
exactly the same plane; their rights are equal, their duties the same.
As a law-abiding citizen, you are no more exempt from the performance of
what you call 'dirty work' than if you were not a gentleman."

His visitor here arose abruptly and left the room in great indignation,
relieving himself of his pent-up wrath by a torrent of oaths and
imprecations. He was a United States Senator, and I have not at all
exaggerated his profanity or his deportment on the occasion here
narrated. He did not, indeed, intermit his denunciations, which were,
besides, embellished with the choicest specimens of billingsgate, until
a casual rencontre on the Avenue with a member of the lower House
afforded him the solace of exclaiming: "Lincoln is a damned idiot! He
has no spirit, and is as weak as an old woman. He was never fitted for
the position he holds. After this war is over, it would not at all
surprise me if he were to fill the public offices with a horde of these
infernal rebels, and choose for his constitutional advisers the damnable
leaders of the rebellion themselves." I am not aware that this senator
ever again visited the President.

After the capitulation of General Lee, what was to be done with the
leaders of the rebellion became a most serious question. Persons who had
been throughout the war the fiercest and most radical opponents of the
rebels (such men as Horace Greeley and others) became suddenly most
conservative; and the converse course was pursued by many of the most
conservative persons, now urging relentless punishment of the offending
leaders. General Grant asked for special instructions of Mr.
Lincoln,--whether he should try to capture Jefferson Davis, or let him
escape from the country if he wanted to do so. Mr. Lincoln replied by
relating the story of an Irishman who had taken the pledge of Father
Matthew, and having become terribly thirsty applied to a bar-tender for
a lemonade; and while it was being prepared he whispered to the
bar-tender, "And couldn't you put a little brandy in it all unbeknownst
to myself?" Mr. Lincoln told the general he would like to let Jeff Davis
escape all unbeknown to himself: he had no use for him.

On the day of the assassination, General Creswell came to Washington to
see the President in the interest of an old friend who had been located
in the South, and had got into the rebel army, and had been captured by
our troops and imprisoned. He drew an affidavit setting forth what he
knew about the man, particularly mentioning extenuating circumstances
which seemed to entitle him to the generosity or leniency of the
government. General Creswell found the President very happy. The
Confederacy had collapsed. The scene at Appomattox had just been
enacted. He was greeted with: "Creswell, old fellow, everything is
bright this morning. The war is over. It has been a tough time, but we
have lived it out,--or some of us have," and he dropped his voice a
little on the last clause of the sentence. "But it is over; we are going
to have good times now, and a united country."

After a time, General Creswell told his story, read his affidavit, and
said, "I know the man has acted like a fool, but he is my friend, and a
good fellow; let him out, give him to me, and I will be responsible that
he won't have anything more to do with the rebs."

"Creswell," said Mr. Lincoln, "you make me think of a lot of young folks
who once started out Maying. To reach their destination, they had to
cross a shallow stream, and did so by means of an old flatboat. When the
time came to return, they found to their dismay that the old scow had
disappeared. They were in sore trouble, and thought over all manner of
devices for getting over the water, but without avail. After a time, one
of the boys proposed that each fellow should pick up the girl he liked
best and wade over with her. The masterly proposition was carried out,
until all that were left upon the island was a little short chap and a
great, long, gothic-built, elderly lady. Now, Creswell, you are trying
to leave me in the same predicament. You fellows are all getting your
own friends out of this scrape; and you will succeed in carrying off one
after another, until nobody but Jeff Davis and myself will be left on
the island, and then I won't know what to do. How should I feel? How
should I look, lugging him over? I guess the way to avoid such an
embarrassing situation is to let them all out at once."

A somewhat similar illustration he made at an informal Cabinet meeting,
at which was being discussed the disposition of Jefferson Davis and
other prominent Confederates. Each member of the Cabinet gave his
opinion; most of them were for hanging the traitors, or for some severe
punishment. Lincoln said nothing. Finally, Joshua F. Speed, his old and
confidential friend, who had been invited to the meeting, said, "I have
heard the opinion of your Ministers, and would like to hear yours."

"Well, Josh," replied Mr. Lincoln, "when I was a boy in Indiana, I went
to a neighbor's house one morning and found a boy of my own size holding
a coon by a string. I asked him what he had and what he was doing. He
says, 'It's a coon. Dad cotched six last night, and killed all but this
poor little cuss. Dad told me to hold him until he came back, and I'm
afraid he's going to kill this one too; and oh, Abe, I do wish he would
get away!' 'Well, why don't you let him loose?' 'That wouldn't be right;
and if I let him go, Dad would give me hell. But if he would get away
himself, it would be all right.' Now," said Mr. Lincoln, "if Jeff Davis
and those other fellows will only get away, it will be all right. But if
we should catch them, and I should let them go, 'Dad would give me

The President of the Southern Confederacy was, however, afterwards
captured and imprisoned at Fortress Monroe, charged with treason, etc.,
and at length admitted to bail,--Mr. Horace Greeley, the great Radical
journalist, becoming one of his bondsmen. Mr. Davis was never brought to
trial, and eventually the charges against him were ignored. He was a
prisoner of State at Fortress Monroe for two years; in the year 1867 he
was released on bail, went to Canada, but subsequently returned to the
State of Mississippi, where he lived in retirement until his death.

On the night of the 3d of March, 1865, Mr. Lincoln, with several members
of his Cabinet, was in attendance at the Capitol, awaiting the final
passage of bills by Congress, in order that they might receive the
Presidential signature. In the intervals between the reading,
considering, and approving of these bills, the military situation was
freely discussed. Every one appeared to be happy at the prospect of the
early re-establishment of peace, General Grant having just telegraphed a
glowing account of his successes and his control of the situation, and
expressing the hope that a very few days would find Richmond in the
hands of the national forces and the army of General Lee disbanded or
captured. While the members were felicitating one another on the
approaching cessation of hostilities, a second dispatch from General
Grant was handed to Mr. Stanton, who, having read it, handed it to the
President and became absorbed in thought. The telegram advised the
Secretary of the receipt of a letter from General Lee, requesting an
immediate interview, with a view to the re-establishment of peace
between the two sections. The dispatch having been read by others of the
party, Mr. Lincoln's spirits rose to a height rarely witnessed since the
outbreak of the war. All the better and kindlier impulses of his nature
were aroused. The cry, "What is to be done with the rebels when this
cruel war is over?" ceased to ring in his ears. He was unable to
restrain himself from giving expression to the natural impulses of his
heart, or from foreshadowing the magnanimity with which the Confederates
were now to be treated. He did not hesitate to express himself as
favorably disposed towards granting the most lenient and generous terms
to a defeated foe.

Mr. Stanton could now no longer restrain himself; he was in a towering
rage, and turning to the President, his eyes flashing fire, he
exclaimed: "Mr. President, you are losing sight of the paramount
consideration at this juncture, namely, how and by whom is this war to
be closed? To-morrow is Inauguration Day; you will then enter upon your
second term of office. Read again this dispatch: don't you appreciate
its significance? If you are not to be President of an obedient, loyal,
and united people, you ought not to take the oath of office,--you are
not a proper person to be empowered with so high and responsible a
trust. Your work is already achieved,--all but reconstruction. If any
other authority than your own be for a moment recognized; or if terms of
peace be agreed upon that do not emanate from yourself, and do not imply
that you are the supreme head of the nation,--you are not needed. You
should not consent to act in the humiliating capacity of a mere
figure-head, to aid in the acquisition of that fame for others which
rightfully belongs to yourself. By thus doing, you will scandalize every
true friend you possess in the country."

It was now Mr. Lincoln's turn to become thoughtful. He sat at the table
for a few minutes, absorbed in deep reflection, and then, addressing
himself to the Secretary of War, said: "Stanton, you are right; this
dispatch did not, at first sight, strike me as I now consider it." Upon
this he took pen and paper and hurriedly wrote the following dispatch,
handing it to Stanton, and requesting him to date, sign, and send it at
once. The dispatch ran as follows:--

     "The President directs me to say to you that he wishes you to have
     no conference with General Lee, unless it be for the capitulation
     of Lee's army, or on some minor and purely military matter. He
     instructs me to say that you are not to decide, discuss, or confer
     on any political questions; the President, holding the decision of
     these questions in his own hands, will submit them to no military
     conference or convention. In the mean time you are to press, to
     the utmost of your ability, your military advantage."

The above dispatch was read, signed, and sent by Mr. Stanton
immediately, without one word of comment, and soon afterward the entire
party left the Capitol for their respective homes, there to await
further developments. At the same time, the Secretary of War sent the
following telegram to General Grant:--

                                           WASHINGTON, March 3, 1865.

     LIEUTENANT-GENERAL GRANT,--I send you a telegram written by the
     President himself, in answer to yours of this evening, which I have
     signed by his order. I will add that General Ord's conduct in
     holding intercourse with General Longstreet upon political
     questions not committed to his charge, is not approved. The same
     thing was done, in one instance, by Major Keys, when the army was
     commanded by General McClellan, and he was sent to meet Howell Cobb
     on the subject of exchanges; and it was in that instance, as in
     this, disapproved. You will please, in future, instruct officers
     appointed to meet rebel officers to confine themselves to the
     matters specially committed to them.

    (Signed)                                       EDWIN M. STANTON,
                                                  _Secretary of War_.

On the succeeding day a dispatch was received from General Grant in
cipher, of which the following is a translation:--

                                           CITY POINT, March 4, 1865.

     Hon. E. M. STANTON, Secretary of War:

     Your dispatch of the 3d, midnight, received. I have a letter to
     General Lee, copy of which will be sent you by to-morrow's mail. I
     can assure you that no act of the enemy will prevent me pressing
     all advantages gained to the utmost of my ability. Neither will I,
     under any circumstances, exceed my authority, or in any way
     embarrass the government. It was because I had no right to meet
     General Lee on the subject proposed by him, that I referred the
     matter for instructions.

                                            U. S. GRANT,



The execution of the Fugitive Slave Law in the District of Columbia
became a question much discussed in Congress, and was a frightful
scandal to the Radical members. The law remained in force; and no
attempt was made by Congress to repeal it, or to provide for the
protection of the Executive officers whose duty it was to enforce it.
The subject gave Mr. Lincoln great concern, but he could see no way out
of the difficulty except to have the law executed. The District had
become the asylum of the runaway slaves from the Border States,
particularly from the rebel State of Virginia and the quasi-loyal State
of Maryland. So far as the State of Virginia was concerned, she was
still, according to the theory of the Administration, one of the United
States; and all Congressional laws on the statute book were enforced in
regard to her as well as to States not in rebellion, which made the
question one of great embarrassment. The Confiscation Act, which gave
liberty to all slaves that had been employed by the rebels for
insurrectionary purposes, had gone into effect in the month of August,
1861. The military governor of the District assumed that by virtue of
this law all slaves that came into the District from whatever section
had been thus employed, and consequently were free, and it became his
duty to give them military protection as free persons.

This state of things caused a fearful responsibility to rest upon the
shoulders of the civil executive authorities. The President gave me
private instructions to execute the laws until Congress modified or
repealed them. "In doing this," Mr. Lincoln said, "you will receive much
adverse criticism and a good deal of downright abuse from members of
Congress. This is certain to come, but it will be not so much intended
for you as for me; as our friend Senator Hale, the other day, said in
the Senate, 'We must not strike too high nor too low, but we must strike
between wind and water: the marshal is the man to hit.' And I say, we
shall have to stand it whatever they send."

Martial law had not been declared; there was not even a temporary
suspension of the civil authority, even in exceptional cases, in the
District of Columbia. It was conceded by all, that in time of danger the
temporary rule of military authority was virtually necessary to the
preservation of the federal capital; but at this time there was no
pretence of danger. The civil courts of the District being in full power
for the adjudication of all cases arising within their jurisdiction,
nothing but a pressing military necessity could give countenance or
pretext for the suspension of the civil law. It was, therefore, only a
question of time--and the time soon came--for a conflict to arise
between civil and military authority.

The conflict grew out of an order of the military governor to take a
female fugitive slave from the custody of the marshal and deliver her
into the hands of the military. The deputies to whom the order was shown
declined to obey the command, giving as a reason for their refusal that
she was held under due process of law, and that they had no authority to
give her up without the order of the court. Military officers, with a
strong guard, then arrested the deputy marshals, seized the jail,
released the slave, and left a military guard in charge of the captured

                                           [L] WAR DEPARTMENT,
                                    WASHINGTON, D. C., May 22, 1862.

     _Captain Sherwood, or Officer in Command at Central Guard House_:

     SIR,--You will send a sentinel at once to the city jail, with
     orders to relieve the man now on duty there at the jail door, and
     give him orders to allow _no person whatsoever_ to enter or leave
     the jail, without permission from General Wadsworth. This guard
     will be maintained until further orders.

     By Command of Brigadier-General Wadsworth,

                                                 JOHN A. KRESS,
                                                         _A. D. C._

I was temporarily absent at the time of the seizure. When I returned I
arrested the military guard, recaptured the jail, liberated the
prisoners placed therein by the military, and held the military guard as
prisoners. I was supported by the police and other civil authorities,
and by the citizens of Washington; the military governor was supported
by forces under his command, intended for the defence of the city. The
matter was eventually laid before the President. He called to his aid
his Attorney-General, who gave a prompt but decisive opinion that in the
present state of things in the District of Columbia the civil authority
outranked the military; and he gave the further opinion that the
military governor's conduct had been misguided and unauthorized, however
philanthropic might have been his purposes and intentions.

This decision on the subject of supremacy of authority by no means
reconciled or put at rest the perturbed, aggressive spirit in Congress
which opposed the President's policy. The enthusiastic adherents of this
opposition made the District jail an objective point in the furtherance
of their ends. They made personal visits to that institution, and
examined all the inmates whose color was not of orthodox Albino-Anglo
American tint. They would learn the story of their wrongs and injuries,
then straightway proceed to the halls of Congress and make known their
discoveries. Detectives were employed by them to make daily reports of
the "cruelty" shown to colored inmates of the jail, which reports were
soon dressed up in pathetic and classic language for the occasion.
Professional and amateur demagogues made sensational speeches (sometimes
written for them by department clerks and professional speech-writers),
and "Rome was made to howl" in the halls of the American Congress.
"Lincoln and his beastly negro catchers" were denounced in unmeasured

The jail was now by the necessities of its surroundings made the
receptacle for prisoners of all kinds,--civil, military, and State.
Orders from the War Department were issued to the custodian of the jail
to allow no person whatever to communicate with the military or State
prisoners without an order from the War Department. The chairman of the
District Committee in the Senate, and certain others of that Committee,
claimed the right, by virtue of their position, to go into the jail and
to examine all the prisoners, in the face of the orders of the Secretary
of War; and this was repeated almost daily.

The situation became unbearable, and I sent in my resignation. This,
however, was not accepted. The professional opinion of the
Attorney-General was again invoked by the President, and he gave his
views as to the duties of the custodian of the heterogeneous mass of
prisoners in the jail,--which resulted in the request of the President
to the Attorney-General to prepare such an order as was proper for the
marshal to sign, giving notice of what would be required for admission of
visitors to the jail. The paper was prepared in the Attorney-General's
office, signed and sent forth; and before the close of the day on which
it was signed, resolutions were passed in Congress declaring the marshal
guilty of contempt of that body for having presumed to issue what it deemed
a contemptuous restriction of its rights, and a committee was appointed to
wait upon the President to demand the instant dismissal of that insolent
officer. The President showed the committee my resignation already in his
hands, and informed them that he would neither accept the resignation nor
dismiss me from office, and gave his reasons for this action.

After this the opposition became more and more acrimonious and offensive
toward Mr. Lincoln and his Administration. The leaders of the opposition
now resorted to every means in their power to oppose him for his want of
respect, and for his _disobedience to the behests_ of the co-ordinate
branch of the government,--forgetting that, Congress having made the
offensive laws, it was the President's duty to execute them.

Soon the marshal's office was made the subject of legislation in
Congress, to shear it of its power and reduce its emoluments. The
custody of the jail and prisoners was soon given to a warden; and,
shortly after, an Act was passed relieving the marshal from the duties
of attending the Supreme Court of the United States, and providing a
special marshal for that Court,--thus leaving the office still one of
great responsibility, but without remuneration commensurate with its

Before the appointment of the warden, the District court had sentenced
three men to be hanged for murder, on a day subsequent to the change of
custody. On the day set for the execution, I refused to act as the
hangman. Congress again passed a resolution denouncing my conduct, and
instituted an investigation into the facts. The facts were that the
order of the court was that the marshal should hang the condemned men,
but Congress had unconsciously relieved him from that painful duty! The
warden had no order for their execution, and could not perform the
service with any more propriety than the marshal. The result of this
blundering legislation, superinduced by hasty, factious zeal to injure
an object of their dislike, was that Congress had nullified the solemn
acts of the United States District Court, and restored to life and
liberty and immunity from punishment three miscreants whose lives had
been forfeited and who should have been hanged! This legislative
jail-delivery was a source of great annoyance and of some amusement to
Mr. Lincoln. In speaking of certain members of Congress and the part
they had taken in this and other petty acts, he said: "I have great
sympathy for these men, because of their temper and their weakness; but
I am thankful that the good Lord has given to the vicious ox short
horns, for if their physical courage were equal to their vicious
dispositions, some of us in this neck of the woods would get hurt."

The opposition was continued to the last, and Mr. Lincoln adhered to his
policy to the end. But he was so outraged by the obloquy thrown upon his
worthiest official acts, so stung by the disparagement with which his
purest and most patriotic motives were impugned,--his existence, in a
word, was rendered so unhappy by the personal as well as political
attacks of those for whose sympathy and support he might naturally have
urged the most logical and valid plea,--that life became almost a burden
to him.

As illustrative of the amenities of language with which, at this epoch
of his life, the Chief Magistrate of our Republic was habitually
characterized, it will suffice to adduce such an expression as
this,--"That hideous baboon at the other end of the Avenue, whom Barnum
should exhibit as a zoölogical curiosity." Mr. Lincoln's existence was
so cruelly embittered by these and other expressions quite as virulent,
that I have often heard him declare, "I would rather be dead than, as
President, thus abused in the house of my friends."

In the summer of 1861, shortly after the inglorious repulse of the Union
army at Bull Run, Rev. Robert Collyer, the eminent divine, was on a
visit to the federal capital. Participating in the prevailing sentiment
in regard to the incapacity or inefficiency of the general government in
the conduct of military affairs, he chanced to pass through the White
House grounds on his way to the War Department. Casting a cursory glance
at the Executive Mansion as he passed, his attention was suddenly
arrested by the apparition of three pairs of feet, resting on the ledge
of an open window, in one of the apartments of the second story, and
plainly visible from below. The reverend gentleman paused, calmly
surveyed the grotesque spectacle, and mentally addressed to himself the
inquiry whether the feet, and boots belonging to them, were the property
of officers of the Executive government,--at the same time thinking that
if not, they would have proved sturdy pedestals to the bearers of
muskets upon the recent battle-field. Resuming his walk, he accosted a
rustic employee whom he found at work about the grounds, and pointing
to the window, with its incongruous adjuncts, he requested of the man
what that meant. "Why, you old fool," replied the rustic, "that's the
Cabinet that is a settin'; and them thar big feet's old Abe's."

Some time after, in referring to this experience of his visit to the
national capital in a lecture at Boston, the reverend gentleman
commented on the imbecility of the government, and satirically added:
"That's about all they are good for in Washington,--to project their
feet out of windows and jabber away; but they go nowhere, and accomplish
nothing." But he subsequently, on more than one occasion, rendered full
justice to the President's able and zealous discharge of his high trust,
saying: "I abused poor Lincoln, like the fool that the rustic called me,
while his heart was even then breaking with the anxieties and
responsibilities of his position."



The fact that we have in this country a literature of assassination,
"voluminous and vast," suggests a melancholy reflection on the
disordered spirit of the times through which we have passed, and on the
woful perversity of human nature even under conditions most favorable to
intellectual progress and Christian civilization. It is hurtful to our
pride as Americans to confess that our history is marred by records so
repugnant to the spirit of our liberal institutions, and to the good
fellowship which ought to characterize both individual and national life
in a free republic. But the appalling fact remains that two of our Chief
Magistrates, within as many decades, were murdered in cold blood, and
that bulky volumes have been filled with circumstantial accounts of
plots and conspiracies by and against men born upon our soil and
enjoying the full protection of our laws; and yet, voluminous and
extensive as these records are, they are by no means complete.

One most daring attempt upon the life of Mr. Lincoln--the boldest of all
attempts of that character, and one which approached shockingly near to
a murderous success--was never made public. For prudential reasons
details were withheld from the press; but as the motives which imposed
silence respecting a strange freak of homicidal frenzy no longer exist,
it is perhaps a matter of duty to make public the story, together with
certain documents which show in what deadly peril Mr. Lincoln stood
during the ceremonies attending his second inauguration at the Capitol
in March, 1865. A glance at prior conspiracies will lead to a better
understanding of the event to which these documents relate.

The first conspiracy, from motives of policy, had for its object the
abduction of President Buchanan. There was intense disgust on the part
of certain fiery and ferocious leaders in the secession movement with
the conservative temper of the Executive and of the ruling members of
his Cabinet. After fruitless attempts to bully the Administration into a
change of policy in harmony with his revolutionary scheme, Mr. Wigfall,
some time in the month of December, 1860, formed a plan for kidnapping
Mr. Buchanan. A number of desperate men were banded together by him at
Washington, and the details of the plot were discussed and agreed upon.
The plan was to spirit Mr. Buchanan away, install Mr. Breckenridge in
the White House, and hold the captive President as a hostage until terms
of compromise could be proposed to conservative Democrats and
Republicans in the North. Mr. Wigfall and other choice spirits had no
doubt that their plan of accommodation could be enforced through the _ad
interim_ Executive. The scheme, however, could not be executed, in its
first stage, without the concurrence and co-operation of Mr. Floyd, who
threw Wigfall into a paroxysm of explosive wrath by flatly refusing to
have anything to do with the enterprise. It was accordingly abandoned,
so far as Mr. Buchanan was concerned.

When Mr. Lincoln was inaugurated, in March, 1861, the organization of
plotters was still intact; but no plan of assassination had, as yet,
received the sanction of the conspirators as a body. It was their
purpose to kidnap Mr. Lincoln and hold him in captivity, without injury
to his person, until such concessions were made to the Southern leaders
as their plan of compromise rendered necessary. This second scheme of
abduction, having proved as abortive as the first, was abandoned in
favor of a more deadly purpose. Some of the more desperate among the
conspirators, exasperated by repeated failures, resolved to dispose of
Mr. Lincoln by the swifter and surer means afforded by the dagger or the

Circumstances, in a surprising way, seemed to favor their murderous
designs. Against the protest of his friends, who by detective means had
obtained from the plotters many of their secrets, Mr. Lincoln made the
Soldiers' Home his summer residence. The conspirators thought that
either abduction or assassination could be accomplished without
difficulty. They resolved upon the latter. They would dispatch him
during one of his lonely rides after nightfall from the White House to
his summer retreat. The attempt was made.

In the spring and early summer of 1862 I persistently urged upon Mr.
Lincoln the necessity of a military escort to accompany him to and from
his residence and place of business, and he as persistently opposed my
proposition, always saying, when the subject was referred to, that there
was not the slightest occasion for such precaution. One morning,
however, in the month of August he came riding up to the White House
steps, where I met him, with a merry twinkle in his eye that presaged
fun of some kind. Before he alighted he said, "I have something to tell
you!" and after we had entered his office he locked the doors, sat down,
and commenced his narration. (At this distance of time I will not
pretend to give the exact words of this interview, but will state it
according to my best recollection.) He said: "You know I have always
told you I thought you an _idiot_ that ought to be put in a strait
jacket for your apprehensions of my personal danger from assassination.
You also know that the way we skulked into this city, in the first
place, has been a source of shame and regret to me, for it did look so

To all of which I simply assented, saying, "Yes, go on."

"Well," said he, "I don't now propose to make you my father-confessor
and acknowledge a change of heart, yet I am free to admit that just now
I don't know what to think: I am staggered. Understand me, I do not want
to oppose my pride of opinion against light and reason, but I am in such
a state of 'betweenity' in my conclusions that I can't say that the
judgment of _this court_ is prepared to proclaim a reliable 'decision
upon the facts presented.'"

He paused; I requested him to go on, for I was in painful suspense. He
then proceeded.

"Last night, about 11 o'clock, I went out to the Soldiers' Home alone,
riding _Old Abe_, as you call him [a horse he delighted in riding], and
when I arrived at the foot of the hill on the road leading to the
entrance of the Home grounds, I was jogging along at a slow gait,
immersed in deep thought, contemplating what was next to happen in the
unsettled state of affairs, when suddenly I was aroused--I may say the
arousement lifted me out of my saddle as well as out of my wits--by the
report of a rifle, and seemingly the gunner was not fifty yards from
where my contemplations ended and my accelerated transit began. My
erratic namesake, with little warning, gave proof of decided
dissatisfaction at the racket, and with one reckless bound he
unceremoniously separated me from my eight-dollar plug-hat, with which I
parted company without any assent, expressed or implied, upon my part.
At a break-neck speed we soon arrived in a haven of safety. Meanwhile I
was left in doubt whether death was more desirable from being thrown
from a runaway federal horse, or as the tragic result of a rifle-ball
fired by a disloyal bushwhacker in the middle of the night."

This was all told in a spirit of levity; he seemed unwilling, even in
appearance, to attach that importance to the event which I was disposed
to give to it. He seemed to want to believe it a joke. "Now," said he,
"in the face of this testimony in favor of your theory of danger to me,
personally, I can't bring myself to believe that any one has shot or
will deliberately shoot at me with the purpose of killing me; although I
must acknowledge that I heard this fellow's bullet whistle at an
uncomfortably short distance from these headquarters of mine. I have
about concluded that the shot was the result of accident. It may be that
some one on his return from a day's hunt, regardless of the course of
his discharge, fired off his gun as a precautionary measure of safety to
his family after reaching his house." This was said with much

He then playfully proceeded: "I tell you there is no time on record
equal to that made by the two Old Abes on that occasion. The historic
ride of John Gilpin, and Henry Wilson's memorable display of bareback
equestrianship on the stray army mule from the scenes of the battle of
Bull Run, a year ago, are nothing in comparison to mine, either in point
of time made or in ludicrous pageantry. My only advantage over these
worthies was in having no observers. I can truthfully say that one of
the Abes was frightened on this occasion, but modesty forbids my
mentioning which of us is entitled to that distinguished honor. This
whole thing seems farcical. No good can result at this time from giving
it publicity. It does seem to me that I am in more danger from the
augmentation of imaginary peril than from a judicious silence, be the
danger ever so great; and, moreover, I do not want it understood that I
share your apprehensions. I never have."

At this time Mr. Lincoln was to me a study. It would seem that he was
always prepared for the inevitable, and singularly indifferent as to his
personal safety. He was then still suffering from his terrible domestic
affliction, the death of his favorite son Willie. He doubtless at times
acted an unnatural part in his endeavors to banish from his memory the
disturbing recollections of his lost idol. I often recur with mingled
feelings of admiration and sadness to the wonderful simplicity and
perfect faith exemplified in his narration of the hazardous experience
above described. He said: "I am determined to borrow no trouble. I
believe in _the right_, and that it will ultimately prevail; and I
believe it is the inalienable right of man, unimpaired even by this
dreadful distraction of our country, to be _happy_ or _miserable_ at his
own election, and I for one make choice of the former alternative."

"Yes," said I, "but it is a devil of a poor protection against a
shot-gun in time of war; for that fellow on the road-side last night was
just such a philosopher as yourself, although acting from a different
standpoint. He exercised one of his supposed inalienable rights to make
himself happy and the country miserable by attempting to kill you; and
unless you are more careful and discreet, and will be governed by wiser
counsels than you derive from your own obstinate persistency in
recklessness, in less than a week you'll have neither inalienable nor
any other rights, and we shall have no Lincoln. The time, I fear, may
not be far distant when this republic will be minus a pretty respectable

It was impossible, however, to induce him to forego these lonely and
dangerous journeys between the Executive Mansion and the Soldiers' Home.
A stranger to fear, he often eluded our vigilance; and before his
absence could be noted he would be well on his way to his summer
residence, alone, and many times at night.

Another occasion when the vigilance and anxiety of his friends were
exercised will appear in the following extract from a memorandum written
by Robert Lamon, who was deputy marshal of the District of Columbia at
the time:--

     In the early part of the night my brother came to me and asked me
     to join him in the search for Mr. Lincoln. He was greatly
     disturbed. We drove rapidly to the Soldiers' Home, and as we neared
     the entrance to the grounds we met a carriage. Behind it we could
     see in the darkness a man on horseback. My brother, who seemed
     unusually suspicious, commanded the party to halt. His order was
     instantly obeyed. "Who are you?" he demanded, in the same
     peremptory tone. A voice from within the carriage responded, "Why
     do you ask?" The speakers recognized each other. The one in the
     carriage was Secretary Stanton, and the man behind it was one of
     his orderlies. "Where is Mr. Lincoln?" asked Stanton. "I have been
     to the Soldiers' Home and he is not there. I am exceedingly uneasy
     about him. He is not at the White House?" "No," said my brother,
     "he is not there. I have looked for him everywhere." We hurried
     back to the city. Arriving at the White House before Mr. Stanton,
     we found Mr. Lincoln walking across the lawn. My brother went with
     him to the War Department, and from there took him to his [Lamon's]
     house, where Mr. Lincoln slept that night and the three or four
     nights following, Mrs. Lincoln being at that time in New York.

              (Signed)                                 ROBT. LAMON.

My anxiety about Mr. Lincoln that evening grew out of a report of an
alarming character made to me by one of my detectives. Stanton had
threatening news also, and was therefore excited about Mr. Lincoln's
safety. He told me that he never had so great a scare in his life as he
had that night. The brusque Secretary thought the deputy marshal and I
were assassins. The incident provoked much merriment among the parties
concerned, no one enjoying the serio-comic part of it more than Mr.
Lincoln himself.

Meanwhile the conspirators, becoming alarmed for their own safety,
observed a stricter caution. Their movements were embarrassed by the
escort of cavalry which Mr. Lincoln was finally induced to accept, after
prolonged importunities by those who had certain knowledge of the
dangers to which he was exposed. Lost opportunities, baffled hopes,
exasperating defeats, served however only to heighten the deadly
determination of the plotters; and so matters drifted on until the day
of Mr. Lincoln's second inauguration. A tragedy was planned for that day
which has no parallel in the history of criminal audacity, if considered
as nothing more than a crime intended.

Everybody knows what throngs assemble at the Capitol to witness the
imposing ceremonies attending the inauguration of a President of the
United States. It is amazing that any human being could have seriously
entertained the thought of assassinating Mr. Lincoln in the presence of
such a concourse of citizens. And yet there was such a man in the
assemblage. He was there for the single purpose of murdering the
illustrious leader who for the second time was about to assume the
burden of the Presidency. That man was John Wilkes Booth. Proof of his
identity, and a detailed account of his movements while attempting to
reach the platform where Mr. Lincoln stood, will be found in many
affidavits, of which the following is a specimen:--


     Robert Strong, a citizen of said County and District, being duly
     sworn, says that he was a policeman at the Capitol on the day of
     the second inauguration of President Lincoln, and was stationed at
     the east door of the rotunda, with Commissioner B. B. French, at
     the time the President, accompanied by the judges and others,
     passed out to the platform where the ceremonies of inauguration
     were about to begin, when a man in a very determined and excited
     manner broke through the line of policemen which had been formed to
     keep the crowd out. Lieutenant Westfall immediately seized the
     stranger, and a considerable scuffle ensued. The stranger seemed
     determined to get to the platform where the President and his party
     were, but Lieutenant Westfall called for assistance. The
     Commissioner closed the door, or had it closed, and the intruder
     was finally thrust from the passage leading to the platform which
     was reserved for the President's party. After the President was
     assassinated, the singular conduct of this stranger on that day
     was frequently talked of by the policemen who observed it.
     Lieutenant Westfall procured a photograph of the assassin Booth
     soon after the death of the President, and showed it to
     Commissioner French in my presence and in the presence of several
     other policemen, and asked him if he had ever met that man. The
     commissioner examined it attentively and said: "Yes, I would know
     that face among ten thousand. That is the man you had a scuffle
     with on inauguration day. That is the same man." Affiant also
     recognized the photograph. Lieutenant Westfall then said: "This is
     the picture of J. Wilkes Booth." Major French exclaimed: "My God!
     what a fearful risk we ran that day!"

                                                     ROBERT STRONG.

     Sworn to and subscribed before me this 20th day of March, 1876.

                                                     JAMES A. TAIT,
    [SEAL]                                          _Notary Public_.

From this sworn statement it will be seen that Booth's plan was one of
phenomenal audacity. So frenzied was the homicide that he determined to
take the President's life at the inevitable sacrifice of his own; for
nothing can be more certain than that the murder of Mr. Lincoln on that
public occasion, in the presence of a vast concourse of admiring
citizens, would have been instantly avenged. The infuriated populace
would have torn the assassin to pieces, and this the desperate man
doubtless knew.

It is a curious fact, that, although Mr. Lincoln believed that his
career would be cut short by violence, he was incorrigibly skeptical as
to the agency in the expected tragedy, with one solitary exception.
Elderly residents of Washington will remember one Gurowski, a Polish
exile, as many believed. He was an accomplished linguist, a
revolutionist by nature, restless, revengeful, and of a fiery and
ungovernable temper. He had been employed in the State Department as a
translator, I believe, but had quarrelled with Mr. Seward and was
discharged. This caused him to pursue Lincoln, Seward, and Sumner with
bitter hatred. The curious will find in a published diary of his a
fantastic classification of his enemies. The President he rated as
"third-class," according to his estimate of statesmanlike qualities.

From this man Gurowski, and from him alone, Mr. Lincoln really
apprehended danger by a violent assault, although he knew not what the
sense of fear was like. Mr. Lincoln more than once said to me: "So far
as my personal safety is concerned, Gurowski is the only man who has
given me a serious thought of a personal nature. From the known
disposition of the man, he is dangerous wherever he may be. I have
sometimes thought that he might try to take my life. It would be just
like him to do such a thing."

The following letter was written one night when I was much annoyed at
what seemed to me Mr. Lincoln's carelessness in this matter:--

                                                    WASHINGTON, D. C.
                                   Dec. 10, 1864, 1.30 o'clock, A. M.

     _Hon. A. Lincoln_:

     SIR,--I regret that you do not appreciate what I have repeatedly
     said to you in regard to the proper police arrangements connected
     with your household and your own personal safety. _You are in
     danger._ I have nothing to ask, and I flatter myself that you will
     at least believe that I am honest. If, however, you have been
     impressed differently, do me and the country the justice to dispose
     at once of all suspected officers, and accept my resignation of the
     marshalship, which is hereby tendered. I will give you further
     reasons which have impelled me to this course. To-night, as you
     have done on several previous occasions, you went unattended to the
     theatre. When I say unattended, I mean that you went alone with
     Charles Sumner and a foreign minister, neither of whom could defend
     himself against an assault from any able-bodied woman in this city.
     And you know, or ought to know, that your life is sought after, and
     will be taken unless you and your friends are cautious; for you
     have many enemies within our lines. You certainly know that I have
     provided men at your mansion to perform all necessary police duty,
     and I am always ready myself to perform any duty that will properly
     conduce to your interest or your safety.

     God knows that I am unselfish in this matter; and I do think that I
     have played low comedy long enough, and at my time of life I think
     I ought at least to attempt to play star engagements.

                            I have the honor to be
                                       Your obedient servant,
                                                       WARD H. LAMON.

Mr. Lincoln had in his great heart no place for uncharitableness or
suspicion; which accounts for his singular indifference to the
numberless cautions so earnestly and persistently pressed upon him by
friends who knew the danger to which he was hourly exposed. He had a
sublime faith in human nature; and in that faith he lived until the
fatal moment when the nations of the earth were startled by a tragedy
whose mournful consequences no man can measure.

An unwonted interest attaches to the assassination of Mr. Lincoln, not
alone from the peculiarly dramatic incidents by which it was attended,
but also from the controlling influence he would unquestionably have
exerted, if his life had been spared, in modifying and facilitating the
solution of perhaps the greatest social and political problem of modern
times. This problem, after being committed to the solemn arbitrament of
the sword, and passing through its ordeal, had now reached an ulterior
stage of development which demanded, in the council chamber, the
exercise of even higher administrative qualities than those which had
hitherto directed its general conduct in the field. These attributes, it
was generally recognized and conceded, were possessed by Mr. Lincoln in
a pre-eminent degree. To a constancy of purpose and tenacity of will, of
which conspicuous evidence had been presented in the final triumph of
the Union cause, he united a conciliatory disposition, and the
gentleness, sensibility, and simplicity of a child.

Frequent reference has already been made to the humane and generous
promptings of Mr. Lincoln's great soul, in all the varied relations of
his life, as well private as official, and to instances of patriotism
and of self-sacrifice almost unparalleled in the annals of history.

With a more enlarged experience of the violence of party passion and of
internecine strife, and of the excesses to which they sometimes
unhappily lead, it seems almost incredible that the apprehensions of
danger to Mr. Lincoln should have been shared by so few, when one thinks
of the simplicity of his domestic habits, the facilities at all times
afforded for a near approach to his presence, and the entire absence of
all safeguards for the protection of his person, save the watchfulness
of one or two of his most immediate friends; and this, too, at a period
of such unprecedented party excitement and sectional strife and
animosity. But the truth is, the crime of assassination was so abhorrent
to the genius of Anglo-Saxon civilization, so foreign to the spirit and
practice of our republican institutions, that little danger was
apprehended of an outrage against society at large, the recollection of
which even now suffices to tinge with a blush of shame the cheek of
every true American, whether of Northern or of Southern birth.

In 1880, after the nomination of General Garfield for President, General
Grant visited Boulder, Col., where I was at that time residing. We had a
long conversation on the assassination of Mr. Lincoln; and he told me
that about the period of the surrender of General Lee no subject gave
him deeper concern than the personal safety of the President. He stated
that while no special cause existed for this apprehension, as the war
was manifestly and inevitably drawing to a conclusion, he had been
harassed by almost constant fears and anxieties for Mr. Lincoln's life.
"I learned," said he, "that your own apprehensions were excited from the
very outbreak of the war; in fact, before war was declared. It seems
unaccountable to me now, in reviewing the situation, that more persons
were not so impressed. I was aware, during all the latter part of the
war, of your own fears, and of what you had done and were doing for his
safety and protection."

I read a communication addressed to the "St. Louis Democrat," in July,
1886, by Mr. R. C. Laverty, General Grant's telegraph operator, in which
he states that at the time of the surrender, "General Grant reported
every day regularly to Washington, and was in constant communication at
that time with the capital, because he was extremely anxious about the
personal safety of the President."

Upon the assassination of Mr. Lincoln being communicated to General
Grant he exclaimed: "This is the darkest day of my life! I do not know
what it means. Here was the Rebellion put down in the field, and it is
reasserting itself in the gutter. We had fought it as war, we have now
to fight it as murder." Continuing his observations he said: "I was busy
sending off orders to stop recruiting and the purchase of supplies, and
to muster out the army. Mr. Lincoln had promised to go to the theatre
that evening and wanted me to accompany him. While I was with the
President a note was received by me from Mrs. Grant, saying that she was
desirous of leaving Washington on the same evening on a visit to her
daughter at Burlington. Some incidents of a trivial character had
influenced this determination, and she decided to leave by an evening
train. I was not disinclined to meet her wishes, not caring
particularly to go to the theatre. I therefore made my excuses to the
President, and at the hour determined upon we left home for the railway
station. As we were driving along Pennsylvania Avenue, a horseman rode
rapidly past us at a gallop, and wheeling his horse, rode back, peering
into our carriage as he again passed us. Mrs. Grant, with a perceptible
shade of concern in her voice and manner, remarked to me: 'That is the
very man who sat near us at lunch to-day with some others, and tried to
overhear our conversation. He was so rude, you remember, as to cause us
to leave the dining-room. Here he is again, riding after us!' For myself
I thought it was only idle curiosity, but learned afterward that the
horseman was Booth. It seemed that I was also to have been attacked, and
Mrs. Grant's sudden determination to leave Washington deranged the plan.
Only a few days afterwards I received an anonymous letter stating that
the writer had been detailed to assassinate me; that he rode in my train
as far as Havre de Grace, and as my car was locked he failed to get in.
He now thanked God he had so failed. I remember very well that the
conductor locked our car door; but how far the letter was genuine I am
unable to say. I was advised of the assassination of Mr. Lincoln in
passing through Philadelphia, and immediately returned to Washington by
a special train."

When the dreadful tragedy occurred I was out of the city, having gone to
Richmond two days before on business for Mr. Lincoln connected with the
call of a convention for reconstruction, about which there had arisen
some complications. I have preserved the pass Mr. Lincoln gave me to go
through to Richmond, of which the following is a fac-simile:--[12]

  [12] Page 275, line 5, after the word "fac-simile."

  Apropos of passes to Richmond once when a man called upon the President
  and solicited a pass to Richmond. Mr. Lincoln said: "Well, I would be
  very happy to oblige, if my passes were respected; but the fact is, sir,
  I have, within the past two years, given passes to 250,000 men to go to
  Richmond and not one has got there yet."

[Illustration: hand written note--
Allow the bearer, W. H. Lemon & friend, with o* any baggage to pass
from Washington to Richmond and return--

                                         A. Lincoln

April 11, 1865]

This was perhaps the last passport ever written or authorized by Abraham

On the eve of my departure I urged upon Mr. Usher, the Secretary of the
Interior, to persuade Mr. Lincoln to exercise extreme caution, and to go
out as little as possible while I was absent. Mr. Usher went with me to
see Mr. Lincoln; and when about to leave, I asked him if he would make
me a promise. He asked what it was, and said that he thought he could
venture to say he would. I wanted him to promise me that he would not go
out after night while I was gone, _particularly to the theatre_. He
turned to Mr. Usher and said:--

"Usher, this boy is a monomaniac on the subject of my safety. I can hear
him or hear of his being around, at all times of the night, to prevent
somebody from murdering me. He thinks I shall be killed; and we think he
is going crazy." He then added: "What does any one want to assassinate
me for? If any one wants to do so, he can do it any day or night, if he
is ready to give his life for mine. It is nonsense."

Mr. Usher then said: "Mr. Lincoln, it is well to listen and give heed to
Lamon. He is thrown among people that give him opportunities to know
more about such matters than we can know."

I then renewed my request, standing with my hat in my hand, ready to

"Well," said Mr. Lincoln, "I promise to do the best I can towards it."
He then shook me cordially by the hand, and said, "Good-bye. God bless
you, Hill!"

This was the last time I ever saw my friend.

[Illustration: Then----
      Green Room
Admit the Bearer to the
 19th of April, 1865.]

[Illustration: "Passing out of the State House, Philadelphia, April 23d,

[Illustration: "At Philadelphia"]

[Illustration: "Head of Funeral Train"]

[Illustration: "Funeral Car that carried Mr. Lincoln's Remains to

[Illustration: "Springfield, May 4th, 1865"]


Mr. Lincoln, accompanied by his wife, Miss Harris and Maj. Rathbone, of
Albany, New York, was occupying a box at Ford's Theatre, in the city of
Washington. The play was "Our American Cousin," with the elder Sothern
in the principal rôle. Mr. Lincoln was enjoying it greatly. Lee had
surrendered on the 9th; on the 13th the war was everywhere regarded as
ended, and upon that day Secretary Stanton had telegraphed to Gen. Dix,
Governor of New York, requesting him to stop the draft. Sothern as _Lord
Dundreary_ was at his best. Lincoln was delighted. The lines which care
and responsibility had so deeply graven on his brow, were now scarcely
visible. His people had just passed through the greatest civil war known
in the history of nations and he had become well convinced that now, the
cause of strife being destroyed, the government over which he was ruling
would be made stronger, greater and better by the crucial test through
which it has passed. Before leaving for the theatre he had pronounced it
the happiest day of his life. He looked, indeed, as if he now fully
realized the consummation of the long cherished and fondest aspiration
of his heart. He was at length the undisputed Chief Magistrate of a
confederation of States, constituting the freest and most powerful
commonwealth of modern times.

At some part of the performance Sothern appeared on the stage with Miss
Meridith, the heroine, on one arm and a wrap or shawl carelessly thrown
over the other. The latter seats herself upon a garden lounge placed on
the stage near the box occupied by the President on this occasion. Lord
Dundreary retires a few paces distant from the rustic seat when Miss
Meridith, glancing languidly at his lordship, exclaims: "Me lord, will
you kindly throw my shawl over my shoulders--there appears to be a
draught here." Sothern, at once complying with her request, advanced
with the mincing step that immortalized him; and with a merry twinkle of
the eye, and a significant glance directed at Mr. Lincoln, responded in
the happy impromptu: "You are mistaken, Miss Mary, the draft has already
been stopped by order of the President!" This sally caused Mr. Lincoln
to laugh, as few except himself could laugh, and an outburst of
merriment resounded from all parts of the house. It was Mr. Lincoln's
last laugh!




Mr. Lincoln believed that: "He who knows only his own side of a case
knows little of that." The first illustration of his peculiar mental
operations which led him always to study the opposite side of every
disputed question more exhaustively than his own, was on his first
appearance before the Supreme Court of Illinois when he actually opened
his argument by telling the court that after diligent search he had not
found a single decision in favor of his case but several against it,
which he then cited, and submitted his case. This may have been what Mr.
Lincoln alluded to when he told Thurlow Weed that the people used to
say, without disturbing his self-respect, that he was not lawyer enough
to hurt him.

The most important case Mr. Lincoln ever argued before the Supreme Court
was the celebrated case of the Illinois Central Railroad Company vs.
McLean County.

The case was argued twice before this tribunal; one brief of which is
among the forty pages of legal manuscript written by Mr. Lincoln in the
writer's possession. While its four pages may have more historic value
than a will case argued in the Circuit Court of Sangamon County, still
the latter is chosen to illustrate the period of Mr. Lincoln's mature
practice and to show his analytical methods, his original reasoning, and
his keen sense of justice.

The case is one wherein land has been left to three sons and a grandson
and the personal estate to be divided among three daughters after the
death of the widow. Mr. Lincoln is employed to defend the will against
the three daughters and their husbands.

The brief consists of fifteen pages of legal cap paper only four of
which are here given.

It is said that he wrote few papers, less perhaps than any other man at
the bar; therefore this memorandum in his own hand is also valuable as
an example of the notes he so rarely made.


    Correll & others   }
          vs           } Will Case--
    M. Daniel & others }

  1 General remarks on the law of Wills--

  2. Answer the particular points and objections made by the other
  side--See notes taken while they were speaking--

  3. Read from the authorities and settle on a +definition+ of "Sound mind
  and memory"--

  4 Show that in this case, the Testator had such "+Sound mind and
  memory+" at the time of making the Will--

  1 By his asking D^r Randall to write his Will.

  2. His reply to M^{rs} Herron*, when she saw* he was too sick & weak to
  make Wills.

  3. His saying his Will was already made, and getting roll of blank

  4 His getting the package of title papers--

  5 His making first provision for his wife; and charge upon Sutcliff for
  her and his sisters--

  6 His deciding correctly, as to the "+long-way+* of the land*

  7 His providing that James should pay rent to his mother.

  8 His decision as to what was to be done with the home place--

  9 His reply when Correll proposed that all should leave the house--

  10 His calling for Robert's widow; and +so+ +asking+ the land to be
  given to her children.

  10-1/2 His recollection of his enmity to Correll & M. Lutiro*.

  11 His objection that any of his own family should be Administrator.

  12. His suggesting of Hamm* for Administrator

  13 His asking Cyrus Correll & Samuel Havener to witness the Will--

  Add to all this his long settled purpose to make, substantially, such a
  Will--Quote authorities--

  His eagerness about it the night before, & on the day the Will was
  made--his being reminded of it the day +after+--and still remaining
  quiet till his death--

  The Will is unquestionably as it would have been, if it had been made
  before his sickness.]

Then a copy of the will and the evidence of sixteen witnesses, after
which the following page of authorities:--

Illustration: The declarations of the Testator long before his
  sickness, to make such a Will as he finally did make, are admissable,
  and weighty evidence in support of the Will

       7 Ala. 55
       5 Strob. 167
       7 Humph. 320
       7 Ala. 519
       6 Geo. 324.

  Where an influence is acquired+ over a testator, by kind offices, or
  persuasion, unconnected with fraud, the Will made under such influence,
  would not be set aside--

       2 N. J. 117
       5 Strob. 167
       3 Strob. 44. 552.
       6 Geo. 324.
       3 Denis 37.
       1 Rich. 80
       . Cheve, 37.
       2 J.J. Mav. 340.
       3 SvR. 267
       1 Hanrig* 454.
       2 Do. 375

  A lower degree of of intellect is requisite to make a Will than to make
  a contract.

      21 Vt. 168
       9 Iren. 99
       6 Geo 324
       7 B Mon. 655
       3 Denis 37
       9 Conn. 102. (over, on the start*)

  On "+Sound mind and memory+" and also on "+opinions+" of witnesses, see.

       Sowe vs Williamson    1 Green's Ch. 82
       Stoan vs Maxwell      2 Green's Ch. 563.
       Hunt's heirs vs Hunt  3. B. Mon.    575
       M. Daniel's Will      2. J.J. Mar   331

  Note--Hunt's heirs vs Hunt, above cited, contains an excellent form of
  an instruction to be given to a jury, as to the weight and to the
  opinions of the witnesses--][M]

  [M] This was evidently written twice by Mr. Lincoln for it seems to be
  the corrected page of one in the Collection of General Orendorff. This
  corrected page has not the first allegation found in the rough draft:
  "The widow of the testator is not a competent witness. II Hump. 565."

One of the opposing attorneys in the case was Mr. Lincoln's former law
partner, Judge Stephen T. Logan, who was the acknowledged leader of the
Illinois Bar for many years and from whom Mr. Lincoln derived more
benefit than from any other.[N]

  [N] Mr. Lincoln's first partner, John T. Stuart, enjoyed telling of his
  own arrival in Springfield in 1828 from Kentucky; how the next morning
  he was standing in front of the village store wondering how to introduce
  himself to the community, when a well-dressed old gentleman approached
  him, who, interesting himself in his welfare, inquired after his history
  and business. "I am from Kentucky," answered Mr. Stuart, "and my
  profession is that of a lawyer, sir. What is the prospect here?"
  Throwing back his head and closing his left eye the old gentleman
  reflected a moment, then replied: "Young man, d---- slim chance for that
  kind of a combination here."

That there was a chance for that combination in Springfield has been
most conclusively proven. Lincoln's three law partners at that place as
well as himself were all from Kentucky, to say nothing of other
prominent members of the bar of Springfield who came from the Blue Grass

[Illustration: +Judge Logan+ resumes after dinner.

  Wants the jury to watch me +very closely+.

  Says some Judges decide one way, and some another, in Will cases--

  Comments on what passed between Testator & Mrs Herron, the day +after+
  the Will was made--

  Jonathan M. Daniel--"how* sixteen feet high"--

  Comments on what is "a sound memory"

  Comments on the fact that the Will was not in strict conformity to his
  long expressed points* now*.

  Comments on fact of several of the boys having died--

  Jew's notion* that names* be perpetuated* on the land

  Older* arguments of last term, as to new purpose to make all equal "to
  stand on judgment"--

  Comments on the +real+ inequality of the distribution of the property.]

Was Mr. Lincoln's experience at the bar a mere episode in his wonderful
career, or was it the foundation upon which rested the whole structure
of that career? He said himself that "Law is the greatest science of
man. It is the best profession to develop the logical faculty and the
highest platform on which man can exhibit his powers of well trained


                         Chicago, March 28_ 1860

     Hon. W. H. Lamon.

       My dear Sir:

     Yours about motion to quash an indictment, was received yesterday.
     I think I have* no authority but the Statute when I wrote the
     Indictment--In fact, I remember but little about it. I think yet
     there is no necessity for setting out the latter per +haec verba+.
     Our Statute, as I think, relaxes* the high degree of **** certainty
     formerly required--

     I am so busy with our case on that heir, that I can not examine
     authorities near as freely as you can there--

     If after all, the indictment shall be quashed, it will only prove
     that my _forte_ is as a Statesman, rather than as a Prosecutor*

                                           Yours, as ever
                                                   A. Lincoln.]


That Mr. Lincoln found in the Declaration of Independence his perfect
standard of political truth is perhaps in none of his utterances more
conclusively shown than in a private letter to his old friend Joshua F.
Speed, written in 1855, in which he says: "You enquire where I now
stand. That is a disputed point. I think I am a Whig; but others say
there are no Whigs, and that I am an Abolitionist. I am not a
Know-Nothing! that is certain. How could I be? How can anyone who abhors
the oppression of negroes be in favor of degrading classes of white
people? Our progress in degeneracy appears to me to be pretty rapid. As
a nation we began by declaring that '_All men are created equal_.' We
now practically read it, 'All men are created equal except negroes.'
When the Know-Nothings get control it will read, 'All men are created
equal, except negroes and foreigners and Catholics.' When it comes to
this, I should prefer emigrating to some country where they make no
pretence of loving liberty,--where despotism can be taken pure, and
without the base alloy of hypocrisy."


                                            NEW YORK, March 20, 1872.

     MY DEAR SIR,--....I send you for such use as you may deem proper
     the following letter written by me when at "Old Orchard Beach" a
     few years ago, giving the "truth of history" in relation to the
     address of Mr. Lincoln at the Cooper Institute in this City on the
     27th of February, 1860....

     ... We, the world, and all the coming generation of mankind down
     the long line of ages, cannot know too much about Abraham Lincoln,
     our martyr President.

                                        Yours truly,
    (Signed)                                        JAMES A. BRIGGS.


"In October, 1859, Messrs. Joseph H. Richards, J. M. Pettingill, and S.
W. Tubbs called on me at the office of the Ohio State Agency, 25 William
Street, and requested me to write to the Hon. Thomas Corwin, of Ohio,
and the Hon. Abraham Lincoln, of Illinois, and invite them to lecture in
a course of lectures these young gentlemen proposed for the winter in
Plymouth Church, Brooklyn.

"I wrote the letters as requested, and offered as compensation for each
lecture, as I was authorized, the sum of two hundred dollars. The
proposition to lecture was accepted by Messrs. Corwin and Lincoln. Mr.
Corwin delivered his lecture in Plymouth Church as he was on his way to
Washington to attend Congress. Mr. Lincoln could not lecture until late
in the season, and a proposition was agreed to by the gentlemen named,
and accepted by Mr. Lincoln, as the following letter will show:--

                                   DANVILLE, ILL., November 13, 1859.

     JAMES A. BRIGGS, Esq.:

     DEAR SIR,--Yours of the 1st, closing with my proposition for
     compromise, was duly received. I will be on hand, and in due time
     will notify you of the exact day. I believe, after all, I shall
     make a political speech of it. You have no objection?

     I would like to know in advance, whether I am also to speak or
     lecture in New York.

     Very, very glad your election went right.

                                    Yours truly,
                                                  A. LINCOLN.

     P. S. I am here at court, but my address is still at Springfield,

"In due time Mr. Lincoln wrote me that he would deliver the lecture, a
political one, on the evening of the 27th of February, 1860. This was
rather late in the season for a lecture, and the young gentlemen who
were responsible were doubtful about its success, as the expenses were
large. It was stipulated that the lecture was to be in Plymouth Church,
Brooklyn. I requested and urged that the lecture should be delivered at
the Cooper Institute. They were fearful it would not pay expenses--three
hundred and fifty dollars. I thought it would.

"In order to relieve Messrs. Richards, Pettingill, and Tubbs of all
responsibility, I called upon some of the officers of the 'Young Men's
Republican Union' and proposed that they should take Mr. Lincoln, and
that the lecture should be delivered under their auspices. They
respectfully declined.

"I next called upon Mr. Simeon Draper, then President of 'The Draper
Republican Union Club of New York,' and proposed to him that his 'Union'
take Mr. Lincoln and the lecture, and assume the responsibility of the
expenses. Mr. Draper and his friends declined, and Mr. Lincoln was left
in the hands of 'the original Jacobs.'

"After considerable discussion, it was agreed on the part of the young
gentlemen that the lecture should be delivered in the Cooper Institute,
if I would agree to share the expenses, if the sale of tickets
(twenty-five cents each) for the lecture did not meet the outlay. To
this I assented, and the lecture was advertised to be delivered in the
Cooper Institute on the evening of the 27th of February, 1860.

"Mr. Lincoln read the notice of the lecture in the papers and, without
any knowledge of the arrangement, was somewhat surprised to learn that
he was first to make his appearance before a New York instead of a
'Plymouth Church' audience. A notice of the proposed lecture appeared in
the New York papers, and the 'Times' spoke of him 'as a lawyer who had
some local reputation in Illinois.'

"At my personal solicitation Mr. William Cullen Bryant presided as
chairman of the meeting, and introduced Mr. Lincoln for the first time
to a New York audience.

"The lecture was over, all the expenses were paid, I was handed by the
gentlemen interested the sum of $4.25 as my share of the profits, as
they would have called on me if there had been a deficiency in the
receipts to meet expenses."

[Mr. Briggs received as his share of the profits $4.25. What the country
profited by this, Mr. Lincoln's first triumph outside of his own state,
has never been computed.]

[Illustration: Colonel Ellsworth, Mr. Herndon, and Colonel Lamon
accompanied Mr. Lincoln to the polls when he cast his vote for this
ticket. He voted only for the State and County officers, feeling that a
Presidential candidate ought not to vote for his own electors.]

[Illustration: Decorative--head of Lincoln and rail fence]


It has been said that the term "rail-splitter" which became a leading
feature of the campaign in 1860 originated at the Chicago convention
when Mr. Deland of Ohio, who seconded the nomination of Mr. Lincoln,
said: "I desire to second the nomination of a man who can split rails
and maul Democrats."

Mr. Delano not only seconded the nomination, but "seconded" the campaign

Gov. Oglesby one week before at the State Convention at Decatur
introduced into the assemblage John Hanks, who bore on his shoulder two
small rails surmounted by a banner with this inscription: "Two rails
from a lot made by Abraham Lincoln and John Hanks in the Sangamon Bottom
in the year 1830."

For six months Rail-splitter was heard everywhere and rails were to be
seen on nearly everything, even on stationery. One of the Lincoln
delegates said: "These rails represent the issue between labor free and
labor slave, between democracy and aristocracy."

The Democrats disliked to hear so much about "honest Old Abe," "the
rail-splitter" the "flatboatman," "the pioneer." These cries had an
ominous sound in their ears. Just after the State Convention which named
Lincoln as first choice of the Republicans of Illinois, an old man,
devoted to the principles of Democracy and much annoyed by the
demonstration in progress, approached Mr. Lincoln and said, "So you're
Abe Lincoln?"--"That's my name, sir," answered Mr. Lincoln. "They say
you're a self-made man," said the Democrat. "Well, yes," said Lincoln,
"what there is of me is self-made."--"Well, all I've got to say,"
observed the old man after a careful survey of the statesman before him,
"is that it was a ---- bad job."


On the temperance question Mr. Lincoln has been quoted by the adherents
of both sides. He had no taste for spirituous liquors and when he took
them it was a punishment to him, not an indulgence. In a temperance
lecture delivered in 1842 Mr. Lincoln said:--"In my judgment such of us
as have never fallen victims have been spared more from the absence of
appetite than from any mental or moral superiority over those who have.
Indeed, I believe if we take habitual drunkards as a class their heads
and their hearts will bear an advantageous comparison with those of any
other class."

None of his nearest associates ever saw Mr. Lincoln voluntarily call for
a drink but many times they saw him take whiskey with a little sugar in
it to avoid the appearance of discountenancing it to his friends. If he
could have avoided it without giving offence he would gladly have done
so. He was a conformist to the conventionalities of the surroundings in
which he was placed.

Whether Mr. Lincoln sold liquor by the dram over the counter of the
grocery store kept by himself and Berry will forever remain an
undetermined question. When Douglas revived the story in one of his
debates, Mr. Lincoln replied that even if it were true, there was but
little difference between them, for while he figured on one side of the
counter Douglas figured on the other.

Mr. Lincoln disliked sumptuary laws and would not prescribe by statute
what other men should eat or drink. When the temperance men ran to the
Legislature to invoke the power of the state, his voice--the most
eloquent among them--was silent. He did not oppose them, but quietly
withdrew from the cause and left others to manage it.

In 1854 he was induced to join the order called Sons of Temperance, but
never attended a single meeting after the one at which he was initiated.

Judge Douglas once undertook to ridicule Mr. Lincoln on not drinking.
"What, are you a temperance man?" he inquired. "No," replied Lincoln, "I
am not a temperance man but I am temperate in this, to wit: I don't

He often used to say that drinking spirits was to him like thinking of
spiritualism, he wanted to steer clear of both evils; by frequent
indulgence he might acquire a dangerous taste for the spirit and land in
a drunkard's grave; by frequent thought of spiritualism he might become
a confirmed believer in it and land in a lunatic asylum.

In 1889 Miss Kate Field wrote W. H. Lamon saying:--

     Will you kindly settle a dispute about Lincoln? Lately in
     Pennsylvania I quoted Lincoln to strengthen my argument against
     Prohibition, and now the W. C. T. U. quote him for the other side.
     What is the truth?

     ... As you are the best of authority on the subject of Abraham
     Lincoln, can you explain why he is quoted on the Prohibition side?
     Did he at any time make speeches that could be construed with total

To this Lamon replied:--

     You ask my recollection of Mr. Lincoln's views on the question of
     Temperance and Prohibition. I looked upon him as one of the safest
     temperance men I ever knew. He seemed on this subject, as he was on
     most others, unique in profession as well as in practice. He was
     neither what might be called a drinking man, a total abstainer, nor
     a Prohibitionist. My acquaintance with him commenced in 1847. He
     was then and afterwards a politician. He mixed much and well with
     the people. Believed what the people believed to be right was

     Society in Illinois at that early day was as crude as the country
     was uncultivated. People then were tenacious of their natural as
     well as their acquired rights and this state of things existed
     until Mr. Lincoln left the State to assume the duties of President.
     The people of Illinois firmly believed it was one of their
     inalienable rights to manufacture, sell, and drink whiskey as it
     was the sacred right of the southern man to rear, work, and whip
     his own nigger,--and woe be unto him who attempted to interfere
     with these rights--(as the sequel afterwards showed when Mr.
     Lincoln and his friends tried to prevent the southern man from
     whipping his own nigger in the territories).

     I heard Mr. Lincoln deliver several temperance lectures. One
     evening in Danville, Ill., he happened in at a temperance meeting,
     the "Old Washingtonian Society," I think, and was called on to make
     a speech. He got through it well, after which he and other members
     of the Bar who were present were invited to an entertainment at the
     house of Dr. Scott. Wine and cake were handed around. Mrs. Scott,
     in handing Mr. Lincoln a glass of homemade wine, said, "I hope you
     are not a teetotaler, Mr. Lincoln, if you are a temperance
     lecturer." "By no means, my dear madam," he replied; "for I do
     assure you (with a humorous smile) I am very fond of my 'Todd' (a
     play upon his wife's maiden name). I by no means oppose the use of
     wine. I only regret that it is not more in universal use. I firmly
     believe if our people were to habitually drink wine, there would be
     little drunkenness in the country." In the conversation which
     afterward became general, Judge David Davis, Hon. Leonard Swett,
     and others present joining in the discussion, I recollect his
     making this remark: "I am an apostle of temperance only to the
     extent of coercing moderate indulgence and prohibiting excesses by
     all the moral influences I can bring to bear."


Perhaps no act of Mr. Lincoln's administration showed his political
shrewdness more clearly than the permission he gave for the rebel
legislature of Virginia to meet for the purpose of recalling the state
troops from General Lee's Army. This permission was given in a note to
General Weitzel. Mr. Lincoln told Governor Francis H. Pierpont that "its
composition occupied five hours of intense mental activity." Governor
Pierpont says he was the loyal Governor of Virginia at the time, and Mr.
Lincoln deemed it necessary to say something to him about so
extraordinary a measure as permitting the rebel legislature to assemble
when a loyal legislature with a loyal governor was in existence and was
recognized by the federal government. Mr. Lincoln's note to General
Weitzel read:--

"It has been intimated to me that the gentlemen who have acted as the
legislature of Virginia in support of the rebellion may now desire to
assemble at Richmond and take measures to withdraw the Virginia troops
and other support from resistance to the general government. If they
attempt it, give them permission and protection until, if at all, they
attempt some action hostile to the United States, in which case you will
notify them, give them reasonable time to leave, and at the end of which
time arrest any who remain. Allow Judge Campbell to see this, but do not
make it public."

To write this note occupied all Mr. Lincoln's time from 9 P. M. till 2
A. M.--"five hours of uninterrupted stillness."

Mr. Lincoln foresaw that an attempt would be made to construe his
permission into a virtual recognition of the authority of the rebel
legislature. He steered clear of this recognition by not speaking of
them "as a legislature," but as, "the gentlemen who have acted as the
legislature of Virginia in support of rebellion," and explained
afterward when it was misconstrued, that he "did this on purpose to
exclude the assumption that I was recognizing them as a rightful body. I
dealt with them as men having power de facto to do a specific thing."


                                           FAIRFIELD, CONN., Jan. 9, 1861.

     W. H. LAMON, Esq.:

     DEAR SIR,--Yours of December 26th duly received. Connecticut is
     death on secession. I regard it the duty of the Government to
     uphold its authority in the courts as effectually south as it has
     done north if it can, and to hold its forts and public grounds at
     whatever cost and collect the revenue ditto. There is but one
     feeling here, I believe, though in the city of New York there are
     those who sustain her actions, that secession is _disgraceful_ as
     well as ruinous on the part of South Carolina. I glory in Lincoln
     now for I feel that he is the most suitable man of our party for
     this terrible ordeal through which he has to pass. I rely with
     entire confidence upon his urbanity, gentleness, goodness, and
     ability to convince his enemies of his perfect uprightness as well
     as his firmness and courage. I do not expect him to be as warlike
     as Jackson, but I look for the calm courage befitting a Judge on
     the bench. With Lincoln as President and Scott as
     Lieutenant-General, I have no fears but the dignity of the
     Government will be sustained after the 4th of March. What is being
     done to protect Lincoln personally at Washington before and after
     Inauguration? Is there not a propriety in some of his friends
     making it their especial business to escort him without even his
     knowing it? You know these Southern men better than I do. If there
     is propriety in such a thing, or need for it, rather, I would meet
     you at Washington when he goes on and stay with you while it is

                                            Yours truly,
                                                     BRONSON MURRAY.

                                       NEWARK, OHIO, Feby. 14, 1861.

     FRIEND LAMON,--I concluded to drop you this note, on learning
     that you in company with our mutual friend Judge Davis were with
     the President Elect on his tour to the Seat of Government. I was
     led to this through fear of the failure of some correspondence to
     reach your eye, the drift of it was to secure the appointment of
     postmaster at this city for your humble servant. Now if you have
     not been bored to death already by friends who are your _humble
     servants_, say a kind word for me. I have asked for the Post Office
     here for some good reasons. Poor enough to ask it and capable to
     fill it ... and have my second papers for being _Black_ Republican.
     I might add that the Citizens would not look upon my appointment as
     an overt _act_ against this City. I was removed from the Post
     Office Dept. in 1855 for opposition to Judge Douglas for removing
     the Missouri Compromise.... I would beg to be remembered to Messrs.
     Lincoln and Davis. Wishing you all a pleasant trip, safe arrival
     and a smooth sea in the future.

                                        Yours very truly,
                                                     JAS. H. SMITH.

The following letter may be of interest as showing the impression made
at a time when opinions of Mr. Lincoln were in the formative state. New
York City, as a whole, was unfriendly to Lincoln. Written when Lincoln
was in New York on his way to Washington.

                                           NEW YORK, Feby. 20, 1861.

     DEAR LAMON,--I was glad today to recognize you; and drop you a
     line instead of a call when you must be so weary.

     Just before we met, my father and old Ald^{n} Purdy (both
     wheel-horses in the Dem^{t} party here) were canvassing matters
     politic. Purdy said he had seen Lincoln and liked the man; said he
     was much better looking and a finer man than he expected to see;
     and that he kept aloof from old politicians here and seemed to have
     a mind of his own. Old Judge Benson too (who was with us) is a
     Democrat and was equally pleased with Lincoln. He says Lincoln has
     an eye that shows power of mind and will, and he thinks he will
     carry us safely.

     I repeat these comments, because they came from behind the scenes
     of the popular apprehensions whence at present our friend Lincoln
     is excluded, and I feel sure he will be pleased to know how
     favorable an impression he makes....

     Tell Lincoln to use his _own_ judgment and be bold and firm. The
     _people_ of all parties here are prepared to sustain _him_. But he
     may beware of all old politicians of both parties.

     Because he is a fresh man and an able one he was taken up. Let his
     freshness enter his policy also

                                              Your friend,
                                                        BRONSON MURRAY.

                                             SPRINGFIELD, Feb. 22, 1861.

     HILL,--This is Dick Gilmer of Pike--he is to that neck of _Woods_
     what you or Dick Oglesby are to this region of Country.... Do what
     you can consistently for him--and oblige

                                                   Your friend,
                                                         O. M. HATCH.

                                   BLOOMINGTON (ILL.), Feby. 25, 1861.

     DEAR HILL,--Nothing of moment has occurred since your departure.
     Do write me immediately explaining the cause of your mysterious
     transit through Maryland.

     Here let me say a word about Washington. It is the worst place in
     the world to judge correctly of anything. A ship might as well
     learn its bearings in the Norway Maelstrom, as for you people to
     undertake to judge anything correctly upon your arrival there.

     You are the subject of every artful and selfish appliance. You
     breathe an air pregnant with panic. You have to decide before you
     can discover the secret springs of the action presented to you.

     There is but one rule and that is to stand by and adopt the
     judgment you formed before you arrived there.

     The atmosphere of Washington and the country are as unlike as the
     atmosphere of Greenland and the tropics.

     The country is moved and moves by its judgment--Washington by its
     artificial life. The country really knows nothing of Washington and
     Washington knows nothing of the country. Washington is drunk, the
     Country is sober and the appeal from your judgment there to your
     home judgment is simply an appeal from Philip drunk to Philip

     Please give these ideas in better language than I have done to Mr.
     Lincoln. I know his sound home judgment, the only thing I fear is
     the bewilderment of that city of rumors. I do ache to have him do

                                                    Yours truly,
                                                        LEONARD SWETT.

                                              WASHINGTON, March 2, 1861.

     DEAR SIR,--I have received your request and shall take great
     pleasure to do what you wish in respect to Delaware.

                                    Very truly your friend,
                                                           WINFIELD SCOTT.

     WARD H. LAMON, Esq.
                                        DANVILLE, ILL., March 5, 1861.

     DEAR HILL,--Have just read Lincoln's inaugural.--It is just right
     and pleases us much. Not a word too much or too little. He assumes
     the tone and temper of a statesman of the olden time. God bless
     him--and keep him safely to the end.--Are you coming home to see us
     ere you depart hence? You could unfold to us a chapter that would
     be spicy, rich and rare.

     We were at first disposed to regret Lincoln's hasty trip from
     Harrisburgh. But the action of the crowd at Baltimore convinces us
     that it was the most prudent course to pursue....

                                                       O. F. HARMON.

                                ON BOARD STEAMER WARSAW, March 8, 1861.

     DEAR LAMON,--I got home a week ago. I have heard a good many
     things said pro and con about the new administration, and as far as
     I have heard the mass of the people have confidence in Mr. Lincoln,
     and this applies to the people of the border slave states as well
     as the free states. But it is not worth while to disguise the fact
     that a large majority of the free states in the Northwest are
     opposed to _Ultra measures_ and the people of the slave states are
     almost unanimous against coercion. Many appointments that have been
     made by the new administration were unfortunate. It must
     necessarily be so with all administrations, and Mr. Lincoln has had
     more than his share of trouble in making his selection. I fear that
     a majority of the Senators on our side care but little for his
     success further than it can contribute to their own glory, and they
     have had such men appointed to office as they felt would serve
     their own purpose without any reference to Mr. Lincoln and but
     little for the party....

     As far as I could see when at Washington, to have been an original
     friend of Mr. Lincoln was an unpardonable offence with Members of

     I have the utmost confidence in the success of Mr. Lincoln but I
     do not expect his support to come from the radical element of our

                                            Your true friend,
                                                       HAWKINS TAYLOR.


                                               STATE OF ILLINOIS,
                                                  SECRETARY'S OFFICE,
                                           SPRINGFIELD, March, 18, 1861.


     DEAR HILL,--My brother is foolish enough to desire an
     office.--When you see him, and this, if he still _insists_ that he
     has as good right to a place as anybody else, I want you to do for
     him, what you would for me. No more, no less--...

                                               Your friend,
                                                      O. M. HATCH.

                                                        March 19, 1861.

     MY DEAR COLONEL,--When I left Washington I handed to Judge Davis
     a letter setting forth what I wished him to do for me in Washington
     if it met his views.

     I desired to be detailed as acting Inspector General of the Army in
     place of Emory promoted Lieutenant-Colonel of the Cavalry. This
     appointment needs only an order of the Secretary of War. Mr.
     Cameron promised Judge Davis to attend to it at once, but I presume
     he has overlooked it. Will you do me the favor to see Cameron on
     the subject? He knows all about it and precisely what to do.

     I hope you are having a good time in Washington. I presume you are
     as you seem to have very much enjoyed the excitement along the road
     and in Washington. I shall always cherish a most pleasant
     remembrance of our journey and of the agreeable acquaintances and
     friends I made on the road. Among the last I have rated you and
     Judge Davis with peculiar satisfaction and I hope you will always
     believe that I shall cherish the warmest personal regard for you.

                                    Very truly your friend,
                                                         JOHN POPE.

                                                         MARCH 23, 1861.

     DEAR HILL,--The public mind is prepared to hear of the evacuation
     of Sumter, but it is a great humiliation. Still if Mr. Lincoln
     gives the order you may swear that such is the public confidence in
     him it will be at once taken as a necessity of the situation.

                                                            W. H. HANNA.

                                      BLOOMINGTON, ILL., March 30, 1861.

     DEAR HILL,--I saw the "Telegraphic Announcement" of your
     prospective trip to Charleston before your kind and cordial letter
     was received. Yesterday, the "Telegraph" announced your return to
     Washington, which gratified us all. The papers represent you as
     quite a Lion. I have no doubt you bear your honors meekly....

     I am anxious about the country. Are we to be divided as a nation?
     The thought is terrible. I never entertained a question of your
     success in getting to and from Charleston.

     How do things look at Washington? Are the appointments
     satisfactory? No foreign appointments for the border slave states?
     Is this policy a wise one? Off here it does not look so to me.

     Did Hawkins Taylor of Iowa get anything?...

                                                     Your friend,
                                                             D. DAVIS.

                                                 URBANA, Apr. 6, 1861.

     DEAR HILL,--The Judge and I are now attending Court at this
     place, the only wreck of that troupe which was once the life and
     soul of professional life in this country. I see Judge McLean has
     departed this life. The question is who shall succeed to the ermin
     so worthily worn by him. Why should not David Davis who was so
     instrumental in giving position to him who now holds the matter in
     the hollow of his hand? Dear Hill, if retribution, justice, and
     gratitude are to be respected, Lincoln can do nothing less than to
     tender the position to Judge Davis. I want you to suggest it to
     Lincoln.... Of course you will. I know your noble nature too well
     to believe that you would not think of a suggestion of this kind as
     soon as myself. Write me.

                                                            L. WELDON.

                                            BLOOMINGTON, Apr. 7, 1861.

     DEAR HILL,--Why don't you write. Tell us something.

     By the way, since McLean's death the friends of Judge Davis think
     Lincoln ought to put him on Supreme Bench. Now I want you to find
     out when this appointment will be made. Also tell Lincoln that
     Judge Davis will be an applicant, so that he may not ignore the
     fact or act without that knowledge. I wish, too, _you_ would
     _without fail_ go immediately to Cameron, Caleb B. Smith, and Gov.
     Seward and tell them Davis will be an applicant. Tell Smith what I
     know, that it was through the Illinois fight and Judge Davis that
     Judd went out and he went in, and we think we ought to be
     remembered for it. Now, Hill, I know you are bored to death, but
     our mutual regard for the Judge must make us doubly industrious and
     persistent in this case.

     Write immediately what the chances are, how Lincoln feels about it,
     and what we ought to do.

                                             Yours truly,
                                                     LEONARD SWETT.

                                                WASHINGTON, April 8, 1861.


     MY DEAR SIR,--I cannot deny the request of the Reverend Mr.
     Wright, so far as to enclose the within letter. I do not know the
     person recommended personally; but the Reverend gentleman who
     writes the letter is a most estimable and worthy man, whom I should
     be delighted to gratify if I felt at liberty to recommend any one,
     which I do not under existing circumstances.

                   I am very respectfully your obedient servant,
                                                      S. A. DOUGLAS.

                                         ST. LOUIS, MO., April 11, 1861.


     DEAR SIR,--On the 30th of July last I was assaulted by
     twenty-five outlaws in Texas--with but one _fighting_ friend to
     stand by me. I gave an honorable compromise, and came forth from my
     stronghold, in the presence of my would-be hangmen, a daring
     Republican and a fearless Lincoln man. But it afterwards became
     necessary for me to leave Texas or be _suspended_. As I preferred
     dying in a horizontal position, _I left_, came to St. Louis and am
     now at the service of Mr. Lincoln and _our_ country. If war is made
     I want a showing in Texas. There are many true and loyal men there.
     A few thousand soldiers thrown in there to form a nucleus around
     which the Houston Union men can rally will soon form a barrier to
     rebellion in the Southwest. When the "ball" opens I would like to
     be authorized to raise five hundred men to occupy a position on Red
     River at the mouth of Bogy Creek.

     What can you do to assist me in doing something of the kind. I will
     look for a reply to this in a few days.

                                             Yours truly,
                                                         J. E. LEMON.

                               BLOOMINGTON, ILLINOIS, April 16, 1861.

     COL. W. H. LAMON:

     DEAR HILL,--I send you the result of a public meeting here last
     night. We are, thank God, all right....

     Secession, disunion and even fault finding is done with in this
     City. We shall all stand firmly by the administration and fight it

     On last Monday we had a few fights, for just at that time we could
     not and would not allow a single word of fault found with the
     administration; the result was that three Democrats got thrashed.
     Just then we were hearing the news of Fort Sumter, now we are all
     on one side.

     I write this that you may know the exact truth about us. If there
     is any service I can render the government--count me always on hand
     to do it. Write me if you can get time.

                                               Your friend,
                                                         W. H. HANNA.

                                 INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA, April 19, 1861.

     DEAR SIR,--Sufficient companies have been formed in Indiana or
     nearly so to fill the six Regiments of our state. They of course
     contain all classes of persons, but many of them are our _best_ and
     _dearest_ youths with whom it has cost many a sigh and burning tear
     to part. Thousands more will soon be made ready to join. We are
     now of course intensely anxious about the Commandants and suppose
     that the President will have the appointment of those officers, and
     my object in writing this is to request you _without fail_ to see
     the President and General Cameron and say to them that we are all
     sensitive upon the appointments of the Brigadier General of this
     state, and say to them that the appointment of a mere civilian will
     give extreme dissatisfaction not only to the troops but to their

     I name no person of that character who is an aspirant but I regret
     to say that there are some of that character here. From the
     appointment of one of whom, may God in his infinite mercy save us.

     I believe every man in our State will arm, and those who refuse
     will be hung and their property confiscated. There is a feeling all
     through the State of the most intense character, wholly
     indescribable. I can do nothing of business. I am now helping our
     200 men off, encouraging and counselling them what I can. Unless
     some change in my feelings now strained to the utmost pitch, I
     shall not be far behind them.

     Our boys are taking the oath in the Hall of the House, and the
     telegraph brings intelligence of the fighting at Baltimore and the
     burning of Harper's Ferry. The boys take the oath with a look of
     determination to do or die.

     All our fears now are for Washington. May God preserve you until
     succor comes.

                                                 Ever yours,
                                                        J. P. USHER.

     I am so excited that I can scarcely write legibly, but say to the
     President that the _entire power_ of Indiana with all its men,
     women and children, money and goods, will be sacrificed if
     necessary to sustain the government; the treachery of Virginia only
     intensifies the feeling.

                                                                J. P. U.

                                       TERRE HAUTE, INDIANA, May 5, 1861.

     W. H. LAMON, Esq.:

     DEAR SIR,--Since I wrote to you on the 19th ult. I have been at
     Indianapolis endeavoring to aid the Governor in such way as I
     could. My desire has been to prevent rash counsels from being
     followed and from incurring unnecessary expense, and I think I have
     had some influence in keeping down extravagance. We are appalled
     every day by some new development of the dreadful conspiracy which
     has been formed for the entire overthrow of the Government. I hope
     its worst has now been realized and that whatever may occur
     hereafter will be for the better. Of one thing the President may
     rest perfectly satisfied, that the entire voice of Indiana is for
     the most vigorous prosecution of the War. I have no doubt but that
     50,000 men could be raised in a month. All business has been
     suspended and the people do not expect to do anything until the war
     is ended. My desire is that it be pushed as fast as it possibly
     can, not rashly, but rapidly accompanied by such necessary severity
     as will be a terror to evil-doing. We have nothing to expect from
     Kentucky or Missouri, they remain partly quiet because of their
     proximity to the free states. My opinion is that they will not
     revolt now, or if they do, it will be in that partial way to avoid
     any entire destruction for the industrial interests of those
     states. However that may be, they refuse to answer to the call of
     the President for volunteers and I am totally opposed to their
     being suffered to remain in the attitude like cow-boys of the
     Revolution. I am for suspending all trade with them, if they will
     not furnish their quota of troops.

     If you please, and think it will not be deemed to be too
     impertinent in me, say to the President that my opinion is that the
     troops at Cairo should stop all boats of every kind passing down
     the river and that no provisions whatever should be permitted to be
     shipped to any state refusing to furnish their quota of troops. It
     will prevent violence here: throughout Indiana, Ohio, and Illinois
     most of the people think that trade of all kinds with the rebels
     should cease, and that can only be accomplished by the proclamation
     of the President. I hope he will make the proclamation. Our people
     want it, but his advisers there and his own wisdom, in which I have
     all confidence, will control. The people of the West expect him,
     nay all the civilized world expects him to press forward with
     undeviating firmness until the rebellion is crushed. We possess
     nothing too valuable for the sacrifice. Let us not be rash, but to
     the best advantage let us put the lives and worldly goods of us all
     upon the altar for the sacrifice, for the preservation of the
     government. Neither life nor goods will be valuable or worth
     preservation if the Constitution is to be overthrown. No villainy
     like this has ever occurred in the history of man, or one that
     deserves such terrible punishment. I believe it is said in history,
     though fabulous, that no spear of grass ever grew where Attila
     stepped his foot. I do most religiously hope that there will be a
     foot heavy enough to let down upon old Virginia to stop the growth
     of grass for a time. The evil must be met, and we were never in a
     better condition to test our patriotism.

     Western Virginia has a Convention on the 14th; how will it do for
     Indiana to send a Commissioner? I think I could get Governor Morton
     to send R. W. Thompson. Suppose you ask Lincoln what he thinks of
     it. Thompson has been taking great interest in the war, making
     speeches and putting the people right. I have no doubt he will be
     much flattered at an appointment to the loyal Virginians, and if it
     is thought best at Washington, I think I can have it done. I shall
     be at Indianapolis for a day or two, when I shall return and be at
     the Charleston and Danville, Illinois, Courts for the next two
     weeks. Don't you wish you could be there?

                             Most truly yours,
                                                          J. P. USHER.

                                         BLOOMINGTON, ILL., May 6, 1861.

     DEAR HILL,--Your anxious and harassing state at Washington during
     those perilous times has so occupied your time and attention that
     you have not had any leisure to write. I have not heard from you
     for three weeks. For the last three weeks I have been holding court
     in Lincoln. The excitement about enlisting nearly broke the court
     up for two weeks. I was at Springfield two days week before last
     and found everything astir. I need not say that you were missed at
     Lincoln by me and everybody else. Your absence was regretted by
     everyone and yet everyone thought you deserved your good fortune.

     I found Trumbull very unpopular with the members of the Legislature
     and other parties at Springfield. Douglas is in the topmost wave.
     Douglas would beat Trumbull before this legislature. My course last
     summer in using my best endeavors to elect Trumbull does not meet
     with my own approbation.

     This war and its dreadful consequences affects my spirits.... It is
     very lonely going round the circuit without you.

                                                           DAVID DAVIS.

     DEAR HILL,--I have written you about every week since I left
     Urbana. Dan Voorhees has been here for two days. He is a devoted
     friend of yours. He feels badly about the state of the country but
     is for the maintenance of the Government....

     Mr. [Joseph G.] Cannon the new Prosecutor is a pleasant, unassuming
     gentleman and will in time make a good Prosecutor.[O]

       [O] This prophecy was certainly fulfilled.

     I need not tell you that it is lonesome here--on account of your
     absence. This is my last court here and no lawyer is practising
     here who was practising here when I held my first court. This is
     emphatically a world of change.

                                           Your friend as ever,
                                                         DAVID DAVIS.

                                       WASHINGTON, D. C., June 4, 1861.


     MY DEAR SIR,--I would be obliged to you to procure for me that
     Presidential interview as soon as practicable. I do not wish to
     trouble you, but I am in a considerable hurry. I wish to say some
     things to the President about matters in North Carolina. There are
     some Union men there yet.

                                           Respectfully yours,
                                                     CHAS. HENRY FOSTER.

                                BLOOMINGTON, ILLINOIS, August 25, 1861.


     DEAR HILL,--We are making great preparations for war in this
     State, and will have twenty thousand men in camp, besides those
     already in Missouri, in a very short time. There is a universal
     demand for the removal of Mr. Cameron, and I think after all, the
     sooner it is done the better. Mr. Lincoln certainly has no idea of
     the universal disposition of the whole people on this subject. I
     feel that Cameron wants to render the war unpopular by
     mismanagement, for they all know that if this war is successfully
     prosecuted that all the scoundrels cannot keep Mr. Lincoln from
     being re-elected President.

     Do tell Mr. Lincoln this thing, tell him also that he has the
     confidence of all parties, except the traitors....

     I know Lincoln well enough to know that he will make no mistakes,
     if he will consult his own will and act up to it bravely and
     without hesitation. It is the best time in the world to be
     President, but he must be all President. Halfway measures will only
     now tend to our ruin and disgrace.

     I fear Trumbull is a rascal,--the idea of his being unprepared in
     the Senate to vote for the resolution approving the act of the
     President, has killed him off. I will bet you a bottle of wine that
     he sees the day he will want to exchange that little speech....

     I am perhaps too impatient, and I am besides under some personal
     obligations to Mr. Cameron, but in this fight I care nothing about
     obligations of friendship in opposition to the welfare of the
     country. No one man nor any number of men can in my estimation be
     allowed for one moment to stand in the way of good government.

     Excuse me for all this and believe me in everything. I am,

                                              Your friend,
                                                         W. A. HANNA.
     The city is full of soldiers and we are all marching left foot

                                                             W. H. H.

      WILLARD'S HOTEL, 7 P. M. Aug. 30, 1861.

     DEAR SIR,--General Scott notified me that if I would make an
     arrangement with the President to receive the Fort Sumter Garrison
     at some definite time, he would be most happy to be present at the
     reception. My men are at leisure either to-morrow or Monday, or in
     fact any time during the next week. Will you have the kindness to
     arrange it and let me know the result? I will call at this hotel
     for your answer.

                                          Yours very truly,
                                                         A. DOUBLEDAY.


                                     FORT LAFAYETTE, Oct. 24, 1861.

     MY DEAR SIR,--It is nearly _three months_ since I have been
     seized and held as a close prisoner by the Government of the United
     States. No charge ever has--none can be--preferred against me,--and
     yet I am robbed of my liberty--separated from my family and home,
     and have been subjected to irreparable pecuniary loss. Is it
     possible that your friend Mr. Lincoln can permit such acts to be
     done in his name and under his administration? It is not possible
     for me to give you in a brief letter a just view of my relations to
     the Government or of its conduct to me, but I ask you to get the
     President in company with yourself to examine my correspondence
     with the War and State Departments, commencing on the nineteenth of
     September. After their perusal I think you will agree with me, that
     no man has ever within the limits of the United States been more
     unjustly deprived of his liberty. In truth, the President and
     yourself will reach the conclusion that the _honor_ and _good
     faith_ of the Government demand my release.

                                            Yours truly,
                                                    CHAS. J. FAULKNER.

In 1862 Hawkins Taylor wrote:--

     Thinking back to the Presidential Campaign I cannot help but think
     how _strange_ things have turned. I was an original Lincoln man,
     worked for him before, at, and in the State Convention for the
     nomination of Delegates to the Chicago Convention. Grimes scouted
     the idea of such a country lawyer being President. When the Chicago
     Convention came off Colonel Warren, knowing that I was scarce of
     funds and knowing my anxiety for the nomination of Mr. Lincoln,
     sent me a ticket to Chicago and back. I pledged a watch that cost
     me $128 for money to pay expenses there and to our State

     Colonel Warren also went to Chicago, and to _my own certain
     knowledge, rendered most important services to Mr. Lincoln_. At the
     State Convention he was put at the head of the electoral ticket,
     canvassed the entire state, made more than _one hundred speeches_,
     spent his money by the hundreds. While Grimes made two or three
     speeches, _grumbled_ privately at the nomination, damned the
     President upon all occasions since he took his seat. Yet Grimes has
     controlled the entire patronage of the State of Iowa to the
     exclusion of Colonel Warren and all his friends. How can Mr.
     Lincoln expect friends in Iowa under this state of things?

                                          ILLINOIS, Feb. 12, 1862.

     ... By the bye I do not care how soon you come back to Illinois
     provided always that I should hate for Hale Grimes & Co. to have
     their way in driving off every one who does not believe in negro
     stealing.... Yet I feel a good deal like they profess to feel. I
     should be glad to see the poor negroes free and provided for, but
     the abolition leaders seem to me to entertain more hatred to the
     owners than love for the negroes, and to be willing to sacrifice
     Whites, Negroes, Country and Constitution to the gratification of
     their ambition and malignity.

     I feel very glad at the progress the war is now making as I do hope
     the present prospect of speedy success will enable Lincoln and
     other conservative Republicans and Democrats to set at defiance the
     ravings of the abolitionists and universal confiscation men. If
     their mouths can be stopped I have now good hope that the union can
     soon be restored and that a few months will bring daylight out of
     the troubles of the Country....

                                         Yours respectfully,
                                                         S. T. LOGAN.

                                         OFFICE CHIEF QUARTER-MASTER
                                              DEPARTMENT OF THE GULF
                                           NEW ORLEANS, Dec. 8, 1862.

     DEAR HILL,--I have given both our Representatives from here
     letters of introduction to you. Messrs. Flanders and Hahn. You will
     find Flanders old enough to take care of himself, but I desire that
     you be especially attentive to Hahn as I want him to defend Mr.
     Lincoln. He is very popular here and has very considerable
     influence and can do Mr. Lincoln a great deal of good. See that he
     falls into the right hands,--men who support the policy of the
     administration. Both men are now right and I depend on our friends
     to keep them right. Let me hear from you.

                                                  As ever your friend,
                                                    J. WILSON SHAFFER.

     Quietly say to Lincoln to cultivate these men as they both desire
     to find out what he wants and they will do it.

                                                              J. W. S.

                                      12 NORTH A STREET, Feb. 26, 1863.

     MY DEAR SIR,--Mr. J. N. Carpenter, who is a pay-master in the
     Navy, has always borne and does now bear the character of a
     truthfully upright and veracious man. I am requested to say this of
     him to you and I give my testimony accordingly without knowing what
     the object may be of getting it. He is a member of the true church
     which believes in the ancient gospel, and you are related by
     marriage to the same establishment. If you can do any good for Mr.
     C. you will recollect that it is done unto them of the household of
     faith and you will no doubt do it with the more alacrity when you
     remember that Satan also takes care of his own.

                                        I am most respectfully yours, &c.,
     HON. W. H. LAMON.                                        J. S. BLACK.

                                           DECATUR, ILL., March 24, 1863.

     COLONEL WARD,--Received a letter yesterday from Judge Davis who
     informs me that you and Swett joined him heartily in efforts to
     secure my promotion, that this was all done without my knowledge or
     encouragement, from pure motives of personal attachment and kind
     old remembrances. Allow me, Sir, to thank you kindly for this
     disinterested and zealous effort to benefit and honor me. I did not
     deserve the honor. I will try to do my best, however, and save my
     friends and self from disgrace. I learn you are prospering and are
     unchangeably the same. I hope some day to meet you again when our
     Country will allow us all once more to feel happy and at rest.

     I go to the field to-day, although I am far from well....

     Do not forget to remember me to the President cordially. May God
     spare his life many years yet. I hope he never despairs or falters
     under his heavy burden.

                                               Most respectfully
                                                        Your friend,
                                                         R. J. OGLESBY.

        Marshal of D. C.

                                             NASHVILLE, January 10, 1865.


     DEAR SIR,--I am anxious to have a young Philadelphia lawyer made
     captain of the regular army, and I know of no one so likely to
     present the matter directly to Mr. Stanton or the President as
     yourself. Will you oblige me by attending to the matter? I am
     suffering from a fall and unable to get to Washington.

                             Most respectfully your obedient servant,
                                                         J. CATRON.

                                           KENTUCKY, January 23, 1865.

     WARD H. LAMON, Esq.:

     MY DEAR SIR,--....Please remember me to Mr. Lincoln and thank him
     for his great kindness shown me during my last visit to your city.
     I do hope and pray that he may stand firm to the end of this wicked
     Rebellion, and while he administers mercy so freely that he will
     not forget _justice_. I am in favor of _mercy_, but never at the
     expense of _justice_. I know he is magnanimous. He is too much so
     sometimes, I fear. But I had rather trust him in this great crisis
     than any other man living. May God give him wisdom to direct, mercy
     to temper, and justice to balance the mighty interests of humanity
     that tremble in the balance!

     I should be happy to hear from you at an early date.

     With kindest wishes for your health and prosperity,

                                I am, dear Sir,
                                     Your most obedient servant,
                                                      D. P. HENDERSON.

                                          CHICAGO, February 10, 1865.

     DEAR SIR,--Enclosed is a letter which I wish you to place in the
     hands of President Lincoln in person.

     I fear it will not get to him until action is had.

     I am very sorry to trouble him, but my friends demand it of me. I
     told them that you would put it in his hands yourself.

                                  Your obedient servant,
                                                       JNO. WENTWORTH.

                                 BLOOMINGTON, ILL., April 4, 1865.[P]

       [P] Only ten days before the Assassination.


     DEAR HILL,--....I am going with Governor Oglesby to visit the
     armies of Grant and Sherman, and shall call on you in passing.

     We have glorious news, and am feeling happy over it.

     I hope the President will keep out of danger; the chivalry are a
     greater set of scoundrels than he thinks them to be.

     Mr. Lincoln's personal safety is of such vast importance to the
     country at this time, that his friends feel more or less solicitous
     when they read of his "going to the front." But he has made a
     glorious trip this time.

                                                   Your friend,
                                                            W. H. HANNA.


                                                      January 31, 1874.


     MY DEAR SIR,--My attention has been directed to a "Review of the
     Life of Lincoln" which appeared in the "Christian Union." This
     paper was by many attributed to your pen; it certainly must have
     received your editorial sanction.

     I do not conceal the fact that some of its criticisms touched me
     sharply; but I determined, after no little deliberation, that it
     was better to submit in silence to whatever might be said or
     written of that biography. It happens, however, that certain
     lectures delivered by Mr. Herndon of Illinois have renewed the
     discussion of Mr. Lincoln's unbelief, and incident to that
     discussion some of the bitterest enemies of my own have taken
     occasion to renew their assaults upon me for what my honest duty as
     a biographer made it necessary for me to record in regard to so
     important an element in Mr. Lincoln's character.

     Many of these self-appointed critics I know, and have long known.
     Their motives need no interpretation. Their hostility to me is very
     great, but it fails to equal the treachery with which they betrayed
     Mr. Lincoln while living, or the hypocrisy with which they chant
     his eulogies when dead.

     Their malignment of the lamented President during the most anxious
     and trying period of his administration was so outrageous and
     vindictive that if Booth had wrapped his bullet in a shred of their
     correspondence he might have lodged a vindication of his crime in
     the brain of his victim. But these men could have no connection
     with this letter were it not that in this assault upon my character
     they have claimed the authority of the "Union" to sustain one of
     their unjust charges. I trust you will pardon the earnestness with
     which I protest against your conclusions as to myself, both because
     of their intrinsic injustice, and the sanction they have since
     given to the expression of others who can know nothing of the
     dignity and impartiality which belongs to honest criticism.

     When the life of Lincoln was written it was my honest purpose to
     give to the world a candid, truthful statement of all facts and
     incidents of his life of which I was possessed, or could, by
     diligent investigation, procure, so as to give a true history of
     that wonderful man. I was well aware from the first that by
     pursuing such a course I would give offence to some; for who that
     ever had courage enough to write or utter great truths, since the
     commencement of the Christian era to the present time, has not been
     held up to public scorn and derision for his independence? Knowing
     this and yet believing that I knew Mr. Lincoln as well, and knew as
     much about him as any man living, I undertook to furnish biography,
     facts, truth, history--not eulogy--believing then, as I believe
     now, that the whole truth might be told of him and yet he would
     appear a purer, better, and greater man than there is left living.
     But he was human, composed of flesh and blood, and to him, as to
     others, belonged amiable weaknesses and some of the small sins
     incident to men. He was not perfect as a man, yet with all his
     humanity he was better than any other man I ever knew or expect to
     know. He was not a Christian in the orthodox sense of the term, yet
     he was as conscientiously religious as any man. I think I am
     justified in saying that had Mr. Lincoln been called upon to
     indicate in what manner the biography of him should be written, he
     would have preferred that no incident or event of his life should
     be omitted; that every incident and event of his history and every
     characteristic of his nature should be presented with photographic
     accuracy. He would have been content that the veil of obscurity
     should be withdrawn from his early life. All that was rude in it
     could detract nothing from the career which he afterwards so
     wonderfully accomplished. The higher elements of his character, as
     they were developed and wrought their effect, could have lost
     nothing in the world's judgment by a contrast, however strong, with
     the weaker and cruder elements of his nature. His life was a type
     of the society in which he lived, and with the progress and
     development of that society, advanced and expanded with a
     civilization which changed the unpeopled West to a land of churches
     and cities, wealth and civilization.

     In your comment upon that part of the biography which treats of Mr.
     Lincoln's religion you say:--"A certain doubt is cast upon his
     argument by the heartlessness of it. We cannot avoid an impression
     that an anti-Christian animus inspires him." And you further say,
     "He does not know what Lincoln was, nor what religion is." That I
     did not know what Mr. Lincoln was, I must take leave to contradict
     with some emphasis; that I do not know what religion is, in the
     presence of so many illustrious failures to comprehend its true
     character, I may be permitted to doubt. Speaking of Mr. Lincoln in
     reference to this feature of his character, I express the decided
     opinion that he was an eminently moral man. Regarding him as a
     moral man, with my views upon the relations existing between the
     two characteristics, I have no difficulty in believing him a
     religious man! Yet he was not a Christian. He possessed, it is
     true, a system of faith and worship, but it was one which Orthodox
     Christianity stigmatizes as a false religion.

     It surely cannot be a difficult matter to determine whether a man
     who lived so recently and so famously was a Christian or not. If he
     was a Christian he must have been sincere, for sincerity is one of
     the first of Christian virtues, and if sincere he must have availed
     himself of the promises of our Lord by a public profession of His
     faith, baptism in His name and membership of His church. Did Mr.
     Lincoln do this? No one pretends that he did, and those who
     maintain that he was nevertheless a Christian must hold that he may
     follow Jesus and yet deny Him; that he may be ashamed to own his
     Redeemer and yet claim His intercession; that he may serve Him
     acceptably, forsaking nothing, acknowledging nothing, repenting

     When it is established by the testimony of the Christian Ministry
     that sinners may enter Heaven by a broad back gate like this, few
     will think it worth while to continue in the straight and narrow
     path prescribed by the Word of God. They who would canonize Mr.
     Lincoln as a saint should pause and reflect a brief moment upon the
     incalculable injury they do the cause which most of them profess to
     love. It would certainly have been pleasant to me to have closed
     without touching upon his religious opinions; but such an omission
     would have violated the fundamental principle upon which every line
     of the book is traced. Had it been possible to have truthfully
     asserted that he was a member of the Church of Christ or that he
     believed in the teachings of the New Testament, the facts would
     have been proclaimed with a glow of earnest and unfeigned

     In conclusion I may say that my friendship for Mr. Lincoln was of
     no recent hot-house growth. Unlike that of many who have made me
     the subject of hostile criticism, it antedates the beginning of his
     presidential term and the dawn of his political triumphs. I had the
     good fortune to be in intimate association with his private life
     when it was humble and obscure, and I was near him too in the
     darkest hour of his executive responsibility, until, indeed, the
     first rays of God-given peace broke upon the land. I can say, with
     truth that none can assail, that I retained his confidence unshaken
     as he retained my affections unbroken until his life was offered up
     as a crowning sacrifice to domestic discord at the very threshold
     of his and the nation's triumph. Is it, therefore, likely that
     words of mine, written or spoken, should do purposed injustice to
     his memory? With the most profound respect, I am

                         Very truly your obedient servant,
                                                         WARD H. LAMON.

       *       *       *       *       *

Transcriber's note:

Page xxv: The date 1661 has been changed to 1861.

Page 24: "at Harrisburg to chose one companion"--"chose" has been
replaced with "choose".

The following line of the Table of Contents has been moved from the first
heading in CHAPTER II to the end of CHAPTER I:

   "Time between Election and Departure for Washington       28".

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Recollections of Abraham Lincoln 1847-1865" ***

Doctrine Publishing Corporation provides digitized public domain materials.
Public domain books belong to the public and we are merely their custodians.
This effort is time consuming and expensive, so in order to keep providing
this resource, we have taken steps to prevent abuse by commercial parties,
including placing technical restrictions on automated querying.

We also ask that you:

+ Make non-commercial use of the files We designed Doctrine Publishing
Corporation's ISYS search for use by individuals, and we request that you
use these files for personal, non-commercial purposes.

+ Refrain from automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort
to Doctrine Publishing's system: If you are conducting research on machine
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a
large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the use of
public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help.

+ Keep it legal -  Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for
ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just because
we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States,
that the work is also in the public domain for users in other countries.
Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we
can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of any specific book is
allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Doctrine Publishing
ISYS search  means it can be used in any manner anywhere in the world.
Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe.

About ISYS® Search Software
Established in 1988, ISYS Search Software is a global supplier of enterprise
search solutions for business and government.  The company's award-winning
software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
search applications.  ISYS has been deployed by thousands of organizations
operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.