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Title: 'Abe' Lincoln's Anecdotes and Stories - A Collection of the Best Stories told by Lincoln which - made him famous as America's Best Story Teller
Author: Lincoln, Abraham
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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"Abe" Lincoln's
Anecdotes and Stories



Compiled by






It was once said of Shakespeare that the great mind that conceived the
tragedies of "Hamlet," "Macbeth," etc., would have lost its reason if
it had not found vent in the sparkling humor of such comedies as "The
Merry Wives of Windsor" and "The Comedy of Errors."

of civil war might likewise have overcome his reason had it not found
vent in the yarns and stories he constantly told. No more fun-loving
or humor-loving man than Abraham Lincoln ever lived. He enjoyed a joke
even when it was on himself, and probably, while he got his greatest
enjoyment from telling stories, he had a keen appreciation of the
humor in those that were told him.


For a while during the Civil War, General Fremont was without a
command. One day in discussing Fremont's case with George W. Julian,
President Lincoln said he did not know where to place him, and that
it reminded him of the old man who advised his son to take a wife, to
which the young man responded: "All right; whose wife shall I take?"


On one occasion when Mr. Lincoln was going to attend a political
convention one of his rivals, a liveryman, provided him with a slow
horse, hoping that he would not reach his destination in time. Mr.
Lincoln got there, however, and when he returned with the horse he
said: "You keep this horse for funerals, don't you?" "Oh, no," replied
the liveryman. "Well, I'm glad of that, for if you did you'd never get
a corpse to the grave in time for the resurrection."


In an interview between President Lincoln and Petroleum V. Nasby, the
name came up of a recently deceased politician of Illinois whose merit
was blemished by great vanity. His funeral was very largely attended.

"If General ---- had known how big a funeral he would have had," said
Mr. Lincoln, "he would have died years ago."


"General Blank asks for more men," said Secretary of War Stanton
to the President one day, showing the latter a telegram from the
commander named, appealing for re-enforcements.

"I guess he's killed off enough men, hasn't he?" queried the
President. "I don't mean Confederates--our own men. What's the use in
sending volunteers down to him if they're only used to fill graves?"

"His dispatch seems to imply that, in his opinion, you have not the
confidence in him he thinks he deserves," the War Secretary went on to
say, as he looked over the telegram again.

"Oh," was the President's reply, "he needn't lose any of his sleep on
that account. Just telegraph him to that effect; also, that I don't
propose to send him any more men."


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

Stanton had little or no sense of humor.

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

The severe and dignified answer was, "The Secretary of War and
Major-General Foster."

Instantly the picket roared back, "We've got major-generals enough up
here. Why don't you bring us up some hardtack?"


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

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

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


A man called upon the President and solicited a pass for Richmond.

"Well," said the President, "I would be very happy to oblige, if my
passes were respected; but the fact is, sir, I have, within the past
two years, given passes to two hundred and fifty thousand men to go to
Richmond, and not one has got there yet."

The applicant quietly and respectfully withdrew on his tiptoes.


Lincoln made his first appearance in society when he was first sent
to Springfield, Ill., as a member of the State Legislature. It was
not an imposing figure which he cut in a ballroom, but still he was
occasionally to be found there. Miss Mary Todd, who afterward became
his wife, was the magnet which drew the tall, awkward young man from
his den. One evening Lincoln approached Miss Todd, and said, in his
peculiar idiom:

"Miss Todd, I should like to dance with you the worst way."

The young woman accepted the inevitable, and hobbled around the room
with him. When she returned to her seat, one of her companions asked

"Well, Mary, did he dance with you the worst way?"

"Yes," she answered, "the very worst."


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

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

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


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

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

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

"If McClellan can't fish, he ought at least to be cutting bait at a
time like this."


Mrs. Lincoln knew her husband was not "pretty," but she liked to have
him presentable when he appeared before the public. Stephen Fiske, in
"When Lincoln Was First Inaugurated," tells of Mrs. Lincoln's anxiety
to have the President-elect "smoothed down" a little when receiving a
delegation that was to greet them upon reaching New York City.

"The train stopped," writes Mr. Fiske, "and through the windows
immense crowds could be seen; the cheering drowning the blowing off of
steam of the locomotive. Then Mrs. Lincoln opened her handbag and said:

"'Abraham, I must fix you up a bit for these city folks.'

"Mr. Lincoln gently lifted her upon the seat before him; she parted,
combed and brushed his hair and arranged his black necktie.

"'Do I look nice now, mother?' he affectionately asked.

"'Well, you'll do, Abraham,' replied Mrs. Lincoln critically. So he
kissed her and lifted her down from the seat, and turned to meet Mayor
Wood, courtly and suave, and to have his hand shaken by the other New
York officials."


"Several of us lawyers," remarked one of his colleagues, "in the
eastern end of the circuit, annoyed Lincoln once while he was holding
court for Davis by attempting to defend against a note to which there
were many makers. We had no legal, but a good moral defense, but what
we wanted most of all was to stave it off till the next term of court
by one expedient or another.

"We bothered 'the court' about it till late on Saturday, the day of
adjournment. He adjourned for supper with nothing left but this case
to dispose of. After supper he heard our twaddle for nearly an hour,
and then made this odd entry:

"'L. D. Chaddon vs. J. D. Beasley et al., April Term, 1856. Champaign
County Court. Plea in abatement by B. Z. Green, a defendant not
served, filed Saturday at 11 o'clock a.m., April 24, 1856, stricken
from the files by order of court. Demurrer to declaration, if there
ever was one, overruled. Defendants who are served now, at 8 o'clock
p.m., of the last day of the term, ask to plead to the merits, which
is denied by the court on the ground that the offer comes too late,
and therefore, as by nil dicet, judgment is rendered for Pl'ff. Clerk
assess damages. A. Lincoln, Judge pro tem.'

"The lawyer who reads this singular entry will appreciate its
oddity if no one else does. After making it, one of the lawyers, on
recovering from his astonishment, ventured to inquire: 'Well, Lincoln,
how can we get this case up again?'

"Lincoln eyed him quizzically for a moment, and then answered, 'You
have all been so mighty smart about this case, you can find out how to
take it up again yourselves.'"


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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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


When Mr. Lincoln was a candidate for the Legislature, it was the
practice at that date in Illinois for two rival candidates to travel
over the district together. The custom led to much good-natured
raillery between them; and in such contests Lincoln was rarely, if
ever, worsted. He could even turn the generosity of a rival to account
by his whimsical treatment.

On one occasion, says Mr. Weir, a former resident of Sangamon county,
he had driven out from Springfield in company with a political
opponent to engage in joint debate. The carriage, it seems, belonged
to his opponent. In addressing the gathering of farmers that met them,
Lincoln was lavish in praise of the generosity of his friend.

"I am too poor to own a carriage," he said, "but my friend has
generously invited me to ride with him. I want you to vote for me if
you will; but if not, then vote for my opponent, for he is a fine man."

His extravagant and persistent praise of his opponent appealed to the
sense of humor in his rural audience, to whom his inability to own a
carriage was by no means a disqualification.


President Lincoln, having arranged to go to New York, was late for
his train, much to the disgust of those who were to accompany him,
and all were compelled to wait several hours until the next train
steamed out of the station. President Lincoln was much amused at the
dissatisfaction displayed, and then ventured the remark that the
situation reminded him of "a little story." Said he:

"Out in Illinois, a convict who had murdered his cellmate was
sentenced to be hanged. On the day set for the execution, crowds lined
the roads leading to the spot where the scaffold had been erected,
and there was much jostling and excitement. The condemned man took
matters coolly, and as one batch of perspiring, anxious men rushed
past the cart in which he was riding, he called out, 'Don't be in a
hurry, boys. You've got plenty of time. There won't be any fun until I
get there.'

"That's the condition of things now," concluded the President; "there
won't be any fun at New York until I get there."


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


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

"Well, I am sorry for the horses."

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

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


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

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

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

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

"'Yes, I know you do; but how do you do it?'

"'You'll tell.'

"'Honest, Jake, I won't say a word. Hope to drop dead this minute.'

"'Never say nothing, if I tell you?'

"'Cross my heart three times.'

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

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


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

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

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

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

"'What luck have you?' asked she.

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

The Senators laughed and retired.


Lincoln admitted that he was not particularly energetic when it came
to real hard work.

"My father," said he one day, "taught me how to work, but not to love
it. I never did like to work, and I don't deny it. I'd rather read,
tell stories, crack jokes, talk, laugh--anything but work."


Judge Kelly, of Pennsylvania, who was one of the committee to advise
Lincoln of his nomination, and who was himself a great many feet high,
had been eyeing Lincoln's lofty form with a mixture of admiration and
possibly jealousy.

This had not escaped Lincoln, and as he shook hands with the judge he
inquired, "What is your height?"

"Six feet three. What is yours, Mr. Lincoln?"

"Six feet four."

"Then," said the judge, "Pennsylvania bows to Illinois. My dear man,
for years my heart has been aching for a President that I could look
up to, and I've at last found him."


Old Dennis Hanks was sent to Washington at one time by persons
interested in securing the release from jail of several men accused of
being copperheads. It was thought Old Dennis might have some influence
with the President.

The latter heard Dennis' story and then said: "I will send for Mr.
Stanton. It is his business."

Secretary Stanton came into the room, stormed up and down, and said
the men ought to be punished more than they were. Mr. Lincoln sat
quietly in his chair and waited for the tempest to subside, and then
quietly said to Stanton he would like to have the papers next day.

When he had gone, Dennis said:

"'Abe,' if I was as big and as ugly as you are, I would take him over
my knee and spank him."

The President replied: "No, Stanton is an able and valuable man for
this Nation, and I am glad to bear his anger for the service he can
give the Nation."


"Abe's" school teacher, Crawford, endeavored to teach his pupils some
of the manners of the "polite society" of Indiana--1823 or so. This
was a part of his system:

One of the pupils would retire, and then come in as a stranger, and
another pupil would have to introduce him to all the members of the
school in what was considered "good manners."

As "Abe" wore a linsey-woolsey shirt, buckskin breeches which were
too short and very tight, and low shoes, and was tall and awkward, he
no doubt created considerable merriment when his turn came. He was
growing at a fearful rate; he was fifteen years of age, and two years
later attained his full height of six feet four inches.


The first corps of the army commanded by General Reynolds was once
reviewed by the President on a beautiful plain at the north of Potomac
Creek, about eight miles from Hooker's headquarters. The party rode
thither in an ambulance over a rough corduroy road, and as they passed
over some of the more difficult portions of the jolting way the
ambulance driver, who sat well in front, occasionally let fly a volley
of suppressed oaths at his wild team of six mules.

Finally, Mr. Lincoln, leaning forward, touched the man on the shoulder
and said:

"Excuse me, my friend, are you an Episcopalian?"

The man, greatly startled, looked around and replied:

"No, Mr. President; I am a Methodist."

"Well," said Lincoln, "I thought you must be an Episcopalian, because
you swear just like Governor Seward, who is a church warden."


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

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

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


Immediately after Mr. Lincoln's nomination for President at the
Chicago convention, a Committee, of which Governor Morgan, of New
York, was chairman, visited him in Springfield, Ill., where he was
officially informed of his nomination.

After this ceremony had passed, Mr. Lincoln remarked to the company
that as a fit ending to an interview so important and interesting
as that which had just taken place, he supposed good manners would
require that he should treat the committee with something to drink;
and opening the door that led into the rear, he called out, "Mary!
Mary!" A girl responded to the call, to whom Mr. Lincoln spoke a few
words in an undertone, and, closing the door, returned again and
talked with his guests. In a few minutes the maid entered, bearing a
large waiter, containing several glass tumblers, and a large pitcher,
and placed them upon the center-table. Mr. Lincoln arose, and gravely
addressing the company, said: "Gentlemen, we must pledge our mutual
health in the most healthy beverage that God has given to man--it is
the only beverage I have ever used or allowed my family to use, and I
cannot conscientiously depart from it on the present occasion. It is
pure Adam's ale from the spring." And, taking the tumbler, he touched
it to his lips, and pledged them his highest respects in a cup of cold
water. Of course, all his guests admired his consistency, and joined
in his example.


    Abraham Lincoln
      his hand and pen
    he will be good
      but god Knows When

These lines were found written in young Lincoln's own hand at the
bottom of a page whereon he had been ciphering. Lincoln always wrote
a clear, regular "fist." In this instance he evidently did not
appreciate the sacredness of the name of the Deity, when he used a
little "g."

Lincoln once said he did not remember the time when he could not write.


Mr. Roland Diller, who was one of Mr. Lincoln's neighbors in
Springfield, tells the following:

"I was called to the door one day by the cries of children in the
street, and there was Mr. Lincoln, striding by with two of his boys,
both of whom were wailing aloud. 'Why, Mr. Lincoln, what's the matter
with the boys?' I asked.

"'Just what's the matter with the whole world,' Lincoln replied. 'I've
got three walnuts, and each wants two.'"


At one time the President had the appointment of a large additional
number of brigadier and major-generals. Among the immense number
of applications, Mr. Lincoln came upon one wherein the claims of a
certain worthy (not in the service at all) "for a generalship" were
glowingly set forth. But the applicant didn't specify whether he
wanted to be brigadier or major-general.

The President observed this difficulty, and solved it by a lucid
indorsement. The clerk, on receiving the paper again, found written
across its back, "Major-General, I reckon. A. Lincoln."


Lincoln had been in the telegraph office at Springfield during the
casting of the first and second ballots in the Republican National
Convention at Chicago, and then left and went over to the office of
the State Journal, where he was sitting conversing with friends while
the third ballot was being taken.

In a few moments came across the wires the announcement of the result.
The superintendent of the telegraph company wrote on a scrap of paper:
"Mr. Lincoln, you are nominated on the third ballot," and a boy ran
with the message to Lincoln.

He looked at it in silence, amid the shouts of those around him; then
rising and putting it in his pocket, he said quietly: "There's a
little woman down at our house would like to hear this; I'll go down
and tell her."


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

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

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

With lugubrious countenance and in a melancholy tone the young man
replied, "It's gone to hell."

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


President Lincoln and Postmaster-General Blair were talking of the
war. "Blair," said the President, "did you ever know that fright has
sometimes proven a cure for boils?" "No, Mr. President, how is that?"
"I'll tell you. Not long ago when a colonel, with his cavalry, was
at the front, and the Rebs were making things rather lively for us,
the colonel was ordered out to a reconnoissance. He was troubled at
the time with a big boil where it made horseback riding decidedly
uncomfortable. He finally dismounted and ordered the troops forward
without him. Soon he was startled by the rapid reports of pistols and
the helter-skelter approach of his troops in full retreat before a
yelling rebel force. He forgot everything but the yells, sprang into
his saddle, and made capital time over the fences and ditches till
safe within the lines. The pain from his boil was gone, and the boil
too, and the colonel swore that there was no cure for boils so sure as
fright from rebel yells."


Lincoln was constantly bothered by members of delegations of
"goody-goodies," who knew all about running the War, but had no
inside information as to what was going on. Yet they poured out their
advice in streams, until the President was heartily sick of the whole
business, and wished the War would find some way to kill off these

"How many men have the Confederates now in the field?" asked one of
these bores one day.

"About one million two hundred thousand," replied the President.

"Oh, my! Not so many as that, surely, Mr. Lincoln."

"They have fully twelve hundred thousand, no doubt of it. You see,
all of our generals when they get whipped say the enemy outnumbers
them from three or five to one, and I must believe them. We have
four hundred thousand men in the field, and three times four make
twelve,--don't you see it? It is as plain to be seen as the nose on
a man's face; and at the rate things are now going, with the great
amount of speculation and the small crop of fighting, it will take a
long time to overcome twelve hundred thousand rebels in arms.

"If they can get subsistence they have everything else, except a just
cause. Yet it is said that 'thrice is he armed that hath his quarrel
just.' I am willing, however, to risk our advantage of thrice in
justice against their thrice in numbers."


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

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

"He did, sir."

"Then he is a d--d fool," said the angry Secretary.

"Do you mean to say that the President is a d--d fool?" asked Lovejoy
in amazement.

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

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

"Did Stanton say I was a d--d fool?" asked Lincoln at the close of the

"He did, sir, and repeated it."

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


McClellan was a thorn in Lincoln's side--"always up in the air," as
the President put it--and yet he hesitated to remove him. "The Young
Napoleon" was a good organizer, but no fighter. Lincoln sent him
everything necessary in the way of men, ammunition, artillery and
equipments, but he was forever unready.

Instead of making a forward movement at the time expected, he would
notify the President that he must have more men. These were given him
as rapidly as possible, and then would come a demand for more horses,
more this and that, usually winding up with a demand for still "more

Lincoln bore it all in patience for a long time, but one day, when he
had received another request for more men, he made a vigorous protest.

"If I gave McClellan all the men he asks for," said the President,
"they couldn't find room to lie down. They'd have to sleep standing


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

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

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

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

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


General "Joe" Hooker, the fourth commander of the noble but
unfortunate Army of the Potomac, was appointed to that position by
President Lincoln in January, 1863. General Scott, for some reason,
disliked Hooker and would not appoint him. Hooker, after some months
of discouraging waiting, decided to return to California, and called
to pay his respects to President Lincoln. He was introduced as Captain
Hooker, and to the surprise of the President began the following

"Mr. President, my friend makes a mistake. I am not Captain Hooker,
but was once Lieutenant-Colonel Hooker of the regular army. I was
lately a farmer in California, but since the Rebellion broke out I
have been trying to get into service, but I find I am not wanted.

"I am about to return home; but before going, I was anxious to pay my
respects to you, and express my wishes for your personal welfare and
success in quelling this Rebellion. And I want to say to you a word

"I was at Bull Run the other day, Mr. President, and it is no vanity
in me to say, I am a darned sight better general than you had on the

This was said, not in the tone of a braggart, but of a man who knew
what he was talking about. Hooker did not return to California, but in
a few weeks Captain Hooker received from the President a commission as
Brigadier-General Hooker.


One day an old lady from the country called on President Lincoln,
her tanned face peering up to his through a pair of spectacles. Her
errand was to present Mr. Lincoln a pair of stockings of her own make
a yard long. Kind tears came to his eyes as she spoke to him, and
then, holding the stockings one in each hand, dangling wide apart
for general inspection, he assured her that he should take them with
him to Washington, where (and here his eyes twinkled) he was sure he
should not be able to find any like them.

Quite a number of well-known men were in the room with the President
when the old lady made her presentation. Among them was George S.
Boutwell, who afterwards became Secretary of the Treasury.

The amusement of the company was not at all diminished by Mr.
Boutwell's remark, that the lady had evidently made a very correct
estimate of Mr. Lincoln's latitude and longitude.


President Lincoln appointed as consul to a South American country a
young man from Ohio who was a dandy. A wag met the new appointee on
his way to the White House to thank the President. He was dressed in
the most extravagant style. The wag horrified him by telling him that
the country to which he was assigned was noted chiefly for the bugs
that abounded there and made life unbearable.

"They'll bore a hole clean through you before a week has passed,"
was the comforting assurance of the wag as they parted at the White
House steps. The new consul approached Lincoln with disappointment
clearly written all over his face. Instead of joyously thanking the
President, he told him the wag's story of the bugs. "I am informed,
Mr. President," he said, "that the place is full of vermin and that
they could eat me up in a week's time." "Well, young man," replied
Lincoln, "if that's true, all I've got to say is that if such a thing
happened they would leave a mighty good suit of clothes behind."


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

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

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

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

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

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


Three or four days after the battle of Bull Run, some gentlemen who
had been on the field called upon the President.

He inquired very minutely regarding all the circumstances of the
affair, and, after listening with the utmost attention, said, with a
touch of humor:

"So it is your notion that we whipped the rebels and then ran away
from them!"


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

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


"It seems to me," remarked the President one day while reading over
some of the appealing telegrams sent to the War Department by General
McClellan, "that McClellan has been wandering around and has sort of
got lost. He's been hollering for help ever since he went South--wants
somebody to come to his deliverance and get him out of the place he's
got into.

"He reminds me of the story of a man out in Illinois who, in company
with a number of friends, visited the State penitentiary. They
wandered all through the institution and saw everything, but just
about the time to depart this particular man became separated from his
friends and couldn't find his way out.

"He roamed up and down one corridor after another, becoming more
desperate all the time, when, at last, he came across a convict who
was looking out from between the bars of his cell-door. Here was
salvation at last. Hurrying up to the prisoner he hastily asked:

"'Say! How do you get out of this place?'"


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

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

"'How?' I asked.

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

"'What did Wade say,' I inquired of the President.

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

"'What did you say then?'

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


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

"Where is your room?" Lincoln asked.

"Upstairs," said Speed, pointing from the store leading to his room.
Without saying a word, he took his saddle-bags on his arm, went
upstairs, set them down on the floor, came down again, and with a face
beaming with pleasure and smiles, exclaimed: "Well, Speed, I'm moved."


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

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

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


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

"The Judge overtook me in his carriage.

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

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

"'Judge, I think your coachman has been taking a little too much this

"'Well, I declare, Lincoln,' said he, 'I should not much wonder if
you were right, for he has nearly upset me half a dozen times since

"So, putting his head out of the window, he shouted, 'Why, you
infernal scoundrel, you are drunk!'

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

"'Begorra! that's the first rightful decision that you have given for
the last twelvemonth.'"

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


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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

"What worst, may I ask?"

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

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

"Don't be in a hurry," said the President placidly; "sit down and talk

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

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


When Lincoln's attention was called to the fact that, at one time in
his boyhood, he had spelled the name of the Deity with a small "g," he

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

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

"'We'll lick the Yanks termorrer, if goddlemity (God Almighty) spares
our lives.'

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


To a curiosity-seeker who desired a permit to pass the lines to visit
the field of Bull Run, after the first battle, Lincoln made the
following reply: "A man in Cortlandt county raised a porker of such
unusual size that strangers went out of their way to see it.

"One of them the other day met the old gentleman and inquired about
the animal.

"'Wall, yes,' the old fellow said, 'I've got such a critter, mi'ty big
un; but I guess I'll have to charge you about a shillin' for lookin'
at him.'

"The stranger looked at the old man for a minute or so, pulled out the
desired coin, handed it to him, and started to go off. 'Hold on,' said
the other, 'don't you want to see the hog?'

"'No,' said the stranger; 'I have seen as big a hog as I want to see!'

"And you will find that fact the case with yourself, if you should
happen to see a few live rebels there as well as dead ones."


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

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

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


A cashiered officer, seeking to be restored through the power of the
executive, became insolent, because the President, who believed the
man guilty, would not accede to his repeated requests, at last said,
"Well, Mr. President, I see you are fully determined not to do me

This was too aggravating even for Mr. Lincoln; rising, he suddenly
seized the disgraced officer by the coat collar, and marched him
forcibly to the door, saying as he ejected him into the passage:

"Sir, I give you fair warning never to show your face in this room
again. I can bear censure, but not insult. I never wish to see your
face again."


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

"You must be very slightly wounded?"

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


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

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

"Gentlemen, I am sorry to say that there are eight other applicants
for that place, and they are all 'sicker'n' your man."


John Morrissey, the noted prize fighter, was the "Boss" of Tammany
Hall during the Civil War period. It pleased his fancy to go to
Congress, and his obedient constituents sent him there. Morrissey was
such an absolute despot that the New York City democracy could not
make a move without his consent, and many of the Tammanyites were so
afraid of him that they would not even enter into business ventures
without consulting the autocrat.

President Lincoln had been seriously annoyed by some of his generals,
who were afraid to make the slightest move before asking advice from
Washington. One commander, in particular, was so cautious that he
telegraphed the War Department upon the slightest pretext, the result
being that his troops were lying in camp doing nothing, when they
should have been in the field.

"This general reminds me," the President said one day, while talking
to Secretary Stanton, at the War Department, "of a story I once heard
about a Tammany man. He happened to meet a friend, also a member of
Tammany, on the street, and in the course of the talk the friend, who
was beaming with smiles and good nature, told the other Tammanyite
that he was going to be married.

"This first Tammany man looked more serious than men usually do upon
hearing of the impending happiness of a friend. In fact, his face
seemed to take on a look of anxiety and worry.

"'Ain't you glad to know that I'm to get married?' demanded the second
Tammanyite, somewhat in a huff.

"'Of course I am,' was the reply; 'but,' putting his mouth close to
the ear of the other, 'have ye asked Morrissey yet?'

"Now this general of whom we are speaking, wouldn't dare order out the
guard without asking Morrissey," concluded the President.


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

"What seems to be the matter?" inquired Lincoln with all the calmness
and self-possession he could muster.

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

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

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


General Fisk, attending a reception at the White House, saw waiting in
the anteroom a poor old man from Tennessee, and learned that he had
been waiting three or four days to get an audience, on which probably
depended the life of his son, under sentence of death for some
military offense.

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

He showed his papers to Mr. Lincoln, who said he would look into the
case and give him the result next day.

The old man, in an agony of apprehension, looked up into the
President's sympathetic face and actually cried out:

"Tomorrow may be too late! My son is under sentence of death. It ought
to be decided now!"

His streaming tears told how much he was moved.

"Come," said Mr. Lincoln, "wait a bit and I'll tell you a story;"
and then he told the old man General Fisk's story about the swearing
driver, as follows:

"The general had begun his military life as a colonel, and when he
raised his regiment in Missouri he proposed to his men that he should
do all the swearing of the regiment. They assented; and for months no
instance was known of the violation of the promise.

"The colonel had a teamster named John Todd, who, as roads were not
always the best, had some difficulty in commanding his temper and his

"John happened to be driving a mule team through a series of mudholes
a little worse than usual, when, unable to restrain himself any
longer, he burst forth into a volley of energetic oaths.

"The colonel took notice of the offense and brought John to account.

"'John,' said he, 'didn't you promise to let me do all the swearing of
the regiment?'

"'Yes, I did, colonel,' he replied, 'but the fact was, the swearing
had to be done then or not at all, and you weren't there to do it.'"

As he told the story the old man forgot his boy, and both the
President and his listener had a hearty laugh together at its

Then he wrote a few words which the old man read, and in which he
found new occasion for tears; but the tears were tears of joy, for the
words saved the life of his son.


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


Mr. Lincoln once said in a speech: "Fellow citizens, my friend, Mr.
Douglas, made the startling announcement today that the Whigs are all

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

"'Hark! from the tombs a doleful sound.'"


The President was heard to declare one day that the story given below
was one of the funniest he ever heard.

One of General Fremont's batteries of eight Parrott guns, supported by
a squadron of horse commanded by Major Richards, was in sharp conflict
with a battery of the enemy near at hand. Shells and shot were flying
thick and fast, when the commander of the battery, a German, one of
Fremont's staff, rode suddenly up to the cavalry, exclaiming, in loud
and excited terms, "Pring up de shackasses! Pring up de shackasses!
For Cot's sake, hurry up the shackasses, im-me-di-ate-ly!"

The necessity of this order, though not quite apparent, will be more
obvious when it is remembered that "shackasses" are mules, carry
mountain howitzers, which are fired from the back of that much-abused
but valuable animal; and the immediate occasion for the "shackasses"
was that two regiments of rebel infantry were at that moment
discovered ascending a hill immediately behind our batteries.

The "shackasses," with the howitzers loaded with grape and canister,
were soon on the ground.

The mules squared themselves, as they well knew how, for the shock.

A terrific volley was poured into the advancing column, which
immediately broke and retreated.

Two hundred and seventy-eight dead bodies were found in the ravine
next day, piled closely together as they fell, the effects of that
volley from the backs of the "shackasses."


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

"Say, Mister Captain! I wish you would just stop your boat a
minute--I've lost my apple overboard!"


"General Grant is a copious worker and fighter," President Lincoln
wrote to General Burnside in July, 1863, "but a meagre writer or

Grant never wrote a report until the battle was over.

President Lincoln wrote a letter to Grant on July 13th, 1863, which
indicated the strength of the hold the successful fighter had upon the
man in the White House.

It ran as follows:

"I do not remember that you and I ever met personally.

"I write this now as a grateful acknowledgment for the almost
inestimable service you have done the country.

"I write to say a word further.

"When you first reached the vicinity of Vicksburg, I thought you
should do what you finally did--march the troops across the neck, run
the batteries with the transports, and thus go below; and I never had
any faith, except a general hope, that you knew better than I, that
the Yazoo Pass expedition, and the like, could succeed.

"When you got below and took Port Gibson, Grand Gulf and vicinity, I
thought you should go down the river and join General Banks; and when
you turned northward, east of Big Black, I feared it was a mistake.

"I now wish to make the personal acknowledgment that you were right
and I was wrong."


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

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

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


One of the droll stories brought into play by the President as an
ally in support of his contention, proved most effective. Politics
was rife among the generals of the Union Army, and there was more
"wire-pulling" to prevent the advancement of fellow commanders than
the laying of plans to defeat the Confederates in battle.

However, when it so happened that the name of a particularly unpopular
general was sent to the Senate for confirmation, the protest against
his promotion was almost unanimous. The nomination didn't seem to
please anyone. Generals who were enemies before conferred together
for the purpose of bringing every possible influence to bear upon the
Senate and securing the rejection of the hated leader's name. The
President was surprised. He had never known such unanimity before.

"You remind me," said the President to a delegation of officers
which called upon him one day to present a fresh protest to him
regarding the nomination, "of a visit a certain Governor paid to the
Penitentiary of his State. It had been announced that the Governor
would hear the story of every inmate of the institution, and was
prepared to rectify, either by commutation or pardon, any wrongs that
had been done to any prisoner.

"One by one the convicts appeared before His Excellency, and each one
maintained that he was an innocent man, who had been sent to prison
because the police didn't like him, or his friends and relatives
wanted his property, or he was too popular, etc., etc. The last
prisoner to appear was an individual who was not at all prepossessing.
His face was against him; his eyes were shifty; he didn't have the
appearance of an honest man, and he didn't act like one.

"'Well,' asked the Governor, impatiently, 'I suppose you're innocent
like the rest of these fellows?'

"'No, Governor,' was the unexpected answer; 'I was guilty of the crime
they charged against me, and I got just what I deserved.'

"When he had recovered from his astonishment, the Governor, looking
the fellow squarely in the face, remarked with emphasis: 'I'll have
to pardon you, because I don't want to leave so bad a man as you are
in the company of such innocent sufferers as I have discovered your
fellow-convicts to be. You might corrupt them and teach them wicked
tricks. As soon as I get back to the capital, I'll have the papers
made out.'

"You gentlemen," continued the President, "ought to be glad that
so bad a man, as you represent this officer to be, is to get his
promotion, for then you won't be forced to associate with him and
suffer the contamination of his presence and influence. I will do all
I can to have the Senate confirm him."

And he was confirmed.


Two young men called on the President from Springfield, Illinois.
Lincoln shook hands with them, and asked about the crops, the weather,

Finally one of the young men said, "Mother is not well, and she sent
me up to inquire of you how the suit about the Wells property is
getting on."

Lincoln, in the same even tone with which he had asked the question,
said: "Give my best wishes and respects to your mother, and tell her
I have so many outside matters to attend to now that I have put that
case, and others, in the hand of a lawyer friend of mine, and if you
will call on him (giving name and address) he will give you all the
information you want."

After they had gone, a friend who was present, said: "Mr. Lincoln, you
did not seem to know the young men?"

He laughed and replied: "No, I had never seen them before, and I had
to beat around the bush until I found who they were. It was up-hill
work, but I topped it at last."


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

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

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


When the enemies of General Grant were bothering the President with
emphatic and repeated demands that the "Silent Man" be removed from
command, Mr. Lincoln remained firm. He would not consent to lose
the services of so valuable a soldier. "Grant fights," said he in
response to the charges made that Grant was a butcher, a drunkard, an
incompetent and a general who did not know his business.

"That reminds me of a story," President Lincoln said one day to a
delegation of the "Grant-is-no-good" style.

"Out in my State of Illinois there was a man nominated for sheriff of
the county. He was a good man for the office, brave, determined and
honest, but not much of an orator. In fact, he couldn't talk at all;
he couldn't make a speech to save his life.

"His friends knew he was a man who would preserve the peace of the
county and perform the duties devolving upon him all right, but the
people of the county didn't know it. They wanted him to come out
boldly on the platform at political meetings and state his convictions
and principles; they had been used to speeches from candidates, and
were somewhat suspicious of a man who was afraid to open his mouth.

"At last the candidate consented to make a speech, and his friends
were delighted. The candidate was on hand, and, when he was called
upon, advanced to the front and faced the crowd. There was a glitter
in his eye that wasn't pleasing, and the way he walked out to the
front of the stand showed that he knew just what he wanted to say.

"'Feller Citizens,' was his beginning, the words spoken quietly, 'I'm
not a speakin' man; I ain't no orator, an' I never stood up before
a lot of people in my life before; I'm not goin' to make no speech,
'xcept to say that I can lick any man in the crowd!'"


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

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


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

"'Weeping Water!' said he.

"Then with a twinkle in his eye, he continued:

"'I suppose the Indians out there call it Minneboohoo, don't they?
They ought to, if Laughing Water is Minnehaha in their language.'"


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

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

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


Lincoln made a political speech at Pappsville, Illinois, when a
candidate for the Legislature the first time. A free-for-all fight
began soon after the opening of the meeting, and Lincoln, noticing
one of his friends about to succumb to the energetic attack of an
infuriated ruffian, edged his way through the crowd, and, seizing the
bully by the neck and the seat of his trousers, threw him, by means of
his strength and long arms, as one witness stoutly insists, "twelve
feet away." Returning to the stand, and throwing aside his hat, he
inaugurated his campaign with the following brief but pertinent

"Fellow-citizens, I presume you all know who I am. I am humble Abraham
Lincoln. I have been solicited by many friends to become a candidate
for the Legislature. My politics are short and sweet, like the old
woman's dance. I am in favor of the national bank; I am in favor of
the internal improvement system and a high protective tariff. These
are my sentiments; if elected, I shall be thankful; if not, it will be
all the same."


It so happened that an official of the War Department had escaped
serious punishment for a rather flagrant offense, by showing where
grosser irregularities existed in the management of a certain Bureau
of the Department. So valuable was the information furnished that the
culprit who "gave the snap away" was not even discharged.

"That reminds me," the President said, when the case was laid before
him, "of a story about Daniel Webster, when the latter was a boy.

"When quite young, at school, Daniel was one day guilty of a gross
violation of the rules. He was detected in the act, and called up by
the teacher for punishment.

"This was to be the old-fashioned 'feruling' of the hand. His hands
happened to be very dirty.

"Knowing this, on the way to the teacher's desk, he spit upon the palm
of his right hand, wiping it off upon the side of his pantaloons.

"'Give me your hand, sir,' said the teacher, very sternly.

"Out went the right hand, partly cleansed. The teacher looked at it a
moment, and said:

"'Daniel, if you will find another hand in this school-room as filthy
as that, I will let you off this time!'

"Instantly from behind his back came the left hand.

"'Here it is, sir,' was the ready reply.

"'That will do,' said the teacher, 'for this time; you can take your
seat, sir.'"


When a grocery clerk at New Salem, the annual election came around.
A Mr. Graham was clerk, but his assistant was absent, and it was
necessary to find a man to fill his place. Lincoln, a "tall young
man," had already concentrated on himself the attention of the people
of the town, and Graham easily discovered him. Asking him if he could
write, "Abe" modestly replied, "I can make a few rabbit-tracks." His
rabbit-tracks proving to be legible and even graceful, he was employed.

The voters soon discovered that the new assistant clerk was honest
and fair, and performed his duties satisfactorily, and when, the work
done, he began to "entertain them with stories," they found that their
town had made a valuable personal and social acquisition.


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


A prominent volunteer officer who, early in the War, was on duty in
Washington and often carried reports to Secretary Stanton at the War
Department, told a characteristic story on President Lincoln. Said he:

"I was with several other young officers, also carrying reports to the
War Department, and one morning we were late. In this instance we were
in a desperate hurry to deliver the papers, in order to be able to
catch the train returning to camp.

"On the winding, dark staircase of the old War Department, which many
will remember, it was our misfortune, while taking about three stairs
at a time, to run a certain head like a catapult into the body of the
President, striking him in the region of the right lower vest pocket.

"The usual surprised and relaxed grunt of a man thus assailed came

"We quickly sent an apology in the direction of the dimly seen form,
feeling that the ungracious shock was expensive, even to the humblest
clerk in the department.

"A second glance revealed to us the President as the victim of the
collision. Then followed a special tender of 'ten thousand pardons,'
and the President's reply:

"'One's enough; I wish the whole army would charge like that.'"


"You can't do anything with them Southern fellows," the old man at the
table was saying.

"If they get whipped, they'll retreat to them Southern swamps and
bayous along with the fishes and crocodiles. You haven't got the
fish-nets made that'll catch 'em."

"Look here, old gentleman," remarked President Lincoln, who was
sitting alongside, "we've got just the nets for traitors, in the
bayous or anywhere."

"Hey? What nets?"

"Bayou-nets!" and "Uncle Abraham" pointed his joke with his fork,
spearing a fishball savagely.


In one of his many stories of Lincoln, his law partner, W. H. Herndon,
told this as illustrating Lincoln's shrewdness as a lawyer:

"I was with Lincoln once and listened to an oral argument by him in
which he rehearsed an extended history of the law. It was a carefully
prepared and masterly discourse, but, as I thought, entirely useless.
After he was through and we were walking home, I asked him why he
went so far back in the history of the law. I presumed the court knew
enough history.

"'That's where you're mistaken,' was his instant rejoinder. 'I
dared not trust the case on the presumption that the court knows
everything--in fact I argued it on the presumption that the court
didn't know anything,' a statement, which, when one reviews the
decision of our appellate courts, is not so extravagant as one would
at first suppose."


No matter who was with the President, or how intently absorbed, his
little son "Tad" was always welcome. He almost always accompanied his

Once, on the way to Fortress Monroe, he became very troublesome.
The President was much engaged in conversation with the party who
accompanied him, and he at length said:

"'Tad,' if you will be a good boy, and not disturb me any more until
we get to Fortress Monroe, I will give you a dollar."

The hope of reward was effectual for a while in securing silence, but,
boylike, "Tad" soon forgot his promise, and was as noisy as ever. Upon
reaching their destination, however, he said, very promptly: "Father,
I want my dollar." Mr. Lincoln looked at him half-reproachfully for an
instant, and then, taking from his pocketbook a dollar note, he said:
"Well, my son, at any rate, I will keep my part of the bargain."


Mr. Lincoln, one day, was talking with the Rev. Dr. Sunderland about
the Emancipation Proclamation and the future of the negro. Suddenly a
ripple of amusement broke the solemn tone of his voice. "As for the
negroes, Doctor, and what is going to become of them: I told Ben Wade
the other day, that it made me think of a story I read in one of my
first books, 'Æsop's Fables.' It was an old edition, and had curious
rough wood cuts, one of which showed three white men scrubbing a negro
in a potash kettle filled with cold water. The text explained that the
men thought that by scrubbing the negro they might make him white.
Just about the time they thought they were succeeding, he took cold
and died. Now, I am afraid that by the time we get through this war
the negro will catch cold and die."


George M. Pullman, the great sleeping car builder, once told a joke
in which Lincoln was the prominent figure. In fact, there wouldn't
have been any joke had it not been for "Long Abe." At the time of
the occurrence, which was the foundation for the joke--and Pullman
admitted that the latter was on him--Pullman was the conductor of his
only sleeping-car. The latter was an experiment, and Pullman was doing
everything possible to get the railroads to take hold of it.

"One night," said Pullman in telling the story, "as we were about
going out of Chicago--this was long before Lincoln was what you might
call a renowned man--a long, lean, ugly man, with a wart on his cheek,
came into the depot. He paid me fifty cents, and half a berth was
assigned him. Then he took off his coat and vest and hung them up,
and they fitted the peg about as well as they fitted him. Then he
kicked off his boots, which were of surprising length, turned into the
berth, and, undoubtedly having an easy conscience, was sleeping like a
healthy baby before the car left the depot.

"Pretty soon along came another passenger and paid his fifty cents. In
two minutes he was back at me, angry as a wet hen.

"'There's a man in that berth of mine,' said he hotly, 'and he's about
ten feet high. How am I going to sleep there, I'd like to know? Go and
look at him.'

"In I went--mad, too. The tall, lank man's knees were under his chin,
his arms were stretched across the bed and his feet were stored
comfortably--for him. I shook him until he awoke, and then told him if
he wanted the whole berth he would have to pay $1.

"'My dear sir,' said the tall man, 'a contract is a contract. I
have paid you fifty cents for half this berth, and, as you see, I'm
occupying it. There's the other half,' pointing to a strip about six
inches wide. 'Sell that and don't disturb me again.'

"And so saying, the man with a wart on his face went to sleep again.
He was Abraham Lincoln, and he never grew any shorter afterward. We
became great friends, and often laughed over the incident."


The President did not consider that every soldier who ran away in
battle, or did not stand firmly to receive a bayonet charge, was a
coward. He was of opinion that self-preservation was the first law of
Nature, but he didn't want this statute construed too liberally by the

At the same time he took occasion to illustrate a point he wished
to make by a story in connection with a darky who was a member of
the Ninth Illinois Infantry Regiment. This regiment was one of those
engaged at the capture of Fort Donelson. It behaved gallantly, and
lost as heavily as any.

"Upon the hurricane-deck of one of our gunboats," said the President
in telling the story, "I saw an elderly darky, with a very
philosophical and retrospective cast of countenance, squatted upon his
bundle, toasting his shins against the chimney, and apparently plunged
into a state of profound meditation.

"As the negro rather interested me, I made some inquiries, and found
that he had really been with the Ninth Illinois Infantry at Donelson,
and began to ask him some questions about the capture of the place.

"'Were you in the fight?'

"'Had a little taste of it, sa.'

"'Stood your ground, did you?'

"'No, sa, I runs.'

"'Run at the first fire, did you?'

"'Yes, sa, and would hab run soona, had I knowd it war comin'.'

"'Why, that wasn't very creditable to your courage.'

"'Dat isn't in my line, sa--cookin's my profeshun.'

"'Well, but have you no regard for your reputation?'

"'Reputation's nuffin to me by de side ob life.'

"'Do you consider your life worth more than other people's?'

"'It's worth more to me, sa.'

"'Then you must value it very highly?'

"'Yes, sa, I does, more dan all dis wuld, more dan a million ob
dollars, sa, for what would dat be wuth to a man wid de bref out ob
him? Self-preserbation am de fust law wid me.'

"'But why should you act upon a different rule from other men?'

"'Different men set different values on their lives; mine is not in de

"'But if you lost it you would have the satisfaction of knowing that
you died for your country.'

"'Dat no satisfaction when feelin's gone.'

"'Then patriotism and honor are nothing to you?'

"'Nufin whatever, sa--I regard them as among the vanities.'

"'If our soldiers were like you, traitors might have broken up the
government without resistance.'

"'Yes, sa, dar would hab been no help for it. I wouldn't put my life
in de scale 'g'inst any gobernment dat eber existed, for no gobernment
could replace de loss to me.'

"'Do you think any of your company would have missed you if you had
been killed?'

"'Maybe not, sa; a dead white man ain't much to dese sojers, let alone
a dead nigga--but I'd a missed myse'f, and dat was de p'int wid me.'

"I only tell this story," concluded the President, "in order to
illustrate the result of the tactics of some of the Union generals who
would be sadly 'missed' by themselves, if by no one else, if they ever
got out of the Army."


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

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

Mr. Lincoln went to Ward Lamon, his former law partner, then one of
his body-guards, and informed him of the loss in the following words:

"Lamon, I guess I have lost my certificate of moral character, written
by myself. Bob has lost my gripsack containing my inaugural address."

Of course the misfortune reminded him of a story.

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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
washerwoman?" "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 around her
neck. When the officers see this, they will keep their hands off your
Betsy Ann."


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

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

"It is true that you may fool all the people some of the time; you can
even fool some of the people all the time; but you can't fool all of
the people all the time."


At one time a certain Major Hill charged Lincoln with making
defamatory remarks regarding Mrs. Hill.

Hill was insulting in his language to Lincoln, who never lost his

When he saw his chance to edge a word in, Lincoln denied emphatically
using the language or anything like that attributed to him.

He entertained, he insisted, a high regard for Mrs. Hill, and the only
thing he knew to her discredit was the fact that she was Major Hill's


A lawyer, who was a stranger to Mr. Lincoln, once expressed to General
Linder the opinion that Mr. Lincoln's practice of telling stories to
the jury was a waste of time.

"Don't lay that flattering unction to your soul," Linder answered;
"Lincoln is like Tansey's horse, he 'breaks to win.'"


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"'Yes, you little cuss,' he exclaimed, irreverently, 'you're great on
dress parade, but not worth a darn in a fight.'"

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


Lincoln made his first speech when he was a mere boy, going barefoot,
his trousers held up by one suspender, and his shock of hair sticking
through a hole in the crown of his cheap straw hat.

"Abe," in company with Dennis Hanks, attended a political meeting,
which was addressed by a typical stump speaker--one of those
loud-voiced fellows who shouted at the top of his voice, and waved his
arms wildly.

At the conclusion of the speech, which did not meet the views either
of "Abe" or Dennis, the latter declared that "Abe" could make a better
speech than that. Whereupon he got a dry-goods box and called on "Abe"
to reply to the campaign orator.

Lincoln threw his old straw hat on the ground, and, mounting the
dry-goods box, delivered a speech which held the attention of the
crowd and won him considerable applause. Even the campaign orator
admitted that it was a fine speech and answered every point in his own

Dennis Hanks, who thought "Abe" was about the greatest man that ever
lived, was delighted, and he often told how young "Abe" got the better
of the trained campaign speaker.


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

"'Did you serve three years in the army?'

"'I did sir.'

"'Were you honorably discharged?'

"'I was, sir.'

"'Let me see your discharge.'

"I gave it to him. He looked it over, then said: 'Were you ever
wounded?' I told him yes, at the battle of Williamsburg, May 5, 1861.

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

"The audience was at an end. He waved his hand to me. I was then
dismissed from the august presence of the Honorable Secretary of War.

"My father was waiting for me in the hallway, who saw by my
countenance that I was not successful. I said to my father:

"'Let us go over to Mr. Lincoln; he may give us more satisfaction.'

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

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

"'Now, gentlemen, be pleased to be as quick as possible with your
business, as it is growing late.'

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

"'Take a seat, gentlemen, and state your business as quickly as

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

"'Have you seen Mr. Stanton?'

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

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

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

"Mr. Lincoln then said:

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

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


Some gentlemen were once finding fault with the President because
certain generals were not given commands.

"The fact is," replied President Lincoln, "I have got more pegs than I
have holes to put them in."


Lincoln was a very quiet man, and went about his business in a quiet
way, making the least noise possible. He heartily disliked those
boisterous people who were constantly deluging him with advice, and
shouting at the tops of their voices whenever they appeared at the
White House. "These noisy people create a great clamor," said he
one day, in conversation with some personal friends, "and remind
me, by the way, of a good story I heard out in Illinois while I was
practicing, or trying to practice, some law there. I will say, though,
that I practiced more law than I ever got paid for.

"A fellow who lived just out of town, on the bank of a large marsh,
conceived a big idea in the money-making line. He took it to a
prominent merchant, and began to develop his plans and specifications.
'There are at least ten million frogs in that marsh near me, an' I'll
just arrest a couple of carloads of them and hand them over to you.
You can send them to the big cities and make lots of money for both of
us. Frogs' legs are great delicacies in the big towns, an' not very
plentiful. It won't take me more'n two or three days to pick 'em. They
make so much noise my family can't sleep, and by this deal, I'll get
rid of a nuisance and gather in some cash.'

"The merchant agreed to the proposition, promised the fellow he would
pay him well for the two carloads. Two days passed, then three,
and finally two weeks were gone before the fellow showed up again,
carrying a small basket. He looked weary and 'done up,' and he wasn't
talkative a bit. He threw the basket on the counter with the remark,
'There's your frogs.'

"'You haven't two carloads in that basket, have you?' inquired the

"'No,' was the reply, 'and there ain't two carloads in this blasted

"'I thought you said there were at least ten millions of 'em in
that marsh near you, according to the noise they made,' observed the
merchant. 'Your people couldn't sleep because of 'em.'

"'Well,' said the fellow, 'accordin' to the noise they made, there
was, I thought, a hundred million of 'em, but when I had waded and
swum that there marsh day and night for two blessed weeks, I couldn't
harvest but six. There's two or three left yet, an' the marsh is as
noisy as it uster be. We haven't catched up on any of our lost sleep
yet. Now, you can have these here six, an' I won't charge you a cent
fer 'em.'

"You can see by this little yarn," remarked the President, "that these
boisterous people make too much noise in proportion to their numbers."


Some of Mr. Lincoln's intimate friends once called his attention to
a certain member of his Cabinet who was quietly working to secure
a nomination for the Presidency, although knowing that Mr. Lincoln
was to be a candidate for re-election. His friends insisted that
the Cabinet officer ought to be made to give up his Presidential
aspirations or be removed from office. The situation reminded Mr.
Lincoln of a story: "My brother and I," he said, "were once plowing
corn, I driving the horse and he holding the plow. The horse was lazy,
but on one occasion he rushed across the field so that I, with my long
legs, could scarcely keep pace with him. On reaching the end of the
furrow, I found an enormous chin-fly fastened upon him, and knocked
him off. My brother asked me what I did that for. I told him I didn't
want the old horse bitten in that way. 'Why,' said my brother, 'that's
all that made him go.' Now," said Mr. Lincoln, "if Mr. ---- has a
Presidential chin-fly biting him, I'm not going to knock him off, if
it will only make his department go."


Lincoln "got even" with the Illinois Central Railroad Company, in
1855, in a most substantial way, at the same time secured sweet
revenge for an insult, unwarranted in every way, put upon him by one
of the officials of that corporation.

Lincoln and Herndon defended the Illinois Central Railroad in an
action brought by McLean County, Illinois, in August, 1853, to recover
taxes alleged to be due the county from the road. The Legislature had
granted the road immunity from taxation, and this was a case intended
to test the constitutionality of the law. The road sent a retainer fee
of $250.

In the lower court the case was decided in favor of the railroad. An
appeal to the Supreme Court followed, was argued twice, and finally
decided in favor of the road. This last decision was rendered some
time in 1855. Lincoln then went to Chicago, and presented the bill for
legal services. Lincoln and Herndon only asked for $2,000 more.

The official to whom he was referred, after looking at the bill,
expressed great surprise.

"Why, sir," he exclaimed, "this is as much as Daniel Webster himself
would have charged. We cannot allow such a claim."

"Why not?" asked Lincoln.

"We could have hired first-class lawyers at that figure," was the

"We won the case, didn't we?" queried Lincoln.

"Certainly," replied the official.

"Daniel Webster, then," retorted Lincoln in no amiable tone, "couldn't
have done more," and "Abe" walked out of the official's office.

Lincoln withdrew the bill, and started for home. On the way he stopped
at Bloomington, where he met Grant Goodrich, Archibald Williams,
Norman B. Judd, O. H. Browning, and other attorneys, who, on learning
of his modest charge for the valuable services rendered the railroad,
induced him to increase the demand to $5,000, and to bring suit for
that sum.

This was done at once. On the trial six lawyers certified that the
bill was reasonable, and judgment for that sum went by default; the
judgment was promptly paid, and, of course, his partner, Herndon, got
"your half, Billy" without delay.


On the occasion of a serenade, the President was called for by the
crowd assembled. He appeared at a window with his wife (who was
somewhat below the medium height), and made the following "brief

"Here I am, and here is Mrs. Lincoln. That's the long and the short of


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

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


One of Mr. Lincoln's warm friends was Dr. Robert Boal, of Lacon,
Illinois. Telling of a visit he paid to the White House soon after Mr.
Lincoln's inauguration, he said: "I found him the same Lincoln as a
struggling lawyer and politician that I did in Washington as President
of the United States, yet there was a dignity and self-possession
about him in his high official authority. I paid him a second call in
the evening. He had thrown off his reserve somewhat, and would walk up
and down the room with his hands to his sides and laugh at the joke he
was telling, or at one that was told to him. I remember one story he
told to me on this occasion.

"Tom Corwin, of Ohio, had been down to Alexandria, Va., that day and
had come back and told Lincoln a story which pleased him so much that
he broke out in a hearty laugh and said: 'I must tell you Tom Corwin's
latest. Tom met an old man at Alexandria who knew George Washington,
and he told Tom that George Washington often swore. Now, Corwin's
father had always held the father of our country up as a faultless
person and told his son to follow in his footsteps.

"'"Well," said Corwin, "when I heard that George Washington was
addicted to the vices and infirmities of man, I felt so relieved that
I just shouted for joy."'"


Being in Washington one day, the Rev. Robert Collyer thought he'd take
a look around. In passing through the grounds surrounding the White
House, he cast a glance toward the Presidential residence, and was
astonished to see three pairs of feet resting on the ledge of an open
window in one of the apartments of the second story. The divine paused
for a moment, calmly surveyed the unique spectacle, and then resumed
his walk toward the War Department. Seeing a laborer at work not far
from the Executive Mansion, Mr. Collyer asked him what it all meant.
To whom, did the feet belong, and particularly, the mammoth ones?
"You old fool," answered the workman, "that's the Cabinet, which is
a-settin', an' them thar big feet belongs to 'Old Abe.'"


By the Act of Emancipation President Lincoln built for himself forever
the first place in the affections of the African race in this country.
The love and reverence manifested for him by many of these people
has, on some occasions, almost reached adoration. One day, Colonel
McKaye, of New York, who had been one of a committee to investigate
the condition of the freedmen, upon his return from Hilton Head and
Beaufort called upon the President, and in the course of the interview
said that up to the time of the arrival among them in the South of the
Union forces they had no knowledge of any other power. Their masters
fled upon the approach of our soldiers, and this gave the slaves the
conception of a power greater than their masters exercised. This power
they called "Massa Linkum."

Colonel McKaye said their place of worship was a large building
they called "the praise house," and the leader of the "meeting," a
venerable black man, was known as "the praise man."

On a certain day, when there was quite a large gathering of the
people, considerable confusion was created by different persons
attempting to tell who and what "Massa Linkum" was. In the midst of
the excitement the white-headed leader commanded silence. "Brederen,"
said he, "you don't know nosen' what you'se talkin' 'bout. Now, you
just listen to me. Massa Linkum, he ebery whar. He know ebery ting."

Then, solemnly looking up, he added: "He walk de earf like de Lord!"


A soldier tells the following story of an attempt upon the life of Mr.

"One night I was doing sentinel duty at the entrance to the Soldiers'
Home. This was about the middle of August, 1864. About eleven o'clock
I heard a rifle shot, in the direction of the city, and shortly
afterwards I heard approaching hoof-beats. In two or three minutes
a horse came dashing up. I recognized the belated President. The
President was bare-headed. The President simply thought his horse had
taken fright at the discharge of the firearms.

"On going back to the place where the shot had been heard, we found
the President's hat. It was a plain silk hat, and upon examination we
discovered a bullet hole through the crown.

"The next day, upon receiving the hat, the President remarked that it
was made by some foolish marksman, and was not intended for him; but
added that he wished nothing said about the matter.

"The President said, philosophically: 'I long ago made up my mind
that if anybody wants to kill me, he will do it. Besides, in this
case, it seems to me, the man who would succeed me would be just as
objectionable to my enemies--if I have any.'

"One dark night, as he was going out with a friend, he took along a
heavy cane, remarking, good-naturedly:

"'Mother (Mrs. Lincoln) has got a notion into her head that I shall be
assassinated, and to please her I take a cane when I go over to the
War Department at night--when I don't forget it.'"


A Union general, operating with his command in West Virginia, allowed
himself and his men to be trapped, and it was feared his force would
be captured by the Confederates. The President heard the report read
by the operator, as it came over the wire, and remarked:

"Once there was a man out West who was 'heading' a barrel, as they
used to call it. He worked like a good fellow in driving down the
hoops, but just about the time he thought he had the job done, the
head would fall in. Then he had to do the work all over again.

"All at once a bright idea entered his brain, and he wondered how it
was he hadn't figured it out before. His boy, a bright, smart lad,
was standing by, very much interested in the business, and, lifting
the young one up, he put him inside the barrel, telling him to hold
the head in its proper place, while he pounded down the hoops on the
sides. This worked like a charm, and he soon had the 'heading' done.

"Then he realized that his boy was inside the barrel, and how to get
him out he couldn't for his life figure out. General Blank is now
inside the barrel, 'headed in,' and the job now is to get him out."


An Eastern newspaper writer told how Lincoln, after his first
nomination, received callers, the majority of them at his law office:

"While talking to two or three gentlemen and standing up, a very hard
looking customer rolled in and tumbled into the only vacant chair and
the one lately occupied by Mr. Lincoln. Mr. Lincoln's keen eye took in
the fact, but gave no evidence of the notice.

"Turning around at last he spoke to the odd specimen, holding out his
hand at such a distance that our friend had to vacate the chair if he
accepted the proffered shake. Mr. Lincoln quietly resumed his chair.

"It was a small matter, yet one giving proof more positively than a
larger event of that peculiar way the man has of mingling with a mixed


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

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

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

"'Oh, yes,' said he, 'I know that; but I believe in punishment after
death.' So, I see, do you."

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

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

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

"'Oh, no, father,' replied the Indian; 'let me pray. I want to burn
him down to the stump!'"


Personal encounters were of frequent occurrence in Gentryville in
early days, and the prestige of having thrashed an opponent gave the
victor marked social distinction. Green B. Taylor, with whom "Abe"
worked the greater part of one winter on a farm, furnished an account
of the noted fight between John Johnston, "Abe's" step-brother, and
William Grigsby, in which stirring drama "Abe" himself played an
important role before the curtain was rung down.

Taylor's father was the second for Johnston, and William Whitten
officiated in a similar capacity for Grigsby. "They had a terrible
fight," related Taylor, "and it soon became apparent that Grigsby was
too much for Lincoln's man, Johnston. After they had fought a long
time without interference, it having been agreed not to break the
ring, 'Abe' burst through, caught Grigsby, threw him off and some feet
away. There Grigsby stood, proud as Lucifer, and, swinging a bottle of
liquor over his head, swore he was 'the big buck of the lick.'

"'If any one doubts it,' he shouted, 'he has only to come on and whet
his horns.'"

A general engagement followed this challenge, but at the end of
hostilities the field was cleared and the wounded retired amid the
exultant shouts of their victors.


Mr. Alcott, of Elgin, Ill., tells of seeing Mr. Lincoln coming away
from church unusually early one Sunday morning. "The sermon could not
have been more than half way through," says Mr. Alcott. "'Tad' was
hung across his left arm like a pair of saddle bags, and Mr. Lincoln
was striding along with long, deliberate steps toward his home. On one
of the street corners he encountered a group of his fellow-townsmen.
Mr. Lincoln anticipated the question which was about to be put by the
group, and, taking his figure of speech from practices with which they
were only too familiar, said: 'Gentlemen, I entered this colt, but he
kicked around so I had to withdraw him.'"


When the United States found that a war with Black Hawk could not be
dodged, Governor Reynolds, of Illinois, issued a call for volunteers,
and among the companies that immediately responded was one from Menard
County, Illinois. Many of these volunteers were from New Salem and
Clary's Grove, and Lincoln, being out of business, was the first to

The company being full, the men held a meeting at Richland for the
election of officers. Lincoln had won many hearts, and they told
him that he must be their captain. It was an office to which he did
not aspire, and for which he felt he had no special fitness; but he
finally consented to be a candidate.

There was but one other candidate, a Mr. Kirkpatrick, who was one of
the most influential men of the region. Previously, Kirkpatrick had
been an employer of Lincoln, and was so overbearing in his treatment
of the young man that the latter left him.

The simple mode of electing a captain adopted by the company was by
placing the candidates apart, and telling the men to go and stand
with the one they preferred. Lincoln and his competitor took their
positions, and then the word was given. At least three out of every
four went to Lincoln at once.

When it was seen by those who had arranged themselves with the other
candidate that Lincoln was the choice of the majority of the company,
they left their places, one by one, and came over to the successful
side, until Lincoln's opponent in the friendly strife was left
standing almost alone.

"I felt badly to see him cut so," says a witness of the scene.

Here was an opportunity for revenge. The humble laborer was his
employer's captain, but the opportunity was never improved. Mr.
Lincoln frequently confessed that no subsequent success of his life
had given him half the satisfaction that this election did.


The lawyers on the circuit traveled by Lincoln got together one night
and tried him on the charge of accepting fees which tended to lower
the established rates. It was the understood rule that a lawyer should
accept all the client could be induced to pay. The tribunal was known
as "The Ogmathorial Court."

Ward Lamon, his law partner at the time, tells about it:

"Lincoln was found guilty and fined for his awful crime against the
pockets of his brethren of the bar. The fine he paid with great good
humor, and then kept the crowd of lawyers in uproarious laughter until
after midnight.

"He persisted in his revolt, however, declaring that with his consent
his firm should never during its life, or after its dissolution,
deserve the reputation enjoyed by those shining lights of the
profession, 'Catch 'em and Cheat 'em.'"


Lincoln had assisted in the prosecution of a man who had robbed his
neighbor's hen roosts. Jogging home along the highway with the foreman
of the jury that had convicted the hen stealer, he was complimented
by Lincoln on the zeal and ability of the prosecution, and remarked:
"Why, when the country was young, and I was stronger than I am now, I
didn't mind packing off a sheep now and again, but stealing hens!" The
good man's scorn could not find words to express his opinion of a man
who would steal hens.


President Lincoln often avoided interviews with delegations
representing various States, especially when he knew the objects of
their errands, and was aware he could not grant their requests. This
was the case with several commissioners from Kentucky, who were put
off from day to day.

They were about to give up in despair, and were leaving the White
House lobby, their speech being interspersed with vehement and
uncomplimentary terms concerning "Old Abe," when "Tad" happened along.
He caught at these words, and asked one of them if they wanted to see
"Old Abe," laughing at the same time.

"Yes," he replied.

"Wait a minute," said "Tad," and rushed into his father's office. Said
he, "Papa, may I introduce some friends to you?"

His father, always indulgent and ready to make him happy, kindly said,
"Yes, my son, I will see your friends."

"Tad" went to the Kentuckians again, and asked a very dignified
looking gentleman of the party his name. He was told his name. He then
said, "Come, gentlemen," and they followed him.

Leading them up to the President, "Tad," with much dignity, said,
"Papa, let me introduce to you Judge ----, of Kentucky;" and quickly
added, "Now, Judge, you introduce the other gentlemen."

The introductions were gone through with, and they turned out to be
the gentlemen Mr. Lincoln had been avoiding for a week. Mr. Lincoln
reached for the boy, took him in his lap, kissed him, and told him it
was all right, and that he had introduced his friend like a little
gentleman as he was. Tad was eleven years old at this time.

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


There was a rough gallantry among the young people; and Lincoln's old
comrades and friends in Indiana have left many tales of how he "went
to see the girls;" of how he brought in the biggest back-log and
made the brightest fire; of how the young people, sitting around it,
watching the way the sparks flew, told their fortunes.

He helped pare apples, shell corn and crack nuts. He took the girls
to meeting and to spelling school, though he was not often allowed to
take part in the spelling-match, for the one who "chose first" always
chose "Abe" Lincoln, and that was equivalent to winning, as the others
knew that "he would stand up the longest."


Governor Hoyt of Wisconsin tells a story of Mr. Lincoln's great
admiration for physical strength. Mr. Lincoln, in 1859, made a speech
at the Wisconsin State Agricultural Fair. After the speech, in company
with the Governor, he strolled about the grounds, looking at the
exhibits. They came to a place where a professional "strong man" was
tossing cannon balls in the air and catching them on his arms and
juggling with them as though they were as light as baseballs. Mr.
Lincoln had never before seen such an exhibition, and he was greatly
surprised and interested.

When the performance was over, Governor Hoyt, seeing Mr. Lincoln's
interest, asked him to go up and be introduced to the athlete. He did
so, and, as he stood looking down musingly on the man, who was very
short, and evidently wondering that one so much smaller than he could
be so much stronger, he suddenly broke out with one of his quaint
speeches. "Why," he said, "why, I could lick salt off the top of your


When Mr. Lincoln was quite a small boy he met with an accident that
almost cost him his life. He was saved by Austin Gollaher, a young
playmate. Mr. Gollaher lived to be more than ninety years of age,
and to the day of his death related with great pride his boyhood
association with Lincoln.

"Yes," Mr. Gollaher once said, "the story that I once saved Abraham
Lincoln's life is true. He and I had been going to school together for
a year or more, and had become greatly attached to each other. Then
school disbanded on account of there being so few scholars, and we did
not see each other much for a long while.

"One Sunday my mother visited the Lincolns, and I was taken along.
'Abe' and I played around all day. Finally, we concluded to cross
the creek to hunt for some partridges young Lincoln had seen the day
before. The creek was swollen by a recent rain, and, in crossing on
the narrow footlog, 'Abe' fell in. Neither of us could swim. I got a
long pole and held it out to 'Abe,' who grabbed it. Then I pulled him

"He was almost dead, and I was badly scared. I rolled and pounded him
in good earnest. Then I got him by the arms and shook him, the water
meanwhile pouring out of his mouth. By this means I succeeded in
bringing him to, and he was soon all right.

"Then a new difficulty confronted us. If our mothers discovered our
wet clothes they would whip us. This we dreaded from experience, and
determined to avoid. It was June, the sun was very warm, and we soon
dried our clothing by spreading it on the rocks about us. We promised
never to tell the story, and I never did until after Lincoln's tragic


Mr. Lincoln had advised Lieutenant-General Winfield Scott, commanding
the United States Army, of the threats of violence on inauguration
day, 1861. General Scott was sick in bed at Washington when
Adjutant-General Thomas Mather, of Illinois, called upon him in
President-elect Lincoln's behalf, and the veteran commander was much
wrought up. Said he to General Mather:

"Present my compliments to Mr. Lincoln when you return to Springfield,
and tell him I expect him to come on to Washington as soon as he is
ready; say to him that I will look after those Maryland and Virginia
rangers myself. I will plant cannon at both ends of Pennsylvania
Avenue, and if any of them show their heads or raise a finger, I'll
blow them to h----."


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


A lady reader or elocutionist came to Springfield in 1857. A large
crowd greeted her. Among other things she recited "Nothing to Wear,"
a piece in which is described the perplexities that beset "Miss Flora
McFlimsey" in her efforts to appear fashionable.

In the midst of one stanza in which no effort is made to say anything
particularly amusing, and during the reading of which the audience
manifested the most respectful silence and attention, some one in the
rear seats burst out with a loud, coarse laugh, a sudden and explosive

It startled the speaker and audience, and kindled a storm of
unsuppressed laughter and applause. Everybody looked back to ascertain
the cause of the demonstration, and were greatly surprised to find
that it was Mr. Lincoln.

He blushed and squirmed with the awkward diffidence of a schoolboy.
What caused him to laugh, no one was able to explain. He was
doubtless wrapped up in a brown study, and recalling some amusing
episode indulged in laughter without realizing his surroundings. The
experience mortified him greatly.


(Dispatch to General Grant, August 17th, 1864.)

"I have seen your dispatch expressing your unwillingness to break your
hold where you are. Neither am I willing.

"Hold on with a bulldog grip."


As the time drew near at which Mr. Lincoln said he would issue the
Emancipation Proclamation, some clergymen, who feared the President
might change his mind, called on him to urge him to keep his promise.

"We were ushered into the Cabinet room," says Dr. Sunderland. "It
was very dim, but one gas jet burning. As we entered, Mr. Lincoln
was standing at the farther end of the long table, which filled the
center of the room. As I stood by the door, I am so very short that I
was obliged to look up to see the President. Mr. Robbins introduced
me, and I began at once by saying: 'I have come, Mr. President, to
anticipate the new year with my respects, and if I may, to say to you
a word about the serious condition of this country.'

"'Go ahead, Doctor,' replied the President; 'every little helps.' But
I was too much in earnest to laugh at his sally at my smallness."


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


Lincoln at one time thought seriously of learning the blacksmith's
trade. He was without means, and felt the immediate necessity
of undertaking some business that would give him bread. While
entertaining this project an event occurred which, in his undetermined
state of mind, seemed to open a way to success in another quarter.

Reuben Radford, keeper of a small store in the village of New Salem,
had incurred the displeasure of the "Clary Grove Boys," who exercised
their "regulating" prerogatives by irregularly breaking his windows.
William G. Greene, a friend of young Lincoln, riding by Radford's
store soon afterward, was hailed by him and told that he intended to
sell out. Mr. Greene went into the store, and offered him at random
$400 for his stock, which offer was immediately accepted.

Lincoln "happened in" the next day, and being familiar with the value
of the goods, Mr. Greene proposed to him to take an inventory of the
stock, and see what sort of a bargain he had made. This he did, and it
was found that the goods were worth $600.

Lincoln then made an offer of $125 for his bargain, with the
proposition that he and a man named Berry, as his partner, take over
Greene's notes given to Radford. Mr. Greene agreed to the arrangement,
but Radford declined it, except on condition that Greene would be
their security. Greene at last assented.

Lincoln was not afraid of the "Clary Grove Boys"; on the contrary,
they had been his most ardent friends since the time he thrashed
"Jack" Armstrong, champion bully of "The Grove"--but their custom was
not heavy.

The business soon became a wreck; Greene had to not only assist in
closing it up, but pay Radford's notes as well. Lincoln afterwards
spoke of these notes which he finally made good to Greene, as "the
National Debt."


One of President Lincoln's friends, visiting at the White House, was
finding considerable fault with the constant agitation in Congress
of the slavery question. He remarked that, after the adoption of the
Emancipation policy, he had hoped for something new.

"There was a man down in Maine," said the President, in reply, "who
kept a grocery store, and a lot of fellows used to loaf around for
their toddy. He only gave 'em New England rum, and they drank pretty
considerable of it. But after a while they began to get tired of that,
and kept asking for something new--something new--all the time. Well,
one night, when the whole crowd were around, the grocer brought out
his glasses, and says he, 'I've got something New for you to drink,
boys, now.'

"'Honor bright?' says they.

"'Honor bright,' says he, and with that he sets out a jug. 'Thar,'
says he, 'that's something New; it's New England rum!' says he.

"Now," remarked the President, in conclusion, "I guess we're a
good deal like that crowd, and Congress is a good deal like that


When Governor Custer of Pennsylvania described the terrible butchery
at the battle of Fredericksburg, Mr. Lincoln was almost broken-hearted.

The Governor regretted that his description had so sadly affected
the President. He remarked: "I would give all I possess to know how
to rescue you from this terrible war." Then Mr. Lincoln's wonderful
recuperative powers asserted themselves and this marvelous man was

Lincoln's whole aspect suddenly changed, and he relieved his mind by
telling a story.

"This reminds me, Governor," he said, "of an old farmer out in
Illinois that I used to know.

"He took it into his head to go into hog-raising. He sent out to
Europe and imported the finest breed of hogs he could buy.

"The prize hog was put in a pen, and the farmer's two mischievous
boys, James and John, were told to be sure not to let it out. But
James, the worst of the two, let the brute out the next day. The hog
went straight for the boys, and drove John up a tree; then the hog
went for the seat of James' trousers, and the only way the boy could
save himself was by holding on to the hog's tail.

"The hog would not give up his hunt, nor the boy his hold! After they
had made a good many circles around the tree, the boy's courage began
to give out, and he shouted to his brother, 'I say, John, come down
quick, and help me let go this hog!'

"Now, Governor, that is exactly my case. I wish some one would come
and help me to let the hog go."


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

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


During the War Congress appropriated $10,000 to be expended by the
President in defending United States Marshals in cases of arrests and
seizures where the legality of their actions was tested in the courts.
Previously the Marshals sought the assistance of the Attorney-General
in defending them, but when they found that the President had a fund
for that purpose they sought to control the money.

In speaking of these Marshals one day, Mr. Lincoln said:

"They are like a man in Illinois, whose cabin was burned down,
and, according to the kindly custom of early days in the West, his
neighbors all contributed something to start him again. In his case
they had been so liberal that he soon found himself better off than
before the fire, and he got proud. One day a neighbor brought him a
bag of oats, but the fellow refused it with scorn.

"'No,' said he, 'I'm not taking oats now. I take nothing but money.'"


A certain rich man in Springfield, Illinois, sued a poor attorney for
$2.50, and Lincoln was asked to prosecute the case. Lincoln urged
the creditor to let the matter drop, adding, "You can make nothing
out of him, and it will cost you a good deal more than the debt to
bring suit." The creditor was still determined to have his way, and
threatened to seek some other attorney. Lincoln then said, "Well, if
you are determined that suit should be brought, I will bring it; but
my charge will be $10."

The money was paid him, and peremptory orders were given that the
suit be brought that day. After the client's departure, Lincoln went
out of the office, returning in about an hour with an amused look on
his face. Asked what pleased him, he replied, "I brought suit against
----, and then hunted him up, told him what I had done, handed him
half of the $10, and we went over to the squire's office. He confessed
judgment and paid the bill."

Lincoln added that he didn't see any other way to make things
satisfactory for his client as well as the other.


Mr. Lincoln being found fault with for making another "call," said
that if the country required it, he would continue to do so until the
matter stood as described by a Western provost marshal, who says:

"I listened a short time since to a butternut-clad individual, who
succeeded in making good his escape, expatiate most eloquently on
the rigidness with which the conscription was enforced south of the
Tennessee River. His response to a question propounded by a citizen
ran somewhat in this wise:

"'Do they conscript close over the river?'

"'Stranger, I should think they did! They take every man who hasn't
been dead more than two days!'

"If this is correct, the Confederacy has at least a ghost of a chance

And of another, a Methodist minister in Kansas, living on a small
salary, who was greatly troubled to get his quarterly instalment. He
at last told the non-paying trustees that he must have his money, as
he was suffering for the necessaries of life.

"Money!" replied the trustees; "you preach for money? We thought you
preached for the good of souls!"

"Souls!" responded the reverend; "I can't eat souls; and if I could it
would take a thousand such as yours to make a meal!"

"That soul is the point, sir," said the President.


Among the men whom Captain Lincoln met in the Black Hawk campaign
were Lieutenant-Colonel Zachary Taylor, Lieutenant Jefferson Davis,
President of the Confederacy, and Lieutenant Robert Anderson, all of
the United States Army.

Judge Arnold, in his "Life of Abraham Lincoln," relates that Lincoln
and Anderson did not meet again until some time in 1861. After
Anderson had evacuated Fort Sumter, on visiting Washington, he called
at the White House to pay his respects to the President. Lincoln
expressed his thanks to Anderson for his conduct at Fort Sumter, and
then said:

"Major, do you remember of ever meeting me before?"

"No, Mr. President, I have no recollection of ever having had that

"My memory is better than yours," said Lincoln; "you mustered me into
the service of the United States in 1832, at Dixon's Ferry, in the
Black Hawk War."


When Abe Lincoln used to be drifting around the country, practicing
law in Fulton and Menard counties, Illinois, an old fellow met him
going to Lewiston, riding a horse which, while it was a serviceable
enough animal, was not of the kind to be truthfully called a fine
saddler. It was a weatherbeaten nag, patient and plodding, and it
toiled along with Abe--and Abe's books, tucked away in saddle-bags,
lay heavy on the horse's flank.

"Hello, Uncle Tommy," said Abe.

"Hello, Abe," responded Uncle Tommy. "I'm powerful glad to see ye,
Abe, fer I'm gwyne to have sumthin' fer ye at Lewiston co't, I reckon."

"How's that, Uncle Tommy?" said Abe.

"Well, Jim Adams, his land runs 'long o' mine, he's pesterin' me a
heap, an' I got to get the law on Jim, I reckon."

"Uncle Tommy, you haven't had any fights with Jim, have you?"


"He's a fair to middling neighbor, isn't he?"

"Only tollable, Abe."

"He's been a neighbor of yours for a long time, hasn't he?"

"Nigh on to fifteen year."

"Part of the time you get along all right, don't you?"

"I reckon we do, Abe."

"Well, now, Uncle Tommy, you see this horse of mine? He isn't as good
a horse as I could straddle, and I sometimes get out of patience with
him, but I know his faults. He does fairly well as horses go, and it
might take me a long time to get used to some other horse's faults.
For all horses have faults. You and Uncle Jimmy must put up with each
other, as I and my horse do with one another."

"I reckon, Abe," said Uncle Tommy, as he bit off about four ounces of
Missouri plug, "I reckon you're about right."

And Abe Lincoln, with a smile on his gaunt face, rode on toward


In February, 1860, not long before his nomination for the Presidency,
Lincoln made several speeches in Eastern cities. To an Illinois
acquaintance, whom he met at the Astor House, in New York, he said:

"I have the cottage at Springfield, and about three thousand dollars
in money. If they make me Vice-President with Seward, as some say they
will, I hope I shall be able to increase it to twenty thousand, and
that is as much as any man ought to want."


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

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

At length the President inquired, "You are a clergyman, are you not,

"Not by a jug full," returned the stranger heartily.

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

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

This was spoken with tremendous effect.

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

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

He stayed to lunch.


Lincoln never told a better story than this:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


In the far-away days when "Abe" went to school in Indiana, they had
exercises, exhibitions and speaking-meetings in the schoolhouse or
the church, and "Abe" was the "star." His father was a Democrat, and
at that time "Abe" agreed with his parent. He would frequently make
political and other speeches to the boys and explain tangled questions.

Booneville was the county seat of Warrick county, situated about
fifteen miles from Gentryville. Thither "Abe" walked to be present at
the sittings of the court, and listened attentively to the trials and
the speeches of the lawyers.

One of the trials was that of a murderer. He was defended by Mr.
John Breckenridge, and at the conclusion of his speech "Abe" was so
enthusiastic that he ventured to compliment him. Breckenridge looked
at the shabby boy, thanked him and passed on his way.

Many years afterwards, in 1862, Breckenridge called on the President,
and he was told, "It was the best speech that I, up to that time, had
ever heard. If I could, as I then thought, make as good a speech as
that, my soul would be satisfied."


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

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

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

After the speaking was over, Ficklin, who had warm personal friendship
with him, said: "Lincoln, you nearly shook all the Democracy out of me


Lincoln never indulged in profanity, but confessed that when Lee was
beaten at Malvern Hill, after seven days of fighting, and Richmond,
but twelve miles away, was at McClellan's mercy, he felt very much
like swearing when he learned that the Union general had retired to
Harrison's Landing.

Lee was so confident his opponent would not go to Richmond that he
took his army into Maryland--a move he would not have made had an
energetic fighting man been in McClellan's place.

It is true McClellan followed and defeated Lee in the bloodiest battle
of the War--Antietam--afterwards following him into Virginia; but
Lincoln could not bring himself to forgive the general's inaction
before Richmond.


The following is told by Thomas H. Nelson, of Terre Haute, Indiana,
who was appointed minister to Chili by Lincoln:

Judge Abram Hammond, afterwards Governor of Indiana, and myself, had
arranged to go from Terre Haute to Indianapolis in a stage-coach.

As we stepped in we discovered that the entire back seat was occupied
by a long, lank individual, whose head seemed to protrude from one end
of the coach and his feet from the other. He was the sole occupant and
was sleeping soundly. Hammond slapped him familiarly on the shoulder,
and asked him if he had chartered the coach that day.

"Certainty not," and he at once took the front seat, politely giving
us the place of honor and comfort. An odd-looking fellow he was, with
a twenty-five cent hat, without vest or cravat. Regarding him as a
good subject for merriment, we perpetrated several jokes.

He took them all with utmost innocence and good nature, and joined in
the laugh, although at his own expense.

After an astounding display of wordy pyrotechnics, the dazed and
bewildered stranger asked: "What will be the upshot of this comet

Late in the evening we reached Indianapolis, and hurried to Browning's
hotel, losing sight of the stranger altogether.

We retired to our room to brush our clothes. In a few minutes I
descended to the portico, and there descried our long, gloomy fellow
traveler in the center of an admiring group of lawyers, among whom
were Judges McLean and Huntington, Albert S. White and Richard W.
Thompson, who seemed to be amused and interested in a story he was
telling. I inquired of Browning, the landlord, who he was. "Abraham
Lincoln, of Illinois, a member of Congress," was his response.

I was thunderstruck at the announcement. I hastened upstairs and told
Hammond the startling news, and together we emerged from the hotel by
a back door, and went down an alley to another house, thus avoiding
further contact with our distinguished fellow traveler.

Years afterward, when the President-elect was on his way to
Washington, I was in the same hotel looking over the distinguished
party, when a long arm reached to my shoulder and a shrill voice
exclaimed, "Hello, Nelson! do you think, after all, the whole world is
going to follow the darned thing off?" The words were my own in answer
to his question in the stage-coach. The speaker was Abraham Lincoln.


A slight variation of the traditional sentry story is related by C. C.
Buel. It was a cold, blusterous winter night. Says Mr. Buel:

"Mr. Lincoln emerged from the front door, his lank figure bent over
as he drew tightly about his shoulders the shawl which he employed
for such protection; for he was on his way to the War Department, at
the west corner of the grounds, where in times of battle he was wont
to get the midnight dispatches from the field. As the blast struck
him he thought of the numbness of the pacing sentry, and, turning to
him, said: 'Young man, you've got a cold job tonight; step inside, and
stand guard there.'

"'My orders keep me out here,' the soldier replied.

"'Yes,' said the President, in his argumentative tone; 'but your duty
can be performed just as well inside as out here, and you'll oblige me
by going in.'

"'I have been stationed outside,' the soldier answered, and resumed
his beat.

"'Hold on there!' said Mr. Lincoln, as he turned back again; 'it
occurs to me that I am Commander-in-Chief of the army, and I order you
to go inside.'"


"Abe's" nephew--or one of them--related a story in connection with
Lincoln's first love (Anne Rutledge), and his subsequent marriage
to Miss Mary Todd. This nephew was a plain, every-day farmer, and
thought everything of his uncle, whose greatness he quite thoroughly
appreciated, although he did not pose to any extreme as the relative
of a President of the United States.

Said he one day, in telling his story:

"Us child'en, w'en we heerd Uncle 'Abe' wuz a-goin' to be married,
axed Gran'ma ef Uncle 'Abe' never hed a gal afore, an' she says, sez
she, 'Well, "Abe" wuz never a han' nohow to run 'round visitin' much,
or go with the gals, neither, but he did fall in love with a Anne
Rutledge, who lived out near Springfield, an' after she died he'd come
home an' ev'ry time he'd talk 'bout her, he cried dreadful. He never
could talk of her nohow 'thout he'd jes' cry an' cry, like a young

"Onct he tol' Gran'ma they wuz goin; ter be hitched, they havin'
promised each other, an' thet is all we ever heered 'bout it. But,
so it wuz, that arter Uncle 'Abe' hed got over his mournin', he wuz
married ter a woman w'ich hed lived down in Kentuck.

"Uncle 'Abe' hisself tol' us he wuz married the nex' time he come up
ter our place, an' w'en we ast him why he didn't bring his wife up to
see us, he said: 'She's very busy and can't come.'

"But we knowed better'n that. He wuz too proud to bring her up, 'cause
nothin' would suit her, nohow. She wuzn't raised the way we wuz, an'
wuz different from us, and we heerd, tu, she wuz as proud as cud be.

"No, an' he never brought none uv the child'en, neither.

"But then, Uncle 'Abe,' he wuzn't to blame. We never thought he wuz
stuck up."

       *       *       *       *       *

Transcriber's Notes

Minor punctuation errors have been silently corrected.

Page 92: Changed "Lincon" to "Lincoln."
  (Orig: Lincon said: "This is a perversion of the facts.)

Page 93: Changed "yoice" to "voice."
  (Orig: his voice thrilled and his whole frame shook)

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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.