Our American Holidays: Lincoln's Birthday
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Our American Holidays


Our American Holidays

A series of Anthologies upon American Holidays, each volume a collection of writings from many sources, historical, poetic, religious, patriotic, etc., presenting each American festival as seen through the eyes of the representative writers of many ages and nations.


12mo. Each volume $1.00 net





MOFFAT, YARD & COMPANY 31 East 17th Street New York

Our American Holidays






Published, January, 1909

2nd Printing—June, 1911 3rd Printing—July, 1914 4th Printing—Feb. 1916











HOW LINCOLN WAS ABUSED 95 SONNET IN 1862 John James Piatt 96 LINCOLN THE PRESIDENT James Russell Lowell 96 ABRAHAM LINCOLN Frank Moore 109 THE PROCLAMATION John Greenleaf Whittier 110 THE EMANCIPATION James A. Garfield 112 THE EMANCIPATION GROUP John Greenleaf Whittier 121 ABRAHAM LINCOLN'S CHRISTMAS GIFT Nora Perry 122


O CAPTAIN! MY CAPTAIN! Walt Whitman 127 ABRAHAM LINCOLN'S DEATH Walt Whitman 128 HUSHED BE THE CAMPS TO-DAY Walt Whitman 134 TO THE MEMORY OF ABRAHAM LINCOLN William Cullen Bryant 135 CROWN HIS BLOODSTAINED PILLOW Julia Ward Howe 136 THE DEATH OF ABRAHAM LINCOLN Walt Whitman 137 OUR SUN HATH GONE DOWN Phoebe Cary 139 TOLLING Lucy Larcom 142 ABRAHAM LINCOLN Rose Terry Cooke 143 EFFECT OF THE DEATH OF LINCOLN Henry Ward Beecher 144 HYMN Oliver Wendell Holmes 151 ABRAHAM LINCOLN Tom Taylor 153


THE MARTYR CHIEF James Russell Lowell 159 ABRAHAM LINCOLN Ralph Waldo Emerson 161 WASHINGTON AND LINCOLN William McKinley 169 LINCOLN Theodore Roosevelt 170 LINCOLN'S GRAVE Maurice Thompson 170 TRIBUTES TO LINCOLN 173 ABRAHAM LINCOLN H. H. Brownell 174 TRIBUTES 189 ABRAHAM LINCOLN Joel Benton 189 ON THE LIFE-MASK OF ABRAHAM LINCOLN Richard Watson Gilder 190 LINCOLN George H. Boker 192 ABRAHAM LINCOLN James A. Garfield 193 AN HORATIAN ODE R. H. Stoddard 195 SOME FOREIGN TRIBUTES TO LINCOLN Harriet Beecher Stowe 202 THE GETTYSBURG ODE Bayard Taylor 211 TRIBUTES 212 LINCOLN Macmillan's Magazine 214 ABRAHAM LINCOLN R. H. Stoddard 215 LINCOLN Edna Dean Proctor 215 WHEN LILACS LAST IN THE DOORYARD BLOOM'D Walt Whitman 218




THE THREE GREATEST AMERICANS Theodore Roosevelt 333 HIS CHOICE AND HIS DESTINY F. M. Bristol 333 ABRAHAM LINCOLN Robert G. Ingersoll 334 LINCOLN Paul Laurence Dunbar 341 THE GRANDEST FIGURE Walt Whitman 342 ABRAHAM LINCOLN Lyman Abbott 345 "LINCOLN THE IMMORTAL" Anonymous 346 THE CRISIS AND THE HERO Frederic Harrison 349 LINCOLN John Vance Cheney 351 MAJESTIC IN HIS INDIVIDUALITY S. P. Newman 353






An astounding number of books have been written on Abraham Lincoln. Our Library of Congress contains over one thousand of them in well-nigh every modern language. Yet, incredible as it may seem, no miner has until to-day delved in these vast fields of Lincolniana until he has brought together the most precious of the golden words written of and by the Man of the People. Howe has collected a few of the best poems on Lincoln; Rice, Oldroyd and others, the elder prose tributes and reminiscences. McClure has edited Lincoln's yarns and stories; Nicolay and Hay, his speeches and writings. But each successive twelfth of February has emphasized the growing need for a unification of this scattered material.

The present volume offers, in small compass, the most noteworthy essays, orations, fiction and poems on Lincoln, together with some fiction, with characteristic anecdotes and "yarns" and his most famous speeches and writings. Taken in conjunction with a good biography, it presents the first succinct yet comprehensive view of "the first American." The Introduction gives some account of the celebration of Lincoln's Birthday and of his principal biographers.


The Editor and Publishers wish to acknowledge their indebtedness to Houghton, Mifflin & Company; the McClure Company, R. S. Peale and J. A. Hill Co.; Charles Scribner's Sons; Dana Estes Company; Mr. David McKay, Mr. Joel Benton, Mr. C. P. Farrell and others who have very kindly granted permission to reprint selections from works bearing their copyright.


Abraham Lincoln, sixteenth President of the United States, was born at Nolin Creek, Kentucky, on Feb. 12, 1809. As the following pages contain more than one biographical sketch it is not necessary here to touch on the story of his life. Lincoln's Birthday is now a legal holiday in Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, Washington (state) and Wyoming, and is generally observed in the other Northern States.

In its inspirational value to youth Lincoln's Birthday stands among the most important of our American holidays. Its celebration in school and home can not be made too impressive. "Rising as Lincoln did," writes Edward Deems, "from social obscurity through a youth of manual toil and poverty, steadily upward to the highest level of honor in the world, and all this as the fruit of earnest purpose, hard work, humane feeling and integrity of character, he is an example and an inspiration to youth unparalleled in history. At the same time he is the best specimen of the possibilities attainable by genius in our land and under our free institutions."

In arranging exercises for Lincoln's Birthday the teacher and parent should try not so much to teach the bare facts of his career as to give the children a sense of Lincoln's actual personality through his own yarns and speeches and such accounts as are given here by Herndon, Bancroft, Mabie, Tarbell, Phillips Brooks and others. He should show them Lincoln's greatest single act—Emancipation—through the eyes of Garfield and Whittier. He should try to reach the children with the thrill of an adoring sorrow-maddened country at the bier of its great preserver; with such a passion of love and patriotism as vibrates in the lines of Whitman, Brownell and Bryant, of Stoddard, Procter, Howe, Holmes, Lowell, and in the throbbing periods of Henry Ward Beecher. His main object should be to make his pupils love Lincoln. He should appeal to their national pride with the foreign tributes to Lincoln's greatness; make them feel how his memory still works through the years upon such contemporary poets as Gilder, Thompson, Markham, Cheney and Dunbar; and finally through the eyes of Harrison, Whitman, Ingersoll, Newman and others, show them our hero set in his proud, rightful place in the long vista of the ages.

In order to use the present volume with the best results it is advisable for teacher and parent to gain a more consecutive view of Lincoln's life than is offered here.

The standard biography of Lincoln is the monumental one in ten large volumes by Nicolay and Hay, the President's private secretaries. This contains considerable material not found elsewhere, but since its publication in 1890 much new matter has been unearthed, especially by the enterprise of Miss Ida Tarbell, whose "Life" in two volumes contains the essentials of the larger official work, is well balanced, and written in a simple, vigorous style perfectly adapted to the subject. If only one biography of Lincoln is to be read, Miss Tarbell's will, on the whole, be found most satisfactory.

The older Lives, written by Lincoln's friends and associates, such as Lamon and Herndon, make up in vividness and the intimate personal touch what they necessarily lack in perspective. Arnold's Life deals chiefly with the executive and legislative history of Lincoln's administration. The Life by the novelist J. G. Holland deals popularly with his hero's personality. The memoirs by Barrett, Abbott, Howells, Bartlett, Hanaford and Power were written in the main for political purposes.

Among the later works there stand out Morse's scholarly and serious account (in the American Statesmen series) of Lincoln's public policy; the vivid portrayal of Lincoln's adroitness as a politician by Col. McClure in Abraham Lincoln and Men of War Times; Whitney's Life on the Circuit with Lincoln, with its fund of entertaining anecdotes; Abraham Lincoln, an Essay by Carl Schurz; James Morgan's "short and simple annals" of Abraham Lincoln The Boy and the Man; Frederick Trevor Hill's brilliant account of Lincoln the Lawyer, the result of much recent research; the study of his personal magnetism in Alonzo Rothschild's Lincoln, Master of Men; and The True Abraham Lincoln by Curtis—a collection of sketches portraying Lincoln's character from several interesting points of view. Abraham Lincoln The Man of the People by Norman Hapgood is one of most recent and least conventional accounts. It is short, vigorous, vivid, and intensely American.

Among the many popular Lives for young people are: Abraham Lincoln, the Pioneer Boy, by W. M. Thayer; Abraham Lincoln, The Backwoods Boy, by Horatio Alger, Jr.; Abraham Lincoln, by Charles Carleton Coffin; The True Story of Abraham Lincoln The American, by E. S. Brooks; The Boy Lincoln, by W. O. Stoddard; and—most important of all—Nicolay's Boy's Life of Abraham Lincoln.

R. H. S.




The following autobiography was written by Mr. Lincoln's own hand at the request of J. W. Fell of Springfield, Ill., December 20, 1859. In the note which accompanied it the writer says: "Herewith is a little sketch, as you requested. There is not much of it, for the reason, I suppose, that there is not much of me."

"I was born February 12, 1809, in Hardin Co., Ky. My parents were both born in Virginia, of undistinguished families—second families, perhaps I should say. My mother, who died in my tenth year, was of a family of the name of Hanks, some of whom now reside in Adams Co., and others in Mason Co., Ill. My paternal grandfather, Abraham Lincoln, emigrated from Rockingham Co., Va., to Kentucky, about 1781 or 1782, where, a year or two later, he was killed by Indians, not in battle, but by stealth, when he was laboring to open a farm in the forest. His ancestors, who were Quakers, went to Virginia from Berks Co., Pa. An effort to identify them with the New England family of the same name ended in nothing more definite than a similarity of Christian names in both families, such as Enoch, Levi, Mordecai, Solomon, Abraham, and the like.

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

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

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

"Yours very truly, A. LINCOLN."



From "Words of Lincoln"

The sun which rose on the 12th of February, 1809, lighted up a little log cabin on Nolin Creek, Hardin Co., Ky., in which Abraham Lincoln was that day ushered into the world. Although born under the humblest and most unpromising circumstances, he was of honest parentage. In this backwoods hut, surrounded by virgin forests, Abraham's first four years were spent. His parents then moved to a point about six miles from Hodgensville, where he lived until he was seven years of age, when the family again moved, this time to Spencer Co., Ind.

The father first visited the new settlement alone, taking with him his carpenter tools, a few farming implements, and ten barrels of whisky (the latter being the payment received for his little farm) on a flatboat down Salt Creek to the Ohio River. Crossing the river, he left his cargo in care of a friend, and then returned for his family. Packing the bedding and cooking utensils on two horses, the family of four started for their new home. They wended their way through the Kentucky forests to those of Indiana, the mother and daughter (Sarah) taking their turn in riding.

Fourteen years were spent in the Indiana home. It was from this place that Abraham, in company with young Gentry, made a trip to New Orleans on a flatboat loaded with country produce. During these years Abraham had less than twelve months of schooling, but acquired a large experience in the rough work of pioneer life. In the autumn of 1818 the mother died, and Abraham experienced the first great sorrow of his life. Mrs. Lincoln had possessed a very limited education, but was noted for intellectual force of character.

The year following the death of Abraham's mother his father returned to Kentucky, and brought a new guardian to the two motherless children. Mrs. Sally Johnson, as Mrs. Lincoln, brought into the family three children of her own, a goodly amount of household furniture, and, what proved a blessing above all others, a kind heart. It was not intended that this should be a permanent home; accordingly, in March, 1830, they packed their effects in wagons, drawn by oxen, bade adieu to their old home, and took up a two weeks' march over untraveled roads, across mountains, swamps, and through dense forests, until they reached a spot on the Sangamon River, ten miles from Decatur, Ill., where they built another primitive home. Abraham had now arrived at manhood, and felt at liberty to go out into the world and battle for himself. He did not leave, however, until he saw his parents comfortably fixed in their new home, which he helped build; he also split enough rails to surround the house and ten acres of ground.

In the fall and winter of 1830, memorable to the early settlers of Illinois as the year of the deep snow, Abraham worked for the farmers who lived in the neighborhood. He made the acquaintance of a man of the name of Offutt, who hired him, together with his stepbrother, John D. Johnson, and his uncle, John Hanks, to take a flatboat loaded with country produce down the Sangamon River to Beardstown, thence down the Illinois and Mississippi rivers to New Orleans. Abraham and his companions assisted in building the boat, which was finally launched and loaded in the spring of 1831, and their trip successfully made. In going over the dam at Rutledge Mill, New Salem, Ill., the boat struck and remained stationary, and a day passed before it was again started on its voyage. During this delay Lincoln made the acquaintance of New Salem and its people.

On his return from New Orleans, after visiting his parents,—who had made another move, to Goose-Nest Prairie, Ill.,—he settled in the little village of New Salem, then in Sangamon, now Menard County. While living in this place, Mr. Lincoln served in the Black Hawk War, in 1832, as captain and private. His employment in the village was varied; he was at times a clerk, county surveyor, postmaster, and partner in the grocery business under the firm name of Lincoln & Berry. He was defeated for the Illinois Legislature in 1832 by Peter Cartwright, the Methodist pioneer preacher. He was elected to the Legislature in 1834, and for three successive terms thereafter.

Mr. Lincoln wielded a great influence among the people of New Salem. They respected him for his uprightness and admired him for his genial and social qualities. He had an earnest sympathy for the unfortunate and those in sorrow. All confided in him, honored and loved him. He had an unfailing fund of anecdote, was a sharp, witty talker, and possessed an accommodating spirit, which led him to exert himself for the entertainment of his friends. During the political canvass of 1834, Mr. Lincoln made the acquaintance of Mr. John T. Stuart of Springfield, Ill. Mr. Stuart saw in the young man that which, if properly developed, could not fail to confer distinction on him. He therefore loaned Lincoln such law books as he needed, the latter often walking from New Salem to Springfield, a distance of twenty miles, to obtain them. It was very fortunate for Mr. Lincoln that he finally became associated with Mr. Stuart in the practice of law. He moved from New Salem to Springfield, and was admitted to the bar in 1837.

On the 4th of November, 1842, Mr. Lincoln married Miss Mary Todd of Lexington, Ky., at the residence of Ninian W. Edwards of Springfield, Ill. The fruits of this marriage were four sons; Robert T., born August 1, 1843; Edward Baker, March 10, 1846, died February 1, 1850; William Wallace, December 21, 1850, died at the White House, Washington, February 20, 1862; Thomas ("Tad"), April 4, 1853, died at the Clifton House, Chicago, Ill., July 15, 1871. Mrs. Lincoln died at the house of her sister, Springfield, July 16, 1882.

In 1846 Mr. Lincoln was elected to Congress, as a Whig, his opponent being Peter Cartwright, who had defeated Mr. Lincoln for the Legislature in 1832.

The most remarkable political canvass witnessed in the country took place between Mr. Lincoln and Stephen A. Douglas in 1858. They were candidates of their respective parties for the United States Senate. Seven joint debates took place in different parts of the State. The Legislature being of Mr. Douglas' political faith, he was elected.

In 1860 Mr. Lincoln came before the country as the chosen candidate of the Republican party for the Presidency. The campaign was a memorable one, characterized by a novel organization called "Wide Awakes," which had its origin in Hartford, Conn. There were rail fence songs, rail-splitting on wagons in processions, and the building of fences by the torch-light marching clubs.

The triumphant election of Mr. Lincoln took place in November, 1860. On the 11th of February, 1861, he bade farewell to his neighbors, and as the train slowly left the depot his sad face was forever lost to the friends who gathered that morning to bid him God speed. The people along the route flocked at the stations to see him and hear his words. At all points he was greeted as the President of the people, and such he proved to be. Mr. Lincoln reached Washington on the morning of the 23rd of February, and on the 4th of March was inaugurated President. Through four years of terrible war his guiding star was justice and mercy. He was sometimes censured by officers of the army for granting pardons to deserters and others, but he could not resist an appeal for the life of a soldier. He was the friend of the soldiers, and felt and acted toward them like a father. Even workingmen could write him letters of encouragement and receive appreciative words in reply.

When the immortal Proclamation of Emancipation was issued, the whole world applauded, and slavery received its deathblow. The terrible strain of anxiety and responsibility borne by Mr. Lincoln during the war had worn him away to a marked degree, but that God who was with him throughout the struggle permitted him to live, and by his masterly efforts and unceasing vigilance pilot the ship of state back into the haven of peace.

On the 14th of April, 1865, after a day of unusual cheerfulness in those troublous times, and seeking relaxation from his cares, the President, accompanied by his wife and a few intimate friends, went to Ford's Theater, on Tenth Street, N. W. There the foul assassin, J. Wilkes Booth, awaited his coming and at twenty minutes past ten o'clock, just as the third act of "Our American Cousin" was about to commence, fired the shot that took the life of Abraham Lincoln. The bleeding President was carried to a house across the street, No. 516, where he died at twenty-two minutes past seven the next morning. The body was taken to the White House and, after lying in state in the East Room and at the Capitol, left Washington on the 21st of April, stopping at various places en route, and finally arriving at Springfield on the 3rd of May. On the following day the funeral ceremonies took place at Oak Ridge Cemetery, and there the remains of the martyr were laid at rest.

Abraham Lincoln needs no marble shaft to perpetuate his name; his words are the most enduring monument, and will forever live in the hearts of the people.





Let me pause here to consider the surprise often expressed when a citizen of limited schooling is chosen to fill, or is presented for one of the highest civil trusts. Has that argument any foundation in reason, any justification in history?

Of our country's great men, beginning with Ben Franklin, I estimate that a majority had little if anything more than a common-school education, while many had less. Washington, Jefferson, and Madison had rather more; Clay and Jackson somewhat less; Van Buren perhaps a little more; Lincoln decidedly less. How great was his consequent loss? I raise the question; let others decide it. Having seen much of Henry Clay, I confidently assert that not one in ten of those who knew him late in life would have suspected, from aught in his conversation or bearing, that his education had been inferior to that of the college graduates by whom he was surrounded. His knowledge was different from theirs; and the same is true of Lincoln's as well. Had the latter lived to be seventy years old, I judge that whatever of hesitation or rawness was observable in his manner would have vanished, and he would have met and mingled with educated gentlemen and statesmen on the same easy footing of equality with Henry Clay in his later prime of life. How far his two flatboat voyages to New Orleans are to be classed as educational exercise above or below a freshman's year in college, I will not say; doubtless some freshmen learn more, others less, than those journeys taught him. Reared under the shadow of the primitive woods, which on every side hemmed in the petty clearings of the generally poor, and rarely energetic or diligent, pioneers of the Southern Indiana wilderness, his first introduction to the outside world from the deck of a "broad-horn" must have been wonderfully interesting and suggestive. To one whose utmost experience of civilization had been a county town, consisting of a dozen to twenty houses, mainly log, with a shabby little court-house, including jail, and a shabbier, ruder little church, that must have been a marvelous spectacle which glowed in his face from the banks of the Ohio and the lower Mississippi. Though Cairo was then but a desolate swamp, Memphis a wood-landing, and Vicksburg a timbered ridge with a few stores at its base, even these were in striking contrast to the sombre monotony of the great woods. The rivers were enlivened by countless swift-speeding steamboats, dispensing smoke by day and flame by night; while New Orleans, though scarcely one fourth the city she now is, was the focus of a vast commerce, and of a civilization which (for America) might be deemed antique. I doubt not that our tall and green young backwoodsman needed only a piece of well-tanned sheepskin suitably (that is, learnedly) inscribed to have rendered those two boat trips memorable as his degrees in capacity to act well his part on that stage which has mankind for its audience.

[1] By permission of Mr. Joel Benton.


From "Anecdotes of Abraham Lincoln and Lincoln's Stories."

Lincoln could not rest for an instant under the consciousness that he had, even unwittingly, defrauded anybody. On one occasion, while clerking in Offutt's store, at New Salem, Ill., he sold a woman a little bill of goods, amounting in value by the reckoning, to two dollars six and a quarter cents. He received the money, and the woman went away. On adding the items of the bill again, to make sure of its correctness, he found that he had taken six and a quarter cents too much. It was night, and, closing and locking the store, he started out on foot, a distance of two or three miles, for the house of his defrauded customer, and, delivering over to her the sum whose possession had so much troubled him, went home satisfied.

On another occasion, just as he was closing the store for the night, a woman entered, and asked for a half pound of tea. The tea was weighed out and paid for, and the store was left for the night. The next morning, Lincoln entered to begin the duties of the day, when he discovered a four-ounce weight on the scales. He saw at once that he had made a mistake, and, shutting the store, he took a long walk before breakfast to deliver the remainder of the tea. These are very humble incidents, but they illustrate the man's perfect conscientiousness—his sensitive honesty—better perhaps than they would if they were of greater moment.


From "Anecdotes of Abraham Lincoln and Lincoln's Stories."

In his eagerness to acquire knowledge, young Lincoln had borrowed of Mr. Crawford, a neighboring farmer, a copy of Weems' Life of Washington—the only one known to be in existence in that section of country. Before he had finished reading the book, it had been left, by a not unnatural oversight, in a window. Meantime, a rain storm came on, and the book was so thoroughly wet as to make it nearly worthless. This mishap caused him much pain; but he went, in all honesty, to Mr. Crawford with the ruined book, explained the calamity that had happened through his neglect, and offered, not having sufficient money, to "work out" the value of the book.

"Well, Abe," said Mr. Crawford, after due deliberation, "as it's you, I won't be hard on you. Just come over and pull fodder for me for two days, and we will call our accounts even."

The offer was readily accepted, and the engagement literally fulfilled. As a boy, no less than since, Abraham Lincoln had an honorable conscientiousness, integrity, industry, and an ardent love of knowledge.



Lincoln, the woodsman, in the clearing stood, Hemmed by the solemn forest stretching round; Stalwart, ungainly, honest-eyed and rude, The genius of that solitude profound. He clove the way that future millions trod, He passed, unmoved by worldly fear or pelf; In all his lusty toil he found not God, Though in the wilderness he found himself.

Lincoln, the President, in bitter strife, Best-loved, worst-hated of all living men, Oft single-handed, for the nation's life Fought on, nor rested ere he fought again. With one unerring purpose armed, he clove Through selfish sin; then overwhelmed with care, His great heart sank beneath its load of love; Crushed to his knees, he found his God in prayer.

[2] From The Youth's Companion.


From "Anecdotes of Abraham Lincoln."

An instance of young Lincoln's practical humanity at an early period of his life is recorded, as follows: One evening, while returning from a "raising" in his wide neighborhood, with a number of companions, he discovered a straying horse, with saddle and bridle upon him. The horse was recognized as belonging to a man who was accustomed to excess in drink, and it was suspected at once that the owner was not far off. A short search only was necessary to confirm the suspicions of the young men.

The poor drunkard was found in a perfectly helpless condition, upon the chilly ground. Abraham's companions urged the cowardly policy of leaving him to his fate, but young Lincoln would not hear to the proposition. At his request, the miserable sot was lifted to his shoulders, and he actually carried him eighty rods to the nearest house. Sending word to his father that he should not be back that night, with the reason for his absence, he attended and nursed the man until the morning, and had the pleasure of believing that he had saved his life.



Abraham Lincoln was born, and, until he became President, always lived in a part of the country which, at the period of the Declaration of Independence, was a savage wilderness. Strange but happy Providence, that a voice from that savage wilderness, now fertile in men, was inspired to uphold the pledges and promises of the Declaration! The unity of the republic on the indestructible foundation of liberty and equality was vindicated by the citizen of a community which had no existence when the republic was formed.

A cabin was built in primitive rudeness, and the future President split the rails for the fence to inclose the lot. These rails have become classical in our history, and the name of rail-splitter has been more than the degree of a college. Not that the splitter of rails is especially meritorious, but because the people are proud to trace aspiring talent to humble beginnings, and because they found in this tribute a new opportunity of vindicating the dignity of free labor.


From "Choosing 'Abe' Lincoln Captain, and Other Stories"

When the Black Hawk war broke out in Illinois about 1832, young Abraham Lincoln was living at New Salem, a little village of the class familiarly known out west as "one-horse towns," and located near the capital city of Illinois.

He had just closed his clerkship of a year in a feeble grocery, and was the first to enlist under the call of Governor Reynolds for volunteer forces to go against the Sacs and Foxes, of whom Black Hawk was chief.

By treaty these Indians had been removed west of the Mississippi into Iowa; but, thinking their old hunting-grounds the better, they had recrossed the river with their war paint on, causing some trouble, and a great deal of alarm among the settlers. Such was the origin of the war; and the handful of government troops stationed at Rock Island wanted help. Hence the State call.

Mr. Lincoln was twenty-three years old at that time, nine years older than his adopted State. The country was thinly settled, and a company of ninety men who could be spared from home for military service had to be gathered from a wide district. When full, the company met at the neighboring village of Richland to choose its officers. In those days the militia men were allowed to select their leaders in their own way; and they had a very peculiar mode of expressing their preference for captains. For then, as now, there were almost always two candidates for one office.

They would meet on the green somewhere, and at the appointed hour, the competitors would step out from the crowds on the opposite sides of the ground, and each would call on all the "boys" who wanted him for captain to fall in behind him. As the line formed, the man next the candidate would put his hands on the candidate's shoulder; the third man also in the same manner to the second man; and so on to the end. And then they would march and cheer for their leader like so many wild men, in order to win over the fellows who didn't seem to have a choice, or whose minds were sure to run after the greater noise. When all had taken sides, the man who led the longer line, would be declared captain.

Mr. Lincoln never outgrew the familiar nickname, "Abe," but at that time he could hardly be said to have any other name than "Abe"; in fact he had emerged from clerking in that little corner grocery as "Honest Abe." He was not only liked, but loved, in the rough fashion of the frontier by all who knew him. He was a good hand at gunning, fishing, racing, wrestling and other games; he had a tall and strong figure; and he seemed to have been as often "reminded of a little story" in '32 as in '62. And the few men not won by these qualities, were won and held by his great common sense, which restrained him from excesses even in sports, and made him a safe friend.

It is not singular therefore that though a stranger to many of the enlisted men, he should have had his warm friends who at once determined to make him captain.

But Mr. Lincoln hung back with the feeling, he said, that if there was any older and better established citizen whom the "boys" had confidence in, it would be better to make such a one captain. His poverty was even more marked than his modesty; and for his stock of education about that time, he wrote in a letter to a friend twenty-seven years later:

"I did not know much; still, somehow, I could read, write, and cipher to the rule of three, but that was all."

That, however, was up to the average education of the community; and having been clerk in a country grocery he was considered an educated man.

In the company Mr. Lincoln had joined, there was a dapper little chap for whom Mr. Lincoln had labored as a farm hand a year before, and whom he had left on account of ill treatment from him. This man was eager for the captaincy. He put in his days and nights "log-rolling" among his fellow volunteers; said he had already smelt gun-powder in a brush with Indians, thus urging the value of experience; even thought he had a "martial bearing"; and he was very industrious in getting those men to join the company who would probably vote for him to be captain.

Muster-day came, and the recruits met to organize. About them stood several hundred relatives and other friends.

The little candidate was early on hand and busily bidding for votes. He had felt so confident of the office in advance of muster-day, that he had rummaged through several country tailor-shops and got a new suit of the nearest approach to a captain's uniform that their scant stock could furnish. So there he was, arrayed in jaunty cap, and a swallow-tailed coat with brass buttons. He even wore fine boots, and moreover had them blacked—which was almost a crime among a country crowd of that day.

Young Lincoln took not one step to make himself captain; and not one to prevent it. He simply put himself "in the hands of his friends," as the politicians say. He stood and quietly watched the trouble others were borrowing over the matter as if it were an election of officers they had enlisted for, rather than for fighting Indians. But after all, a good deal depends in war, on getting good officers.

As two o'clock drew near, the hour set for making captain, four or five of young Lincoln's most zealous friends with a big stalwart fellow at the head edged along pretty close to him, yet not in a way to excite suspicion of a "conspiracy." Just a little bit before two, without even letting "Abe" himself know exactly "what was up," the big fellow stepped directly behind him, clapped his hands on the shoulders before him, and shouted as only prairie giants can, "Hurrah for Captain Abe Lincoln!" and plunged his really astonished candidate forward into a march.

At the same instant, those in league with him also put hands to the shoulders before them, pushed, and took up the cheer, "Hurrah for Captain Abe Lincoln!" so loudly that there seemed to be several hundred already on their side; and so there were, for the outside crowd was also already cheering for "Abe."

This little "ruse" of the Lincoln "boys" proved a complete success. "Abe" had to march, whether or no, to the music of their cheers; he was truly "in the hands of his friends" then, and couldn't get away; and it must be said he didn't seem to feel very bad over the situation. The storm of cheers and the sight of tall Abraham (six feet and four inches) at the head of the marching column, before the fussy little chap in brass buttons who was quite ready, caused a quick stampede even among the boys who intended to vote for the little fellow. One after another they rushed for a place in "Captain Abe's" line as though to be first to fall in was to win a prize.

A few rods away stood that suit of captain's clothes alone, looking smaller than ever, "the starch all taken out of 'em," their occupant confounded, and themselves for sale. "Abe's" old "boss" said he was "astonished," and so he had good reason to be, but everybody could see it without his saying so. His "style" couldn't win among the true and shrewd, though unpolished "boys" in coarse garments. They saw right through him.

"Buttons," as he became known from that day, was the last man to fall into "Abe's" line; he said he'd make it unanimous.

But his experience in making "Abe" Captain made himself so sick that he wasn't "able" to move when the company left for the "front," though he soon grew able to move out of the procession.

Thus was "Father Abraham," so young as twenty-three, chosen captain of a militia company over him whose abused, hired-hand he had been. It is little wonder that in '59 after three elections to the State Legislature and one to Congress, Mr. Lincoln should write of his early event as "a success which gave me more pleasure than any I have had since." The war was soon over with but little field work for the volunteers; but no private was known to complain that "Abe" was not a good captain.




In 1842, in his thirty-third year, Mr. Lincoln married Miss Mary Todd, a daughter of Hon. Robert S. Todd, of Lexington, Kentucky. The marriage took place in Springfield, where the lady had for several years resided, on the fourth of November of the year mentioned. It is probable that he married as early as the circumstances of his life permitted, for he had always loved the society of women, and possessed a nature that took profound delight in intimate female companionship. A letter written on the eighteenth of May following his marriage, to J. F. Speed, Esq., of Louisville, Kentucky, an early and a life-long personal friend, gives a pleasant glimpse of his domestic arrangements at this time. "We are not keeping house," Mr. Lincoln says in his letter, "but boarding at the Globe Tavern, which is very well kept now by a widow lady of the name of Beck. Our rooms are the same Dr. Wallace occupied there, and boarding only costs four dollars a week.... I most heartily wish you and your Fanny would not fail to come. Just let us know the time, a week in advance, and we will have a room prepared for you, and we'll all be merry together for awhile." He seems to have been in excellent spirits, and to have been very hearty in the enjoyment of his new relation. The private letters of Mr. Lincoln were charmingly natural and sincere. His personal friendships were the sweetest sources of his happiness.

To a particular friend, he wrote February 25, 1842: "Yours of the sixteenth, announcing that Miss —— and you 'are no longer twain, but one flesh,' reached me this morning. I have no way of telling you how much happiness I wish you both, though I believe you both can conceive it. I feel somewhat jealous of both of you now, for you will be so exclusively concerned for one another that I shall be forgotten entirely. My acquaintance with Miss —— (I call her thus lest you should think I am speaking of your mother), was too short for me to reasonably hope to be long remembered by her; and still I am sure I shall not forget her soon. Try if you can not remind her of that debt she owes me, and be sure you do not interfere to prevent her paying it.

"I regret to learn that you have resolved not to return to Illinois. I shall be very lonesome without you. How miserably things seem to be arranged in this world! If we have no friends we have no pleasure; and if we have them, we are sure to lose them, and be doubly pained by the loss. I did hope she and you would make your home here, yet I own I have no right to insist. You owe obligations to her ten thousand times more sacred than any you can owe to others, and in that light let them be respected and observed. It is natural that she should desire to remain with her relations and friends. As to friends, she could not need them anywhere—she would have them in abundance here. Give my kind regards to Mr. —— and his family, particularly to Miss E. Also to your mother, brothers and sisters. Ask little E. D. —— if she will ride to town with me if I come there again. And, finally, give —— a double reciprocation of all the love she sent me. Write me often, and believe me, yours forever,



From "Anecdotes of Abraham Lincoln."

When Abraham Lincoln was a lawyer in Illinois, he and a certain Judge once got to bantering one another about trading horses; and it was agreed that the next morning at 9 o'clock they should make a trade, the 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 the laughter of the crowd, and both were greatly increased when Mr. Lincoln, on surveying the Judge's animal, set down his saw-horse, and exclaimed: "Well, Judge, this is the first time I ever got the worst of it in a horse trade."



From "Warner's Library of the World's Best Literature."

Born in 1809 and dying in 1865, Mr. Lincoln was the contemporary of every distinguished man of letters in America to the close of the war; but from none of them does he appear to have received literary impulse or guidance. He might have read, if circumstances had been favorable, a large part of the work of Irving, Bryant, Poe, Hawthorne, Emerson, Lowell, Whittier, Holmes, Longfellow, and Thoreau, as it came from the press; but he was entirely unfamiliar with it apparently until late in his career and it is doubtful if even at that period he knew it well or cared greatly for it. He was singularly isolated by circumstances and by temperament from those influences which usually determine, within certain limits, the quality and character of a man's style.

And Mr. Lincoln had a style,—a distinctive, individual, characteristic form of expression. In his own way he gained an insight into the structure of English, and a freedom and skill in the selection and combination of words, which not only made him the most convincing speaker of his time, but which have secured for his speeches a permanent place in literature. One of those speeches is already known wherever the English language is spoken; it is a classic by virtue not only of its unique condensation of the sentiment of a tremendous struggle into the narrow compass of a few brief paragraphs, but by virtue of that instinctive felicity of style which gives to the largest thought the beauty of perfect simplicity. The two Inaugural Addresses are touched by the same deep feeling, the same large vision, the same clear, expressive and persuasive eloquence; and these qualities are found in a great number of speeches, from Mr. Lincoln's first appearance in public life. In his earliest expressions of his political views there is less range; but there is the structural order, clearness, sense of proportion, ease, and simplicity which give classic quality to the later utterances. Few speeches have so little of what is commonly regarded as oratorial quality; few have approached so constantly the standards and character of literature. While a group of men of gift and opportunity in the East were giving American literature its earliest direction, and putting the stamp of a high idealism on its thought and a rare refinement of spirit on its form, this lonely, untrained man on the old frontier was slowly working his way through the hardest and rudest conditions to perhaps the foremost place in American history, and forming at the same time a style of singular and persuasive charm.

There is, however, no possible excellence without adequate education; no possible mastery of any art without thorough training. Mr. Lincoln has sometimes been called an accident, and his literary gift an unaccountable play of nature; but few men have ever more definitely and persistently worked out what was in them by clear intelligence than Mr. Lincoln, and no speaker or writer of our time has, according to his opportunities, trained himself more thoroughly in the use of English prose. Of educational opportunity in the scholastic sense, the future orator had only the slightest. He went to school "by littles," and these "littles" put together aggregated less than a year; but he discerned very early the practical uses of knowledge, and set himself to acquire it. This pursuit soon became a passion, and this deep and irresistible yearning did more for him perhaps than richer opportunities would have done. It made him a constant student, and it taught him the value of fragments of time. "He was always at the head of his class," writes one of his schoolmates, "and passed us rapidly in his studies. He lost no time at home, and when he was not at work was at his books. He kept up his studies on Sunday, and carried his books with him to work, so that he might read when he rested from labor." "I induced my husband to permit Abe to read and study at home as well as at school," writes his stepmother. "At first he was not easily reconciled to it, but finally he too seemed willing to encourage him to a certain extent. Abe was a dutiful son to me always, and we took particular care when he was reading not to disturb him,—would let him read on and on until he quit of his own accord."

The books within his reach were few, but they were among the best. First and foremost was that collection of literature in prose and verse, the Bible: a library of sixty-six volumes, presenting nearly every literary form, and translated at the fortunate moment when the English language had received the recent impress of its greatest masters of the speech of the imagination. This literature Mr. Lincoln knew intimately, familiarly, fruitfully; as Shakespeare knew it in an earlier version, and as Tennyson knew it and was deeply influenced by it in the form in which it entered into and trained Lincoln's imagination. Then there was that wise and very human text-book of the knowledge of character and life, "AEsop's Fables"; that masterpiece of clear presentation, "Robinson Crusoe"; and that classic of pure English, "The Pilgrim's Progress." These four books—in the hands of a meditative boy, who read until the last ember went out on the hearth, began again when the earliest light reached his bed in the loft of the log cabin, who perched himself on a stump, book in hand, at the end of every furrow in the plowing season—contained the elements of a movable university.

To these must be added many volumes borrowed from more fortunate neighbors; for he had "read through every book he had heard of in that country, for a circuit of fifty miles." A history of the United States and a copy of Weems's "Life of Washington" laid the foundations of his political education. That he read with his imagination as well as with his eyes is clear from certain words spoken in the Senate Chamber at Trenton in 1861. "May I be pardoned," said Mr. Lincoln, "if on this occasion I mention that way back in my childhood, the earliest days of my being able to read, I got hold of a small book, such a one as few of the members have ever seen,—Weems's 'Life of Washington.' I remember all the accounts there given of the battle-fields and struggles for the liberties of the country; and none fixed themselves upon my imagination so deeply as the struggle here at Trenton, New Jersey. The crossing of the river, the contest with the Hessians, the great hardships endured at that time,—all fixed themselves on my memory more than any single Revolutionary event; and you all know, for you have all been boys, how those early impressions last longer than any others."

"When Abe and I returned to the house from work," writes John Hanks, "he would go to the cupboard, snatch a piece of corn bread, sit down, take a book, cock his legs up as high as his head, and read. We grubbed, plowed, weeded, and worked together barefooted in the field. Whenever Abe had a chance in the field while at work, or at the house, he would stop and read." And this habit was kept up until Mr. Lincoln had found both his life work and his individual expression. Later he devoured Shakespeare and Burns; and the poetry of these masters of the dramatic and lyric form, sprung like himself from the common soil, and like him self-trained and directed, furnished a kind of running accompaniment to his work and his play. What he read he not only held tenaciously, but took into his imagination and incorporated into himself. His familiar talk was enriched with frequent and striking illustrations from the Bible and "AEsop's Fables."

This passion for knowledge and for companionship with the great writers would have gone for nothing, so far as the boy's training in expression was concerned, if he had contented himself with acquisition; but he turned everything to account. He was as eager for expression as for the material of expression; more eager to write and to talk than to read. Bits of paper, stray sheets, even boards served his purpose. He was continually transcribing with his own hand thoughts or phrases which had impressed him. Everything within reach bore evidence of his passion for reading, and for writing as well. The flat sides of logs, the surface of the broad wooden shovel, everything in his vicinity which could receive a legible mark, was covered with his figures and letters. He was studying expression quite as intelligently as he was searching for thought. Years afterwards, when asked how he had attained such extraordinary clearness of style, he recalled his early habit of retaining in his memory words or phrases overheard in ordinary conversation or met in books and newspapers, until night, meditating on them until he got at their meaning, and then translating them into his own simpler speech. This habit, kept up for years, was the best possible training for the writing of such English as one finds in the Bible and in "The Pilgrim's Progress." His self-education in the art of expression soon bore fruit in a local reputation both as a talker and a writer. His facility in rhyme and essay-writing was not only greatly admired by his fellows, but awakened great astonishment, because these arts were not taught in the neighboring schools.

In speech too he was already disclosing that command of the primary and universal elements of interest in human intercourse which was to make him, later, one of the most entertaining men of his time. His power of analyzing a subject so as to be able to present it to others with complete clearness was already disclosing itself. No matter how complex a question might be, he did not rest until he had reduced it to its simplest terms. When he had done this he was not only eager to make it clear to others, but to give his presentation freshness, variety, attractiveness. He had, in a word, the literary sense. "When he appeared in company," writes one of his early companions, "the boys would gather and cluster around him to hear him talk. Mr. Lincoln was figurative in his speech, talks and conversation. He argued much from analogy, and explained things hard for us to understand by stories, maxims, tales and figures. He would almost always point his lesson or idea by some story that was plain and near to us, that we might instantly see the force and bearing of what he said."

In that phrase lies the secret of the closeness of Mr. Lincoln's words to his theme and to his listeners,—one of the qualities of genuine, original expression. He fed himself with thought, and he trained himself in expression; but his supreme interest was in the men and women about him, and later, in the great questions which agitated them. He was in his early manhood when society was profoundly moved by searching which could neither be silenced nor evaded; and his lot was cast in a section where, as a rule, people read little and talked much. Public speech was the chief instrumentality of political education and the most potent means of persuasion; but behind the platform, upon which Mr. Lincoln was to become a commanding figure, were countless private debates carried on at street corners, in hotel rooms, by the country road, in every place where men met even in the most casual way. In these wayside schools Mr. Lincoln practiced the art of putting things until he became a past-master in debate, both formal and informal.

If all these circumstances, habits and conditions are studied in their entirety, it will be seen that Mr. Lincoln's style, so far as its formal qualities are concerned, is in no sense accidental or even surprising. He was all his early life in the way of doing precisely what he did in his later life with a skill which had become instinct. He was educated, in a very unusual way, to speak for his time and to his time with perfect sincerity and simplicity; to feel the moral bearing of the questions which were before the country; to discern the principles involved; and to so apply the principles to the questions as to clarify and illuminate them. There is little difficulty in accounting for the lucidity, simplicity, flexibility, and compass of Mr. Lincoln's style; it is not until we turn to its temperamental and spiritual qualities, to the soul of it, that we find ourselves perplexed and baffled.

But Mr. Lincoln's possession of certain rare qualities is in no way more surprising than their possession by Shakespeare, Burns, and Whitman. We are constantly tempted to look for the sources of a man's power in his educational opportunities instead of in his temperament and inheritance. The springs of genius are purified and directed in their flow by the processes of training, but they are fed from deeper sources. The man of obscure ancestry and rude surroundings is often in closer touch with nature, and with those universal experiences which are the very stuff of literature, than the man who is born on the upper reaches of social position and opportunity. Mr. Lincoln's ancestry for at least two generations were pioneers and frontiersmen, who knew hardship and privation, and were immersed in that great wave of energy and life which fertilized and humanized the central West. They were in touch with those original experiences out of which the higher evolution of civilization slowly rises; they knew the soil and the sky at first hand; they wrested a meagre subsistence out of the stubborn earth by constant toil; they shared to the full the vicissitudes and weariness of humanity at its elemental tasks.

It was to this nearness to the heart of a new country, perhaps, that Mr. Lincoln owed his intimate knowledge of his people and his deep and beautiful sympathy with them. There was nothing sinuous or secondary in his processes of thought: they were broad, simple, and homely in the old sense of the word. He had rare gifts, but he was rooted deep in the soil of the life about him, and so completely in touch with it that he divined its secrets and used its speech. This vital sympathy gave his nature a beautiful gentleness, and suffused his thought with a tenderness born of deep compassion and love. He carried the sorrows of his country as truly as he bore its burdens; and when he came to speak on the second immortal day at Gettysburg, he condensed into a few sentences the innermost meaning of the struggle and the victory in the life of the nation. It was this deep heart of pity and love in him which carried him far beyond the reaches of statesmanship or oratory, and gave his words that finality of expression which marks the noblest art.

That there was a deep vein of poetry in Mr. Lincoln's nature is clear to one who reads the story of his early life; and this innate idealism, set in surroundings so harsh and rude, had something to do with his melancholy. The sadness which was mixed with his whole life was, however, largely due to his temperament; in which the final tragedy seemed always to be predicted. In that temperament too is hidden the secret of the rare quality of nature and mind which suffused his public speech and turned so much of it into literature. There was humor in it, there was deep human sympathy, there was clear mastery of words for the use to which he put them; but there was something deeper and more pervasive,—there was the quality of his temperament; and temperament is a large part of genius. The inner forces of his nature played through his thought; and when great occasions touched him to the quick, his whole nature shaped his speech and gave it clear intelligence, deep feeling, and that beauty which is distilled out of the depths of the sorrows and hopes of the world. He was as unlike Burke and Webster, those masters of the eloquence of statesmanship, as Burns was unlike Milton and Tennyson. Like Burns, he held the key of the life of his people; and through him, as through Burns, that life found a voice, vibrating, pathetic, and persuasive.

[3] By permission of R. S. Peale and J. A. Hill Co.


From "Abe Lincoln's Yarns and Stories"

On one occasion, Colonel Baker was speaking in a court-house, which had been a storehouse, and, on making some remarks that were offensive to certain political rowdies in the crowd, they cried: "Take him off the stand!" Immediate confusion followed, and there was an attempt to carry the demand into execution. Directly over the speaker's head was an old skylight, at which it appeared Mr. Lincoln had been listening to the speech. In an instant, Mr. Lincoln's feet came through the skylight, followed by his tall and sinewy frame, and he was standing by Colonel Baker's side. He raised his hand, and the assembly subsided into silence. "Gentlemen," said Mr. Lincoln, "let us not disgrace the age and country in which we live. This is a land where freedom of speech is guaranteed. Mr. Baker has a right to speak, and ought to be permitted to do so. I am here to protect him, and no man shall take him from this stand if I can prevent it."

The suddenness of his appearance, his perfect calmness and fairness, and the knowledge that he would do what he had promised to do, quieted all disturbance, and the speaker concluded his remarks without difficulty.



From "The Life of Abraham Lincoln."[4]

"The greatest speech ever made in Illinois, and it puts Lincoln on the track for the Presidency," was the comment made by enthusiastic Republicans on Lincoln's speech before the Bloomington Convention. Conscious that it was he who had put the breath of life into their organization, the party instinctively turned to him as its leader. The effect of this local recognition was at once perceptible in the national organization. Less than three weeks after the delivery of the Bloomington speech, the national convention of the Republican party met in Philadelphia, June 17, to nominate candidates for the Presidency and Vice-presidency. Lincoln's name was the second proposed for the latter office, and on the first ballot he received one hundred and ten votes. The news reached him at Urbana, Ill., where he was attending court, one of his companions reading from a daily paper just received from Chicago, the result of the ballot. The simple name Lincoln was given, without the name of the man's State. Lincoln said indifferently that he did not suppose it could be himself; and added that there was "another great man" of the name, a man from Massachusetts. The next day, however, he knew that it was himself to whom the convention had given so strong an endorsement. He knew also that the ticket chosen was Fremont and Dayton.

The campaign of the following summer and fall was one of intense activity for Lincoln. In Illinois and the neighboring States he made over fifty speeches, only fragments of which have been preserved. One of the first important ones was delivered on July 4, 1856, at a great mass meeting at Princeton, the home of the Lovejoys and the Bryants. The people were still irritated by the outrages in Kansas and by the attack on Sumner in the Senate, and the temptation to deliver a stirring and indignant oration must have been strong. Lincoln's speech was, however, a fine example of political wisdom, an historical argument admirably calculated to convince his auditors that they were right in their opposition to slavery extension, but so controlled and sane that it would stir no impulsive radical to violence. There probably was not uttered in the United States on that critical 4th of July, 1856, when the very foundation of the government was in dispute and the day itself seemed a mockery, a cooler, more logical speech than this by the man who, a month before, had driven a convention so nearly mad that the very reporters had forgotten to make notes. And the temper of this Princeton speech Lincoln kept throughout the campaign.

In spite of the valiant struggle of the Republicans, Buchanan was elected; but Lincoln was in no way discouraged. The Republicans had polled 1,341,264 votes in the country. In Illinois, they had given Fremont nearly 100,000 votes, and they had elected their candidate for governor, General Bissell. Lincoln turned from arguments to encouragement and good counsel.

"All of us," he said at a Republican banquet in Chicago, a few weeks after the election, "who did not vote for Mr. Buchanan, taken together, are a majority of four hundred thousand. But in the late contest we were divided between Fremont and Fillmore. Can we not come together for the future? Let every one who really believes and is resolved that free society is not and shall not be a failure, and who can conscientiously declare that in the last contest he had done what he thought best—let every such one have charity to believe that every other one can say as much. Thus let bygones be bygones; let past differences as nothing be; and with steady eye on the real issue let us reinaugurate the good old 'central idea' of the republic. We can do it. The human heart is with us; God is with us. We shall again be able, not to declare that 'all States as States are equal,' nor yet that 'all citizens as citizens are equal,' but to renew the broader, better declaration, including both these and much more, that 'all men are created equal.'"

The spring of 1857 gave Lincoln a new line of argument. Buchanan was scarcely in the Presidential chair before the Supreme Court, in the decision of the Dred Scott case, declared that a negro could not sue in the United States courts and that Congress could not prohibit slavery in the Territories. This decision was such an evident advance of the slave power that there was a violent uproar in the North. Douglas went at once to Illinois to calm his constituents. "What," he cried, "oppose the Supreme Court! is it not sacred? To resist it is anarchy."

Lincoln met him fairly on the issue in a speech at Springfield in June, 1857.

"We believe as much as Judge Douglas (perhaps more) in obedience to and respect for the judicial department of government.... But we think the Dred Scott decision is erroneous. We know the court that made it has often overruled its own decisions, and we shall do what we can to have it overrule this. We offer no resistance to it.... If this important decision had been made by the unanimous concurrence of the judges, and without any apparent partisan bias, and in accordance with legal public expectation and with the steady practice of the departments throughout our history, and had been in no part based on assumed historical facts which are not really true; or if, wanting in some of these, it had been before the court more than once, and had there been affirmed and reaffirmed through a course of years, it then might be, perhaps would be, factious, nay, even revolutionary, not to acquiesce in it as a precedent. But when, as is true, we find it wanting in all these claims to the public confidence, it is not resistance, it is not factious, it is not even disrespectful, to treat it as not having yet quite established a settled doctrine for the country."

Let Douglas cry "awful," "anarchy," "revolution," as much as he would, Lincoln's arguments against the Dred Scott decision appealed to common sense and won him commendation all over the country. Even the radical leaders of the party in the East—Seward, Sumner, Theodore Parker—began to notice him, to read his speeches, to consider his arguments.

With every month of 1857 Lincoln grew stronger, and his election in Illinois as United States senatorial candidate in 1858 against Douglas would have been insured if Douglas had not suddenly broken with Buchanan and his party in a way which won him the hearty sympathy and respect of a large part of the Republicans of the North. By a flagrantly unfair vote the pro-slavery leaders of Kansas had secured the adoption of the Lecompton Constitution allowing slavery in the State. President Buchanan urged Congress to admit Kansas with her bogus Constitution. Douglas, who would not sanction so base an injustice, opposed the measure, voting with the Republicans steadily against the admission. The Buchananists, outraged at what they called "Douglas's apostasy," broke with him. Then it was that a part of the Republican party, notably Horace Greeley at the head of the New York "Tribune," struck by the boldness and nobility of Douglas's opposition, began to hope to win him over from the Democrats to the Republicans. Their first step was to counsel the leaders of their party in Illinois to put up no candidate against Douglas for the United States senatorship in 1858.

Lincoln saw this change on the part of the Republican leaders with dismay. "Greeley is not doing me right," he said. "... I am a true Republican, and have been tried already in the hottest part of the anti-slavery fight; and yet I find him taking up Douglas, a veritable dodger,—once a tool of the South, now its enemy,—and pushing him to the front." He grew so restless over the returning popularity of Douglas among the Republicans that Herndon, his law-partner, determined to go East to find out the real feeling of the Eastern leaders towards Lincoln. Herndon had, for a long time, been in correspondence with the leading abolitionists and had no difficulty in getting interviews. The returns he brought back from his canvass were not altogether reassuring. Seward, Sumner, Phillips, Garrison, Beecher, Theodore Parker, all spoke favorably of Lincoln and Seward sent him word that the Republicans would never take up so slippery a quantity as Douglas had proved himself. But Greeley—the all-important Greeley—was lukewarm. "The Republican standard is too high," he told Herndon. "We want something practical.... Douglas is a brave man. Forget the past and sustain the righteous." "Good God, righteous, eh!" groaned Herndon in his letter to Lincoln.

But though the encouragement which came to Lincoln from the East in the spring of 1858 was meagre, that which came from Illinois was abundant. There the Republicans supported him in whole-hearted devotion. In June, the State convention, meeting in Springfield to nominate its candidate for Senator, declared that Abraham Lincoln was its first and only choice as the successor of Stephen A. Douglas. The press was jubilant. "Unanimity is a weak word," wrote the editor of the Bloomington "Pantagraph," "to express the universal and intense feeling of the convention. Lincoln! LINCOLN!! LINCOLN!!! was the cry everywhere, whenever the senatorship was alluded to. Delegates from Chicago and from Cairo, from the Wabash and the Illinois, from the north, the center, and the south, were alike fierce with enthusiasm, whenever that loved name was breathed. Enemies at home and misjudging friends abroad, who have looked for dissension among us on the question of the senatorship, will please take notice that our nomination is a unanimous one; and that, in the event of a Republican majority in the next Legislature, no other name than Lincoln's will be mentioned, or thought of, by a solitary Republican legislator. One little incident in the convention was a pleasing illustration of the universality of the Lincoln sentiment. Cook County had brought a banner into the assemblage inscribed, 'Cook County for Abraham Lincoln.' During a pause in the proceedings, a delegate from another county rose and proposed, with the consent of the Cook County delegation, 'to amend the banner by substituting for "Cook County" the word which I hold in my hand,' at the same time unrolling a scroll, and revealing the word 'Illinois' in huge capitals. The Cook delegation promptly accepted the amendment, and amidst a perfect hurricane of hurrahs, the banner was duly altered to express the sentiment of the whole Republican party of the State, thus: 'Illinois for Abraham Lincoln.'"

On the evening of the day of his nomination, Lincoln addressed his constituents. The first paragraph of his speech gave the key to the campaign he proposed. "A house divided against itself cannot stand. I believe this government cannot endure permanently half slave and half free. I do not expect the house to fall—but I do expect it will cease to be divided. It will become all one thing or all the other."

Then followed the famous charge of conspiracy against the slavery advocates, the charge that Pierce, Buchanan, Chief Justice Taney, and Douglas had been making a concerted effort to legalize the institution of slavery "in all the States, old as well as new, North as well as South." He marshaled one after another of the measures that the pro-slavery leaders had secured in the past four years, and clinched the argument by one of his inimitable illustrations.

"When we see a lot of framed timbers, different portions of which we know have been gotten out of different times and places and by different workmen,—Stephen, Franklin, Roger and James,[A] for instance,—and we see these timbers joined together, and see they exactly make the frame of a house or a mill, all the tenons and mortises exactly fitting, and all the lengths and proportions of the different pieces exactly adapted to their respective places, and not a piece too many or too few, not omitting even the scaffolding—or, if a single piece be lacking, we see the place in the frame exactly fitted and prepared yet to bring such a piece in—in such a case we find it impossible not to believe that Stephen and Franklin and Roger and James all understood one another from the beginning, and all worked upon a common plan or draft, drawn up before the first blow was struck."

The speech was severely criticised by Lincoln's friends. It was too radical. It was sectional. He heard the complaints unmoved. "If I had to draw a pen across my record," he said, one day, "and erase my whole life from sight, and I had one poor gift of choice left as to what I should save from the wreck, I should choose that speech and leave it to the world unerased."

The speech, was, in fact, one of great political adroitness. It forced Douglas to do exactly what he did not want to do in Illinois; explain his own record during the past four years; explain the true meaning of the Kansas-Nebraska bill; discuss the Dred Scott decision; say whether or not he thought slavery so good a thing that the country could afford to extend it instead of confining it where it would be in course of gradual extinction. Douglas wanted the Republicans of Illinois to follow Greeley's advice: "Forgive the past." He wanted to make the most among them of his really noble revolt against the attempt of his party to fasten an unjust constitution on Kansas. Lincoln would not allow him to bask for an instant in the sun of that revolt. He crowded him step by step through his party's record, and compelled him to face what he called the "profound central truth" of the Republican party, "slavery is wrong and ought to be dealt with as wrong."

But it was at once evident that Douglas did not mean to meet the issue squarely. He called the doctrine of Lincoln's "house-divided-against-itself" speech "sectionalism"; his charge of conspiracy "false"; his talk of the wrong of slavery extension "abolitionism." This went on for a month. Then Lincoln resolved to force Douglas to meet his arguments, and challenged him to a series of joint debates. Douglas was not pleased. His reply to the challenge was irritable, even slightly insolent. To those of his friends who talked with him privately of the contest, he said: "I do not feel, between you and me, that I want to go into this debate. The whole country knows me, and has me measured. Lincoln, as regards myself, is comparatively unknown, and if he gets the best of this debate,—and I want to say he is the ablest man the Republicans have got,—I shall lose everything and Lincoln will gain everything. Should I win, I shall gain but little. I do not want to go into a debate with Abe." Publicly, however, he carried off the prospect confidently, even jauntily. "Mr. Lincoln," he said patronizingly, "is a kind, amiable, intelligent gentleman." In the meantime his constituents boasted loudly of the fine spectacle they were going to give the State—"the Little Giant chawing up Old Abe!"

Many of Lincoln's friends looked forward to the encounter with foreboding. Often, in spite of their best intentions, they showed anxiety. "Shortly before the first debate came off at Ottawa," says Judge H. W. Beckwith of Danville, Ill., "I passed the Chenery House, then the principal hotel in Springfield. The lobby was crowded with partisan leaders from various sections of the State, and Mr. Lincoln, from his greater height, was seen above the surging mass that clung about him like a swarm of bees to their ruler. He looked careworn, but he met the crowd patiently and kindly, shaking hands, answering questions, and receiving assurances of support. The day was warm, and at the first chance he broke away and came out for a little fresh air, wiping the sweat from his face.

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

"'You have,' he continued, 'seen two men about to fight?'

"'Yes, many times.'

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

"He made no other comment, but arose, bade me good-by, and left me to apply that illustration."

It was inevitable that Douglas's friends should be sanguine, Lincoln's doubtful. The contrast between the two candidates was almost pathetic. Senator Douglas was the most brilliant figure in the political life of the day. Winning in personality, fearless as an advocate, magnetic in eloquence, shrewd in political manoeuvring, he had every quality to captivate the public. His resources had never failed him. From his entrance into Illinois politics in 1834, he had been the recipient of every political honor his party had to bestow. For the past eleven years he had been a member of the United States Senate, where he had influenced all the important legislation of the day and met in debate every strong speaker of North and South. In 1852, and again in 1856, he had been a strongly supported, though unsuccessful candidate for the Democratic Presidential nomination. In 1858 he was put at or near the head of every list of possible Presidential candidates made up for 1860.

How barren Lincoln's public career in comparison! Three terms in the lower house of the State Assembly, one term in Congress, then a failure which drove him from public life. Now he returns as a bolter from his party, a leader in a new organization which the conservatives are denouncing as "visionary," "impractical," "revolutionary."

No one recognized more clearly than Lincoln the difference between himself and his opponent. "With me," he said, sadly, in comparing the careers of himself and Douglas, "the race of ambition has been a failure—a flat failure. With him it has been one of splendid success." He warned his party at the outset that, with himself as a standard-bearer, the battle must be fought on principle alone, without any of the external aids which Douglas's brilliant career gave. "Senator Douglas is of world-wide renown," he said; "All the anxious politicians of his party, or who have been of his party for years past, have been looking upon him as certain, at no distant day, to be the President of the United States. They have seen in his round, jolly, fruitful face, post-offices, land-offices, marshal-ships, and cabinet appointments, chargeships and foreign missions, bursting and sprouting out in wonderful exuberance, ready to be laid hold of by their greedy hands. And as they have been gazing upon this attractive picture so long, they cannot, in the little distraction that has taken place in the party, bring themselves to give up the charming hope; but with greedier anxiety they rush about him, sustain him, and give him marches, triumphal entries, and receptions beyond what even in the days of his highest prosperity they could have brought about in his favor. On the contrary, nobody has ever expected me to be President. In my poor, lean, lank face, nobody has ever seen that any cabbages were sprouting out. These are disadvantages, all taken together, that the Republicans labor under. We have to fight this battle upon principle, and upon principle alone."

If one will take a map of Illinois and locate the points of the Lincoln and Douglas debates held between August 21 and October 15, 1858, he will see that the whole State was traversed in the contest. The first took place at Ottawa, about seventy-five miles southwest of Chicago, on August 21; the second at Freeport, near the Wisconsin boundary, on August 27. The third was in the extreme southern part of the State, at Jonesboro, on September 15. Three days later the contestants met one hundred and fifty miles northeast of Jonesboro, at Charleston. The fifth, sixth, and seventh debates were held in the western part of the State; at Galesburg, October 7; Quincy, October 13; and Alton, October 15.

Constant exposure and fatigue were unavoidable in meeting these engagements. Both contestants spoke almost every day through the intervals between the joint debates; and as railroad communication in Illinois in 1858 was still very incomplete, they were often obliged to resort to horse, carriage, or steamer, to reach the desired points. Judge Douglas succeeded, however, in making this difficult journey something of a triumphal procession. He was accompanied throughout the campaign by his wife—a beautiful and brilliant woman—and by a number of distinguished Democrats.

On the Illinois Central Railroad he had always a special car, sometimes a special train. Frequently he swept by Lincoln, side-tracked in an accommodation or freight train. "The gentleman in that car evidently smelt no royalty on our carriage," laughed Lincoln one day, as he watched from the caboose of a laid-up freight train the decorated special of Douglas flying by.

It was only when Lincoln left the railroad and crossed the prairie at some isolated town, that he went in state. The attentions he received were often very trying to him. He detested what he called "fizzlegigs and fireworks," and would squirm in disgust when his friends gave him a genuine prairie ovation. Usually, when he was going to a point distant from the railway, a "distinguished citizen" met him at the station nearest the place with a carriage. When they were come within two or three miles of the town, a long procession with banners and band would appear winding across the prairie to meet the speaker. A speech of greeting was made, and then the ladies of the entertainment committee would present Lincoln with flowers, sometimes even winding a garland about his head and lanky figure. His embarrassment at these attentions was thoroughly appreciated by his friends. At the Ottawa debate the enthusiasm of his supporters was so great that they insisted on carrying him from the platform to the house where he was to be entertained. Powerless to escape from the clutches of his admirers, he could only cry, "Don't, boys; let me down; come now, don't." But the "boys" persisted, and they tell to-day proudly of their exploit and of the cordial hand-shake Lincoln, all embarrassed as he was, gave each when at last he was free.

On arrival at the towns where the joint debates were held, Douglas was always met by a brass band and a salute of thirty-two guns (the Union was composed of thirty-two States in 1858), and was escorted to the hotel in the finest equipage to be had. Lincoln's supporters took delight in showing their contempt of Douglas's elegance by affecting a Republican simplicity, often carrying their candidate through the streets on a high and unadorned hay-rack drawn by farm horses. The scenes in the towns on the occasion of the debates were perhaps never equalled at any other of the hustings of this country. No distance seemed too great for the people to go; no vehicle too slow or fatiguing. At Charleston there was a great delegation of men, women and children present which had come in a long procession from Indiana by farm wagons, afoot, on horseback, and in carriages. The crowds at three or four of the debates were for that day immense. There were estimated to be from eight thousand to fourteen thousand people at Quincy, some six thousand at Alton, from ten thousand to fifteen thousand at Charleston, some twenty thousand at Ottawa. Many of those at Ottawa came the night before. "It was a matter of but a short time," says Mr. George Beatty of Ottawa, "until the few hotels, the livery stables, and private houses were crowded, and there were no accommodations left. Then the campaigners spread out about the town, and camped in whatever spot was most convenient. They went along the bluff and on the bottom-lands, and that night, the camp-fires, spread up and down the valley for a mile, made it look as if an army was gathered about us."

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