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Full text of "Lincoln's anecdotes: a complete collection of the anecdotes, stories and pithy sayings of the late Abraham Lincoln, 16th president of the United States"

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lilNCOIiN'S ANECDOTES 




A complete CoUectiou of the Anecdote. Stories and Pithy Sayings of the late 
Abraham lineoln. 16th President of the United States. 
""rTf A*"' ^"^'•'*'*-^"»N. -05 FULTON STREET, NEW YORK 



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EXPLANATION TO THE READER. 
The universal curiosity to see all the stories told and the nu- 
merous pithy sayings uttered by the late Abraham Lincoln, 
16th President of the United Statps, has induced the publisher 
to have the present collection prepared. It embraces, he be- 
lieves, all the authentic anecdotes and stories and is probably 
the first publication ever made CKclusively devoted to Humor- 
ous Stories delivered by a Chief Jiagistrate under circumstancea 
so remarkable and which impart to them an extraordinary in- 
terest. They will be read and re-read by thousands and tens 
of thousands all over the world, now that they are thus brought 
together ia a convenient form. 




Entered according to act of congress in the tear 18C7 by 
C. Mathews in the clerk's office of the district court for 

THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NeW YoRK. 



JZ-^izoii^ 



^ LmCOLN'S ANECDOTES. 



" Takes His Own Life." 

The compiler of the **Dictiouary of Congress" states 
that while preparing that work for publication, in 1858, 
he sent to Mr. Lincoln the usual request for a sketch of 
his life, and received the following reply : 

"Born, February 12th, 1807, in Harden Co., Ky. 

** Education defective. 

** Profession a lawyer. 

"Have been a captain of volunteers in Black Hawk 
war. 

*' Postmaster at a very small office. 

"Four times a member of the Illinois LegislaturtN 
and was a member of the Iowa House of Congress. 

Youra, &c., 

A. Lincoln. 

How He Eamel His First Dollar. 
" I WAS about eighteen years of age," said the Presi- 
dent. " I belonged, you know, to what they call down 
south "the scrubs ;" peopla who do not own slaves aro 
nobody there. But we had succeeded in raising, chiefly 
by my labor, sufficient produce, as I thought, to justify 
me in taking it down the river to sell. 



(( 



After much persuasion, I got the consent of mother 
to go, and constructed a little flatboat, large enough to 
take a barrel or two of things, that we had gathered, 
with myself and little bundle, down to New Orleans. 
A steamer was coming do^ni the river. We have you 
know, no wharves on the Western streams ; and the cus- 
tom was, if passengers were at any of the landings, for 
them to go out in a boat, the steamer stopping and tak- 
ing them aboard. 

"I was contemplating my new flatboat, and wonder- 
ing whether I could make it stronger or improve it in 
any i)articular, when two men came down to the shore 



6 LINCOLN'S ANECDOTES. 



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, '* thafs 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" 

The Hoop-less Girl. 
A POOB girl in a scanty but neat dress, came to him 
one day imploring forgiveness and pardon for her 
brother, who had been sentenced to be shot, for deser- 
tion. "My poor girl," said he, "you have come here 
with no governor, or senator, or member of congress, 
to plead your cause. You seem honest and truthful ; 
and you don't wear hoops, and I viU be whipped, but I will 
pardon your brother." 



"What do you think Mr. President, is the reason 
General McCloud does not reply to the letter from the 
Chicago Convention ?" j 

" Oh !" replied Mr. Lincoln, with a characteristic 
twinkle of the eyes, "^e is intrenching T 

A Blunderbus. 

Speakeng of President Polk quoting a certain opin 
ion of Jefferson's he said : [That this opinion of Mr. 
Jefferson, in one branch at least, is, in the hands of Mr. 
Polk, like McFingal's gun, "Bears wide and kicks the 
owner over." 

Won't Treat His Driver. 

"I WAS once travelling out in Illinois, when my driver 
halted his team before a tavern." 

"Goin' to treat, Mr. Lincoln," said John. 

"I do not drink," said I, not wishing to be detained 
at such an early stage of my journey. 

"Let me have a chew, then !" 

"I never use tobacco, my friend." 

"Look a here, sir," said he. "If a fetah has no 
small vices, I have always noticed that he makes up for 
it in big ones." 

Eoot Hog or Die. 

"Among the stories freshest in my mind," says Car- 
penter in his entertaining sketch, "was one which he 



LINCOLN'S ANECDOTES. 



related to me shortly after its occurence, belonging to the 
history of the famous interview on board the Race Queeuy 
at Hampton Eoads, between himself and Secretary 
Seward, and the Rebel Peace Commissioners. *'You 
see," said he, **we had reached and were discussing the 
slavery question. Mr. Hunter said, substantially, that 
the slaves, sdways accustomed to an overseer, and to 
work upon compulsion, suddenly freed, as they would 
be if the South should consent to peace on the basis of 
the "Emancipation Proclamation," would precipitate 
not only themselves, but the entire Southern society 
into irremediable ruin. No work would be done, 
nothing could be cultivated, and both blacks and whites 
would starve !" I waited for Seward to answer tha*'. 
argument, but as he was silent, I at length said : "Mr. 
Hunter, you ought to know a great deal better about this 
matter than I, for you have always lived under the slave 
system. I can only say, in reply to your statement of 
the Cftse, that it reminds me of a man out in Hlinois, 
by the nabae of Case, who undertook a few years ago, to 
raise a very large herd of hogs. It was a great trouble 
to feed them, and how to get around this was a puzzle to 
hi mi At length he hit upon the plan of planting an im- 
mense field of potatoes, and, when they were sufficiently 
grown, he turned the whole herd into the field, and let 
them have full swing, thus saving, not only the labor of 
feeding the hogs, but also that of digging the potatoes ! 
Charmed with his sagacity, he stood one day leaning 
against the fence, counting his hogs, when a neighbor 
came along. "Well, well/' said he, "Mr. Case, this is 
all very fine. Your hogs are doing very well just now, 
but you know out here in Illinois the frost comes early, 
and the ground freezes for a foot deep. Then what are 
they going to do ? " This was a view of the matter, 
Mr. Case had not taken into account. Butchering-time 
for hogs was way on in December or January I He 
scratched his head, and at length stammered out. * 'Well, 
it may come pretty hard on their snouts, but I don't see 
but that it will be ' root hog or die .' ' " 

Colonel Moody's "Little Story of Andy Johnson." 
**I had a visit last night from Coh Moody, * the fight- 



8 



LINCOLN'S ANECDOTES. 



mg Methodist Parson, ' as he is called in Tennessee He 
IS on his way to the Philadelphia Conference, and beinff 
m Washin|;-ton over night, came up to see me. He told 
me this story of Andy Johnson and General Buel, which 
interested me intensely. Col. Moody was in Nashville 
the day that it was reported that Buel had decided to 
evacuate the city. The rebels, strongly re-inforced 
were said to be within two days' march of the Capitol' 
Of course the city was greatly excited. Said Moody «*i 
went in search of Johnson, at the edge of the evening 
and found him in his office, closeted with two gentle! 
men, who were walking the floor with him, one on each 
side. As I entered, they retired leaving me alone with 
Johnson, who came up to me, manifesting intense feel- 
ing, and said, -Moody, we are sold out! Buel is a 
traitor ! He is going to evacuate the city, and in fortv 
eight hours we shaU aU be in the hands of the rebels I " 
Then he commenced pacing the room again, twisting 
his hands, and chafing like a caged tiger, utterly insen- 
sible to his friend's intreaties to become calm. Suddenly 
he turned and said, " Moody, can you pray ? " ♦' That's 
my business, sir, as a minister of the gospel," returned 
the Col. - WeU, Moody, I wiph you would pray," said 
Johnson ; and instantly botl^ went down upon their 
knees, at opposite sides of the room. As the prayer be 
came fervent, Johnson began to respond in true Metho- 
dist style. Presently he crawled over on his hands and 
knees to Moody's oide, and put his arm over him mani- 
festing the deepest emotion. Closing the prayer with 
a hearty - Amen " from each, they arose. Johnson took 
a long breath, and said, with emphasis. "Moody I 
feel better!" Shortly afterwards he asked, ''will you 
stand be me ? '- -Certainly, I will," was the answer 
''WeU, Moody, I can depend upon you. You are one 
m a hundred thousand ! " He then commenced pacing 
the floor again. Suddenly he wheeled, the current of 
his thought having changed, and said: *' Oh ! Moody 
I don't want you to think I have become a religious man 
because I asked you to pray. I am sorry to say it, but 
I am not, and never pretended to be religious. No one 
knows this better than you ; but, Moody, there is one 



LINCOLN'S ANECDOTES. 



thing about it — I do believe in Almighty God ! and I. 
believe also in the Bible, and I say damn me, if Nashville 
shall he surrendered ! And Nashville teas not surrendered! " 

No Influence. 

Judge BAiiDWiN, of California, solicited a pass of 
General Halleck one day. " We have been deceived too 
often," said Halleck, *'and I regret I can't grant it. " 
Baldwin applied to Stanton with the same success. He 
then solicited it of Mr. Lincoln. "Have you apphed 
to Halleck," inquired the President. "Yes, and met 
with a flat refusal," said the Judge. ** Then you must 
see Stanton," continued the President. " I have, and 
with the same result," vas the reply. "Well, then," 
said Mr. Lincoln, with a smile, "I can do nothing ; for 
you must know that I have very Utile influence with this Ad- 
ministration.^' 

Dan Webster's Dirty Hand. 

On the occasion of a Simday School procession pass 
ing the North side of the White House reviewed before 
Mr. Lincoln, he told the Hon. Mr. Odell the follow- 
ing : 

"I heard a story last night about Daniel Webster 
when a lad, which was new to me, and it has been run- 
ning in my head all the morning. 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 his 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 look- 
ed 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 reply. 
" That will do," said the teacher, " for this time. You 
can take your seat, sir ! " 

"Major General I Eeckon." 
A NEW levy of troops re(iuired, on a certain occasion, 



w LINCOLN'S ANECDOTES. 



the appointment of a large additional number of briga- 
dier 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 briga- 
dier or major general. The President observed this 
difficulty, and solved it by by a lucid indorsement. The 
clerk, on receiving the paper again, found written across 
its back, " Major General, I reckon. A. Lincoln." 
The Long and Short of It. 

It is said that on the occasion of a serenade, the Presi- 
dent was called for by the crowd assembled. He ap- 
peared at a window with his wife (who is somewhat be- 
low the medium height), and made the following "brief 
remarks:'' "I am here and here is Mrs. Lincoln. That's 
the long and the short of it." 

The Second Coming of Our Lord. 

Soon after the opening of Congress the Hon. Mr. 
Shannon from California, made the customary call at 
the White house. In the conversation that ensued, Mr. 
Shannon said "Mr. President I met an old friend of yours 
in California last summer, a JMJr. Campbell, who had a 
good deal to say of your Springfield Kfe." "Ah !" re- 
turned Mr. Lincoln, "I am glaAto hear of him. Camp- 
bell used to be a dry fellow in those days," he contin- 
ued. " For a time he was Secretary of State. One day 
during the legislative vacation, a meek cadaverous man 
with a white neckcloth, introduced himself to him at 
his office, and stating that he had been informed that 
Mr. Campbell had the letting of the haU of representa- 
tives, he wished to secure it, if possible, for a course of 
lectures he desired to deliver in Springfield. " May I 
ask," said the secretary, "what is to be the subject of 
your lecture ?" " Certainly," was the reply, with a very 
solemn expression of countenance. " The course I wish 
to deliver is on the second coming of our Lord. " It is 
of no use," said C, "if you take my advice, you will not 
waste your time in this city. It is my private opinion 
that, if the Lord has been in Springfield once. He will 
never come the second time 1" 



LINCOLN'S ANECDOTES. 11 



More Pegs than Holes. 
SojiE gentlemen were once finding fault with the Pres- 
ident because certain Generals were not given com- 
mands. "The fact is," replied Mr. Lincoln, "I have 
got more pegs than holes to put them in." 

Don't Cross Fox Eiver until you get to it. 
A CLEEGYiiAN from Springfield, Illinois, being in 
Washington early in Mr. Lincoln's administration, call- 
ed upon him, and in the course of conversation asked 
him w^hat was to be his policy on the slavery question. 
** Well," said the President "I will answer by telling 
you a story. You know Father B . A young Metho- 
dist, was worrying about Fox River, and expressing fears 
that he should be prevented from fulfilling some of his 
engagements by a freshet in the river. Father B. check- 
ed him in his gravest manner. Said he : '* young man, 
I have always made it a rule in my life uDt to cross Fox 
river till I get to it 1 " ** And," added Mr. Lincoln, " I 
am not going to worry mjself over the slavery question 
till I get to it." 

John Morgan's Death. 

Being informed of the death of John Morgan, he said: 
**Well, I wouldn't crow over anybody's death ; but I 
can take this as resignedly as any dispensation of Provi- 
dence." 

The Emancipation Question. 

A DISTINGUISHED pubHc oflSicer being in Washington, 
in an interview with the President, introduced the ques- 
tion of emancipation. *'Well, you see," said Mr. Lin- 
coln, "we've got to be very cautious how we manage 
the negro question. If we're not we shall be like the 
barber out in Illinois, who was shaving a fellow with a 
hatchet face and lantern jaws like mine. The barber 
stuck his finger in his customer's mouth to make his 
cheek stick out, but while shaving away he cut through 
the fellow's cheek and cut off his own finder ! If we are 
not veiy careful, we shaU do as the barber did ! " 

Don't Shake the Eope. 
At the White House one day some gentlemen were 
present from the West, excited and troubled about the 



13 LINCOLN'S ANECDOTES; 

commissions or omissions of the Administration. The 
President heard them patiently and he replied : — ** Gen- 
tlemen, su23pose all the property you were worth was in 
gold, and you had put it in the hands of Blondin to 
carry across the Niagara Kiver on a rope,, would you 
shahe the cable, or keep shouting out to him Blondin, 
stand up a little straighter — Blondin stoop a little more 
— go a little faster — lean a little more to the North — lean a 
little more to the South — No, you would hold your breath and 
your tongues, and keep your hands off until he was safe 
over. The Government are carrrying an immense 
weight. Untold treasures are on their hands, they are 
doing the very best they can. Don't badger them. 
Keep silence and we will get you safe across. '* 

" Pegging " Away, 

Being asked by an "anxious" visitor as to what he 
would do in " certain" contingencies — provided the re- 
bellion was not subdued after three or four years of ef- 
fort on the part of the Government — "Oh," said the 
President "there is no alternative hut to keep ''^ pegging 
away.''* j 

About Slavery not being Dead. 

After the issue of the Emancipation Proclamation, 
Governor Morgan, of New York, was at the "White House 
one dav, when the President said: — "I do not agree 
with those who say that slavery is dead. "We are like 
whalers who have been long on a chase — we have at last 
got the harpoon into the monster, but we must now look 
how we steer, or, with one "flap" of his tail^ he will yet 
send us all into eternity !" 

Jack Chase. 

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

Mr. Lincoln said that this reminded him of an old ac- 
quaintance of his, " Jack Chase/' who used to be a lum- 
berman on the Illinois, a steady, sober mar, and the best 
raftsman on the river. It was quite a trick, twenty -fiye 



LINCOLN'S ANECDOTES. 13 



yeai-s ago, to take the logs over the rapids ; but he was 
skillful with a raft, and always kept her straight in the 
channel. Finally a steamer was put on, and Jack was 
made captain of her. He always used to take the wheel, 
going through the rapids. One day when the boat was 
plunging and wallowing along the bo^'Iing current, and 
Jack's utmost vigilance was being exercised to keep her 
in the 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 !" 
About Explaining Matters in the Newspapers. 

The President was once speaking about an attack 
made him on bim by the committee on the conduct of 
the war for a certain alleged blunder, or something 
worse, in the South- West— the matter involved being 
one which had fallen directly under the observation of 
the official to whom he was talking, who possessed of- 
ficial evidence completely upsetting all the conclusions 
of the committee. 

*'Mightitnot be well for me," queried the official, 
*' to set this matter right in a letter to some paper, 
stating the facts as they actually transpired ?" 

"Oh, no," repUed the President, " at least, not now. 
If I were to try to read, much less answer, all the attacks 
made on me, this shop might as well be closed for any 
other businesss. I do the very best I know how— the 
very best I can ; and I mean to keep doing so until the 
end. If the end brings me out all right, what is said 
again.it me won't amount to anything. If the end brings 
me out wrong, ten angels swearing I was right would 
make no diflerence." 

Illegal Writs. 

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 caUed upon him told him that the Government 
had made up their minds to do nothing illegal, and so 
they had issued no illegal writs, and simply meant to 
to make him go of his own free will. " Well" said Mr. 
Lincohi, " that reminds me of a hotel-keeper down at 



I* LINCOLN'S ANECDOTES. 



St. Louis, who boasted that he never had a death in his 
hotel, for whenever a guest vras dying in his house he 
carried him out to die in the gutter." 

Hanging a Man for Blowing his Nose in the Street. 

One evening the President brought a couple of friends 
into the "State dining-room" to see Carpenter's picture 
when the conversation "reminded him of the following 
circumstance ; " Judge ," said he, " held the strong- 
est ideas of rigid government and close construction that 
I ever met. It was said of him on one occasion that he 
would hang a man for blowing his nose in the street, but 
he would quash the indictment if it failed to specify 
which hand he blew it with !" 



A PKiEND said to him one day after the President had 
told him of his purpose to make a call for more troops, 
** It will destroy your chance for re-election. " "It mat- 
ters not" replied Mr. Lincoln, "It matters not. We 
must have the men. If I go down I intend to go, like the 
Cumberland, with my colors flying." 

Patrick's Boots. 
(Extract from "Speech:") , To lay a duty, for the im- 
provement of any particular harbor, upon the tonnage 
coming into that harbor will never clear a greatly ob- 
structed river. The idea that we cculd, involves the 
same absurdity of the Irish bull about the new boots : 
"I shall never get *em on," says Patrick, "tUlIwear 
'em a day or two, and stretch 'em a little." 

Turned Out to Eoot. 
(Extract from a speech in Congress :) Tho other day 
one of the gentlemen from Georgia, (Mr. Iverson,) an 
eloquent man, and a man of learning, so far as I can 
judge, not being learned myself, came down upon us 
astonishingly. He spoke in what a certain editor calls 
a "scathing and Beedliery style." At the end of his 
second severe flash I was struck blind, and found myself 
feeling with my fingers for an assurance of my continued 
physical existence. A little of the bone was left and I 
gradually revived. He declared we had deserted all our 
principles and had turned Harry Clay out, like an old 



>v 



LINCOLN'S ANECDOTES. 19 

horse, to root. I merely -wish to ask the gentleman if 
the Wliigs are the only party he can think of, who 
sometimes turn old horses out to root ? Is not a certain 
Martin Van Biiren an old horse, which your own party 
have turned out to root ! and is he not rooting a little 
to your discomfort 'bout now 1 

Abraham as a Warrior. 

Black Hawk Wab. — Commenting in a Congressional 
speech during the canvass of 1848, \i-pon. the effects of 
General Cass's biographers to exalt their idol into a 
military hero, he thus alluded to an episode in his own 
life: 

By the way, Mr. Speaker, did you know I am a mili- 
tary hero ? Yes, sir, in the days of the Black Hawk 

war, I fought, bled, and came away I Speaking of 

General Cass's career, reminds me of my own. I was 
not at Stillman's defeat, but I was about as near it as 
Cass to HuU's surrender, and like him, I saio the place 
very soon afterward. It is quite certain I did not break 
my sword, for I had none to break, but I bent my 
musket pretty badly on one occasion. If Cass broke his 
sword, the idea is, he broke it in desperation ; I bent 
the musket by accident. If General Cass went in ad- 
vance of me in picking wortleberries, I guess I sur- 
passed him in charges upon wild onions ! If he saw any 
live fighting Indians, it was more than I did, but I had 
a good many bloody struggles with the musquetoes, and 
although I never fainted from loss af blood, I can truly 
say I was often very hungry 1 

Mr. Speaker, should I ever conclude to doff whatever 
our Democratic friends may suppose there is of black- 
cockade Federalism about me, and, thereupon, they 
should take me up as their candidate for the Presidency, 
I protest that they shaU not make fun of me as they 
have of General Cass, by attempting to write me into a 
military hero ! 

Extract from Speech after the Fall of Eichmond. 
I propose now closing up by requesting that your 
band play •« Dixie." I thought "Dixie" one of the 
best tunes I ever heard. I insisted yesterday that W6 



19 LINCOLN'S ANECDOTES. 

had fairly captured it ! I presented the question to the 
Attorney General, and he gave it as his opinion that it 
is our lawful prize. I ask the band to give us a good 
turn upon it. 

Hatching the Egg. 

Concede that the new Government of Louisiana is 
only what it should be, as the egg to the fowl, we shall 
s-ooner have the fowl by hatching the egg, than by 
smashing it. 

A Sure Dream. 

"Geneeati, have you heard from General Sherman," 
said he to Grant. 

*'I have not, but I am hourly expecting dispatches 
from him, announcing the surrender of Johnson." 

''"Well," said Mr. Lincoln, ''you'll hear very soon, snd 
the news will be important." 

" "Why do you think so," said the General, 

** Because," said the President, **I had a dream last 
night, and ever since the war began I have invariably 
had the same dream before any very important military 
event has occurred. It is in your line, too, Mr. Wells. 
The dream is tliat I saw a ship sailing very rapidly, and 
I am sure that it portends some imjiortant national 
event. I had the same dream on the eve of Antietam, 
Gettysburgh, etc. 



'* If Jeff Davis is the head of the Rebellion," said Mr. 
Lincohi to an army officer, "Humphrey Marshall is its 
paunch, and Eloyd and Wise its legs !" 
The Democratic Ox-&ad. 

Speaking of the unconstitutional career of General 
Cass in reference to the Wilmot Proviso, he said : 
"When the question was agitated in 1846, General Cass 
was in a blustering hurry to take ground for it. He 
sought to be in advance ; but soon he began to see 
glimpses of the great Democratic ox-gad waving in his 
face, and to hear distinctly a voice saying, " back, back, 
sir, back a little." He shakes his head and bats his 
eyes, and^ blunders back to his position of March '47 ; 
but still the gad waives, and the voice grows irore dis- 
tinct, and sharper still—'* back sir, back I say ! further 



LINCOLN'S ANECDOTES. 17 

back ! " and back he goes to the position of December 
'47 ; at which the gad is still, and the voice soothingly 
says ; * ' So ! stand still at that ! ' ' 

"Boarding Out" Your Board Bill. 
Eeferkeng to the "charges" of General Cass upon the 
Treasury, he continued: "He not oiJy did the labor 
of several men at the same time, but that he often did it, 
at several places many hundred miles apart, at the same 
time. And at eating, too, his capacities are shown to be 
quite as wonderful. From October 21st, to May 22d, he 
ate ten rations a day in Michigan, ten rations a day here 
in Washington, and nearly five dollars worth a day be- 
sides, partly on the road between the two places. And 
then there is an important discovery in his example — 
the art of being paid for what one eats, instead of hav- 
ing to pay for it. Hereafter, if any nice young man 
shall owe a bill which he cannot pay in any other way, 
he can just board it out! Mr. Speaker, we have all heard 
of the animal standing in doubt between two stacks of 
hay and starving to death ; the like of that would never 
happen to General Cass. Place the stacks a thousand 
miles apart, he would stand stock still, mid- way between 
them, and eat them both at once ; and the green grass 
along the line would be apt to suffer some too at the 
same time. By all means, make him President, gentle- 
men. He will feed you bounteously — if, if, there is 
any left after he shall have helped himself I " 

The Eugged Eussian Bear. 

In his speech at Chicago, July 10th, '58, Douglas used 
this illustration : "I shall deal with this allied army 
just as the Russians dealt with the alUes at Sebastopol, 
that is, the Russians did not stop to inquire, when they 
fired a broadside, whether it hit an Englishman, a 
Frenchman, or a Turk. Nor will I stop to inquire 
whether my blows hit three Republican leaders or three 
allies, who are holding the federal offices, and yet acting 
in concert with them. " 

To this Mr. Lincoln replied: ''Well, now, gentle- 
men, is not this very alarming I Just to think of it I 
right at the onset of his canvass, I, a poor, kind, ami- 



18 LINCOLN'S ANECDOTES. 

able, intelligent gentleman, I am to be slain in this 
way. Wliy, my friends, the Judge, is not only, as it 
turns out, not a dead lion, nor even a liviny one — he is the 
rugged Russian Bear ! I beg that he will indulge us 
while we barely suggest to him that the allies took 
Sebastopol ! " 

Abraham Lincoln and His Barber. 

The Springfield (Illinois) correspondent of the Chica- 
go Times contributes the following interesting reminis- 
cence : 

On a raw, cold evening in December, 1831, a man pre- 
senting the api3earance of a very light mulatto, being 
what is technically called a quadroon, stood by the door 
of a log cabin in the town of New Salem, Sangamon 
county (now Menard), in this state. His clothing was 
travel-stained and considerably dilapidated ; his carriage 
was erect ; his eye clear and sparkling with the vivacity 
of La Belle France, for he was a native of Hayti, and the 
blood of the Creole French of that island was in hia 
veins. The precursors of darkness began to fall upon 
the sombre scene, the shadow of the woods in the dis- 
tance to lengthen on the snow-clad ground, while the 
gray clouds, surcharged with moisture, and behind 
which the sun was setting, admonished the solitary 
Creole that he must seek shelter, and that rather quick- 
ly, from the pitiless peltings of a coming coming storm. 

Lifting his eyes to take another survey of the cold and 
cheerless prospect, he was struck by the appearance of a 
tall, uncouth-looking figure, emerging out of the shadow 
of the wood about two hundred yards from where he 
stood. It was that of a man considerably over six feet 
in height, carrying an ax carelessly slung upon his 
shoulder ; his gait was slouching, something between a 
lope and a shamble ; he stooped considerably ; his eyes 
were bant upon the ground ; his disengaged arm hung 
carelessly by his side, and, with a swinging motion, kept 
time to the ungraceful movement of his body ; his hair 
and beard were long, of a jet black color and apparently 
unkempt ; he had a red woolen cap upon his head, such 
as was then worn by woodchoppers, or the hired help of 



LINCOLN'S ANECDOTES. 19 

farmers generally ; an old pair of blanket leggings, tied 
with buckskin thongs above the knees and at the ankles, 
were wound about the calves of his legs ; they were rusty 
with age and ragged with use in the brushwood ; a rag- 
ged coat, once blue or black, and of coarse cloth, was 
.bound with a similar thong of buckskin about his waist. 

In fact, he presented the appearance of an ordinary 
backwoodsman. 

He stopped at the door of the log cabin, which was 
the only grocery store and tavern of which the place 
could boast — nodded pleasantly, after the fashion of the 
day, to the Creole, and was about to enter, when the 
latter asked him how far it was to Springfield. The 
backwoodsman told him the distance and passed in, fol- 
lowed hesitatingly by the traveller. When they reached 
the interior, the uncouth backwoodsman stepped over 
the large oaken bench which stood in front of the fire, 
laid down his ax, and, turning his back to the huge pile 
of burning logs on the old-fashioned hearth, warmed 
himself, stretching out his lank and long hands to the 
blaze as if he enjoyed it hugely. 

The man who stood with his back to the log fire in 
that primitive hostelry, on that gray December evening, 
was Abraham Lincoln, the future President of the 
United States, and the author of the great emancipa- 
tion proclamation. The stranger Creole, with the blood 
of the despised African coursing in his veins, was "Wil- 
liam Florville, the quadroon, subsequejitly and for years 
Abraham Lincoln's barber. 

When Mr. Lincoln was about to be mamed he was 
taken quite ill at a medical friend's house in this city. He 
sent for Florville, who stayed with him some time, and 
while there administered the medicine which the physi* 
cian prescribed for him. About ten days afterward he 
came into the shop and spid, "BiUy, Iwant you to 
shave me and trim my hair also, and I want you to do it 
as if I was going to be married." Billy replied, "If I 
do, Mr. Lincoln, it will cost you one dollar. We charge 
extra for shaving when thoy are going to be married. " 
" All right," replied Mr. Lincoln. *'I suppose I ought 
not to dance without paying the fiddler. " 



90 LINCOLN'S ANECDOTES. 

Hew England Rum. 

A GENTLEMAN was one day finding fault with the con- 
stant 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 Presi- 
dent, in reply, " who kept a grocery store, and a lot of 
fellows used to loaf around that for their toddy. He on- 
ly gave 'em New England rum, and they drank pretty 
considerably of it. But after awKile they began to get 
tired of that, and kept asking for something new — some- 
thing new — all the time. Well, one night, when the 
crowd were around, the grocer brought out his glasses, 
and says he, ' I've got something new for you to drink, 
boys, now.'' * Honor bright ?' said they. * Honor bright!' 
says he, and with that he sets out a jug. 'Thar,' says 
he, * that's something new ; it's New England rum !' — 
"Now," remarked Mr. Lincoln, " I guess we're a good 
deal like that crowd, and Congress is a good deal like 
that store-keeper !" 

He was Glad of it, 

On the occasion when the telegram from Cumberland 
Gap reached Mr. Lincoln that "firing was heard in the 
direction of Knoxville," he remarked that he "was glad 
o| it. " Some person present, who had the perils of 
Burnside's position uppermost in his mind, could not 
see why Mr. Lincoln should be glad of it, and so ex- 
pressed himself. *^*'Why, you see," responded the Pres- 
ident, "it reminds me of Mistress Sallie Ward, a neigh- 
bor of mine, who had a very large family. Occasionally 
one of her numerous progeny would be heard crying in 
some out-of-the-way place, upon which Mrs. Ward would 
exclaim, "There's one of my children that isn't dead 
yet 1" 

Jake Thompson. 

On the occasion of one of his Cabinet asking him if it 
would be proper to permit Jake Thompson to shp 
through Maine in disguise and embark for Portland, the 
President was disposed to be merciful and to permit the 
arch-rebel to pass unmolested, but one of his secretaries 



LINCOLN'S ANECDOTES. 21 



urged that Tliompson should be arrested as a traitor. 
"By permitting him to escape the penalties of treason,'* 
persistently remarked the secretary, "you sanction it." 
" Well," replied Mr. Lincoln, "let me tell you a story. 
There was an Irish soldier here last summer, who want- 
ed something to drink stronger than water, and stopped 
at a drug-shop, where he espied a soda-fountain. " Mr. 
Doctor," said Pat, "give me, plase, a glass of soda 
wather, an' if yes can put in a few drops of whisky un- 
beknown to any one, I'll be obleged." "Now," con- 
tinued Mr. Lincoln, "if Jake Thompson is permitted to 
go through Maine unbeknoAvn to any one, what's the 
harm ? So don't have him arrested. " 

Sugar Coated. 

The July following Mr. Lincoln's inauguration he 
sent a message to Congress in which speaking of seces- 
sion, and the measures taken by the southern leaders to 
bring it about, he made use of the following expres- 
sion : — " With rebellion thus sugar-coated, they have been 
drugging the public min d of their section for more than 
thirty years." — 

Mr. Defrees, the Government printer, a good deal dis- 
turbed by the term sugar-coated, went to the President 
about it. He told Mr. Lincoln frankly, that he ought 
to remember that a message to Congress was a different 
affair from a speech at a mass-meeting in Illinois— that 
the message became a part of history, and should be 
written accordingly. 

"What is the matter now?" inquired the President. 

" Why," said Mr. Defrees, "you have used an undig- 
nified expression m the message ;" and then reading the 
paragraph alone, he added, "I would alter the structure 
of that, if I were you." 

" Defrees," repHed Mr. Lincoln, " that word express- 
es precisely my idea, and I am not going to change it. 
The time will never come in this country when the peo- 
ple won't know exactly what sugar-coated means." 

I jings I 
On a subsequent occasion a certain sentence of another 
message was very awkwardly constructed. Calling the 



»^ LINCOLN'S ANECDOTES. 



Presideut's attention to it in the proof-copy, the latter 
acknowledged the force of the objection raised, and said, 
" Go home, Defrees, and see if you can better it." The 
next day Defrees took in to him his amendment. Mr. 
Lincoln met him by saying : " Seward found the same 
fault that you did, and he has been re-writing the para- 
graph also." Then reading Mr. Defrees' version he said: 
*' I jings" (a common expression with him), "I think I 
can beat you both." Then taking up the pen, he wrote 
the sentence as it was finally printed. 

Mrs. Brown's recollections of Abraham Lincoln. 
" "Well, I remember Linken. He Worked with my old 
man thirty-four years ago, r.nd made a crap. We lived 
on the same farm where we live now, and he worked all 
the season, and made a crap of corn, and the next winter 
they hauled the crap all the way to Galena, and sold it 
for two dollars and a half a bushel. At that time there 
"was no public houses, and travelers were obliged to stay 
at any house along the road that could take them in. — 
One evening a right smart looking man rode up to the 
fence, and asked my old man if he could get to stay all 
night. * Well,' said Mr. Brown, 'we can feed your crit- 
ter, and give you something to eat, but we can't lodge 
you unless you can sleep in the same bed with the hired 
man.' The man hesitated, and asked, 'Where is he ?' 
* Well,' said Mr. Brown, 'you can come and see him.' — 
So the man got down from his critter, and Mr. Brown 
took him around to where, in the shade of the house, Mr. 
Lincoln lay his full length on the ground, with an open 
book before him. 'There,' said Mr. Brown, pointing to 
him. • he is.' The stranger looked at him a minute, and 
eaid, ' T think he'll do. " And he stayed and slept with 
the President of the United States." 

How Lincoln thrashed a Bully. 
While serving as clerk in a pioneer " store," a bully t 
came in and began to talk in an offensive manner, 
using much profanity and evidently wishing to provoke 
a quarrel. Lincoln leaned over the counter, and begged 
him, as ladies were present, not to indulge in such talk. 
The bully retorted that the opportunity had come for 



LINCOLN'S ANECDOTES. 23 



which he had long sought, and he would like to see the 
man who could hinder him from saying anything he 
might choose to say. Lincoln still cool, told him that 
if he would wait till the ladies retired, he would hear 
what he had to say, and give him any satisfaction he de- 
sired. As soon as the women were gone, the man be- 
came furious. Lincoln heard his boasts and abuse for a 
time, and finding he was not to be put off without a 
fight, said—" Well, if you must be whipi^ed, I suppose 
I may as well whip you as any other man." This was 
just what the bully had been seeking, he said, so out of 
doors they went, and Lincoln made short work with 
him. He threw him upon the ground, held him there 
as if he had been a child, and gathering some smart- 
weed which grew upon the spot, rubbed it into his face 
and eyes, while the fellow bellowed with pain. Lincoln 
did all of this without a particle of anger, and when the 
job was finished, went immediately for water, washed 
his victim's face, and did everything he could to allevi- 
ate his distress. The upshot of the matter was that 
the man became his fast and life-long friend, and was a 
better man from that day. It was impossible then, and 
it always remained impossible for Lincoln to cherish re- 
sentment or revenge. 

Mr. Lincoln's Postoffice, 
Not wishing to be tied to the office, as it yielded him 
no revenue that would reward him for the confinement, 
he made a post-office of his hat. Whenever he went 
out, the letters he placed in his hat. When an anxious 
looker for a letter found the post-master, he found his 
office ; and the pubhc officer taking off his hat, looked 
over his mail wherever the public might find him. 

The Strict Oonstructionist. 
A good instance of the execution which he sometimes 
effected with a story occurred in the legislature. There 
was a troublesome member from Wabash county, who 
gloried particularly in being a "strict constructionist." 
He found something "unconstitutional" in every meas- 
ure that was brought for discussion. He was a member 
of the Judiciary Committee, and was quite apt, after 



«* LINCOLN'S ANECDOTES. 



giving every measure a heavy pounding, to advocate its 
reference to this Committee. No amount of sober argu- 
ment could floor the member from Wabash. At last, 
he came to be considered a man to be silenced, and Mr. 
Lincoln was resorted to for an expedient by which this 
effect might be accomplished. He soon afterwards 
honored the draft thus made upon him. A measure was 
brought forward in which Mr. Lincoln^s constituents 
were interested, when the member from Wabash rose 
and discharged all his batteries upon its unconstitution- 
al points. Mr. Lincoln then took the floor, and, with 
quizzical expression of features which he could assume 
at will, and a mirthful twinkle in his gray eyes, said • 
*' Mr. Speaker, the attack of the member from Wabash 
on the constitutionality of this measure reminds me of 
an old friend of mine. He's a peculiar looking old fel- 
low, with shaggy, overhanging eye-brows, and a pair of 
spectacles under them. (Everybody turned to the 
member from Wabash and recognized a personal de- 
scription.) One morning just after the old man got up, 
he imagined, on looking out of his door, that he saw 
rather a lively squirrel on a tree near his house. So he 
took down his rifle and fired at the squirrel, but the 
squirrel paid no attention to the shot. He loaded and 
fired again, and again, until the thirteenth shot, he set 
down his gun impatiently, and said to his boy, who 
was looking on, "boy, there's something wrong about 
this rifle." " Rifle's all right. I know 'tis," repHed the 
boy, "but Where's your squirrel?" "Don't you see 
him, humped up about half way up the tree," inquired 
the old man, peeping over his spectacles, and getting 
mystified. " No I, don't," responded the boy ; and then 
turning and looking into his father's face, he exclaimed, 
" I see your squirrel ! You've been firing at a louse on 
your eyebrow !" 

How Mr. Lincoln looked. 
Lf personal appearance, Mr, Lincoln, or, as he is more 
familiarly termed among tho3e who know him best, ' Old 
Uncle Abe,' is long, lean, and wiry. In motion he has a 
gi-eat deal of the elasticity and awkardness which indi- 
cates the rough training of his life, and his conversation 



LINCOLN'S ANECDOTES. »3 



savors strongly of Western idoms and pronounciation. 
His height is six feet four inches. His complexion is 
about that of an octoroon ; his face, without being by 
any means beautiful, is genial-looking, and good humor 
seems to lurk in every corner of its innumerable angles. 
He has dark hair tinged with gi'ay, a good forehead, 
small eyes, a long penetrating nose, with nostrils such as 
Napoleon always liked to find in his best generals, be- 
cause they indicated a long head and clear thoughts ; 
and a mouth, which, aside from being of magnificent 
proportions, is probaly the most exxDressive feature of 
his face. 

As a speaker he is ready, precise, and fluent. His 
manner before a popular assembly is as he pleases to 
make it, being either superlatively ludicrous, or very im- 
pressive. He employs but Httle gesticulation, but when 
he desires to make a point, produces a shrug of his 
shoulders, an elevation of his eyebrows, a depression of 
his mouth, and general malformation of countenance so 
comically awkward that it never fails to bring ' down 
the house.' His enunciation is slow and emjDhatic, 
and his voice, though sharp and powerful, at times has a 
frequent tendency to dwindle into a shrill and unpleasant 
sound ; but as before stated, the peculiar characteristio 
of his delivery is the remarkable mobihty of his features, 
the frequent contortions of which excite a merriment his 
words could not produce. 

In fact the picture on the title-page of this collection 
of Anecdotes, is a capital likeness of President Lincoln, 
in a story-telling mood, taken from life by an artist who 
had enjoyed his social entertainment, and was Drepared 
expressly to place the late President before the people 
in his familiar manner, which endeared him to so 
many. 

Thrilling Incident in his Legal Career. 

One instance which occurred during his early legal 
practice is worthy of extended publication. At a camp 
meeting held in Menard county, a fight took place which 
ended in the murder of one of the participants in the 
quarrel. A young man named Armstrong, a son of the 
aged couple for whom many years before Abraham Lin- 



36 LINCOLN'S ANECDOTES. 



coin had worked, was charged with the deed, and being 
arrested and examined, a true bill was found against him, 
and he was lodged in jail to await his trial. As soon as 
Mr. Lincoln received intelligence of the affair, he ad- 
dressed a kind letter to Mrs. Armstrong, stating his 
anxiety that her son should have a fair trial, and offering 
in return for her kindness to him while in adverse cir- 
cumstances some years before, his services gratuitously. 
Investigation convinced the volunteer attorney that the 
young man was the victim of a conspiracy, and he deter- 
mined to postpone the case until the excitement had 
subsided. The day of trial however finally arrived, and 
the accuser testified positively that he saw the accused 
plunge the knife into the heart of the murdered man. 
He remembered all the circumstances perfectly ; the 
murder was committed about half-past nine o'clock at 
night, and the moon was shining brightly. Mr. Lincoln 
reviewed all the testimony carefully, and then proved 
conclusively that the moon which the accuser had sworn 
was shining brightly, did not rise until an hour or more 
after the murder was committed. Other discrepancies 
were exposed, and in thirty minutes after the jury re- 
tired they returned with a verdict of "Not Guilty. ' 

On tho Congressmen. 

As the President and a friend were sitting one day on 
the House of Rej)resentatives' steps, the last session 
closed, and the members filed out in a body. Lincoln 
looked after them with a sardonic smile. 

*' That reminds me," said he, *' of a little incident. — 
When I was quite a boy, my flat-boat lay up at Alton, on 
the Mississippi, for a day, and I strolled about the town, 
I saw a large stone building, with massive walls, not so 
handsome, though, as this ; and while I was looking at 
it, the iron gateway opened, and a great body of men 
came out. "What do you call that ?" I asked a by- 
stander. 'That,' said he, 'is the State Prison, and 
those are all thievesj going home. Their time is up.' " 

Burying Himself. 
FoK weeks — indeed, for months — after the inaugura- 
tion, the ante-rooms, halls and staircases of the White 



LINCOLN'S ANECDOTES. »7 

House swarmed with office-seekers. More important 
public business was at times impeded by their brazen 
importunity, and every man who was supposed to have 
"influence" was beseiged day and night. It is true 
that one of the most important duties before the new 
administration was to place the machinery of govern- 
ment, as soon as possible, in trustworthy hands, but it 
was a terrible job to do so. They say that the office- 
seekers killed Harrison and Taylor — it w^as no fault of 
Abraham Lincoln that they did not kill him, for he list- 
ened to them with a degree of patience and good temper 
truly astonishing. At times, however, even his equa- 
nimity gave way, and more than one public man finally 
lost the President's good wiU by his pertinacity in de- 
manding provision for his personal satellites. Some 
Senators and Congressmen really distinguished them- 
selves in this respect. "I remember," says his jDrivate 
Secretary, W. O. Stoddard, Esq., who has contributed 
very happily to the general fund of Lincoln Anecdotes, 
*' a saying of Mr. Lincoln's that comes in pretty well 

here : * Poor , he is digging his poHtical grave !' " 

"Why, how so, Mr. President He has obtained 
more offices for his friends than any other man I know 

of." 

" That's just it ; no man can stand so much of that 

sort of thing, lou see, every nran thinks he deserves a 
better office than the one he gets, and hates his * big 
man' for not securing it, while for every man api^ointed 
there are five envious men unappointed, who never for- 
give him for their want of luck. So there's half a dozen 

enemies for each success. I like , and don't like to 

see him hurt himself in that way ; I guess I won't give 
him any more." 

The last clause had a dry bit of humor in it, for in 
good truth the honorable gentleman had had quite 
enough. 

Lincoln "Fixed." * 

" We had a meeting of the Whigs of the county here 
on last Monday, to appoint delegates to a district con- 
vention, and Baker beat me, and got the delegation in- 
structed to go for him. The meeting, in sjDite of my 



»« LINCOLN'S ANECDOTES. 



attempt to decline it, appointed me one of the delegates, 
S) that, in getting Baker the nomination, I shall be 
* fixed ' a good deal like a fellow who is made grooms- 
man to the man who has * cut him out,' and is marrying 
his own dear gal." 

What the Democrats saw in Judge Douglas's face. 
** They have seen, in his round, jolly, fmitful face, 
post-offices, land offices, marshalships, cabinet appoint- 
ments, charge-ships and foreign missions bursting and 
sprouting out, in wonderful luxuriance, ready to be laid 
hold of by their greedy hands. On the contrary, no- 
body has ever expected me to be President. In my 
poor, lean, lank face nobody has ever seen that any 
cabbages were sprouting out. " 

What He said of a Political Defeat. 
**I FEEii, I suppose, very mi^ch like the stripling who 
had bruised his toe— * too badly to laugh, and too big 
to cry. ' " 

His •' little story " over the disruption of the Democracy. 
He once knew, he said, a sound churchman by the 
name of Brown, who was a member of a very sober and 
pious committee having in charge the erection of a 
bridge over a dangerous and rapid river. Several archi- 
tects failed, and at last Brown said he had a friend named 
Jones who had built several bridges, and could undoubt- 
edly build that one. So Mr. Jones was called in. "Can 
you build this bridge ?" inquired the committee. "Yes," 
replied Jones, " or any other. I could build a bridge to 
h— 1, if necessary." The committee were shocked, and 
Brown felt called upon to defend his frieiiJ. "I know 
Jones so well," said he, "and he is so honest a man, and 
so good an architect, that if he states soberly and posi • 
tively that he can build a bridge to — to — the infernal re- 
gions, why, I believe it ; but I feel bound to say that I 
have my doubts about the abutment on the other side." 
" So," said Mr. Lincoln, " when politicians told me that 
the Northern and Southern wings of the Democracy 
could be harmonized, why, I beUeved them, but I al- 
ways had my doubts about the abutment on the other 
side. " 



LINCOLN'S ANECDOTES. se 

Stanton's Impulsiveness. 
''Well," said Mr. Lincoln, *' we may have to treat 
liim (Stanton) as tliey are sometimes obliged to treat a 
Methodist minister I know of out West. He gets 
wrought up to so high a pitch of excitement in his pray- 
ers and exhortations, that they are obliged to put bricks 
into his pockets to keep him down. We may be obliged 
to serve Stanton the same way, but I guess we'll let him 
jump awhile first." 

The "little story" to malcontents, who wished 
further changes in his Cabinet. 

Mr. Lincoln on hearing several of these through with 
their complaints, with his pecuHar smile, said, *' Gentle- 
men, the case reminds me of a story of an old friend of 
mine out in Illinois. His homestead was much infested 
with those little black and white animals that we needn't 
call by name, and, after losing his patience with them he 
determined to sally out and inflict upon them a general 
slaughter. He took his gun, clubs and dogs, and at it 
he went, but stopi)ed after killing one and returned 
home when his neighbers asked him why he had not 
fulfiled his threat of killing aU there were on his place, 
he re^jlied that his experience with the one he had killed 
was such that he thought he had better stop where he 
was." 

His " little story " to Admiral Goldsborough. 
In a conversation with Major-General Garfield, he 
said : '* By the way, Garfield, do you know that Chase, 
Stanton, General Wool and I had a campaign of our own? 
We went down to Fortress Monroe in Chase's revenue 
cutter, and consulted with Admiral Goldsborough on the 
feasibihty of taking Norfolk by landing on the north 
shore and making a march of eight miles. The Admiral 
said there was no landing on that shore, and we should 
have to double the cape, and approach the place from 
the south side, which would be a very long journey, and 
a difiicult one. I asked him if he had ever tried to find 
a landing, and he replied that he had not. I then told 
him a story of a fellow in Illinois who had studied law, 
but had never tried a case. He was sued, and, not hav- 



30 LINCOLN'S ANECDOTES. 

ing confidence in his ability to manage his own case, em- 
ployed a lawyer to manage it for him. He had only a 
confused idea of the meaning of law terms, but was 
anxious to make a display of learning, and, on the trial, 
constantly made suggestions to his lawyer, who paid but 
little attention to him. At last, finding that his lawyer 
was not handling the opposing counsel very well, he lost 
all his patience ; and, springing to his feet, cried out, 
* Why don't you go at him with a capias or a surre-butter 
or nudem-jmctum ? * Now, Admiral,' said I, 'if you don't 
know that there is no landing on the north shore, I want 
you to find out.'" 

Doing all the Swearing for the Kegiment. 
Heke is a little story told by General Fisk that Mr. 
Lincoln relished very much, and often repeated. The 
General had begun his military life as a colonel ; and, 
when he raised his regiment in Wisconsin, he proposed 
to his men that he should do all the swearing of the regi- 
ment. 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 the roads were 
not always the best, had some difiiculty in commanding 
his temper and his tongue. jDhn happened to be driv- 
ing a mule-team through a series of mud-pools a little 
worse than usual, when, unable to restrain himself any 
longer, he burst forth in a volly of energetic oaths. 
The colonel took notice of the offense, and brought 
John to an account, "John," said he, "didn't you 
promise to let me do all the swearing of the regiment ?" 
"Yes, I did. Colonel," he replied, "but the fact was the 
swearing had to be done then, or not at all, and you 
weren't there to do it." 

About Making Brigadier-G-enerals. 

A PERSON who wishes to be commissioned as Brigadier 
told Mr. Lincoln in a sarcastic tone, "I see there's no va- 
cancies among the Brigadiers, from the fact that so many 
colonels are commanding brigades." 

" My friend, "said Mr. Lincoln, "let me tell you 
something about that. You are a farmer I believe ; if 
not, you will understand me. Suppose you had a large 



LINCOLN'S ANECDOTES. »i 



cattle yard, full of all sorts of cattle — cows, oxen and 
bulls, — and you kept killing and selling and disposing 
of your cows and oxen, in one way and another, taking 
good care of your bulls. By and by you would find out 
that you had nothing but a yard full of old bulls, good 
for nothing under heavens. Now it will be just so with 
the army, if I don't stop making Brigadier-Generals." 

Let 'em Wriggle. 

*' The Wade and Davis matter troubles me but Httle," 
Mr. Lincoln said to a friend. "Indeed I feel a good 
deal about it as the old man did about his cheese when 
his very smart boy found, by the aid of a microscope, 
that it was full of maggots. "Oh father!" exclaimed 
the boy, "how can you eat that stuff ? just look in here 
and see 'em wriggle !" The old man took another 
mouthful, and, putting his teeth into it, replied grimly ; 
'*let 'em wrigf;le !" 

A Hard Hit. 

At the conference in Hampton Eoads, Mr. Lincoln 

declared that, in his negotiations for peace, he could not 

recognize another government inside of the one of which 
he alone was President. 

Mr. Hunter replied that "the recognition of Da^ds' 
power to make a treaty was the first indespensible step 
to peace," and, to illustrate his point, he refered to the 
correspondence between King Charles the First and his 
Parliment, as a reliable precedent of a constitutional 
rule treating with rebels. 

" Upon questions of history," replied Lincoln "I must 
refer you to Seward, for he is posted in such things, and 
I don't profess to be ; but my only distinct recollection 
of the matter is that Charles lost his head/^ 

It Did Her So Much Good. 
On an other occasion refering to the same he said, " It 
reminds me of a man in Illinois whose wife occasionally 
took the broomstick to him. His neighbors remon. 
strated with the unfortunate husband and told him he 
was scandalized as a man in allowing her to do this, 
" O," said he shrugging up his shoulder and at the same 
time giving a comical look "I don't mind it then it 
seems to do her a heap of good. " 



^^ LINCOLN'S ANECDOTES. 

Abraham Lincoln's Duel. 
Something more than a score of years ago, Springfield, 
the capital of the Prairie State, was the home of a maid- 
en, who was as bright as she was beautiful, and as spir- 
ited and witty, as she was graceful and good. If we do 
not name her, it is because in her place in our heart she 
is too well hedged around by love and reverence to be 
brought forth and presented to the profane gaze of the 
public. As the wife of a senator, whom all good men, 
and women, too, delight to honor, her conserving and 
purifying power has since been shown to the world by 
the influence it has had in helping him keep his life pure 
and noble. 

This maiden, whom we will call Anna, because we must 
call her something, was the friend and confident of Miss 
Todd, the affianced of Mr. Lincoln, who had, not so very 
many years before this, left off spKtting rails, to trj what 
skill he might have in splitting hairs in a lawyer's office 
in Springfield. Judge Shields was likewise a dweller in 
the town at this time, and a frequenter of the society in 
which the two ** bright, particular stars," already men- 
tioned, shed their radiance. But his moral character 
was not altogether immaculate, report said. For this, 
or some ether reason, Anna was not inclined to regard 
him with favor. Once upon a time, however, circum- 
stances compelled her to accept his escort from an even- 
ing party to her father's house. Her spirit was moved 
with indignation by a trifling incident which occurred 
on the way, and she determined upon securing revenge. 
A day or two afterwards some verses appeared in the 
literary luminary of the place, the name of which Father 
Time has, or, at any rate, we have, dropped from the 
scene. The verses were addressed to Judge S. so ob- 
viously, that he who ran could read, though his name 
did not appear. They were witty and sharp, and though 
everybody knew at once to whom they referred, every- 
body did not know who wrote them. Among the unfor- 
tunate ones to whom, in this case, ignorance was not 
bliss, was the distinguished individual to whom they 
were addressed, who might naturally be supposed to 
have a more than common interest in having ignorance 



LINCOLN'S ANECDOTES. 33 



supplanted by knowledge, in converting the unknown in- 
to the known. He set about the accomplishment of the 
desired end, but soon found that the pursuit of knowl- 
edge on that line was emphatically following after it un- 
der difficulties. He went to the editor, or printer, i^er. 
haps the quality was comprised in one person, and, after 
the old man in the spelling book, first tried gentle meas- 
ures, which, not availing, in imitation of the same illus- 
trious example, he proceeded to try what virtue there 
was in severe ones, which soon brought the editor down, 
and he confessed that the verses were handed to him iu 
the handwriting of Miss Todd. He did not tell him, be- 
cause he did not know, that she had only copied them 
from the manuscrij^t of her friend Anna. 

Judge S. ungallantly attacked the supposed writer in a 
rejoinder, which appeared in the next issue of the same 
paper. Springfield was not so large then but that every- 
body knew his neighbor's business as well as he did him- 
self, if not a little better. The matter was discussed at 
every fireside, and came in with dessert, if not before, 
at every dinner table. 

It was well known that Miss Tood was betrothed to 
Mr. Lincoln, and every principle of law and equity de- 
manded that he should be her defender against all wrong 
and injustice. He would be no loyal knight if he should 
sufi'er his lady love to be publicly attacked and he not 
come to the rescue. He therefore, took up the cudgel 
in her behalf, and the result was a challenge from Judge 
Shields to meet him in single combat and undo the 
wrong that had been done, by the pleasant operation of 
the one shedding the other's blood. Whatever may have 
been Mr. Lincoln's feelings about duelling in the abstract, 
in this particular case there seemed to be no choice left 
him but to accept the challenge. Miss Todd was a Ken- 
tuckian. The friends with whom she lived were of the 
same ilk. Mr. Lincoln himself h;id been cradled under 
the same sky. The mere semblance of pusilljuiimity was 
something that must be put far from him. He accepted 
the challenge, and having the right of choice in regard 
to weajoons, selected broad swords. 

But the laws of Illinois are very stringent in regard to 



34 LBNCOLN'S ANECDOTES. 

duelling. That kind of salve for a man's wounded honor 
was not among the prescriptions contained in its code. 
Years before this the legislature had declared duelling a 
capital offense and one unfortunate violator of the statute 
had died at the hands of the hangman. Thenceforth com- 
mon men pocketed the offences which the law would not 
vindicate. The chivalry, when insulted, had to nurse 
their wrath until they could get into Missouri, or at least 
to Bloody Island, halfway over the Mississippi. 

This was before the railroads with their iron horses 
and fabulous speed had wakened the echoes in that re- 
gion." Springfield was a respectable two days' journey 
from Alton, the nearest accessible point to the Missis- 
sippi. As nothing else could be done, these two chivalric 
defenders of injured innocence collected their swords and 
other traps and started on a slow coach, with the privi- 
lege of having by the way, a nice long time in which to 
thick of the pleasantness of killing or being killed, and 
what might come thereafter. At last the journey ended, 
as all things earthly must, and they arrived at Alton. 

There were no steam ferry-boats then. The Charons 
of that day had to find motive power in their own sinewy 
arms. Everything was favorable to reflection. The time 
was abundant not only for "sober, second thought, " to 
try its power, but that number had a chance to multiply 
itself into thousands, and grow soberer all the while. 
But nothing moved the combatants from their steady 
purpose. The father of waters was propitious, and they 
"with their swords and a man with a dish to catch the 
blood and a string to take up an artery, as the case might 
require. The matter having being noised abroad some- 
what in Alton, some persons, blessed with enquiring 
minds, followed them across the river in order to be in 
at the death. As the news spread more and more, there 
came to be quite an excitement in the town among those 
who remained, and sentinels were posted in command- 
ing positions, and close watch was kept for the party 
when it should return. In process of time the watch- 
man announced that the boat which had been f)'eighted 
•with the valiant, was coming back, and when it was a 
tbird of the way in its passage across the river, sharp 



LINCOLN'S ANECDOTES. 33 



eyes detected a man with his cloak wrapped around him 
lying in the bottom of the flat-boat. The news si^read 
quickly over the town that one of the avengers of no- 
body knew exactly what, had fallen a victim to his 
courage ; and womanly eyes were ready to weep at the 
thought of the havoc that would be made in some- 
body's heart. But now, as often, the near contradicted 
the far. "When the boat landed it was found that some 
wag had put in a log, and thrown over it a cloak, so that 
expectation might not be let down too suddenly from its 
elevation. The victims who had so bravely prepared them- 
selves for the sacrifice, was both alive and well. Their 
honor had been healed by other plaster than that of blood. 
When the danger came within touching distance, their 
wrath became placable. A friend who had got an inkling of 
what was on hand, had followed them, and reached the 
place as Lincoln was clearing away the brush to have a 
chance for a fair fight, and succeeded, just in the nick of 
time, in convincing them, as many another man has been 
convinced, that * ' discretion is the better part of valor. " 

To Mr. Lincoln, with his quick sense of the ridiculous, 
and nice appreciation of humor, the whole thing must 
have been very laughable in after years, unless, which is 
possible, it was a little bit mortifying. Whether he ever 
used the story to illustrate the parturition of mountains 
and the bringing forth of mice, I do not know. He 
probably would have done so, had he not himseK have 
been the hero. 

Every Man His own Boss. 

But one argument in the support of the repeal of the 
Missouri Compromise is still to- come. That argument 
is " the sacred right of self-government. "' It seems our 
distinguished Senator has found great difiiculty in get- 
ting his antagonists, even in the Senate, to meet him 
fairly on this argument. Some poet has said, ''Fools 
rush in where angels fear to tread." 

At the hazard of being thought one of the fools of this 
quotation, I meet that argument, — I rush in, — I take 
that bull by the horns. ... I say that, that no man is 
good enough to govern another man icithout that other's 
consent, I say, this is the leading princij)le, the sheet- 



36 LINCOLN'S ANECDOTES. 

anchor of American Bepublicanism. Our Declaration 
of Independence says: "That, to secure these rights, 
governments are instituted among men, debiving their 

JUST POWERS FROM THE CONSENT OF THE GOVERNED." 

Now, the relation of master and slave is, pro tanto, a 
total violation of their principle. The master not only 
governs the slave without his consent, but he governs 
him by a set of rules altogether dijBferent from those 
which he prescribes for himself. Allow all the gov- 
erned an equal voice in the government ; and that, and 
that only, is self-{;^'overnment. . . . If it is a sacred right 
for the people of Nebraska to take and hold slaves there, 
it is equally their sacred right to buy them where they 
can buy them cheapest ; and that, undoubtedly, will be 
on the coast of Africa, provided you will consent not to 
hang them for going there to buy them. . . . He (the 
African slave-dealer) honestly buys them at the rate of 
about a red cotton handkerchief a head. This is very 
cheap ; and it is a great abridgment of the ' * sacred right 
of self-government,'" to hang men for engaging in this 
profitable trade. — Speech^ October^ 1854. 

Little "Tad" as Attorney-Generah 

For my own part, if I wanted an agent to procure any- 
thing like a pardon from Mr. Lincoln, I should have 
unhesitatingly sent a child rather than a grown woman 
of any kind. Anything like helplessness appealed to 
him strongly, and he was very fond of children at all 
times. 

To such an extent did he carry this indulgence for 
little "Tad" [the President's favorite son] who, by the 
way, was a very intelligent and affectionate boy, that he 
allowed him free access to his business office at all hours 
and under almost any circumstances ; and I well remem- 
ber the dignified expression of disapprobation with which 
a testy old Senator declared his opinion that ' ' that boy 
was becoming decidedly more numerous than popular. " 

Tad had the same weakness for unlucky brutes which 
his father had for unfortunate men, and always had 
under his protection, one or more ill-conditioned curs of 
low degree, famished appearance and unimaginable ex- 



LINCOLN'S ANECDOTES. 37 



traction. Somehow they never stayed long, and I do 
not know whether or not they fattened as well as others 
at the "pubhc crib." 

Nor were there wanting biped petitioners who were 
quick to seize upon what seemed so vulnerable a point 
as Mr. Lincoln's affection for his boy, and attempt to 
bring themselves to the favorable notice of the all pow- 
erful President by the assiduty with which they culti- 
vated his little pet. Of course they succeeded with Tad, 
for a boy's heart is easily fished for, and there were a 
few of the earlier approaches on this line which were 
tolerably successful; but only a very few found their 
way to his knee or table before Mr. Lincoln saw the 
point, and "Tad's clients" became more a matter for 
joke than anything else. Otherwise, as a general rule, 
it was not apt to be to any man's advantage to have his 
case pressed by a member of the President's family. 

Cool. 

But you will not abide the election of a Kepublican 
President. In that supposed event, you say, you will 
destroy the Union ; and then, you say, the great crime 
of having destroyed it will be upon us. 

That is cool. A highwayman holds a pistol to my ear, 
and mutters through his teeth, "Stand and deUver, or I 
shall kill you ; and then you will be a murderer!" To 
be sure, what the robber demanded of me — my money — 
was my own, and I had a clear right to keep it : but it 
"was no more my own than my vote i& my own ; and the 
threat of death to me, to extort my money, and the 
threat of destruction to the Union, to extort my vote, 
can scarcely be distinguished in principle. — Speec\ Fthni^ 
ary^ 1860. 

The Mortgaged Widow. 

A WIDOW woman from Michigan, was unable to meet 
a mortgage of a few hundred dollars on her little home, 
and she determined to get it from the Preside^t. In 
her simple mind she had no doubt of his boundless 
wealth, or that when once he heard her story he would 
pay off the mortgage. So she raised some money among 
her neighbors by subscription, and started for Washing- 



39 



LIMCOLN'S ANECDOTES. 



ton, traveling by all sorts of conveyances, and of course 
taking the longest road, and bringing her four little 
children with her. How she did it is a mystery only to 
be solved by Him who feeds the young ravens, but she 
actually reached the capital with more money than when 
she started, and fell into kind and charitable hands when 
she got there. Of course she saw Mr. Lincoln, and he 
listened to her story and read her letters with a half 
humorous, half vexed expression that was irresistible. 

He did not say much, only muttering "children and 
fools, you know," but put his name on the subscription 
papers for a moderate sum. The subscription so started 
rapidly swelled to the desired amount, and the poor 
woman was ticketed homeward over the Government 
routes, puzzled and yet satisfied. She had spent more 
money, going and coming, than the whole of debt twice 
over. Siich is wisdom. 

Don't Swap Horses while Crossing the Eiver. 
I AM not insensible at all to the personal compliment 
there is in this ; and yet I do not allow myself to believe, 
that any but a small portion of it is to be appropriated 
as a personal compliment. . . . The part I am entitled 
to appropriate as a compHment is only that part which I 
may lay hold of as being the opinion of the Convention 
and the League, that I am not entirely unworthy to be 
intrusted with the place which I have occupied for the 
last three years. But I do not allow myself to suppose, 
that either the Convention or the League have concluded 
to decide that I am either the greatest or best man in 
America ; but rather they have concluded, that it is not 
best to sicap horses lohile crossing the river ; and have further 
concluded, that I am not so poor a horse, that they might not 
make a h§tch of it in trying to swap. — Speech, June, 1864. 

Which Line He lights On. 

It is a pertinent question, often asked in the mind 
privately, and from one to the other, When is the war to 
end ? Surely I feel as deep an interest in this question 
as any other can ; but I do not wish to name a day, a 

month, or a year, when it is to end We accepted 

this war for an object,— a worthy object ; and the war 



LINCOLN'S ANECDOTES- 39 

will end when that object is attained. Under God, I 
hope it never will end until that time. Speaking of the 
present campaign, General Grant is reported to have 
said, * * I am going through on this line, if it takes all 
summer. " This war has taken three years ; it was begun, 
or accepted, upon the line of restoring the national au- 
thority over the whole national domain ; and for the 
American peoj)le, as far as my knowledge enables me to 
speak, I say, we are going through on this line, if it takes 
three years more. — Speech^ June, 1864. 

He Counts for Samho. 

The following incident, as related by the Washington 
correspondent of the '* Chicago Tribune," is a touching 
instance of his genuine goodness of heart, combined 
with the native simplicity of a country gentleman : — 

' ' I dropped in upon Mr. Lincoln on Monday last, and 
found him busily engaged in counting gTeenbacks. 
'This, sir,' said he, 'is something out of my usual line ; 
but a President of the United States has a multipHcity 
of duties not specified in the Constitution, or Acts of 
Congress ; this is one of them. This money belongs to 
a poor negro, who is a porter in one of the departments 
(the Treasury), and who is at present very sick with the 
smaU-pox. He is now in the hospital, and could not 
draw his pay, because he could not sign his name. * I 
have been at considerable trouble to overcome the diffi- 
culty, and get it for him ; and have at length succeeded 
in cutting red tape, as you newspaper-men say. I am 
now dividing the money, and putting by a portion, la- 
belled in an envelope with my own hands, according to 
his msh.' " 

"Old Abe!" 

Speaking of a certain class of aiDi^licants for office, re- 
minds Secretary S. of a fat and ruddy individual, in a 
swallow-tailed coat, who entered his office one morning 
with an expression of the most beaming, gushing, greasy 
and cordial familiarity, and asked "if Old Abe was in ?" 

"Wnom, sir?" 

"Why, Old Abe? I want to see him a few mimutes. 
How is the old fellow, anyvv'ay ? " 

"Really, sii', I cannot imagine of whom you can be 



^0 LINCOLN'S ANECDOTES. 



inquiring, unless, indeed, by any accident you are trying 
to speak of the President of the United States. If so, 
he is in, but you can't see him to-day. 

**Notsee01dAbe! Why not?" 

It required several unsatisfactory remarks to explain 
matters to him. I wonder if some people do imagine it 
a smart thing to address even letters to public men by 
their nick-names; and, if so, how soon they get their 
answers on an average. 

Pop-G-uns, etc. 
One universal idea seemed to be that if any given gun, 
cannon, ship, armor or all-killing or all-saving apparatus 
chanced to take the eye of the President, it must there- 
upon speedily be adopted for army use and fore 3d into a 
gi-and success by Executive authority. It was in vain 
that Mr. Lincoln systematically discouraged this notion, 
and never went further, even with inventions that pleased 
him most, than to order an examination and trial by the 
proper professional authorities. Every inventor posted 
straight to the White House with his "working model." 
Mr. Lincoln had very good mechanical ability, and quick 
appreciation of what was practical in any proposed im- 
provement. Here, as elsewhere, his strong common 
sense came in play, to the great discomfiture of many a 
shallow quack and mechanical enthusiast. It was a com- 
mon thing for the makers of the new rifles, shells, 
armor-vests, gunboats, breech-loading cannon, and the 
multitudinous nameless contrivances which came into 
being in the heat and excitement of the times by a 
species of spontaneous generation, either to invite him 
to witness a trial or to send him a specimen — the latter 
being frequently intended as a *' jjresentation copy." 
On the grounds near the Potomac, south of the White 
House, was a huge pile of old lumber, not to be damaged 
by balls, and a good many mornings I, says his Private 
Secretary, have been out there with the President, by 
previous appointment, to try such rifles as were sent in. 
There was no danger of hitting any one, and the Presi- 
dent, who was a very good shot, enjoyed the relaxation 
very much. One morning early we were having a good 
time — he with his favorite *' Spencer," and I with 



LINCOLN'S ANECDOTES. « 



a villainous kicking nondescript, with a sort of patent 
back-action breech, that left my shoulder black and 
l^lne— when a squad from some regiment which had just 
been put on guard in that locahty pounced on us for 
what seemed to them a manifest disobedience of all 
*' regulations." I heard the shout of the officer in com- 
mand and saw them coming, but as the President was 
busy drawing a very particular bead — for I had been 
beating him a little— I said nothing until down they 
came. In response to a decidedly unceremonious hail, 
the Preddent, in some astonishment, di-ew back from 
his stooping posture, and turned upon them the full 
length six feet four of their beloved " Commanner-in- 
Chief." They stood and looked one moment, and then 
fairly ran away, leaving his Excellency laughing heartily at 
their needless discomfiture. He only remarked : ' ' Well, 
they might have stayed and seen the shooting." 

The Presidental Umbrella. 

Edward — the venerable messenger at the door of the 
President's room — for four administrations doorkeeper 
of the White Hou%e, was an inexhaustible well of inci- 
dent and anecdote concerning the old worthies and un- 
worthies. An undersized, neatly dressed, polite, comi- 
cal old man, with a world of genuine Irish wit in his 
white head. He it was who went with Fillmore to look 
at a carriage which the necessities of some Southern 
magnate had thrown upon the market. 

"Well, Edward," said the President, *'and how will 
it do for the President of the United States to buy a 
second-hand carriage ? " 

*'And sure, yer Excellency, and ye're only a second- 
hand President, ye know ! " 

Mr. Fillmore took the joke, but not the carriage. 
This anecdote was told me by Mr. Lincoln, and was 
called up by the following : One dark and rainy evening 
we had got as far as the door, on our way to Gen. 
McClellan's headquarters, without an umbrella, and Ed- 
ward was sent back after one, the President telling him 
whereabouts he might find it. In a few minutes he 
came back, announcing a fruitless search, and adding, 



4a LINCOLN'S ANECDOTES. 

"Sure, yer Excellency, and the owner must have come 
for it!" 

The President laughed heartily, and Edward found us 
another umbrella. 

The Lost " Little Pat Man." 

Some people attended "levees,"' as they were called, 
with the dim idea that they were about to make the ac- 
quaintance of the President and his wife, and prepared 
themselves for a quiet little chat, with stores of questions 
about this and advice about that for Father Abraham. 
Others, not expecting much time to themselves, would 
prepare patriotic little speeches, which they would launch 
with sudden fervor and wonderfully rapid utterance at 
the head of the President. There was a little wee bit of 
a fat man, half smothered in the crowd, stretching out a 
hand through a chink in the procession, as if he was 
drowning, and while the laughing President shook him 
almost convulsively thereby, the persistent little orator 
under difficulties, wheezed out some choked sentences 
about freedom, glory, emancipation, etc. When Mr. 
Lincoln let go of him he disappeared. 

Smokers Smoked Out. 

In the latter part of the war a formal guard was kept, 
says his Private Secretary, both at the White House and 
when the President was at the Soldiers' Home. This 
guard were proud of their duty, and sometimes exerted 
a degree of zeal that might have been dispensed with. 
At one time, after several wooden buildings, containing 
army stores, etc., had been destroyed by fire, a general 
order was issued by the Commander of the District, 
forbidding any one to approach any of the public build- 
ings with a lighted cigar. Although the intent of the 
order was clear enough, the officer in command of the 
President's Guard decided that it applied to the Execu- 
tive Mansion and grounds. In consequence, that even- 
ing, as I approached the gate, puffing away at my 
customary after-dinner Havana, I was compelled, by the 
rifleman on duty, to pitch my luxury into the gutter, in 
spite of sundry grumbling expostulations. There was, 
however, a mounted man also on guard, and before I 



LINCOLN'S ANECDOTES *3 



liad proceeded mauy steps he shouted, "Hey! Mr. 
Secretary, won't you just come here a moment?" 
and as 1 approached him, "that wooden-headed cuss has 
got off a couple of good jokes since he came on, if he 
only knew it,, and I wish you would tell them to Mr. 
Lincoln. I'll bet he'll laugh well. You see he hadn't 
been there five mimutes, with his head full of his new 
order, when along comes old Seward, and you know he's 
always a smokin'. Well, he didn't want to throw his 
cigar away, a bit, but he was good natured about it, and 
said something about people having to give up a good 
many things on account of the war, and he went on. 
Then, in a minute or so, up comes Ben. Butler, in full 
military fig, and he was smokin' too. 'You musht put 

out dat cigar,' says guardy, for he's Dutch as . ' Are 

those your orders, sir ?' says Butler, drawing himself up, 
and tryirg to look at the fellow with both eyes. ' WeU, 
sir, orders are orders, and they must be obeyed !' And 
so the General threw his cigar over the fence. It's a 
humbug, you know, but then it's fun to see cocks liko 
them obeying orders." 

The thing was funnv, and quite reconciled me to my 
loss. When I related it to Mr. Lincoln he laughed 
heartily. " What ! did Seward throw his cigar away?" 

"Yes, sir." 

"And Ben. Butler too ?" 

" Yes, with appropriate remarks." 

" Well, it's a very good joke, but I guess it has gone 
far enough." 

So the zealous captain of the guard was sent for and 
the prohibition removed, to the great comfort of all the 
smokers. It was said that the boys caught Mr. Stanton 
himself before they lifted the embargo, but I do not 
luiow how truly. 

The 2d Inaugural Address. 
4th of march, 1865. 

FELiiOW-CouNTEYMEN— At this sccoud appearing to 
take the oath of the Presidential office, there is less 
occasion for an extended address than there was at the 
first. Then a statement somewhat in detail of a course 
to be pursued seemed very fitting and proper. Now, at 



44 L?NCOLM'S ANECDOTES. 



tlie expiration of four years, during which public declara- 
tions have constantly been called forth on every point 
and phase of the great contest which still absorbs the 
attention and engrosses the energies of the nation, little 
that is new could be presented. 

The progress of our arms, upon which all else chiefly 
depends, is as well known to the public an to myself; 
and it is, I trust, reasonably satisfactory and encouraging 
to all. With high hope for the future, no prediction in 
regard to it is ventured. On the occasion corresponding 
to this, four years ago, all thoughts v,^ere anxiously di- 
rected to an impending civil war. All dreaded it, all 
sought to avoid it. While the inaugural address was 
being delivered from this place, devoted altogether to 
saving the Union without v/ar, insurgent agents were in 
the city, seeking to destroy it without war— seeking to 
dissolve the Union and divide the effects by negotiation. 
Both i)arties deprecated war ; but one of them would 
make war rather than let the nation survive, and the 
other would accept war rather than let it perish : and the 
war came. 

One-eighth of the whole population were colored 
slaves, not distributed generally over the Union, but 
located in the southern part of it. These slaves consti- 
tuted a peculiar and powerful interest. All knew that 
this interest was somehow the cause of the war. To 
strengthen, perpetuate, and extend this interest was the 
object for which the insurgents would rend the Union 
by war, while Government claimed no right to do more 
than to restrict the territorial enlargement of it. Neither 
party expected the magnitude or the duration which it 
has already attained. Neither anticipated that the cause 
of the conflict might cease, even before the conflict 
itself should cease. Each looked for an easier triumph, 
and a result less fundamental and astounding. Both 
read the same Bible and pray to the same God, and each 
invokes his aid against the other. It may seem strange 
that any man should dare to ask a just God's assistance 
in wringing his bread from the sweat of other men's 
faces. But let us judge not, that we be not judged. The 
prayer of both should not be answered. That of neither 



LINCOLN'S ANECDOTES. 4:5 

has been answer^id fully. The Almighty has his own 
purposes. "Woe unto the world because of offences, 
for it must needs be that offences come ; but woe to that 
man by whom the offence cometh." If we shall suppose 
that American slavery is one of these offences, which, in 
the providence of God, must needs come, but which, 
having continued through his appointed time, he now 
wills to remove, and that he gives to both North and 
South this terrible war as the woe due to those by whom 
the offence came, shall we discern therein any departure 
from those divine attributes which the believers in a liv- 
ing God alwajs ascribe to him ? 

Fondly do we hope, fervently do w^ pray, that this 
mighty scourge of war may speedily p.iss away. Yet if 
God wills that it continue until all the wealth piled by the 
bondman's two hundred and fifty years of unrequited 
toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn 
with the lash shall be paid by another drawn with the 
sword ; as was said three thousand y ears ago, so still it 
must be said, that the judgments of the Lord are true 
and righteous altogether. 

"With malice towards none, with c!iarity for all, with 
firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let 
us strive on to finish the work we are in ; to bind up the 
nation's wound; to care for him who shall have borne 
the battle, and for his widow and his orphans ; to do all 
which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace 
among ourselves, and with all nations. 

Lincoln for President, Doctor! 

My first view of Mr. Lincoln as the great man he really 
was happened in this wise. Some nine months before 
the meeting of the Chicago Republican Convention in 
1860, my partner and I began to discuss the subject, 
'* Whose name shall we hang out as our candidate ? " It 
was still full early in the season, and we were in no hurry 
for a decision. The writer of the above, Mr. Stoddard, 
goes on to state : ^i p 

Early one morning, just after I had finished my break- 
fast, I strolled into the office of the hotel where I 
boarded, for a chat with some one before going to work. 
The room was emj)ty when I entered, but in a moment 



46 LINCOLN'S ANECDOTES. 

the door opened and Mr. Lincoln came in. He seated 
himself quietly by the fire and took off his hat, which 
was packed full of letters just taken from the Post- 
Office. I was about to si)eak to him, as usual, when I 
was arrested by something thoughtful and abstracted in 
his manner, and, as I always had a "strong weakness" 
for taking observations of remarkable men, I kept my 
seat in silence. He opened letter after letter, burning 
some and glancing hastily over others, until he readied 
one somewhat longer than common, which seemed to 
affect him profoundly. He was evidently thinking, and 
thinking deeply ; and so few men know by experience 
what genuine hard thinking is, that I fear that this will 
hardly convey my meaning. 

Leaning forward, with his hands folded across his 
knee, he gazed abstractedly into the fire, his rugged 
face gradually lighting up with vivid and changing ex- 
pressions until it was almost transfigured. 

I felt, without knowing how or why, that the gaunt 
form before me was that of no ordinary man. I had 
seen, and, as it were, accidentally looked into (through 
his face) one of the great ones of history. Long as I 
knew him afterwards, I never saw so much of him again. 

Without disturbing him, I quietly stole from the room 
and hurried to my office. 

"Doctor, I have made up mind whom we are going to 
support for the next Presidency." 

"Well, who is it?" 

"Abraham Lincoln, of Illinois!" 

" What ! Old Abe ? Nonsense ! " 

"No nonsense about it, I tell you. He is our man, for 

certain." 

"Pshaw! every one likes him well enough, but we 
never could get him nominated. For Vice President 
now, and because we are Illinoisans — " 

"Lincoln for President, Doctor, and nobody else. 
My mind is made up." 

And as I generally had my own way, after a brief trip 
to Springfield to open communication with his friends, 
etc, , the name of Abraham Lincoln blazed in broad let- 
ters at our editorial masthead. We were, as far as 



LINCOLN'S ANECDOTES. ^7 



known, the first in the field, and it had an imi^ortaut 
result for me, of which, at that time, I never di-eamed ; 
it drew Mr. Lincoln's attention to me personally, and 
procured for me, the opportunity T afterwards had, in 
his own household, of learning a still more profound 
reverence for the great man I had seen in the light of 
the fire that chilly prairie morning. 

"In Love." 
Lying before me upon my study-table, says Mr. F. B. 
Carpenter in a very interesting series of "Unpublished 
Incidents and Anecdotes of Abraham Lincoln," is a plain 
brown leather-bound book, bearing the marks both of 
age and use. The title-page, in old-fashioned leather, 
contains the words, 

'«THE WORKS OF LORD BYRON. 

Philadelphia ; Griggs & Elliott. 

1838." 

Upon the fly-leaf is written in ink, 

"A. LINCOLN, 
Presented by his friend, N. W. Edwards." 

This is in Mr. Lincoln's hand-writing. Upon the page 
facing this are two columns of figures in pencil, which 
look like election returns, with their footing carefully 
comi^uted — also in Mr. Lincoln's hand. Underneath 
there is an inscription by the Hon. Wm. H. Herndon, 
of Springfield, HI., who requests, in characteristic phrase, 
that "this book" maybe kept in the possession of the 
friend to whom he dedicates it, "for the forever of 
books." 

A letter accompanied the gift, in which Mr. Herndon 
states that "this book was given to Mr. Lincoln by his 
brother-in-law, N. W. Edwards, in 1839 or 40;" that 
"Mr. Lincoln read it year in and year out, till Shakes- 
peare and Euclid swallowed up all other books. " Several 
other old volumes accompanied its presentation by Mr. 
Lincoln to Mr. Herndon — "Goldsmith, Locke, Gibbon," 
in strange company with "Patent Office Reports," 
"Congressional Globes," etc., etc. 

A new phase in Mr. Lincoln's character has lately been 
opened in the revelation of his early attachment to a 
young lady of New Salem, whose death soon after their 
engagement threw him into profound melancholy, chang- 



AH LEE^COLN'S ANECDOTES. 

ing the whole course of his after life. The "Byron" 
before me came into his hands within a few years of this 
event. It bears no marks of pen or pencil other than 
those described ; bnt upon turning its pages the curious 
observer is arrested by one folded leaf — one only, in all 
the book. The page is discolored, and the fold of the 
leaf seems as old as the book itself — it is firmly, solidly 
pressed together like a withered flower. The eye runs 
down the page, and is stopped by two verses, entitled 

•♦WRITTEN AT ATHENS, JANUAKY 16th, 1810. 

♦♦The spell is broke, the charm is flown, 

Thus is it with life's fitful fever ; 
Wo madly smile when we should groan. 

Delirium is our best deceiver. 

♦' Each lucid interval of thought 

Eecalls the woes of Nature's charter, 
And he that acts as wise men ought 

But lives, as saints have died, a martyr." 

Were these lines to Abraham Lincoln, in 1839, simply 
co-incident with his thought at this period of his life, or 
were they a prophecy ? 

"Ploughing Around." 
The enlistment of negroes in the Eastern Department 
of the army commenced under General Schenck's com- 
mand, in Maryland, and contemplated at first the enhst- 
ment only of the free blacks. Much trouble was occa- 
sioned, however, from the fact that it was often impossi- 
ble to teU whether the " recruits" presenting themselves 
were free or not ; masters frequently coming forward 
and claiming parties who had enlisted. General 
Schenck at leugth went to Washington to ascertain what 
policy the Administration proposed to pursue in the mat- 
ter. He stated his case to the President, explaining his 
difficulties, and asked for instructions. Mr. Lincoln re- 
plied that he had no special instructions to give ; the 
condition of things at that juncture was such that it 
seemed best to have no definite policy on the subject. — 
Commanders of the departments must act according to 
their best judgment. *• You see, Schenck," continued 
Mr. Lincoln, "we are like an old acquaintance of mine 
who settled on a piece of * galled ' prairie. It was a terri- 
ble rough place to clear up ; but after a while he got a 



LINCOLN'S ANECDOTES. *» 



few things growing-here and there a patch of corn, a 
few hills of beans, and so on. One day a stranger stopped 
to look at his place, and wanted to know how he managed 
to cultivate so rough a spot 'WeU,' was the reply, 
« some ot it is pretty tough. The smaUer stumps I can 
generaUy root out or burn out ; but now and then there 
is an old settler that bothers me, and there is no other 
way but to plough around it.' "Now, Schenck," Mr. 
Lincoln concluded, *' at such a time as this, troublesome 
cases are constantly coming up, and the only way to get 
along at all is to plough around them." 

Mr. Lincoln's Waste Basket. 
Agaik and again, says the President's Confidential 
officer, have I experienced the liveliest amusement in 
having local poUticians and others boast of the effect 
their advice has evidently had upon the mind of the 
President, and describe the course which they had 
marked out for his future action. More than one has 
asked me if I had ever heard Mr. Lincoln speak of his 
letters, and if such and such a one was not read in Cabi- 
net council. Dante should have seen my willow basket 
before he completed his list of limbos. Its edge was 
truly a bourne from which no traveler returned. 

One day a well-dressed gentleman— a judge, or some- 
thing of the kind, at home— sat in my room looking on 
at the performance of my morning job of destruction, 
twisting uneasily in his chair, and changing from red to 
pale with indignation, until he could contain his gather- 
ed wrath no longer. He had evidently indulged in 
letter- writing himself. 

*' "Was that the way in which I dajred to serve the Pres- 
ident's correspondence ? Was this the manner in which 
the people were prevented from reaching Mr. Lincoln ? 
He would complain of me to my master at once ! Teach 
me a thing or two about my duties ! See if this was to 
be allowed I A mere boy in such an important place as 
tnat 1" And so on for some moments, until I looked 
up and requested him to be still for a moment, while I 
read him a few of the precious documents I was des- 
troying. 

Of course, I made judicious selections to suit the occa- 



$Q LINCOLN'S ANECDOTES. 

sion, for he was evidently intensely resiDectable and pa- 
triotic. I began with an epistle full of \ ulgar abuse that 
*' riled" the old gentleman fearfull3\ Next I put in a 
proclamation "written in blood," and signed by the 
*' Angel Gabriel ;" and wound up with a horrible thing 
from an obscene, idiotic lunatic — a regular correspond- 
ent. The last was too much for him, and he begged me 
to stop. It was, indeed, sickening enough. I told him 
that if he insisted on the President's giving his time to 
such things he must take them in himself, as really I was 
forbidden to do so. The old gentleman., however, 
thought better of me by that time, and leaned back in 
his chair to moralize on the total depravity of human na- 
ture. 

Mere " Scrubs." 

The day after the issue of the Emancipation Proclama- 
tion Senator Wade called upon the President to con- 
gratulate him. He was met by Mr. Lincoln, asking if 
he remembered the fable illustration of ' ' the attempt to 
wash the blackamoor white,'^ and the result — the death of 
the hlack. "And," continued Mr. Lincoln, "I fear in 
this case that between the North and the South the 
chances are that the poor oiegro will get scnibbed to death." 

More Whiskey 

Mr. Lincoln was a man of genius — a man of powerful 
instincts and keen intuitions — rather than of close and 
accurate reasoning powers. In the latter, though his 
natural abilities were great, he yet at times showed the 
lack of early systematic training. Perhaps this was a 
loss, but I incline to the opposite opinion. His percep- 
tions guided him well through labyrinths where logic 
would have been bewildered. His personal attachments 
were strong, and may at times have blinded him to faults 
of character in others which would otherwise have met 
with his earnest condemnation — though he never com- 
mitted the absurdity of expecting perfection from his 
fellow men. His personal habits were of the simplest 
kind, and there was not a particle of fuss and feathers 
in his composition. He was not slovenly, but seldom 
knew or cared whether or not he was well dressed. He 
used neither tobacco nor intoxicating liquors in any 



LINCOLN'S ANECDOTES. 6t 



form, though not disposed to quarrel with those who 
chose to do so. Indeed, once, when a delegation of 
Grant's enemies (he was then commanding in the West) 
accused the General of intemperance, he begged them 
to tell him where Grant got his whiskey, as he would 
like to purchase a few barrels for some of the Eastern 
Generals, *'if that was what made him behave as he did." 
The Pennsylvania Raid. 

At the time of the first raid of Lee's army into Mary- 
land and Pennsylvania, much alarm was felt in Philadel- 
phia, lest that city mi£'ht fall into their hands. A gen- 
tleman on his way to Washington, witnessing the excite- 
ment in Philadelphia, expected to find Washington also 
in a ferment. On the contrary, the Capital was as quiet 
as though *' raids" were unknown. Eeporting the alarm 
felt in Philadelphia to Mr. Lincoln, the gentleman ex- 
pressed his surprise at the absence of excitement in 
Washington. 

*'When I was studying law," Mr. Lincoln replied, 

haK abstractedly, "I boarded with a Mr. . One 

night I went to bed as usual, and was awakened in the 
middle of the night by my landlord, who stood by the 
side of my bed, with nothing on but his shirt, trembliiDg 
with fright. 'Lincoln,' said he, ' get up ! The ',vorld is 
coming to an end !' I jumped out of bed, and ran to a 
window. And, sure enough, it seemed as though the man 
was right ; all the stars in heaven appeared to be falling. 
I looked on for some time, expecting a crash ; but none 
came. Finally, I thought I would look for my familiar 
constellations— the ' Hen and Chickens,' the * Sow and 
Pigs,' and 'Ellen Carter.' They were in their old places, 
shining as serenely as though shooting stars had never 
been heard of. I watched them awhile ; and seeing 
them firm and steady as ever, I made up my mind that 
it was not going to be much of a shower after all ; so I 
went to bed again. And I think this raid will turn out 
much the same way. " • 

The President and the Players. 

So much has been said about Mr. Lincoln's theatre 
going that a great many people have imbibed the idea 
that his tastes were dramatic ; but this was not so. With 



S3 LINCOLN'S ANECDOTES. 

the exception of a few of Shakespeare's plays, it is not 
believed that he ever read a play in his Hfe. 

He was heard to say that there were several of even 
Shakespeare's dramas at which he had hardly ever 
looked. "Macbeth" was certainly one of his prime fa- 
vorities, and he went one night to see Charlotte C ash- 
man as Lady Mabeth. It was, of course, a grand im- 
personation, but it was impossible to get Mr. Lincoln to 
make many comments upon it. He seemed to havo a 
poor opinion of his own powers as a dramatic critic. 
Another of his favorites was ** Othello,*' and he eagerly 
embraced the opportunity of seeing it when Davenport 
and WaUack brought it out in Washington. Everbody 
who was present must have been struck with the keen 
interest with which he followed the development of 
lago's subtle treachery. One would have thought that 
such a character would have had few points of attraction 
for a man to whose own nature all its peculiar traits 
were so utterly foreign. Perhaps he was fascinated by 
that very contrast. 

He did not lose a word or a motion of the actor, who 
played his part exceedingly well, and conversed between 
the acts with, for him, a very near approach to excite- 
ment. He seemed to be studying what sort of soul a 
born traitor might have. His strong love of humor 
made Falstaff a great favorite with him, and he ex- 
pressed a great desire to see Hackett in that character. 
The correspondence between that gentleman and Mr. 
Lincoln has already been pubUshed. He expressed him- 
self greatly pleased with the representation, and went 
more than once during Hackett's engagement. One 
who was with him the first night, expected to see him 
give himself up to the merriment of the hour. To the 
observer's surprise, however, he appeared even gloomy, 
although intent upon the play, and it was only a few 
times during the whole performance that he went so far 
as torlaugh at all, and then not heartily. He seemed for 
once to be studying the character and its rendering 
critically, as if to ascertain the correctness of his own 
conception as compared with that of the professional 
artist. He afterwards received a call from Mr. Hackett, 



LINCOLN'S ANECDOTES 63 



and conversed freely, frankly acknowledging his want of 
accquaintance with dramatic subjects. Had his early 
education been of a sort to develope more perfectly his 
literary tastes, his keen insight into human nature, and 
his appreciation of humorous and other eccentricities of 
character, would have enabled him to have derived the 
highest degree of enjoyment from the creations of the 
great masters. As it was, he probably understood 
Shakespeare, so far as he had read him, far better than 
many men who set themselves up for critical authorities. 
He himself deserves to be depicted by some pen not less 
graphic than the immortal bard's. 

A Black Man's Note, 

Mb. Huntington, cashier of the First National Bank 
of Washington, meeting an old friend of Mr. Lincoln's 
one morning, remarked, " That President of yours is the 
oddest man alive. Why, he endorses notes for niggers !" 
It seems that some time before a colored man finding 
himself in danger of losing his house for the want of $150, 
went to INIr. Lincoln and told his story. The result was 
that the man made a two months' note, and Mr. Lincoln 
endorsed it. The note was discounted by some one, and 
found its way into Huntington's bank for collection. 
Upon its maturity the colored man failed to respond. — 
Instead of serving the customary notice of protest upon 
the endorser, the cashier took the note in person to Mr. 
Lincoln, who at once offered to pay it. Mr. Huntington 
said : "Mr. President, you have tried to help a fellow- 
mortal along. I am not willing that you should suffer 
this entire loss ; we will divide it between us," and the 
affair was thus settled. 

" Model" Men. 

Speaking of Mr. Lincoln and his guns puts his Secre- 
tary in mind of the balloon men. Mr. Lincoln himself 
had for years been decidely interested in the science of 
aerostation (is that the right word?), and I have a sus- 
picion that at some time or other he had meddled with it 
practically in a small way. When the army began to 
employ balloons for military reconnoissances, a host of 
ingenious fellows all over the country turned their atten- 
tion to the art of serial navigation, and, as a matter of 



54 LINCOLN'S ANECDOTES. 



course, every man of them was sure that he had the right 
machine, if he could only get Government to build one 
of sufficient size to prove it. 

It would, indeed, have required a big balloon to have 
proved the value of some of the inventions whose *' draw- 
ings and specifications," often accompanied by a small 
and rude model, from time to time cumbered my table. 
A good share of these inventors began by a modest re- 
quest for a few hundred dollars to bring them to Wash- 
ington. One fellow proposed an iron-clad balloon to 
carry heavy guns. He succeeded in raising a good laugh, 
if nothing else. 

The most pertinacious of all was a chap who rigged up 
a sort of wooden model in the basement of the White 
House — an upright stick with a long arm on a pivot, to 
which his air-boat was attached. His clock-work and 
propeller did certainly work until it ran down, and Mr. 
Lincoln spent an odd hour or so in eximining the ar- 
rangement. I believe that he voted it *' curious but not 
useful." 

Mr. Lincoln as "Deborah,'' 

In May or June, 1862, a delegation of what are known 
in Pennsylvania as "Progressive Friends" visited Mr. 
Liccoln, among many others, to urge upon him decisive 
action upon the slavery question. The delegation was 
composed of both men and women. In an address de- 
livered upon this occasion Mr, Lincoln was likened to 
Deborah, the deliverer of Israel ; and a quotation was 
made from his Springfield speech in his campaign with 
Douglas, with the intimation that he was expected to 
stand by his anti-slavery principles. The conclusion of 
the address was followed by a moment's silence. It was 
evident Mr. Lincoln was somewhat annoyed. Various 
delegations and many individuals had visited him, -urg- 
ing action in the same direction. He responded in efi"ect 
that iie thought he appreciated to some extent both the 
position and the difficulties which surrounded him. He 
referred to his Springfield speech, correcting what he 
thought an unwarrantable inference from it, and con- 
cluded in nearly these words : *' It may be, as you have 



LINCOLN'S ANECDOTES. 5» 

said, that, like " Deborah," I have been selected by the 
Almighty for this gi'eat work of Emancipation. In the 
event of this being so, it seems to me I can safely be left 
in the Lokd's hands." 

The Lincolns Remove to Indiana. 

Mr. Lincoln, the father, although a Southerner by 
birth and residence, had become early imbued with a 
dislike for slavery. With these sentiments he naturally 
desired to change his place of residence, and early in 
October, 1816, finding a purchaser for his farm, he made 
arrangements for the transfer of the property and for 
his removal. The price paid by the purchaser was ten 
barrels of whiskey, of forty gallons each, valued at two 
hundred and eighty dollars, and twenty dollars in 
money. Mr. Lincoln was a temperate man, and acceded 
to the terms, not because he desired the liquor, but be- 
cause such transactions in real estate were common, and 
recognized as perfectly proper. 

The homestead was within a mile or two of the RoUing 
Fork river, and as soon as the sale was afifected, Mr. Lin- 
coln, with such slight assistance as little Abe could give 
him, hewed out a flat-boat, and launching it, filled it with 
his household articles and tools and the barrels of whiskey, 
and bidding adieu to his son who stood upon the bank, 
pushed off, and was soon floating down the stream on his 
way to Indiana, to select a new home. His journey down 
the Rolling Fork and into the Ohio river was successfully 
accomplished, but soon afterwards his boat was unfortu- 
nately upset, and its cargo thrown into the water. Some 
men standing on the bank witnessed the accident and 
saved the boat and its owner, but all the contents of the 
craft were lost, except a few carpenter's tools, axes, three 
barrels of whiskey and some other articles. He again 
started, and proceeded to a well-known ferry on the river, 
from whence he was guided into the interior by a resident 
of the section of country in which he had landed, and to 
whom he had given his boat in payment for his services. 
After several days of difficult traveling, much of the time 
employed in cutting a road through the forest wide enough 
for a team, eighteen miles were accomplished, and Spencer 



S3 LINCOLN'S ANECDOTES. 

county, Indiana, was reached. Tlie site for his new home 
having been determined upon, Mr. Lincoln left his goods 
under the care of a person who lived a few miles distant, 
and returning to Kentucky on f oot , made preparations to 
remove his family. In a few days the party bade farewell 
to their old home and slavery, Mrs. Lincoln and her 
daughter riding one horse, Abe another, and the father a 
third. After a seven days' journey through an uninhab- 
ited country, their resting-place at night being a blanket 
spread upon the ground, they arrived at the spot selected 
for their future residence, and no unnecessary delays were 
permitted to interfere with the immediate and successful 
clearing of a site for a cabin. An axe was placed in 
Abe's hands, and with the additional assistance of a neigh- 
bor, in two or three days Mr. Lincoln had a neat house 
of about eighteen feet square, the logs composing v»'hich 
being fastened together in the usual manner by notches, 
and the cracks between them filled with mud. It had only 
one room, but some slabs laid across logs overhead gave 
additional accommodations which were obtained by cUmb- 
ing a rough ladder in one corner. A bed, table and four 
stools were then made by the two settlers, father and son,' 
and the building was ready for occupancy. The loft was 
Abe's bedroom, and there night after night for many years, 
he who has since occupied the most exalted position in 
the gift of the American people, and has dwelt in the 
*' White House" at Washington, surrounded by all the 
comforts that wealth and power can give, slumbered with 
one coarse blanket for his mattress and another for his 
covering. Although busy during the ensuing winter with 
his axe, he did not neglect his reading and spelling, and 
also practised frequently with a rifle, the first evidence of 
his skill as a marksman being manifested, much to the 
delight of his parents, in the killing of a wild turkey, 
which had approached too near the cabin. The knowledge 
of the use of the rifle was indispensable in the border 
setiiiements at that time, as the greater portion of the 
food required for the settlers was procured by it, and the 
family which had not among its male members one or 
more who could discharg*-^, it with accuracy, was very apt 
to suffer from a scarcity of provisions. 



\ 



LINCOLN'S ANECDOTES. 97 

The Gettysburg Dedication. 
(November, 1863.) 

"FouESCOKE and seven years ago, our fathers brought 
forth upon this continent a new nation, conceived in 
Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men 
are created equal. Now we are engaged in a great civil 
war, testing whether that nation, or any nation conceived 
and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a 
great battle-field of that war, "We are met to dedicate a 
portion of it as the final resting-place of those who here 
gave their lives that that nation migho live. It is alto- 
gether fitting and proper that we should do this. 

*'But, in a larger sense, we cannot dedicate, we cannot 
consecrate, we cannot hallow this ground. The brave 
men, living and dead, who struggled here, have conse- 
crated it far above our power to add or detract. The 
world will little note, nor long remember, what we say 
here ; but it can never forget what they did here. It is 
for us, the living, rather to be dedicated here to the un- 
finished work that they have thus far so nobly carried 
on. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great 
task remaining before us — that from these honored dead 
we take increased devotion to the cause for which they 
here gave the last full measure of devotion ; that we here 
highly resolve that the dead shall not have died in vain ; 
that the nation shall, under God, have a new birth of 
freedom ; and that the government of the people, by the 
people, and for the people, shall not perish from the 
earth." 

Young "Abe" Loams to "Write. 
A LITTLE more than a year after removing to Spencer 
county, his mother Mrs. Lincoln died, an event which 
brought desolation to the hearts of her husband and 
children, but to none so much as to Abe. He had been 
a dutiful son, and she one of the most devoted of 
mothers, and to her instruction may be traced manv of 
those traits and characteristics for which he became 
remarkable. Soon after her death, the bereaved lad had 
an ojBfer wliich promised to afford him other employment 
during the long monotonous evenings, than the reading 



\ 



58 LINCOLN'S ANECDOTES. 

of books, a young man who had removed into the neigh- 
borhood having offered to teach him how to write. The 
opportunity was too fraught with benefit to be rejected, 
and after a few weeks of practice under the eye of his 
instructor, and also out of doors with a i)iece of chalk or 
charred stick, he was able to write his name, and in less 
than twelve months could and did write a letter. 

His Speeches in tke Celebrated Lincoln-Douglas Oampaign. 

On the second of June, 1858, the Republican State 
Convention met at Springfield, and nominated Mr. Lin- 
coln as their candidate for the United States Senate. 
At the close of their proceedings the recipient of their 
suffrage delivered a speech, which was a forcible exposi- 
tion of the views and aims of the party of which he was 
to be the standard-bearer. 

The contest which followed was one of the most ex- 
citing and remarkable ever witnessed in this country. 
Mr. Stephen A. Douglas, his opponent, had few super- 
iors as a political debater. His re-election to the Senate 
would have been equivalent to an indorsement of his 
acts and views by his State, and at the same time would 
have promoted his prospects for the Presidential nomi- 
nation. The Republicans, therefore, determined to de- 
feat him if possible, and to increase the probabilities of 
success in the movement, selected Mr. Lincoln as the 
man who was most certain of securing the election. Illi- 
nois was stumped throughout its length and breadth by 
both candidates and their respective advocates, and the 
people of the entire country watched with interest the 
struggle. From county to county, township to townshij), 
and village to village, the two leaders traveled, frequ^^ntly 
in the same car or carriage, and in the presence of im- 
mense crowds of men, women and children — for the 
wives and daughters of the hardy yeomanry were na- 
turally interested — face to face, these two opposing 
ch^pipions argued the important points of their political 
belief, and contended nobly for the mastery. 

During the campaign, Mr. Lincoln paid the following 
tribute to the Declaration of Independence — 

•* These communities (the thirteen colonies), by their 



LINCOLN'S ANECDOTES. 59 



representatives in the old Independence Hall, said to the 
world of men, ' We hold these truths to be self-evident, 
that all men are born equal ; that they are endowed by 
their Creator with inalienable rights ; that among these 
are liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.* This was 
their majestic interpretation of the economy of the uni- 
verse. This was their lofty, and wise, and noble under- 
standing of the justice of the Creator to His creatures. 
Yes, gentlemen, to Hia creatures, to the whole great 
family of man. In their enlightened belief, nothing 
stamped with the Divine image and likeness was sent 
into the world to be trodden on, and degraded, and im- 
bruted by its feUows. They grasped not only the race 
of men then living, but they reached forward and seized 
upon the f urtherest posterity. They created a beacon to 
guide their children and their chUdren's children, and 
the countless myriads who should inhabit the earth in 
other ages. Wise statesmen as they were, they knew the 
tendency of prosperity to breed tyrants, and so they 
estabHshed these great self-evident truths that when, in 
the distant future, some man, some faction, some in- 
terest, should set up the doctrine that none but rich 
men, or none but white men, or none but Anglo-Saxon 
white men, were entitled to Ufe, Hbertj-, and the pursuit 
of happiness, their posterity might look up again to the 
Declaration of Independence, and take courage to renew 
the battle which their fathers began, so that truth, and 
justice, and mercy, and all the humane and Christian 
virtues might not be extinguished from the land ; so that 
no man would hereafter dare to limit and circumscribe 
the gi-eat principles on which the temple of Hberty was 
being built. 

*'Now, my countrymen, if you have been taught doc- 
trines conflicting with the great landmarks of the Declar- 
ation of Independence ; if you have Hstened to sugges- 
tions which would take away from its grandeur, and mu- 
tilate the fair symmetry of its proportions ; if you hdVe 
been inclined to believe that aU men are not created 
equal in those inalienable rights enumerated by our 
chart of liberty, let me entreat you to come back— re- 
turn to the fountain whose waters spring close by the 



CO LINCOLN'S ANECDOTES. 

blood of the Revolution. Think nothing of me, take no 
thought for the political fate of any man whomsoever, 
but come back to the truths that are in the Declaration 
of Independence. 

' * You may do anything with me you choose, if you 
will but heed these sacred principles. You may not only 
defeat me for the Senate, but you may take me and put 
me to death. While pretending no indifference to earth- 
ly honors, I do claim to be actuated in this contest by 
something higher than an anxiety for office. I charge 
you to drop every paltry and insignificant thought for 
any man's success. It is nothing ; I am nothing ; Judge 
Douglas is nothing. But do not deseroy that immortal em 
tlem of humanity — the Declaratton of American Independence,^* 

His Skill as a Eail-Splitter. 
When he w^as mentioned prominently for the Presi- 
dency, at a meeting of the Illinois State Republican 
Convention, where he was present as a spectator, a 
veteran Democrat of Macon county brought in and pre- 
sented to the Convention two old fence rails, gayly deco- 
rated with flags and ribbons, and upon which the follow- 
ing words were inscribed : 

ABRAHAM LINCOLN. 

THE RAIL CANDIDATE 

FOR PRESIDENT IN 1860. 

Two rails from a lot of 3,000 made in 1830, by 

Thos. Hanks and Abe Lincoln —whose 

father was the first pioneer 

of Macon county. 

The event occasioned the most unbounded enthusiasm, 
and for several minutes the most deafening applause re- 
sounded through the building. Mr. Lincoln was vo- 
ciferously called for, and arising from his seat, modestly 
acknowledged that he had split rails some thirty years 
previous in Macon county, and he was informed that 
those before him were a small portion of the product of 
his labor with the axe. 

A Pew More. 
It may be convenient to add to the foregoing the fol- 
lowing : — 



LINCOLN'S ANECDOTES 61 

In 1849, he left Congress. In 1856, lie received one 
hundred and two votes, in the Republican Convention, 
as a candidate for Vice-President, to run with Mr, Fre- 
mont. The Republicans of Illinois named him at the 
head of their electoral ticket, which did not succeed. 
In 1858, when a senator was to be elected, he and Mr. 
Douglas canvassed the State together, in that discussion, 
which gained a national celebrity, and from which we 
have made several extracts. 

On the 16th May, 1860, in the last year of Mr. James 
Buchanan's career, the Republican National Conven- 
tion met at Chicago. On the third ballot, Mr. Lincoln 
was named its candidate for the Presidency. The fol- 
lowing incident is preserved of the announcement of the 
news to him. Such incidents go far towards illustrating 
the traits of character which endeared him so truly 
where he was best known. 

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 
Mr. 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 Uke to hear this. I'll go down, and 
teUher." 

On the 6th of November, 1860, he was elected Presi- 
dent. The popular vote gave — 

Lincoln 1,866,452 

Douglas 1,375,157 

Bell 590,631 

Breckinkidge 847,953 

Mr. Lincoln, and Mr. Hamlin, the Vice-President, re- 
ceived 180 electoral votes. Mr. Bell received 39; Mr. 
Douglas received 12 ; Mr. Breckinridge received 72. 

On his journey to Washington, in February, 1861, he 
was received everywhere with enthusiasm. The rebellion 
had ah-eady broken out, and the country had to look to 
him as its Chief Magistrate. It is in this journey that 
the following anecdotes find place : — 

At Northeast Station, he took occasion to say, that, 



63 LINCOLN'S ANECDOTES. 

during the campaign, he had received a letter from a 
young girl of the jilace, in which he was kindly ad- 
monished to do certain things ; and, among others, to 
let his whiskers grow ; and, as he liad acted upon that 
piece of advice, he would now be glad to welcome his 
fair correspondent, if she was among the crowd. In res- 
ponse to the call, a lassie made her way through the 
crowd, was helped to the platform, and was kissed by 
the President. 

At Utica he said, " I appear before you that I may see 
you, and that you may see me ; and I am willing to ad- 
mit, that, so far as the ladies are concerned, I have the 
best of the bargain ; though I wish it to be understood, 
that I do not make the same acknowledgment concerning 
the men." 

, At Hudson he said, *' I see you have provided a plat- 
form ; but I shall have to decline standing on it. I had 
to decline standing on some very handsome platforms 
prepared for me yesterday. But I say to you, as I said 
to them, you must not on this account draw the infer- 
ence, that I have any intention to desert any platform I 
have a legitimate right to stand on." 

At Philadelphia, information was received which made 
it certain that even then a plot was laid against his life. 
This caution probably had reached him, when, at a flag- 
raising on Independence HaU, Philadelphia, he used 
these remarkable words : — 

**I have often inquired of myself, what great principle 
or idea it was that kept this confederacy so long together. 
It was something in the Declaration of Independence, 
giving liberty, not only to the people of this country, but 
hope to the world for aU future time. It was that which 
gave promise, that, in due time, the weights should be 
lifted from the shoulders of all men, and that all should 
have an equal chance. , , . Now, my friends, can this 
country be saved upon this basis ? If it can, I will con- 
sider myself one of the happiest men in the world, if I 
can help to save it. But, if this country cannot be saved 
without giving up that j)rinciple, I was about to say, I 
would rather be assassinated upon the spot than to sur- 
render it. " 



LINCOLN'S ANECDOTES. 



63 



In the preceding pages we have made use of the speech- 
es, letters, messages, and other public documents; which 
furnished personal traits and anecdotes, and the book is 
as complete as it could be made. 



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