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LITTLE more than a quarter of a century has passed since the death of Abraham Lincoln. Much has been written concerning him, and doubtless much more will be written. My acquaintance with him began in his Springfield home the night following his nomination as candidate for the Presidency. It was such an acquaintance as a correspondent of a leading journal was privileged to have with public men. I saw him frequently during his Presidential term met him socially on several occasions, and walked with him through the streets of burning Richmond. In preparing this work I have visited the scenes of his early years the spot where he was born, the sites of his Kentucky and Indiana homes, also that at New Salem, Ill. From playmates of his childhood, and from those who knew him in later years, I have obtained information which may be accepted as authentic. I am especially indebted to Joseph Gentry, of Gentryville, Ind.; William G. Green, of Tolula, and Mrs. Hill, of Petersburg, Ill., for information relating to Mr. Lincoln's early years; and to Mrs. Harriet Chapman, of Charleston, Ill., for a copy of the first photograph ever taken of him.
This volume is to be regarded as a sketch of the life and times of Abraham Lincoln rather than as a biography. His intellectual and moral qualities will be seen far better in the historic narration than by any analysis that might be given.
The Muse of History has recognized him as the liberator of a race, redeemer of a republic, and one of the great benefactors of all time. It is to be hoped that eulogy never will place him upon a pedestal or smooth out the lines that make up the true portrait of this man of the people, appointed by divine Providence to render inestimable service to his fellow-men.
BOSTON, July, 1892.
CHARLES CARLETON COFFIN.