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one of them to temperance. Abe borrowed them both, and, reading them faithfully over and over again, was inspired with an ardent desire to write something on the subjects of which they treated. He accordingly composed an article on temperance, which Mr. Wood thought "excelled, for sound sense, any thing that the paper contained." It was forwarded, through the agency of a Baptist preacher, to an editor in Ohio, by whom it was published, to the infinite gratification of Mr. Wood and his protégé. Abe then tried his hand on "national politics," saying that "the American Government was the best form of government for an intelligent people; that it ought to be kept sound, and preserved forever; that general education should be fostered and carried all over the country; that the Constitution should be saved, the Union perpetuated, and the laws revered, respected, and enforced." This article was consigned, like the other, to Mr. Wood, to be ushered by him before the public. A lawyer named Pritchard chanced to pass that way, and, being favored with a perusal of Abe's "piece," pithily and enthusiastically declared, "The world can't beat it." "He begged for it," and it was published in some obscure paper; this new success causing the author a most extraordinary access of pride and happiness.


But in 1828 Abe had become very tired of his home. was now nineteen years of age, and becoming daily more restive under the restraints of servitude which bound him. He was anxious to try the world for himself, and make his way according to his own notions. "Abe came to my house one day," says Mr. Wood, "and stood round about, timid and shy. I knew he wanted something, and said to him, 'Abe, what's your case?' He replied, Uncle, I want you to go to the river, and give me some recommendation to some boat.' I remarked, Abe, your age is against you: you are not twenty yet.' 'I know that, but I want a start,' said Abe. I concluded not to go for the boy's good." Poor Abe! old Tom still had a claim upon him, which even Uncle Wood would not help him to evade. He must wait a few weary

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months more before he would be of age, and could say his own man, and go his own way. Old Tom was a hard taskmaster to him, and, no doubt, consumed the greater part, if not all, of his wages.

In the beginning of March, 1828, Abe went to work for old Mr. Gentry, the proprietor of Gentryville. Early in the next month, the old gentleman furnished his son Allen with a boat, and a cargo of bacon and other produce, with which he was to go on a trading expedition to New Orleans, unless the stock was sooner exhausted. Abe, having been found faithful and efficient, was employed to accompany the young man as a" bow-hand," to work the " front oars." He was paid eight dollars per month, and ate and slept on board. Returning, Gentry paid his passage on the deck of a steamboat.

While this boat was loading at Gentry's Landing, near Rockport, on the Ohio, Abe saw a great deal of the pretty Miss Roby, whom he had saved from the wrath of Crawford the schoolmaster, when she failed to spell "defied." She says, "Abe was then a long, thin, leggy, gawky boy, dried up and shrivelled." This young lady subsequently became the wife of Allen Gentry, Abe's companion in the projected voyage. She probably felt a deep interest in the enterprise in hand, for the very boat itself seems to have had attractions for her. "One evening," says she, " Abe and I were sitting on the banks of the Ohio, or rather on the boat spoken of: I said to Abe that the sun was going down. He said to me, That's not so it don't really go down; it seems so. The earth turns from west to east, and the revolution of the earth carries us under as it were: we do the sinking as you call it. The sun, as to us, is comparatively still; the sun's sinking is only an appearance.' I replied, Abe, what a fool you are!' I know now that I was the fool, not Lincoln. I am now thoroughly satisfied that Abe knew the general laws of astronomy and the movements of the heavenly bodies. He was better read then than the world knows, or is likely to know exactly. No man could talk to me that night as he did,

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unless he had known something of geography as well as astronomy. He often and often commented or talked to me about what he had read, seemed to read it out of the book as he went along, did so to others. He was the learned boy among us unlearned folks. He took great pains to explain; could do it so simply. He was diffident then too." 1

The trip of Gentry and Lincoln was a very profitable one, and Mr. Gentry, senior, was highly gratified by the result. Abe displayed his genius for mercantile affairs by handsomely putting off on the innocent folks along the river some counterfeit money which a shrewd fellow had imposed upon Allen. Allen thought his father would be angry with him for suffering himself to be cheated; but Abe consoled him with the reflection that the " old man" wouldn't care how much bad money they took in the course of business if they only brought the proper amount of good money home.2

At Madame Bushane's plantation, six miles below Baton Rouge, they had an adventure, which reads strangely enough in the life of the great emancipator. The boat was tied up to the shore, in the dead hours of the night, and Abe and Allen were fast asleep in the "cabin," in the stern, when they were startled by footsteps on board. They knew instantly that it was a gang of negroes come to rob, and perhaps to murder them. Allen, thinking to frighten the intruders, cried out, "Bring the guns, Lincoln; shoot them!" Abe came without a gun, but he fell among the negroes with a huge bludgeon, and belabored them most cruelly. Not content with beating them off the boat, he and Gentry followed them far back into the country, and then, running back to

1 "When he appeared in company, the boys would gather and cluster around him to hear him talk. . . . Mr. Lincoln was figurative in his speeches, talks, and conversations. He argued much from analogy, and explained things hard for us to understand by stories, maxims, tales, and figures. He would almost always point his lesson or idea by some story that was plain and near us, that we might instantly see the force and bearing of what he said."-NAT GRIGSBY.

: “Gentry (Allen) was a great personal friend of Mr. Lincoln. He was a Democrat, but voted for Lincoln, sacrificing his party politics to his friendship. He says that on that trip they sold some of their produce at a certain landing, and by accident or fraud the bill was paid in counterfeit money. Gentry was grieving about it; but Lincoln said, 'Never mind, Allen: it will accidentally slip out of our fingers before we get to New Orleans, and then old Jim can't quarrel at us.' Sure enough, it all went off like hot cakes. I was told this in Indiana by many people about Rockport."-HERNDON. It must be remembered that counterfeit money was the principal currency along the river at this period.

their craft, hastily cut loose and made rapid time down the river, fearing lest they should return in greater numbers to take revenge. The victory was complete; but, in winning it, Abe received a scar which he carried with him to his grave.

"When he was eighteen years old, he conceived the project of building a little boat, and taking the produce of the Lincoln farm down the river to market. He had learned the use of tools, and possessed considerable mechanical talent, as will appear in some other acts of his life. Of the voyage and its results, we have no knowledge; but an incident occurred before starting which he related in later life to his Secretary of State, Mr. Seward, that made a very marked and pleasant impression upon his memory. As he stood at the landing, a steamer approached, coming down the river. At the same time two passengers came to the river's bank who wished to be taken out to the packet with their luggage. Looking among the boats at the landing, they singled out Abraham's, and asked him to scull them to the steamer. This he did; and, after seeing them and their trunks on board, he had the pleasure of receiving upon the bottom of his boat, before he shoved off, a silver half-dollar from each of his passengers. 'I could scarcely believe my eyes,' said Mr. Lincoln, in telling the story. You may think it was a very little thing,' continued he, but it was a most important incident in my life. I could scarcely believe that I, a poor boy, had earned a dollar in less than a day. The world seemed wider and fairer to me. I was a more hopeful and confident being from that time.""

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If Mr. Lincoln ever made the statement for which Mr. Seward is given as authority, he drew upon his imagination for the facts. He may have sculled passengers to a steamer when he was ferryman for Taylor, but he never made a trip like the one described; never built a boat until he went to Illinois; nor did he ever sell produce on his father's account, for the good reason that his father had none to sell.

1 Holland's Life of Lincoln, p. 33.



BE and Gentry returned from New Orleans some time in June, 1828, having been gone not quite three months. How much longer he remained in the service of Gentry, or whether he remained at all, we are unable to say; but he soon took up his old habits, and began to work around among his neighbors, or for his father, precisely as he had done before he got his partial glimpse of the great world down the river.

In the fall of 1829, Mr. Wood saw him cutting down a large tree in the woods, and whip-sawing it into planks. Abe said the lumber was for a new house his father was about to build; but Tom Lincoln changed his mind before the house was half done, and Abe sold his plank to Josiah Crawford, "the book man," who worked them into the south-east room of his house, where relic-seekers have since cut pieces from them to make canes.

In truth, the continued prevalence of that dreadful disease, the milk-sickness, with which Nancy Hanks and the Sparrows and the Halls had all died, was more than a sufficient reason for a new removal, now in contemplation by Thomas Lincoln. Every member of his family, from the first settlement in Indiana, except perhaps Abe and himself, had suffered with it. The cattle, which, it is true, were of little pecuniary value, and raised with great ease and little cost, were swept away by it in great numbers throughout the whole neighborhood. It was an awful scourge, and common prudence suggested flight. It is wonderful that it took a constitu

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