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an interested visitor; and he was not permitted to retire without giving a word to those in attendance. In this extraordinary war," said he, “extraordinary developments have manifested themselves, such as have not been seen in former wars; and among these manifestations nothing. has been more remarkable than these fairs for the relief of suffering soldiers and their families, And the chief agents in these fairs are the women of America. I am not accustomed to the use of language of eulogy; I have never studied the art of paying compliments to women; but I must say that if all that has been said by orators and poets since the creation of the world, in praise of women, were applied to the women of America, it would not do them justice for their conduct during the war. I will close by saying, God bless the women of America!"
Lincoln in the Hour of Great Sorrow.
In February, 1862, Mr. Lincoln was visited by a severe affliction in the death of his beautiful son, Willie, and the extreme illness of his son Thomas, familiarly called "Tad." This was a new burden, and the visitation which, in his firm faith in Providence, he regarded as providential, was also inexplicable. A Christian lady from Massachusetts, who was officiating as nurse in one of the hospitals at the time, came to attend the sick children. She reports that Mr. Lincoln watched with her about the bedside of the sick ones, and that he often walked the room, saying sadly:
"This is the hardest trial of my life; why is it? Why is it ?"
In the course of conversations with her, he questioned
her concerning his situation. She told him that she was a widow, and that her husbad and two children were in heaven; and added that she saw the hand of God in it all, and that she had never loved Him so much before as she had since her affliction.
"How is that brought about?" inquired Mr. Lincoln.
"Simply by trusting in God, and feeling that He does all things well," she replied.
"Did you submit fully under the first loss?" he asked, "No," she answered, "not wholly; but, as blow came. upon blow, and all were taken, I could and did submit, and was very happy."
He responded: "I am glad to hear you say that. Your experience will help me to bear my affliction."
On being assured that many Christians were praying for him on the morning of the funeral, he wiped away the tears that sprang in his eyes, and said:
"I am glad to hear that. I want them to pray for me. I need their prayers.'
As he was going out to the burial, the good lady expressed her sympathy with him. He thanked her gently, and said:
"I will try to go to God with my sorrows."
A few days afterward she asked him if he could trust God. He replied:
"I think I can, and will try. I wish I had that childlike faith you speak of, and I trust He will give it to me." And then he spoke of his mother. whom so many years before he had committed to the dust among the wilds of Indiana. In this hour of his great trial the memory of her who had held him upon her bosom, and soothed his childish griefs, came back to him with tenderest recollec-tions. "I remember her prayers," said he, "and they have always followed me. They have clung to me all my life."
A Praying President.
After the second defeat of Bull Run, Mr. Lincoln appeared very much distressed about the number of killed and wounded, and said to a lady friend: "I have done the best I could. I have asked God to guide me, and now I must leave the event with him."
On another occasion, having been made acquainted with the fact that a great battle was in progress at a distant but important point, he came into the room where
this lady was engaged in nursing a member of the family, looking worn and haggard, and saying that he was so anxious that he could eat nothing. The possibility of defeat depressed him greatly; but the lady told him he must trust, and that he could at least pray.
"Yes," said he, and taking up a Bible, he started for his room.
Could all the people of the nation have overheard the earnest petition that went up from that inner chamber as it reached the ears of the nurse, they would have fallen upon their knees with tearful and reverential sympathy.
At one o'clock in the afternoon, a telegram reached him announcing a Union victory; and then he came directly to the room, his face beaming with joy, saying:
God is good."
Good news! The victory is ours, and
"Nothing like prayer," suggested the pious lady, who traced a direct connection between the event and the prayer which preceded it.
"Yes, there is," he replied "praise-prayer and praise."
The good lady who communicates these incidents, closes them with the words: "I do believe he was a true Christian, though he had very little confidence in himself.
Telling a Story and Pardoning a Soldier.
General Fisk, attending the reception at the White House on one occasion saw, waiting in the ante-room, a poor old man from Tennessee. Sitting down beside him,
he inquired his errand, and learned that he had been waiting three or four days to get an audience, and that on his seeing Mr. Lincoln probably depended the life of his son, who was under sentence of death for some military offense.
General Fisk wrote his case in outline on a card, and sent it in, with a special request that the President would see the man. In a moment the order came; and past senators, governors and generals, waiting impatiently, the old man went into the President's presence.
He showed Mr. Lincoln his papers, and he, on taking them, said he would look into the case and give him the result on the following day.
The old man, in an agony of apprehension, looked up into the President's sympathetic face, and actually cried
"To-morrow may be too late! My son is under sentence of death! The decision ought to be made now!" and the streaming tears told how much he was moved. "Come," said Mr. Lincoln, wait a bit, and I'll tell you a story;" and then he told the old man General Fisk's story about the swearing driver, as follows:
The General had begun his military life as a Colonel, and, when he raised his regiment in Missouri, he proposed to his men that he should do all the swearing of the regiment. They assented; and for months no instance was known of the violation of the promise. The Colonel had a teamster named John Todd, who, as roads were not always the best, had some difficulty in commanding his temper and his tongue. John happened to be driving a mule team through a series of mud-holes a little worse than usual, when, unable to restrain himself