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"The great thing about Grant," said he, "I take it, is his perfect coolness and persistency of purpose. I judge he is not easily excited, which is a great element in an officer, and has the grit of a bull-dog! Once let him get his 'teeth' in, and nothing can shake him off.”
A Joke on Mr. Chase.
One day, while the Americau war was going on, and Secretary Chase was issuing the paper money, known as , 'greenbacks," in large quantities, he found upon a desk in his office a drawing of an ingenious invention for turning gold eagles into "greenbacks," with a portrait of himself feeding it with "yellor boys," at one end, while the government currency came out at the other end, flying about like leaves of autumn. While he was examining the drawing, President Lincoln came in, and recognizing the likeness of the secretary, exclaimed:
"Capital joke, isn't it, Mr. Chase?"
"A joke," said the irate financier, "I'd give a thousand dollars to know who left that here."
"Would you, indeed," said the President, "and which end would you pay from?"
The answer is not recorded."
A Curious Story of Lincoln and the Spirits.
It is stated on the authority of the Boston Evening Gazette, that Abraham Lincoln once gave a spiritual soiree at the Presidential residence to test the wonderful alleged supernatural powers of one Mr. Charles E: Shockle. The party consisted of the President, Mrs.
Lincoln, Mr. Wells, Mr. Stanton and two other gentlemen.
For some half-hour the demonstrations were of a physical character-tables were moved, and a picture of Henry Clay, which hangs on the wall, was swayed more than a foot, and two candelabra, presented by the Dey of Algiers to President Adams, was twice raised nearly to the ceiling. At length loud rappings was heard directly beneath the President's feet, and Mr. Shockle stated that an Indian desired to communicate.
"I shall be happy to hear what his Indian majesty has to say," replied the President, "for I have very recently received a deputation of our red brethren, and it was the only delegation, black, white or blue, which did not volunteer some advice about the conduct of the war."
The medium then called for a pencil and paper, which were laid upon the table, and afterwards covered with a handkerchief. Presently knocks were heard and the paper was uncovered, To the surprise of all present, it read as follows:
Haste makes waste, but delays cause vexations. Give vitality by energy. Use every means to subdue. Proclamations are useless, Make a bold front and fight the enemy; leave traitors at home to the care of loyal men. Less note of preparation, less parade and policytalk, and more action. -HENRY KNOX."
"That is not Indian talk, Mr. Shockle," said the President. "Who is Henry Knox?
The medium, speaking in a strange voice, replied, The first Secretary of War."
"Oh, yes; General Knox," said the President. "Stanton, that message is for you; it is from your predecessor. I should like to ask General Knox to tell us when this rebellion will be put down."
The answer was oracularly indefinite. The spirit said that Napoleon thought one thing, Lafayette another. and that Franklin differed from both.
'Ah," exclaimed the President. "opinions differ among the saints as well as among the sinners. Their talk is very much like the talk of my cabinet. I wish the spir
its would tell us how to catch the Alabama?”
The lights almost instantaneously became so dim that it was impossible to distinguish the features of any one in the room, and on the large mirror over the mantlepiece, there appeared a sea-view, the Alabama, with all steam up, flying from the pursuit of another large steamer. Two merchantmen in the distance were seen partially destroyed by fire.
The picture changed, and the Alabama was seen at anchor under the shadow of an English fort, from which an English flag was flying. The Alabama was floating idly, not a soul on board, and no signs of life visible about her. The picture vanished, and, in letters of purple. appeared: "The American people demand this of the English aristocracy."
"So England is to seize the Alabama, finally?" said the President. "It may be possible, but Mr. Wells, do not let one gunboat or one monitor less be constructed."
"Well, Mr. Shockle," continued he, "I have seen
strange things, and heard rather odd remarks, but nothing that convinces me, except the pictures, that there is anything very heavenly about all this. I should like, if possible, to hear what Judge Douglas says about this
After an interval of about three minutes, Mr. Shockle rose quickly from his chair and stood behind it. Resting his left hand on the back, his right into his bosom, he spoke in a voice such as no one could mistake who had ever heard Mr. Douglas. He urged the President to throw aside all advisers who hesitated about the policy to be pursued, and said that if victory were followed up by energetic action, all would be well.
"I believe that," said the President, "whether it comes from spirit or human. It needs not a ghost from 'the bourne from which no traveler returns' to tell that."
The President's Aversion to Bloodshed.
A striking incident in Mr. Lincoln's official life is related by Judge Bromwell, of Denver, who visited the White House in March, 1865. Mr. Seward and several other gentlemen were also present, and the President gradually came to talk on decisions of life and death.
All other matters submitted to him, he declared, were nothing in comparison to these, and he added:
"I reckon there never was a man raised in the country on a farm, where they are always butchering cattle and hogs and think nothing of it, that ever grew up with such an aversion to bloodshed as I have; and yet I've had more