Page images

Navy Yard to witness some experiments with a newly-invented gun. Subsequently the party went aboard of one of the steamers lying at the wharf. A discussion was going on as to the merits of the invention, in the midst of which Mr. Lincoln caught sight of some axes hanging up outside of the cabin. Leaving the group, he quietly went forward, and taking one down, returned with it, and said:

"Gentlemen, you may talk about your 'Raphael repeaters' and 'eleven-inch Dahlgrens,' but here is an institution which I guess I understand better than either of you." With that he held the axe out at arm's length by the end of the handle, or "helve," as the wood-cutters call it a feat not another person iu the party could perform, though all made the attempt.

In such acts as this, showing that he neither forgot nor was ashamed of his humble origin, the good President exhibited his true nobility of character. He was a perfect illustration of his favorite poet's words:

"The rank is but the guinea's stamp,

The man's the gold, for a' that!"


An Amusing Illustration.

One of Mr. Lincoln's illustrations given by him on one occasion was that of a man who, in driving the hoops of a hogshead to "head" it up, was much annoyed by the constant falling in of the top. At length the bright idea struck him of putting his little boy inside to "hold it up." This he did; it never occurring to him till the job was done, how he was to get his child out, "This," said Lincoln, "is a fair sample of the way some people always do business."

[graphic][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][merged small]

Funeral Services of Lincoln's Mother.-The Old Pastor and Young Abraham.

Several months after the death of Lincoln's mother, which occurred when he was but a few years old, child as he was, he wrote to Parson Elkin who had been their pastor when residing in Kentucky, begging him to come to Indiana and preach her funeral sermon.

This was asking a great favor of their former minister, for it would require him to ride on horseback a hundred miles through the wilderness; and it is something to be remembered to the humble itinerant's honor that he was willing to pay this tribute of respect to the woman who had so thoroughly honored him and his sacred office. He replied to Abraham's invitation that he would preach the sermon on a certain future Sunday, and gave him liberty to notify the neighbors of the promised service.

As the appointed day approached notice was given to the whole neighborhood, embracing every family within twenty miles. Neighbor carried the notice to neighbor. It was scattered from every little school. There was probably not a family that did not receive intelligence of the anxiously-anticipated event.

On a bright Sabbath morning the settlers of the region started for the cabin of the Lincolns, and as they gathered in they presented a picture worthy the pencil of the worthiest painter. Some came in carts of the rudest construction, their wheels consisting of sections of the huge boles of forest trees, and every other member the product of the axe and auger: some came on horseback, two or three upon a horse; others came in wagons drawn by oxen, and still others came on foot. Two hundred persons in all were assembled when Parson Elkin came out

from the Lincoln cabin, accompanied by the little family, and proceeded to a tree under which the precious dust of a wife and mother were buried.

The congregation, seated upon stumps and logs around the grave, received the preacher and the mourning family in silence, broken only by the songs of birds, and the murmur of insects, or the creaking cart of some late comer. Taking his stand at the foot of the grave, Parson Elkin lifted his voice in prayer and sacred song, and then preached a sermon.

The occasion, the eager faces around him, and all the sweet influences of the morning, inspired him with an unusual fluency and fervor; and the flickering sunlight, as it glanced through the wind-parted leaves, caught many a tear upon the bronzed cheeks of his auditors, while father and son were overcome by the revival of their great grief. He spoke of the precious Christian woman who had gone with the warm praise which she deserved, aud held her up as an example to true womanhood.

Those who knew the tender and reverent spirit of Abraham Lincoln later in life, will not doubt that he returned to his cabin-home deeply impressed by all that he had heard. It was the rounding up for him of the influences of a Christian mother's life and teachings. It recalled her sweet and patient example, her assiduous efforts to inspire him with pure and noble motives, her simple instructions in divine truth, her devoted love for him, and the motherly offices she had rendered him during all his tender years. His character was planted in this Christian mother's life. Its roots were fed by this Christian mother's love: and those that have wondered at the truthfulness and earnestness of his mature character

have only to remember that the tree was true to the soil from which it sprung.

Not many years ago a monument was raised over Mrs. Nancy Lincoln's grave, and also over the grave of Abraham Lincoln's father, near Rockport, Ind.


Something Concerning Mr. Lincoln's Religious Views.

The Rev. Mr. Willets, of Brooklyn, gives an account of a conversation with Mr. Lincoln, on the part of a lady of his acquaintance, connected with the "Christian Commission," who in the prosecution of her duties had several interviews with him.

The President, it seemed, had been much impressed with the devotion and earnestness of purpose manifested by the lady, and on one occasion, after she had discharged the object of her visit, he said to her:

"Mrs., I have formed a high opinion of your Christian character, and now, as we are alone, I have a mind to ask you to give me, in brief, your idea of what constitutes a true religious experience."

The lady replied at some length, stating that, in her judgment, it consisted of a conviction of one's own sinfulness and weakness, and personal need of the Saviour for strength and support; that views of mere doctrine might and would differ, but when one was really brought to feel his need of Divine help, and to seek the aid of the Holy Spirit for strength and guidance, it was satisfactory evidence of his having been born again. This was the substance of her reply.

When she had concluded Mr. Lincoln was very thought

« PreviousContinue »