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Lincoln's Story of a Young Lawyer as he told it to General Garfield.
General Garfield, of Ohio, received from the President the account of the capture of Norfolk with the following preface:
"By the way, Garfield," said Mr. Lincoln, "you never
heard, did you, that Chase, Stanton and I had a campaign of our own? We went down to Fortress Monroe in Chase's revenue cutter and consulted with Admiral Goldsborough as to the feasibility of taking Norfolk by landing on the north shore and making a march of eight miles. The admiral said, very positively, there was no landing on that shore, and we should have to double the cape and approach the place from the sonth side, which would be a long and difficult journey. I thereupon asked him if he had ever tried to find a landing, and he replied that he had not.
"Now," said I, "Admiral, that reminds me of a chap out West who had studied law, but had never tried a case. Being sued, and not having confidence in his ability to manage his own case, he employed a fellow-lawyer to manage it for him. He had only a confused idea of the meaning of law terms, but was anxious to make a display of learning, and on the trial constantly made suggestions to his lawyer, who paid no attention to him. At last, fearing that his lawyer was not handling the opposing counsel very well, he lost all patience, and springing to his feet, cried out: 'Why don't you go at him with a capias, or a surre-butter, or something. and not stand there like a confounded old nunum-pritum?'”
Lincoln and His Stepr Mother.
Soon after Mr. Lincoln entered upon his profession at Springfield, he was engaged in a criminal case in which it was thought there was little chance of success. Throwing all his powers into it he came off victorious, and promptly received for his services five hundred dollars.
A legal friend calling upon him the next morning found him sitting before a table, upon which his money was spread out, counting it over and over.
"Look here, Judge," said he; "See what a heap of
MRS. SARAH BUSH LINCOLN; LINCOLN'S STEPMOTHER. money I've got from the case. Did you ever see anything like it? Why, I never had so much money in my life before, put it all together?" Then crossing his arms upon the table, his manner sobering down, he added, "I have got just five hundred dollars; if it were only
seven hundred and fifty, I would go directly and purchase a quarter section of land, and settle it upon my old stepmother."
His friend said that if the deficiency was all he needed he would loan him the amount, taking his note, to which Mr. Lincoln instantly acceded.
His friend then said:
"Lincoln I would not do just what you have indicated. Your step-mother is getting old, and will not probably live many years. I would settle the property upon her for her use during her lifetime, to revert to you upon her death."
With much feeling Mr. Lincoln replied:
“I shall do no such thing. It is a poor return at best for all the good woman's devotion and fidelity to me, and there is not going to be any half-way business about it;" and so saying, he gathered up his money and proceeded forthwith to carry his long-cherished purpose into
A Letter to His Beloved Stepmother,
Lincoln's love for his second mother was most filial and affectionate. In a letter of Nov. 4, 1851, just after the death of his father, he writes to her as follows:
Chapman tells me he wants you to go and live with him. If I were you I would try it awhile. If you get tired of it (as I think you will not) you can return to your own home. Chapman feels very kindly to you, and I have no doubt he will make your situation very pleasant.
Sincerely, your son,
The Lincoln-Shields Duel.
The late Gen. Shields was Auditor of the State of Illi
nois in 1839. While he occupied this important office he was involved in an "affair of honor" with a Springfield lawyer-no less a personage than Abraham Lincoln. At this time "James Shields, Auditor," was the pride of the young Democracy, and was considered a dashing fellow by all, the ladies included.
In the summer of 1842 the Springfield Journal contained some letters from the 'Lost Township," by a contributor whose nom de plume was "Aunt Becca,' which held up the gallant young Auditor as "a ballroom dandy, floatin' about on the earth without heft or substance. just like a lot of cat-fur where cats had been fightin'."
These letters caused intense excitement in the town. Nobody knew or guessed their authorship. Shields swore it would be coffee and pistols for two if he should find out who had been lampooning him so unmercifully. Thereupon "Aunt Becca" wrote another letter, which made the furnace of his wrath seven times hotter than before, in which she made a very humble apology and offered to let him squeeze her hand for satisfaction, adding:
"If this should not answer, there is one thing more I would rather do than to get a lickin'. I have all along expected to die a widow; but, as Mr. Shields is rather good-looking than otherwise, I must say I don't care if we compromise the matter by-really, Mr. Printer, I can't help blushin'-but I-must come out-I—but widowed modesty-well, if I must, I must-wouldn't he maybe