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"Will you take a seat with me?" the kind invitation of Mr. Lincoln as they entered the car. Were you sincere in what you said about my speech?"
"I mean every word of it. I learned more of the art of public speaking last evening than I could from a whole course of lectures on rhetoric."
"That is extraordinary. I am informed that one of the professors at Yale College followed me to Meriden to hear me a second time, and has been lecturing about my speech. I should like to know what there is about what I say that has made you and the professor think it any way remarkable."
"It is the clearness of your statements, your unanswerable style of reasoning, and your illustrations, which are romance, pathos, and fun welded together."
"I am much obliged to you. I have been wishing for a long time to have some one make an analysis for me. It throws light on a subject which has been dark to me."
'May I ask how you acquired your unusual power of putting things? It must have been a matter of education. No man has it by nature alone. What has been your education?"
"Well, as to education, I never went to school more than six months in my life. When I was a child I used to get irritated if anybody talked to me in a way I could not understand. I don't think I got angry at other things, but that disturbed my temper. I remember when the neighbors came in and talked to my father in the evening, I tried to understand what they were talking about. When I got hold of an idea I put it into my own language. It has become a kind of passion with me has stuck to me. I am not easy now when I am handling a thought till I have bounded it north, south, east, and west. Perhaps that accounts for the characteristic you spoke of, though I never put the two things together before."
"Did you not have a law education?"
"Oh yes! I'read law,' as the phrase is; that is, I became a lawyer's clerk in Springfield, and copied tedious documents, and picked up what I could of law in the intervals of other work. But your question reminds me of a bit of education I had which I am bound in honesty to mention. In the course of my law-reading I constantly came upon the word demonstrate.' I thought at first that I understood its meaning, but soon became satisfied I did not. I said to myself, 'What do I do when I demonstrate more than when I reason or prove? How does
demonstration differ from any other proof?' I consulted Webster's Dictionary. That told of 'certain proof,' 'proof beyond the possibility of doubt;' but I could form no idea of what sort of proof that was. I thought a great many things were proved beyond the possibility of doubt without recourse to any such extraordinary process of reasoning as I understood 'demonstration' to be. I consulted all the dictionaries and books of reference I could find, but with no better results. You might as well have defined ‘blue' to a blind man. At last I said, 'Lincoln, you can never make a lawyer if you do not understand what "demonstrate" means;' and I left my situation in Springfield, went home to my father's house, and stayed there till I could give any proposition in the six books of 'Euclid' at sight. I then found out what 'demonstrate' means, and went back to my law studies." (")
Mr. Lincoln visited his eldest son Robert at Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass. He proceeded to New Hampshire, and addressed
audiences at Concord and Manchester.
"He is far from prepossessing in personal appearance," wrote the editor of the Manchester "Mirror," "and his voice is disagreeable, yet he wins attention and good-will from the start. He indulges in no flowers of rhetoric, no eloquent passages. He is not a wit, humorist, or a clown; yet so fine a vein of pleasantry and good-nature pervades what he says, gliding over a deep current of poetical arguments, that he keeps his hearers in a smiling mood, with their mouths open to hear all he says. His sense of the ludicrous is very keen; and an exhibition of that is the clincher to all his arguments—not the ludicrous acts of persons, but ludicrous ideas. Hence he is never offensive, but steals away willingly into his train of belief persons who were opposed to him. For the first half-hour his opponents would agree to every word he uttered; and from that point he began to lead them off little by little, until it seemed as if he had got them all into his fold."
The newspapers of Springfield informed the people that Mr. Lincoln had addressed the ragamuffins at the Five Points Mission. Those most intimate with him were accustomed to call him "Abe;" in like manner he abbreviated their names.
"Well, Abe," said one of his neighbors upon his return, "I see you have been making a speech to Sunday-school children."
"Yes; sit down, Jim, and I'll tell you about it. On Sunday morning Washburne said, 'Let's go down to the Five Points Mission.' I was much interested in what I saw, Jim. The superintendent, Mr. Pease, came and shook hands with us, and Washburne introduced me to him.
He spoke to the children, and then I was urged to speak. I told him that I didn't know anything about talking to Sunday-schools, but Mr. Pease said that many of the children were homeless and friendless, and I thought of the time when I had been pinched by terrible poverty. And so I told them that I had been poor; I remembered when my toes stuck out through my broken shoes in winter, when my arms were out at the elbows, when I shivered with the cold. I told them there was only one rule-always to do the very best you can. I told them I had always tried to do the very best I could, and that if they would follow that rule they would get on somehow.
"When I got through, Mr. Pease said it was just the thing they needed. When the school was dismissed all the teachers came up and shook hands with me and thanked me for it, although I didn't know that I was saying anything of any account. I never heard anything that touched me as one of the songs they sung. Here is one of their song-books." Mr. Lincoln took a little hymnal from his pocket and read one of the hymns. As he read his lips became tremulous and tears rolled down his cheeks. (")
Doubtless memory went back once more to the floorless cabin of his birthplace and to the lonely grave of his mother in the Indiana forestto the poverty and hardship of his boyhood. Looking into the faces of the poor and friendless children touched his heart as nothing else could have done, and awakened his tenderest sympathies.
NOTES TO CHAPTER X.
(1) Isaac N. Arnold, "Life of Lincoln,” p. 144.
(2) This sentence was quoted by President Lincoln at Gettysburg. It occurs in an address given by Theodore Parker before the Massachusetts Antislavery Society at its aunual meeting, 1848, reported in the "Liberator." The idea was not original with Mr. Parker. It may be found in a volume on “The Advancement in Knowledge and Religion," by James Douglas, of Scotland, published at Edinburgh, 1825. Mr. Douglas was about Mr. Parker's age, living at the place of his birth, Cavers, Roxburgh County, Scotland. He had abundant wealth, was endowed with a philosophic mind, and gave himself to studying the philosophy of history. The book in question went through several editions in Scotland, and was republished in the United States by Cooke & Co., Hartford, Conn., 1830. The volume contains a paragraph entitled "New Social Order in America," in which occurs the following sentence: "The European emigrant might believe himself as one transported to a new world, governed by new laws, and finds himself at once raised in the scale of being-the pauper is maintained by his own labor, the hired laborer works on his own account, and the tenant is changed into a proprietor, while the despised vassal of the old continent becomes colegislator and coruler in a government where all
power is from the people, and in the people, and for the people." The paragraph was
lished in the "Rhetorical Reader," a book for schools, which was the reading of my schooldays, and of which more than one hundred thousand copies were sold. It seems probable that President Lincoln acquired the thought from Parker, and that he in turn received it from Douglas. The volume in which the quotation occurs is very ably written, and there can be no question that it has left its impress upon the philosophy of history during this century.—Author.
(3) W. H. Herndon, "Lincoln," p. 355 (edition 1889).
(^) J. G. Holland, "Life of Abraham Lincoln,” p. 161.
(*) Isaac N. Arnold, "Life of Lincoln," p. 145.
(°) W. H. Herndon, “Lincoln,” p. 414 (edition 1889).
(7) The song was composed by H. S. Thompson, the most popular song-writer of America. It was published in 1858, and was widely sung.—Author.
(*) New York "Tribune," Feb. 28, 1860.
(*) Elihu B. Washburne was born at Livermore, Me., September 23, 1816. His education was obtained in the public-schools and a few terms at an academy. He became a printer, but the legal profession being more congenial, he studied law, emigrated to Illinois, and became an attorney at Galena. He was elected to Congress in 1853, and took an active part in the debates on the Kansas-Nebraska affairs. He was prominent in the formation of the Republican Party in Illinois, and at an early period made the acquaintance of Abraham Lincoln. He was in Congress from 1853 to 1869, with the exception of one term, occupying prominent and responsible positions on committees. He was often called the "Watch-dog of the Treasury," from his careful watch upon expenditures. During the later years of his Congressional service he was called Father of the House.” Recognizing the fitness of Ulysses S. Grant as military commander, he asked President Lincoln to appoint him brigadier-general, and after the surrender of Vicksburg and the victory of Chattanooga he urged Grant's appointment as lieutenant-general. He was often with the army during the Wilderness campaign. Upon the election of General Grant to the Presidency, Mr. Washburne became Secretary of State. He was subsequently appointed Minister to France, and rendered conspicuous service during the siege of Paris by the Prussians.-Author.
(10) John Putnam Gulliver to Author. See, also, "Independent," Sept. 1, 1864. (11) Edward Eggleston, quoted in "Every-day Life of Lincoln,” p. 323.
NOMINATED FOR THE PRESIDENCY.
THE time was approaching (April 16, 1859) when candidates would be
nominated by the different political parties for the Presidency. Mr. Pickett, an editor in Illinois, wrote to Mr. Lincoln as follows:
My partner and myself are absent addressing the Republican editors of the State on the subject of a simultaneous announcement of your name for the Presidency."
"I must in candor say," Mr. Lincoln wrote in reply, "that I do not think myself fit for the Presidency. I certainly am flattered April 16, and gratified that some partial friends think of me in that connection; but I really think it best for our cause that no con certed effort such as you suggest should be made." (')
He was not seeking the Presidency. Neither would he be a rival to Senator Trumbull when the time came to choose Mr. Trumbull's cessor. Very frank and open his letter to a friend:
"I do not understand Trumbull and myself to be rivals. You k now I am pledged not to enter a struggle with him for the seat in the Senate now occupied by him; and yet I would rather have a full term in the Senate than in the Presidency. For my single self, I have enlisted for the permanent success of the Republican cause; and for this object I shall labor faithfully in the ranks, unless, as I think not probable, the judgment of the party shall assign me a different position.” (')
In this biography we have reached a point where I who am writing became an observer of passing events, and from this page to the close shall at times write of what I saw and heard in connection with the life of Mr. Lincoln. There was one member of the Republican party who had an earnest desire to be its candidate for the Presidency-William H. Seward, Senator from New York, who had rendered conspicuous ice in the councils of the nation. It was understood that a strong would be made by his friends to secure his nomination.
"Who is to be your candidate out West?" was the question put by