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ISAAC N. ARNOLD,
Author of “ The Life of Benedict Arnold," etc. ; Late President
of the Chicago Historical Society; Member of
Congress during the Civil War.
JANSEN, MCCLURG, & COMPANY.
A. D. 1884.
ONNELLEY & Sons, THE LAKESIDE PRESS, CHICAGO, ILL.
BY THE HON. E. B. WASHBURNE.
This work _“ The Life of Abraham Lincoln "— was completed only a few days before the death of the distinguished author, the Hon. ISAAC N. ARNOLD. He did not live to oversee its publication. That was entrusted to competent and friendly hands; and the work, with its chapter heads and its full and elaborate index, is herewith presented to an indulgent public.
Few had known Mr. Lincoln better than had Mr. Arnold, and no man was more familiar with his life or had studied more profoundly his personal and political character, or his public career. They had been personal friends for a quar
a ter of a century. They were much together in the courts and often associated in the trial of causes, and had been opposing counsel in important litigation. Their long acquaintance and association had made them to know each other well and had engendered mutual respect and mutual regard.
From the time that Mr. Arnold entered Congress, at the breaking out of the War of the Rebellion, he became one of the most trusted advisers of Mr. Lincoln, and few men outside of the Cabinet were more frequently consulted by him in important matters. No one knew better Mr. Lincoln's thoughts and intentions than Mr. Arnold, and no one enjoyed his confidence to a higher degree. It may be truly said that no man was better qualified to write a serious and authoritative life of Mr. Lincoln, and to enlighten the public in respect to the character, career and services of that illustrious man.
There is no doubt that for some time prior to the assassination of Mr. Lincoln, Mr. Arnold had contemplated writing his life. Previous to that event, and while yet a member of Congress, he had commenced to write the “ History of Abraham Lincoln and the Overthrow of Slavery,” which he completed and published in 1867. He brought to the preparation of that work the qualities of an able and conscientious historian, who wrote very largely from personal knowledge and personal observation. book of real interest and exceptional historic value. Important and valuable facts are to be obtained therein which are not to be found elsewhere.
This work was never entirely satisfactory to Mr. Arnold, so far as it related to Mr. Lincoln, and hence some two years since he determined to write in a stricter sense the life of Mr. Lincoln, in the light of additional material he had gathered, and disconnected with the history of the overthrow of slavery, except in so far as the subject was connected generally with the administration of Mr. Lincoln.
Stimulated by his admiration and friendship for Mr. Lincoln, Mr. Arnold entered on his work con amore, and devoted to it his most earnest thoughts and great labor. He undertook his self-imposed task with the idea and purpose that it would be the finishing work of his life. His great object was to write a life worthy of the man. He has taken