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country with the administration of President Van Buren, whom the Democratic party renominated. The Whig party nominated General William Henry Harrison, of Ohio, who was born in a log-cabin, who fought a battle with the Indians at Tippecanoe, in Indiana, and whom the Whigs called “ Old Tippecanoe.” He won other battles against the British in Canada. During the campaign there were mass-meetings, log-cabins, processions, brass bands, oxen roasted whole, flag-raisings, speeches, and songs. The songs sung told about General Harrison, his eating corn - bread and drinking cider. Abraham Lincoln was making speeches throughout Illinois for Harrison. His speeches were enlivened with anecdotes and stories, and were much liked by the people. His partner, Mr. Stuart, was a member of Congress. With one member of the firm in Washington, and the other giving his attention to politics, the spiders could spin their webs undisturbed in their law office. Not much money came from riding the circuit.
WILLIAM HENRY HARRISON. Once more he was elected to the Legislature. In the State-house he made the acquaintance of men of influence and position. In the bar-room of the hotel he was the centre of a circle of admiring listeners.
Springfield was no longer a small county seat, but the capital of the State, the resort of men and women of influence and position. It was a hospitable mansion—that of Ninian Edwards—which opened its doors to the Governor, judges, members of the Legislature, and distinguished visitors. They received a gracious welcome from the young bride, whose former home was in the most cultured town of Kentucky-Lexington. Shall we wonder that the young men of Springfield were often found in the parlor of the Edwards mansion, made doubly radiant and attractive by the presence of Mrs. Edwards and her unmarried sister, Mary Todd ?
“I want to introduce you to Mary Todd,” said Mr. Speed to Mr. Lincoln, as they entered the house of Mr. Edwards. Doubtless, the acquaintance was all the more pleasurable to him from the fact that Miss Todd was acquainted with Henry Clay. She was twenty-one, vivacious, sparkling, the centre of a circle of admiring young men. She never was at a loss for a partner in the promenade, the minuet, or waltz. He did not dance, neither did he know how to play cards; () but yet she was never more vivacious than when in conversation with him. We are not to think that a young man who but a few years before pulled an oar and swung an axe to earn his daily bread, whose life had been a struggle against adversity, could at once become a general favorite in cultured society. He did not understand all the amenities of social intercourse; but somehow the attentions of Mr. Lincoln were more acceptable to Miss Todd than those proffered by other young men. As the weeks went on, friendship ripened to a marriage engagement. In his lonely chamber he was pondering a great question. Could he give her the affection that would be her due? Could he fill her life with joy? Ought he to accept her love when he could give so little in return? Not for the world would he imperil her happiness. Is it strange that the tears glistened upon her cheeks when he informed her he could not reciprocate her affection as he ought and as she deserved ? Need we wonder that when he saw the tears he kissed them away and plighted his troth anew?
The day fixed for the wedding arrived. The marriage of Abraham Lincoln and Mary Todd would be a notable social event. There
was much preparation in the hospitable mansion of Ninian Edwards. The guests assemble; the feast is prepared; all
are waiting. The bride in her beauty is ready to descend from her chamber to meet him who is to fill her life with happiness. He has not arrived. None of all the listening ears can hear his approaching footsteps. The evening wanes. He does not come. The guests take their departure; the lights are extinguished; the wedding-feast is not eaten. Mary Todd is in her chamber, overwhelmed with mortification. Joshua Speed searches for the delinquent groom, and finds him pale, haggard, and in the deepest melancholy. (°) Heart-rending the letter which he sent to his friend, Mr. Stuart:
“ I am the most miserable man living. If what I feel were equally distributed to the whole human family, there would not be a cheerful face on earth. Whether I shall ever be better I cannot tell; I awfully forebode I shall not. To remain as I am is impossible. I must die or be better." ()
In the mythology of our forefathers of Norseland a bird of ebony
plumage was the symbol of memory. Through all ages, in all lands, the raven has been the emblem of haunting recollections. The world never will know the tearful memories and heart-rending forebodings of that night of agony. The transcendent genius of Edgar Allen Poe faintly portrays it :
“. Prophet l' said I, 'thing of evil !-prophet still, if bird or devil !
By that heaven that bends above us—by that God we both adore-
Quoth the raven, ‘Nevermore.'
Unmindful of what was going on around him, silent, pale, his mind
pest-tossed, Mr. Lincoln was sinking into distressful melancholy. It was very kind in Joshua F. Speed, who had closed his business in Springfield, and who was going to Kentucky, to take Mr. Lincoln with him to his former home just out from Louisville. () There was tenderness in the sympathetic welcome given him by the mother of Mr. Speed, a great-hearted Christian woman.
To men who think for themselves, no matter what may have been their previous religious belief, there not unfrequently comes a period of doubting. Such a period came to Abraham Lincoln. The preachers whom he heard through his early years, for the most part, had little education. One of the Governors of Illinois says of them :
" They were without previous training, except in religious exercises and in the study of the Holy Scriptures. It was not thought necessary that a teacher should be a scholar. It was thought to be his business to make appeals warm from the heart; to paint heaven and hell to the imagination of the sinner, to terrify him with the one and to promise the other as a reward for a life of righteousness. ... They made up by loud holloaing and violent action what they lacked in information." (0)
Many of those who travelled from settlement to settlement knew very little about the Bible, but yet attempted to explain all its truths and events. At the camp-meetings held in groves along the streams there was weeping, wailing, excitement, frenzy, rolling upon the ground, ecstatic shoutings, "Amen!” “Glory!" "Hallelujah!” Shall we wonder that Abraham Lincoln came to the conclusion that there was not much true religion in such ecstasy and excitement? It is possible that some of those who shouted loudest were hard and grasping in their dealings with their neighbors; amens, hallelujahs, and loud praying did not make them better men. He had not forgotten his mother's teachings. He could repeat much of the Bible, but he was not moved by emotional appeals. Many of the doctrines taught were repulsive to him. When Ann Rutledge died, and his soul was wrung with grief, no one had talked to him of divine love and eternal goodness. So far as he could see, his own life had been a failure. Hopes had not been realized, desires not gratified. He had accomplished nothing.
“ You will die unless you rally,” the words of his dear friend, Mr. Speed
“I am not afraid to die, and would be more than willing; but I have an irrepressible desire to live till I can be assured that the world is a little better for my having lived in it,” the mournful reply.("')
He is out in the desert-hungry, thirsty, weary, depressed in spirit-no star to guide him. But as the angels of God came to the carpenter's Son of Nazareth, so came Joshua F. Speed and Lucy Gilman Speed to him.
He finds himself in a hospitable home. Flowers are blooming around it; balmy breezes sweep through the balls. He breathes an atmosphere of restful peace. A saintly woman sits by his side, opens the New Testament, and reads the words of One who Himself had been in the wilderness. Her teachings are very different from what he has heard from the shouters. The Oxford Bible which she presents him as a token of her respect and affection (") has given her comfort and consolation in every hour of trouble. She talks of God as a Father, Jesus Christ as a Brother. New truths dawn upon him, and the Bible becomes a different book from what it has been in the past. That home, with its blooming flowers, restful shade, and atmosphere of peace and joy, is the gateway of a new life. Little does Lucy Gilman Speed know that God has crowned her with honor and glory, to be a ministering spirit in leading a bewildered wanderer out of the desert of despair and unbelief, that he may do great things for his fellow-men. Weeks go by, the gloom and anguish disappear. The period of doubt has gone, never to return. From that hour the Bible is to be his rule of life and duty.
His biographers—those who were near him later in life-have this to say of him:
“The late but splendid maturity of Lincoln's mind and character dates from this time; and although he grew in strength and knowledge to the end, from this year we observe a steadiness and sobriety of thought and purpose discernible in his life.” (**)
This estimate does not include the service rendered by Lucy Gilman Speed. When the great account is made up, and the angels of God come from the harvest-fields to lay their sheaves at the feet of the Master, hers will be the changed life of Abraham Lincoln.