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etc., etc. The fact is, I have collected everything I could find sacred to Lincoln's memory, from a newspaper scrap to his large cook-stove and other household articles. I desire here to thank the many friends to whom I am under obligations for valuable contributions. I have the promise of several more, that will be sent me in due time, and I shall always be thankful for any Lincoln relic sent me, no matter how trifling it may seem to the owner. The accumulation of Lincoln relics induced me to collect the opinions of the great men of the world in regard to the noble martyr, in order to demonstrate how universally Mr. Lincoln was beloved and respected. Letters were sent to distinguished persons East and West, North and South in our country, as well as to persons in England, requesting them to express their estimate of Lincoln's public and private character and of his serviccs; and the more than two hundred responses to be found in this volume, over the fac-similes of the writer's names, shows the unexpected success I met with in this effort. Their publication in book form, together with the other reminiscences of Lincoln found in this volume, will, I have no doubt, be approved by the public. It has been my purpose to produce a work the contents of which might in some degree shed luster on the name of the immortal emancipator, and the external appearance of which might be an ornament in any house or library. How far I have succeeded in attaining the goal of my ambition, of this a generous public will have to judge. Surely the gathering of the material for this volume has been the greatest pleasure of my life.
It has been a source of profound gratification to me, not only to receive the many tributes of great men's thoughts upon the life and character of Lincoln, but also to visit the old friends of his boyhood and listen to their simple and unvarnished stories illustrating the goodness of his heart. What a noble example was his whole life! I have often thought what a beautiful book for boys might be made out of the boyhood of Lincoln if the past were collected
and properly presented. All the friends of his youth whom I have seen give testimony of the purity and nobleness of his character; they say he always wanted to see fair play and that he was honest and upright in all things. He found great delight in helping any one in need. An old friend of Mr. Lincoln's, now living in Petersburg, Ill., told me how he at one time was building a house and was unable to make a brace fit. Mr. Lincoln happened to come that way, and the former said to him that if he would cut him a brace he would vote for him the first time he ran for President. Lincoln took a slate and pencil, and after getting the distance between the joists, he estimated its dimensions, made a pattern and the brace slipped in, a perfect fit. “I did not vote for Lincoln," added the man who related the story, “as I promised to do, but I have regretted it ever since."
Few better examples of industry could be furnished to young men than the life of Lincoln. He was always as busy as a bee. He always carried some good book in his pocket, and when not otherwise engaged he would read, and was usually seen reading when going to and from his work. It is hoped that the sketch of Lincoln given in this work, the many extracts from his speeches, and the numerous thoughts and utterances in reference to his life and character by the foremost men of our time may be made accessible to the youth of our land, in order that thus many a young heart may be stimulated to industry, honesty, goodness and patriotism, and may find encouragement for higher aspirations and good deeds. The names of some persons will be missed in this work by many of the readers. In reference to this I have only to say that the fault is not mine. For some reason or other they did not respond to my urgent solicitations. It now remains to me to express my most hearty thanks to all those persons who have so kindly aided me in the preparation of this volume. I am particularly indebted for their special interest to Rev. Matthew Simpson, Hon. I. N. Arnold, Prof. Rasmus B. Anderson, Benson J. Lossing. LL.D., Rev. Theo. L. Cuyler, T. W. S. Kidd, Joshua F. Speed, Joseph Gillespie and Jesse W. Fell. Their generous assistance has been a great comfort and help to me.
All I ask is that with the sale of this book I may realize some funds with which to build a Memorial Hall, where I may display to the public, free of charge, my life work in the collection of memorials and souvenirs of Abraham Lincoln, which will in due time be bequeathed to the public.
I am aware that there are many imperfections in all human enterprises, and am not blind to the faults of this work, but I can truly say that it has not been undertaken for the purpose of making money, but solely as an outcome of my enthusiasm and reverence for its great hero. I have spared neither pains nor expense, and, in view of this fact, it may not seem immodest if I bespeak for my effort the generosity of the critic and the liberality of the public.