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“Why, doctor,” said my friend, “it is not nine o'clock; what are you doing at the Executive Mansion?” To this I replied, “Mr. Lincoln and I have been having a morning chat.” “On the war, I suppose?" "Far from it," said I. "We have been talking about the state of the soul after death. That is à subject of which Mr. Lincoln never tires. I have had a great many conversations with him on the subject. This morning, however, I was a listener as Mr. Lincoln did all the talking."
The day before Mr. Lincoln signed and issued the final Emancipation Proclamation, I was besieged by persons who were anxious to learn something about the proclamation and who believed because of my intimacy with Mr. Lincoln I had been apprised of its contents. Not a word escaped me concerning it, and though I knew its contents none were the wiser for my knowledge.
One day as I was walking through the Capitol, I was joined by a gentleman and together we walked over to the senate. The conversation led around to Mr. Lincoln. "Doctor," said the man, "tell me, is Mr. Lincoln a member of your church?” “Mr. Lincoln,” I answered, “has never applied for membership. If he did I would admit him."
When Mr. Lincoln returned from Richmond, only a very short time before his tragic death, he told me he was very much pleased with his reception in that city. He said he never could forget how kindly he had been received. “Why, Doctor," he said, "I walked alone on the street, and any one could have shot me from a second story window."
One evening about eight o'clock, Mr. Lincoln came down the White House stairs and found two or three of the em
President Lincoln's pastor, and the New York Avenue Presbyterian Church, Washington, D. C.
By courtesy of Mr. F. H. Meserve of New York City.
ployees by the front door. He said, “I want to walk over to Secretary Stanton's and would like to have one of you walk over with me.” One of the men immediately got his hat and started off with Mr. Lincoln. As they crossed over Pennsylvania Avenue, Mr. Lincoln said: "I have received a great many threatening letters lately, but I don't feel afraid.”
"Mr. President," said his escort, “because you are not afraid is no evidence you are free from danger; many a life has been sacrificed for want of fear."
“That's so," said the President. His face looked haggard and he walked quite slowly. Secretary Stanton lived on the north side of K street, between 13th and 14th streets, not a great distance from the Executive Mansion. When they were on the steps of the Stanton residence, waiting for the servant to answer their ring, Mr. Lincoln said to his escort: “Mr. Stanton is sick. I am going up to his room. You wait for me in the hall here."
At this time General Sherman's army was passing through the South and Mr. Lincoln was very anxious to confer with Mr. Stanton. He was upstairs with him about an hour, and when once more on the street he seemed lost in thought. Finally, as if thinking aloud he said: “Senator Harlan is a very good man."
“Yes," said the escort, “the Senator is highly spoken of.” No further conversation took place. In a short time Mr. Harlan was appointed Secretary of the Interior, and it is probable that his name was suggested to the President by Mr. Stanton during that interview.
Some one reported to Mr. Lincoln that General Joseph Singleton Mosby, of the Confederate Army, had said he would cross the Potomac River and attend one of the White House levees. If he did, no one ever knew of it but himself. However, one morning after a levee, a card was found in a snuffbox in the Green Room on which was written, “J. S. Mosby, Colonel C. S. A.”
Before the war broke out, brave Admiral Shufeldt, owing to the quietness of things, resigned and became captain of a vessel that ran from New York to Cuba. When the war began Mr. Lincoln recalled him to the navy and he was restored to his former rank. Mr. Lincoln said to him during the war, "Shufeldt, I want you to go down to Mexico, and see if you can arrange to have the Negroes colonized down there.” The Admiral did as requested, met with a very kind reception from President Juarez, who offered him the land south of Mexico for the purpose Mr. Lincoln had advised, and an escort of 75,000 soldiers. The letters that passed between Mr. Lincoln and Admiral Shufeldt on this subject were said never to have been seen except by four persons, namely, Mr. Lincoln, Secretary Seward, President Juarez and Admiral Shufeldt, as no record was kept of them owing to their not being placed on file in the State Department.
One day a Cabinet officer and I had been spending an hour with Mr. Lincoln. When the time came for us to depart the Secretary said: “Mr. President, I wish you would describe the proper manner of telling a story. How is it yours are so interesting?"
"Well," said Mr. Lincoln, "there are two ways of relating a story. If you have an auditor who has the time, and is inclined to listen, lengthen it out, pour it out slowly as if from a jug. If you have a poor listener, hasten it, shorten it, shoot it out of a pop-gun.
Mr. Lincoln was very much impressed with an address made over the coffin of his little son Willie. The day after the funeral he wrote me a note and asked me to write it out for him so he could give copies to his friends. He often