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should be relieved from his own unsatisfactory lot of hopeless endeavor, where the very genius loci was against him.
Therefore, early in October, 1816, when Abraham was nearly eight years old, and had been in school but a brief period, the family removed to Indiana, and settled in Spencer County, in the southern part of the State, near the Ohio River, about midway between Louisville and Evansville.
· The farm and homestead which Thomas Lincoln sold could not have been very valuable; for the equivalent received was ten barrels of whiskey, valued at two hundred and eighty dollars, and twenty dollars in money. Mr. Lincoln was a temperate man, and consented to this arrangement, not from any love of the "fire-water," but because it was a customary transaction, and, in those days, regarded as perfectly proper.
The following description of the exodus from Kentucky presents such a graphic idea of the early days of President Lincoln, that it is quoted verbatim. The author is anonymous; but it is believed to be correct in every particular:
"The homestead was within a mile or two of the Rolling Fork River; and, as soon as the sale was effected, Mr. Lincoln, with such slight assistance as little Abe could give him, hewed out a flat-boat, and, launching it, filled it with his household articles and tools and the barrels of whiskey, and bidding adieu to his son, who stood upon the bank, pushed off, and was soon floating down the stream, on his way to Indiana to select a new home. His journey down the Rolling Fork and into the Ohio River was successfully accomplished; but, soon afterwards, his boat was unfortunately upset, and its cargo thrown into the water. Some men standing on the bank wit
nessed the accident, and saved the boat and its owner; but all the contents of the craft were lost, except a few carpenter's tools, axes, three barrels of whiskey, and some other articles. He again started, and proceeded to a well-known ferry on the river, from whence he was guided into the interior by a resident of the section of country in which he had landed, and to whom he had given his boat in payment for his services. After several days of difficult travelling, much of the time employed in cutting a road through the forest wide enough for a team, eighteen miles were accomplished, and Spencer County, Ind., was reached. The site for his new home having been determined upon, Mr. Lincoln left his goods under the care of a person who lived a few miles distant, and, returning to Kentucky on foot, made preparations to remove his family. In a few days, the party bade farewell to their old home and slavery; Mrs. Lincoln and her daughter riding one horse, Abe another, and the father a third. After a seven-days' journey through an uninhabited country, their resting-place at night being a blanket spread upon the ground, they arrived at the spot selected for their future residence; and no unnecessary delays were permitted to interfere with the immediate and successful clearing of a site for a cabin. An axe was placed in Abe's hands; and, with the additional assistance of a neighbor, in two or three days Mr. Lincoln had a neat house of about eighteen feet square, the logs composing which being fastened together in the usual manner by notches, and the cracks between them filled with mud. It had only one room; but some slabs laid across logs overhead gave additional accommodations, which were obtained by climbing a rough ladder in one A bed, table, and four stools, were then made by the two settlers, father and son; and the building was
ready for occupancy. The loft was Abe's bed-room; and there, night after night, for many years, he who now occupies the most exalted position in the gift of the American people, and who dwells in the White House at Washington, surrounded by all the comforts that wealth and power can give, slumbered, with one coarse blanket for his mattress, and another for his covering.
"Although busy during the ensuing winter with his axe, he did not neglect his reading and spelling, and also practised frequently with a rifle; the first evidence of his skill as a marksman being manifested, much to the delight of his parents, in the killing of a wild turkey, which had approached too near the cabin. The knowledge of the use of the rifle was indispensable in the border settlements at that time, as the greater portion of the food required for the settlers was procured by it; and the family which had not among its male members one or more who could discharge it with accuracy was very apt to suffer from a scarcity of comestibles."
When Abe went to Mr. Hazel's school in Kentucky he took with him a copy of Dillworth's Spelling-book, one of the three books which composed the whole of the family library. The Bible and Catechism were the other two. Diligently conned, and even well-studied, his scanty early library did much to form the character of the child and the man. The spelling-book was the key to unlock for him all the treasures of knowledge he afterward made his own. From Esop's lesson-fraught fables, soon after presented to him, he gained the aptness of illustration which has made "the President's last anecdote" a byword; and from the best of books and Catechism he gathered those ripe sheaves of wisdom which fitted him for his place in life and in history.
His mother-noble and blessed woman was his inspiration. She was determined that her son should at least learn to read his Bible; and, before God called her to dwell with the angels, she had the satisfaction of seeing him read the volume which he never afterward neglected. Abraham's mother might have said, as did Mary the mother of Jesus, "From henceforth all generations shall call me blessed;" and while this nation shall revere the name and memory of the mother of George Washington, side by side with hers will it write the name of the mother of Abraham Lincoln. The parallel between Washington and Lincoln does not linger here. It pauses not till the bells toll a requiem, and a nation once more weeps over its beloved dead. True, there were apparent points of difference, but only such as, under Providence, were needed to fit each for their separate duties and destinies as leaders of the American people in their two great wars, one for national independence, the other for national unity.
Washington was of a family renowned in English
heraldry. Lincoln could trace an honorable descent from Quaker stock in Pennslyvania.
"Washington was the natural representative of national independence. He might also have represented national unity, had this principle been challenged to bloody battle during his life; for nothing was nearer his heart than the consolidation of our Union, which, in his letter to Congress transmitting the Constitution, he declared to be the greatest interest of every true American. ... But another person was needed, of different birth and simpler life, to represent the ideas which were now assailed."*
There were not a few contrasts-in origin, in early life, in condition and opportunities-between Washington and Lincoln, but the parallels are more numerous; and Washington himself had a mighty influence on the boy Lincoln through the record of his life, which Abraham read while yet a dweller in the rude log-cabin on the outskirts of civilization. One biographer + of Lincoln says, "The hatchet story of Washington, which has done more to make boys truthful than a hundred solemn exhortations, made a strong impression upon Abraham, and was one of those unseen, gentle influences which helped to form his character for integrity and honesty. Its effect may be traced in the following story, which bids fair to become as never-failing an accompaniment to a Life of Lincoln as the hatchet case to that of Washington:
"Mr. Crawford had lent him a copy of Ramsay's 'Life of Washington.' During a severe storm, Abraham improved his leisure by reading this book. One night he laid it down carefully, as he thought, and the next morn
*"Eulogy on Abraham Lincoln," by Hon. Charles Sumner.