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much easier to see and converse with a great man than a small man.
On that occasion he said:
"Douglas, you need not tell me who you are, Mr. Seward has told me all about you."
I then saw that there was no reason to tell him my personal story, however interesting it might be to myself or others, so I told him at once the object of my visit. It was to get some expression from him upon three points.
I. Equal pay to colored soldiers.
Their promotion when they had earned it on the battlefield.
3. Should they be taken prisoners and enslaved or hanged, as Jefferson Davis had threatened, an equal number of Confederate prisoners should be executed within our lines.
A declaration to that effect I thought would prevent the execution of the rebel threat. To all but the last President Lincoln assented, He argued, however, that neither equal pay nor promotion could be granted at once. He said that in view of existing prejudices it was a great step forward to employ colored troops at all; that it was necessary to avoid everything that would offend this prejudice and increase opposition to the measure.
He detailed the steps by which white soldiers were reconciled to the employment of colored troops; how these were first employed as laborers; how it was thought they should not be armed or uniformed like white soldiers; how they should only be made to wear a peculiar uniform; how they should be employed to hold forts and
arsenals in sickly locations, and not enter the field like other soldiers.
With all these restrictions and limitations he easily made me see that much would be gained when the colored man loomed before the country as a full-fledged United States soldier to fight, flourish or fall in defense of a united republic. The great soul of Lincoln halted only when he came to the point of retaliation.
The thought of hanging men in cold blood, even though the rebels should murder a few of the colored prisoners, was a horror from which he shrunk.
"Oh, Douglas! I cannot do that. If I could get hold of the actual murderers of colored prisoners, I would retaliate; but to hang those who had no hand in such murders, I cannot."
The contemplation of such an act brought to his countenance such an expression of sadness and pity that it made it hard for me to press my point, though I told him it would tend to save rather than destroy life. He, however, insisted that this work of blood once begun would be hard to stop; that such violence would beget violence. He argued more like a disciple of Christ than a commander-in-chief of the army and navy of a warlike nation already involved in a terrible war.
How sad and strange the fate of this great and good man, the savior of his country, the embodiment of human charity, whose heart, though strong, was as tender as the heart of childhood; who always tempered justice with mercy; who sought to supplant the sword with the counsel of reason, to suppress passion by kindness and moderation; who had a sigh for every human grief and a tear for every human woe, should at last perish by the
hand of a desperate assassin, against whom no thought of malice had ever entered his heart.
Dr. Edwards Bumping the President.
The popular editor of the Northwestern Advocate, Dr. Arthur Edwards, is responsible for the following, which we take from the editorials of his excellent paper:
Early in the war it became this writer's duty, for a brief period, to carry certain reports to the War Department in Washington, at about nine in the morning. Being late one morning, we were in a desperate hurry to deliver the papers in order to be able to catch the train returning to camp.
On the winding, dark staircase of the old War Department, which many will remember, it was our misfortune, while taking about three stairs at a time, to run a certain head like a catapult into the body of the President, striking him in the region of the right lower vest pocket.
The usual surprised and relaxed human grunt of a man thus assailed came promptly. We quickly sent an apology in the direction of the dimly seen form, feeling that the ungracious shock was expensive, even to the humblest clerk in the department.
A second glance revealed to us the President as the victim of the collision. Then followed a special tender of "ten thousand pardons," and the President's reply:
“One's enough; I wish the whole army would charge like that."
Lincoln "Taking Up a Collection."
While the army of the Potomac was near Falmouth, on the river opposite Fredericksburg, Va., early in the war, Mr. Lincoln reviewed, says Dr. Edwards in the Northwestern Advocate, and inspected that splendid body of troops, 100,000 strong. Those who were pres
ent remember the quiet Dobbin ridden by the President. The steed proceeded soberly, as if he had been put upon his equine honor to be kind to his illustrious rider.
During a part of the formality when the reviewing officer or personage is specially the center of all eyes, Mr. Lincoln carried his tall "plug hat" in his hand, and, as he bumped up and down in his saddle, bowed right and left to the magnificent military lines. The right arm was extended almost horizontally, and the hand grasped the hat's ample brim.
The whole aspect of the now historic man abundantly justified the suggestion of a certain Methodist who was present, to the effect that "the dear old gentleman looks as if he were about to take up a collection."
The joker was discounted on the ground that he was indulging in his Methodfst traditions as far as the collection was concerned, but the second look at the horse and rider aided many a kindly smile. It was said at the time that Mr. Lincoln's visit to the army was in part to enable him to escape the importunities of office-seekers and industrious advisers in Washington.
An Inauguration Incident.
Noah Brooks, in his "Reminiscences," relates the following incident:
While the ceremonies of the second inauguration were in progress, just as Lincoln stepped forward to take the oath of office, the sun, which had been obscured by rainclouds, burst forth in splendor. In conversation the next day, the President asked:
"Did you notice that sun-burst? It made my heart jump."
Later in the month, Miss Anna Dickinson, in a lecture delivered in the hall of the House of Representatives, elo. quently alluded to the sun-burst as a happy omen. The President sat directly in front of the speaker, and from the reporter's gallery, behind her, I had caught his eye, soon after he sat down. When Miss Dickinson referred to the sunbeam, he looked up to me, involuntarily, and I thought his eyes were suffused with moisture. Perhaps they were; but the next day he said:
"I wonder if Miss Dickinson saw me wink at you?"
The Brigadier Generals and the Horses.
When President Lincoln heard of the rebel raid at Fairfax, in which a brigadier-general and a number of valuable horses were captured, he gravely observed:
"Well, I am sorry for the horses."
"Sorry for the horses, Mr. President!' exclaimed the Secretary of War, raising his spectacles, and throwing himself back in his chair in astonishment.
"Yes," replied Mr. Lincoln, "I can make a brigadier