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Francis B. Carpenter, Six Months at the White House, Xii. (search)
to high positions in a democratic government — the tribute those filling them were compelled to pay to the public. Great men, said Mr. Lincoln, have various estimates. When Daniel Webster made his tour through the West years ago, he visited Springfield among other places, where great preparations had been made to receive him. As the procession was going through the town, a barefooted little darkey boy pulled the sleeve of a man named T., and asked,--What the folks were all doing down the street? Why, Jack, was the reply, the biggest man in the world is coming. Now, there lived in Springfield a man by the name of G.,--a very corpulent man, Jack darted off down the street, but presently returned, with a very disappointed air. Well, did you see him? inquired T. Yees, returned Jack; but laws — he ain't half as big as old G. Shortly afterward, he spoke of Mr. Ewing, who was in both President Harrison's and President Taylor's cabinet. Those men, said he, were, you know, when ele
Francis B. Carpenter, Six Months at the White House, XXXI. (search)
f private life in a country town to the dignities and duties of the Presidency, feel it incumbent upon him to assume something of the manner and tone befitting that position. Mr. Lincoln never seemed to be aware that his place or his business were essentially different from those in which he had always been engaged. He brought to every question — the loftiest and most imposing — the same patient inquiry into details, the same eager longing to know and to do exactly what was just and right, and the same working-day, plodding, laborious devotion, which characterized his management of a client's case at his law office in Springfield. He had duties to perform in both places — in the one case to his country, as to his client in the other. But all duties were alike to him. All called equally upon him for the best service of his mind and heart, and all were alike performed with a conscientious, single-hearted devotion that knew no distinction, but was absolute and perfect in every
Francis B. Carpenter, Six Months at the White House, Xxxvii. (search)
ot far out of the way. His statement seems very characteristic of what Abraham Lincoln may be supposed to have been at twenty-three or twenty-five years of age. Mr. G. B. Lincoln also told me of an amusing circumstance which took place at Springfield soon after Mr. Lincoln's nomination in 1860. A hatter in Brooklyn secretly obtained the size of the future President's head, and made for him a very elegant hat, which he sent by his townsman, Lincoln, to Springfield. About the time it was pSpringfield. About the time it was presented, various other testimonials of a similar character had come in from different sections. Mr. Lincoln took the hat,, and after admiring its texture and workmanship, put it on his head and walked up to a looking-glass. Glancing from the reflection to Mrs. Lincoln, he said, with his peculiar twinkle of the eye, Well, wife, there is one thing likely to come out of this scrape, anyhow. We are going to have some new clothes! One afternoon during the summer of 1862, the President accompa
Francis B. Carpenter, Six Months at the White House, Xxxix. (search)
e funeral, the President resumed his official duties, but mechanically, and with a terrible weight at his heart. The following Thursday he gave way to his feelings, and shut himself from all society. The second Thursday it was the same; he would see no one, and seemed a prey to the deepest melancholy. About this time the Rev. Francis Vinton, of Trinity Church, New York, had occasion to spend a few days in Washington. An acquaintance of Mrs. Lincoln and of her sister, Mrs. Edwards, of Springfield, he was requested by them to come up and see the President. The setting apart of Thursday for the indulgence of his grief had gone on for several weeks, and Mrs. Lincoln began to be seriously alarmed for the health of her husband, of which fact Dr. Vinton was apprised. Mr. Lincoln received him in the parlor, and an opportunity was soon embraced by the clergyman to chide him for showing so rebellious a disposition to the decrees of Providence. He told him plainly that the indulgence of
Francis B. Carpenter, Six Months at the White House, Xl. (search)
Xl. Among my visitors in the early part of May was the Hon. Mr. Alley, of Massachusetts, who gave me a deeply interesting inside glimpse of the Chicago Republican Convention in 1860. The popular current had, at first, set very strongly in favor of Mr. Seward, who, many supposed, would be nominated almost by acclamation. The evening before the balloting the excitement was at the highest pitch. Mr. Lincoln was telegraphed at Springfield, that his chances with the Convention depended upon obtaining the votes of two delegations which were named in the despatch; and that, to secure this support, he must pledge himself, if elected, to give places in his Cabinet to the respective heads of those delegations. A reply was immediately returned over the wires, characteristic of the man. It was to this effect:-- I authorize no bargains, and will be bound by none. A. Lincoln. It is unquestionable that the country was not prepared for the final action of this Convention. In vari
Francis B. Carpenter, Six Months at the White House, Xlvi. (search)
y greeting, Mr. Shannon said:-- Mr. President, I met an old friend of yours in California last summer, Thompson Campbell, who had a good deal to say of your Springfield life. Ah! returned Mr. Lincoln, I am glad to hear of him. Campbell used to be a dry fellow, he continued. For a time he was Secretary of State. One day, dun informed that Mr. C. had the letting of the Assembly Chamber, said that he wished to secure it, if possible, for a course of lectures he desired to deliver in Springfield. May I ask, said the Secretary, what is to be the subject of your lectures? Certainly, was the reply, with a very solemn expression of countenance. The coursur Lord. It is of no use, said C. If you will take my advice, you will not waste your time in this city. It is my private opinion that if the Lord has been in Springfield once, He will not come the second time! Representative Shannon, previous to the war, had been an Old Hunker Democrat. Converted by the Rebellion, he had go
Francis B. Carpenter, Six Months at the White House, Xlvii. (search)
r, and the tragedy of Hamlet, would have broken, had it not also had the humor of the Merry Wives of Windsor, and the merriment of Midsummer Night's Dream. With equal justice can this profound truth be applied to the late President. The world has had no better illustration of it since the immortal plays were written. Mr. Lincoln's laugh stood by itself. The neigh of a wild horse on his native prairie is not more undisguised and hearty. A group of gentlemen, among whom was his old Springfield friend and associate, Hon. Isaac N. Arnold, were one day conversing in the passage near his office, while waiting admission. A congressional delegation had preceded them, and presently an unmistakable voice was heard through the partition, in a burst of mirth. Mr. Arnold remarked, as the sound died away: That laugh has been the President's life-preserver! In a corner of his desk he kept a copy of the latest humorous work; and it was his habit when greatly fatigued, annoyed, or depres
Francis B. Carpenter, Six Months at the White House, Lvi. (search)
Chicago, Mr. Newton Bateman, Superintendent of Public Instruction for the State of Illinois, occupied a room adjoining and opening into the Executive Chamber at Springfield. Frequently this door was open during Mr. Lincoln's receptions, and throughout the seven months or more of his occupation, he saw him nearly every day. Often wruders, and called Mr. Bateman into his room for a quiet talk. On one of these occasions Mr. Lincoln took up a book containing a careful canvass of the city of Springfield in which he lived, showing the candidate for whom each citizen had declared it his intention to vote in the approaching election. Mr. Lincoln's friends had, do Mr. Bateman to a seat by his side, having previously locked all the doors, he said: Let us look over this book; I wish particularly to see how the ministers of Springfield are going to vote. The leaves were turned, one by one, and as the names were examined Mr. Lincoln frequently asked if this one and that were not a minister, or
Francis B. Carpenter, Six Months at the White House, Lxi. (search)
t heard from, and said:-- It is just as I thought it was. He is close upon — County, where the slaves are thickest. Now we ought to get a heap of them, when he returns. This conversation occurred, I recollect, just after his solitary lunch,--the family being away at the time. It was often a matter of surprise to me how the President sustained life; for it seemed, some weeks, as though he neither ate nor slept. His habits continued as simple as when he was a practising lawyer in Springfield, but they came to be very irregular. During the months of my intercourse with him he rarely entertained company at dinner. Almost daily, at this hour, I met a servant carrying a simple meal upon a tray up-stairs, where it was received, perhaps two hours later, in the most unceremonious manner. I knew this irregularity of life was his own fault; but the wonder as to how his system endured the strain brought to bear upon it was not lessened by this knowledge. All familiar with him wi
Francis B. Carpenter, Six Months at the White House, Lxviii. (search)
rs in this canvass. Soon after Mr. Lincoln entered upon the practice of his profession at Springfield, he was engaged in a criminal case in which it was thought there was little chance of success. No! he rejoined, very emphatically; I had enough of that sort of thing all the way from Springfield to Washington. Seward, said he, turning over in his berth, you go out and repeat some of youountry knows full well. Boston Commonwealth. Governor Yates, of Illinois, in a speech at Springfield, quoted one of Mr. Lincoln's early friends — W. T. Greene — as having said that the first tim, and then said, Without any disrespect, gentlemen, I will tell you a little story. Once, in Springfield, I was going off on a short journey, and reached the depot a little ahead of time. Leaning a of the Confederacy, anxiously asked what he would do with Jeff. Davis? There was a boy in Springfield, rejoined Mr. Lincoln, who saved up his money and bought a coon, which, after the novelty wor
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