I only relate this incident to illustrate Lincoln
's far seeing capacity; it serves to show how over cautious he seemed to be with regard to how his record might look in the future.
I venture the assertion that he was the only member of the bar in Springfield
who would have taken such a conscientious view of the matter.
One phase of Lincoln
's character, almost lost sight of in the commonly accepted belief in his humility and kindly feeling under all circumstances, was his righteous indignation when aroused.
In such cases he was the most fearless man I ever knew.
I remember a murder case in which we appeared for the defense, and during the trial of which the judge — a man of ability far inferior to Lincoln
's — kept ruling against us. Finally, a very material question, in fact one around which the entire case seemed to revolve, came up, and again the Court
The prosecution was jubilant, and Lincoln
, seeing defeat certain unless he recovered his ground, grew very despondent.
The notion crept into his head that the Court
's rulings, which were absurd and almost spiteful, were aimed at him, and this angered him beyond reason.
He told me of his feelings at dinner, and said: “I have determined to crowd the Court
to the wall and regain my position before night.”
From that time forward it was interesting to watch him. At the reassembling of court he arose to read a few authorities in support of his position.
In his comments he kept within the bounds of propriety just far enough to avoid a reprimand for contempt of court.