political campaign brought into play all his tact and management and developed to its fullest extent his latent industry.
In common with other politicians he never overlooked a newspaper man who had it in his power to say a good or bad thing of him. The press of that day was not so powerful an institution as now, but ambitious politicians courted the favor of a newspaper man with as much zeal as the same class of men have done in later days.
I remember a letter Lincoln
once wrote to the editor of an obscure little country newspaper in southern Illinois
in which he warms up to him in the following style.1
: I have been reading your paper for three or four years and have paid you nothing for it.”
He then encloses ten dollars and adminishes the editor with innocent complacency: “Put it into your pocket, saying nothing further about it.”
Very soon thereafter, he prepared an article on political matters and sent it to the rural journalist, requesting its publication in the editorial columns of his “valued paper,” but the latter having followed Lincoln
's directions and stowed the ten dollars away in his pocket, and alive to the importance of his journal's influence, declined, “because,” he said, “I long ago made it a rule to publish nothing as editorial matter not written by himself.”
read the editor's answer to me. Although the laugh was on Lincoln
he enjoyed the joke heartily.
“That editor,” he said, “has a rather lofty but proper conception of true journalism.”