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[604] general thing, founded on arbitrary thoughts and ideas, and not on reason, truth, and the right. These things seemed to him lacking in substance, and he disregarded them because they cramped the originality of his genius. What suited a little narrow, critical mind did not suit Mr. Lincoln any more than a child's clothes would fit his father's body. Generally he took no interest in town affairs or local elections; he attended no meetings that pertained to local interests. He did not care — because by reason of his nature he could not — who succeeded to the presidency of this or that society or railroad company; who made the most money; who was going to Philadelphia, and what were the costs of such a trip; who was going to be married; who among his friends got this office or that — who was elected street commissioner or health inspector. No principle of truth, right, or justice being involved in any of these things he could not be moved by them.1 He could not understand why men struggled so desperately for the little glory or lesser salary the small offices afforded. He made

1 A bitter, malignant fool who always had opposed Lincoln and his friends, and had lost no opportunity to abuse them, induced Lincoln to go to the Governor of Illinois and recommend him for an important office in the State Militia. There being no principle at stake Lincoln could not refuse the request. When his friends heard of it they were furious in their denunciation of his action. It mortified him greatly to learn that he had displeased them. “And yet,” he said, a few days later, dwelling on the matter to me in the office, “I couldn't well refuse the little the fellow asked of me. Sometimes I feel,” he added, dryly, “that it's a good thing I wasn't born a woman.”

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