this remark to me one day in Washington
: “If ever this free people — this Government — is utterly demoralized, it will come from this human struggle for office — a way to live without work.”
It puzzled him a good deal, he said, to get at the root of this dreaded disease, which spread like contagion during the nation's death struggle.
Because he could not feel a deep interest in the things referred to, nor manifest the same interest in those who were engaged in the popular scramble, he was called indifferent — nay, ungrateful — to his friends.
This estimate of the man was a vary unjust as well as unfair one. Mr. Lincoln
loved his friends with commendable loyalty; in many cases he clung to them tenaciously, like iron to iron welded; and yet, because he could not be actively aroused, nor enter into the spirit of their anxiety for office, he was called ungrateful.
But he was not so. He may have seemed passive and lacking in interest; he may not have measured his friendly duties by the applicant's hot desire; but yet he was never ungrateful.
Neither was he a selfish man. He would never have performed an act, even to promote himself to the Presidency, if by that act any human being was wronged.
If it is said that he preferred Abraham Lincoln
to anyone else in the pursuit of his ambition, and that because of this he was a selfish man, then I can see no impropriety in the charge.
Under the same conditions we should all be equally guilty.
Remembering that Mr. Lincoln
's mind moved logically, slowly, and cautiously, the question of his