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Early days—Davis and Lincoln.

After the Revolutionary war Samuel Davis, who had served in it as one of the mounted men of Georgia, settled in Kentucky. Pending the war, in 1782 (the very year that George Rogers Clarke captured Kaskaskia), Thomas Lincoln, of Rockingham county, Virginia, removed to the same State. Jefferson Davis, the son of the first named settler, was born on June 3, 1808, and on February 12, 1809, was born the son of the other—Abraham Lincoln. Samuel Davis moved to Mississippi. His son became a cadet at West Point under appointment from President Monroe, and soon, commissioned as a lieutenant in the United States army, appeared in the service fighting [126] the Indians on the frontier in the Blackhawk war. In early manhood Abraham Lincoln removed to Illinois, and, now, becoming a captain of volunteers, he and Jefferson Davis were under the same flag engaged in the same warfare.

John Hampden and Oliver Cromwell had once engaged passage for America, and George Washington was about to become a midshipman in the British navy. Had not circumstances changed these plans Hampden and Cromwell might have become great names in American history. And suppose Admiral George Washington, under the colors of King George III., had been pursuing the Count D'Estaing, whose French fleet hemmed Cornwallis in at Yorktown—who knows how the story of the great Revolution might have been written? Had Jefferson Davis gone to Illinois and Lincoln to Mississippi, what different histories would be around those names; and yet I fancy that the great struggle with which they were identified would have been changed only in incidents and not in its great currents.

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