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Francis B. Carpenter, Six Months at the White House, VI. (search)
. Mr. Lincoln did not hear from him directly after he left Washington. Through a friend I learned by letter that he was lying at the point of death. This intelligence I communicated to the President the same evening, in the vestibule of the White House,--meeting him on his way to the War Department. He was deeply affected by it. His only words were, Lovejoy was the best friend I had in Congress. To return from this pardonable digression,--I took the note of introduction at once to the WhWhite House; but no opportunity was afforded me of presenting it during the day. The following morning passed with the same result, and I then resolved to avail myself of Mrs. Lincoln's Saturday afternoon reception — at which, I was told, the President would be present — to make myself known to him. Two o'clock found me one of the throng pressing toward the centre of attraction, the blue room. From the threshold of the crimson parlor as I passed, I had a glimpse of the gaunt figure of Mr. Lincol
Francis B. Carpenter, Six Months at the White House, X. (search)
X. We will turn you in loose here, proved an open sesame to me during the subsequent months of my occupation at the White House. My access to the official chamber was made nearly as free as that of the private secretaries, unless special business was being transacted. Sometimes a stranger, approaching the President with a low tone, would turn an inquiring eye toward the place where I sat, absorbed frequently in a pencil sketch of some object in the room. This would be met by the hearty tones of Mr. Lincoln,--I can hear them yet ringing in my ears,--Oh, you need not mind him; he is but a painter. There was a satisfaction to me, differing from that of any other experience, in simply sitting with him. Absorbed in his papers, he would become unconscious of my presence, while I intently studied every line and shade of expression in that furrowed face. In repose, it was the saddest face I ever knew. There were days when I could scarcely look into it without crying. During the f
Francis B. Carpenter, Six Months at the White House, Xiv. (search)
Xiv. The examples given of the observations of two days, are fair illustrations of the usual White House routine, varied of course by official or diplomatic business, and a greater or less pressure of visitors, some of whom would linger in the anteroom day after day, waiting admission. The incidents of no two days could of course be alike. I shall never cease to regret that an additional private secretary could not have been appointed, whose exclusive duty it should have been to look after and keep a record of all cases appealing to executive clemency. It would have afforded full employment for one man, at least; and such a volume would now be beyond all price. Just before leaving for Washington, I met a brother artist, who, upon learning of my proposed purpose, laid before me the details of an interesting case, concerning his only son, begging me to bring the circumstances to the President's knowledge. When the war broke out the young man in question was living at the S
Francis B. Carpenter, Six Months at the White House, Xv. (search)
Xv. Wednesday night, February 10th, was an exciting one at the White House, the stables belonging to the mansion being burned to the ground. The loss most severely felt was of the two ponies, one of which had belonged to Willie Lincoln, the President's second son, who died in 1862, and the other to Tad, the youngest, and pet of his father, who in his infancy nicknamed him Tadpole subsequently abbreviated to Taddie, and then) Tad. His real name is Thomas, named for the father of Mr. Lincoln. Upon Tad's learning of the loss, he threw himself at full length upon the floor, and could not be comforted. The only allusion I ever heard the President make to Willie was on this occasion, in connection with the loss of his pony. John Hay, the assistant private secretary, told me that he was rarely known to speak of his lost son. The morning following the fire, Robert Lincoln came into his father's office, and said he had a point of law which he wished to submit. It appeared that o
Francis B. Carpenter, Six Months at the White House, XX. (search)
ghtly. He had an almost morbid dislike for an escort, or guide, and daily exposed himself to the deadly aim of an assassin. One summer morning, passing by the White House at an early hour, I saw the President standing at the gateway, looking anxiously down the street; and, in reply to a salutation, he said, Good morning, good more simple, and must be, assassination is always possible, and will come, if they are determined upon it. A cavalry guard was once placed at the gates of the White House for a while, and he said, privately, that he worried until he got rid of it, While the President's family were at their summer-house, near Washington, he rode ito be, an emperor. This expression, writes Colonel Halpine, called my attention afresh to what I had remarked to myself almost every time I entered the White House, and to which I had very frequently called the attention both of Major Hay and General Halleckthe utterly unprotected condition of the President's person, and t
Francis B. Carpenter, Six Months at the White House, Xxiv. (search)
Xxiv. Mr. George Thompson, the English anti-slavery orator, delivered an address in the House of Representatives, to a large audience, April 6th, 1864. Among the distinguished persons present was President Lincoln, who was greatly interested. The following morning, Mr. Thompson and party, consisting of Rev. John Pierpont, Oliver Johnson, formerly President of the Anti-Slavery Society of New York, and the Hon. Lewis Clephane, of Washington, called at the White House. The President was alone when their names were announced, with the exception of myself. Dropping all business, he ordered the party to be immediately admitted. Greeting them very cordially, the gentlemen took seats, and Mr. Thompson commenced conversation by referring to the condition of public sentiment in England in regard to the great conflict the nation was passing through. He said the aristocracy and the money interest were desirous of seeing the Union broken up, but that the great heart of the masses beat
Francis B. Carpenter, Six Months at the White House, Xxvi. (search)
ented by the thronging columns of the day's review, in so many of which there was henceforth to be weary watching and waiting for footsteps which would return no more. I took this opportunity to get at the truth concerning a newspaper story which went the rounds a year or two previous, purporting to be an account of a meeting of the loyal Governors in Washington, early in the war. It was stated that the President laid the condition of the country before such a council, convened at the White House, and anxiously awaited the result. An oppressive silence followed. Curtin was represented as having been standing, looking out of one of the windows, drumming unconsciously upon a pane of glass. Mr. Lincoln, at length addressing him personally, said: Andy, what is Pennsylvania going to do? Turning around, Curtin replied: She is going to send twenty thousand men to start with, and will double it, if necessary! This noble response [quoted from memory] overwhelmed the President, and li
Francis B. Carpenter, Six Months at the White House, XXXI. (search)
XXXI. The day after the review of Burnside's division, some photographers from Brady's Gallery came up to the White House to make some stereoscopic studies for me of the President's office. They requested a dark closet, in which to develop the pictures; and without a thought that I was infringing upon anybody's rights, I took them to an unoccupied room of which little Tad had taken possession a few days before, and with the aid of a couple of the servants, had fitted up as a miniature theatre, with stage, curtains, orchestra, stalls, parquette, and all. Knowing that the use required would interfere with none of his arrangements, I led the way to this apartment. Everything went on well, and one or two pictures had been taken, when suddenly there was an uproar. The operator came back to the office, and said that Tad had taken great offence at the occupation of his room without his consent, and had locked the door, refusing all admission. The chemicals had been taken inside,
Francis B. Carpenter, Six Months at the White House, Xxxvi. (search)
Xxxvi. A great deal has been said of the uniform meekness and kindness of heart of Mr. Lincoln, but there would sometimes be afforded evidence that one grain of sand too much would break even this camel's back. Among the callers at the White House one day, was an officer who had been cashiered from the service. He had prepared an elaborate defence of himself, which he consumed much time in reading to the President. When he had finished, Mr. Lincoln replied, that even upon his own statement of the case, the facts would not warrant executive interference. Disappointed, and considerably crestfallen, the man withdrew. A few days afterward he made a second attempt to alter the President's convictions, going over substantially the same ground, and occupying about the same space of time, but without accomplishing his end. The third time he succeeded in forcing himself into Mr. Lincoln's presence, who with great forbearance listened to another repetition of the case to its conclusi
Francis B. Carpenter, Six Months at the White House, Xli. (search)
ers to me? This went on for a few months, and he then modified this practice by requesting a synopsis of the contents. His time became more and more curtailed, and for the last year his only expression was, Show me where you want my name? It is not generally known that the speech always made by the President, upon the presentation of a foreign minister, is carefully written for him by the Secretary of State. A clerk in the department, ignorant of this custom, was one day sent to the White House by Mr. Seward, with the speech to be delivered upon such an occasion. Mr. Lincoln was writing at his desk, as the clerk entered--a half-dozen senators and representatives occupying the sofa and chairs. Unable to disguise a feeling of delicacy, in the discharge of such an errand, the young man approached, and in a low voice said to the President: The Secretary has sent the speech you are to make to-day to the Swiss minister. Mr. Lincoln laid down his pen, and, taking the manuscript, sai
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