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ew gilded volumes that ornamented the centre-table in his parlor at home, comparatively no library. He never seemed to care to own or collect books. On the other hand I had a very respectable collection, and was adding to it every day. To my library Lincoln very frequently had access. When, therefore, he began on his inaugural speech he told me what works he intended to consult. I looked for a long fist, but when he went over it I was greatly surprised. He asked me to furnish him with Henry Clay's great speech delivered in 1850; Andrew Jackson's proclamation, against Nullification; and a copy of the Constitution. He afterwards called for Webster's reply to Hayne, a speech which he read when he lived at New Salem, and which he always regarded as the grandest specimen of American oratory. With these few volumes, and no further sources of reference, he locked himself up in a room upstairs over a store across the street from the State House, and there, cut off from all communication
or composition, it was to make short sentences and a compact style. Illustrative of this it might be well to state that he was a great admirer of the style of John C. Calhoun. I remember reading to him one of Mr. Calhoun's speeches in reply to Mr. Clay in the Senate, in which Mr. Clay had quoted, precedent. Mr. Calhoun replied (I quote from memory) that to legislate upon precedent is but to make the error of yesterday the law of today. Lincoln thought that was a great truth and grandly utterMr. Clay had quoted, precedent. Mr. Calhoun replied (I quote from memory) that to legislate upon precedent is but to make the error of yesterday the law of today. Lincoln thought that was a great truth and grandly uttered. Unlike all other men, there was entire harmony between his public and private life. He must believe he was right, and that he had truth and justice with him, or he was a weak man; but no man could be stronger if he thought he was right. His familiar conversations were like his speeches and letters in this: that while no set speech of his (save the Gettysburg address) will be considered as entirely artistic and complete, yet, when the gems of American literature come to be selected,
that he was a tricky man; but, in reality, it was the walk of caution and firmness. In sitting down on a common chair he was no taller than ordinary men. His legs and arms were abnormally, unnaturally long, and in undue proportion to the remainder of his body. It was only when he stood up that he loomed above other men. Mr. Lincoln's head was long, and tall from the base of the brain and from the eyebrows. His head ran backwards, his forehead rising as it ran back at a low angle, like Clay's, and unlike Webster's, which was almost perpendicular. The size of his hat measured at the hatter's block was seven and one-eighth, his head being, from ear to ear, six and one-half inches, and from the front to the back of the brain eight inches. Thus measured it was not below the medium size. His forehead was narrow but high; his hair was dark, almost black, and lay floating where his fingers or the winds left it, piled up at random. His cheek-bones were high, sharp, and prominent; his
es infrequent protracted meetings and revivals prominent preachers Doctor Bascom, the friend of Clay pulpit debates organization of the Campbellite Church teachers from Massachusetts progress in e of their sermons were real inspirations. Reverend Doctor Bascom, of Kentucky, the friend of Henry Clay, was one of the most eloquent divines I ever heard. It was never necessary to request quiet atold of Doctor Bascom that, after he was made chaplain of the Senate, through the influence of Henry Clay, he was so much elated over the elevation to the position that his first sermon was a failure. Mr. Clay was much chagrined, but in no sense felt the keen mortification which Mr. Bascom himself experienced. He returned to his lodgings, and prostrated himself in earnest prayer to be forgiven for his vainglorious attempt to preach with Mr. Bascom uppermost in his mind. In the afternoon Mr. Clay sought his friend, feeling great solicitude lest he were ill as the solution of the fiasco. As
General James Longstreet, From Manassas to Appomattox, Chapter 1: the Ante-bellum life of the author. (search)
y at St. Augustine, Florida. The soldier's life of those days was not encouraging to those of active aspirations; but influences were then at work that were beginning to brighten the horizon a little. The new republic of Texas was seeking annexation with the United States, which would endanger the peace between them and the republic of Mexico. Annexation of Texas became the supreme question of the canvass of 1844. James K. Polk was the nominee of the Democratic and annexation party, and Henry Clay was on the other side as the Whig nominee. Polk was elected, and his party prepared to signalize its triumph by annexation as soon as it came into power; but in the last days of President Tyler's administration, through skilful management of Secretary of State John C. Calhoun, joint resolutions of annexation were passed by both houses of Congress, subject to concurrence of the Congress of the new republic. Strange as it may seem, the resolutions that added to the territory of the United
ing to reelect him. The Whigs, on their part, had held their first national convention in December, 1831, and nominated Henry Clay to dispute the succession. This nomination, made almost a year in advance of the election, indicates an unusual degreed only three against him. Three months later it gave one hundred and eighty-five for the Jackson and only seventy for the Clay electors, proving Lincoln's personal popularity. He remembered for the remainder of his life with great pride that this wember 30, 1832, printed Jackson's nullification proclamation. The same paper, of March 9, 1833, contained an editorial on Clay's compromise, and that of the 16th had a notice of the great nullification debate in Congress. The speeches of Clay, CalhClay, Calhoun, and Webster were published in full during the following month, and Mr. Lincoln could not well help reading them and joining in the feelings and comments they provoked. While the town of New Salem was locally dying, the county of Sangamon and
ercise his patience. The Campbellite friends of Baker must have again been very active in behalf of their church favorite; for their influence, added to his dashing politics and eloquent oratory, appears to have secured him the nomination without serious contention, while Lincoln found a partial recompense in being nominated a candidate for presidential elector, which furnished him opportunity for all his party energy and zeal during the spirited but unsuccessful presidential campaign for Henry Clay. He not only made an extensive canvass in Illinois, but also made a number of speeches in the adjoining State of Indiana. It was probably during that year that a tacit agreement was reached among the Whig leaders in Sangamon County, that each would be satisfied with one term in Congress and would not seek a second nomination. But Hardin was the aspirant from the neighboring county of Morgan, and apparently therefore not included in this arrangement. Already, in the fall of 1845, Li
iving American statesman has ever been idolized by his party adherents as was Henry Clay for a whole generation, and Mr. Lincoln fully shared this hero-worship. But es, afforded him a basis for sound judgment, and convinced him that the day when Clay could have been elected President was forever passed. Mr. Clay's chance for Mr. Clay's chance for an election is just no chance at all, he wrote on April 30. He might get New York, and that would have elected in 1844, but it will not now, because he must now, at tination. Therefore don't fail to send a delegate. And again on the same day: Mr. Clay's letter has not advanced his interests any here. Several who were against Tath, by disease and in battle, they have en-(lured, and fought and fell with you. Clay and Webster each gave a son, never to be returned. From the State of my own rescted. I most heartily thank them for their kind partiality; and I can say, as Mr. Clay said of the annexation of Texas, that personally I would not object to a reele
n members in the legislature. Another circumstance had great influence in causing Lincoln's defeat. Douglas's opposition to the Lecompton Constitution in Congress had won him great sympathy among a few Republican leaders in the Eastern States. It was even whispered that Seward wished Douglas to succeed as a strong rebuke to the Buchanan administration. The most potent expression and influence of this feeling came, however, from another quarter. Senator Crittenden of Kentucky, who, since Clay's death in 1852, was the acknowledged leader of what remained of the Whig party, wrote a letter during the campaign, openly advocating the reelection of Douglas, and this, doubtless, influenced the vote of all the Illinois Whigs who had not yet formally joined the Republican party. Lincoln's own analysis gives, perhaps, the clearest view of the unusual political conditions: Douglas had three or four very distinguished men of the most extreme antislavery views of any men in the Republi
John G. Nicolay, The Outbreak of Rebellion, Chapter 11: Kentucky. (search)
ct of a Sovereignty State Convention, appropriations to purchase arms, and the immediate and active organization of the militia. None of these suggestions were, however, adopted by the Legislature, which contented itself for the present by protesting against coercion as unwise and inexpedient, and recommending a call for a national convention. While Kentucky sentiment was deeply pro-slavery, and business and commerce bound her strongly to the South, the patriotic example and teachings of Henry Clay had impressed upon her people a love and reverence for the Union higher and purer than any mere passing interest or selfish advantage. Nevertheless, as rebellion progressed, the State became seriously agitated and divided. When Sumter fell and the President issued his call for troops, Governor Magoffin insultingly refused compliance. This action in turn greatly excited the people of the three Border Free States of Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois, who thus beheld a not remote prospect of
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