his irreparable loss.
THE Black Hawk war was not a very remarkable affair.
It made no military reputations, but it was noteworthy in
the single fact that the two simplest, homliest and truest
men engaged in it afterward became Presidents of the
United States, viz : General (then Colonel) Zachary Taylor,
and Abraham Lincoln. Mr. Lincoln never spoke of it as
anything more than an interesting episode in his life, except
upon one occasion when he used it as an instrument for
turning the military pretensions of another into ridicule.
STATE CAPITOL AT 'SPRINGFIELD, ILL.
PROFESSIONAL LIFE. 55
PROFESSIONAL LIFE STORIES.
How Lincoln and Judge B Swapped Horses.
When Abraham Lincoln was a lawyer in Illinois, he and
a certain Judge once got to bantering one another about
trading horses; and it was agreed that the next morning at
9 o'clock they should make a trade, the horses to be unseen
up to that hour, and no backing out, under a forfeiture
At the hour appointed the Judge came up, leading the
sorriest-looking specimen of a horse ever seen in those
parts. In a few minutes Mr. Lincoln was seen approach-
ing with a wooden saw-horse upon his shoulders. Great
were the shouts and the laughter of the crowd, and both
were greatly increased when Mr. Lincoln, on surveying the
Judge's animal, set down his saw-horse, and exclaimed:
"Well, Judge, this is the first time I ever got the worst of
it in a horse trade."
A Remarkable Law Suit About a Colt How Lincoln Won the
Case Thirty-Four Men Against Thirty Men
and Two Brutes.
The controversy was about a colt, in which thirty-four
witnesses swore that they had known the colt from its fall-
ing, and that it was the property of the plaintiff, while
thirty swore that they had known the colt from its falling,
and that it was the property of the defendant. It may be
stated, at starting, that these witnesses were all honest, and
that the mistake grew out of the exact resemblances which
two colts bore to each other.
56 LINCOLN STORIES.
One circumstance was proven by all the witnesses, or
nearly all of them, viz. : that the two claimants of the colt
agreed to meet on a certain day with the two mares which
were respectively claimed to be the dams of the colt, and
permit the colt to decide which of the two he belonged to.
The meeting occurred according to agreement, and, as it
was a singular case and excited a good deal of popular in-
terest, there were probably a hundred men assembled on
their horses and mares, from far and near.
Now, the colt really belonged to the defendant in the
case. It had strayed away and fallen into company with
the plaintiff's horses. The plaintiff's colt had, at the same
time, strayed away, and had not returned, and was not to
be found. The moment the two mares were brought upon
the ground, the defendant's mare and the colt gave signs of
recognition. The colt went to its dam, and would not
leave her. They fondled each other ; and, ^ although the
plaintiff brought his mare between them, and tried in
various ways to divert the colt's attention, the colt would
not be separated from its dam. It then followed her home,
a distance of eight or ten miles, and, when within a mile or
two of the stables, took a short cut to them in advance of
its dam. The plaintiff had sued to recover the colt thus
gone back te its owner.
In the presentation of this case to the jury, *there were
thirty-four witnesses on the side of the plaintiff, while the
defendant had, on his side, only thirty witnesses; but he
had on his side the colt itself and its dam thirty-four men
against thirty men and two brutes. Here was a case that
was to be decided by the preponderance of evidence. All
the witnesses were equally positive, and equally credible.
Mr. Lincoln was on the side of the defendant, and con-
tended that the voice of nature in the mare and colt ought
to outweigh the testimony of a hundred men. The jury
PROFESSIONAL LIFE. 57
were all farmers, and all illiterate men, and he took great
pains to make them understand what was meant by the
" preponderance of evidence.". He said that in a civil
suit, absolute certainty, or such certainty as would be re-
quired to convict a man of crime, was not essential. They
must decide the case according to the impression which the
evidence had produced upon their minds, and, if they felt
puzzled at all, he would give them a test by which they
could bring themselves to a just conclusion. " Now," said
he, k 'if you were going to bet on this case, on which side
would you be willing to risk a picayune? That side on
whicl^you would be willing to bet a picayune, is the side
on which rests the preponderance of evidence in your
minds. It is possible tkat you may not be right, but that
is not the question. The question is as to where the pre-
ponderance of evidence lies, and you can judge exactly
where it lies in your minds, by deciding as to which side
you would be willing to bet on."
The jury understood this. There was no mystification
about it, They had got hold of a test by which they could
render an intelligent verdict. Mr. Lincoln saw into their
minds, and knew exactly what they needed; and the
moment they received it, he knew that his case was safe,
as a quick verdict for the defendant proved it to be. In
nothing connected with this case was the ingenuity of Mr.
Lincoln more evident, perhaps, than in the insignificance
of the sum which he placed in risk by the hypothetical
wager. It was not a hundred dollars, or a thousand dollars,
or even a dollar, but the smallest silver coin, to show to
them that the verdict should go with the preponderance of
evidence, even if the preponderance should be only a hair's
58 LINCOLN STORIES.
Lincoln's Story of a Young Lawyer as He Told it to General
General Garfield, of Ohio, received from the President
the account of the capture of Norfolk with the following
preface: " By the way, Garfield," said Mr. Lincoln, " you
never heard, did you, that Chase, Stanton, and I, had a
campaign of our own ? We went down to Fortress Monroe
in Chase's revenue cutter, and consulted with Admiral
Goldsborough as to the feasibility of taking Norfolk by
landing on the north shore and making a march of eight
miles. The Admiral said, very positively, there v^,s rio
landing on that shore, and we should have to double the
cape and approach the place from the south side, which
would be a long and difficult journey. I thereupon asked
him if he had ever tried to find a landing, and he replied
that he had not.
" ' Now,' said I, ' Admiral, thaT reminds me of a chap
out West who had studied law, but had never tried a case.
F>eing sued, and not having confidence in his ability to
manage his own case, he employed a fellow-lawyer to man-
age it for him. He had only a confused idea of the mean-
ing of law terms, but was anxious to make a display of
learning, and on the trial constantly made suggestions to
his lawyer, who paid no attention to him. At last, fearing
that his lawyer was not handling the opposing counsel very
well, he lost all patience, and, springing to his feet, cried
out: "Why don't you go at him with a capias, or a -surre-
butter, or something, and not stand there like a confounded
PROFESSIONAL LIFE, 59
Lincoln and His Step-Mother How He Bought Her a Farm.
Soon after Mr. Lincoln entered upon his profession at
Springfield, he was engaged in a criminal case in which it
was thought there was little chance of success. Throwing
all his powers into it he came off victorious, and promptly
received for his services five hundred dollars. A lesral
friend calling upon him the next morning found him
sitting before a table, upon which his money was spread
out, counting it over and over.
" Look here, Judge," said Lincoln ; " See what a heap of
money I've got from the case. Did you ever see
anything like it ? Why, I -never had so much money in
my life befty* e$ put it all together ? " Then crossing his
arms upon the table, his manner sobering down, he added,
" I have got just five hundred dollars : if it were only seven
hundred and fifty, I would go directly and purchase a
quarter section of land, and settle it upon my old step-
His friend said that if the deficiency was all he needed
he would loan him the amount, taking his note, to which
Mr. Lincoln instantly acceded.
His friend then said : " Lincoln, I would not do just
what you have indicated. Your step-mother is getting old,
and will not probably live many years. I would settle the
property upon her for her use during her lifetime, to revert
to you upon her death."
With much feeling, Mr. Lincoln replied: " I shall do no
such thing. It is a poor return, at the best, for all the good
woman's devotion and fidelity to me, and there is not going
to be any half-way business about it ;" and so saying, he
gathered up his money, and proceeded forthwith to carry
his long-cherished purpose into execution.
A Famous Story How Lincoln was Presented with a Knife !
It is said that Mr. Lincoln was always ready to join in
a, laugh at the expense of his person, concerning which he
was indifferent. Many of his friends will recognize the
following story the incident having actually occurred
which Lincoln always told with great glee :
u In the days when I used to be ' on the circuit,' " said
Lincoln, " I was accosted in the cars by a stranger, who
" ' Excuse me, sir, but I have an article in my possession
tfhich belongs to you.'
" ' How is that ? ' I asked, considerably astonished.
" The stranger took a jack-knife from his pocket. ' This
knife,' said he, ' was placed in my hands some years ago,
with the injunction that I was to keep it until I found a
man itglier than myself. I have carried it from that time
to this. Allow me now to say, sir, that I think you are
fairly entitled to the property.' "
An Amusing Story Concerning Thompson Campbell.
Among the numerous visitors on one of the President's
reception days, were a party of Congressmen, among whom
was the Hon. Thomas Shannon, of California. Soon after
the customary greeting, Mr. Shannon said :
" Mr. President, I met an old friend of yours in Califor-
nia last Summer, Thompson Campbell, who had a good deal
to say of your Springfield life."
"Ah!" returned Mr. Lincoln, "I am glad to hear of
him. Campbell used to be a dry fellow," he continued.
" For a time he was Secretary of State. One day, during
the legislative vacation, a meek, cadaverous-looking man,
with a white neck-cloth, introduced himself to him at his
PROFESSIONAL LIFE. 61
office, and, stating that he had been informed that Mr.
C. had the letting of the Assembly Chamber, said that he-
wished to secure it, if possible, for a course of lectures he
desired to deliver in Springfield.
" ' May I ask,' said the Secretary, ' what is to be the
subject of your lectures ? '
" ' Certainly,' was the reply, with a very solemn expres-
sion of countenance. ' The course I wish to deliver, is on
the Second Coming of our Lord.'
" ' It is of no use,' said C. ' If you will take my advice,
you will not waste your time in this city. It is my private
opinion that if the Lord has been in Springfield once, He
will not come the second time /' "
The Lincoln-Shields Duel How it Originated.
The late Gen. Shields was Auditor of the State of Illi-
nois in 1839. "While he occupied this important office he
was involved in an " affair of honor " with a Springfield
lawyer no less a personage than Abraham Lincoln. At
this time " James Shields, Auditor," was the pride of the
young Democracy, and was considered a dashing fellow by
all. the ladies included. In the Summer of 1842 the Spring-
field Journal contained some letters from the " Lost Town-
ships,'' by a contributor whose nom de plume was " Aunt
Becca," which held up the gallant young Auditor as " a ball-
room dandy, floatin' about on the earth without heft or sub-
stance, just like a lot of cat-fur where cats had been fightin'."
These letters camsed intense excitement in the town.
Nobody knew or guessed their authorship. Shields swore
it would be coffee and pistols for two if he should find out
who had been lampooning him so unmercifully. Thereupon
"Aunt Becca" wrote another letter, which made the fur-
nace of his wrath seven times hotter than before, in which
62 LINCOLN STORIES.
she made a very humble apology, and offered to let him
squeeze her hand for satisfaction, adding:
" If this should not answer, there is one thing more I
would rather do than to get a lickin'. I have all along
expected to die a widow; but, as Mr. Shields is rather good-
looking than otherwise, I must say I don't care if we com-
promise the matter by really, Mr. Printer, I can't help
blushin' but I must come out I but widowed modesty
well, if I must, I must wouldn't he maybe sorter let
the old grudge drap if I was to consent to be be his wife?
I know he is a fightin' man, and would rather fight than eat;
but isn't marryin' better than fightin', though it does some-
times run into it? And I don't think, upon the whole, I'd
be sich a bad match, neither; I'm not over sixty, and am
jest four feet three in my bare feet, and not much more
round the girth ; and for color, I wouldn't turn my back to
nary a girl in the Lost Townships. But, after all, maybe
I'm countin' my chickens before they're hatched, and
dreamin' of matrimonial bliss when the only alternative
reserved for me maybe a lickin'. Jeff tells me the way
these fire-eaters do is to give the challenged party the choice
ojf weapons, which, being the case, I tell you in confidence,
I never fight with anything but broomsticks or hot water,
or a shovelful of coals or some such thing; the former of
which, being somewhat like a shillelah, may not be so very
objectionable to him. I will give him a choice, however,
in one thing, and that is whether, when we fight, I shall
wear breeches or he petticoats, for I presume this change
is sufficient to place us on an equality."
Of course some one had to shoulder the responsibility of
these letters after such a shot. The real author was none
other than Miss Mary Todd, afterward the wife of Abraham
Lincoln, to whom she was engaged, and who was in honor
bound to assume, for belligerent purposes, the responsibil-
PROFESSIONAL LIFE. 63
ity of her sharp pen-thrusis. Mr. Lincoln accepted the-
situation. Not long after the two men, with their seconds,
were on their way to the field of honor. But the affair
was fixed up without any fighting, and thus ended in a
fizzle the Lincoln-Shields duel of the Lost Townships.
Lincoln's Story of Joe Wilson and His " Spotted Animals "Slow
Progress in Killing Cats.
Although the friendly relations which existed between
the President and Secretary Cameron were not interrupted
by the retirement of the latter from the War Office, so
important a change in the Administration could not of
course take place without the irrepressible "story" from
Mr. Lincoln. Shortly after this event some gentlemen
called upon the President, and expressing much satisfac-
tion at the change, intimated that in their judgment the
interests of the country required an entire reconstruction of
Mr. Lincoln heard them through, and then shaking his
head dubiously, replied, with hk peculiar smile: " Gentle-
men, when I was a young man I used to know very well one
Joe Wilson, who built himself a log-cabin not far from where
I lived. Joe was very fond of eggs and chickens, and he
took a good deal of pains in fitting up a poultry shed.
Having at length got together a choice lot of young fowls
of which he was very proud he began to be much
annoyed by the depredations of those little black and white
spotted animals, which it is not necessary to name. One
night Joe was awakened by an unusual cackling and fluttering
among his chickens. Getting up, he crept out to see what
was going on.
" It was a moonlight night, and he soon caught sight of
half a dozen of the little pests, which, with their dam, were
64 LINCOLN STORIES.
running in and out of the shadow of the shed. Very
wrathy, Joe put a double charge into his old musket, and
thought he would ' clean ' out the whole tribe at one shot.
Somehow he only killed one, and the balance scampered off
across the field. In telling the story, Joe would always
pause here, and hold his nose.
"'Why didn't you follow them up, and kill the rest?*
inquired the neighbors.
" ' Blast it,' said Joe, k why, it was eleven weeks before I
got over killin' one. If you want any mere skirmishing in
that line you can just do it yourselves!' 5:
An Incident Related by One of Lincoln's Clients.
It was not possible for Mr. Lincoln to regard his clients
simply in the light of business. An unfortunate man was
a subject of his sympathy, a Mr. Cogdal, who related the
incident to Mr. Holland, met with a financial wreck in 1843.
He employed Mr. Lincoln as his lawyer, and at the close of
the business, gave him a note to cover the regular lawyer's
fees. He was soon afterwards blown up by an accidental
discharge of powder, and lost his hand. Meeting Mr. Lin-
coln some time after the accident, on the steps of the State
House, the kind lawyer asked him how he was getting along.
" Badly enough," replied Mr. Cogdal, " I am both broken 4
up in business and crippled." Then he added, " I have been
thinking about that note of yours."
Mr. Lincoln, who had probably known all about Mr.
Cogdal's troubles, and had prepared himself for the meet-
ing, took out his pocket-book, and saying, with a laugh,
" well, you needn't think any more about it," handed him
Mr. Cogdal protesting, Mr. Lincoln said, " if you had
the money, I would not take it," and hurried away.
PROFESSIONAL LIFE. 65
At this same date, he was frankly writing about his pov-
erty to his friends, as a reason for not making them a visit,
and probably found it no easy task to take care of his fam-
ily, even when board at the Globe Tavern was " only four
dollars a week."
Lincoln's Valor He Defends Col. Baker.
On one occasion when Col. Baker was speaking in a
court-house, which had been a store-house, and, on making
some remarks that were offensive to certain political row-
dies in the crowd, they cried : " Take him off the stand."
Immediate confusion ensued, and there was an attempt to
carry the demand into execution. Directly over the
speaker's head was an old scuttle, at which it appeared Mr.
Lincoln had been listening to the speech. In an instant,.
Mr. Lincoln's feet came through the scuttle, followed by
his tall and sinewy frame, and he was standing by Colonel
Baker's side. He raised his hand, and the assembly sub-
sided immediately into silence.
"Gentlemen," said Mr. Lincoln, "let us not disgrace
the age and country in which we live. This is a land where
freedom of speech is guaranteed. Mr. Baker has a right to
speak, and ought to be permitted to do so. I am here to
protect him, and no man shall take him from this stand if
I can prevent it."
The suddenness of his appearance, his perfect calmness
and fairness, and the knowledge that he would do what he
had promised to do, quieted all disturbance, and the speaker
concluded his remarks without difficulty.
PROFESSIONAL LIFE. 67
Honest Abe and his Lady Client.
About the time Mr. Lincoln began to be known as a suc-
cessful lawyer, he was waited upon by a lady, who held a
real-estate claim which she desired to have him prosecute,
putting into his hands, with the necessary papers, a check
for two hundred and fifty dollars, as a retaining fee. Mr.
Lincoln said he would look the case over, and asked her to
call again the next day. Upon presenting herself, Mr.
Lincoln told her that he had gone through the papers very
carefully, and he must tell her frankly that there was not a
" peg " to hang her claim upon, and he could not con-
scientiously advise her to bring an action. The lady was
satisfied, and, thanking him, rose to go.
"Wait," said Mr. Lincoln, fumbling in his vest pocket;
" here is the check you left with me.''
"But, Mr. Lincoln," returned the lady. "I think you
have earned that"
" No, no," he responded, handing it back to her; "that
would not be right. I can't take pay for doing my duty."
Attention Shown to Relatives Lincoln and " His Sisters and
His Cousins and His Aunts."
One of the most beautiful traits of Mr. Lincoln was his
considerate regard for the poor and obscure relatives he had
left, plodding along in their humble ways of life. Wherever
upon his circuit he found them, he always went to their
dwellings, ate with them, and, when convenient, made their
houses his home. He never assumed in their presence the
slightest superiority to them, in the facts and conditions of
his life. He gave them money when they needed and he
possessed it. Countless times he was known to leave his
companions at the village hotel, after a hard day's work in
the court room, and spend the evening with these old
68 LINCOLN STORIES.
friends and companions of his humbler days. On one
occasion, when urged not to go, he replied, " Why, aunt's
heart would be broken if I should leave town without call-
ing upon her;" yet he 1 was obliged to walk several miles to
make the call.
How Lincoln Kept His Business Accounts His Remarkable
A little fact in Lincoln's Work will illustrate his ever-
present desire to deal honestly and justly with men. lie
had always a partner in his professional life, and, when he
went out upon the circuit, this partner was usually at home.
While out, he frequently took up and disposed of cases that
were never entered at the office. In these cases, after
receiving his fees, he divided the money in his pocket-book,
labeling each sum (wrapped in a piece of paper), that
belonged to his partner, stating his name, and the case on
which it was received. He could not be content to keep
an account. He divided the money, so that if he. by any
casualty, should fail of an opportunity to pay it over, there
could be no dispute as to the exact amount that was his
partner's due. This may seem trivial, nay, boyish, but it
was like Mr. Lincoln.
Lincoln in Court.
Senator McDonald states that he saw a jury trial in
Illinois, at which Lincoln defended an old man charged
with assault and battery. No blood had been spilled, but
there was malice in the prosecution, and the chief witness
was eager to make the most of it. On cross-examination,
Lincoln gave him rope and drew him out; asked him how
long the fight lasted, and how much ground it covered.
PROFESSIONAL LIFE. 69
The witness thought the fight must have lasted half an
hour, and covered an acre of ground. Lincoln called his
attention to the fact that nobody was hurt, and then, with
an inimitable air, asked him if he didn't think it was "<z
mighty small crop for an acre of ground" The jury
rejected the case with contempt as beneath the dignity of
twelve brave, good men and true.
In another cause the son of his old friend, who had em-
ployed him and loaned him books, was charged with a
murder committed in a riot at a camp-meeting. Lincoln
volunteered for the defense. A witness swore that he saw
the prisoner strike the fatal blow. It was night, but he
swore that the full moon was shining clear, and he saw
everything distinctly. The case seemed hopeless, but Lin-
coln produced an almanac, and showed that at the hour
there was no moon. Then he depicted the crime of per-
jury with such eloquence that the false witness fled the
Court House. One who heard the trial says: "It was
near night when he concluded, saying: ' If justice was
done, before the sun set it would shine upon his client a
free man.' '
The Court charged the jury; they retired, and presently
returned a verdict " Not guilty." The prisoner fell into
his weeping mother's arms, and then turned to thank Mr.
Lincoln, who, looking out at the sun, said: " It is not yet
sundown, and you are free."
One of Lincoln's "Hardest Hits."
In Abbott's " History of the Civil War," the following
story is told as one of Lincoln's " hardest hits:" " I once
knew," said Lincoln, " a sound churchman by the name of
Brown, who was a member of a very sober and pious com-
mittee having in charge the erection of a bridge over a
70 LINCOLN STORIES.
dangerous and rapid river. Several architects failed, and at
last Brown said he had a friend named Jones, who bad
built several bridges and undoubtedly could build that one.
So Mr. Jones was called in.