My father was waiting for me in the hallway, who saw
by my countenance that I was not successful. I said to my
father, "Let us go over to Mr. Lincoln; he may give us
more satisfaction." He said it would do no good, but we
went over. Mr. Lincoln's reception room was full of ladies
and gentlemen when we entered, and the scene was one I
shall never forget. On her knees was a woman in the agonies
of despair, with tears rolling down her cheeks, imploring for
the life of her son, who had deserted and had been con-
demned to be shot. I heard Mr. Lincoln say: " Madam^
do not act this way, it is agony to me; I would pardon
your son if it was in my power, but there must be an-
example made, or I will have no army."
WHITE-HOUSE INCIDENTS. 103
At this speech the woman fainted. Lincoln motioned to
his attendant, who picked the woman up and carried her
out. All in the room were in tears.
But, now changing the scene from the sublime to the
ridiculous, the next applicant for favor was a big, buxom
Irish woman, who stood before the President with arms
akimbo, saying, " Mr. Lincoln, can't I sell apples on the
railroad?" Lincoln said: "Certainly, madam; you can
sell all you wish." But she said, " You must give me a
pass or the soldiers will not let me." Lincoln then wrote a
few lines and gave it to her, who said, "Thank you, sir;
God bless, you." This shows how quick and clear were all
this man's decisions.
I stood and watched him for two hours, and he dismissed
each case as quickly as the above, with satisfaction to all.
My turn soon came. Lincoln spoke to my father, and
said, " Now, gentlemen, be pleased to be as quick as possi-
ble with your business, as it is growing late." My father
then stepped up to Lincoln and introduced me to him.
Lincoln then said, " Take a seat, gentlemen, and state your
business as quick as possible." There was but one chair by
Lincoln, so he motioned to my father to sit, while I stood.
My father stated the business to him as stated above. He
then said, " Have you seen Mr. Stanton ?" "We told him
yes, that he had refused. He (Mr. Lincoln) then said:
"Gentlemen, this is Mr. Stan ton's business; I can not
interfere with him; he attends to all these matters, and I
am sorry I can not help you."
He saw that we were disappointed, and did his best to
revive our spirits. He succeeded well with my father, who
was a Lincoln man, and who was a staunch Eepublican.
Mr. Lincoln then said: "Now, gentlemen, I will tell
you what it is; I have thousands of applications like this
every day, but we can not satisfy all for this reason, that
104 LINCOLN STORIES.
these positions are like office-seekers, there are too many
pigs for the tits."
The ladies who were listening to the conversation placed
their handkerchiefs to their faces and turned away. But
the joke of Old Abe put us all in a good humor. "We
then left the presence of the greatest and most just man
who ever lived to fill the Presidential chair.
An Instance Where the President's Mind Wandered.
An amusing, yet touching instance of the President's
pre-occupation of mind, occurred at one of his levees,
when he was shaking hands with a host of visitors passing
him in a continuous stream. An intimate acquaintance
received the usual conventional hand-shake and salutation,
but perceiving that he was not recognized, kept his ground
instead of moving on, and spoke again; when the Presi-
dent, roused to a dim consciousness that something unusual
had happened, perceived who stood before him, and seizing
his friend's hand, shook it again heartily, saying, " How do
you do? How do you do? Excuse me for not noticing
you. I was thinking of a man down South." He after-
ward privately acknowledged that the " man down South "
was Sherman, then on his march to the sea.
Lincoln and the Preacher.
An officer of the Government called one day at the White
House, and introduced a clerical friend. " Mr. President,"
said lie, "allow me to present to you my friend, the Rev.
Mr. F., of . He has expressed a desire to see you and
have some conversation with you, and I am happy to be the
means of introducing him."
The President shook hands with Mr. F., and desiring
WHITE-HOUSE INCIDENTS. 105
him to be seated took a seat himself. Then, his counte-
nance having assumed an air of patient waiting, he said: " I
am now ready to hear what you have to say." "Oh, bless
you, sir," said Mr. F., " I have nothing special to say; I
merely called to pay my respects to you, and, as one of
the million, to assure you of my hearty sympathy and
" My dear sir," said the President, rising promptly, his
face showing instant relief, and with both hands grasping
that of his visitor, " I am very glad to see you, indeed. /
thought you had come to preach to me/"
A Home Incident Lincoln and Little " Tad."
The day after the review of Burnside's division some
photographers, says Mr. Carpenter, 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 unoc-
cupied room of which little " Tad " had taken possession a
few days before, and with the aid of a couple of the ser-
vants, had fitted up as a miniature theatre, with stage, cur-
tains, orchestra, stalls, parquette, and all. Knowing that
the use required would interfere with none of his arrange-
ments, 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 " Td " 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, and there was no way
of getting at them, he having carried off the key. In the
midst of this conversation, "Tad" burst in, in a fearful
106 LINCOLN STORIES.
passion. He laid all the blame upon me said that I had
no right to use his room, and the men should not go in
even to get their things. He had locked the door, and they
should not go there again " they had no business in his
Mr. Lincoln was sitting for a photograph, and was still
in the chair. He said, very mildly, " Tad, go and unlock
the door." Tad went off muttering into his mother's room;
refusing to obey. I followed him into the passage, but no
coaxing would pacify him. Upon my return to the Presi-
dent, I found him still sitting patiently in the chair, from
which he had not risen. He said: "Has not the boy
opened the door?'' I replied that we could do nothing with
him he had gone off in a great pet. Mr. Lincoln's lips
came together firmly, and then, suddenly rising, he strode
across the passage with the air of one bent on punishment,
and disappeared in the domestic apartments. Directly he
returned with the key to the theatre, which he unlocked
himself. " There," said he, "go ahead, it is all right now."
He then went back to his office, followed by myself, and
resumed his seat. "Tad," said he, half apologetically, " is
a peculiar child. He was violently excited when I went to
him. I said, ' Tad, do you know you are making your
father a great deal of trouble?' He burst into tears,
instantly giving me up the key."
A Touching Incident Lincoln Mourning for His Lost Son is
Comforted by Rev. Dr. Vinton.
After the funeral of his son, "William "Wallace Lincoln,
in February, 1862, the President resumed his official duties,
but mechanically, and with a terrible weight at his heart.
The following Thursday he gave way to his feelings, and
shut himself from all society. The second Thursday it was
WHITE-HOUSE INCIDENTS. 107
the same; he would see no one, and seemed a prey to the
deepest melancholy. About this time the Rev. Francis
Vinton, of Trinity Church, New York, had occasion to
spend a few days in Washington. An acquaintance of Mrs.
Lincoln and of her sister, Mrs. Edwards, of Springfield, he
was requested by them to come up and see the President.
The setting apart of Thursday for the indulgence of his
grief had gone on for several weeks, and Mrs. Lincoln
began to be seriously alarmed for the health of her husband,
of which fact Dr. Vinton was apprised.
Mr. Lincoln received him in the parlor, and an oppor-
tunity was soon embraced by the clergyman to chide him
for showing so rebellious a disposition to the decrees of
Providence. He told him plainly that the indulgence of
such feelings, though natural, was sinful. It was unworthy
one who believed in the Christian religion. He had duties
to the living, greater than those of any other man, as the
chosen father, and leader of the people, and he was unfitting
himself for his responsibilities by thus giving way to his
grief. To mourn the departed as lost belonged to heathen-
ism not to Christianity. " Your son," said Dr. Vinton,
" is alive, in Paradise. Do you remember that passage in
the Gospels: 'God is not the God of the dead but of the
living, for all live unto Him?' ' :
The President had listened as one in a stupor, until his
ear caught he words, " Your son is alive." Starting from the
sofa, he exclaimed," Alive! alive/ Surely you mock me."
" Ko, sir, believe me," replied Dr. Vinton; " it is a most
comforting doctrine of the Church, founded upon the words
of Christ Himself."
Mr. Lincoln looked at him a moment, and then, stepping
forward, he threw his arm around the clergyman's neck,
and, laying his head upon his breast, sobbed aloud, " Alive?
alive?" he repeated.
108 LINCOLN STORIES.
" My dear sir," said Dr. Vinton, greatly moved, as he
twined his own arm around the weeping father, " believe
this, for it is God's most precious truth. Seek not your
son among the dead; he is not there; he lives to-day in
Paradise^ Think of the full import of the words I have
quoted. The Sadducees, when they questioned Jesus, had
no other conception than that Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob
were dead and buried. Mark the reply: 'Now that the
dead are raised, even Moses showed at the bush when he
called the Lord the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and
the God of Jacob. For He is not the God of the dead, but
of the living, for all live unto SimT Did not the aged
patriarch mourn his sons as dead ? ' Joseph is not, and
Simeon is not, and ye will take Benjamin, also.' But Joseph
and Simeon were both living, though he believed it not.
Indeed, Joseph being taken from him, was the eventual
means of the preservation of the whole family. And so
God has called your son into His upper kingdom a king-
dom and an existence as real, more real, than your own. It
may be that he, too, like Joseph, has gone, in God's good
providence, to be the salvation of his father's household. It
is a part of the Lord's plan for the ultimate happiness of
you and yours. Doubt it not. I have a sermon," con-
tinued Dr. Yinton, " upon this subject, which I think might
Mr. Lincoln begged him to send it at an early day
thanking him repeatedly for his cheering and hopeful
words. The sermon was sent, and read over and over by
the President, who caused a copy to be made for his own
private use before it was returned.
WHITE-HOUSE INCIDENTS. 10
Lincoln Wipes the Tears from His Eyes and Tells a Story.
A. "W. Clark, member of Congress from "Watertown, New
York, relates the following interesting story: Daring the
war a constituent came to me and stated that one of his
sons was killed in a battle, and another died at Anderson-
ville, while the third and only remaining son was sick at
These disasters had such effect on his wife that she had
become insane. He wanted to get this last and sick son.
discharged, and take him home, hoping it would restore his
wife to reason. I went with him to President Lincoln and
related the facts as well as I could, the father sitting by and
weeping. The President, much atiected, asked for the
papers and wrote across them, " Discharge this man."
Then, wiping the tear from his cheek, he turned to the man
at the door, and said " Brin^ in th:.t rir.n," rather as if he
felt bored, which caused me to ask why it was so.
He replied that it was .-. writi: g-master who had spent a
long time in copying m's Eman:i>'.tion Proclamation, had
ornamented it with flourishes, md hich made him think
of an Irishman who said '^ t< >k him r_n hour to catch his
old horse, and when he had caught him he was not worth
Comments of Mr. Lincoln on the Emancipation Proclamation
What He Told Mr. Colfax.
The final proclamation was srgned on New Year's Day,
1863. The President remarked to Mr. Colfax, the same
evening, that the signature appeared somewhat tremulous
and uneven. " Not," said he, " because of any uncertain!}'
or hesitation on my part; but it was just after the public
reception, and three hours' hand-shaking is not calculated
to improve a man's chirography." Then, changing his
110 LINCOLN STORIE8.
tone, he added: "The South had fair warning, that if they
did not return to their duty, I should strike at this pillar
of their strength. The promise must now be kept, and I
shall never recall one word."
Lincoln Arguing Against the Emancipation Proclamation That
He May Learn all about It.
"When Lincoln's judgment, which acted slowly, but which
was almost as immovable as the eternal hills when settled,
was grasping some subject of importance, the arguments
against his own desires seemed uppermost in his mind,
and, in conversing upon it, he would present those argu-
ments to see if they could be rebutted.
This is illustrated by the interview between himself and
the Chicago delegation of clergymen, appointed to urge
upon him the issue of a Proclamation of Emancipation
which occurred September 13, 1862, more than a month after
he had declared to the Cabinet his established purpose to
take this step.
He said to this committee: "I do not want to issue a
document that the whole world will see must necessarily
be inoperative, like the Pope's bull against the comet ! '
After drawing out their views upon the subject, he con-
cluded the interview with these memorable words:
" Do not misunderstand me, because I have mentioned
these objections. They indicate the difficulties which have
thus far prevented my action in some such way as you
desire. I have not decided against a proclamation of liberty
to the slaves, but hold the matter under advisement. And
1 can assure you that the subject is on my mind, by day
and night, more than any other. Whatever shall appear to
be God's will, I will do ! I trust that, in the freedom with
which I have canvassed your views, I have not in any re-
spect injured your feelings."
WHITE-HOUSE INCIDENTS. Ill
Lincoln's Laugh What Hon. I. N. Arnold Said About It.
Mr. Lincoln's "laugh" stood by itself. The "neigh" of
a wild horse on his native prairie is not more undisguised
and hearty. A group of gentlemen, among whom was his
old Springfield friend and associate, Hon. Isaac N. Arnold,
were one day conversing in the passage near his office,
while awaiting admission. A congressional delegation had
preceded them, and presently an unmistakable voice was
heard through the partition, in a burst of mirth. Mr.
Arnold remarked, as the sound died away: "That laugh has
been the President's life-preserver!"
Lincoln and the Newspapers.
On a certain occasion, the President was induced by a
committee of gentlemen to examine a newly-invented
" repeating " gun, the peculiarity of which was, that it pre-
vented the escape of gas* After due inspection, he said :
" Well, I believe this really does what it is represented to
do. Now, have any of you heard of any machine or inven-
tion for preventing the escape of ' gas ' from newspaper
establishments \ "
Criticism Its Effect Upon Mr. Lincoln A Bull-frog Story He
Told as an Illustration.
Violent criticism, attacks and denunciations, coming
either from radicals or conservatives, rarely ruffled the
President, if they reached his ears. It must have been in
co'nnectio-n with something of this kind, that he once told a
friend this story:
"Some years ago," said he, "a couple of 'emigrants,'
fresh from the ' Emerald Isle,' seeking labor, were making
their way toward the "West. Coming suddenly one evening
113 LINCOLN STORIES.
upon a pond of water, they were greeted with a grand
chorus of bull-frogs a kind of music they had never before
heard. ' B-a-u-m ! ' B-a-u-m ! '
" Overcome with terror, they clutched their ; shillelahs,''
and crept cautiously forward, straining their eyes in every
direction to catch a glimpse of the enemy; but he was not.
to be found !
"At last a happy idea seized the foremost one he sprang
to his companion and exclaimed, 'And sure, Jamie ! it is-
my opinion it's nothing but a ' noise. n '
Lincoln's Story of a Poodle Dog Used on the End ot a Long Pole
to Swab Windows.
A friend who was walking over from the White House
to the War Department with Mr. Lincoln, repeated to him
the- story of a "contraband" who had fallen into the handa
of some good, pious people, and was being taught by them
to read and pray.
Going off by himself one day. he was overheard to com-
mence a prayer by the introduction of himself as "Jim
Williams a berry good nigga' to wash windows; 'spec's
you know me now ? "
After a hearty laugh at what he called this " direct way
of putting tke case," Mr. Lincoln said :
" The story that suggests to me, has no resemblance to
it, save in the 'washing windows' part. A lady in Phila-
delphia had a pet poodle dog, which mysteriously disap-
peared. Rewards were offered for him, and a great ado
made without effect. Some weeks passed, and all hope of
the favorite's return had been given up, when a servant
brought him in one day in the filthiest condition imagin-
able. The lady was overjoyed to see her pet again, but
horrified at his appearance.
WHITE-HOUSE INCIDENTS. 113
' Where did you find him ?' she exclaimed.
" ' Oh,' replied the man, very unconcernedly, ' a negro
down the street had him tied to the end of a pole, swabbing
Lincoln's Little Speech to the Union League Committee No
Swapping Horses in the River.
The day following the adjournment at Baltimore, various
political organizations called to pay their respects to the
President. First came the convention committee, embrac-
ing one from each state represented appointed to announce
to him, formally, the nomination. Next came the Ohio
delegation, with Menter's Band, of Cincinnati. Following
these were the representatives of the National Union
League, to whom he said, in concluding his brief response :
" I do not allow myself to suppose that either the con-
vention or the League have concluded to decide that I am
either the greatest or the best man in America; but, rather,
they have concluded that it is not best to swap horses while
crossing the river, and have further concluded that I am not
so poor a hovse, but that they might make a botch of it in
trying to swap/"
Ejecting a Cashiered Officer from the White House Mr..
Lincciu Mach Offended and How He Acted.
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 con-
sumed 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.
114 LINCOLN STORIES.
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 conclusion, but made
no reply. Waiting for a moment, the man gathered from
the expression of his countenance that his mind was uncon-
vinced. Turning very abruptly, he said :
" "Well, Mr. President, I see you are fully determined not
to do me justice ! "
This was too aggravating, even for Mr. Lincoln. Mani-
festing, however, no more feeling than that indicated by a
slight compression of the lips, he very quietly arose, laid
down a package of papers he held in his hand, and then
suddenly seizing the defunct officer by the coat-collar, he
inarched him forcibly to the door, saying, as he ejected him
into the passage :
" Sir, I give you fair warning never to show yourself in
this room again. I can bear censure, but not insult ! "
In a whining tone the man begged for his papers, which
he had dropped.
" Begone, sir," said the President, " your papers will be
sent to you. I never wish to see your face again! "
Lincoln and the Wall Street Gold Gamblers He Wishes their
"Devilish Heads Shot Off."
Mr. Carpenter, the artist, is responsible for the following:
The bill empowering the Secretary of the Treasury to
sell the surplus gold had recently passed, and Mr. Chase
was then in New York, giving his attention personally to
the experiment. Governor Curtin referred to this, saying
to the President :
WHITE-HOUSE INCIDENTS. 115
"I see by the quotations that Chase's movement has
already knocked gold down several per cent."
This gave occasion for the strongest expression I ever
heard fall from the lips of Mr. Lincoln. Knotting his face
in the intensity of his feeling, he said : " Curtin, what do
you think of those fellows in Wall Street, who are gambling
in gold at such a time as this ? "
"They are a set of sharks," returned Curtin.
"For my part," continued the President, bringing his
clinched hand down upon the table, " I wish every one of
them had his devilish head shot off!"
How the Negroes Regarded " Massa Linkum '* A Story that
Deeply Impressed the President.
In 1863, Colonel McKaye, of New York, with Robert
Dale Owen and one or two other gentlemen, were associ-
ated as a committee to investigate the condition of the
freedmen on the' coast of North Carolina. Upon their re-
turn from Hilton Head they reported to the President; and
in the course of the interview Colonel McKaye related the
He had been speaking of the ideas of power entertained
by these people. 'He said they had an idea of God, as the
Almighty, and they had realized in their former condition
the power of their masters. Up to the time of the arrival
among them of the Union forces, they had no knowledge of
any other power. Their masters fled upon the approach of
our soldiers, and this gave the slaves a conception of a
power greater than that exercised by them. This power
they called "Massa Linkum."
Colonel McKaye said that their place of worship was a
large building which they called " the praise house ; " and
the leader of the meeting, a venerable black man, was
116 LINCOLN STORIES.
known as " the praise man." On a certain day, when there
was quite a large gathering of the people, considerable con-
fusion was created by different persons attempting to tell
who and what " Massa Linkum " was. In the midst of the
excitement the white-headed leader commanded silence.
" Brederin," said he, " you don't know nosen' what you'se
talkin' 'bout. Now, you just listen to me. Massa Linkum,
he eberywhar. He know eberyting." Then, solemnly
looking up, he added, " He walk de earf like de Lord /""
Colonel McKaye said that Mr. Lincoln seemed much
affected by this account. He did not smile, as another
man might have done, but got up from his chair and walked
in silence two or three times across the floor. As he-
resumed his seat, he said very impressively:
" It is a momentous thing to be the instrument, under
Providence, of the liberation of a race."
One of Lincoln's Last Stories.
One of the last stories heard from Mr. Lincoln was con-
cerning John Tyler, for whom it was to be expected, as an
old Henry Clay "Whig, he would entertain no great respect.
" A year or two after Tyler's accession to the Presidency,"
said he, " contemplating an excursion in some direction, his
son went to order a special train of cars. It so happened
that the railroad superintendent was a very strong Whig.
On 'Bob's ' making known his errand, that official bluntly
informed him that his road did not run any special trains
for the President.
" ' What!' said ' Bob,' ' did you not furnish a special train
for the funeral of General Harrison?'
"'Yes,' said the superintendent, stroking his whiskers;