Abraham Lincoln.

Words of Lincoln, including several hundred opinions of his life and character by eminent persons of this and other lands; online

. (page 1 of 14)
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LINCOLN ROOM

UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS
LIBRARY




MEMORIAL

the Class of 1901

founded by

HARLAN HOYT HORNER

and
HENRIETTA CALHOUN HORNER












Photo, 1864,
A LINCOLN.



radr, Washington.



WORDS OF LINCOLN



Including Several Hundred Opinions of his Life and

Character by Eminent Persons of

this and other Lands



COMPILED BY

OSBORN H. OLDROYD

AUTHOR " LINCOLN MEMORIAL ALBUM," " A SOLDIER'S
STORY OF THE SIEGE OF VICKSBURG "



WITH AN INTRODUCTION BY

MELVILLE W. FULLER

Chief Justice of the United States
AND

TEUNIS S. HAMLIN

Pastor Church of the Covenant, Washington, D, C.



WASHINGTON, D. C.
O. H. OLDROYD







THE MERSHON COMPANY PRESS,
RAHWAY, N. J.



THESE WORDS OF LINCOLN

ARE DEDICATED TO THE

AMERICAN PEOPLE,

FROM WHOSE HUMBLEST RANKS HE ROSE,

AND WHOSE INTERESTS
HE SO FAITHFULLY GUARDED THROUGH A GREAT

CIVIL CONVULSION.

WITH MALICE TOWARD NONE, WITH CHARITY FOR ALL.'



ILLUSTRATIONS.



PORTRAIT OF A. LINCOLN, .... Frontispiece

. Facing Page 8

" 29

...... " 46

LINCOLN HOMESTEAD, SPRINGFIELD, ILL., . " 51
WHITE HOUSE, WASHINGTON, D. C., . " 68
CAPITOL, WASHINGTON, I). C., ... " 68
PORTRAITS : LINCOLN, NICOLAY, AND HAY GROUP, " 84
FORD'S THEATER, WASHINGTON, D. C., . " 95
CHAIR IN WHICH THE PRESIDENT WAS SHOT, . " 136
HOUSE IN WHICH LINCOLN DIED, WASHING-
TON, D. C., " 181

LINCOLN MONUMENT, SPRINGFIELD, ILL., . ' . " 182



The chair in which the President was shot, also the photographs from which
the illustrations were made, are contained in the " Oldroyd Lincoln Memorial
Collection."



PREFACE.



THE sun which rose on the I2th of February,
1809, lighted up a little log cabin on Nolin Creek,
Hardin Co., Ky., in which Abraham Lincoln
was that day ushered into the world. Although
born under the humblest and most unpromising cir-
cumstances, he was of honest parentage. In this
backwoods hut, surrounded by virgin forests, Abra-
ham's first four years were spent. His parents then
moved to a point about six miles from Hodgens-
ville, where he lived until he was seven years of
age, when the family again moved, this time to
Spencer Co., Ind.

The father first visited the new settlement alone,
taking with him his carpenter tools, a few farming
implements, and ten barrels of whisky (the latter
being the payment received for his little farm) on a
flatboat down Salt Creek to the Ohio River. Cross-
ing the river, he left his cargo in care of a friend,
and then returned for his family. Packing the bed-
ding and cooking utensils on two horses, the family
of four started for their new home. They wended
their way through the Kentucky forests to those of
Indiana, the mother and daughter (Sarah) taking
their turn in riding.

Fourteen years were spent in the Indiana home.
It was from this place that Abraham, in company



viii PREFACE.

with young Gentry, made a trip to New Orleans on
a flatboat loaded with country produce. During
these years Abraham had less than twelve months
of schooling, but acquired a large experience in the
rough work of pioneer life. In the autumn of 1818
the mother died, and Abraham experienced the first
great sorrow of his life. Mrs. Lincoln had possessed
a very limited education, but was noted for intel-
lectual force of character.

The year following the death of Abraham's mother
his father returned to Kentucky, and brought a new
guardian to the two motherless children. Mrs.
Sally Johnson, as Mrs. Lincoln, brought into the
family three children of her own, a goodly amount
of household furniture, and, what proved a blessing
above all others, a kind heart. It was not intended
that this should be a permanent home ; accordingly,
in March, 1830, they packed their effects in wagons,
drawn by oxen, bade adieu to their old home, and
took up a two weeks' march over untraveled roads,
across mountains, swamps, and through dense for-
ests, until they reached a spot on the Sangamon
River, ten miles from Decatur, 111., where they built
another primitive home. Abraham had now arrived
at manhood, and felt at liberty to go out into the
world and battle for himself. He did not leave,
however, until he saw his parents comfortably fixed
in their new home, which he helped build ; he also
split enough rails to surround the house and ten
acres of ground.

In the fall and winter of 1830, memorable to the
early settlers of Illinois as the year of the deep
snow, Abraham worked for the farmers who lived



PREFACE. ix

in the neighborhood. He made the acquaintance of
a man of the name of Off ut, who hired him, together
with his stepbrother, John D. Johnson, and his
uncle, John Hanks, to take a flatboat loaded with
country produce down the Sangamon River to
Beardstown, thence down the Illinois and Missis-
sippi Rivers to New Orleans. Abraham and his
companions assisted in building the boat, which was
finally launched and loaded in the spring of 1831,
and their trip successfully made. In going over the
dam at Ruttledge Mill, New Salem, 111., the boat
struck and remained stationary, and a day passed
before it was again started on its voyage. During
this delay Lincoln made the acquaintance of New
Salem and its people.

On his return from New Orleans, after visiting his
parents, who had made another move, to Goose-
Nest Prairie, 111., he settled in the little village of
New Salem, then in Sangamon, now Menard, County.
While living in this place, Mr. Lincoln served in the
Black Hawk War, in 1832, as captain and private.
His employment in the village was varied; he was
at times a clerk, county surveyor, postmaster, and
partner in the grocery business under the firm name
of Lincoln & Berry. He was defeated for the Illi-
nois Legislature in 1832 by Peter Cartwright, the
Methodist pioneer preacher. He was elected to the
Legislature in 1834, and for three successive terms
thereafter.

Mr. Lincoln wielded a great influence among the
people of New Salem. They respected him for his
uprightness and admired him for his genial and
social qualities. He had an earnest sympathy for



X PREFACE.

the unfortunate and those in sorrow. All confided
in him, honored and loved him. He had an unfail-
ing fund of anecdote, was a sharp, witty talker, and
possessed an accommodating spirit, which led him
to exert himself for the entertainment of his friends.
During the political canvass of 1834, Mr. Lincoln
made the acquaintance of Mr. John T. Stuart of
Springfield, 111. Mr. Stuart saw in the young man
that which, if properly developed, could not fail to
confer distinction on him. He therefore loaned
Lincoln such law books as he needed, the latter
often walking from New Salem to Springfield, a
distance of twenty miles, to obtain them. It was
very fortunate for Mr. Lincoln that he finally
became associated with Mr. Stuart in the practice
of law. He moved from New Salem to Springfield,
and was admitted to the bar in 1837.

On the 4th of November, 1842, Mr. Lincoln mar-
ried Miss Mary Todd of Lexington, Ky., at the
residence of Ninian W. Edwards of Springfield, 111.
The fruits of this marriage were four sons : Robert
T., born August I, 1843; Edward Baker, March 10,
1846, died February i, 1850; William Wallace,
December 21, 1850, died at the White House,
Washington, February 20, 1862; Thomas, ("Tad"),
April 4, 1853, died at the Clifton House, Chicago,
111., July 15, 1871. Mrs. Lincoln died at the house
of her sister, Springfield, July 16, 1882.

In 1846 Mr. Lincoln was elected to Congress, as
a Whig, his opponent being Peter Cartwright, who
had defeated Mr. Lincoln for the Legislature in 1832.

The most remarkable political canvass witnessed
in the country took place between Mr. Lincoln



PREFACE. xi

and Stephen A. Douglas in 1858. They were can-
didates of their respective parties for the United
States Senate. Seven joint debates took place in
different parts of the State. The Legislature being
of Mr. Douglas' political faith, he was elected.

In 1860 Mr. Lincoln came before the country as
the chosen candidate of the Republican party for
the Presidency. The campaign was a memorable
one, characterized by a novel organization called
" Wide Awakes," which had its origin in Hartford,
Conn. There were rail fence songs, rail-splitting
on wagons in processions, and the building of
fences by the torch-light marching clubs.

The triumphant election of Mr. Lincoln took
place in November, 1860. On the nth of February,
1 86 1, he bade farewell to his neighbors, and as the
train slowly left the depot his sad face was forever
lost to the friends who gathered that morning to
bid him God speed. The people along the route
flocked at the stations to see him and hear his
words. At all points he was greeted as the Presi-
dent of the people, and such he proved to be. Mr.
Lincoln reached Washington on the morning of the
23d of February, and on the 4th of March was
inaugurated President. Through four years of
terrible war his guiding star was justice and mercy.
He was sometimes censured by officers of the army
for granting pardons to deserters and others, but
he could not resist an appeal for the life of a soldier.
He was the friend of the soldiers, and felt and acted
toward them like a father. Even workingmen could
write him letters of encouragement and receive
appreciative words in reply.



Xll PREFACE.

When the immortal Proclamation of Emanci-
pation was issued, the whole world applauded, and
slavery received its death-blow. The terrible strain
of anxiety and responsibility borne by Mr. Lincoln
during the war had worn him away to a marked
degree, but that God who was with him throughout
the struggle permitted him to live, and by his mas-
terly efforts and unceasing vigilance pilot the ship
of state back into the haven of peace.

On the I4th of April, 1865, after a day of unusual
cheerfulness in those troublous times, and seeking
relaxation from his cares, the President, accom-
panied by his wife and a few intimate friends, went
to Ford's Theater, on Tenth Street, N. W. There
the foul assassin, J. Wilkes Booth, awaited his com-
ing, and at twenty minutes past ten o'clock, just as
the third act of " Our American Cousin " was about
to commence, fired the shot that took the life of
Abraham Lincoln. The bleeding President was
carried to a house across the street, No. 516, where
he died at twenty-two minutes past seven the next
morning. The body was taken to the White House
and, after lying in state in the East Room and at the
Capitol, left Washington on the 2ist of April, stop-
ping at various places en route, and finally arriving
at Springfield on the 3d of May. On the following
day the funeral ceremonies took place at Oak Ridge
Cemetery, and there the remains of the martyr were
left at rest.

Abraham Lincoln needs no marble shaft to per-
petuate his name ; his words are the most enduring
monument, and will forever live in the hearts of the
people.



PREFACE. xiii

I was but a boy in the political campaign of 1860,
but had read a campaign life of "Abe" Lincoln,
and became charmed with his remarkable, yet simple,
life, and the possibilities of an American boy rising
from such an humble birth to the candidacy for the
Presidency of the United States. I took an active
part in that campaign, and collected everything I
could pertaining to Lincoln, little dreaming that the
small beginning would amount to much. But when
the assassin's bullet took the President's life, I deter-
mined then to spare no efforts to extend the col-
lection. I returned from the army in 1865, having
served from 1861, and from that time to the present
day have accumulated nearly three thousand Lin-
colnian relics.

I lived ten years with the collection in the Lin-
coln Homestead, Springfield, 111., until it became
necessary to remove it from that historic house in
1893, when the Memorial Association of the Dis-
trict of Columbia induced me to place it in the house
in which the President died, that the two might be
preserved together as a Lincoln Memorial.

The building is rented from a private party, and
the expense of keeping the house and collection
open to the public is too great for one individual, or
a small association, to bear. Hence my object in
offering the " Words of Lincoln " to the American
people is to give them an opportunity of preserving
the historic place in which the martyred President's
mortal career was closed.

OSBORN H. OLDROYD.

WASHINGTON, D. C., 1895.



INTRODUCTION.



THE Memorial Association of the District of
Columbia has been organized for the threefold pur-
pose :

1. Of preserving the most noteworthy houses at
the Capital that had been made historic by the resi-
dence of the nation's greatest men.

2. Of suitably marking, by tablets or otherwise,
the houses and places throughout the city of chief
interest to our own residents and to the multitudes
of Americans and foreigners that annually visit the
Capital.

3. Of thus cultivating that historic spirit and that
reverence for the memories of the founders and
leaders of the Republic upon which an intelligent
and abiding patriotism so largely depends.

It has first directed its efforts toward preserving
the house, 516 Tenth Street, N. W., in which
President Lincoln died. It leased the house to
save it from demolition, placed in it the unique and
valuable collection of relics gathered and owned by
Captain O. H. Oldroyd, and has for nearly two
years held the property as a museum. It is hoped
and expected that Congress will purchase the house
and preserve it in perpetuity. Meanwhile the asso-
ciation and its friends have contributed largely to



xvi INTRODUCTION.

pay current expenses. Now Captain Oldroyd very
generously puts this volume at the service of this
patriotic enterprise. It contains the choicest utter-
ances of Mr. Lincoln, so arranged and identified by
time and place as to be most convenient for refer-
ence. We think it should find a wide welcome
among the American people, to whom the memory
of this great man is so precious.

MELVILLE W. FULLER,

President.
TEUNIS S. HAMLIN,

Vice President.
WASHINGTON, D. C.,

April 25, 1895.



VALUE OF WORDS.



" It is with words as with sunbeams the more
they are condensed, the deeper they burn."
Southey.



" Learn the value of a man's words and expres-
sions, and you know him. Each man has a measure
of his own for everything. This he offers you,
inadvertently, in his words." Lavator.



" Cast forth thy act, thy word, into the ever-
living, ever-working universe ; it is a reed-grain that
cannot die ; unnoticed to-day, it will be found flour-
ishing as a banyan grove, perhaps, alas, as a hem-
lock forest, after a thousand years." Carlyle.



WORDS OF LINCOLN.



"I AM HUMBLE ABRAHAM LINCOLN."

{First political speech, delivered at Poppsville, Sangamon
Co., III., in 1832.)

" Gentlemen and fellow-citizens : I presume you
all know who I am. I am humble Abraham

Lincoln. I have been solicited by my
1832

many friends to become a candidate for the

Legislature. My politics are short and sweet. I
am in favor of a national bank. I am in favor of
the internal improvement system and a high pro-
tective tariff. These are my sentiments and politi-
cal principles. If elected, I shall be thankful ; if
not, it will be all the same."



EDUCATION THE MOST IMPORTANT
SUBJECT TO THE PEOPLE.

(Address at New Salem, III., March p, 1832, -when a candi-
date for the Legislature^)

" Upon the subject of education, not presuming
to dictate any plan or system respecting it, I can
only say that I view it as the most impor-
tant subject which we, as a people, can be
engaged in.



2 WORDS OF LINCOLN.

" That every man may receive at least a moderate
education, and thereby be enabled to read the his-
tories of his own and other countries, by which he
may duly appreciate the value of our free institu-
tions, appears to be an object of vital importance ;
even on this account alone, to say nothing of the
advantages and satisfaction to be derived from all
being able to read the Scriptures and other works,
both of a religious and moral nature, for themselves.

" For my part, I desire to see the time when edu-
cation, by its means, morality, sobriety, enterprise,
and integrity, shall become much more gen-
eral than at present, and should be grati-
fied to have it in my power to contribute some-
thing to the advancement of any measure which
might have a tendency to accelerate the happy
period.

" Every man is said to have his peculiar ambition.
Whether it be true or not, I can say, for one, that I
have no other so great as that of being truly es-
teemed of my fellow-men. How far I shall succeed
in gratifying this ambition is yet to be developed.
I am young, and unknown to many of you. I was
born, and have ever remained, in the most humble
walks of life. I have no wealthy popular relations or
friends to recommend me. My case is thrown exclu-
sively upon the independent voters of the county;
and, if elected, they will have conferred a favor

On the day when the flag of thy love was to be again raised on
Fort Sumter, where it had first been lowered, thou wast slain. Not
for a life unfinished do we mourn, though thou wast now girding
thyself for the greater victories of peace. God saw the end. We
did not. Henry E. Butler.



WORDS OF LINCOLN. 3

upon me, for which I shall be unremitting in my
labors to compensate.

" But, if the good people in their wisdom shall
see fit to keep me in the background, I have been

too familiar with disappointment to be very

I8 32 .."' i , ,.

much chagrined.



ANNOUNCES HIMSELF A CANBIDATE
FOR THE LEGISLATURE.

(Letter to the Sangamon fotirnal, Springfield, III., June
i3> 1836.)

" I go for all sharing the privileges of the govern-
ment who assist in bearing its burdens, consequently
I go for admitting all whites to the right
of suffrage who pay taxes or bear arms (by
no means excluding females).

" While acting as their representative I shall be
governed by their will on all subjects upon which I
have the means of knowing what their will is, and
upon all others I shall do what my own judgment
teaches me will best advance their interests, whether
elected or not.

" I go for distributing the proceeds of the sale of
public lands to the several States, to enable our
State, in common with others, to dig canals and

When Abraham Lincoln issued the Proclamation of Freedom the
light of morning rose, higher and higher went the sun, more and more
the heavens were opened above us, and the Lord lifted up our Fourth
of July into higher and yet higher glory, by giving us Gettysburg
and Vicksburg at one blast of the trumpet. William de Loss Love.



WORDS OF LINCOLN.



construct railroads without borrowing money and
paying interest on it."



PROTEST AGAINST DOMESTIC SLAVERY.

(In the Illinois Legislature, March j, 1837, in opposition to a
resolution on the subject.)

" They believe that the institution of slavery is

founded on both injustice and bad policy ; but that

g the promulgation of abolition doctrines

tends rather to increase than abate its evils.
" They believe that the Congress of the United
States has no power, under the Constitution, to inter-
fere with the institution of slavery in the different
States.

" They believe that the Congress of the United
States has the power, under the Constitution, to
abolish slavery in the District of Columbia, but that
the power ought not to be exercised, unless at the
request of the people of the District.

" The difference between their opinions and those
contained in the said resolutions is their reasons for
entering this protest.

[Signed]

" DAN STONE,
" A. LINCOLN.

" Representatives from Sangamon Co., 111."

He fell as his thousands had fallen on the field of battle sud-
denly, and in the hour of victory. A man from among the people,
a man who would have wept for the poorest drummer-boy of his
great army ! T. H. Robinson.



WORDS OF LINCOLN.



"PERPETUATION OF OUR FREE INSTI-
TUTIONS."

(An address delivered at the age of twenty-eight, Springfield,
III., January, 1837.}

" In the great journal of things happening under
the sun, we, the American people, find our account
running under date of the nineteenth century
of the Christian era.

" We find ourselves in the peaceful possession of
the fairest portion of the earth, as regards extent of
territory, fertility of soil, and salubrity of climate.

"We find ourselves under the government of a
system of political institutions conducing more
essentially to the ends of civil and religious liberty
than any of which the history of former times tells us.

" We, when mounting the stage of our existence,
found ourselves the legal inheritors of these funda-
mental blessings.

" We toiled, not in the acquisition or establish-
ment of them : they are a legacy bequeathed us by
a once hardy, brave, and patriotic, but now lamented
and departed race of ancestors.

" Theirs was the task (and nobly they performed
it) to possess themselves, and, through themselves,
us, of this goodly land, and to uprear upon its hills
and valleys a political edifice of liberty and equal

Coming generations will discover that what he called hesitation
was wise discretion ; that amid our home and foreign complications
any other policy would have led to inevitable ruin. Adoniram J.
Patterson.



6 WORDS OF LINCOLN.

rights ; 'tis ours only to transmit these the former
unprofaned by the foot of an invader ; the latter
undecoyed by the lapse of time and untorn by
usurpation, to the latest generation that fate shall
permit the world to know.

" This task, gratitude to our fathers, justice to our-
selves, duty to posterity all imperatively
require us faithfully to perform.

" How, then, shall we perform it ? At what point
shall we expect the approach of danger ? Shall we
expect some transatlantic military giant to step the
ocean and crush us at a blow?

" Never ! All the armies of Europe, Asia, and
Africa combined, with all the treasure of the earth
(our own excepted) in their military chest, with
a Bonaparte for a commander, could not, by
force, take a drink from the Ohio, or make a
track on the Blue Ridge, in a trial of a thousand
years.

" At what point, then, is the approach of danger
to be expected? Answer: if it ever reaches us, it
must spring up among us.

" It cannot come from abroad. If destruction
be our lot, we must ourselves be its author
and finisher. As a nation of freeman, we must
live through all time, or die by suicide."

The Easter would have been celebrated as never before, amid
spring blossoms of flowers. The air was fanned with jubilant flags,
as the winter had passed and the time was nigh for the singing of
birds. Commerce flapped her long-folded wings, and the land
would laugh with industry, plenty, and prosperity. In the twinkle
of an eye we were brought down into the deepest affliction.
William Adams.



WORDS OF LINCOLN. 7

"I SWEAR ETERNAL FIDELITY TO THE
JUST CAUSE."

(Speech at Springfield, III., during the Harrison Presidential
campaign, 1840.}

" Many free countries have lost their liberty, and
ours may lose hers ; but if she shall, be it my
proudest plume, not that I was last to desert,
but that I never deserted, her.

" I know that the great volcano at Washington,
aroused and directed by the evil spirit that reigns
there, is belching forth the lava of political corrup-
tion in a current broad and deep, which is sweeping
with frightful velocity over the whole length and
breadth of the land, bidding fair to leave unscathed
no green spot or living thing.

" I cannot deny that all may be swept away.
Broken by it, I, too, may be ; bow to it I never
will. The possibility that we may fail in the
struggle ought not to deter us from the support of
a cause which we believe to be just. It shall not
deter me.

" If ever I feel the soul within me elevate and
expand to those dimensions not wholly unworthy of
its Almighty Architect, it is when I contemplate
the cause of my country, deserted by all the world
beside, and I standing up boldly, alone, and hurling
defiance at her victorious oppressors.



He surpassed all orators in eloquence, all diplomatists in wisdom,
all statesmen in foresight, and the most ambitious in fame. John J.
Ingalh.



8 WORDS OF LINCOLN.

" Here, without contemplating consequences, be-
fore Heaven, and in the face of the world, I swear
eternal fidelity to the just cause, as I deem it, of
the land of my life, my liberty, and my love ; and
who that thinks with me will not fearlessly adopt
the oath that I take ?


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Online LibraryAbraham LincolnWords of Lincoln, including several hundred opinions of his life and character by eminent persons of this and other lands; → online text (page 1 of 14)