Ervin S. Chapman.

Latest light on Abraham Lincoln, and war-time memories, including many heretofore unpublished incidents and historical facts concerning his ancestry, boyhood, family, religion, public life, trials and triumphs online

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Online LibraryErvin S. ChapmanLatest light on Abraham Lincoln, and war-time memories, including many heretofore unpublished incidents and historical facts concerning his ancestry, boyhood, family, religion, public life, trials and triumphs → online text (page 1 of 47)
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Latest Light


Abraham Lincoln


From a photograph copy of an ambrotype taken by McMasters at Prince-
ton, Ihinois, July 4, 1856. The only picture of Lincoln known to have
been taken during that year. Photograph presented the author by
Mrs. W. E. McVay, Los Angeles, California.

{See page 66)

Latest Light


Abraham Lincoln

and War-time Memories

Including many Heretofore Unpublished Incidents and
Historical Facts concerning his Ancestry, Boy-
hood, Family, Religion, Public Life,
Trials and Triumphs


With many Reproductions from Original Paintings,
Photographs, etc.

/ BY


Author of "A Stainless Flag," "Particeps Criminis,"
"The Czolgosz of Trade and Commerce," etc.


New Yoek Chicago Toronto

Fleming H. Revell Company

London and Edinburgh

Copyright, 1917, by

JAN 15 iSi8

New York : 1 58 Fifth Avenue
Chicago: 17 North Wabash Ave.
Toronto : 25 Richmond Street, W.
London : 2 1 Paternoster Square
Edinburgh : 100 Princes Street




^latn, jHcab, #Bltiia,

"Let American High Schools teach at least one
year of Lincoln. Teaching the use of the English
language is one of the prime objects of public
school instruction. Lincoln was one of the mas-
ters of English. His simple, luminous sentences,
which go as straight as bullets are models for the
pupil which cannot be improved upon. School
instruction seeks to form and strengthen a pupil's
reasoning powers. To follow Lincoln's mind
through his great controversies is an education
in reasoning that no classical example can sur-

"It is high time he became a staple of American
education. His collected writings and speeches
not only contain the soul of the American story
but are highly worth reading simply as literature
—as the picture of a mind slowly evolving out of
apparent common-place into supreme greatness,
and so leading a people through a great crisis.'*
—Judge R. M. Wanamaker.


By Bishop John W. Hamilton, D.D., LL.D.
Chancellor American University, Washi/ngton, D. C,

ANOTHER Life of Abraham Lincoln? No, not a
biography, but the latest authentic information relative
to many features of his life in which the world is
deeply interested. Such information is always in demand and
at this time it is peculiarly welcome. In our own country
Abraham Lincoln is today held in higher esteem than ever
before, and public interest in his life and in all for which he
is known to have contended, is constantly increasing. In pub-
lic schools and institutions of higher education, in organiza-
tions for literary culture and pursuits, on the lecture platform
and in the pulpit, Lincoln's name is heard more frequently
and with greater interest than is that of any other American.
And scarcely less interesting or potential is his name in other

The world has set its halo about him for what it already
knows of him but that only increases the desire to know more.
And Doctor Ervin Chapman has responded to that desire by
producing a work in which there is a great fund of informa-
tion concerning Lincoln never before published. He has been
able to do this because of his intimate knowledge of the work-
ings of the general government and his close and prolonged
acquaintance and association with eminent men during Lin-
coln's administration. He is, therefore, able to write with
authority and has done so in a manner so illuminating and
instructive as to win for himself a well accredited distinction
among all who have written about Lincoln and the times in
which he lived.

Doctor Chapman's eminent service during his long life
devoted so fully to the progressive and memorable achieve-



ments of those historical and turbulent times, gives him
superior qualifications to write with deepest sympathy and
friendliness. SjTiipathy rules the world, the world of Letters
as well as the world of Life. A friend will show himself
friendly. A foe cannot conceal his enmity. Other things being
equal the friend is more reliable than the foe, more popular
surely. There are a hundred readers of Abbott's ''Life of
Napoleon" to one who reads the life by Scott. Because of
his deep sympathy with all that distinguished the life of
Abraham Lincoln the author has here given us a work in the
perusal of which one can hear the heart throbs of the writer.
Good news can never come too often and this is a book of
good news which we will never tire of reading. It tells us
what we always believed was true about Lincoln and the proofs
are so conclusive that no misleading myths or legends will
hereafter be given credence.

I commend to every reader the author's impassionate appeal
for the aid of the platform, pulpit and press in repeating the
entrancing story of the humble but hallowed home and family
from which this great servant and messenger of God came to
save the nation and to redeem a race. I have known Doctor
Chapman for many years and have ever held him in high
esteem. I have rejoiced in his great work on the Pacific Coast
and throughout the nation, and have often announced my con-
viction that of all men I have known he was the best adapted
to the work of reform in which he was such an able and
successful leader. I rejoice that he has lived to complete the
great work on Abraham Lincoln which he has been for so many
years engaged in producing. It will undoubtedly prove the
crowning work of his remarkable life. He has giren abundant
evidence of his fitness to write of the important matters with
which he is familiar. He has added a valuable contribution
to the political history of the nation and I am pleased to present
my venerable friend of many years to my many friends of

many lands.

J. W. H.


IT is indeed a special providence that a unique man like Dr.
Ervin Chapman should just at this time of great emer-
gency give to the world a work on Abraham Lincoln, in
the preparation of which he has been engaged for more than
half a century.

Of "Particeps Criminis," "Bob" Burdette said, "Doctor
Chapman is the only man who could write this book," and the
same is true of the "Latest Light on Abraham Lincoln and
War-time Memories." No one but this "Statesman-Preacher,"
as he is called, could so successfully have supplemented the
three thousand Lincoln publications that have appeared, with a
work that is unlike all that has been written concerning Abra-
ham Lincoln,

From boyhood Doctor Chapman has been engaged in literary
pursuits and his writings have always been distinguished for
their fascinating originality. His books entitled, "A Stainless
Flag," "The Czolgosz of Trade and Commerce," and "Parti-
ceps Criminis," have been widely and eagerly read. At sixteen
he was on the lecture platform. At eighteen he was active in the
organization of the Republican party and took the stump for
Fremont, and at twenty-two he made one hundred speeches for
the election of Abraham Lincoln as President. When but a
lad he could repeat from memory the greater part of the Declar-
ation of Independence and of the Constitution of the United
States. "Jefferson's Letters," the "Madison Papers," "The
Federalist," "Benton's Thirty Years' View," and "Democracy
in America," were his delight while still in his teens and those
works are yet in his possession with his original annotations.
I have been thrilled with interest as I have handled those old,
well-worn but well-preserved volumes, in the perusal of which


this studious country boy unconsciously prepared for tlie great
work he was destined to accomplish. The knowledge of the
fundamental principles of civil government acquired by the
study of such great books gave strength and imagination to the
fervid eloquence of the "Boy Orator," as he was then called. He
was brought into close association with the most distinguished
men of the nation, and after the election of Lincoln as President
he was called to Washington to fill an important position in the
Federal government and to be an active participant in many of
the decisive movements of those historic times, some of which
were not known to the public and are not until now mentioned
in history.

During his connection with the government at Washington,
Doctor Chapman began the accumulation of data which has
made possible the production of this great work. His claim
that during those fifty years nothing of value respecting Lin-
coln has escaped him seems fully justified by the wealth of in-
formation he has here given to the public. Without the extra-
ordinary opportunities and the thorough personal preparation,
which began in boyhood and has continued through an extended
life, no author could have written a work of such great and
permanent value ; and from a field less extended or less produc-
tive such riches could not have been acquired. Momentous
measures and movements have passed like a panorama and men
have come and gone as in a moving pageant since Doctor Chap-
man began his preparation for this work. Not one man is now
living who was then prominent in public life. At that time
Blaine, Conkling, Grant, and Garfield were just beginning to
attract attention. Cleveland, Harrison and McKinley were un-
known. John Hay was only a President's private secretary;
Roosevelt had seen but seven summers, Taft eight, and Wood-
row Wilson was a restless boy of nine years in a Presbyterian
manse in Virginia.

And while this procession was passing Doctor Chapman,
like a toiling miner, was delving in the rock for the gold that
enriches the pages of this historical masterpiece. In this he


has not been hindered but helped by the ceaseless activities that
have made his life so full of notable achievements. As a pastor,
platform lecturer, participant in great conventions, and valiant
leader in reforms, he has always been the champion of those civic
and national ideals which he learned from the great books he
studied so diligently in early life, and which with such con-
summate skill he has in this work shown to be the mainspring
of the marvelous life of Abraham Lincoln.

He has been a preacher of great earnestness and power, with
pronounced evangelistic gifts and inclinations, but he is most
distinguished as an authority on the fundamental principles of
civil government, and as a wise and successful leader in reform
movements. When the Anti-Saloon League was organized in
California there was a unanimous and unyielding demand that
Doctor Chapman should become the leader of that new and
unique movement, and so incomparable were his achievements
in that field that nb one has ever doubted the wisdom of his
selection for that difficult work. It was my good fortune to be
one of that great assembly in San Francisco that sent Doctor
Chapman out into California as superintendent of the Anti-
Saloon League. The League was at that time understood to be
an experimental movement but Doctor Chapman insisted that
while its activities might be in a measure determined by con-
ditions, its ideals must be fixed and immovable, and that the
liquor traffic must be regarded and dealt with not as a business
but as a crime, and that the League must always oppose the
adoption of liquor license and any increase of the liquor license
tax. He had learned these fundamentals from Lincoln and he
adhered to them as tenaciously as the great Emancipator insisted
that all rightful opposition to slavery must be based upon the
unalterable proposition that slavery is wrong.

Dr. Howard H. Russell, founder and first superintendent of
the Anti-Saloon League, says : "From the day Doctor Chapman
began the study of law in 1856 until 1898 when he became
superintendent of the California Anti-Saloon League, every day
of his life seems to have been spent in a school of discipline,


development and instruction for his state-wide and nation-wi'dc
work." And when Doctor Chapman induced the National
League to declare that the liquor license tax was ''an entrench-
ment for the liquor traffic and the higher the tax the stronger
that entrenchment," Doctor Russell said, "Doctor Chapman has
convinced us all. I believe this is one of the most important
measures we have thus far undertaken." And when a year later
the League was led to declare that the liquor traffic is "not a
business but a crime," the national superintendent, Dr. P. A.
Baker, said to Doctor Chapman, "You have lifted us a notch
higher." Upon that high level Doctor Chapman's "Stainless
Flag" address was prepared and delivered throughout the
length and breadth of this nation under the auspices of the
National League. It was my supreme privilege when a pastor
in Brooklyn to hear that epochal address in New York City and
subsequently to learn of its great influence in creating and
maintaining the conviction now so dominant in the nation that
civil government cannot rightfully give legal standing to the
traffic in strong drink. That address on "A Stainless Flag" is
not outranked in power and eloquence by either Neal Dow or
John B. Gough.

As the doctrines of Abraham Lincoln prepared Doctor Chap-
man for his great influence in temperance reform, so his work
in that reform contributed very largely to his preparation for
this monumental work on Lincoln. Without the least break or
delay he passed from the strenuous struggles of the Anti-Saloon
League to the work of classifying and arranging the varied and
scholarly material he had accumulated. I was closely asso-
ciated with him when he turned from all other activities to the
happy labor of preparing the manuscript of this work. I ob-
served the enthusiasm with which he retired from the public
arena of conflict and sought the quiet seclusion in which he
could work without interruption. And I have been thrilled
with delight as I have seen this work take definite form and ex-
pand into such magnificent and masterful proportions. My hopes
were high when I first learned of the plan and scope of the pro-



posed volume, and I fully appreciated Doctor Chapman's rare
fitness for the task he had undertaken, but I had never imagined
that to the thousands of Lincoln ^publications another could be
added of such surpassing interest and value. And my greatest
astonishment is in finding in this work so much valuable infor-
mation which does not appear in any other publication. I am
delighted to note the characteristic courage with which the
author calmly sets aside as untruthful many harmful statements
concerning Lincoln which have been given wide publicity, and
the conclusive evidence he produces in support of his declar-

It is not a new Lincoln but a true and real, indeed a living
Lincoln, which Doctor Chapman gives us in this work, a Lincoln
of whose lineage and birth, and personal appearance and re-
ligious belief and experience we have every reason to be proud.
And it is that incomparably great and gracious Lincoln whom
the world must ever hereafter behold, admire and imitate.

Doctor Chapman has placed a grateful posterity under ever-
lasting obligation to him for this brilliant masterpiece.

Charles Edward LockEj
Pastor First Methodist Episcopal Church,
Los Angeles, Cal.


THIS work Is the product of more tlian half a century of
diligent preparation and labor. It is added to the vast
Lincoln library in the belief that it contains fresh and
heretofore unpublished information relative to Abraham Lin-
coln and men and events of his day. My personal participation
in the activities of the national government during Mr. Lincoln's
Presidency, and my intimate acquaintance and close official
association with many of the most prominent men of that day
afforded me the best of facilities for acquiring knowledge of
what was then in progress throughout the nation. Therefore,
my personal reminiscences of those years, which are published
for the first time in this work, contain much valuable informa-
tion which other writers seem not to have secured.

In addition to this are the accumulations of prolonged and
careful research in which nothing of value relative to Lincoln
has been overlooked. More than two thousand publications
have been carefully examined and made to contribute to the
data which makes authentic every statement of this work.
From books and other war-time publications, from national and
local official records, and from Confederate documents and his-
tories, items have been gathered and woven into connected
records of events which form important new contributions to
authentic history. The disclosures thus made are of great sig-
nificance and some of them are so astounding that the validity
of the history may at first be doubted. But investigation will
establish, beyond question, the truth of every statement and
deduction contained herein.

I have been greatly favored and aided in all this prolonged
and taxing research. Data that had been lost have by diligent
search been recovered, and much of which I had never heard
came unsought into my possession and has been used to the



great advantage of this work. Many doors have been volun-
tarily opened to me, affording admission to unsearched realms
abounding in new and exceedingly valuable material. Sym-
pathizing friends and strangers, hearing of the nature and
purpose of my work, have contributed information that has
aided me greatly to enrich these pages with choice Lincolniana
in literature and art.

I was especially fortunate in the extended research which
made possible the preparation of the account of the Jaquess-
Gilmore Mission, knowledge of which during its progress was
not had even by the President's confidential secretaries, nor by
any member of his Cabinet. A great flood of light is by that
fascinating story cast upon the character and inner life of
Abraham Lincoln, revealing his secret meditations and his un-
declared hopes during even the darkest period of his life. Very
extensive and unfrequented fields were perseveringly surveyed
in securing the information given in that chapter. Each item
is fully authenticated by unquestionable records, but here only
have they been united so as to tell the thrilling story of that
unique and marvelously successful adventure.

The chapter devoted to quotations from the diary of Lin-
coln's pastor, Rev. P. D. Gurley, D.D., is of special interest
and value. The existence of this daily record by the able and
distinguished minister who, during Mr. Lincoln's Presidency,
was his beloved spiritual adviser and his esteemed and trusted
counsellor, has for some time been known to a limited number
of persons and has eagerly been sought by writers and pub-
lishers, but until the present it has been withheld from publica-
tion. I was delighted to secure the manuscript from Doctor
Gurley's daughter, Mrs. Emma Gurley Adams of Washington,
D. C, and I heartily commend it to the reader.

A considerable portion of this work is devoted to the cor-
rection of errors. No man in American history is so generally
misunderstood as Abraham Lincoln. Erroneous statements and
opinions relative to his ancestry, early life, family relations,
personal appearance, bearing, habits, attitude to reforms, and


religious belief and experience have long remained uncorrected
to the great detriment of the world's heritage in one of its
most important characters. Those misrepresentations and
misconceptions have come from conditions existing during Mr.
Lincoln's life, and from the malice or inexcusable carelessness
of writers since his assassination.

Mr. Lincoln was before the nation for only seven years
and was known to the people of his own state for but a slightly
more extended period. However, during all of that time there
was in progress throughout the nation a great moral and civic
movement which was characterized by intense bitterness of
spirit, and personal animosities.

Mr. Lincoln was an active and influential participant in
that contest and during its progress he was the target for the
most vindictive and cruel personal assaults known to political
campaigns. At first the misrepresentations were only such as
are usual in heated political contests, for he was always held
in high esteem by his partisan antagonists in Illinois. But
when his fame became national, and the movement against
slavery became dangerous to that institution, the warfare against
him sank to a lower level and was prosecuted with less regard
for truth and honor.

So long as damaging misrepresentations were confined to
the campaign statements of his political antagonists their in-
fluence was not seriously harmful, but when his former law
partner, William H. Herndon, published in his ''Life of Lin-
coln" that he was of illegitimate birth and had declared to
him that the same was true of his mother, the wicked falsehood
was accepted as true, and added immensely to the force of
other untruthful statements that were given wide circulation.
As is shown in this work Herndon's statement was promptly
and indignantly denied and was proved to be without the least
foundation. But after that had been done it continued to be
reproduced in later works and was given wide publicity.

Herndon was a pronounced infidel and in his book states
that Lincoln also was an unbeliever. This declaration was


confirmed by Lamon, another infidel author of a Lincoln
biography, and has been repeated by many careless writers and
widely proclaimed by enemies of Christianity and of Lincoln
until, in spite of his own strong, unequivocal declarations to
the contrary, it i8 very widely believed to be true. In like
manner many other harmful errors have been published and
accepted until the true image of Lincoln is quite generally
seen through a mask of unfortunate misconceptions.

These conditions should not be permitted to continue. It
is due the memory of Lincoln that his image, so admired by
the world, should be unmasked and made to appear in public
thought in its unmarred purity and beauty. The misleading
legendry which has become associated with his name should be
cast aside and forgotten, and the truthful history of this greatest
product of the new world should be reverently learned in its
entirety and faithfully repeated to all the world, and to suc-
ceeding generations. To aid in accomplishing this result is
the chief purpose of this work.

The charming "Stories about Lincoln" which form a
chapter are pleasingly illustrative of his unique and delightful
personality. Mr. Lincoln's own stories have been given large
space in other publications, but brief accounts of events with
which he was connected, such as are here given, have had less
publicity. They are, however, bright and lovely gems picked
up on vast fields of research and are here given their illuminat-
ing historical settings.

The topical arrangement of Mr. Lincoln's declarations of
religious beliefs and experiences constitute a feature peculiar
to this work. By this grouping of his own statements it is
possible to ascertain, with but little effort, the exact truth
relative to this very interesting and important matter. The
collecting of this material from the large number of books con-
sulted and its arrangement topically has been the most pro-
longed and tedious feature of the preparation of this work.
But it has been a labor of love and of unspeakable delight
Ministers, lecturers, lawyers, teachers and writers are busy

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people and only a limited number have access to the thousands
of publications in which this material may be found and from
which it has been patiently collected and classified, as gold is
gathered from a mine and cast into form for convenient use.
If this shall prove helpful to my busy, burdened fellow workers
I shall feel amply rewarded for my tireless labors to that end.

Special mention is here made of the efficient services of Miss
Glenn Will in the diversified lines of labor by which this book
has been produced. She has three times crossed the continent
and prosecuted extensive research in public and private libraries
and in museums and collections of rare Lincolniana. Too much
cannot be said in commendation of her labors and achieve-

It is a great pleasure here to acknowledge the valuable assist-
ance of Rev. James M. Campbell, D.D., in the preparation of

Online LibraryErvin S. ChapmanLatest light on Abraham Lincoln, and war-time memories, including many heretofore unpublished incidents and historical facts concerning his ancestry, boyhood, family, religion, public life, trials and triumphs → online text (page 1 of 47)