Eugene W. (Eugene Wilder) Chafin.

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"The field of history is so vast that the student derives
his completest instruction from biographies."

— Cushman K. Davis.

Publisbed by


92 La Salle Street



.8 '

fuB^ftRV !>f GONGSESS?

jUN .21 1908 I

Copyright 1908.
By Eugene W. Chafin

^ ^^


Lecture — "Lincoln: The Man of Sorrow" 7


Lincoln's Temperance Speech - - 49

First Inaugural Address - - - 69

Second Inaugural Address - - 88

Emancipation Proclamation - - 92

The Gettysburg Address > - 96



Delivered in "Tlie Temple Lecture Course," in Ebenezer M. E.

Church, Philadelphia, Pa., February 25, 1907 ^

We are pleased to meet such a large and
enthusiastic audience tonight. I have not
been in Philadelphia since the Centennial
was held here in 1876 until today. I am glad
to be here again.

Most people are interested in American
history. All ought to be. We are becoming
students of history more and more every day.
The great problem is how to study it. I be-
lieve we should burn all the school histories
of today. It has become so large a subject
that we cannot teach it in the schools
through the ordinary school book.

The only way we can truly study history is
through biography; by reading the lives of
great men. All the important events in his-

'Reported by Geo. O. Swartz, stenographer, Camden, N.
J.; Rev. R. E. Johnson, pastor, presiding; music by the King's
Daughters' quartet, of S.treator, 111.


tory surround the lives of great men, and if
we would teach the children in the school
and in the home early in life to read of the
great men of the past, we would not only
teach them history, but it would cultivate a
liking for it so they would go on in later
years studying and becoming familiar with
the facts which have made us the great
Nation we are.

The only trouble with this method is that
we have so little good biography. It is only
within twenty or thirty years that we have
been getting what we may call fairly good

Washington has been dead more than one
hundred years, and many biographies have
been written, but a good, first-class life of
Washington has not yet been published. I
have over one hundred and fifty volumes of
Washingtoniana in my library, and can see
they are getting better each year. We may
expect to get a first-class life of Washington
before many years.

If that be true, what shall we say in rela-
tion to Abraham Lincoln ? lie has been dead
over forty years, and there has been no good,


true, first-class life of Lincoln yet written,
and none of you will live long enough to see
such a life published. We cannot get away
from our prejudices. We are too close to
some of these great characters in history to
tell the whole truth about them.

Lincoln is the most difficult character in
all history to understand. Tonight I wish
to emphasize the moral of his life, rather than
its history. I intend to take up this one
phase of his life and see if we can get a little
closer to this great man — the greatest char-
acter not only in the history of the United
States, but in the history of the world in the
nineteenth century. The hardest character
to comprehend in all history. That is why
no good biography of him has been written.
No man has yet seemed to comprehend him.

There is one thing certain if we are going
to try to fathom Lincoln we must trace the
hand of God in his life, and those who study
the life of Abraham Lincoln and see not the
hand of God in it, study it to no purpose.

I am going to speak of that phase of his
life and character entitled "Lincoln, the Man
of Sorrow," and am going to liken him in


some respects to the "Man of many Sor-
rows" — Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
For what our Lord and Saviour is to Divine
history Abraham Lincoln is to American his-
tory. One was the Saviour of the World,
the other a saviour of a Nation and a race.

Lincoln was born in a degradation very
far below respectable poverty, in the State of
Kentucky,^ and lived in that poverty the
whole of his childhood. When he was in his
eighth year the family removed to the State
of Indiana; before he was ten years of age
his mother died — the first great crushing
grief and sorrow of this boy. When he was
about nineteen his only sister died under
very distressing circumstances. Up to the
time he was twenty-one years of age he had
seen little of real Christian civilization.
No joy or pleasure of childhood had entered
into the life of Abraham Lincoln. He had
lived in the back woods, not only in a log
cabin but in a log hovel, not very much of
clothing, only a year's schooling.

Thomas Lincoln was an ignorant, worth-

*Abraham Lincoln was born Srmday morning, February
12. 1809, in Hardin (now LaRue) County, Kentucky, three

miles from Hodgensville.


less, shiftless, illiterate man, and thought it
a waste of time for 3^oung Abraham to learn
to read and write, as he could do neither —
his mother could read but probably not
write. There never were any cords of love
and sympathy between Thomas Lincoln and
Abraham and he treated the boy with great
cruelty/ When he was grown into manhood,
he always wanted to get away from the
thought of his childhood. There was no
day in this child's life which brought him
happiness, and I say to you, my dear friends,
no matter what else you do in this world
give children happiness. A happy day for
a boy or girl means a thousand days, as they
live it over and over again as the years go by.
Such was not for Abraham Lincoln. He had
not a day in his childhood that he wanted to
live over again. Undoubtedly that had a
great deal to do with his melancholy dispo-
sition. He was not the jovial, jolly man that
some of you think he was. He was the most
melancholy of men. He had the blues most
of the time. He was either clear down or
clear up. His genius for telling stories was

^Thomas Lincoln died in Coles County, Illinois, in 185L


the safety valve that saved his Hfe. It lifted
him up, he laughed and made others laugh.
His life w^as either a comedy or a tragedy
most of the time.

When he was twenty-one years of age he
removed with the family to the State of Il-
linois and leaving the parental home, went
to the village of New Salem in that State, a
place of about fifteen log houses.

He lived there about seven years, and soon
after he left, the village went out of existence
and a new town was started near there call-
ed Petersburg. It was in that little log village
that Lincoln discovered himself. He went to
work as an ordinary laborer, then in a store,
and finally bought the store and with his
partner ran it a few months and failed, leav-
ing a large debt on his hands which it took
him years to pay. While he was living there
he made the acquaintanee of a beautiful and
cultured young lady by the name of Ann
Rutledge, and they were engaged to be mar-
ried. It was his first contact with real Chris-
tian civilization. She taught him grammar
and to study the Bible and Shakespeare. Two
books that all young people should read


every day. Lincoln's familiarity with them
had largely to do with his literary style
which is a combination of both. His first
earthly joy seemed at last to be within his
grasp, but a few months before the}^ were to
be married she died.^

While I was in Petersburg near his old
home last year on the 12th of February, to
deliver this address, I went to the little cem-
etery on the hill and the sexton pointed out
a neglected grave with a little headstone
upon which was simply the name Ann Rut-
ledge,^ and as I stood there with uncovered
head, I said in that grave was buried the
heart of Abraham Lincoln. Her death so
worked on his mind that his friends feared
he would commit suicide. In a few months
he went about his work again, but never re-
covered from that great sorrow.

He was elected to the legislature of Illi-

'Miss Rutledge died Aug. 25, 1835, of typhoid fever.

''Beautiful Oakland Cemetery is about half a mile from the
city of Petersburg, 111. The headstone is a rough boulder
about two feet in diameter taken from the roadside, with the
name "Ann Rutledge" rudely chiseled upon a level place.
The entire cost probably did not exceed one dollar. It is
in marked contrast to the beautiful and expensive monuments
to the rich surrounding it. Withal there seems to be a fit-
ness about it for this Lincolnian simplicity suggests.

"The short and simple annals of the poor."


nois, served four terms^ and distinguished
himself for nothing. He went out of the leg-
islature with practically nothing to his credit
as a statesman.

The four legislatures of which he was a
member gave us the most vicious legislation
in the history of the State of Illinois.

While a member of the legislature he re-
moved to Springfield, April 15, 1837, which
was in his district, and began the practice of
law, having been admitted to the bar in 1836,
was fairly successful, and it was the only suc-
cess he attained anywhere up to the Presi-
dency. Soon after removing to Springfield
he made the acquaintance of Miss Mary
Todd, whom he afterward married. He
courted her for several years, and on the
first day appointed for their marriage Mr.
Lincoln did not appear, and of course there
was no wedding.^ Lincoln's conscience

'He was elected in the years 1834, 1836, 1838 and 1840.

^The day fixed for the marriage was Jan. 1, 1841. Lin-
coln expresses his feelings to John T. Stuart, then in Wash-
ington, in a letter written at Springfield, January 23, 1841,
as follows :

"For not giving j'ou a general summary of news, you
must pardon me; it is not in my power to do so. I am now
the most miserable man living. If what I feel were equally


would not quite allow him to marry her, and
he could not face it, and he did not, and ran
away from it. About a year and ten months
afterwards their friends entered into diplo-
matic negotiations and got them to speak-
ing together, and one Thursday they agreed
to be married and they were married the
next day, Friday, Nov. 4, 1842. Now ordi-
narily the period of courtship and engage-
ment is the happiest period of one's life ex-
cept that which is followed by happy mar-

Not so with Lincoln. They were not hap-
py days. His first love was Ann Rutledge
and he doubted whether he ought to marry
another. The days he courted Miss Todd
were among the most unhappy of his life —
except after he got her. She was bright,
finely educated, could speak French as well

distributed to the whole human family there would not be
one cheerful face on the earth. Whether I shall ever be
better I canno.t tell; I awfully forbode I shall not. To re-
main as I am is impossible; I must die or be better it ap-
pears to me. The matter you speak of on my account you
may attend to as you say, unless you shall hear of my con-
dition forbidding it. I say this because I fear I shall be
unable to attend to any business here, and a change of scene
might help me. If I could be myself I would rather remain
at home with Judge Logan. I can write no more."


as English, aristocratic, haughty, her ambi-
tion colossal, and wanted to shine in society,
and was one of the ugliest women in Illinois.
There is only one State in the Nation where
you can arrest a woman for being a *'com-
mon scold." That is New Jersey, and it was
a good thing she did not live there. This
is not a pleasant thing to speak of in a lec-
ture, and none of his biographers have said
much about her. I would not speak of it to-
night only that it is necessary for us to know
everything about this man. Everything that
occurred in his life. We want to see what
made him the great character that he was
in our history. In order to do that we must
know everything that entered into his life.
He was President of the United States which
made her Mistress of the White House and
therefore I have a right to tell the truth
about Mrs. Lincoln. To illustrate how they
enjoyed married life, he came home one day
very tired. He laid himself on the couch, and
she started as we say out West, "blazing
away" at him. One of the neighbors came
in and said to him, "Why don't you jaw back
Abe?" He said, "That did Mary a great


deal of good and did me no harm." He was
a philosopher. Decided to take her for bet-
ter or for worse.

His married life was not a congenial one
from the beginning to the end. No happi-
ness could come to Lincoln from any source.

They had four children.^ One died in in-
fancy and one died in the White House
when the great Civil War was on the heart
of this man and he was brought down almost
to the point of being crushed by the death
of "Little Willie." It was almost more than
he could stand. But you must understand
that the death of Ann Rutledge brought him
nearer to God. From that time on Lincoln
was a student of the Bible. The great crush-
ing blow of the death of "Little Willie"
brought him still nearer to God and I do not

'Robert Todd Lincoln, still living and resides in Chicago,
born August 1, 1843.

Edward Baker Lincoln, born March 10, 1846, died in in-

William Wallace Lincoln, born Dec. 21, 1850, died in the
White House February 20, 1862.

Thomas (Tad) Lincoln, born x\pril 4, 1853, died in Chica-
go July 15, 1871.

Mrs. IMary Todd Lincoln died Sunday evening, July 16,
1882, at the residence of her sister, Mrs. Ninian W. Edwards,
in the house where she had been married November 4, 1842, to
Abraham Lincoln.


think any man can say from that period
Abraham Lincoln was not a devout Chris-

These crushing blows of great grief in the
lives of men sometimes bring out the best
there is in them, if they are able to overcome
and rise above them as Lincoln was able to
do. These sorrows kept him close to the
common people. They just seemed to have
to come to this man's life to bring out the
best there was in him. Thereafter he had a
deeper sympathy for the parents who had
sons in the army and none appealed to him
in vain to save them if it were possible.

In 1846 Lincoln was elected to Congress.
All of his campaigns were conducted with
great bitterness against him. This one when
he ran for Congress was the least bitter of
any of them. He ran against Rev. Peter
Cartwright, the great preacher. He had been
there only a few months before he made a
speech against the Mexican War. This
caused his defeat for re-nomination. If you
have read many lives of Lincoln you have
found that there is not a biographer who tells
the truth about this matter. Every one says
he declined a re-election.


Oh, will the time ever come in this coun-
try when the biographers will tell the truth.
Let us have the truth about these great men.
It is marvelous how people like to stick to
some old lie. That George Washington
cherry tree and hatchet story will illustrate
this point.

I said in my lecture on "Washington as a
Statesman," at one of our Chautauquas last
summer, that the story about the cherry tree
was a pure fabrication.^ There never was
a word of truth in it. After the lecture a Sab-
bath school teacher came to me and said,
"Mr. Chafin I hope you will never tell an-
other American audience that that story was
not true. It is such a nice story to tell my
Sabbath school class. It has such a good
moral to it." Just think of that old lie hav-
ing a good moral to it.

^The story was no.t in the first "Life of Washington," writ-
ten by "M. L. Weems, formerly pastor of Mount Vernon
parish," published a few years before the death of Washing-
ton, Dec. 14, 1799. It first appeared in the fifth edition pub-
lished in 1806 and was copied bodily from an English gen-
tleman's sketch of his son, which appeared in England in
1799. Weems says it was communicated to him by "an aged
lady," who was a distant relative. I think Weems was the
most cheerful liar of his time, or, as Henry Fielding, the
author of "Tom Jones," one of the first great novels of the
world, said of the opposing lawyer. "With him, truth is a
virtue which becomes very much fatigued by exercise."


Tell the truth about Lincoln. He could
not get the re-nomination. He wanted to
stay in Congress and if he had not chosen to
stay there Mrs. Lincoln wished to continue
to be a Congressman's wife and that would
have settled it. His speech against the Mex-
ican War put him out of Congress and end-
ed his political career for the time being. I
see the hand of God in it. The Almighty was
reserving Lincoln to save this Nation. If he
had been re-elected in 1848 he would have
been in the Congress that passed the "com-
promise measures" of 1850, including the
Fugitive Slave law. If he had had a career in
Congress at that time and taken a part in the
Congressional turmoils preceding the war
he would never have been President. If he
had voted against the Fugitive Slave law, he
would never have been nominated, and if he
had voted for it he would not have been

Does not the truth fit him better than the
untruth? The artist who takes a line out of
his rugged face, or the author who takes a
true line out of his history is an enemy of


Does it not appear that Almighty God was
saving this man for a great work? He then
returned to Springfield and settled down to
the practice of law, the deadest politician in
Illinois. There was great grief in the Lin-
coln home. Mrs. Lincoln had to leave Wash-
ington society. It undoubtedly furnished
an occasion when he would rather have heard
her speak French than English. He then
determined to withdraw permanently from
politics and make a good lawyer of himself.
For the first time in his life he settled down
to the serious study of books. It was his
habit to read men more than hooks. He em-
braced this opportunity as he could not have
done if he had stayed in Congress, and be-
came a good lawyer.

The repeal of the Missouri Compromise,
on May 30, 1854, aroused his indignation
and brought him again into the political are-
na. He saw in it the dangers which precip-
itated secession. On October 16 he made
one of the five^ great speeches which formu-

'The five great speeches were those delivered at

Springfield, 111., Feb. 22, 1842;

Peoria, 111., Oct. 16, 1854;

Springfield, 111., June 16, 1858;

Columbus, O., Sept. 16, 1859, and

Cooper Institute, N. Y. City, Feb. 27, 1860.


lated his political creed (in reply to Senator
Douglas) on the Kansas-Nebraska law,
which repealed the Missouri Compromise.

He became a candidate for the legislature
and was elected in November, 1854. The re-
turns showed a majority in the legislature
opposed to the re-election of Senator Shields
and in favor of the principles Lincoln had
advocated during the campaign. He at once
became a candidate for the United States
Senate and resigned his seat in the legisla-
ture. When the balloting took place on Feb.
8, 1855, Lincoln had forty-seven votes and
Lyman Trumbull five. Four members were
controlled by State Senator John M. Palmer
and would not vote for Lincoln, and it took
fifty-one to elect. On the eleventh ballot
Lincoln had his name withdrawn and Judge
Trumbull was elected. His defeat was Prov-
idential. Had he gone to the Senate and
been prominent in all the questions that led
up to the secession he would not have been
nominated for President. God was saving
him for the great work of preserving this Na-
tion. He again went back to his law office
and Mrs. Lincoln spent the coming years in


Springfield instead of Washington society.

In 1858 Lincoln was again nominated for
the Senate and the seven great joint debates^
took place between him and Douglas, but
when it was all over, Lincoln was again
Providentially defeated. He had to go back
to Springfield and practice law. Grief again
in the Lincoln home. Oh, if she could only
have been a Senator's wife!

The next year he attempted lyceum lectur-
ing on the subject "Discoveries, Inventions
and Improvements," which proved a dismal

A few months ago I visited Lincoln's old
home in Springfield, a modest little frame
house which perhaps cost $3,000.00, the only
real estate that Lincoln ever owned. It is
now owned by the State of Illinois, and while
there was shown by the attendant the sofa
upon which Miss Mary Todd entertained
both Douglas and Lincoln while courting her

^The debates took place as follows:
Ottawa, 111., August 21, 1858.
Freeport, 111., August 27, 1858.
Jonesboro, 111., Sept. 15, 1858.
Charleston, 111., Sept. 18, 1858.
Galesburg, 111., Oct. 7, 1858.
Quincy, 111., Oct. 13, 1858.
Alton. 111.. Oct. 15. 1858.


in her sister's home. That was the first time
Stephen A. Douglas got the better of Lincoln
— when he didn't get her.

During the debate Lincoln said if Douglas
won the Senatorship he would never be Pres-
ident of the United States. He might well
have said that if Lincoln is beaten for the
Senatorship then he will have a chance for
the Presidency. If Lincoln had been elected
Senator in 1858 he would never have been
President. No man has yet gone from the
Senate Chamber to the White House. Sena-
tors Seward, Cameron, and Chase tried it in
1860, and many other Senators at different

Lincoln was a man who always arose to
the greatness of the occasion. That is the
sign of greatness, and there have been but
few great men in the world's history and
very few in American history. We think of
Presidents and Cabinet officers and Govern-
ors and Senators and Congressmen as big
men. They are big on small occasions, but
usually small on great occasions. There are
only a few great men on great occasions and
Lincoln was one of them. Lincoln had been


talked of for the Presidency. He was invited
to deliver an address in New York City at
Cooper Institute on February 27, 1860.^ All

^Of this speech Joseph H. Choate said :

"It is now forty years since I first saw and heard Abraham
Lincoln, but the impression he left on my mind is inefface-
able. After his great successes in the West he came to
New York to make a political address. He appeared in every
sense of the word like one of the plain people among whom
he loved to be counted. At first sight there was nothing
ijmpressive or imposing about him, except that his great
stature singled him out from .the crowd; his clothes hung
awkwardly on his giant frame ; his face was of a dark pallor,
without the slightest tinge of color; his seamed and rugged
features bore the furrows of hardship and struggle; his deep-
set eyes looked sad and anxious ; his countenance in repose
gave little evidence of that brain power which had raised
him from the lowes.t to the highest station among his country-
men. As he talked to me before the meeting he seemed ill at
ease, with that sort of apprehension which a young man might
feel before presenting himself to a new and strange audience
whose critical disposition be dreaded.

"It was a great audience, including all the noted men — all
.the learned and cultured of his party in New York, editors,
clergymen, statesmen, lawyers, merchants, critics. They were
ill very curious to hear him. His fame as a powerful speak-
er had preceded him, and exaggerated rumor of his wit had
reached the East. When Mr. Bryant presented him on the
high platform of the Cooper Institute a vast sea of eager,
upturned faces greeted .him, full of intense curiosity to see
what this rude child of the people was like. He was equal to
the occasion. When he spoke he was transformed; his eyes
kindled, his voice rang, his face shone and seemed to light
up the whole assembly. For an hour and a half he held his
audience in the hollow of his hand. _His style of speech
and manner of delivery were severely simple. What Lowell
called "The Great Simplicities' of The Bible" with which he

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