John George Nicolay.

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ABRAHAM LINCOLN: A HISTORY
BY JOHN G. NICOLAY AND JOHN HAY

VOLUME ONE




TO THE HONORABLE ROBERT TODD LINCOLN

THIS WORK IS DEDICATED
IN TOKEN OF
A LIFE-LONG FRIENDSHIP
AND ESTEEM




AUTHORS' PREFACE


A generation born since Abraham Lincoln died has already reached
manhood and womanhood. Yet there are millions still living who
sympathized with him in his noble aspirations, who labored with him in
his toilsome life, and whose hearts were saddened by his tragic death.
It is the almost unbroken testimony of his contemporaries that by
virtue of certain high traits of character, in certain momentous lines
of purpose and achievement, he was incomparably the greatest man of
his time. The deliberate judgment of those who knew him has hardened
into tradition; for although but twenty-five years have passed since
he fell by the bullet of the assassin, the tradition is already
complete. The voice of hostile faction is silent, or unheeded; even
criticism is gentle and timid. If history had said its last word, if
no more were to be known of him than is already written, his fame,
however lacking in definite outline, however distorted by fable, would
survive undiminished to the latest generations. The blessings of an
enfranchised race would forever hail him as their liberator; the
nation would acknowledge him as the mighty counselor whose patient
courage and wisdom saved the life of the republic in its darkest hour;
and illuminating his proud eminence as orator, statesman, and ruler,
there would forever shine around his memory the halo of that tender
humanity and Christian charity in which he walked among his fellow-
countrymen as their familiar companion and friend.

It is not, therefore, with any thought of adding materially to his
already accomplished renown that we have written the work which we now
offer to our fellow-citizens. But each age owes to its successors the
truth in regard to its own annals. The young men who have been born
since Sumter was fired on have a right to all their elders know of the
important events they came too late to share in. The life and fame of
Lincoln will not have their legitimate effect of instruction and
example unless the circumstances among which he lived and found his
opportunities are placed in their true light before the men who never
saw him.

To write the life of this great American in such a way as to show his
relations to the times in which he moved, the stupendous issues he
controlled, the remarkable men by whom he was surrounded, has been the
purpose which the authors have diligently pursued for many years. We
can say nothing of the result of our labor; only those who have been
similarly employed can appreciate the sense of inadequate performance
with which we regard what we have accomplished. We claim for our work
that we have devoted to it twenty years of almost unremitting
assiduity; that we have neglected no means in our power to ascertain
the truth; that we have rejected no authentic facts essential to a
candid story; that we have had no theory to establish, no personal
grudge to gratify, no unavowed objects to subserve. We have aimed to
write a sufficiently full and absolutely honest history of a great man
and a great time; and although we take it for granted that we have
made mistakes, that we have fallen into such errors and inaccuracies
as are unavoidable in so large a work, we claim there is not a line in
all these volumes dictated by malice or unfairness.

Our desire to have this work placed under the eyes of the greatest
possible number of readers induced us to accept the generous offer of
"The Century Magazine" to print it first in that periodical. In this
way it received, as we expected, the intelligent criticism of a very
large number of readers, thoroughly informed in regard to the events
narrated, and we have derived the greatest advantage from the
suggestions and corrections which have been elicited during the serial
publication, which began in November, 1886, and closed early in 1890.
We beg, here, to make our sincere acknowledgments to the hundreds of
friendly critics who have furnished us with valuable information.

As "The Century" had already given, during several years, a
considerable portion of its pages to the elucidation and discussion of
the battles and campaigns of the civil war, it was the opinion of its
editor, in which we coincided, that it was not advisable to print in
the magazine the full narrative sketch of the war which we had
prepared. We omitted also a large number of chapters which, although
essential to a history of the time, and directly connected with the
life of Mr. Lincoln, were still episodical in their nature, and were
perhaps not indispensable to a comprehension of the principal events
of his administration. These are all included in the present volumes;
they comprise additional chapters almost equal in extent and fully
equal in interest to those which have already been printed in "The
Century." Interspersed throughout the work in their proper connection
and sequence, and containing some of the most important of Mr.
Lincoln's letters, they lend breadth and unity to the historical
drama.

We trust it will not be regarded as presumptuous if we say a word in
relation to the facilities we have enjoyed and the methods we have
used in the preparation of this work. We knew Mr. Lincoln intimately
before his election to the Presidency. We came from Illinois to
Washington with him, and remained at his side and in his service -
separately or together - until the day of his death. We were the daily
and nightly witnesses of the incidents, the anxieties, the fears, and
the hopes which pervaded the Executive Mansion and the National
Capital. The President's correspondence, both official and private,
passed through our hands; he gave us his full confidence. We had
personal acquaintance and daily official intercourse with Cabinet
Officers, Members of Congress, Governors, and Military and Naval
Officers of all grades, whose affairs brought them to the White House.
It was during these years of the war that we formed the design of
writing this history and began to prepare for it. President Lincoln
gave it his sanction and promised his cordial cooperation. After
several years' residence in Europe, we returned to this country and
began the execution of our long-cherished plan. Mr. Robert T. Lincoln
gave into our keeping all the official and private papers and
manuscripts in his possession, to which we have added all the material
we could acquire by industry or by purchase. It is with the advantage,
therefore, of a wide personal acquaintance with all the leading
participants of the war, and of perfect familiarity with the
manuscript material, and also with the assistance of the vast bulk of
printed records and treatises which have accumulated since 1865, that
we have prosecuted this work to its close.

If we gained nothing else by our long association with Mr. Lincoln we
hope at least that we acquired from him the habit of judging men and
events with candor and impartiality. The material placed in our hands
was unexampled in value and fullness; we have felt the obligation of
using it with perfect fairness. We have striven to be equally just to
friends and to adversaries; where the facts favor our enemies we have
recorded them ungrudgingly; where they bear severely upon statesmen
and generals whom we have loved and honored we have not scrupled to
set them forth, at the risk of being accused of coldness and
ingratitude to those with whom we have lived on terms of intimate
friendship. The recollection of these friendships will always be to us
a source of pride and joy; but in this book we have known no
allegiance but to the truth. We have in no case relied upon our own
memory of the events narrated, though they may have passed under our
own eyes; we have seen too often the danger of such a reliance in the
reminiscences of others. We have trusted only our diaries and
memoranda of the moment; and in the documents and reports we have
cited we have used incessant care to secure authenticity. So far as
possible, every story has been traced to its source, and every
document read in the official record or the original manuscript.

We are aware of the prejudice which exists against a book written by
two persons, but we feel that in our case the disadvantages of
collaboration are reduced to the minimum. Our experiences, our
observations, our material, have been for twenty years not merely
homogeneous - they have been identical. Our plans were made with
thorough concert; our studies of the subject were carried on together;
we were able to work simultaneously without danger of repetition or
conflict. The apportionment of our separate tasks has been dictated
purely by convenience; the division of topics between us has been
sometimes for long periods, sometimes almost for alternate chapters.
Each has written an equal portion of the work; while consultation and
joint revision have been continuous, the text of each remains
substantially unaltered. It is in the fullest sense, and in every
part, a joint work. We each assume responsibility, not only for the
whole, but for all the details, and whatever credit or blame the
public may award our labors is equally due to both.

We commend the result of so many years of research and diligence to
all our countrymen, North and South, in the hope that it may do
something to secure a truthful history of the great struggle which
displayed on both sides the highest qualities of American manhood, and
may contribute in some measure to the growth and maintenance
throughout all our borders of that spirit of freedom and nationality
for which Abraham Lincoln lived and died.

John G. Nicolay
John Hay
[signatures]




ILLUSTRATIONS

VOL. I


ABRAHAM LINCOLN From a photograph taken about 1860 by Hesler, of
Chicago; from the original negative owned by George B. Ayres,
Philadelphia.

LAND WARRANT, ISSUED TO ABRAHAM LINKHORN (LINCOLN)

FAC-SIMILE FROM THE FIELD-BOOK OF DANIEL BOONE

SURVEYOR'S CERTIFICATE FOR ABRAHAM LINKHORN (LINCOLN)

HOUSE IN WHICH THOMAS LINCOLN AND NANCY HANKS WERE MARRIED

FAC-SIMILE OF THE MARRIAGE BOND OF THOMAS LINCOLN

CERTIFICATE, OR MARRIAGE LIST, CONTAINING THE NAMES OF THOMAS LINCOLN
AND NANCY HANKS

SARAH BUSH LINCOLN AT THE AGE OF 76 From a photograph in possession of
William H. Herndon.

CABIN ON GOOSE-NEST PRAIRIE, ILL., IN WHICH THOMAS LINCOLN LIVED AND
DIED

MODEL OF LINCOLN'S INVENTION FOR BUOYING VESSELS

FAC-SIMILE OF DRAWINGS IN THE PATENT OFFICE

LEAF FROM ABRAHAM LINCOLN'S EXERCISE BOOK

SOLDIER'S DISCHARGE FROM THE BLACK HAWK WAR, SIGNED BY A. LINCOLN,
CAPTAIN

BLACK HAWK. From a portrait by Charles B. King, from McKenny & Hall's
"Indian Tribes of North America."

STEPHEN T. LOGAN From the portrait in possession of his daughter, Mrs.
L. H. Coleman.

ABRAHAM LINCOLN'S SURVEYING INSTRUMENTS, SADDLE BAG, ETC

PLAN OF ROADS SURVEYED BY A. LINCOLN AND OTHERS

FAC-SIMILE OF LINCOLN'S REPORT OF THE ROAD SURVEY

O. H. BROWNING From a photograph by Waide.

MARTIN VAN BUREN From a photograph by Brady.

COL. E. D. BAKER From a photograph by Brady, about 1861.

LINCOLN AND STUART'S LAW-OFFICE, SPRINGFIELD

LINCOLN'S BOOKCASE AND INKSTAND From the Keyes Lincoln Memorial
Collection, Chicago.

GLOBE TAVERN, SPRINGFIELD Where Lincoln lived after his marriage.

WILLIAM HENRY HARRISON From a painting, in 1841, by Henry Inman, owned
by Benjamin Harrison.

FAC-SIMILE OF MARRIAGE CERTIFICATE OF ABRAHAM LINCOLN

JOSHUA SPEED AND WIFE From a painting by Healy, about 1864.

HOUSE IN WHICH ABRAHAM LINCOLN WAS MARRIED

GEN. JAMES SHIELDS From a photograph owned by David Delany.

HENRY CLAY After a photograph by Rockwood, from the daguerreotype
owned by Alfred Hassack.

ZACHARY TAYLOR From the painting by Vanderlyn in the Corcoran Gallery.

JOSHUA R. GIDDINGS From a photograph by Brady.

DAVID DAVIS From a photograph by Brady.

JAMES K. POLK From a photograph by Brady.

FRANKLIN PIERCE From a photograph by Brady.

LYMAN TRUMBULL Prom a photograph by Brady.

OWEN LOVEJOY From a photograph.

DAVID E. ATCHISON From a daguerreotype.

ANDREW H. REEDER From a photograph by R. Knecht.

JAMES H. LANE By permission of the Strowbridge Lithographing Co. MAPS

MAP SHOWING LOCALITIES CONNECTED WITH EARLY EVENTS IN THE LINCOLN
FAMILY

MAP OF NEW SALEM, ILL., AND VICINITY

MAP OF THE BOUNDARIES OF TEXAS

HISTORICAL MAP OF THE UNITED STATES IN 1854




TABLE OF CONTENTS

VOL. I


CHAPTER I. LINEAGE The Lincolns in America. Intimacy with the Boones.
Kentucky in 1780. Death of Abraham Lincoln the Pioneer. Marriage of
Thomas Lincoln. Birth and Childhood of Abraham

CHAPTER II. INDIANA Thomas Lincoln leaves Kentucky. Settles at
Gentryville. Death of Nancy Hanks Lincoln. Sarah Bush Johnston.
Pioneer Life in Indiana. Sports and Superstitions of the Early
Settlers. The Youth of Abraham. His Great Physical Strength. His
Voyage to New Orleans. Removal to Illinois

CHAPTER III. ILLINOIS IN 1830 The Winter of the Deep Snow. The Sudden
Change. Pioneer Life. Religion and Society. French and Indians.
Formation of the Political System. The Courts. Lawyers and
Politicians. Early Superannuation

CHAPTER IV. NEW SALEM Denton Offutt. Lincoln's Second Trip to New
Orleans. His Care of His Family. Death of Thomas Lincoln. Offutt's
Store in New Salem. Lincoln's Initiation by the "Clary's Grove Boys."
The Voyage of the _Talisman_

CHAPTER V. LINCOLN IN THE BLACK HAWK WAR Black Hawk. The Call for
Volunteers. Lincoln Elected Captain. Stillman's Run. Lincoln
Reenlists. The Spy Battalion. Black Hawk's Defeat. Disbandment of the
Volunteers

CHAPTER VI. SURVEYOR AND REPRESENTATIVE Lincoln's Candidacy for the
Legislature. Runs as a Whig. Defeated. Berry and Lincoln Merchants.
Lincoln Begins the Study of Law. Postmaster. Surveyor. His Popularity.
Elected to the Legislature, 1834

CHAPTER VII. LEGISLATIVE EXPERIENCE Lincoln's First Session in the
Legislature. Douglas and Peek. Lincoln Reelected. Bedlam Legislation.
Schemes of Railroad Building. Removal of the Capital to Springfield

CHAPTER VIII. THE LINCOLN-STONE PROTEST The Pro-Slavery Sentiment in
Illinois. Attempt to Open the State to Slavery. Victory of the Free-
State Party. Reaction. Death of Lovejoy. Pro-Slavery Resolutions. The
Protest

CHAPTER IX. COLLAPSE OF "THE SYSTEM" Lincoln in Springfield. The
Failure of the Railroad System. Fall of the Banks. First Collision
with Douglas. Tampering with the Judiciary

CHAPTER X. EARLY LAW PRACTICE Early Legal Customs. Lincoln's
Popularity in Law and Politics. A Speech in 1840. The Harrison
Campaign. Correspondence with Stuart. Harrison Elected. Melancholia

CHAPTER XI. MARRIAGE Courtship and Engagement, The Pioneer
Temperament. Lincoln's Love Affairs. Joshua F. Speed. Lincoln's Visit
to Kentucky. Correspondence with Speed. Marriage

CHAPTER XII. THE SHIELDS DUEL A Political Satire. James Shields.
Lincoln Challenged. A Fight Arranged and Prevented. Subsequent
Wranglings. The Whole Matter Forgotten. An Admonition

CHAPTER XIII. THE CAMPAIGN OF 1844 Partnership with Stephen T. Logan.
Lincoln Becomes a Lawyer. Temperance Movement. Baker and Lincoln
Candidates for the Whig Nomination to Congress. Baker Successful. Clay
Nominated for President. The Texas Question. Clay Defeated

CHAPTER XIV. LINCOLN'S CAMPAIGN FOR CONGRESS Schemes of Annexation.
Opposition at the North. Outbreak of War. Lincoln Nominated for
Congress. His Opponent Peter Cartwright. Lincoln Elected. The Whigs in
the War. E. D. Baker in Washington and Mexico

CHAPTER XV. THE THIRTIETH CONGRESS Robert C. Winthrop Chosen Speaker.
Debates on the War. Advantage of the Whigs. Acquisition of Territory.
The Wilmot Proviso. Lincoln's Resolutions. Nomination of Taylor for
President. Cass the Democratic Candidate. Lincoln's Speech, July 27,
1848. Taylor Elected

CHAPTER XVI. A FORTUNATE ESCAPE Independent Action of Northern
Democrats. Lincoln's Plan for Emancipation in the District of
Columbia. His Bill Fails to Receive Consideration. A Similar Bill
Signed by Him Fifteen Years Later. Logan Nominated for Congress and
Defeated. Lincoln an Applicant for Office. The Fascination of
Washington

CHAPTER XVII. THE CIRCUIT LAWYER The Growth and Change of Legal
Habits. Lincoln on the Circuit. His Power and Value as a Lawyer.
Opinion of David Davis. Of Judge Drummond. Incidents of the Courts.
Lincoln's Wit and Eloquence. His Life at Home

CHAPTER XVIII. THE BALANCE OF POWER Origin of the Slavery Struggle.
The Ordinance of 1787. The Compromises of the Constitution. The
Missouri Compromise. Cotton and the Cotton-Gin. The Race between Free
and Slave States. The Admission of Texas. The Wilmot Proviso. New
Mexico and California. The Compromise Measures of 1850. Finality

CHAPTER XIX. REPEAL OF THE MISSOURI COMPROMISE Stephen A. Douglas. Old
Fogies and Young America. The Nomination of Pierce. The California
Gold Discovery. The National Platforms on the Slavery Issue.
Organization of Western Territories. The Three Nebraska Bills. The
Caucus Agreement of the Senate Committee. Dixon's Repealing Amendment.
Douglas Adopts Dixon's Proposition. Passage of the Kansas-Nebraska Act

CHAPTER XX. THE DRIFT OF POLITICS The Storm of Agitation. The Free
Soil Party. The American Party. The Anti-Nebraska Party. Dissolution
of the Whig Party. The Congressional Elections. Democratic Defeat.
Banks Elected Speaker

CHAPTER XXI. LINCOLN AND TRUMBULL The Nebraska Question in Illinois.
Douglas's Chicago Speech. Lincoln Reappears in Politics. Political
Speeches at the State Fair. A Debate between Lincoln and Douglas.
Lincoln's Peoria Speech. An Anti-Nebraska Legislature Elected.
Lincoln's Candidacy for the Senate. Shields and Matteson. Trumbull
Elected Senator. Lincoln's Letter to Robertson

CHAPTER XXII. THE BORDER RUFFIANS The Opening of Kansas Territory.
Andrew H, Reeder Appointed Governor. Atchison's Propaganda. The
Missouri Blue Lodges. The Emigrant Aid Company. The Town of Lawrence
Founded. Governor Reeder's Independent Action. The First Border
Ruffian Invasion. The Election of Whitfield

CHAPTER XXIII. THE BOGUS LAWS Governor Reeder's Census. The Second
Border Ruffian Invasion. Missouri Voters Elect the Kansas Legislature.
Westport and Shawnee Mission. The Governor Convenes the Legislature at
Pawnee. The Legislature Returns to Shawnee Mission. Governor Reeder's
Vetoes. The Governor's Removal. Enactment of the Bogus Laws. Despotic
Statutes. Lecompton Founded

CHAPTER XXIV. THE TOPEKA CONSTITUTION The Bogus Legislature Defines
Kansas Politics. The Big Springs Convention. Ex-Governor Reeder's
Resolutions. Formation of the Free-State Party. A Constitutional
Convention at Topeka. The Topeka Constitution. President Pierce
Proclaims the Topeka Movement Revolutionary. Refusal to Recognize the
Bogus Laws. Chief-Justice Lecompte's Doctrine of Constructive Treason,
Arrests and Indictment of the Free-State Leaders. Colonel Sumner
Disperses the Topeka Legislature

CHAPTER XXV. CIVIL WAR IN KANSAS Wilson Shannon Appointed Governor.
The Law and Order Party Formed at Leavenworth. Sheriff Jones. The
Branson Rescue. The Wakarusa War. Sharps Rifles. Governor Shannon's
Treaty. Guerrilla Leaders and Civil War. The Investigating Committee
of Congress. The Flight of Ex-Governor Reeder. The Border Ruffians
March on Lawrence. Burning of the Free-State Hotel




ABRAHAM LINCOLN




CHAPTER I

LINEAGE


[Sidenote: 1780.]

In the year 1780, Abraham Lincoln, a member of a respectable and well-
to-do family in Rockingham County, Virginia, started westward to
establish himself in the newly-explored country of Kentucky. He
entered several large tracts of fertile land, and returning to
Virginia disposed of his property there, and with his wife and five
children went back to Kentucky and settled in Jefferson County. Little
is known of this pioneer Lincoln or of his father. Most of the records
belonging to that branch of the family were destroyed in the civil
war. Their early orphanage, the wild and illiterate life they led on
the frontier, severed their connection with their kindred in the East.
This, often happened; there are hundreds of families in the West
bearing historic names and probably descended from well-known houses
in the older States or in England, which, by passing through one or
two generations of ancestors who could not read or write, have lost
their continuity with the past as effectually as if a deluge had
intervened between the last century and this. Even the patronymic has
been frequently distorted beyond recognition by slovenly pronunciation
during the years when letters were a lost art, and by the phonetic
spelling of the first boy in the family who learned the use of the
pen. There are Lincolns in Kentucky and Tennessee belonging to the
same stock with the President, whose names are spelled "Linkhorn" and
"Linkhern." All that was known of the emigrant, Abraham Lincoln, by
his immediate descendants was that his progenitors, who were Quakers,
came from Berks County, Pennsylvania, into Virginia, and there throve
and prospered. [Footnote: We desire to express our obligations to
Edwin Salter, Samuel L. Smedley, Samuel Shackford, Samuel W.
Pennypacker, Howard M. Jenkins, and John T. Harris, Jr., for
information and suggestions which have been of use to us in this
chapter.] But we now know, with sufficient clearness, through the
wide-spread and searching luster which surrounds the name, the history
of the migrations of the family since its arrival on this continent,
and the circumstances under which the Virginia pioneer started for
Kentucky.

The first ancestor of the line of whom we have knowledge was Samuel
Lincoln, of Norwich, England, who came to Hingham, Massachusetts, in
1638, and died there. He left a son, Mordecai, whose son, of the same
name, - and it is a name which persists in every branch of the family,
[Footnote: The Lincolns, in naming their children, followed so strict
a tradition that great confusion has arisen in the attempt to trace
their genealogy. For instance, Abraham Lincoln, of Chester County, son
of one Mordecai and brother of another, the President's ancestors,
left a fair estate, by will, to his children, whose names were John,
Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Mordecai, Rebecca, and Sarah - precisely the
same names we find in three collateral families.] - removed to
Monmouth, New Jersey, and thence to Amity township, now a part of now
a part of Berks County, Pennsylvania, where he died in 1735, fifty
years old. From a copy of his will, recorded in the office of the
Register in Philadelphia, we gather that he was a man of considerable
property. In the inventory of his effects, made after his death, he is
styled by the appraisers, "Mordecai Lincoln, Gentleman." His son John
received by his father's will "a certain piece of land lying in the
Jerseys, containing three hundred acres," the other sons and daughters
having been liberally provided for from the Pennsylvania property.
This John Lincoln left New Jersey some years later, and about 1750
established himself in Rockingham County, Virginia. He had five sons,
to whom he gave the names which were traditional in the family: -
Abraham, the pioneer first mentioned, - Isaac, Jacob, Thomas, and John.
Jacob and John remained in Virginia; the former was a soldier in the
War of the Revolution, and took part as lieutenant in a Virginia
regiment at the siege of Yorktown. Isaac went to a place on the
Holston River in Tennessee; Thomas followed his brother to Kentucky,
lived and died there, and his children then emigrated to Tennessee
[Footnote: It is an interesting coincidence for the knowledge of which
we are indebted to Colonel John B. Brownlow, that a minister named
Mordecai Lincoln a relative of the President, performed, on the 17th
of May, 1837, the marriage ceremony of Andrew Johnson, Mr. Lincoln's
succesor, in the Presidency.] With the one memorable exception the
family seem to have been modest, thrifty, unambitious people. Even the
great fame and conspicuousness of the President did not tempt them out
of their retirement. Robert Lincoln, of Hancock County, Illinois, a
cousin - German, became a captain and commissary of volunteers; none of
the others, so far as we know, ever made their existence known to
their powerful kinsman during the years of his glory. [Transcriber's
Note: Lengthy footnote relocated to chapter end.]



Online LibraryJohn George NicolayAbraham Lincoln: a History — Volume 01 → online text (page 1 of 31)