Paul Selby.

Stories and speeches of Abraham Lincoln : including stories of Lincoln's early life, stories of Lincoln as a lawyer, presidential incidents, stories of the war, etc., etc. : Lincoln's letters and great speeches chronologically arranged, with biographical sketch (Volume c.2) online

. (page 1 of 27)
Online LibraryPaul SelbyStories and speeches of Abraham Lincoln : including stories of Lincoln's early life, stories of Lincoln as a lawyer, presidential incidents, stories of the war, etc., etc. : Lincoln's letters and great speeches chronologically arranged, with biographical sketch (Volume c.2) → online text (page 1 of 27)
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1. Thompson
& Thoi&as

2. paper

3. cloth +

k. lacks adv.



Digitized by the Internet Archive

in 2010 with funding from

The Institute of Museum and Library Services through an Indiana State Library LSTA Grant



Abraham Lincoln



Lincoln's Letters and Great Speeches

Chronologically Arranged ;





Associate Editor of the Encyclopedia of Illinois.




Copyright 1900,
m Thompson & Thomas.



In presenting this volume to the public the aim of
its publishers has been to give the reader in a limited
space the most interesting, entertaining, and concise
work ever published on Lincoln.

The biography contained in this work was written
by the Hon. Paul Selby, a personal friend of Lincoln,
and for many years Editor of the State Journal at
Springfield, 111., Lincoln's home.

The Stories, Anecdotes, and Yarns of Lincoln have
been compiled from the most reliable sources, and are
herein presented in an attractive form.

The Great Speeches of Lincoln, which cannot fail to
arouse the patriotism of the reader, are arranged in
chronological order.





His Birth and Ancestry — His Autobiography 13-18


Life in Kentucky and Indiana 18-21

Removal to Illinois — A second Flat-boat Voyage to New

Orleans 21-24

Enters Politics — Begins the Study of Law « 24-29

♦ As a Lawyer and Political Leader 29-31


Organization of the Republican Party 31-34


House Divided against Itself Speech — The Lincoln-Douglas

Debate of 1858 34-38

Election to the Presidency — Administration — Death 38-44


Abe's Rebuke 46

A Flat-boat Incident Illustrating Lincoln's Ready Ingenuity 63
An Incident from Lincoln's Experience on a Mississippi

Flat-boat 59

An Unsuccessful Venture as a Merchant in New Salem 71

A Wrestling Match 64

Books Read by Lincoln in His Early Life 45



Cool Under Difficulties 79

"Honest Abe" as Village Postmaster 61

How Lincoln Became a Captain in the Black Hawk War 72

How Lincoln Earned His First Dollar 52

How Lincoln Obtained the Name of "Honest Abe" 50

How Lincoln Thrashed a Bully and Made a Life-long Friend 58

Incident in the Black Hawk War 79

Lincoln Applies for a Patent 74

Lincoln Carries a Drunkard Eighty Rods on His Back 51

Lincoln's Entrance into Public Life 75

Lincoln's Name Good for a Bed 68

Lincoln's Lizard Story „ 47

Lincoln's Prophecy 57

Lincoln the Tallest of the Long Nine 74

No Vices — Few Virtues 57

"Thank you, I Never Drink" 80

The First Meeting of a Future President and Governor 67

The Lincoln-Shields Duel 80

Young Lincoln Narrowly Escapes Death 54

Young Lincoln Pulls Fodder Two Days for Damaged Books.. 53


"Adam's Ale," Lincoln's Only Beverage 125

A Distinction with a Difference 88

Advice to a Young Lawyer 90

A Noted Horse Trade in which Lincoln Confessed that He

Got the Worst of It 99

A Pathetic Story of Lincoln's Disappointment in Failing to

Secure the Support of the Springfield Ministry 100

A Visit to the Five Points of Industry in New York 129

Colonel Baker Defended by Lincoln no

Considerations Shown to Relatives 99

Crocodile and Negro 115

Defeated by a Still-Hunt 107

First Echoes from Chiacgo Convention 123

"Hold On, Breeze" no

"Honest Old Abe" 133

How Lincoln Invested His First Five Hundred Dollars for

the Benefit of His Step-Mother 87


How Lincoln Won the Nomination for Congress 107

How Mrs. Lincoln Surprised Her Husband 98

"I Am Not Fit for the Presidency" 128

Incidents of Lincoln's Home Life 104

Lincoln and Finance 93

Lincoln as a Lawyer 91

Lincoln Defends a Widowed Pensioner with Success 97

Lincoln Defends the Son of an Old Friend Indicted for

Murder 94

Lincoln's Knowledge of Human Nature 93

Lincoln's Last Interview with Douglas 116

Lincoln Rescues a Pig from a Bad Predicament 84

Lincoln, the Student 83

Mr. Lincoln's Vision. 123

"Nothing to Wear" 104

Pen Picture of Lincoln, and His Speech in New York City... 116

Remarks Uttered by Lincoln, 1858 119

Six-Foot-Three Committee Man 128

Slavery 120

Stanton's First Impression of Lincoln 126

That Stage-coach Ride 89

The House Divided Against Itself 120

The Old Sign, "Lincoln and Herndon" 133

The Ugliest Man 130

Trent Affair 119

"Trusted Till Britchen Broke" 115

Two Entertaining Anecdotes Illustrating Lincoln's Good

Nature 126

"Well, Speed, I'm Moved" 83

"Whole Hog Jackson Man" 113


OF LINCOLN 135-167

An Incident in Lincoln's Second Inauguration 165

A Petitioner's Sudden Change of Mind 151

Cabinet Reconstruction 162

Death of Lincoln's Favorite Son 159

General Fiske'9 Story of the "Swearing Driver" 142

Hearty Welcome of Dennis Hanks at the White House 147

"He's All Right, but a Chronic Squealer" 163


How Young Daniel Webster Escapes a Flogging, as Related

by Lincoln 160

Kindness of Heart 16ft

Lincoln's Hair 153

Lincoln's Modesty 165

Lincoln's Unconventionality in Receiving Old Friends at the

White House 140

"Mother, He's Just the Same Old Abe" 161

Lincoln's Great Love for Little Tad 155

Mr. Lincoln's Tact r 152

"Oh, Pa, He Isn't Ugly" 153

Remarkable Memory of Lincoln 141

Secretary Stanton's Uncomplimentary Opinion 164

Simplicity 154

The Hardest Trial of Lincoln's Life 156

The Inauguration, March 4, 1861 135

The Interviews 148

The Presidency Not a Bed of Roses .. 149

The President's Mind Wandered 144

The President Wields an Ax at the Washington Navy Yard.. 150

The Old Lady and the Pair of Stockings 150

Thorough 152

"Time Lost Don't Count" 162

Unhealthy Group of Office Seekers , 150


A Case Where Lincoln Thought Shooting Would Do No Good 176

Advises an Angry Officer 191

Among the Wounded 175

A Story Illustrating Lincoln's Impatience at McClellan's

Slow Movements 190

A Touching Song Influences Lincoln to Pardon a Rebel

Prisoner 169

Bailing Out the Potomac River 182

Brigadier Generals More Plentiful than Horses 202

Burnside Safe i9q

Dangers of Assassination 217

Fright a Cure for Boils 202

"Grant's Whisky" the Right Kind 199


Hardtack Wanted, not Generals 168

"Help Me Let This Hog Go" 196

How Lincoln Pacified Disappointed Office Seekers 207

Incident in Lincoln's Last Speech 218

"Let Jeff Escape, I Don't Want Him" 213

"Let the Elephant Escape" 201

Lincoln and Little Tad 200

Lincoln and Tad 185

Lincoln Fulfills His Vow 212

Lincoln Defends His Use of the Word "Sugar-coated" in a

Public Document 181

Lincoln's Glimpse of War 210

Lincoln's High Compliment to the Women of America 172

Lincoln's Influence with the Administration 179

Lincoln's Last Afternoon 218

Lincoln's Love of Soldier Humor 191

Lincoln's Plan of War 172

Lincoln Refuses Pardon to a Slave Stealer 178

Lincoln's Summing Up of McClellan 190

Lincoln's Tenderness 206

"Making a Fizzle, Anyhow" 189

"Massa Linkun" Worshiped by the Negroes 203

Mr. Lincoln as Historian 186

Mr. Lincoln's Military Talent 188

New Instructions to Generals 177

Righteous Indignation 171

Tad, the Commissioned Officer , 186

That Savage Dog 195

The Biter Bit 205

The Colored People's New Year's Reception 214

The Colored People of Richmond Honor Lincoln 204

The Hon. Frederick Douglass Tells of an Interview with

Lincoln 183

The Little Drummer Boy 176

The Millionaires Who Wanted a Gun-boat ; 173

The President and Fighting Joe 187

The President and the Monitor 19a

The President Making Generals i6f

The President Obeying Orders 173


The President Refuses to Sign Twenty-four Death Warrants 174

The Son of Lincoln Displays a Rebel Flag.. 211

Two Hundred and Fifty Thousand Passes to Richmond 211

Whipped and Then Ran 169

Why Mr. Lincoln Hesitated before Signing the Emancipa-
tion Proclamation 188


Autobiography of Lincoln in a Single Paragraph 220

Concerning Mr. Lincoln's Religious Views 222

Death of Lincoln's Mother 221

Henry J. Raymond's Reminiscences of Lincoln 228

Important Letter from J. Wilkes Booth 232

Indictment of the Conspirators — Charges and Specifications.. 245

Lincoln's Definition of Biography 224

Lincoln's Favorite Poem 225

Lincoln's Religion 224

Lincoln's Religious Belief 221

Reward Offered by Secretary Stanton 244

Song Composed by Abraham Lincoln 219

Walt Whitman's Vivid Description of Lincoln's Assassination 238


Affectionate Son 254

Instructions to Major Robert Anderson 262

Letter to August Belmont 264

Letter to Colfax 261

Letter to Gen. Duff Green 259

Letter to Maj.-Gen. Hooker 267

Letter to Mrs. Armstrong 254

Letter to Mrs. Gurney, Wife of Eminent English Preacher,

of the Society of Friends 271

Letter to Seward 262

Lincoln's First Letter of Acceptance 258

Lincoln's Idea of the Slavery Conflict, in 1855 2 55

Lincoln Writes to His Step-Mother 255

Mr. Lincoln's First Public Letter after His Election 260

Mr. Lincoln's Reply to the Poet Bryant 259

Partial Reply to Censure on the Arrest of Vallandigham,

June, 1863 267


Presentation of a Gold Medal to Lieut. -Gen. Grant by Presi-
dent Lincoln 271

The President's Letter to Hon. Jas. C. Conklin, August 16,

1863 268

The President on the Negro Question 265


A Great Congressional Speech 281

A Humorous Speech — Lincoln in the Black Hawk War 332

A Proclamation 446

A Proclamation ". 448

A Proclamation 449

Douglas's Seven Questions — Lincoln's Position Denned on

the Questions of the Day 327

Emancipation Proclamation 450

Extracts Upon which Seward Based His "Irrepressible Con-
flict Platform" 447

First Speech after His Nomination 415

First Talk after His Nomination 422

Joint Debate Between Mr. Douglas and Mr. Lincoln 333

Lincoln's First Political Speech 273

Lincoln's First Inaugural Address 425

Lincoln's First Speech in the Senatorial Campaign — The

House Divided Against Itself Speech 315

Lincoln's Speech at Columbus, Ohio, Feb. 13th, 1861 520

Lincoln's Speech at Indianapolis, Feb. 12th, 1861 417

Lincoln's Speech at Washington, Feb. 27th, 1861 421

Lincoln's Temperance Speech .* 298

Lincoln's Second Inaugural Speech 458

Mr. Douglas's Reply 374

Mr. Lincoln's Reply 350

National Bank vs. Sub. Treasury 277

President Lincoln's Adieu to Springfield 416

President Lincoln's Last Speech 462

Proclamation by the President 420

Reply to the Committee from the Virginia Convention, April

20, 1861 438

Response to Serenade from Marylanders, Washington, Nov.,

1S64 458


Second Nomination 457

Speech Delivered at Cincinnati, Feb. 12th, 1861 417

The Ballot vs. the Bullet 312

The Emancipation Question in Missouri 445

The Perpetuity of Our Free Institutions 273

The President to Lieutenant-General Grant 456



A. Lincoln

The Early Home of Abraham Lincoln 17

President Lincoln and his Family in 1 66 1 33

A. Lincoln 50

Lincoln as a Rail Splitter 55

Lincoln's First Home in Illinois 77

Lincoln's Home in Springfield, Illinois 77

S. A. Douglass 85

Lincoln getting the worst of a Horse Trade -. 105

Parlor in Lincoln's Home, Springfield, Illinois Ill

State House in Springfield, 111., now Court House . ■ . * 117

President Lincoln in Richmond , , 121

Campaign Badges of 1 660 1 22

The Chicago Wigwam where Republican Convention of 1860 was held. . 137

Leaders of the Rebellion 1 54

Lincoln and his Son Tad 157

First Reading of Emancipation Proclamation Sept. 20th 1 862 1 86

Colored People's Reception, New Years, 1 865 215

First Reading of Emancipation Proclamation, Sept. 20th 1862.. .... 219

Lincoln and the Slave 250

President Lincoln and his Cabinet 282

First Battle of Bull Run 312

Naval Conflict between the Monitor and Merrimac 346

Death of Abraham Lincoln • 378

Remains lying in State at Chicago 410

Reception given by Lincoln , 423

We mourn a Nation's Loss 443

Second Inaugural Address of Abraham Lincoln 459

Abraham Lincoln.



A perennial charm attaches to the name and memory
of Abraham Lincoln. Among those who knew him
personally in the intimacy of private life, his simplicity
and geniality of- character, his intense humanity, and
an absolute confidence in his personal integrity won
him friends; with the nation — including many who
had been his bitterest political foes — his exalted
patriotism and the part which he played in the preser-
vation of his country and the emancipation of a race
commanded respect and admiration ; with the world at
large, all these characteristics, and the place which he
filled with such unswerving uprightness, ability, and
success, during one of the most perilous and dramatic
crises in all history, made him the most important and
conspicuously historic figure of his time. While the
lineage of such a man may be a matter of comparative
indifference, in the light of what he accomplished for



his country and mankind, his life-history becomes of
the most absorbing interest not only to his own
countrymen, but in all lands where the virtues of per-
sonal integrity, unselfish patriotism and far-reaching
political sagacity are appreciated and held in proper
esteem — a fact attested by the avidity with which each
new volume dealing with his public or private career,
and every incident, event, or anecdote connected with
his life, is caught up and absorbed by those of whom he
was accustomed to speak as "the plain common
people. "

There could be no more appropriate place than this
to introduce what Mr. Lincoln himself had to say of
his own and his family history, in a letter to his friend,
the Hon. Jesse W. Fell, of Bloomington, 111., under
date of December 20, 1859 — the year preceding his
election to the Presidency, and about the time his
friends were beginning to think seriously of his nomi-
nation for that office. He then said:


"I was born, February 12, 1809, in Hardin County,
Kentucky. My parents were both born in Virginia, of
undistinguished families — second families, perhaps I
should say. My mother, who died in my tenth year,
was of a family of the name of Hanks, some of whom
now reside in Adams and others in Macon County,
Illinois. My paternal grandfather, Abraham Lincoln,
emigrated from Rockingham County, Virginia, to Ken-
tucky, about 1 78 1 or 1782, where, a year or two later,
he was killed by Indians, not in battle, but by stealth,
when he was laboring to open a farm in the forest.


His ancestors, who were Quakers, went to Virginia
from Berks County, Pennsylvania. An effort to
identify them with the New England family of
the same name ended in nothing more than a simi-
larity of Christian names in both families, such as
Enoch, Levi, Mordecai, Solomon, Abraham, and the

44 My father, at the death of his father, was but six
years of age, and he grew up literally without educa-
tion. He removed from Kentucky to what is now
Spencer County, Indiana, in my eighth year. We
reached our new home about the time the State came
into the Union (1816). It was a wild region, with
many bears and other wild animals still in the woods.
There I grew up. There were some schools, so-called,
but no qualification was ever required of a teacher
beyond 'readin', writin', and cipherin' ' to the Rule
of Three. If a straggler, supposed to understand
Latin, happened to sojourn in the neighborhood, he
was looked upon as a wizard. There was absolutely
nothing to excite ambition for education. Of course,
when I came of age, I did not know much. Still,
somehow, I could read, write, and cipher to the Rule
of Three, but that was all. I have not been to school
since. The little advance I now have upon this store
of education I have picked up from time to time under
the pressure of necessity.

44 1 was raised to farm- work, which I continued until
I was twenty-two. At twenty-one I came to Illinois
and passed the first year in Macon County. Then I
got to New Salem, at that time in Sangamon, now in
Menard County, where I remained a year as a sort of
clerk in a store. Then came the Black Hawk War,


and I was elected a captain of volunteers — a success
which gave me more pleasure than any I have had
since. I went through the campaign, was elated, ran
for the Legislature in the same year (1832), and was
beaten — the only time I have ever been beaten by the
people. The next, and three succeeding biennial elec-
tions, I was elected to the Legislature. I was not a
candidate afterwards. During this legislative period,
I had studied law and removed to Springfield to prac-
tice it. In 1846 I was once elected to the lower House
of Congress, but was not a candidate for re-election.
From 1849 to 1854, both inclusive, practiced law more
assiduously than ever before. Always a Whig in pol-
itics, and generally on the Whig electoral ticket mak-
ing active canvasses. I was losing interest in politics
when the repeal of the Missouri Compromise aroused
me again. What I have done since then is pretty well

"If any personal description of me is thought desir-
able, it may be said, I am, in height, six feet four
inches, nearly; lean in flesh, weighing, on an average,
one hundred and eighty pounds; dark complexion,
with coarse black hair, and gray eyes. No othei
marks or brands recollected.

"Yours truly,

"A. Lincoln."

Soon after his nomination for the Presidency in i860,
Mr. Lincoln wrote out a somewhat more elaborate
sketch of his life for the use of his friends in preparing
a campaign biography for the canvass of that year, but
it contained little or nothing in reference to his early


life in addition to what is supplied, with such char-
acteristic modesty and frankness, mingled with quaint
humor in its closing paragraph, in the sketch just
quoted. It would be difficult to comprise within
smaller space what was then known of his genealogy
and early life. As he himself said, " My early life is
characterized in a single line of Gray's Elegy: 'The
short and simple annals of the poor.' " Yet subse-
quent research seems to have settled the fact beyond a
doubt, that Abraham Lincoln belonged to a historic
family of which Samuel Lincoln, who came from Eng-
land about 1637, settling first at Salem and afterwards
at Hingham, Mass., was the American progenitor.
To the same source has been traced the ancestry of
Gen. Benjamin Lincoln, of Revolutionary fame, who
received the sword of Lord Cornwallis at Yorktown in
1781; two early Governors of Massachusetts (both
named Levi Lincoln) ; Gov. Enoch Lincoln of Maine,
besides others of national reputation. Mordecai Lin-
coln, the son of Samuel, lived and died in Scituate,
near Hingham, Mass.; Mordecai II., his son, emi-
grated first to New Jersey and then to what after-
wards became Berks County, Pennsylvania, as early as
1720 to 1725. John, his son, removed to Rockingham
County, Virginia, in 1758; his son Abraham, the
father of Thomas (who was the father of the, subject of
this sketch), settled in Kentucky about 1781 or 1782,
where he was killed by Indians in 1784, leaving
Thomas, the father of the future President, a child of
the age of six years. This will account for the hard-
ships which the family of Thomas Lincoln endured in
that frontier region, in the latter part of the last and
the beginning of the present century, and the modesty


of the surroundings amid which Abraham Lincoln was



Miss Tarbell, in her " Early Life of Abraham Lin-
coln," has presented conclusive documentary proofs of
the marriage of Thomas Lincoln and Nancy Hanks in
Washington County, Kentucky, June 12, 1806. Born
the second child of this marriage (a younger brother
died in infancy), his early life was, undoubtedly, sim-
ilar to that of other children of that region and period.
There is reason to believe that there has been a dispo-
sition on the part of two classes of writers to exag-
gerate the picture of the squalor and wretchedness
about the early Lincoln home — on the one hand, by
those who had an object in seeking to magnify the
popular impression regarding the meanness of his
origin; on the other hand, by those who sought to
elevate him in public estimation by contrasting the
modesty of his early beginnings with the exalted posi-
tion to which he finally attained. While the former is
unjust to his memory, the latter is unnecessary to a
true estimate of his character. As a rule, the pioneers
of Kentucky, as in other portions of the West, at that
time, and even at a later date, usually lived in a log-
cabin of one room but scantily furnished. Those who
had two or more rooms were considered fortunate, if
not absolutely wealthy. At that time Abraham's
father lived in what is now La Rue (then a part of


Hardin) County. Here Abraham spent his childhood
until he had passed his seventh year. He went to
school a little, but the total could not have been over a
few months. Few stories are told of his life in Ken-
tucky, because, by the time he had achieved a national
reputation, there were few associates of his early child-
hood to tell them.

When Abraham was in his eighth year (1816), his
father removed with his family to what is now Spencer
County, Indiana. Here there is reason to believe their
mode of life was ruder even than it was in Kentucky,
as the country was newer and they settled in an
unbroken forest. Mr. Lincoln himself says, in the
paper already referred to as having been prepared as
the basis for a campaign biography, in i860, that "this
removal was partly on account of slavery, but chiefly
on account of the difficulty in land-titles in Kentucky."
For a time the family are said to have lived in a sort
of camp or cabin built of logs on three sides and open
at one end, which served as both door and windows.
A story told by Lincoln himself about his life here
gives his first, if not his only, experience as a hunter.
"A few days before the completion of his eighth year,
in the absence of his father, a flock of wild turkeys
approached the new log-cabin, and Abraham, with a
rifle gun, standing inside, shot through a crack and
killed one of them. He has never since pulled a trigger
on any larger game."

Another story connected with his life in Indiana is
that told by Austin Gollaher, a school- and play-mate
of Abraham's — though somewhat older — who claims to
have rescued the future President from drowning in
consequence of his falling into a stream which they


were crossing on a log, while hunting partridges neai
Gollaher's home. The same claim of having saved
Lincoln'6 life has been set up by Dennis Hanks, both
presumably referring to the same event. In his own
sketches, Mr. Lincoln makes no reference to this inci-
dent, though there is believed to have been some basis
of truth in the story, as told so graphically and circum-
stantially by Gollaher.

Here Abraham again went to school for a short time,
but, according to his own statement, "the aggregate of
all his schooling did not amount to one year." Accord-
ing to the statement of his friend Gollaher, he "was an
unusually bright boy at school, and made splendid
progress in his studies. Indeed, he learned faster
than any one of his schoolmates. Though so young,
he studied very hard. He would get spice-wood
brushes, hack them up on a log, and burn them two or
three together, for the purpose of giving light by which
he might pursue his studies." An ax was early put into
his hands, and he soon became an important factor in
clearing away the forest about the Lincoln home. Two
years after the arrival in Indiana, Abraham's mother
died, and a little over a year later his father married
Mrs. Sarah Johnston, whom he had known in Kentucky.

Online LibraryPaul SelbyStories and speeches of Abraham Lincoln : including stories of Lincoln's early life, stories of Lincoln as a lawyer, presidential incidents, stories of the war, etc., etc. : Lincoln's letters and great speeches chronologically arranged, with biographical sketch (Volume c.2) → online text (page 1 of 27)