UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS
the Class of 1901
HARLAN HOYT HORNER
HENRIETTA CALHOUN HORNER
His BIRTH TO HIS INAUGURATION AS PRESIDENT.
WARD H. LAMON.
Vv> ' : \ \*J
N *> v ; >
xl ft i.*** 1 * '
JAMES R. OSGOOD AND COMPANY,
(LATE TICKNOR & FIELDS, AND FIELDS, OSGOOD, & co.)
Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1872,
Bv WARD H. LAMON,
In the Office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington.
Stereotyped and Printed l>y Rand, Avery, & Co.
"N the following pages I have endeavored to give the life of Abraham
Lincoln, from his birth to his inauguration as President of the United
States. The reader will judge the character of the performance by the
work itself : for that reason I shall spare him the perusal of much prefatory
At the time of Mr. Lincoln's death, I determined to write his history, as
I had in my possession much valuable material for such a purpose. I did
not then imagine that any person could have better or more extensive'
materials than I possessed. I soon learned, however, that Mr. William H.
Herndon of Springfield, 111., was similarly engaged. There could be no-
rivalry between us ; for the supreme object of both was to make the real
history and character of Mr. Lincoln as well known to the public as they
were to us. He deplored, as I did, the many publications pretending to be
biographies which came teeming from the press, so long as the public inter-
est about Mr. Lincoln excited the hope of gain. Out of the mass of works
which appeared, of one only Dr. Holland's is it possible to speak with
any degree of respect.
Early in 1869, Mr. Herndon placed at my disposal his remarkable col-
lection of materials, the richest, rarest, and fullest collection it was possi-
ble to conceive. Along with them came an offer of hearty co-operation, of
which I have availed myself so extensively, that no art of mine would serve
to conceal it. Added to my own collections, these acquisitions have enabled
me to do what could not have been done before, prepare an authentic
biography of Mr. Lincoln.
Mr. Herndon had been the partner in business and the intimate personal
associate of Mr. Lincoln for something like a quarter of a century ; and Mr.
Lincoln had lived familiarly with several members of his family long before
their individual acquaintance began. New Salem, Springfield, the old
judicial circuit, the habits and friends of Mr. Lincoln, were as well known
to Mr. Herndon as to himself. With these advantages, and from the num-
berless facts and hints which had dropped from Mr. Lincoln during the confi-
dential intercourse of an ordinary lifetime, Mr. Herndon was able to institute
a thorough system of inquiry for every noteworthy circumstance and every
incident of value in Mr. Lincoln's career.
The fruits of Mr. Herndon's labors are garnered in three enormous vol-
umes of original manuscripts and a mass of unarranged letters and papers.
They comprise the recollections of Mr. Lincoln's nearest friends ; of the
surviving members of his family and his family-connections ; of the men
still living who knew him and his parents in Kentucky ; of his schoolfellows,
neighbors, and acquaintances in Indiana ; of the better part of the whole
population of New Salem ; of his associates and relatives at Springfield ; and
of lawyers, judges, politicians, and statesmen everywhere, who had any
thing of interest or moment to relate. They were collected at vast expense
of tune, labor, and money, involving the employment of many agents, long
journeys, tedious examinations, and voluminous correspondence. Upon the
value of these materials it would be impossible to place an estimate. That
I have used them conscientiously and justly is the only merit to which I lay
As a general thing, my text will be found to support itself; but whether
the particular authority be mentioned or not, it is proper to remark, that each
statement of fact is fully sustained by indisputable evidence remaining in
my possession. My original plan was to verify every important statement by
one or more appropriate citations ; but it was early abandoned, not because
it involved unwelcome labor, but because it encumbered my pages with a
great array of obscure names, which the reader would probably pass un-
I dismiss this volume into the world, with no claim for it of literary
excellence, but with the hope that it will prove what it purports to be,
a faithful record of the life of Abraham Lincoln down to the 4th of March,
WARD H. LAMON.
WASHINGTON CITT, May, 1872.
LIST OF ILLUSTKATIONS.
PORTRAIT OF ABRAHAM LINCOLN Frontispiece.
MRS. SARAH LINCOLN, MOTHER OF THE PRESIDENT PAGE 39
DENNIS F. HANKS 46
MR. LINCOLN AS A FLATBOAT-MAN . . .82
PLAN OF NEW SALEM 87
BLACK HAWK, THE INDIAN CHIEF 98
MRS. MARY LINCOLN, WIFE OF THE PRESIDENT 238
JOSHUA F. SPEED 272
HON. DAVID DAVIS, JUDGE OF THE SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES 313
STEPHEN T. LOGAN . 333
JOHN T. STUART 352
WILLIAM H. HERNDON 376
UNCLE JOHN HANKS 445
MR. LINCOLN'S HOME IN SPRINGFIELD, ILLINOIS 473
NORMAN B. JUDD 518
FAC-SIMILE OF MR. LINCOLN'S ACCOUNT OF HIS FAMILY . . . Appendix*
TABLE OF CONTENTS.
Birth. His father and mother. History of Thomas Lincoln and his family
a necessary part of Abraham Lincoln's biography. Thomas Lincoln's
ancestors. Members of the family remaining in Virginia. Birth of
Thomas Lincoln. Removal to Kentucky. Life in the Wilderness.
Lincolns settle in Mercer County. Thomas Lincoln's father shot by
Indians. Widow and family remove to Washington County. Thomas
poor. Wanders into Breckinridge County. Goes to Hardin County.
Works at the carpenter's trade. Cannot read or write. Personal
appearance. Called " Linckhorn," or " Linckhem." Thomas Lincoln
as a carpenter. Marries Nancy Hanks. Previously courted Sally
Bush. Character of Sally Bush. The person and character of Nancy
Hanks. Thomas and Nancy Lincoln go to live in a shed. Birth of a
daughter. They remove to Nolin Creek. Birth of Abraham. Re-
moval to Knob Creek. Little Abe initiated into wild spdrts. His sad-
ness. Goes to school. Thomas Lincoln concludes to move. Did not
fly from the taint of slavery. Abraham Lincoln always reticent about
the history and character of his family. Record in his Bible .
Thomas Lincoln builds a boat. Floats down to the Ohio. Boat capsizes.
Lands in Perry County, Indiana. Selects a location. Walks back to
Knob Creek for wife and children. Makes his way through the wilderness.
Settles between the two Pigeon Creeks. Gentryville. Selects a site.
Lincoln builds a half-faced camp. Clears ground and raises a small crop.
Dennis Hanks. Lincoln builds a cabin. State of the country.
Indiana admitted to the Union. Rise of Gentryville. Character of the
people. Lincoln's patent for his land. His farm, cabin, furniture.
The milk-sickness. Death of Nancy Hanks Lincoln. Funeral discourse
by David Elkin. Grave. Tom Lincoln marries Sally Bush. Her
goods and chattels. Her surprise at the poverty of the Lincoln cabin.
Clothes and comforts Abe and his sister. Abe leads a new life. Is
sent to school. Abe's appearance and dress. Learning "manners."
Abe's essays. Tenderness for animals. The last of school. Abe
excelled the masters. Studied privately. Did not like to work.
Wrote on wooden shovel and boards. How Abe studied. The books
he read. The " Revised Statute of Indiana." Did not read the Bible.
No religious opinions. How he behaved at home. Touching recital
by Mrs. Lincoln. Abe's memory. Mimicks the preachers. Makes
" stump-speeches " in the field. Cruelly maltreated by his father.
Works out cheerfully. Universal favorite. The kind of people he lived
amongst. Mrs. Crawford's reminiscences. Society about Gentryville.
His step-mother. His sister. The Johnstons and Hankses. Abe a
ferryman and farm-servant. His work and habits. Works for Josiah
Crawford. Mrs. Crawford's account of him. Crawford's books. Be-
comes a wit and a poet. Abe the tallest and strongest man in the settle-
ment. Hunting in the Pigeon Creek region. His activity. Love of
talking and reading. Fond of rustic sports. Furnishes the literature.
Would not be slighted. His satires. Songs and chronicles. Gen-
tryville as " a centre of business." Abe and other boys loiter about the
village. Very temperate. " Clerks " for Col. Jones. Abe saves a
drunken man's life. Fond of music. Marriage of his sister Nancy.
Extracts from his copy-book. His Chronicles. Fight with the Grigs-
bys. Abe " the big buck of the lick." " Speaking meetings " at
Gentryville. Dennis Hanks's account of the way he and Abe became so
learned. Abe attends a court. Abe expects to be President. Going
to mill. Kicked in the head by a horse. Mr. Wood. Piece on tem-
perance. On national politics. Abe tired of home. Works for Mr.
Gentry. Knowledge of astronomy and geography. Goes to New
Orleans. Counterfeit money. Fight with negroes. Scar on his face.
An apocryphal story 19
Abe's return from New Orleans. Sawing planks for a new house. The
milk-sickness. Removal to Illinois. Settles near Decatur. Abe leaves
home. Subsequent removals and death of Thomas Lincoln. Abe's
relations to the family. Works with John Hanks after leaving home.
Splitting rails. Makes a speech on the improvement of the Sangamon
River. Second voyage to New Orleans. Loading and departure of the
boat. " Sticks " on New Salem dam. Abe's contrivance to get her off.
Model in the Patent Office. Arrival at New Orleans. Negroes
chained. Abe touched by the sight. Returns on a steamboat.
Wrestles with Daniel Needham. 73
The site of New Salem. The village as it existed. The first store. Num-
ber of inhabitants. Their houses. Springfield. Petersburg. Mr.
Lincoln appears a second time at New Salem. Clerks at an election.
Pilots a boat to Beardstown. Country store. Abe as " first clerk."
" Clary's Grove Boys." Character of Jack Armstrong. He and Abe
become intimate friends. Abe's popularity. Love of peace. Habits
of study. Waylaying strangers for information. Pilots the steamer
" Talisman " up and down the Sangamon. ...... 85
Offutt's business gone to ruin. The Black Hawk War. Black Hawk crosses
the Mississippi. Deceived by his allies. The governor's call for
troops. Abe enlists Elected captain. A speech. Organization of
the army. Captain Lincoln under arrest. The march. Captain Lin-
coln's company declines to form. Lincoln under arrest. Stillman's
defeat. Wasting rations. Hunger. Mutiny. March to Dixon.
Attempt to capture Black Hawk's pirogues. Lincoln saves the life of an ^
Indian. Mutiny. Lincoln's novel method of quelling it. Wrestling.
His magnanimity. Care of his men. Dispute with a regular officer.
Reach Dixon. Move to Fox River. A stampede. Captain Lin-
coln's efficiency as an officer. Amusements of the camp. Captain
Lincoln re-enlists as a private. Independent spy company. Progress
of the war. Capture of Black Hawk. Release. Death. Grave.
George W. Harrison's recollections. Duties of the spy company.
Company disbanded. Lincoln's horse stolen. They start home on foot.
Buy a canoe. Feast on a raft. Sell the boat. Walk again.
Arrive at Petersburg. A sham battle 98
The volunteers from Sangamon return shortly before the State election. Abe
a candidate for the Legislature. Mode of bringing forward candidates.
Parties and party names. State and national politics. Mr. Lincoln's
position. Old way of conducting elections. Mr. Lincoln's first stump- y
speech. "A general fight." Mr. Lincoln's part in it. His dress and
appearance. Speech at Island Grove. His stories. A third speech.
Agrees with the Whigs in the policy of internal improvements. His
own hobby. Prepares an address to the people. Mr. Lincoln defeated.
Received every vote but three cast in his own precinct. . . . 121
Results of the canvass. An opening in business. The firm of Lincoln &
Berry. How they sold liquor. What Mr. Douglas said. The store a
failure. Berry's bad habits. The credit system. Lincoln's debts.
He goes to board at the tavern. Studies law. Walks to Springfield for
books. Progress in the law. Does business for his neighbors. Other
studies. Reminiscences of J. Y. Ellis. Shy of ladies. His apparel.
Fishing, and spouting Shakspeare and Burns. Mr. Lincoln annoyed by
company. Retires to the country. Bowlin Greene. Mr. Lincoln's
attempt to speak a funeral discourse. John Calhoun. Lincoln studies
surveying. Gets employment. Lincoln appointed postmaster. How
he performed the duties. Sale of Mr. Lincoln's personal property under
execution. Bought by James Short. Lincoln's visits. Old Hannah.
Ab. Trent. Mr. Lincoln as a peacemaker. His great strength.
The judicial quality. Acting second in fights. A candidate for the
Legislature. Elected. Borrows two hundred dollars from Coleman ?\
Smoot. How they got acquainted. Mr. Lincoln writes a little book on
infidelity. It is burnt by Samuel Hill 135
James Rutledge. His family. Ann Rutledge. John McNeil. Is engaged
to Ann. His strange story. The loveliness of Ann's person and char-
acter. Mr. Lincoln courts her. They are engaged to be married.
Await the return of McNeil. Ann dies of a broken heart. Mr.
Lincoln goes crazy. Cared for by Bowlin Greene. The poem " Im-
mortality." Mr. Lincoln's melancholy breedings. Interviews with
Isaac Cogdale after his election to the Presidency. Mr. Herndon's inter-
view with McNamar. Ann's grave. The Concord cemetery. . .159
Bennett Able and family. Mary Owens. Mr. Lincoln falls in love with
her. What she thought of him. A misunderstanding. Letters from
Miss Owens. Mr. Lincoln's letters to her. Humorous account of the
affair in a letter from Mr. Lincoln to another lady 172
Mr. Lincoln takes his seat in the Legislature. Schemes of internal improve-
ment. Mr. Lincoln a silent member. Meets Stephen A. Douglas.
Log-rolling. Mr. Lincoln a candidate for re-election. The canvass.
" The Long Nine." Speech at Mechanicsburg. Fight. Reply to Dr.
Early. Reply to George Forquer. Trick on Dick Taylor. Attempts
to create a third party. Mr. Lincoln elected. Federal and State poli
tics. The Bank of the United States. Suspension of specie payments.
Mr. Lincoln wishes to be the De Witt Clinton of Illinois. The inter-
nal-improvement system. Capital located at Springfield. Mr. Lin-
coln's conception of the duty of a representative. His part in passing
the " system." Begins his antislavery record. Public sentiment against
the Abolitionists. History of antislavery in Illinois. The Covenanters.
Struggle to amend the Constitution. The "black code." Death
of Elijah P. Lovejoy. Protest against proslavery resolutions. No
sympathy with extremists. Suspension of specie payments. Mr. Lin-
coln re-elected in 1838. Candidate for Speaker. Finances. Utter
failure of the internal-improvement " system." Mr. Lincoln re-elected in
1840. He introduces a bill. His speech. Financial expedients.
Bitterness of feeling. Democrats seek to hold a quorum. Mr. Lincoln
jumps out of a window. Speech by Mr. Lincoln. The alien question.
The Democrats undertake to " reform " the judiciary. Mr. Douglas a
leader. Protest of Mr. Lincoln and other Whigs. Reminiscences of a
colleague. Dinner to " The Long Nine." " Abraham Lincoln one of
nature's noblemen." ........ .184
Capital removed to Springfield. Mr. Lincoln settles there to practise law.
First case. Members of the bar. Mr. Lincoln's partnership with John
T. Stuart. Population and condition of Springfield. Lawyers and
politicians. Mr. Lincoln's intense ambition. Lecture before the
Springfield Lyceum. His style. Political discussions run high.
Joshua F. Speed his most intimate friend. Scene in Speed's store.
Debate. Douglas, Calhoun, Lamborn, and Thomas, against Lincoln,
Logan, Baker, and Browning. Presidential elector in 1840. Stump-
ing for Harrison. Scene between Lincoln and Douglas in the Court-
House. A failure. Redeems himself. Meets Miss Mary Todd.
She takes Mr. Lincoln captive. She refuses Douglas. Engaged.
Miss Matilda Edwards. Mr. Lincoln undergoes a change of heart.
Mr. Lincoln reveals to Mary the state of his mind. She releases him.
A reconciliation. Every thing prepared for the wedding. Mr. Lin-
coln fails to appear. Insane. Speed takes him to Kentucky. Lines
on " Suicide." His gloom. Return to Springfield. Secret meetings
with Miss Todd. Sudden marriage. Correspondence with Mr. Speed
on delicate subjects. Relics of a great man and a great agony. Miss
Todd attacks James Shields in certain witty and sarcastic letters. Mr.
Lincoln's name " given up " as the author. Challenged by Shields. A
meeting and an explanation. Correspondence. Candidate for Con-
gressional nomination. Letters to Speed and Morris. Defeat . . 223
Mr. Lincoln a candidate for elector in 1844. Debates with Calhoun.
Speaks in Illinois and Indiana. At Gentry ville. Lincoln, Baker,
Logan, Hardin, aspirants for Congress. Supposed bargain. Can-
vass for Whig nomination in 1846. Mr. Lincoln nominated. Opposed
by Peter Cartwright. Mr. Lincoln called a deist. Elected. Takes
his seat. Distinguished members. Opposed to the Mexican War.
The " Spot Resolutions." Speech of Mr. Lincoln. Murmurs of disap-
probation. Mr. Lincoln for " Old Rough " in 1848. Defections at home.
Mr. Lincoln's campaign. Speech. Passage not generally published.
Letter to his father. Second session. The " Gott Resolution."
Mr. Lincoln's substitute. , 274
Mr. Lincoln in his character of country lawyer. Public feeling at the time
of his death. Judge Davis's address at a bar-meeting. Judge Dmm-
mond's address. Mr. Lincoln's partnership with John T. Stuart.
With Stephen T.Logan. With William H. Ilerndon. Mr. Lincoln
" a case-lawyer." Slow. Conscientious. Henry McHenry's case.
Circumstantial evidence. A startling case. Mr. Lincoln's account of
it. His first case in the Supreme Court. Could not defend a bad case.
Ignorance of technicalities. The Eighth Circuit. Happy on the
circuit. Style of travelling. His relations. Young Johnson indicted.
Mr. Lincoln's kindness. Jack Armstrong's son tried for murder.
Mr. Lincoln defends him. Alleged use of a false almanac. Piisoner
discharged. Old Hannah's account of it. Mr. Lincoln's suit against
Illinois Central Railway Company. McCormick Reaping Machine case.
Treatment by Edwin M. Stan ton 311
Mr. Lincoln not a candidate for re-election. Judge Logan's defeat. Mr.
Lincoln an applicant for Commissioner of the Land Office. Offered the
Governorship of Oregon. Views concerning the Missouri Compromise
and Compromise of 1850. Declines to be a candidate for Congress in
1850. Death of Thomas Lincoln. Correspondence between Mr. Lin-
coln and John Johnston. Eulogy on Henry Clay. In favor of voluntary
emancipation and colonization. Answer to Mr. Douglas's Richmond
speech. Passage of the Kansas-Nebraska Bill. Mr. Lincoln's views
concerning slavery. Opposed to conferring political privileges upon
negroes. Aroused by the repeal of the Missouri Compromise. Anti-
Nebraska party. Mr. Lincoln the leader. Mr. Douglas speaks at
Chicago. At Springfield. Mr. Lincoln replies. A great speech.
Mr. Douglas rejoins. The Abolitionists. Mr. Herndon. Determined
to make Mr. Lincoln an Abolitionist. They refuse to enter the Know-
Nothing lodges. The Abolitionists desire to force Mr. Lincoln to take a
stand. He runs away from Springfield. He is requested to " follow
up " Mr. Douglas. Speech at Peoria. Extract. Slavery and popular
sovereignty. Mr. Lincoln and Mr. Douglas agree not to speak any
more. The election. Mr. Lincoln announced for the Legislature by
Wm. Jayne. Mrs. Lincoln withdraws his name. Jayne restores it.
He is elected. A candidate for United-States Senator. Resigns his
seat. Is censured. Anti-Nebraska majority in the Legislature. The
balloting. Danger of Governor Matteson's election. Mr. Lincoln
advises his friends to vote for Judge Trumbull. Trumbull elected.
Charges of conspiracy and corrupt bargain. Mr. Lincoln's denial. Mr.
Douglas imputes to Mr. Lincoln extreme Abolitionist views. Mr. Lin-
coln's answer 333
The struggle in Kansas. The South begins the struggle. The North
meets it. The Missourians and other proslavery forces. Andrew H.
Reeder appointed governor. Election frauds. Mr. Lincoln's views on
Kansas. Gov. Shannon arrives in the Territory. The Free State
men repudiate the Legislature. Mr. Lincoln's " little speech " to
the Abolitionists of Illinois. Mr. Lincoln's party relations. Mr.
.Lincoln agrees to meet the Abolitionists. Convention at Blooming-
ton. Mr. Lincoln considered a convert. His great speech. Con-
servative resolutions. Ludicrous failure of a ratification meeting at
Springfield. Mr. Lincoln's remarks. Plot to break up the Know-
Nothing party. " National " Republican Convention. Mr. Lincoln re-
ceives a hundred and ten votes for Vice-President. National Democratic
Convention. Mr. Lincoln a candidate for elector. His canvass. Con-
fidential letter. Imperfect fellowship with the Abolitionists. Mr. Doug-
las's speech on Kansas in June, 1857. Mr. Lincoln's reply. Mr. Douglas
committed to support of the Lecompton Constitution. The Dred Scott
Decision discussed. Mr. Lincoln against negro equality. Affairs in
Kansas. Election of a new Legislature. Submission of the Lecomp-
ton Constitution to the people. Method of voting on it. Constitution
finally rejected. Conflict in Congress. Mr. Douglas's defection.
Extract from a speech by Mr. Lincoln 366
Mr. Douglas opposes the Administration. His course in Congress.
Squatter sovereignty in full operation. Mr. Lincoln's definition of
popular sovereignty and squatter sovereignty. Mr. Douglas's private
conferences with Republicans. Judge Trumbull's opinion. Mr. Douglas
nominated for senator by a Democratic Convention. Mr. Lincoln's idea
of what Douglas might accomplish at Charleston. Mr. Lincoln writing
a celebrated speech. He is nominated for senator. A startling doc-
trine. A council of friends. Same doctrine advanced at Bloomington.
The " house-divided " speech. Mr. Lincoln promises to explain.
What Mr. Lincoln thought of Mr. Douglas. What Mr. Douglas thought
of Mr. Lincoln. Popular canvass for senator. Mr. Lincoln deter-
mines to "kill Douglas" as a Presidential aspirant. Adroit plan to
draw him out on squatter sovereignty. Absurdities of Mr. Douglas.
The election. Success of Mr. Douglas. Reputation acquired by Mr.
Mr. Lincoln writes and delivers a lecture. The Presidency. Mr. Lincoln's
" running qualities." He thinks himself unfit. Nominated by " Illinois
Gazette." Letter to Dr. Canisius. Letter to Dr. Wallace on the pro-
tective tariff policy. Mr. Lincoln in Ohio and Kansas. A private
meeting of his friends. Permitted to use his name for the Presidency.
An invitation to speak in New York. Choosing a subject. Arrives in
New York. His embarrassments. Speech in Cooper Institute. Com-
ments of the press. He is charged with mercenary conduct. Letter
concerning the charge. Visits New England. Style and character of
his speeches. An amusing encounter with a clerical politician. . . 421
Meeting of the Republican State Convention. Mr. Lincoln present. John
Hanks and the rails. Mr. Lincoln's speech. Meeting of the Republican
National Convention at Chicago. The platform. Combinations to
secure Mr. Lincoln's nomination. The balloting. Mr. Lincoln nomi-
nated. Mr. Lincoln at Springfield waiting the results of the Con-
vention. How he received the news. Enthusiasm at Springfield.
Official notification. The "Constitutional Union " party. The Demo-
cratic Conventions at Charleston and Baltimore. The election. The
principle upon which Mr. Lincoln proposed to make appointments. Mr.
Stephens. Mr. Gilmore. Mr. Guthrie. Mr. Seward. Mr. Chase.
Mr. Bates. The cases of Smith and Cameron. Mr. Lincoln's visit to
Chicago. Mr. Lincoln's visit to his relatives in Coles County. Appre-
hensions about assassination. A visit from Hannah Armstrong. . . 444
Difficulties and peculiarities of Mr. Lincoln's position. A general review
of his character. His personal appearance and habits. His house and