Sunday, August 9, 2009

The Wit and Wisdom of Abraham Lincoln Selections from Lincoln’s Own Stories by Anthony Gross (1912)

The following excerpts are from a very old book found in the archives of my ever expanding Civil War library. It is a wonderful find. Again I thank Barbara Love for her donation. “His great tenderness in love and sorrow is shown when Anne Rutledge, his first love, was laid in the grave. Grieving till his friends feared his loss of reason, he was found on a dark and stormy night beside the new made grave crying, ‘I cannot bear to have the rain fall upon her.’” “Speaking of some lawyer whose name is unknown he said, ‘He can compress the most words into the smallest ideas of any man I ever met.”’ “While walking along a dusty road in Illinois in his circuit days Lincoln was overtaken by a stranger driving to town. ‘Will you have the goodness to take my overcoat to town for me?’ asked Lincoln. ‘With pleasure, but how will you get it again?’ ‘Oh, very readily. I intend to remain in it.’ was Lincoln’s reply. In the Douglas debates. “He did not believe in making voters of Negroes—probably not at that stage of public opinion, for he said, ‘there is a physical difference between the white and black races which I believe will forever forbid the two races living together on social and political equality. However in the right to put into his mouth the bread that his own hands have earned, the Negro is the peer of Judge Douglas or any other man.”’ “Another story illustrates his inherent democracy. He dreamed he was in some great assembly, and the people drew back to let him pass, whereupon he heard some one say, ‘He is a common looking fellow.’ In his dream, Lincoln turned to the man and said, ‘Friend, the Lord prefers common looking people, that is the reason why He made so many of them.”’ “There is but one contingency that can cause your defeat for a second term,” one of Lincoln’s friends said to him in 1863, “and that is Grant’s capture of Richmond and his nomination as an opposing candidate.” “Well,” replied Mr. Lincoln, “I feel very much about that as the man felt who said he didn’t want to die particularly, but if he had got to die, that is precisely the disease he would like to die of.”’