The Recollections of Abraham Lincoln by Ward Hill Lamon - HTML preview
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Introduction by Senator Baker
Impression made by Inaugural Address
Oath of Office Administered
The Call of the New York Delegation on the President
GLOOMY FOREBODINGS OF COMING CONFLICT.
Geographical Lines distinctly drawn
Behavior of the 36th Congress
Letter of Hon. Joseph Holt on the "Impending Tragedy"
South Carolina formally adopts the Ordinance of Secession
Southern Men's Opinion of Slavery
Mr. Lincoln imagines Himself in the Place of the Slave-Holder
Judge J. S. Black on Slavery as regarded by the Southern Man
Emancipation a Question of Figures as well as Feeling
Mission to Charleston
"Bring back a Palmetto, if you can't bring Good News"
Why General Stephen A. Hurlbut went to Charleston
Visit to Mr. James L. Pettigrew—Peaceable Secession or War Inevitable
"A great Goliath from the North"—"A Yankee Lincoln-Hireling"
Initiated into the great "Unpleasantness"
Interview with Governor Pickens—No Way out of Existing Difficulties but to fight out
Passes written by Governor Pickens
Interview with Major Anderson
Rope strong enough to hang a Lincoln-Hireling
Timely Presence of Hon. Lawrence Keith
Extremes of Southern Character exemplified
Interview with the Postmaster of Charleston
Experience of General Hurlbut in Charleston
The Ease with which Mr. Lincoln could be reached
Visit of a Committee from Missouri
A Missouri "Orphan" in Trouble
Protection Paper for Betsy Ann Dougherty
Case of Young Man convicted of Sleeping at his Post
Reprieve given to a Man whom a "little Hanging would not hurt"
An Appeal for Mercy that failed
An Appeal for the Release of a Church in Alexandria
"Reason" why Sentence of Death should not be passed upon a Parricide
The Tennessee Rebel Prisoner who was Religious
The Lord on our Side or We on the Side of the Lord
Clergymen at the White House
Number of Rebels in the Field
Mr. Lincoln dismisses Committee of Fault-Finding Clergymen
Mistaken Identity and the Sequel
Desire to be like as well as of and for the People
Mr. Lincoln and his Gloves
Bearing a Title should not injure the Austrian Count
Mr. Lincoln's Tenderness toward Animals
Mr. Lincoln refuses to sign Death Warrants for Deserters—Kind Words better than
How Mr. Lincoln shared the Sufferings of the Wounded Soldiers
Letters of Condolence
DREAMS AND PRESENTIMENTS.
Superstition—A Rent in the Veil which hides from Mortal View what the Future holds
The Day of Mr. Lincoln's Renomination at Baltimore
Double Image in Looking-Glass—Premonition of Impending Doom
Mr. Lincoln relates a Dream which he had a Few Days before his Assassination
A Dream that always portended an Event of National Importance
Mr. Lincoln's Last Drive
Mr. Lincoln's Philosophy concerning Presentiments and Dreams
THE HUMOROUS SIDE OF HIS CHARACTER.
Mr. Lincoln calls himself "Only a Retail Story-Dealer"
The Purpose of Mr. Lincoln's Stories
Mr. Lincoln shocks the Public Printer
A General who had formed an Intimate Acquaintance with himself
Charles I. held up as a Model for Mr. Lincoln's Guidance in Dealing with Insurgents—Had
no Head to Spare
Question of whether Slaves would starve if Emancipated
Mr. Lincoln expresses his Opinion of Rebel Leaders to Confederate
Commissioners at the Peace Conference
Impression made upon Mr. Lincoln by Alex. H. Stephens
Heading a Barrel
A Fight, its Serious Outcome, and Mr. Lincoln's Kindly View of the Affair
Not always easy for Presidents to have Special Trains furnished them
Mr. Lincoln's Reason for not being in a Hurry to Catch the Train
"Something must be done in the Interest of the Dutch"
San Domingo Affair
Cabinet had shrunk up North
Ill Health of Candidates for the Position of Commissioner of the Sandwich Islands
Encouragement to Young Lawyer who lost his Case
Settle the Difficulty without Reference to Who commenced the Fuss
"Doubts about the Abutment on the Other Side"
Mr. Anthony J. Bleeker tells his Experience in Applying for a Position—Believed in
Punishment after Death
Mr. Lincoln points out a Marked Trait in one of the Northern Governors
"Ploughed around him"
Revenge on Enemy
THE ANTIETAM EPISODE.—LINCOLN'S LOVE OF SONG.
If a Cause of Action is Good it needs no Vindication
Letter from A. J. Perkins
Mr. Lincoln's Own Statement of the Antietam Affair
One "Little Sad Song"
Well Timed Rudeness of Kind Intent
Adam and Eve's Wedding Day
Favorite Poem: "O Why Should the Spirit of Mortal be Proud?"
HIS LOVE OF CHILDREN.
The Incident which led Mr. Lincoln to wear a Beard
The Knife that fairly belonged to Mr. Lincoln
Mr. Lincoln is introduced to the Painter of his "Beautiful Portrait"
Death of Mr. Lincoln's Favorite Child
Measures taken to break the Force of Mr. Lincoln's Grief
The Invasion of Tad's Theatre
Tad introduces some Kentucky Gentlemen
THE TRUE HISTORY OF THE GETTYSBURG SPEECH.
The Gettysburg Speech
A Modesty which scorned Eulogy for Achievements not his Own
Mr. Lincoln's Regret that he had not prepared the Gettysburg Speech with Greater Care
Mr. Everett's and Secretary Seward's Opinion of the Speech
The Reported Opinion of Mr. Everett
Had unconsciously risen to a Height above the Cultured Thought of the Period
Intrinsic Excellence of the Speech first discovered by European Journals
How the News of Mr. Lincoln's Death was received by Other Nations
Origin of Phrase "Government of the People, by the People, and for the People"
HIS UNSWERVING FIDELITY TO PURPOSE.
An Intrigue to appoint a Dictator
"Power, Plunder, and Extended Rule"
Feared Nothing except to commit an Involuntary Wrong
President of One Part of a Divided Country—Not a Bed of Roses
Mr. Lincoln asserts himself
Demands for General Grant's Removal
Distance from the White House to the Capitol
Stoical Firmness of Mr. Lincoln in standing by General Grant
Letter from Mr. Lincoln to General Grant
The Only Occasion of a Misunderstanding between the President and General Grant
Special Order Relative to Trade-Permits
Extract from Wendell Phillips's Speech
Willing to abide the Decision of Time
Unworthy Ambition of Politicians and the Jealousies in the Army
Resignation of General Burnside—Appointment of Successor
War conducted at the Dictation of Political Bureaucracy
Letter to General Hooker
Mr. Lincoln's Treatment of the Subject of Dictatorship
Symphony of Bull-Frogs
"A Little More Light and a Little Less Noise"
HIS TRUE RELATIONS WITH McCLELLAN.
Mr. Lincoln not a Creature of Circumstances
Subordination of High Officials to Mr. Lincoln
The Condition of the Army at Beginning and Close of General McClellan's
Mr. Lincoln wanted to "borrow" the Army if General McClellan did not want to use it
Mr. Lincoln's Opinion of General McClellan. A Protest denouncing the Conduct of
Mr. Lincoln alone Responsible to the Country for General McClellan's Appointment
as Commander of the Forces at Washington
Confidential Relationship between Francis P. Blair and Mr. Lincoln
Mr. Blair's Message to General McClellan
General McClellan repudiates the Obvious Meaning of the Democratic Platform
Mr. Lincoln hopes to be "Dumped on the Right Side of the Stream"
Last Appeal to General McClellan's Patriotism
Public Offices in no Sense a Fund upon which to draw for the Payment of Private
Busy letting Rooms while the House was on Fire
Peremptory Order to General Meade
Conditions of Proposition to renounce all Claims to Presidency and throw Entire
Influence in Behalf of Horatio Seymour
Mr. Thurlow Weed to effect Negotiation
Mr. Lincoln deterred from making the Magnanimous Self-Sacrifice
How Mr. Lincoln thought the Currency was made
Mr. Chase explains the System of Checks—The President impressed with Danger
from this Source
First Proposition to Mr. Lincoln to issue Interest-Bearing Notes as Currency—The
Interview between David Taylor and Secretary Chase
Mr. Lincoln's Honesty—Some Legal Rights and Moral Wrongs
Mr. Lincoln annuls the Proceedings of Court-Martial in Case of Franklin W. Smith
Senator Sherman omits Criticism of Lincoln
Release of Roger A. Pryor
The "Trent" Affair
Spirit of Forgiveness (?) toward England
The Interview which led to the Appointment of Mr. Stanton as Secretary of War
Correspondence with Hon. William A. Wheeler
The Appointment of Mr. Stanton a Surprise to the Country
Mr. Stanton's Rudeness to Mr. Lincoln in 1858
Mr. Lincoln abandons a Message to Congress in Deference to the Opinion of his Cabinet—Proposed Appropriation of $3,000,000 as Compensation to Owners of
Mr. Stanton's Refusal of Permits to go through the Lines into Insurgent Districts
Not Much Influence with this Administration
Mr. Stanton's Resignation not accepted
The Seven Words added by Mr. Chase to the Proclamation of Emancipation
Difference between "Qualified Voters" and "Citizens of the State"
Letter of Governor Hahn
Universal Suffrage One of Doubtful Propriety
Not in Favor of Unlimited Social Equality
The Conditions under which Mr. Lincoln wanted the War to Terminate
The Rights and Duties of the Gentleman and of the Vagrant are the Same in Time
What was to be the Disposition of the Leaders of the Rebellion
Mr. Lincoln and Jefferson Davis on an Imaginary Island
Disposition of Jefferson Davis discussed at a Cabinet Meeting
Principal Events of Life of Mr. Davis after the War
Discussing the Military Situation—Terms of Peace must emanate from Mr. Lincoln
Telegram to General Grant
Dignified Reply of General Grant
CONFLICT BETWEEN CIVIL AND MILITARY AUTHORITY.
Difficulties attending the Execution of the Fugitive Slave Law
Civil Authority outranked the Military
District Jail an Objective Point
Resignation of Marshal
Marshal's Office made a Subject of Legislation in Congress
A Result of Blundering Legislation
Mr. Lincoln's Existence embittered by Personal and Political Attacks
Rev. Robert Collyer and the Rustic Employee
PLOTS AND ASSASSINATION.
Conspiracy to kidnap Mr. Buchanan
Second Scheme of Abduction
Mr. Lincoln relates the Details of a Dangerous Ride
A Search for Mr. Lincoln
Mr. Lincoln's Peril during Ceremonies of his Second Inauguration—Booth's
The Polish Exile from whom Mr. Lincoln feared Assault
An Impatient Letter appealing to Mr. Lincoln's Prudence
Mr. Lincoln's high Administrative Qualities
But Few Persons apprehended Danger to Mr. Lincoln
General Grant receives the News of the Assassination of Mr. Lincoln—A Narrow
Last Passport written by Mr. Lincoln
Mr. Lincoln requested to make a Promise
Mr. Lincoln's Farewell to his Marshal
Lincoln's Last Laugh
Willing to concede Much to Democrats
Eastern Shore Maryland
Honesty in Massachusetts and Georgia
McClellan seems to be Lost
Battle of Antietam, Turning-point in Lincoln's Career
Motto for the Greenback
"Niggers will never be higher"
Lincoln in a Law Case
Lincoln's Views of the American or Know-Nothing Party
Account of Arrangement for Cooper Institute Speech
INDEX OF LETTERS.
Black, Jeremiah S., 329
Briggs, Jas. A., 300
Catron, J., 330
Doubleday, A. , 326
Douglas, S. A., 319
Faulkner, Chas. J., 327
Fell, Jesse W., 11
Field, Eugene, xxxv
Field, Kate, 306
Foster, Chas. H., 325
Grant, Gen., to Secy. Stanton, 252
Harmon, O. F. , 314
Henderson, D. P. , 331
Holt, J. , 58
Hurlburt, Stephen A. , 79
Kress, Jno. A., 256
Lemon, J. E. , 319
McClure, A. K., vii
Oglesby, R. J., 330
Perkins, A. J., 145
Pleasanton, A. , 289
Pope, John, 316
Scott, Winfield, 314
Seward, W. H., xxxi
Shaffer, J. W., 329
Smith, Jas. H., 312
Stanton, Ed. M., 252
Weed, Thurlow, 34
Wentworth, Jno. , 331
Wheeler, Wm. A., 234
Yates, Richard, xxiv
WARD HILL LAMON.
MEMOIR OF WARD H. LAMON.
Ward H. Lamon was born in Frederick County, about two miles north of Winchester, in the state of Virginia, on the 6th day of January, 1828. Two years after his birth his parents moved to Berkeley County in what is now West Virginia, near a little town called Bunker Hill, where he received a common school education. At the age of seventeen he began the study of medicine which he soon abandoned for law. When nineteen years of age he went to Illinois and settled in Danville; afterwards attending lectures at the Louisville (Ky.) Law School. Was admitted to the Bar of Kentucky in March, 1850, and in January, 1851, he was admitted to the Illinois Bar, which comprised Abraham Lincoln, Judge Stephen T. Logan, Judge David Davis, Leonard Swett, and others of that famous coterie, all of whom were his fast friends.
Conclusion of a Legal Document signed by Lincoln and Lamon.
They all rode the circuit together, there being no railroads at that time in the State. And it has been said that, "It is doubtful if the bar of any other state of the union equalled that of the frontier state of Illinois in professional ability when Lincoln won his spurs." A legal partnership was formed between Mr. Lamon and Mr. Lincoln for the practice
of law in the eighth District. Headquarters of this partnership was first at Danville and then at Bloomington. Was elected District Attorney for the eighth District in 1856, which office he continued to hold until called upon by Mr. Lincoln to accompany him to Washington. It was upon Mr. Lamon that Mr. Lincoln and his friends relied to see him safely to the National Capitol, when it became necessary at Harrisburg to choose one companion for the rest of the journey.[A]
He was appointed Marshal of the District of Columbia, which position at that time was much more of a social function than it was in after years. The Marshal performed some of the ceremonies which have since been delegated to the Superintendent of Public Buildings and Grounds. He introduced people to the President on state occasions and
was the general social factotum of the Executive Mansion. The position of Marshal was not of his own choosing. Had he consulted his own taste he would have preferred some appointment in Europe.[B] It was almost settled that he was to be sent as Consul to Paris, but in deference to Mr. Lincoln's wish to have him near him in the trying times which he anticipated, he shouldered the duties of Marshal at this dangerous period, when it was one of much friction and difficulty, as slavery ruled for a hundred miles north and a thousand miles south and west of the Capitol.
After the law was passed emancipating the slaves in the District of Columbia, that territory was made, or sought to be made, the asylum for the unemancipated slaves of the States of Maryland and Virginia.
Mr. Lincoln was not yet ready to issue his general emancipation proclamation; the Fugitive Slave law was still in force and was sought to be enforced. This condition of things was seized upon by many political demagogues to abuse the President over the shoulders of the Marshal. They exaggerated the truly deplorable condition of the bondmen and made execrable all officers of the Government, whose duty it became to execute laws of their own making.
The jail was at that time in the custody of the Marshal, and he was responsible for the safe keeping of twice as many criminals as his means of keeping them safely justified;
Congress being responsible for the insufficiency of those means. To have performed the official requirements of that office in pursuance of the then existing laws and the official oath required, and at the same time given satisfaction to the radical element of the Republican party, was impossible; hence the vindictive persecution that followed which continued in the Republican party against Marshal Lamon to the end of his life.
Colonel Lamon was a strong Union man but was greatly disliked by the Abolitionists; was considered proslavery by them for permitting his subordinates to execute the old Maryland laws in reference to negroes, which had been in force since the District was ceded to the Federal Government. After an unjust attack upon him in the Senate, they at last reached the point where they should have begun, introduced a bill to repeal the obnoxious laws which the Marshal was bound by his oath of office to execute. When the fight on the Marshal was the strongest in the Senate, he sent in the following resignation to Mr. Lincoln:
Washington, D. C., Jany. 31, 1862.
Hon. A. Lincoln, President, United States:
Sir, — I hereby resign my office as Marshal for the District of Columbia. Your invariable friendship and kindness for a long course of years which you have ever extended to me impel me to give the reasons for this course. There appears to be a studious effort upon the part of the more radical portion of that party which placed you in power to pursue me with a relentless persecution, and I am now under condemnation by the United States Senate for doing what I am sure meets your approval, but by the course pursued by that honorable body I fear you will be driven to the necessity of either sustaining the action of that body, or breaking with them and sustaining me, which you cannot afford to do under the circumstances.
I appreciate your embarrassing position in the matter, and feel as unselfish in the premises as you have ever felt and acted
towards me in the course of fourteen years of uninterrupted friendship; now when our country is in danger, I deem it but proper, having your successful administration of this Government more at heart than my own pecuniary interests, to relieve you of this embarrassment by resigning that office which you were kind enough to confide to my charge, and in doing so allow me to assure you that you have my best wishes for your health and happiness, for your successful administration of this Government, the speedy restoration to peace, and a long and useful life in the enjoyment of your present high and responsible office.
I have the honor to be
Your friend and obedient servant,
Ward H. Lamon.
Mr. Lincoln refused to accept this resignation for reasons which he partly expressed to Hon. William Kellogg, Member of Congress from Illinois, at a Presidential reception about this time. When Judge Kellogg was about to pass on after shaking the President's hand Mr.
Lincoln said, "Kellogg, I want you to stay here. I want to talk to you when I have a chance. While you are waiting watch Lamon (Lamon was making the presentations at the time). He is most remarkable.
He knows more people and can call more by name than any man I ever saw."
After the reception Kellogg said, "I don't know but you are mistaken in your estimate of Lamon; there are many of our associates in Congress who don't place so high an estimate on his character and have little or no faith in him whatever." "Kellogg," said Lincoln, "you fellows at the other end of the Avenue seem determined to deprive me of every friend I have who is near me and whom I can trust. Now, let me tell you, sir, he is the most unselfish man I ever saw; is discreet, powerful, and the most desperate man in emergency I have ever seen or ever expect to see. He is my friend and I am his and as long as I have these great responsibilities on me I intend to insist on his being with me, and I will stick by him at all hazards." Kellogg, seeing he
had aroused the President more than he expected, said, "Hold on, Lincoln; what I said of our mutual friend Lamon was in jest. I am also his friend and believe with you about him. I only intended to draw you out so that I might be able to say something further in his favor with your endorsement. In the House today I defended him and will continue to do so. I know Lamon clear through." "Well, Judge," said Lincoln, "I thank you. You can say to your friends in the House and elsewhere that they will have to bring stronger proof than any I have seen yet to make me think that Hill Lamon is not the most important man to me I have around me."
Every charge preferred against the Marshal was proven groundless, but the Senators and Representatives who had joined in this inexcusable persecution ever remained his enemies as did also the radical press.[C]
The following is a sample of many letters received by Colonel Lamon about this time:—
March, 23, 1862.
... — I was rather sorry that you should have thought that I needed to see any evidence in regard to the war Grimes & Company were making on you to satisfy me as to what were the facts. No one, however, had any doubt but that they made the attack on you for doing your duty under the law. Such men as he and his coadjutors think every man ought to be willing to commit perjury or any other crime in pursuit of their abolition notions.
We suppose, however, that they mostly designed the attack on you as a blow at Lincoln and as an attempt to reach him through
his friends. I do not doubt but they would be glad to drive every personal friend to Lincoln out of Washington.
I ought to let you know, however, that you have risen more than an hundred per cent in the estimation of my wife on account of your having so acted as to acquire the enmity of the Abolitionists. I believe firmly that if we had not got the Republican nomination for him (Lincoln) the Country would have been gone. I don't know whether it can be saved yet, but I hope so....
Write whenever you have leisure.
Yours respectfully, S. T. Logan.
Mr. Lincoln had become very unpopular with the politicians—not so with the masses, however. Members of Congress gave him a wide berth and eloquently "left him alone with his Martial Cloak around him." It pained him that he could not please everybody, but he said it was impossible. In a conversation with Lamon about his personal safety Lincoln said, "I have more reason today to apprehend danger to myself personally from my own partisan friends than I have from all other sources put together." This estrangement between him and his former friends at such a time no doubt brought him to a more confidential relation with Colonel Lamon than would have been otherwise.
In May, 1861, Lamon was authorized to organize and command a regiment of volunteer Infantry, and subsequently his command was increased to a brigade.[D]
Raising troops at the commencement of the war cost
Colonel Lamon $22,000, for which he never asked the Government to reimburse a dollar. Mr. Lincoln urged him to put in his vouchers and receive it back, but Lamon did not want to place himself in the position that any evil-disposed person could question his integrity or charge him with having wrongfully received from the Government one dollar.
His military service in the field, however, was of short duration—from May, 1861, to December of that year—for his services were in greater demand at the Nation's Capital. He held the commission of Colonel during the war.
Colonel Lamon was charged with several important missions for Mr.
Lincoln, one of the most delicate and dangerous being a confidential mission to Charleston, S. C., less than three weeks before the firing on Sumter.
At the time of the death of Mr. Lincoln, Lamon was in Richmond. It was believed by many who were familiar with Washington affairs, including Mr. Seward, Secretary of State, that had Lamon been in the city on the 14th of April, 1865, that appalling tragedy at Ford's Theatre would have been averted.
From the time of the arrival of the President-elect at Washington until just before his assassination, Lamon watched over his friend and Chief with exceeding intelligence and a fidelity that knew no rest. It has been said of Lamon that, "The faithful watch and vigil long with which he guarded Lincoln's person during those four years was seldom, if ever, equalled by the fidelity of man to man." Lamon is perhaps best known for the courage and watchful devotion with which he guarded Lincoln during the stormy days of the Civil War.
After Lincoln's death it was always distasteful to Lamon to go to the White House. He resigned his position in June following Mr. Lincoln's death in the face of the remonstrance of the Administration.
The following is a copy of a letter of Mr. Seward accepting his resignation:—
Department of State, Washington, June 10, 1865.
To Ward H. Lamon, Esq., Marshal of the United States for the District of Columbia, Washington, D. C.
My Dear Sir, — The President directs me to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 8th instant, in which you tender your resignation as Marshal of the United States for the District of Columbia.
He accepts your resignation, as you desire, to take effect on Monday, the 12th instant, but in so doing deems it no more than right to say that he regrets that you should have asked him to do so. Since his advent here, he has heard from those well qualified to speak of your unwavering loyalty and of your constant personal fidelity to the late President. These are qualities which have obtained for you the reputation of a faithful and fearless public officer, and they are just such qualities as the Government can ill afford to lose in any of its Departments. They will, I doubt not, gain for you in any new occupation which you may undertake the same reputation and the same success you have obtained in the position of United States Marshal of this District.
Very truly yours, (Signed)William H. Seward.
Colonel Lamon was never just to himself. He cared little for either fame or fortune. He regarded social fidelity as one of the highest virtues. When President Johnson wished to make him a Member of his Cabinet and offered him the position of Postmaster-General, Lamon pleaded the cause of the incumbent so effectually that the President was compelled to abandon the purpose.
Judge David Davis, many years on the U. S. Supreme Bench, and administrator of Mr. Lincoln's estate, wrote the following under date of May 23, 1865, to Hon. Wm. H. Seward, Secretary of State.
There is one matter of a personal nature which I wish to suggest to you. Mr. Lincoln was greatly attached to our friend Col. Ward H.
Lamon. I doubt whether he had a warmer attachment to anybody, and I know that it was reciprocated. Col. Lamon has for a long time wanted to resign his office and had only held it at the earnest request of Mr. Lincoln.
Mr. Lincoln would have given him the position of Governor of Idaho.
Col. Lamon is well qualified for that place. He would be popular there.
He understands Western people and few men have more friends. I should esteem it as a great favor personally if you could secure the place for him. If you can't succeed nobody else can. Col. Lamon will make no effort and will use no solicitation.
He is one of the dearest friends I have in the world. He may have faults, and few of us are without them, but he is as true as steel, honorable, high minded, and never did a mean thing in his life.
Excuse the freedom with which I have written.
May I beg to be remembered to your son and to your family.
Yours most truly, David Davis.
The faithfulness till death of this noble man's friendship is shown in the following letter written for him when he was dying, twenty-one years later.
Bloomington, Ill., June 22, 1886.
Col. W. H. Lamon:
Dear Sir, — On my return from Washington about a month since Judge Davis said to me that he had a long letter from you which he intended to answer as soon as he was able to do so. Since that time the Judge has been declining in health until he is now beyond all capability of writing. I have not seen him for three weeks until yesterday morning when I found him in lowest condition of life.
Rational when aroused but almost unconscious of his surroundings except when aroused.