Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

with his decision. But we beg leave to dissent from this conclusion. There can be no doubt that the uncertainty of land-titles in Kentucky was one important reason for his removal, but it was by no means the only reason. Another reason, without doubt, was his love of change. His roving disposition was not entirely eradicated. But, more than all, the excitement over the making of another free State, with the rose-coloured views promulgated concerning the advantages of a free State to poor men like himself, influenced him to make the change. It is positive that he would not have removed to Indiana at all had it come into the Union as a Slave State. The general enthusiasm over its admission in the interest of freedom lured him thither, as it did hundreds of others. The very rapid immigration to that State, commencing immediately after its admission, is conclusive proof of this statement. The reason of his locating just where he did in Indiana was, probably, because a former acquaintance—Thomas Carter-had removed thither. But the next chapter will disclose the details of this affair.

III.

THE OLD HOME SOLD.

ABOUT the middle of October (1816) a stranger A appeared at the cabin. It was Colby.

“You want to sell your place, I hear," he remarked, after introducing himself.

“I'm thinkin' on't," answered Mr. Lincoln. “Gallaher told me that you would come to see me about it. So we've been expectin' you, and rather makin' arrangements to sell the farm. This is about what you would like?

“Yes, from Mr. Gallaher's description of it. I can't handle much of a place; I'm too poor for that.”

“In the same boat with the rest of us, then," suggested Mr. Lincoln. “Not much money in these diggin's. How much money can you put into a place ?"

“Not much, just now. I must make a barter trade if I buy now. What's the damage for such a place as this ?"

“ Three hundred dollars," answered Mr. Lincoln, promptly. “That is the price I've settled on."

“Cash ?"

“Yes; that's what I've been expectin', though I might take something else for part of the pay."

“Well, I haven't much money," continued Mr. Colby ; “ but I have what is as good as money in the market.”

“What is it?" "" You see I've been specilatin' a little since I gave you a call in the summer. I used up my grain for whiskey, and I bought some, too, thinkin' that I should make a spec out of it; but I hain't sold but a trifle on't yet. Now, if I could pay you mostly in whiskey, I would strike the bargain at once; and may be that over in Indiana you'll find a ready market for it."

“I hadn't thought of takin' pay in such an article," answered Mr. Lincoln; "and I don't know as I could ever sell it. I'm going to strike right into the wilderness.”

“That may be; but you'll have neighbours within a few miles; and over there they hain't got the knack of manufacturin' it, I s'pose, and this would make it easier to sell it."

“It's awkward stuff to carry on such a trip, though I expect to move on a flat-boat.”

"Just the easiest thing in the world to carry this.; you can carry it as well as not on a boat. You won't have half a load of other stuff. And it will bring you double there what it will here, I'm thinkin'.” .

“That's all guess work.”

“But don't it stand to reason that whiskey would bring more where they can't make it, as they can here?"

“Yes, I admit that it may probably bring more there, and it ought to bring more to pay for the trouble of taking it there. But can't you turn it into money some way?"

"I don't see how I can; I've done the best I could about it. The fact is, the folks in this part of Kentucky have laid in largely for whiskey. I can sell it in time, I have no doubt, at a stiff price, but that won't help me just now.”

“Of course not; but this is unexpected, though I'm determined to sell out at some rate. You look over the place ; it's all in a stone's throw, and I will talk with my wife, and see what we can do."

So Lincoln left Colby to examine the premises, after having shown him the limits of the place, and proceeded to consult his wife. Mrs. Lincoln looked surprised and amused over the proposition to turn the farm into whiskey. “A queer bargain,” she said. “Something I never dreamed of.”

“Nor I; but I must sell the place, and this may be my last chance this season.”

“That is very true, and the matter must be looked at carefully. It may be that the whiskey can be sold in Indiana more readily than we expect. I scarcely know what to say. You must do as you think best.”

"Well, I think it is best to sell out at some rate, and if I thought that this was my last chance to sell this fall, I should take the whiskey, and run the risk.”

“As to that, I think it likely that you won't have another chance this fall. It isn't often that you can .sell a place in this part of the country.”

" I'm inclined to think, then," continued Mr. Lincoln, musing, with his eyes fastened upon the earthfloor of their cabin, as if scarcely knowing what to do, “that I shall take the whiskey if I can't do any better with him."

"Just as you think best," answered his wife. “You can judge better than I can whether it will do or not.”

After going to the man, and satisfying himself that he must take the whiskey, or fail to sell, Mr. Lincoln introduced the subject of the price of it, about which nothing had been said.

“How much a gallon?” he inquired. “You'll of course sell it at a discount, seein' I take such a quantity.”

“Certainly; I shall sell it to you for five cents

gallon less than the wholesale price of a barrel; and you can't ask anything better than that.”

“That's fair, I think; and now let me see, how much will it take?” The reader must remember that Mr. Lincoln never studied arithmetic, though he could solve such a problem as this, only give him time. He had been obliged to think and act for himself from boyhood, and, of course, contact with men and things had given him some knowledge of figures, or, at least, the ability to perform some problems mentally.

Mr. Lincoln continued : “Seventy cents a gallonthat will be-let me see-seventy cents a gallon—that will-4"

“Why, one hundred gallons would come to seventy dollars," interrupted Colby, “and four hundred would come to two hundred and eighty dollars."

“Yes, I see it-four hundred gallons, and the rest in money."

“ That is it; it will make just ten barrels of forty gallons each, and twenty dollars in money."

I see it. I will agree to that. Ten barrels, and . the balance in money. And when shall we close the bargain ?"

"Just as soon as you propose to leave.”

" That will be about the first of November. I shall want the whiskey and money, though, a week before that, so as to be all ready to start."

“A week before that it is, then. I agree to that, and shall be here promptly at the time. Perhaps I. shall bring the whiskey before that, if it comes right.”

" Just as well, -as soon as you please."

So the bargain was struck, and Colby left. · Let the reader stop here to ponder this trade. A homestead sold for ten barrels of whiskey and about twenty dollars in . money! Surely Abraham's father

« AnteriorContinuar »