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ability of the honorable subject of our sketch were held at the time of which we now more particularly speak, and to give those readers of this work who have not had the opportunity to see Mr. Lincoln, an idea of his personal appearance :
One writer gives the following pen-portrait:
"Mr. Lincoln stands six feet and four inches high in his stockings. His frame is not muscular, but gaunt and wiry; his arms are long, but not unreasonably so for a person of his height; his lower limbs are not disproportioned to his body. In walking, his gait, though firm, is never brisk. He steps slowly and deliberately, almost always with his head inclined forward, and his hands clasped behind his back. In matters of dress he is by no means precise. Always clean, he is never fashionable; he is careless, but not slovenly. In manner he is remarkably cordial, and, at the same time, simple. His politeness is always sincere, but never elaborate and oppressive. A warm shake of the hand, and a warmer smile of recognition, are his methods of greeting his friends. At rest, his features, though those of a man of mark, are not such as belong to a handsome man; but when his fine dark gray eyes are lighted up by any emotion, and his features begin their play, he would be chosen from among a crowd as one who had in him not only the kindly sentiments which women love, but the heavier metal of which full-grown men and Presidents are made. His hair is black, and though thin is wiry. His head sits well on his shoulders, but beyond that it defies description. It nearer resembles that of Clay than that of Webster; but it is unlike either. It is very large, and, phrenologically, well proportioned, betokening power in all its developments. A slightly Roman nose, a wide-cut mouth, and a dark complexion, with the appearance of having been weather-beaten, complete the description.
"In his personal habits, Mr. Lincoln is as simple as a child. He loves a good dinner, and eats with the appetite which goes with a great brain; but his food is plain and nutritious. He never drinks intoxicating liquors of any sort, not even a glass of wine. He is not addicted to tobacco in any of its shapes. He never was accused of a licentious act in all his life. He never uses profane language.
"A friend says that once, when in a towering rage, in consequence of the efforts of certain parties to perpetrate a fraud on the State, he was heard to say: They sha'n't do it, d-n 'em!' but beyond an expression of that kind, his bitterest feelings never carry him. He never gambles; we doubt if he ever indulges in any games of chance. He is particularly cautious
about incurring pecuniary obligations for any purpose whatever, and in debt, he is never content until the score is discharged. We presume he owes no man a dollar. He never speculates. The rage for the sudden acquisition of wealth never took hold of him. His gains from his profession have been moderate, but sufficient for his purposes. While others have dreamed of gold, he has been in pursuit of knowledge. In all his dealings he has the reputation of being generous but exact, and, above all, religiously honest. He would be a bold man who would say that Abraham Lincoln ever wronged any one out of a cent, or ever spent a dollar that he had not honestly earned. His struggles in early life have made him careful of money; but his generosity with his own is proverbial. He is a regular attendant upon religious worship, and though not a communicant, is a pew-holder and liberal supporter of the Presbyterian Church, in Springfield, to which Mrs. Lincoln belongs. He is a scrupulous teller of the truth-too exact in his notions to suit the atmosphere of Washington, as it now is. His enemies may say that he tells Black Republican lies; but no man ever charged that, in a professional capacity, or as a citizen dealing with his neighbors, he would depart from the Scriptural command. At home, he lives like a gentleman of modest means and simple tastes. A goodsized house of wood, simply but tastefully furnished, surrounded by trees and flowers, is his own, and there he lives, at peace with himself, the idol of his family, and for his honesty, ability, and patriotism, the admiration of his countrymen."
Another person gives the subjoined sketch of him:
"In personal appearance, Mr. Lincoln, or, as he is more familiarly termed among those who know him best, 'Old Uncle Abe,' is long, lean, and wiry. In motion he has a great deal of the elasticity and awkwardness which indicates the rough training of his early life, and his conversation savors strongly of Western idioms and pronunciation. His height is six feet four inches. His complexion is about that of an octoroon; his face, without being by any means beautiful, is genial-looking, and good humor seems to lurk in every corner of its innumerable angles. He has dark hair tinged with gray, a good forehead, small eyes, a long penetrating nose, with nostrils such as Napoleon always liked to find in his best generals, because they indicated a long head and clear thoughts; and a mouth, which, aside from being of magnificent proportions, is probably the most expressive feature of his face.
“As a speaker he is ready, precise, and fluent. His manner before a popular assembly is as he pleases to make it, being either superlatively ludicrous, or very impressive. He employs but little gesticulation, but when he desires to make a point, produces a shrug of his shoulders, an elevation of his eyebrows, a
depression of his mouth, and a general malformation of countenance so comically awkward that it never fails to bring down the house.' His enunciation is slow and emphatic, and his voice, though sharp and powerful, at times has a frequent tendency to dwindle into a shrill and unpleasant sound; but as before stated, the peculiar characteristic of his delivery is the remarkable mobility of his features, the frequent contortions of which excite a merriment his words could not produce."
A third says:
"In perhaps the severest test that could have been applied to any man's temper-his political contest with Senator Douglas in 1858-Mr. Lincoln not only proved himself an able speaker and a good tactician, but demonstrated that it is possible to carry on the fiercest political warfare without once descending to rude personality and course denunciation. We have it on the authority of a gentleman who followed Abraham Lincoln throughout the whole of that campaign, that, in spite of all the temptations to an opposite course to which he was continuously exposed, no personalities against his opponent, no vituperation or coarseness, ever defiled his lips. His kind and genial nature lifted him above a resort to any such weapons of political warfare, and it was the commonly-expressed regret of fiercer natures that he treated his opponent too courteously and urbanely. Vulgar personalities and vituperation are the last thing that can be truthfully charged against Abraham Lincoln. His heart is too genial, his good sense too strong, and his innate self-respect too predominant to permit him to indulge in them. His nobility of nature-and we may use the term advisedly-has been as manifest throughout his whole career as his temperate habits, his self-reliance, and his mental and intellectual power."
And a fourth, a distinguished scholar, after listening to a speech delivered at Galesburgh, thus wrote:
"The men are entirely dissimilar. Mr. Douglas is a thick-set, finely-built, courageous man, and has an air of self-confidence that does not a little to inspire his supporters with hope. Mr. Lincoln is a tall, lank man, awkward, apparently diffident, and when not speaking has neither firmness in his countenance nor fire in his eye.
"Mr. Lincoln has a rich, silvery voice, enunciates with great distinctness, and has a fine command of language. He commenced by a review of the points Mr. Douglas had made. In this he showed great tact, and his retorts, though gentlemanly, were sharp, and reached to the core the subject in dispute. While he gave but little time to the work of review, we did not feel that any thing was omitted which deserved attention.
"He then proceeded to defend the Republican party. Here he charged Mr. Douglas with doing nothing for freedom; with disregarding the rights and interests of the colored man: and for about forty minutes he spoke with a power that we have seldom heard equalled. There was a grandeur in his thoughts, a comprehensiveness in his arguments, and a binding force in his. conclusions, which were perfectly irresistible. The vast throng were silent as death; every eye was fixed upon the speaker, and all gave him serious attention. He was the tall man eloquent; his countenance glowed with animation, and his eye glistened with an intelligence that made it lustrous. He was no longer awkward and ungainly; but graceful, bold, commanding. Mr. Douglas had been quietly smoking up to this time; but here he forgot his cigar and listened with anxious attention. When he rose to reply he appeared excited, disturbed, and his second effort seemed to us vastly inferior to his first. Mr. Lincoln had given him a great task, and Mr. Douglas had not time to answer him, even if he had the ability."
MR. LINCOLN DEFEATED BY MR. DOUGLAS. The election-day at length arrived, and although the efforts of Mr. Lincoln resulted in an immense increase of the Republican vote, whatever aspirations he had for personal success were frustrated. A vote of 126,084 was cast for the Republican candidates, 121,940 for the Douglas Democrats, and 5,091 for the Lecompton candidates, but Mr. Douglas was elected United States Senator by the Legislature, in which his supporters had a majority of eight on joint ballot.
Although defeated in the hope of securing Mr. Lincoln as their representative in the United States Senate, the Republicans were not discouraged, and from that time determined that their favorite leader should be rewarded with even more exalted honors.
IS NAMED FOR THE PRESIDENCY-EVIDENCE
veteran Democrat of Macon county brought in and presented to the Convention two old fence-rails, gayly decorated with flags and ribbons, and upon which the following words were inscribed:
THE RAIL CANDIDATE
FOR PRESIDENT IN 1860.
Two rails from a lot of 3,000 made in 1830, by
The event occasioned the most unbounded enthusiasm, and for several minutes the most deafening applause resounded through the building. Mr. Lincoln was vociferously called for, and arising from his seat, modestly acknowledged that he had split rails some thirty years previous in Macon county, and he was informed that those before him were a small portion of the product of his labor with the axe.
The fame of the able advocate of Republican principles induced the members of that party in other States to secure his voice and influence in their behalf, and in the fall of 1859 he made several effective speeches in favor of the
HIS GREAT SPEECH AT THE COOPER INSTITUTE, NEW YORK.
On the twenty-seventh of February, 1860, he made the following forcible speech at the Cooper Institute, New York, before an immense audience :
"MR. PRESIDENT AND FELLOW-CITIZENS OF NEW YORK: The facts with which I shall deal this evening are mainly old