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Just here, I inay say with propriety, and I feel that it is due to Jr. Lincoln's memory to state, that, during the entire period of my stay in Washington, after witnessing his intercourse with almost all classes of people, including governors, senators, members of Congress, officers of the arıny, and familiar friends, I cannot recollect to have ever heard him relate a circumstance to any one of them all that would have been out of place uttered in a ladies' drawing-room! I am aware that a different impression prevails, founded it may be in some instances upon facts; but where there is one fact of the kind I am persuaded that there are forty falschoods, at least. At any rate, what I have stated is voluntary testimony, from a stand-point, 1 submit, entitled to respectful consideration.
Among his stories freshest in my mind, one which he related to me shortly after its occurrence, belongs to the history of the famous interview on board the River Queen, at Hampton Roads, between himself and Secretary Seward, and the rebel Peace Commissioners. It was reported at the time that the President told a "little story" on that occasion, and the inquiry went around among the newspapers, “ What was it?" The New York Herald published what purported to be a version of it, but the “point” was entirely lost, and it attracted no attention. Being in Washington a few days subsequent to the interview with the Commissioners (my previous sojourn there having terminated about the first of last August), I asked Mr. Lincoln, one day, w if it was true that he told Stephens, Hunter, and Campbell a story.” “Why, yes," he replied, manifesting some surprise, “but has it leaked out? I was in hopes nothing would be said about it, lest some oversensitive people should imagine there was a degree of levity in the intercourse between us." He then went on to relate the circumstances which called it out. “You sce," said he, “we had reached and were discussing the slavery question. Mr. llunter said, substantially, that the slaves, always accustomed to an overseer, and to work upon compulsion, suddenly freed, as they would be if the South should consent to peace on the basis of the “Emancipation Proclamation,' would precipitate not only themselves but the entire Southern society into irremediable ruin. No work would be done, nothing would be cul. tivated, and both blacks and whites would starve !" Said the Presi. derít, “ I waited for Seward to answer that argument, but as he was silent, I at length said: “Mr. Hunter, you ought to know a great deal better about this matter than I, for you have always lived under the slave system. I can only say, in reply to your statement of the case, that it reminds me of a man out in Illinois, by the name of Case, who
undertook, a few years ago, to raise a very large herd of hogs. It was a great trouble to feed them, and how to get around this was a puzzle to bim. At length he hit on the plan of planting an immense field of potatoes, and, when they were sufficiently grown, he turned the whole herd into the field, and let them have full swing, thus saving not only the labor of feeding the hogs, but also that of digging the potatoes ! Charmed with his sagacity, he stood one day leaning against the fence, counting his hogs, when a neighbor came along. • Well, well,' said he, “Mr. Case, this is all very fine. Your hogs are doing very well just now, but you know out here in Illinois the frost comes carly, and the ground freezes for a foot deep. Then what are they going to do ?? This was a view of the matter Mr. Case had not taken into account. Butchering-time for hogs was 'way on in December or January! He scratched his head, and at length stammered, · Well, it may come pretty hard on their snouts, but I don't see but that it will be 'root, hog, or die !'”
The simplicity and absence of all ostentation on the part of Mr. Lincoln, is well illustrated by an incident which occurred on the occasion of a visit he made to Commodore Porter, at Fortress Monroe, Voticing that the banks of the river were dotted with flowers, be said: " Commodore, Tad” (the pet name for his youngest son, who had accompanied him on the excursion) “is very fond of flowers; won't you let a couple of men take a boat and go with him for an hour or two, along the banks of the river, and gather the flowers ?” Look at this picture, and then endeavor to imagine the head of a European nation making a similar request, in this humble way, of one of his subordinates !
One day I took a couple of friends from New York up-stairs, who wished to be introduced to the President. It was after the hour for business calls, and we found him alone, and, for once, at leisure. Soon after the introduction, one of my friends took occasion to indorse, very decidedly, the President's Amnesty Proclamation, which had been severely censured by many friends of the Administration. Mr. S— 's approval touched Mr. Lincoln. Ile said, with a great deal of emphasis, and with an expression of countenance I shall never forget, " When a man is sincerely penitent for his misdeeds, and gives satisfactory evidence of the same, he can safely be pardoned, and there is no exception to the rule !"
Shortly afterwards, he told us this story of "Andy Johnson," as he was familiarly in the habit of calling him. It was a few weeks prior
to the Baltimore Convention, before it was known that Governor Johnson would be the nominee for the Vice-Presidency. Said he, “ I had a visit last night from Colonel Moody, 'the fighting Methodist parson,'
Conference, and, being in Washington over-night, came up to see me. He told me,” he continued, “this story of Andy Johnson and General Buel, which interested me intensely. Colonel Moody was in Nashville the day that it was reported that Buel had decided to evacuate the city. The rebels, strongly re-enforced, were said to be within two days' march of the capital. Of course, the city was greatly excited. Said Moody, 'I went in search of Johnson, at the edge of the evening, and found him at his office, closeted with two gentlemen, who were walking the floor with him, one on each side. As I entered, they retired, leaving me alone with Johnson, who canie up to me, manifesting intense feeling, and said, “ Moody, we are sold out! Buel is a traitor! He is going to evacuate the city, and iu forty-eight hours wo shall all be in the hands of the rebels.” Then he commenced pacing the floor again, twisting his hands, and chafing like a caged tiger, utterly iusensible to his friend's entreaties to become calın. Suddenly he turned and said, “Moody, can you pray?” “That is my business, sir, as a minister of the Gospel,” returned the Colonel. “Well, Moody, I wish you would pray,” said Johnson; and instantly both went down upon their knees, at opposite sides of the room. As the prayer became fervent, Johnson began to respond in true Methodist style. Presently he crawled over on his hands and knees to Moody's side, and put bis arm over him, manifesting the deepest emotion. Closing the prayer with a hearty • Amen!' from each, they arose, Johnson
Shortly afterwards he asked, “Will you stand by me?” “Certainly, i will," was the answer. “Well, Moody, I can depend upon you; you are one in a hundred thousand !" He then commenced pacing the floor again. Suddenly he wheeled, the current of bis thought having changed, and said, “ Oh! Moody, I don't want you to think I bille become a religious man because I asked you to pray. I am sorry to say it, but I am not, and have never pretended to be, religious. No one knows this better than you; but, Moody, there is one thing about it I do believe in ALMIGHTY GOD! And I believe also in the BIBLE, and I say, damn me, if Nashville shall be surrendered !" !".
And Nashville was not surrendered !
Judge Baldwin, of California, being in Washington, called one day on General Halleck, and, presuming upon a familiar acquaintance in
Citlifornia a few years since, solicited a pass outside of our lines to sig a brother in Virginia, not thinking that he would meet with a refusal, as both his brother and himself were good Union men. “We have been deceived too often," said General Halleck, " and I regret I can't grant it.” Judge B. then went to Stanton, and was very briefly disposed of with the same result. Finally, be obtained an interview with Mr. Lincoln, and stated his case. “Have you applied to General Halleck ?” inquired the President. “Yes, and met with a flat refusal,” said Judge B. “Then you must see Stanton," continued the President. “I have, and with the same result," was the “ Well, then," said Mr. Lincoln, with a smile, “I can do nothing; for you must know that I have very little influence with this 1dministration."
One bright morning, last May, the Sunday-school children of the city of Washington, marching in procession on “anniversary” day, passed in review through the portico on the north side of the White Hlouse. The President stood at the open window above the door, responding with a smile and a bow to the lusty cheers of the little folks as they passed. Hon. Mr. Odell, always wide awake when Sun. day-school children are around, with one or two other gentlemen, stood by his side as I joined the group. It was a beautiful sight; the rosy-cheeked boys and girls, in their “Sunday's best,” with banners and flowers, all intent upon seeing the President, and, its they caught sight of his tall figure, cheering as if their very lives depended upon
about a face that now and then struck him, Mr. Lincoln said: “I heard a story last night about Daniel Webster when a lad, which was new to me, and it has been running in my head all the morning. When quite young, at school, Daniel was one day guilty of a gross violation of the rules. He was detected in the act, and called up by the teacher for punishment. This was to be the old-fashioned · feruling' of the hand. IIis hands happened to be very dirty. Knowing this, on his way to the teacher's desk he spit upon the palm of his right hand, wiping it off upon the side of his pantaloons. “Give me your hand, sir,' said the teacher, very sternly. Out went the right hand, partly cleansed. The teacher looked at it a moment, and said, Daniel, if you will find another hand in this school-room as filthy as that, I will let you off this time! Instantly from behind his back came the left hand. Here it is, sir,' was the ready reply. “That will do,' said the teacher, 'for this time; you can take your seat, sir !""
A new levy of troops required, on a certain occasion, the appoint
ment of a large additional number of brigadier and major generals. Among the immense number of applications, Mr. Lincolu came upon one wherein the clains of a certain worthy (not in the service at all) “for a generalship" were glowingly set forth. But the applicant didn't specify whether he wanted to be brigadier or. major general. The President observed this difficulty, and solved it by a lucidd in. dorsement. The clerk, on receiving the paper again, found written across its back, “Major-General, I reckon. A. Lincoln."
It is said that, on the occasion of a serenade, the President was called for by the crowd assembled. He appeared at a window with bis wife (who is somewhat below the medium height), and made the following “ brief remarks :” “ Here I am, and here is Mrs. Lincolu. That's the long and the short of it."
Soon after the opening of Congress last winter, my friend, the Ilon. Mr. Shannon, from California, made the customary call at the White House. In the conversation that ensued, Mr. Shannon said : “ Mr. President, I met an old friend of yours in California last summer, a Mr. Campbell, who had a good deal to say of your Springfield life." “Ah!" returned Mr. Lincoln, “I am glad to hear of him. Campbell used to be a dry fellow in those days," he continued. “For a time be was Secretary of State. One day during the legislative varation, a meek, cadaverous-looking man, with a white neckcloth, introduced himself to him at his office, and, stating that he had been informed that Mr. C. had the letting of the hall of representatives, he wished to Becure it, if possible, for a course of lectures he desired to deliver in Springfield. “May I ask,' said the Secretary, 'what is to be the subject of your lectures ? Certainly,' was the reply, with a very solemn expression of countenance. The course I wish to deliver is on the Second Coming of our Lord.' •It is of no use,' said C. ; . if you will take my advice, you will not waste your time in this city. It is my private opinion that, if the Lord has been in Springfield once, He will never come the second time !'”
Some gentlemen were once finding fault with the President because certain Generals were not given commands. “The fact is," replied Mr. Lincoln, “I have got more pegs than I have holes to put them in."
A clergyman from Springfield, Illinois, being in Washington early in Mr. Lincoln's administration, called upon him, and in the course of conversation asked him what was to be his policy on the slavery ques.