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request was law, gave special directions to care for this poor boy.' The wan face of the little drummer lit up with a happy smile as he received the paper, and he went away convinced that he had one good and true friend, at least, in the person of the President."
Mr. Van Alen, of New York, writing to the Evening Post, relates the following:
“I well remember one day when a poor woman sought, with the persistent affection of a mother, for the pardon of her son condemned to death. She was successful in her petition. When she had left the room, he turned to me and said: "Perhaps I have done wrong, but at all events I have made that poor woman happy.'
One night Schuyler Colfax left all other business to ask him to respite the son of a constituent, who was sentenced to be shot, at Davenport, for desertion. He heard the story with his usual patience, though he was wearied out with incessant calls, and anxious for rest, and then replied: "Some of our generals complain that I impair dis
cipline and subordination in the army by my pardons and respites, but it makes me rested, after a hard day's work, if I can find some good cxcuse for saving a man's life, and I go to bed happy as I think how joyous the signing of my name will make him and his family and his friends." And with a happy smile beaming over that care-furrowed face, he signed that name that saved that life.
Said the Rev. Dr. Storrs, in his eulogy upon Mr. Lincoln, pronounced at the Brooklyn Academy of Music :
“Of course his sensibilities came gradually to be under the control of his judgment, and the councils of others constrained him sometimes to a severity which he hated; so that at length the order for the merited restraint or punishment of public offenders was frequently, though always reluctantly, ratified by him. But his sympathy with men, in whatever condition, of whatever opinions, in whatever wrongs involved, was so native and constant, and so controlling, that he was always not so much inclined as predetermined to the mildest and most gencrous theory possible. And something of peril as well as promise was involved to the public in this element of his nature. He would not admit that he was in danger of the very assassination by which at last his life was taken, and only vielded with a protest to the precautions which others felt bound to take for him; because his own sympathy with men was so strong that he could not believe that any would meditate serious harm to him. The public policy of his administration was constantly in danger of being too tardy, lenient, pacific toward those who were combined for deadly battle against the Government, because he was so solicitous to win, so anxious to bless, and so reluctant sharply to strike. “Sic sem. per tyrannis !' shouted his wild theatric assassin, as he leaped upon the stage, making the ancient motto of Virginia a legend of shame forever. more. But no magistrate ever lived who had less of the tyrant in his natural or his habitual temper. In all the veins of all his frame no drop of unsympathetic blood found a channel. When retaliation seemed the only just policy for the Government to adopt to save its soldiers from being shot in cold blood or being starved into idiocy, it was simply impossible for him to adopt it. And if he had met the arch-conspirators face to face, those who bad racked and really enlarged the English vocabulary to get terms to express their hatred and disgust toward him individually—those who were striking with desperate blows at the national existence it would have been hard for him not to greet them with open band and a kindly welcome. The very element of sadness, which was so inwrought with his mirthfulness and humor, and which will look out on coming generations through the pensive lines upon his face and the light of his pathetic eyes, came into his spirit or was constantly nursed there through his sympathy with men, especially with the oppressed and the poor. He took upon himself the sorrows of others. He bent in extremest personal suffering under the blows that fell upon his countrymen. And when the bloody rain of battle was sprinkling the trees and the sod of Virginia during successive dreary campaigns, his inmost soul felt the baptism of it, and was sickened with grief. 'I cannot bear it,' he said more than once, as the story was told him of the sacrifice made to secure some result No glow even of triumph could expel from his eyes the tears occasioned by the suffering that had bought it?"
Too much has not been said of his uniform meekness and kinddess of heart, but there would sometimes be afforded evidence that one grain of sand too much would break even this camel's back. Among the callers at the White House onc day, was an officer who had been cashiered from the service. He had prepared an elaborate defence of himself, which he consumed much time in reading to the President. When he had finished, Mr. Lincoln replied, that even upon his own statement of the case the facts would not warrant executive interference. Disappointed, and considerably crest-fallen, the mo withdrew. A few days afterward he made a second attempt to alter the President's convictions, going over substantially the same ground,
and occupying about the same space of time, but without accomplish ing his end. The third time he succeeded in forcing himself into Mr. Lincoln's
presence, who with great forbearance listened to another repetition of the case to its conclusion, but made no reply. Waiting for a moment, the man gathered from the expression of his countenance that his mind was unconvinced. Turning very abruptly, he said: “Well, Mr. President, I see that you are fully determined not to do ire justice!" This was too aggravating even for Mr. Lincoln. Manifesting, however, no more feeling than that indicated by a slight compression of the lips, he very quietly arose, laid down a package of papers lic held in his hand, and then suddenly seizing the defunct officer by the coat-collar, he marched him forcibly to the door, saying, as he ejected hiin into the passage: "Sir, I give you fair warning never to show yourself in this room again. I can bear censure, but not insult !" In A whining tone the man begged for his papers which he had dropped. “Begone, sir," said the President; "your papers will be sent to you. I never wish to see your face again!"
Late one afternoon a lady with two gentlemen were admitted. She had come to ask that her husband, who was a prisoner of war, might be permitted to take the oath and be released from confinement. To secure a degree of interest on the part of the President, one of the gentlemen claimed to be an acquaintance of Mrs. Lincoln; this, however, received but little attention, and the President proceeded to ask what position the lady's husband held in the rebel service. “Oh," said she," he was a captain. "A captain,” rejoined Mr. Lincoln; " indeed, rather too big a fish to set free simply upon his taking the oath! If he was an officer, it is proof positive that he has been a zealous rebel; I cannot release him.” Here the lady's friend reiterated the assertion of his acquaintance with Mrs. Lincoln. Instantly the President's hand was upon the bell-rope. The usher in attendance answered the summons. “Cornelius, take this man's name to Mrs. Lincoln, and ask her what she knows of him." The boy presently returned, with the reply that “the Madam” (as she was called by the servants) knew nothing of him whatever. “It is just as I suspected," said the President. The party made one more attempt to enlist his sympathy, but without effect. “It is of no use," was the reply. "I cannot release him!" and the trio withdrew in high displeasure.
HIS HUMOR, SHREWDNESS, AND SENTIMENT. It has been well said by a profound critic of Shakspeare, and it occurs to me as very appropriate in this connection, that “the spirit which held the woe of Lear and the tragedy of Hamlet would havo broken, had it not also had the humor of the Merry Wives of Windsor and the merriment of the Midsummer Night's Dream.” This is as true of Mr. Lincoln as it was of Sbakspeare. The capacity to tell and enjoy a good anecdote no doubt prolonged his life. I have often heard this asserted by one of his most intimate friends. And the public impression of his fecundity in this respect was not exaggerated. Mr. Beecher once observed to me of his own wealth of illustration, that he “thought in figures,” or, in other words, that an argument habitually took on that form in his mind. This was pre-eminently true of Mr. Lincoln. The "points" of his argument were driven home in this way as they could be in no other. In the social circle chis characteristic had full play. I never knew him to sit down with a friend for a five minutes' chat, without being “reminded” of one or more incidents about somebody alluded to in the course of the conversation. In a corner of his desk he kept a copy of the latest humorous work; and it was frequently his habit, when greatly fatigued, annoyed, or depressed, to take this up and read a chapter, with great relief.
The Saturday evening before he left Washington to go to the front, just previous to the capture of Richmond, I was with him from seven o'clock till nearly twelve. It had been one of his most trying days. The pressure of office-seekers was greater at this juncture than I ever knew it to be, and he was almost worn out. Among the callers that evening was a party composed of two senators, a representative, an ex-lieutenant-governor of a Western State, and several private citizens. They had business of great importance, involving the necessity of the President's examination of voluminous documents. Pushing every thing aside, he said to one of the party, “ Ilave you seen the Nasby
“No, I have not,” was the answer; “who is Nasby!" “There is a chap out in Ohio,” returned the President, “who has been writing a series of letters in the newspapers over the signature of Petroleum V. Nasby. Some one sent me a pamphlet collection of them the other day. I am going to write to 'Petroleum' to come down here, and I intend to tell him if he will communicate his talent to me, I will swap places with him!” Thereupon he arose, went to a drawer in his desk, and, taking out the “ Letters," sat down and read one to the company, finding in their enjoyment of it the temporary excitement and relief which another man would have found in a glass of wine. The instant hic had ceased, the book was thrown aside, his countenance relapsed into its habitual serious expression, and the business was entered upon with the utmost carnestness.
Just here, I may say with propriety, and I feel that it is due to Mr.
I 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 army, 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 falsehoods, at least. At any rate, what I have stated is voluntary testimony, from a stand-point, I 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, “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 see," said he, we had reached and were discussing the slavery question. Mr. IIunter 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 cultivated, and both blacks and whites would starve !" Said the Presi. dent, “I waited for Scward 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