Best Lincoln Stories Tersely Told
by J. E. Gallaher
Pub. in 1898

 

How Lincoln Paid a Large Debt.
 

Mr. Lincoln went into partnership in the grocery business in New Salem, Ill., with a man named Berry. This man Berry mismanaged the business while Lincoln was away surveying. Eventually he died, leaving Lincoln to pay a debt of eleven hundred dollars contracted by the firm. In those days it was the fashion for business men who had failed to "clear out," that is, skip the town and settle elsewhere. Not so with "Abe." He quietly settled down among the men he owed and promised to pay them. He asked only time. For several years he worked to pay off his debt, a load which he cheerfully and manfully bore. He habitually spoke of it to his friends as the "national debt," it was so heavy. As late as 1848, when he was a member of Congress, he sent home a part of his salary to be applied on these obligations. All the notes, with the high interest rates then prevailing, were finally paid.

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