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


Lincoln Was Plain But Great.

Lincoln’s forefathers were independent owners of the land they trod on, barons, not serfs. You will say, perhaps, that Lincoln had little education. We are apt to say that of our great men. Lincoln knew how to speak, read, and write. What more do we teach our boys to-day? He knew the Bible, which cannot be said of everybody in Boston. He read Burns, and this with the Bible gave him his inspiration and sentiment. Aesop and "Pilgrims Progress" taught him aptness and pregnant illustration.

The incidents of his life were few but notable. He was a resident of three states before he was 21, and made a river trip to New Orleans, long than Thomas Jefferson had taken at his age. At New Orleans he saw for the first time the auction and whipping of slaves, which made so deep an impression on him that it may be said to be the birth of his anti-slavery sentiment.

The choice of Mr. Lincoln for President was not a strained one. He was the logical selection. Lincoln’s qualities, that sympathy with the common people, that homely sincerity, have given him a place in the people’s hearts a little closer, a little dearer, than is held by any other public man. He had faults, but they were small compared with his virtues. He had not Washington’s grandeur, the mental alertness of Hamilton, or the intellectual force of Webster. His greatness was made up of natural qualities, as of a hillside towering o’er a plain, yet a part of it. Lincoln was surpassed in certain qualities by other of our historically great men, but there are none, we feel sure, who would have filled the place he filled as well as he.—Secretary of War Long.

Page 109-110



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