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- The Life of Abraham Lincoln - 1/46 -
THE LIFE OF ABRAHAM LINCOLN BY HENRY KETCHAM
TO MY TWO OLDER BROTHERS, JOHN LEWIS KETCHAM, AND WILLIAM ALEXANDER KETCHAM, WHO UNDER ABRAHAM LINCOLN AS COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF LOYALLY SERVED THEIR COUNTRY IN THE WAR FOR THE PERPETUATION OF THE UNION AND THE DESTRUCTION OP SLAVERY, THIS BOOK IS AFFECTIONATELY DEDICATED.
I. The Wild West II. The Lincoln Family III. Early Years IV. In Indiana V. Second Journey to New Orleans VI. Desultory Employments VII. Entering Politics VIII. Entering the Law IX. On the Circuit X. Social Life and Marriage XI. The Encroachments of Slavery XII. The Awakening of the Lion XIII. Two Things that Lincoln Missed XIV. Birth of the Republican Party XV. The Battle of the Giants XVI. Growing Audacity of the Slave Power XVII. The Backwoodsman at the Center of Eastern Culture XVIII. The Nomination of 1860 XIX. The Election XX. Four Long Months XXI. Journey to Washington XXII. The Inauguration XXIII. Lincoln his Own President XXIV. Fort Sumter XXV. The Outburst of Patriotism XXVI. The War Here to Stay XXVII. The Darkest Hour of the War XXVIII. Lincoln and Fremont XXIX. Lincoln and McClellan XXX. Lincoln and Greeley XXXI. Emancipation XXXII. Discouragements XXXIII. New Hopes XXXIV. Lincoln and Grant XXXV. Literary Characteristics XXXVI. Second Election XXXVII. Close of the War XXXVIII. Assassination XXXIX. A Nation's Sorrow XL. The Measure of a Man XLI. Testimonies
The question will naturally be raised, Why should there be another Life of Lincoln? This may be met by a counter question, Will there ever be a time in the near future when there will _not_ be another Life of Lincoln? There is always a new class of students and a new enrolment of citizens. Every year many thousands of young people pass from the Grammar to the High School grade of our public schools. Other thousands are growing up into manhood and womanhood. These are of a different constituency from their fathers and grandfathers who remember the civil war and were perhaps in it.
"To the younger generation," writes Carl Schurz, "Abraham Lincoln has already become a half mythical figure, which, in the haze of historic distance, grows to more and more heroic proportions, but also loses in distinctness of outline and figure." The last clause of this remark is painfully true. To the majority of people now living, his outline and figure are dim and vague. There are to-day professors and presidents of colleges, legislators of prominence, lawyers and judges, literary men, and successful business men, to whom Lincoln is a tradition. It cannot be expected that a person born after the year (say) 1855, could remember Lincoln more than as a name. Such an one's ideas are made up not from his remembrance and appreciation of events as they occurred, but from what he has read and heard about them in subsequent years.
The great mine of information concerning the facts of Lincoln's life is, and probably will always be, the History by his secretaries, Nicolay and Hay. This is worthily supplemented by the splendid volumes of Miss Tarbell. There are other biographies of great value. Special mention should be made of the essay by Carl Schurz, which is classic.
The author has consulted freely all the books on the subject he could lay his hands on. In this volume there is no attempt to write a history of the times in which Lincoln lived and worked. Such historical events as have been narrated were selected solely because they illustrated some phase of the character of Lincoln. In this biography the single purpose has been to present the living man with such distinctness of outline that the reader may have a sort of feeling of being acquainted with him. If the reader, finishing this volume, has a vivid realization of Lincoln as a man, the author will be fully repaid.
To achieve this purpose in brief compass, much has been omitted. Some of the material omitted has probably been of a value fully equal to some that has been inserted. This could not well be avoided. But if the reader shall here acquire interest enough in the subject to continue the study of this great, good man, this little book will have served its purpose.
H. K. WESTFIELD, NEW JERSEY, February, 1901.
THE WILD WEST.
At the beginning of the twentieth century there is, strictly speaking, no frontier to the United States. At the beginning of the nineteenth century, the larger part of the country was frontier. In any portion of the country to-day, in the remotest villages and hamlets, on the enormous farms of the Dakotas or the vast ranches of California, one is certain to find some, if not many, of the modern appliances of civilization such as were not dreamed of one hundred years ago. Aladdin himself could not have commanded the glowing terms to write the prospectus of the closing years of the nineteenth century. So, too, it requires an extraordinary effort of the imagination to conceive of the condition of things in the opening years of that century.
The first quarter of the century closed with the year 1825. At that date Lincoln was nearly seventeen years old. The deepest impressions of life are apt to be received very early, and it is certain that the influences which are felt previous to seventeen years of age have much to do with the formation of the character. If, then, we go back to the period named, we can tell with sufficient accuracy what were the circumstances of Lincoln's early life. Though we cannot precisely tell what he had, we can confidently name many things, things which in this day we class as the necessities of life, which he had to do without, for the simple reason that they had not then been invented or discovered.
In the first place, we must bear in mind that he lived in the woods. The West of that day was not wild in the sense of being wicked, criminal, ruffian. Morally, and possibly intellectually, the people of that region would compare with the rest of the country of that day or of this day. There was little schooling and no literary training. But the woodsman has an education of his own. The region was wild in the sense that it was almost uninhabited and untilled. The forests, extending from the mountains in the East to the prairies in the West, were almost unbroken and were the abode of wild birds and wild beasts. Bears, deer, wild-cats, raccoons, wild turkeys, wild pigeons, wild ducks and similar creatures abounded on every hand.
Consider now the sparseness of the population. Kentucky has an area of 40,000 square miles. One year after Lincoln's birth, the total population, white and colored, was 406,511, or an average of ten persons--say less than two families--to the square mile. Indiana has an area of 36,350 square miles. In 1810 its total population was 24,520, or an average of one person to one and one-half square miles; in 1820 it contained 147,173 inhabitants, or about four to the square mile; in 1825 the population was about 245,000, or less than seven to the square mile.
The capital city, Indianapolis, which is to-day of surpassing beauty, was not built nor thought of when the boy Lincoln moved into the State.
Illinois, with its more than 56,000 square miles of territory, harbored in 1810 only 12,282 people; in 1820, only 55,211, or less than one to the square mile; while in 1825 its population had grown a trifle over 100,000 or less than two to the square mile.
It will thus be seen that up to his youth, Lincoln dwelt only in the wildest of the wild woods, where the animals from the chipmunk to the bear were much more numerous, and probably more at home, than man.
There were few roads of any kind, and certainly none that could be called good. For the mud of Indiana and Illinois is very deep and very tenacious. There were good saddle-horses, a sufficient number of oxen, and carts that were rude and awkward. No locomotives, no bicycles, no automobiles. The first railway in Indiana was constructed in 1847, and it was, to say the least, a very primitive affair. As to carriages, there may have been some, but a good carriage would be only a waste on those roads and in that forest.
The only pen was the goose-quill, and the ink was home-made. Paper was scarce, expensive, and, while of good material, poorly made. Newspapers were unknown in that virgin forest, and books were like angels' visits, few and far between.
There were scythes and sickles, but of a grade that would not be salable to-day at any price. There were no self-binding harvesters, no mowing machines. There were no sewing or knitting machines, though there were needles of both kinds. In the woods thorns were used for
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