Chapter 3

  1. Herndon and Weik, Herndon's Life of Lincoln, 66.

"He assured those with whom he came in contact that he was a piece of floating driftwood; that after the winter of deep snow, he had come down the river with the freshet; borne along by the swelling waters, and aimlessly floating about, he had accidentally lodged at New Salem. Looking back over his history we are forced to conclude that Providence of chance, or whatever power is responsible for it, could not have assigned him to a more favorable refuge."

A slightly more complete quote from Herndon reads: "Lincoln's return to New Salem in August, 1831, was, within a few days, contemporaneous with the reappearance of Offut, who made the gratifying announcement that he had purchased a stock of goods which were to follow him from Beardstown. He had again retained the services of Lincoln to assist him when his merchandise should come to hand. The tall stranger-destined to be a stranger in New Salem no longer, pending the arrival of his employer's goods, lounged about the village with nothing to do. Leisure never sat heavily on him. To him there was nothing uncongenial in it, and he might very properly have been dubbed at the time a 'loafer.' He assured those with whom he came in contact that he was a piece of floating driftwood; that after the winter of deep snow, he had come down the river with the freshet; borne along by the swelling waters, and aimlessly floating about , he had accidentally lodged at New Salem. Looking back over his history we are forced to conclude that Providence or chance, or whatever power is responsible for it, could not have assigned him to a more favorable refuge."

  1. Wilson and Davis, Hendon's Informants, 8-9. mentor Graham to Herndon.

From Tripp: "He was then sworn in on the spot."

From Wilson and Davis, Mentor Graham to Herndon: "The first time I saw him was on Election Day, we were deficient a clerk for the Polls. Mr. Lincoln was about the street looking around, and was asked by some of us if could write he said 'yes-a little.' 'Will you act as clerk of Elections to-day-'said one of the judges: 'I will try and do the best I can. if you so request.' He was then sworn in and acted as clerk of the August Election."

  1. Lamon, The Life of Abraham Lincoln, 89; Mentor Graham to WHH, Wilson and Davis, Herndon's Informants, 9.

"…[Lincoln] performed the duties with great facility-with much fairness and honesty, and impartiality."

From Herndon's Informants, Mentor Graham to WHH (interview): "He was then sworn in and acted as clerk of the August Election. There were 49 candidates, it being a general State election: He performed the duties with great facility - much fairness and honesty and impartially. This was the first public official act in his life."

  1. Beveridge, Abraham Lincoln, vol. 1, 109.

"Lincoln…from the very beginning, took part in the politics of New Salem and Sangamon County. [Moreover], as the tiresome hours wore on, broken only by voters announcing their preferences, which the clerks recorded, Lincoln brightened the time by telling stories, and thus from the outset, pleased and entertained those among whome he had [accidentally] come to live."

A slightly more complete quote from Beveridge reads: "One of the election clerks, John McNamar, was ill; and the other, Mentor Graham, school teacher for the neighborhood, learning on inquiry that Lincoln could write, asked him to take McNamar's place. Lincoln did so, and thus from the very beginning, took part in the politics of New Salem and Sangamon County.
As the tiresome hours wore on, broken only by voters announcing their preferences, which the clerks recorded, Lincoln brightened the time by telling stories, and thus from the outset, pleased and entertained those among whom he had come to live."

  1. Duncan and Nickols, Mentor Graham, 125.
"Drop in to see me, Lincoln, whenever you feel like it. Drop in to [my] school down at the church when you're not busy."

A slightly more complete quote reads: "Graham, studying the stripling, noting his clear handwriting, and feeling him out on Henry Clay and slavery and temperance, recognized the young man's mental hunger and decided to try to satisfy it. 'Drop in to see me, Lincoln, whenever you feel like it. Drop in to school down at the church when you're not too busy,' he told him. They were historic words."

  1. Duncan and Nickols, Mentor Graham, 125.

"When Lincoln came into our house that first time, he walked straight to my book shelves and straight into my heart."

A slightly more complete quote reads: "Sarah warmed to this gangling fellow from home, and Lincoln must certainly have felt welcome. Graham's attitude towards his invited guest seems to have been preserved very much as he must have expressed it: When Lincoln came into our house that first time, he walked straight to my book shelves and straight into my heart."

  1. Duncan and Nickols, Mentor Graham, 125.

From Tripp: "Lincoln already liked the town and said he thought he had a 'rightsmart chance' of becoming a clerk in Denton Offutt's new sore, soon to open. And so it went."

A slightly more complete quote reads: "Lincoln said that he thought he had a right smart chance of a shake with Offutt and that he aimed to stay on and store keep, and Graham sighed with relief. He drew the youth out, learned what education he had had, and, that first night, elicited from him a statement of his ambition to be a public man."

  1. Lincoln, The Collected Works, vol. 4, 63.

From Tripp: "Earlier in the year as 'the winter of the deep snow' melted into a major long-lasting flood, merchant Denton Offut had hired Abe over in Sangamon town at twelve dollars a month, first to help build a flatboat and then sail with it to New Orleans to pick up merchandise."

A slightly more complete quote from Lincoln reads: "During that winter, A. together with his stepmother's son, John D. Johnson, and John Hanks, yet residing in Macon County, hired themselves to one Denton Offut, to take a flat boat from Beardstown Illinois to New Orleans; and for that purpose, were to join him-Offutt-at Springfield, Ills so soon as the snow should go off. When it did go off which was about the 1st. of March 1831-the county was so flooded, as to make traveling by land impracticable; to obviate which difficulty they purchased a large canoe and came down the Sangamon River in it. This is the time and manner of A's forst entrance into Sangamon County. They found Offutt at Springfield, but learned form him that he had failed in getting a boat at Beardstown. This lead to their hiring themselves to him at $12 per month, each;"

  1. Wilson and Davis, Herndon's Informants, 17.

Author's note: "When Herndon wrote out Greene's statement in haste, he spelled "thighs" "thigs." Like any other small error in Herndon's hasty writing, the missing "h" was easy enough to read in, but "thighs" seemed so meaningless, a question mark was placed by it and remains in the Library of Congress transcript. As shown, its meaning is entirely clear in sex research.

From Herndon's Informants, William G. Greene to WHH (interview): "I saw the boat soon after it landed, on the same hour or day. And then and there for the first time I saw Abraham Lincoln. He had on a pair of mixed blue jeans pants, a hickory shirt and a Common Chip hat. He was at that time well and firmly built: his thigs were as perfect as a human beings could be, and weighed 214: his height was six feet four inches."

  1. Kinsey, et al., Sexual Behavior in the Human Male, 69.

Author's note: Femoral intercourse is seldom an initial preference. Thighs hold no masculine magic on their own, as evidenced by their rare appearance in dreams or in sex fantasies. They gain their bloom of high significance only through the kinds of pleasurable conditioning Billy no doubt gained from his early experience with femoral intercourse.

See Kinsey, Chapter 3: "Statistical Problems"
  1. Duncan and Nickols, Mentor Graham, 140.

Allegedly, Graham's wife, Sarah, specifically mentioned that Billy and Abe "had an awful hankerin', one for t'other,"…

A slightly more complete quote reads: "Graham's students, Billy Greene and Abe Lincoln, who'd 'had an awful hankerin', one for t'other,' from the first, clerked the November election. They were constantly together and let scarcely a day pass without presenting themselves at Graham's house to ask a volley of questions and borrow books. Generously Graham lent them his hard-won, dearest treasures, suggesting in what succession they read the books."

  1. Wilson and Davis, Herndon's Informants, 10, Mentor Graham to Hendon, May 29, 1865.

"He then turned his immediate and almost undivided attention to English grammar"

A slightly more complete quote reads: "Mr. Lincoln spoke to me one day and said 'I had a notion of studying grammar.' I replied to him thus, 'If you ever expect to go before the public in any Capacity I think it is the best thing you can do. He said to me, 'If I had a grammar I would commence now.' There was none in the village and I said to him, 'I know of a grammar at one Vances about 6 minles' which I thought he could get. He was then at breakfast, ate, got up and went on foot to Vance and got the book. He soon came back and told me he had it. He turned then his immediate and almost undecided attention to English grammar. The book was Kirkham's grammar - an old volume, which I suppose - have so heard - is in the Rutledge family day to day."

  1. Beveridge, Abraham Lincoln, vol. 1, 133-34; Reep, Lincoln at New Salem, 30; Sandburg, Abraham Lincoln: The Prairie Years, vol. 1, 139.

From Tripp: "Then he [Lincoln] would write the wholeof it down and read it back aloud, usually to Billy (who, enthralled with Lincoln, seems never to have been bored or expressed the slightest complaint). Did he have it right? Now from the top again. Now with the subparts interchanged once more. On and on it went, ad infinitum."

A slightly more complete quote from Reep: "No sooner had Lincoln become settled in his job of clerking for Offut and found that he had considerable leisure time, than he looked about for some books to improve his education. More than any other thing, at this time, he desired to
Sandburg writes that, "Between times, in spare hours, and in watches of the night when sleep came to the town and river, Lincoln toiled and quested for the inner lights of what was known as education and knowledge." Apart from his grammar, "Geography he studied without knowing he was studying geography. The store had calico prints from Massachusetts, tea from China, coffee from Brazil, hardware and stoneware from New York and Pennsylvania, products and utensils from the hands and machines of men hundreds and thousands of miles away. The feel of other human zones, and a large world to live in, connected with the Offut grocery stock."

  1. Tarbell, The Life of Abraham Lincoln, vol. 1, 67.

"Lincoln's eagerness to learn was such that the whole neighborhood became interested."

A more complete quote reads: "From [getting Kirkham's Grammar] he gave every moment of his leisure to mastering the contents of the book. Frequently he asked his friend Greene to 'hold the book' while he recited, and, when puzzled by a point, he would consult Mr. Graham.
'Lincoln's eagerness to learn was such that the whole neighborhood became interested. The Greenes lent him books, the schoolmaster kept him in mind and helped him as he could, and the village cooper let him come into his shop and keep up a fire of shavings sufficiently bright to read by at night. It was not long before the grammar was mastered. 'Well,' Lincoln said to his fellow-clerk, Greene, 'if that's what they call a science, I think I'll go at another.'"

  1. Author's note: While "autodidact" only means self-taught, in practice it means considerably more. While an ordinary mind tends to be stopped in its tracks by a missing bit of crucial information (say, in math or logic), an autodidact can read or act quite past the missing information, assembling the whole picture later when more is known. Isaac Newton, Charles Darwin, and Albert Einstien notably had this talent, as Lincoln certainly did. It allowed him to sweep ahead in his reading and his understanding of people past all sorts of words and concepts that were neither in his experience nor in the small dictionary he sometimes used.

  2. Oates, The Man Behind the Myths, 48.

"That reminds me of a farmer who said, 'I aint greedy 'bout land, I only jus' wants what jines mine.'"

A slightly more complete quote reads: "On the political platform, Lincoln did like to spin tales that stressed some moral about human nature. But he also honed his humor into a potent political weapon. He was a master of ironic wit, of reducing a specious argument to its absurdity.' He can rake a sophism out of its whole better than all the trained logicians of all schools,' chuckled a young admirer. Some examples: The claim that the Mexican War was not aggressive reminded Lincoln of the farmer who said, 'I aint greedy 'bout land, I only jus' wants what jines mine.' On state sovereignty: 'Advocates of that theory always reminded [me] of the fellow who contended that the proper place for the big kettle was inside the little one.'"

  1. Sandburg, Abraham Lincoln: The Prairie Years, vol. 1, 19.

"They made their own words. Those who spoke otherwise didn't belong, were 'puttin' on.' This was their wilderness lingo; it had gnarled bones and gaunt hours of their lives in it."

Sandburg further notes of Lincoln's language training: "Words like 'independent' bothered the boy. He was hungry to understand the meanings of words. He would ask what 'independent' meant and when he was told the meaning he lay awake nights thinking about the meaning of the meaning of 'independent.' Other words bothered him, such as 'predestination.' He asked the meaning of that and lay awake hours at night thinking about the meaning of the meaning."

  1. Beveridge, Abraham Lincoln, vol. 1, 54.

From Tripp: "A scant year before he was president he began his famous Cooper Union speech with 'Misteer Cheermun.' (In fact, throughout his presidency he continued to address the head of every committee as 'Misteer Cheermun.'"

A slightly more complete quote reads: "Distance and direction were expressed by 'way back' or 'over yander.' When addressing the chairman of a public meeting the speaker said 'Misteer Cheermun.' Many of these idioms and pronunciations Lincoln retained through life-he began his famous Cooper Union speech by saying, 'Mr. Cheerman.' In addition to this dialect, plain, short words were used which now are avoided. In short, says Esarey, the language of the pioneers was that of the peasantry of the eighteenth century."

  1. Whitney, Life on the Circuit With Lincoln, 184.

"A Grate Sho of Snaix."

A slightly more complete quote from Whitney reads: "He was very much amused at one of his boys at home, who could not pronounce the word 'gentlemen' correctly, but pronounced the 'g' hard. He took much satisfaction in narrating this, which I have heard him do frequently.
He was much amused at the showman's advertisement of a 'GRATE SHOW OF SNAIX.
He was much amused at a story I read him from the paper. Two comrades met, after a long absence. 'Where have you been Jim' 'Oh! It was so quiet at home, I 'listed and have been in the war since I saw you - and where have you been?' 'Oh! Susie made so much war on me at home that I went out timbering in the woods to get a little peace'."

  1. Duncan and Nickols, Mentor Graham, 140.

From Tripp: "The cast of characters even included a Colonel Pickering, in the person of Dr. John Allen, a neighbor of Graham's who often stopped in to check on Lincoln's drill and progress."

A slightly more complete quote reads: "They got what they could from them, marked the tough spots with 'tail ends of carpet wrap.' String by string, Graham attacked these pages with them, asking the young men to read them aloud. He stopped them at every word they stumbled over until they 'fairly comprehended' what was meant and could pronounce the word 'properly and with certainty.' After that he (Graham) read it to them (Lincoln and Greene), his nervous smile flickering if their faces lighted with comprehension. Who has ever found a better method? And, if Dr. Allen sat listening, what young mind would not do its best?"

  1. Duncan and Nickols, Mentor Graham, 144.

"Actually, the man went to college and earned a high degree in the unflinching course of study provided by his guide and teacher [Mentor Graham}]"

A slightly more complete quote from Duncan and Nichols reads: "Lincoln might bring in as many as half a dozen books at a time from as many lenders. Graham poked into any that were unfamiliar to him, or the two of them took the mental impact together, stopping for comment: "He's levelheaded' here, or 'He's off his base' there, as they took turns reading aloud.
It is a wonder that Lincoln, with a mind as retentive as his, forgot to include all this when, years late, he was importuned for the facts of his life. Actually, the man went to college and earned a high degree in the unflinching course of study provided by his guide and teacher-one who had been 'called' in the woods one January night to lift life as high as his nervous, freckled hands could lift it."

  1. "Miss Anne Rutledge and Lincoln," W. H. Herndon, monograph. From Herndon-Weik Collection, Library of Congress, p. 3 of transcript.

  2. Wilson and Davis, Herndon's Informants, 402.

"I know of my own knowledge that Mr. Graham contributed more to Mr. L ['s] education whilst in New Salem than any other man."

From Robert B. Rutledge to WHH, November 18, 1866. "I am glad to know that you feel as I do, that injustice is done Minter Graham, and trust largely to your sense of, justice, to place him in his true light, before the Reading World, and award to him that mead of praise that is due the man, who assisted in laying the foundation of Mr. Lincoln's greatness, I know of my own knowledge that Mr. Graham contributed more to Mr. L Education whilst in New Salem than any other man."

  1. Duncan and Nickols, Mentor Graham, 261. Kunigunde Duncan's own special note.

From Tripp: "A full thirty years after those grammar sessions, when it came time for Lincoln to be sworn in as President, the one and only New Salem friend he invited to come sit on the platform at his inauguration was Mentor Graham-not exactly an unimportant or forgotten figure in Lincoln's eyes."

Kunigunde Duncan's own special note: "The path of mastery is forgotten as its consummation by almost all learners, great and small. But Lincoln was, after all, a most ambitious man; and ambition does not love partnership. But I prefer to conclude that Lincoln's personal love for Graham outweighed so much his student indebtedness that he was forever expressing the one and omitting the other. I do not know of any other old New Salem friend whom Lincoln invited to sit on the platform at his inauguration; nor any other man's little child that Lincoln helped to bury; or, as far as that goes, any other man whom Lincoln ever embraced. It is not impossible that his intense gratitude for Graham's aid paced his personal love for his teacher."

  1. Walsh, The Shadows Rise, 62.

"This the surprised Greene promptly denied with some discomfort, saying that he had simply helped Lincoln by posing questions out of a textbook and checking the answers."

A slightly more complete quote from Walsh reads: "As with Lincoln, Green too gained his education on his own, reading before the cabin fire. But he also managed to attend college and later to teach school, and then to start several businesses. By the time the inquisitive Herndon located him living in the village of Tallula, a few miles south of Petersburg, he had become the wealthy and influential head of a large family (one daughter was away at school in Germany) with interests in farming, railroading, and banking. Green was also one of only two New Salem friends of Lincoln to visit him in the White House. On that occasion Lincoln introduced Greene to Secretary Seward, saying that his old friend was the man who taught him grammar. This the surprised Greene promptly denied in some discomfort, saying that he had simply helped Lincoln by posing questions out of a textbook and checking the answers."

  1. Herndon and Weik, , Herndon's Life of Lincoln, 68.

"so strong was the intimacy between them that when one turned over the other had to do likewise."

A slightly more complete quote reads: "In keeping with his widely known spirit of enterprise Offut rented the Rutledge and Cameron mill, which stood at the foot of the hill, and thus added another iron to keep company with the half-dozen already in the fire. As a further test of his business ability Lincoln was placed in charge of this also. William G. Greene was hired to assist him, and between the two a life-long friendship sprang up. They slept in the store, and so strong was the intimacy between them that 'when one turned over the other had to do likewise.'"

  1. Wilson and Davis, Herndon's Informants, 9. Mentor Graham to Herndon, May 29, 1865.

"He was amongst the best clerks I ever saw: he was attentive to his business…kind and considerate to his customers and friends and always treated them with great tenderness-kindness and honesty."

A slightly more complete quote reads: "The next work he did was clerking in a store for Denton Offutt, which was in the fall and winter of 1830 and 1831. He was among the best clerks I ever saw; he was attentive to his business, was kind and considerate to his customers and his friends and always treated them with great tenderness-kindness and honesty. he in fact superintended and managed Offutt's whole business."
A footnote corrects Mentor Grahams account, citing that Lincoln clerked for Offutt in the fall of 1831 and winter of 1832.

  1. Lincoln, Collected Works, vol. 4, 64. From Lincoln's short campaign autobiography written in the third person.

From Tripp: "Offut's store began failing within months, but Lincoln, having made much progress with his grammar, and also 'encouraged by his great popularity among his immediate neighbors' as he himself later put it, began to make arrangements for a big step: to learn how to, and then actually run for, a seat in the state legislature. Making his first political appeal with a kind of handbill dated March 9, 1832."

A slightly more complete quote from Lincoln reads: "In less than a year Offutt's business was failing-had almost failed,-when the Black Hawk War of 1832-broke out. A joined a volunteer company, and to his own surprise, was elected captain of it. He says he has not since had any success in life which gave him so much satisfaction. He went the campaign, served near three months, met the ordinary hardships of such an expedition, but was in no battle. He now owns in Iowa, the land upon which his own warrants for this service, were located. Returning from the campaign, and encouraged by his great popularity among his immediate neighbors, he, in the same year, ran for the Legislature and was beaten-"

  1. Lincoln, Collected Works, vol. 4, 64.

"This was the only time A was ever beaten on a direct vote of the people."

A slightly more complete quote reads: "And this too while he was an avowed Clay man, and the precinct the autumn afterwards, giving a majority of 115 to General Jackson over Mr. Clay. This was the only time A was ever beaten on a direct vote of the people."

  1. Lincoln, Collected Works, vol. 4, 64.

"[H]e has not since had any success in life which gave him so much satisfaction."

A slightly more complete quote reads: "A joined a volunteer company, and to his own surprise, was elected captain of it. He says he has not since had any success in life which gave him so much satisfaction.

See footnote 28

  1. Lincoln, Collected Works, vol. 4, 65.

It was a disturbing low point, low enough to threaten his return to manual labor, even down to the thoughts of possibly "learning the black-smith trade."

A slightly more complete quote from Collected Works reads: "He studied what he should do, thought of learning the black-smith trade, thought of trying to study law, rather thought he could not succeed at that without a better education."

  1. Lincoln, Collected Works, vol. 4, 65.

"Of course they did nothing but get deeper and deeper into debt," before the store finally "winked out."

A slightly more complete quote reads: "Before long, strangely enough, a man offered to sell and did sell, to A. and to another as poor as himself, an old stock of goods, on credit. They opened as merchants; and he says that was the store. Of course they did nothing but get deeper and deeper in debt. He was appointed Post master at New Salem - the office being too insignificant, to make his politics an objection. The store winked out."

  1. Beveridge, Abraham Lincoln, vol. 1, 135.

From Tripp: "He wrote down whole pages of text, reciting them over and over aloud, including not only the Rollin and Gibbon volumes, but most of the writings of Robert Burns and Shakespeare."

A slightly more complete quote reads: "Lincoln took infinite pains to understand and remember all he read, recited poetry and history, and wrote down whole pages of books and conned them over and over. So he forgot nothing. While in partnership with Berry, Lincoln read Gibbon's Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Rollin's Ancient History, and a novel or two owned by A. Y. Ellis. He read Burns and Shakespeare which he probably found in the cabin of Jack Kelso, where Lincoln boarded for a short time."

  1. Herndon, Life of Lincoln, 90.

"While Lincoln at one end of the store was dispensing political information, Berry at the other was disposing of the firm's liqueurs"

Quote: "A more unfortunate selection than Berry could not have been found; for, while Lincoln at one end of the store was dispensing political information, Berry at the other was disposing of the firms liquors, being the best customer for that article of merchandise himself. To put it more plainly, Lincoln's application to Shakespeare and Burns was only equaled by Berry's attention to spigot and barrel."

  1. Lincoln, Collected Works, vol. 4, 65.

At least it "produced bread, and kept soul and body together."

Quote: The surveyor of Sangamon, offered to depute to A. that portion of his work which was within his part of the county. He accepted, procured a compass and chain, studied Flint, and Gibson a little, and went at it. This procured bread, and kept soul and body together."

  1. Lincoln, Collected Works, vol. 4, 65.

"the office being too insignificant, to make his politics an objection."

Quote: "He was appointed Post Master at New Salem, the office being too insignificant, to make his politics an objection."

  1. Dr. John Allen's statement, The Lincoln Papers, vol. 1, 157.

  2. Herndon, Life of Lincoln, 91.

From Tripp: "He studied with nobody, either at that time or later; he read and thought out such tomes as Blackstone's Commentaries entirely on his own."

A slightly more complete quote reads: "On the road to and from Springfield he would read and recite from the book he carried open in his hands, and claimed to have mastered forty pages of Blackstone during the first day after his return from Stuart's office. At New Salem he frequently sat barefooted under the shade of a tree near the store, poring over a volume of Chitty or Blackstone, sometimes lying on his back, putting his feet up the tree..."

  1. Herndon, Life of Lincoln, 88-89.

"I believed that he was thoroughly honest and that impression was so strong in me I accepted his note in payment of the whole [and] would have advanced him still more had he asked for it."

A slightly more complete quote: "'I believe he was thoroughly honest,' was the reply, 'and that impression was so strong in me I accepted his note in payment of the whole. he had no money, but I would have advanced him still more had he asked for it.'"

  1. Herndon, Life of Lincoln, 101.

But yet again, "a friend, one James Short…interposed; brought in the property [at auction] and restored it to the hopeless young surveyor."

A slightly more complete quote reads: "His (Lincoln) personal effects were levied on and sold, his horse and surveying instruments going with the rest. But again a friend, one James Short, whose favor he had gained, interposed; bought in the property and restored it to the hopeless young surveyor. It will be seen now what kinds of friends Lincoln was gaining."

  1. Herndon, Life of Lincoln, 101-102.

"The bonds he [made] were destined to stand the severest of tests. His case never became so desperate but [that] a friend came out of the darkness to relieve him. There was always something about Lincoln…to encourage his friends. He was not only grateful for whatever aid was given to him, but he always longed to help someone else. He had an unfailing disposition to succor the weak and the unfortunate, and always, in his sympathy, struggling with the under dog in the fight."

A slightly more complete quote reads: "The bonds he was thus making were destined to stand the severest of tests. His case never became so desperate but a friend came out of the darkness to relieve him.
There was always something about Lincoln in his earlier days to encourage his friends. He was not only grateful for whatever aid was given him, but he always longed to help someone else. he had an unfailing disposition to succor the weak and the unfortunate, and always, in his sympathy, struggling with the under dog in the fight."

  1. Hertz, The Hidden Lincoln, 122-23. Herndon to C. O. Poole, January 5, 1886.

"Men…everywhere saw that Lincoln was a sad, gloomy man…I have often and often heard men say: 'That is a man of sorrow, and I really feel for him, I sympathize with him.' This sadness on the part of Mr. Lincoln and sympathy on the part of the observer were a heart's magnetic tie between the two. The result gave Lincoln a power over men, rather it was self-inspired…men who do not know Mr. Lincoln, and never did, have paraded his hardships and struggles in his younger days in glowing words, or sad ones. Such an idea, such a description of the man, is not exactly true; he never saw the minute, the hour, nor the day that he did not have many financial friends to aid him, to assist him, and to help him in all ways. His friends vied with each other for the pleasure or the honor of assisting him. Lincoln deserved all this respect and confidence; he was all honor and integrity, spoke the whole truth, and acted it."

A slightly more complete quote reads: "Men at once, at first blush, everywhere saw that Lincoln was a sad, gloomy man, a man of sorrow. I have often and often heard men say: 'That man is a man of sorrow, and I really feel for him, I sympathize with him.' This sadness on the part of Mr. Lincoln and sympathy on the part of the observer were a heart's magnetic tie between the two. The result gave Lincoln a power over men, rather it was self-inspired. All men and women always and everywhere treated him under all conditions with great and profound respect, and a close observer of human nature could see, detect, that much of that deep respect issued from the heart. Let me translate such acts of respect and deference of those who ever saw him into my own words. Those words are: 'Men who do not know Mr. Lincoln, and never did, have paraded his hardships and struggles in his younger days in glowing words, or sad ones. Such an idea, such a description of the man, is not exactly true; he never saw the minute, the hour, nor the day that he did not have many financial friends to aid him, to assist him, and to help him in all ways. His friends vied with each other for the pleasure or the honor of assisting him. Lincoln deserved all this respect and confidence; he was all honor and integrity, spoke the whole truth and acted it; he, like all boys in the great West as well as elsewhere, had to study in order to learn. Life in his case was a comparably easy life, as compared with the struggles of the ambitious young man of the East. there the struggle for life is the fiercer. Lincoln was the favorite of everybody-man, woman, and child-where he lived and was known, and he richly deserved it.'"

  1. Donald, Lincoln, 55.

"…he [Lincoln] froze in the presence of eligible girls."

A slightly more complete quote reads: "But he was extremely awkward around women. With the wives of old friends, like Mrs. Hanah Armstrong, he could be courtly, even affectionate, but he froze in the presence of eligible girls."

  1. Duncan and Nickols, Mentor Graham, 141.

"…took the baby from her when the food was about to burn; who kept the woodpile higher than it had ever been before and never let the wood box get empty; who told the children stories to hush their crying; who took the heavy tub or bucket from her and carried it…and never had to be told to empty the wash water."

A slightly more complete quote reads: "Still Sarah was fond of the sad-eyed young man who took the baby from here when the food was about to burn; who kept the woodpile higher than it had ever been before and never let the wood box get empty; who told the children stories to hush their crying; who took the heavy tub or bucket from her and carried it for her, and never had to be told to empty the wash water."

  1. That is, the Tripp/Lincoln Data Base System, which contains the full text of more than eighty volumes on Abraham Lincoln and /or the period. The keyboarding of every volume has been done in India, where experience has shown that the demands of precision are much better met than elsewhere, including America, China, Latin America, or the Philippines.

  2. Maltby, The Life and Public Service of Abraham Lincoln, 27.

"…pleasant memories of the days and nights spent with Lincoln."

A slightly more complete quote from Maltby reads: "The writer has pleasant memories of the days and nights spent with Lincoln in the log store. Our relations at that time were in some respects similar. Both at that time had recently left our parental homes to enter upon the duties and responsibilities of life, both had mourned the loss of mothers in our earlier years, and both had been in a measure reared in the new and sparsely populated Western States. Those relations, and Lincoln's studious habits, which made the store his abiding place, drew closer the ties of friendship and attachment from those considerations."

  1. Donald, Lincoln's Herndon, 315.

"…to buss the old women and the babies."

A slightly more complete quote reads: "Soon Herndon was longing to be back at home. His employers urged him to remain, but he determined to remain in Springfield on January 15, 1887, to 'buss the old women and the babies.' Another motive was to get started on his Lincoln biography."

  1. Donald, Lincoln's Herndon, 15.

Even as an old man three months before he died, Herndon described his whole marries life as "…an eternal stream of happiness."

A slightly more complete quote reads: "Mary Maxcy Herndon remains a shadowy figure. Her memory still lives among older residents of Springfield, faint as the perfume of lavender, the pale fragrance of a life bounded by home, husband, and children. It was a deep love that united these two; for Herndon his married life was an external stream of happiness."

  1. Abner Y. Ellis, Statement for William H Herndon, January 23, 1866, in Wilson and Davis, Herndon's Informants, 171.

From Tripp: "In the daytime Ellis was right there at Lincoln's side, and thrilled to be so, a vantage point from which Ellis heard and later wrote down the only record we have of the first political speech Lincoln ever gave (at Pappsville in 1832)."

A slightly more complete quote from Life of Lincoln reads: "Fellow citizens, I presume you all know who I am. I am humble Abraham Lincoln. I have been solicited by many friends to become a candidate for the Legislature. My politics are short and sweet, like the old woman's dance. I am in favor of a national bank. I am in favor of the internal improvement system and a high protective tariff. These are my sentiments and political principals. If elected I shall be thankful; if not it will be all the same."

  1. Hertz, The Hidden Lincoln, 247. Letters from Herndon to Weik, January 23, 1890.

"Lincoln had terribly strong passions for women, could scarcely keep his hands off them, and yet had honor and a strong will[enough] to put out the fires of his terrible passion."

A slightly more complete quote reads: "I have heard him say it a dozen or more times. 'Lincoln's honor,' as Judge Davis said, 'saved many a woman.' This is true to my own knowledge. I have seen women make advances and I have seen Lincoln reject or refuse them. Lincoln had terribly strong passions for woman, could scarcely keep his hands of them, and yet he had honor and a strong will, and these enabled him to put out the fires of his terrible passion."

  1. W. H. Herndon to James H. Wilson, September 23. 1889, in Herndon-Weik Collection, Library of Congress.

"Mr. Lincoln's honor saved many a woman from ruin…this I knew from my own knowledge. I have seen Lincoln tempted and I have seen him regret the approach of women."

A slightly more complete quote reads: "I now say to you that Mr. Lincoln had a strong if not a terrible passion for women. He could hardly keep his hands off from women and yet, much to his credit, he lived a pure and virtuous life while married. His idea was that a woman has as much right to violate the marriage vow as the man - no more and no less. His sense of right - his sense of justice - his honor, forbade his violating his marriage vow. Judge Davis said to me in 1865 'Mr. Lincoln's honor saved many a woman from ruin' and this is true to his spirit. This I [illegible] on my own knowledge. I have seen Lincoln tempted and I have seen him regret the approach of woman."

  1. Masters, Lincoln the Man, 145.

"Lincoln was an under sexed man. That is the simplest way to express it. He liked to be with men when he liked to be with anyone…He was one of those manly men whose mind made him seek masculine minds. Marriage with him had the slightest sexual aim. It was rather taken for social reasons, or other self-regarding motives, all apart from romantic impulses. If the story of Anne Rutledge, and Mary Owens and Mary Todd do not prove this, nothing could."

Nothing further to quote: "Lincoln was an under sexed man. That is the simplest way to express it. He liked to be with men when he liked to be with anyone; and to that extent, with all his reticence and dignity, he was gregarious. He was one of those manly men, whose mind made him seek masculine minds. Marriage with him had the slightest sexual aim. It was rather taken for social reasons, or other self-regarding motives, all apart from romantic impulses. If the story of Anne Rutledge, and Mary Owens and Mary Todd do not prove this, nothing could."

  1. Herndon, Life of Lincoln, 163.

"[In order to] reconcile the strange course of his courtship and the tempestuous chapters in his married life, [one must await new] facts, long chained down [which] are gradually coming to the surface. When all is at last known, the world I believe will divide its censure between Lincoln and his wife."

A slightly more complete quote reads: "Conscious, therefore, of his humble rank in the social scale, how natural that he should seek by marriage an influential family to establish strong connections and at the same time foster his political fortunes! This may seem an audacious thing to insinuate, but on no other basis can we reconcile the strange course of his courtship and the tempestuous characters in his married life. It is a curious story, and the facts, long chained down, are gradually coming to the surface. When all is at last known, the world I believe will divide its censure between Lincoln and his wife."

  1. Neely, Jr., The Abraham Lincoln Encyclopedia, 248.

From Tripp: "Mark E. Neely Jr., one of the most substantial and reliable Lincoln scholars, in his American Lincoln Encyclopedia has characterized 'psychobiographies of Lincoln' as 'unmitigated disasters'."

From Neely: "To date, 'psychobiographies of Lincoln have been unmitigated disasters. There are hopeful signs, however, in Charles B. Strozier's 'The Search for Identity and Love in Young Lincoln,' in Cullom Davis et al., eds., The Public and the Private Lincoln (Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 1979), pp 3-19."

  1. Author's note: Having reached a peak of respect and popularity as the father of psychoanalysis, Freud came to lose credibility along with much of psychoanalysis itself. This is important to Lincoln's psychology for two reasons. First, many of Freud's theories of sex in general and homosexuality in particular tend to live on in popular sexual conceptions, though they are sharply at odds with newer concepts. Second, in professional circles, too, it is necessary to "clear the decks" before introducing newer ideas that have reversed many Freudian notions.

  2. Lincoln, Collected Works, vol. 4, 62.

"A few days before the completion of his eighth year, in the absence his father, a flock of wild turkeys approached the new log-cabin, and A[braham] with a rifle gun, standing inside, shot through a crack, and killed one of them. He has never since pulled the trigger on any larger game."

A slightly more complete quote from Lincoln reads: "He settled in an unbroken forest; and the clearing away of surplus wood was the great task at head. A. though very young, was large of his age, and had an axe put into his hands at once; and from that till within his twenty-third year, he was almost constantly handling that most useful instrument-less, of course, in plowing and harvesting seasons. At this place A. took an early start as a hunter, which was never much improved afterwards. (A few days before the completion of his eighth year, in the absence of his father, a flock of wild turkeys approached the new log-cabin, and A. with a rifle gun, standing inside, shot through a crack, and killed one of them. He has never since pulled the trigger on any larger game.) In the Autumn of 1818 his mother dies, and a year afterwards his father married Mrs. Sally Johnson, at Elizabeth town, Ky-a widow, with three children of her first marriage."

  1. Strozier, Lincoln's Quest for Union, 26. The original story of Lincoln and the wild turkeys, sans psychoanalysis, is in Lincoln, Collected Works, vol. 4, pp 62.

From the text: "This became all the more urgent, says Strozier, since Abe's mother soon died, leaving him with a double guilt, both for what he did to the turkey and 'for his own earlier forbidden sexual wishes. [Therefore] as punishment for his love, she died.' This, it was said, left Lincoln with everlasting mental complications."

A slightly more complete quote from Strozier reads: "Lincoln also seemed to feel some of the same pressures as the children grew into adolescence. Sarah's daughter Matilda was responsible for taking lunch to Lincoln when he went deep into the woods to cut trees. As Matilda later reported to Herndon, when he was eighteen and she was sixteen, tongues apparently began to wag in the neighborhood about the two young people running wild and alone in the forest together. Sarah ordered Matilda to prepare Lincoln's dinner before he left for his days work. All worked well, except that in time Matilda grew tired of the restraint. She decided secretly to follow Lincoln into the woods 'for a good long chat and a wild romp.' Matilda sneaked up behind Lincoln and jumped on his back to surprise him. In the resulting fall Lincoln's axe cut a gaping wound in Matilda's thigh near an artery. Both were frightened. Lincoln tore off the 'tail of his undergarment' to staunch the wound. The issue then became what to tell Sarah. Matilda was inclined to lie but Lincoln urged her to tell the truth. 'Tell the whole truth, 'Tilda, and trust your good mother for the rest.' This ruthless honesty is ostensibly the point of the story; Herndon thus labeled it in his notes, 'Honest Abe-A Story of Lincoln's Youth.' However, the sexual play and excitement between adolescent siblings unrelated by blood , living in a one room cabin, seem the deeper meaning of the anecdote."

  1. Strozier, Lincoln's Quest for Union, 44.

From Tripp: When Strozier took the trouble to analyze a few lines of homosexual verse from Lincoln's Chronicles of Reuben, he brought the matter of Lincoln's homosexual side to the very edge of what would still be a creditable and correct interpretation, only to be sidetracked at the last moment into throwing it all away, casting it into the stereotype conclusion that Lincoln had a "fragile sexual identity."

A slightly more complete quote from Strozier reads: "The announcement of the sale of Speed's store in the local paper even appeared on January 1, 1841, the same day that Lincoln broke his engagement with Mary, though the precise day he and Speed went their separate ways is impossible to determine. What the sequence suggests is that the impending separation from Speed threw Lincoln into a panic that shook his fragile sexual identity. In this state his fear of intimacy with a woman was revived, and he broke his engagement with Mary. One point is worth stressing, namely, that Lincoln's conflicts and fears operated at an unconscious level. He was only dimly aware of his conflicts as he struggled to define his identity."

 

 

All rights reserved. Copyright Estate of C.A. Tripp 2005