The Real Lincoln: A Portrait

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  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2003-01-01
  • Publisher: Univ of Nebraska Pr

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Originally published in 1922,The Real Lincolnis an in-depth look at Abraham Lincoln the man, not the public figure. Acclaimed at the time as an excellent, impartial source book, The Real Lincoln was compiled by Jesse W. Weik through a series of letters and interviews with people who knew the sixteenth president personally as well as their descendents. This is an examination of Lincoln without the weight of history, looking at him as a dynamic figure and illuminating aspects of his life before his presidency. His childhood, his marriage to Mary Todd, his law practice, the way he spent his free time, and his introduction to politics are just some of the subjects covered. In this latest edition ofThe Real Lincoln, Michael Burlingame has included dozens of original letters and interviews received by Weik between 1892 and 1922 that went into creating this work. Occasionally lighthearted and always insightful, this revealing book will enthrall anyone curious about the human side of the man too often viewed as a monument.

Author Biography

Michael Burlingame is Sadowski Professor of History Emeritus at Connecticut College and the editor of Inside the White House in War Times (Nebraska 2000) and A Reporter's Lincoln (Nebraska 1998).

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Editor's Acknowledgments xvii
Editor's Introduction xix
Foreword xxix
Chapter I
Preliminary words
Beginning investigations at Springfield
Estimates of Horace White and Henry C. Whitney
Comparison of Lincoln and Herndon
Visiting places where Lincoln labored
Conference with Herndon
Preparing ``The True Story of a Great Life''
Description of the Lincoln and Herndon library
Dismantling the law office.
Chapter II
Lincoln's birth in Kentucky
Visiting his birthplace
Some of his early playmates
Interviewing Austin Gollaher and others at Hodgenville and Elizabethtown
Dr. Rodman's visit to Washington
Recollections of the artist Rowbotham
The removal to Indiana
Lincoln's schooling there
Incidents of his boyhood
Association with Dennis Hanks
Cutting wood at Posey's Landing
Letters of Dennis Hanks to Herndon.
Chapter III
The question of Lincoln's birth and descent
The various books on the subject
Investigations by Herndon and the author in Kentucky and elsewhere
The Enloe tradition
The Lincoln family Bible record
Sarah Lincoln
The John L. Scripps incident
Herndon's story of his ride with Lincoln to Petersburg
Dennis and John Hanks, who they were and whence they sprang
Their letters to Herndon regarding the Lincoln family tree.
Chapter IV
Removal of the Lincolns from Indiana to Illinois in 1830
Thomas Lincoln sells the land to Charles Grigsby
Leaving Gentryville
Names of the emigrants and description of the journey
Reaching Macon County, Illinois
Abe leaves the family near Decatur and pushes out for himself
Thomas Lincoln and the Hankses
Story of Thomas Johnston jailed for stealing a watch and how Lincoln saved him
Recollections of Harriet Chapman, who lived at the Lincoln home in Springfield.
Chapter V
Lincoln's several proposals of marriage
Story of his failure to join Mary Todd at the Edwards home, January, 1841
His letter to John T. Stuart
Invitation to John Hanks
Preparations for the marriage to Mary Todd
The story of the wedding
Judge Browne's amusing interruption
Conflicting views of Springfield people
Writer's visit to and interview with Ninian W. Edwards and wife
Refusal of Mrs. Simeon Francis to tell her story.
Chapter VI
Lincoln's attitude toward the ladies
His attentions to Sarah Rickard
What mary Owens said about him
His conduct in the parlor
The stag literary society
How he, with the aid of Evan Butler and James Matheney, punished the drunken shoemaker
His bashfulness
Whitney's account of his embarrassment before the ladies at Urbana
The evening at Norman B. Judd's residence
What Mrs. Judd recollected
Lincoln's break at the concert
His attentions to the lady performer
What Davis and Swett said to him about it
His reply.
Chapter VII
Lincoln's passion for women
How he dealt with them
Herndon's testimony
Interviewing one of Lincoln's female clients
Her story of his conduct
Lincoln on the circuit
Avoiding social functions
Fondness for concerts and like entertainments at the town hall
Accompanying Henry C. Whitney to the negro minstrel show in Chicago
Efforts of author to determine if Lincoln attended lecture by Thackeray in St. Louis
Lincoln's status as a married man
His wife's temperament and its effect on him
Her traits of character
Her management of the household
Her experience with Springfield tradesmen.
Chapter VIII
Further accounts of Mrs. Lincoln
Herndon's account of the dance with her
The serenade
Riding with the Bradfords
Her difficulties with the servants
Her husband's ingenious scheme to retain them
The government of the children
Lincoln taking them to the office on Sunday
His control over them
Playing chess with Judge Treat
An interesting glimpse by a law student
Description of the office
How Lincoln dressed
How he spent the day
His habits of study
Escorting Mrs. Lincoln to a ball
Her husband's consideration for her
His action when a storm threatened.
Chapter IX
A Springfield lawyer's opinion of Lincoln's mental equipment
Outline of his physical organization
His appetite
How he ate an apple
His predisposition to melancholy
Description of his figure
His head, arms, and legs
His countenance, his walk, and other physical attributes
His mental process
His perception, judgment, and conscience
His indifference as to forms or methods
A profound reasoner
Remorseless in analysis
A giant intellect and in full comprehension of his own ability.
Chapter X
Behind the door of Lincoln's home
What the neighbors saw and heard
The testimony of James Gourley
Lincoln's garden and dooryard
The ups and downs of life at the Eighth Street home
How Lincoln and his wife agreed
What Josiah P. Kent saw and remembered
Mrs. Lincoln and the iceman
The family carriage
Buying a ticket to the circus
Juvenile pranks at Lincoln's expense
Mrs. Lincoln's peculiarities of temperament.
Chapter XI
Lincoln as a lawyer
Estimates of David Davis and others
First leaning toward the law manifested in Indiana
Borrowing books of Judge Pitcher, of Rockport
Attending squire's court at Gentryville
Studying law books after reaching New Salem
Admission to the bar at Springfield
His opinion of examinations
Story of an applicant he himself examined
The note to Judge Logan
Hawthorne vs. Woolridge, his first case: its history and termination
Scammon vs. Cline, his first case in the Supreme Court
His last appearance in court
His three partnerships
His wonderful ability as a reasoner
The scope and extent of his practice
Range and size of his fees
His skill and care in the preparation of papers
The trial of Bailey vs. Cromwell proving that a negro girl was not a slave
Also Carman vs. Glasscock involving the navigability of the Sangamon River.
Chapter XII
Green vs. Green, Lincoln's first divorce case
His dislike for divorce suits
His magnanimity in the trial of Samuel Rogers vs. Polly Rogers
His comment on the Miller vs. Miller petition
A pitiful story of marital discord
A slow collector
Rarely enforced collection of fees by suit
When in partnership with Logan brought one suit for fee
Retained by Illinois Central Railroad to enjoin McLean County from assessing road for taxation
Lincoln's letter to Brayman
Gains case in Supreme Court
Lincoln sues railroad company for his fee
History of transaction
Dividing fee with Herndon
One of Lincoln's first suits for personal injury
The Horological Cradle case
The slander suit of McKibben vs. Hart
Turning the fee over to his father
The Spink vs. Chiniquiy case settled
The Dungey vs. Spencer case as recalled
Lawrence Weldon
Fixing Lincoln's fee
Linder vs. Fleenor
How Lincoln proved the marriage
Dorman vs. Lane
Proposal by Lincoln to his associates that they join him and donate fees as a wedding present.
Chapter XIII
Lincoln seldom wrote briefs or legal arguments
Scarcely ever made notes
Of the few briefs he reduced to writing Herndon preserved but a portion
One was a petition for rehearing in Patterson vs. Edwards, tried in the Supreme Court in 1845
Slander suit between two women
Notable specimen of Lincoln's reasoning
Smith vs. Smith, suit on election bet
Vigorous denunciation of those who bet on elections
Hurd vs. Rock Island Bridge Company tried by Lincoln in United States Circuit Court in Chicago
Record of Lincoln's argument before the jury as delivered, preserved, and reproduced by Robert R. Hitt, the shorthand reporter
How Lincoln talked when he faced a jury
What he thought of Judge McLean.
Chapter XIV
Life on the circuit
The Eighth Circuit described
Lincoln only lawyer who traveled over all of it
His horse and buggy
The landlord's welcome
Life at the tavern
Lincoln's dress
Leonard Swett's introduction to Lincoln and Davis
Lincoln's methods described
Henry C. Whitney
Joins Leonard Swett in defense of a murderer
His record in fugitive slave cases
Explanation by John W. Bunn of his few appearances in court in behalf of runaway slaves
Account by J. Birch of Lincoln lounging in the county clerk's office
Also his physical appearance and habits in political campaigns
The Wright case
Befriending the Matheney heirs
Forcing the foreign impostor to disgorge his gains
fee paid by Jacob Bunn and how Lincoln applied it.
Chapter XV
How Lincoln whiled away his spare moments in Springfield
Places he was in the habit of frequenting
An evening in the office of Colonel W. B. Warren, Clerk of the Supreme Court
Incidents of Lincoln's stay at Urbana in the spring of 1856
Stealing the hotel gong
Apprised of his vote for Vice-President at the Republican National Convention in Philadelphia
Leaving Urbana for Springfield
Riding in the omnibus
Whitney's recollection of Lincoln's modest fees
His financial accumulations
The bank account of Lincoln & Herndon.
Chapter XVI
Instances of Lincoln's weakness
His unwonted faith in certain friends
His blindness to their faults
His failure to redeem Herndon
Joining the charmed circle at the tavern
His bland and inexplicable confidence in the ability and moral influence of Ward Lamon
Appoints him United States Marshal of the District of Columbia
Lamon's attempt to influence General Fremont
Scheme to transport troops to West Virginia
The pretended Lamon's Brigade
Investigation by Congressional committee which denounces Lamon in scathing report
Notwithstanding opposition of fifteen Senators Lincoln adheres to him
Mark W. Delahay another instance of Lincoln's misplaced confidence
Surprise of John J. Ingalls
Lincoln finally appoints him United States Judge for the District of Kansas
Congressional committee visits Kansas to investigate Delahay's moral and official conduct
Delahay resigns to avoid impeachment
Lincoln's appointment of Simon Cameron and the trouble it gave him
Herndon's letter to Henry Wilson
Lincoln's real estimate of Douglas
What he told C. H. Moore about Douglas
Incidents of the joint debate
The recollections of Horace White.
Chapter XVII
Lincoln as a student
The effect of a college education
Comparison of John Fiske's and Lincoln's conception of social evolution
Lincoln takes up Euclid
Reading ``The Annual of Science''
Studying higher mathematics
His attempt to square the circle
His self-confidence and secretiveness
His mechanical bent
Securing a patent
Working on the model of his invention at Walter Davis's shop
Explaining it to his partner and callers at his office
Preparing his lecture on ``Discoveries and Inventions''
Delivers it at Jacksonville and Springfield
What some of his colleagues thought about it
Several paragraphs of the lecture
Account by S. H. Melvin of what Lincoln did with the manuscript
Herndon also enters the lecture field
Delivers his effort entitled ``The Sweep of Commerce'' before an audience in Cook's Hall in Springfield
What the ``Journal'' said about it.
Chapter XVIII
An epoch in Lincoln's life
His political baptism
Signs the call for the Bloomington Convention
Herndon's account of the incident
How Stuart tried to retard him
Lincoln announces himself
His speech at the Bloomington Convention
The prediction of Jesse K. Dubois described by Whitney
Lincoln invited to speak in New York
Effect on his neighbors in Springfield
What John T. Stuart said
The Cooper Institute address
His speeches in New England
How he impressed the Eastern people
Mentioned for President by the press
County convention in Springfield endorses him for President
He attends the Decatur meeting where John Hanks brings in the famous rails
Crowds of Lincoln's friends head for Chicago, leaving him at Springfield
The Chicago Convention
What Lincoln was doing at home
The nomination on Friday
How Lincoln received the news
The account
Clinton L. Conkling
The effect at Springfield
Marching to Lincoln's house
His speech
Arrival of notification committee from Chicago
Incidents of their visit
The notification ceremony in the parlor of Lincoln's home
Incidents of the campaign
All paths lead to Springfield
The great rally in August
Letter of John Hanks supporting the claims of his cousin Abe Lincoln
Some local campaigners
Herndon's speech at Petersburg
Comments of the local papers.
Chapter XIX
Lincoln the candidate for President
Meeting the expenses of the campaign
Judge Logan's plan
The ten friends of Lincoln who contributed
John W. Bunn's story of the fund
John G. Nicolay selected as Lincoln's secretary
Lincoln's attention to the details of the campaign
Meets with local committee
Recommends John Hay as assistant secretary
Interesting reminiscence of John W. Bunn
How Lincoln bore himself throughout the campaign
The election
Lincoln going to the polls
Assigned quarters for his office in the State House
His habits as President elect
Goes to Chicago to meet Hannibal Hamlin
Returns to Springfield
Visitors at his office and incidents of his stay there
Journeys to Charleston to see his stepmother
Account of his visit and interesting reminiscence
James A. Connolly
Returns to Springfield and begins preparations for the journey to Washington
Last visit to his law office
Final interview with Herndon.
Chapter XX
Last social function at Lincoln's home
He receives threatening letters
Sends a friend to Washington to sound General Scott
General Thomas S. Mather returns with his report
Plans for Lincoln's journey to Washington as outlined in the local papers
Personnel of the party selected to accompany him
Leaving the Chenery House
His trunks
Departure from the railway station
Lincoln's farewell speech
Story of the two versions
His emotion when the train moved off.
Appendix 1: Weik's Informants
Ida M. Andrews
George Washington Brackenridge
John W. Bunn
Mrs. Arthur H. Carter
Augustus H. Chapman and Harriet Chapman
Harriet Chapman
Robert N. Chapman
William Dodd Chenery
John Coburn
Jonathan N. Colby
Clinton L. Conkling
James A. Connolly
George Perrin Davis
Isaac R. Diller
William D. Donnelly
Dennis Hanks Dowling
Elizabeth Edwards
Annie M. Fleury
Frederick Dent Grant
Charles H. Gray
B. A. Harvey
Robert Roberts Hitt
Clara Davis Hoyt
Ephraim Fletcher Ingals
William Jayne
Edward S. Johnson
Josiah P. Kent
George C. Latham
John M. Lockwood
W. E. Loomis
Hugh McLellan
Henry A. Melvin
John G. Nicolay
S. G. Paddock
George Pasfield
Edward Lillie Pierce
Hiram Rutherford
Rev. Mr. W. F. F. Smith
Judge Anthony Thornton
Lyman Beecher Todd
Gilbert A. Tracy
Lyman Trumbull
Horace White
James H. Wilson
Louis H. Zumbrook
Appendix 2: ``A Hard-hearted Conscious Liar and an Oily Hypocrite'': Henry B. Rankin's Reliability as a Lincoln Informant 389(10)
Notes 399(44)
Index 443

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