Abraham Lincoln, Volume I eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 286 pages of information about Abraham Lincoln, Volume I.

From a photograph by Brady in the Library of the State Department at Washington.

Autograph from the Chamberlain collection, Boston Public Library.

EDWIN M. STANTON

From a photograph by Brady in the Library of the State Department at Washington.

Autograph from the Chamberlain collection, Boston Public Library.

THE FIGHT BETWEEN THE MONITOR AND THE MERRIMAC

From the painting by W.F.  Halsall in the Capitol at Washington.

ABRAHAM LINCOLN

CHAPTER I

THE RAW MATERIAL

Abraham Lincoln knew little concerning his progenitors, and rested well content with the scantiness of his knowledge.  The character and condition of his father, of whom alone upon that side of the house he had personal cognizance, did not encourage him to pry into the obscurity behind that luckless rover.  He was sensitive on the subject; and when he was applied to for information, a brief paragraph conveyed all that he knew or desired to know.  Without doubt he would have been best pleased to have the world take him solely for himself, with no inquiry as to whence he came,—­as if he had dropped upon the planet like a meteorite; as, indeed, many did piously hold that he came a direct gift from heaven.  The fullest statement which he ever made was given in December, 1859, to Mr. Fell, who had interrogated him with an eye “to the possibilities of his being an available candidate for the presidency in 1860:”  “My parents were both born in Virginia, of undistinguished families,—­second families, perhaps I should say.  My mother ... was of a family of the name of Hanks, some of whom now remain in Adams, some others in Macon, counties, Illinois.  My paternal grandfather, Abraham Lincoln, emigrated from Rockingham County, Virginia, to Kentucky, about 1781 or 1782....  His ancestors, who were Quakers, went to Virginia from Berks County, Pennsylvania.  An effort to identify them with the New England family of the same name ended in nothing more definite than a similarity of Christian names in both families, such as Enoch, Levi, Mordecai, Solomon, Abraham, and the like.”  This effort to connect the President with the Lincolns of Massachusetts was afterward carried forward by others, who felt an interest greater than his own in establishing the fact.  Yet if he had expected the quest to result satisfactorily, he would probably have been less indifferent about it; for it is obvious that, in common with all Americans of the old native stock, he had a strenuous desire to come of “respectable people;” and his very reluctance to have his apparently low extraction investigated is evidence that he would have been glad to learn that he belonged to an ancient and historical family of the old Puritan Commonwealth, settlers not far from Plymouth Rock, and immigrants not long after the arrival of the Mayflower.  This descent has at last been traced by the patient genealogist.

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Abraham Lincoln, Volume I from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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