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Abraham Lincoln, Volume I ebook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 286 pages of information about Abraham Lincoln, Volume I.
as household servants by government officials who were citizens of slave States; it also prohibited selling them to be taken away from the District; children born of slave mothers after January 1, 1850, were to be subject to temporary apprenticeship and finally to be made free; owners of slaves might collect from the government their full cash value as the price of their freedom; fugitive slaves escaping into Washington and Georgetown were to be returned; finally the measure was to be submitted to popular vote in the District.  This was by no means a measure of abolitionist coloring, although Lincoln obtained for it the support of Joshua R. Giddings, who believed it “as good a bill as we could get at this time,” and was “willing to pay for slaves in order to save them from the Southern market.”  It recognized the right of property in slaves, which the Abolitionists denied; also it might conceivably be practicable, a characteristic which rarely marked the measures of the Abolitionists, who professed to be pure moralists rather than practical politicians.  From this first move to the latest which he made in this great business, Lincoln never once broke connection with practicability.  On this occasion he had actually succeeded in obtaining from Mr. Seaton, editor of the “National Intelligencer” and mayor of Washington, a promise of support, which gave him a little prospect of success.  Later, however, the Southern Congressmen drew this influential gentleman to their side, and thereby rendered the passage of the bill impossible; at the close of the session it lay with the other corpses in that grave called “the table.”

When his term of service in Congress was over Lincoln sought, but failed to obtain, the position of Commissioner of the General Lands Office.  He was offered the governorship of the newly organized Territory of Oregon; but this, controlled by the sensible advice of his wife, he fortunately declined.

FOOTNOTES: 

[48] Lamon, pp. 238-252, tells the story of Lincoln’s marriage at great length, sparing nothing; he liberally sets forth the gossip and the stories; he quotes the statements of witnesses who knew both parties at the time, and he gives in full much correspondence.  The spirit and the letter of his account find substantial corroboration in the narrative of Herndon, pp. 206-231.  So much original material and evidence of acquaintances have been gathered by these two writers, and their own opportunities of knowing the truth were so good, that one seems not at liberty to reject the substantial correctness of their version.  Messrs. Nicolay and Hay, vol. i. ch. 11, give a narrative for the most part in their own language.  Their attempt throughout to mitigate all that is disagreeable is so obvious, not only in substance but in the turn of every phrase, that it is impossible to accept their chapter as a picture either free from obscurity or true in color, glad as one might be to do so.  Arnold, pp. 68, 72, and Holland, p. 90, simply mention the marriage, and other biographers would have done well to imitate this forbearance; but too much has been said to leave this course now open.

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