An Autobiography of Abraham Lincoln: Consisting of the Personal Portions of His Letters, Speeches, and Conversations

An Autobiography of Abraham Lincoln: Consisting of the Personal Portions of His Letters, Speeches, and Conversations

An Autobiography of Abraham Lincoln: Consisting of the Personal Portions of His Letters, Speeches, and Conversations

An Autobiography of Abraham Lincoln: Consisting of the Personal Portions of His Letters, Speeches, and Conversations

Excerpt

Dear Professor Hart:

Though so many years are gone, alas! since it was my regular habit to submit to you all my "findings," the impulse to do so has that imperishable foundation which belongs to all delightful things established in the Golden Age. What a number of us, who, if we subtracted from our "technique"—as the pompous ones like to say—all that we owe to you, would have at best such a doubtful remainder!

I hope you will think well of this attempt to show Lincoln's development through a mosaic of his literary remains. A word as to how and why. It would be a fault in candor, as well as a lack of graciousness, not to acknowledge, first of all, the model—that skilful volume upon Napoleon, "The Corsican," compiled by the late R. M. Johnson. Will you question the one serious departure from Johnson's method, the admission— sparingly, please observe—among the written fragments of a few anecdotes? How else could Lincoln's humor be introduced? How else get round that singular fact, the disappearance of his humor the moment almost he took pen in hand? Then, too, do not these personal bits preserve his quaint homeliness, persistent in the man to the end though it faded eventually from his papers as their stateliness came in? Of course, one is sadly conscious of the obviously apochryphal character of so many Lincoln anecdotes. To be a peg for fools to hang stories upon, especially broad stories, is already part of his ironic fate.

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.