Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 27.djvu/174

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166
Southern Historical Society Papers.

"The Life of Lincoln" (dated 1866), by Dr. J.G. Holland, long editor of Scribner's Magazine, rates Lincoln among the greatest of men, not only intellectually, but morally and spiritually. The object of this letter does not require, nor do its limits permit, that it should record these biographers' attempts to reconcile their estimate of their hero with the conflicting concessions that are extracted below from their books.

HIS JOKES.

As to Lincoln's indecent stories, jokes and behavior, we have testimony as follows, from Holland (page 83): "It is useless for Mr. Lincoln's biographers to ignore this habit. The whole West, if not the whole country (he is writing in 1866) is full of these stories, and there is no doubt at all that he indulged in them with the same freedom that he did in those of a less objectionable character." Again he says (page 251): " * * men who knew him throughout all his professional and political life * * * have said that 'he was the foulest in his jests and stories of any man in the country.'"

As to Lincoln's attitude towards religion. Dr. Holland says (page 286), that twenty out of the twenty-three ministers of the different denominations of Christians, and a very large majority of the prominent members of the churches in his home (Springfield, Ill.), opposed him for President. He says (page 241): " * * * Men who knew him throughout all his professional and political life" have said "that, so far from being a religious man, or a Christian, the less said about that the better." He says of Lincoln's first recorded religious utterance, used in closing his farewell address to Springfield, that it "was regarded by many as an evidence both of his weakness and of his hypocrisy, * * * and was tossed about as a joke, 'Old Abe's last.'"

Colonel Ward H. Lamon published his "Life of Lincoln" in 1872. He appears, in the accounts of Mr. Lincoln's life in the West, as constantly associated in the most friendly relations with him. He accompanied the family in the journey towards Washington, and was selected by Lincoln himself (see McClure's "Lincoln," &c., page 46), as the one protector to accompany and guard him from the assassination that he apprehended so causelessly (Lamon's "Life," &c., page 513), in his midnight passage through Baltimore to his first inauguration. He was made a United States Marshal of the district, in order (McClure's "Lincoln," &c., page 67) that Lincoln might have him always at hand. Though Lamon recognizes and sets