Page:Abraham Lincoln address (1909).djvu/16

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14

believe it to be inconsistent with the law of human organism for any such creature to possess a mind capable of anything great. The man's mind partook of the incongruities of his body. It was the peculiarities of his mental, and the oddity of his physical structure, as well as his head, that singled him out from the mass of men." (See 3 Herndon & Weik, p. 584.)

Mr. Morse in the preface of his biography makes this very remarkable statement. He says:

"If the world ever settles down to the acceptance of any definite, accurate picture of him (Lincoln), it will surely be a false picture. There must always be vague, indefinable uncertainties in any presentation of him which shall be truly made."

Is this the record of any other of the world's great heroes and leaders? Will any accurate picture of any one of them "surely be a false picture"? What does Mr. Morse mean, anyhow?

We have heretofore referred to the fact that Mr. Lincoln was secretive, cunning, crafty and tricky, and certainly his course during his public life, as will be pointed out later on, fully sustains this view of his character. We have already noted what Mr. Seward had to say of this feature of his character. Herndon says:

"The first impression of a stranger, on seeing Mr. Lincoln walk, was that he was a tricky man." (Facts and Falsehoods, p. 54.)

The duplicity practiced by him in preventing the renomination of Hamlin, as described by Colonel McClure in "Lincoln and Men of War Times," is a striking illustration of his ability in this direction.

Stanton says:

"I met Lincoln at the bar and found him a low, cunning clown." (Facts and Falsehoods, p. 19.)

And several of his biographers make reference to his secretiveness, cunning and craftiness as among his chief characteristics.

OPINIONS OF CONTEMPORARIES.

But one of the best evidences of the real worth and true character of a man is shown by the estimation in which he was held by his contemporaries and those who were brought in daily con-