Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 27.djvu/177
above, and the duty and necessity that rested on them to record these truths.
In " Lincoln and Men of the War Time," by A. K. McClure, the author's intimate association with Lincoln (page 112, etseq.), is shown in many places, and his estimate of his hero may be measured by the following tribute (page 5, ft seq.): "* * * He has written the most illustrous records of American history, and his name and fame must be immortal while liberty shall have worshippers in our land." Yet, writing as late as 1892, he offers no contradiction of the above- ijiven "revelations" and " disclosures " of Herndon and Lamon, but, on the contrary, says (preface, page 3): "The closest men to Lincoln, before and after his election to the presidency, were David Davis, Leonard Swet, Ward H. Lamon and William H. Herndon." Letters of the two first named are among the letters referred to above, published by Lamon as evidence of Lincoln's attitude towards religion.
Hapgood's " Abraham Lincoln," dated 1899, shows the author's attitude of admiration in the first page of the preface, declaring that he was " unequalled since Washington in service to the nation," and quoting the verses
" He was the North, the South, the East, the West, The thrall, the master, all of us in one."
Hapgood concedes (preface, page 5, et seq.} the worst that was ever said of the grossness of Lincoln's jokes and stories, likening him in this respect to the Rabelais. Some readers will need, I am glad to think, to be told that Rabelais is best known to the world for hideous indecency, so that " Rabelesian wit " is the name for the filthiest wit the world has known.
If any would take refuge in the hope that the responsibilities of his high office raised Lincoln above these habits of indecency and godlessness, they are met by many authentic stories of his grossly- unseemly behavior as President, by the evidence of Lamon, the chosen associate of his lifetime, that his indulgence in gross stories was (page 480), "restrained by no presence, and by no occasion," and by a letter (Lamon's " Life," pages 487 to 504), of Nicolay, his senior private secretary throughout his administration, which states that Lincoln's attitude towards religion did not change after his en- trance on the presidency. Want of space forbids further details,