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An AUTOBIOGRAPHY of
ABRAHAM LINCOLN

Consisting of the
Personal Portions of his Letters
Speeches and Conversations

Compiled and Annotated by
NATHANIEL WRIGHT STEPHENSON

Illustrated

INDIANAPOLIS
THE BOBBS-

MERRILL COMPANY
PUBLISHERS

BY THE BOBBS-MERRILL COMPANY

Printed in the United States of America

347331

1

PRINTED AND BOUNO
BY BRAUNWORTH & Co., INC.

BROOKLYN, NEW YORK

TO

ALBERT BUSHNELL HART

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 sayall 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, c.first of all, the modelthat 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 admissionsparingly, please observeamong 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.

You will find that no substantial liberties have been taken with the papers. A few imperative ones onlysuch as altered punctuation when the biographical bits of a document have been spliced together; the dropping of allusions to passages not retained; once in a while, placing a passage not at the date when it was written, but at the date to which it refers; et cetera. And is not the appended matter quite necessary to establish connecting links?

But why discuss what you will perceive at a glance and judge with finality?

Because of your unfailing interest in the promising younger men you may care to know that some of the best bits that follow, including the letter to Chase of June 20, 1859, were discovered by my former student, Mr. A. Howard Meneely, now of New York University.

Always gratefully,

Nathaniel Wright Stephenson.

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