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holding States into the non-slaveholding North-west, to a preference for institutions based upon free labor to the exclusion of slavery. This was, beyond question, a powerful inducement with many, yet, by no means the only one; and, with some, it did not exist at all. In the earlier days of Kentucky, the proportion of slaves to the free white population was small, and in many places slavery can hardly have been an appreciable element. But in 1816, the number of slaves must have exceeded 100,000, and their ratio of increase was becoming very high. Upon a man in the circumstances of Mr. Lincoln, with a young family to rear, this consideration undoubtedly. had its weight, among the others we have suggested as the cause of his removal to Indiana. We have at least the fact, that, though painfully, and with an exile's sadness, he yet turned his back forever on a State that tolerated slavery, to seek a new home where free labor had been sacredly assured exclusive rights and honors.
The next thirteen years Abraham Lincoln spent here, in Southern Indiana, near the Ohio, nearly midway between Louisville and Evansville. He was now old enough to begin to take an active part in the farm labors of his father, and he manfully performed his share of hard work. He learned to use the ax and to hold the plough. He became inured to all the duties of seed-time and harvest. On many a day, during every one of those thirteen years, this Kentucky boy might have been seen with a long "gad" in his hand, driving his father's team in the field, or from the woods with a heavy draught, or on the rough path to the mill, the store, or the river landing. He was specially an adept at felling trees, and acquired a muscular strength in which he was equaled by few or none of those about him. In the sports of hunting and fishing, he was less skilled.
A vigorous constitution, and a cheerful, unrepining disposition, made all his labors comparatively light. To such a one, this sort of life has in it much of pleasant excitement to compensate for its hardships. He learned to derive enjoyment from the severest lot. The "dignity of labor," which is with
demagogues mere hollow cant, became to him a true and appreciable reality.
Here, as in Kentucky, he attended private schools, and in other ways increased his little stock of learning, aided by what he had already acquired. The same want of systematic public instruction, and the same mode of remedying this lack, prevailed in Indiana, as in his former home. One of his teachers was named Andrew Crawford, to whom he used to be occasionally indebted for the loan of books, to read at such leisure hours as he could command. His last teacher was Azel W. Dorsey, who had the satisfaction, in later years, of taking his former scholar by the hand, rejoicing to recognize the once obscure boy as one of the foremost leaders of the people. Dorsey was lately residing in Schuyler County, Illinois, where he also had sons living.
That we may estimate Mr. Lincoln in his true character, as chiefly a self-educated man, it should be stated that, summing up all the days of his actual attendance upon school instruction, the amount would hardly exceed one year. The rest he has accomplished for himself in his own way. As a youth he read with avidity such instructive works as he could obtain, and in winter evenings, by the mere light of the blazing fireplace, when no better resource was at hand.
An incident having its appropriate connection here, and illustrating several traits of the man, as already developed in early boyhood, is vouched for by a citizen of Evansville, who knew him in the days referred to. In his eagerness to acquire knowledge, young Lincoln had borrowed of Mr. Crawford a copy of Weems' Life of Washington-the only one known to be in existence in the neighborhood. Before he had finished reading the book, it had been left, by a not unnatural oversight, in a window. Meantime, a rain storm came on, and the book was so thoroughly wet as to make it nearly worthless. This mishap caused him much pain; but he went, in all honesty, to Crawford with the ruined book, explained the calamity that had happened through his neglect, and offered, not having sufficient money, to "work out" the value of the book.
Well, Abe," said Crawford,
as it's you I wont be hard on
you. Come over and pull fodder for me for two days, and we will call our accounts even."
The offer was accepted and the engagement literally fulfilled. As a boy, no less than since, Abraham Lincoln had an honorable conscientiousness, integrity, industry, and an ardent love of knowledge.
The town on the Ohio river, nearest his home, was Troy, the capital of Perry county down to the date of its division. This place, at the mouth of Anderson's Creek, had been settled as early as 1811, and was a place of some consequence, both for its river trade and as the county-seat. After this latter advantage was lost, by the formation of a new county in 1818, Troy dwindled away, and is now a place of only about five hundred inhabitants. Rockport, nearly twenty miles south-west of Gentryville, became the capital of Spencer county, and thenceforward a point of interest to the new settlers. It is situated on a high bluff of the Ohio river, and receives its name from "Lady Washington's Rock," a picturesque hanging-rock at that place. At these two points young Lincoln gained some knowledge of the new world of river life and business, in addition to his farm experience, and to his forest sports with rod and rifle. For several months he is said to have been ferryman at Anderson's Creek Ferry.
It was during one of the later of these thirteen years, that Abraham, at nineteen, was permitted to gratify his eager longing to see more of the world, and to try the charms of an excursion on the Beautiful River. He had inherited much of the adventurous and stirring disposition of his Virginian grandfather, and was delighted with the prospect of a visit to New Orleans, then the splendid city of Western dreams. He performed this journey on a common flatboat, doing service as one of the hands on that long yet most exhilarating trip. We have no particulars of this his sole excursion as a flatboatman during his Indiana days, yet to his own mind it probably long afforded many not unpleasing recollections. He was undoubtedly the life of the little company, delighting them with his humorous sallies no less than with his muscular superiority, and with his hilarious activity and intuitive tact in all that immediately concerned their voyage.