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WILLIAM WALKER.

213

MY

Y personal recollection of Mr. Lincoln, and what I have seen of him, in and about Springfield, dates from about the year 1842, and was almost continuous. until he left for Washington, in February, 1861; and, of course, I can say of, or concerning him, nothing but what might be said by hundreds of others who knew him as well, and much better, than I did. There was one trait in Mr. Lincoln's character that I can never forget; that was his great kindness and generous sympathy for the young men, who were struggling night and day, to reach a place at the bar, as lawyers. I well remember his coming in the office of Col. Baker, where I studied and read law, almost every afternoon; and with his cheerful face, and hearty greeting, to myself and other students, "How are you this afternoon, boys?" seat himself, and take up some text-book, that some of us were reading, and give us a close and rigid examination, laughing heartily at our answers, at times; and always made the hour he spent with us interesting and instructive; occasionally relating, to the great amusement of all present, an anecdote; and, after the hour so spent, he could go to a back yard, used by the students, and join them in a game of ball, with as much zest as any of us. But, when his watch told him the hour was out, he would at once quit the game, and bid us good-evening. Many years after, years that the writer had spent in the active practice of law, I met Mr. Lincoln, and was associated with him in about the last case he had any connection with. This, I think, was in

the year 1859, and after his name had become a household word in all the land-after he had won imperishable renown as a political debater, with Senator Douglas; and while his great mind was full of the momentous questions then agitating the public mind-he could not, and did not, forget an old widow lady who had been, long years before, kind to him, while he was struggling, alone and unaided, in a new country, for the means to enable him to qualify himself for the high position afterward called upon, by his countrymen, to fill. This old widow lady, named Armstrong, known by almost every one in Menard Co. as Aunt Hannah, had a son-a wild boy of about twenty years of age-who, with others, became involved in a difficulty at a camp meeting, held in Mason Co., near Salt Creek, resulting in the killing of a man named Metzker. Young Armstrong, and another young man, were indicted for murder in the first degree. Aunt Hannah, young Armstrong's mother, employed the writer, and a lawyer named Dillworth, to defend her son. We obtained an order of court, allowing separate trials, and took a change of venue, on the part of Armstrong, to Cass Co., Illinois, in the spring of '59. Upon the writer reaching Beardstown, and while in consultation. with my associate, at the hotel, Mr. Lincoln was announced. Upon entering, he gave us the gratifying information that he would, at the request of Aunt Hannah, assist us in the case of her son. This was agree

able news to us. We furnished Mr. Lincoln such facts as had come to our knowledge; he walked across the room two or three times, was again seated, and asked us for our line of defense, and the kind of jury we thought

WILLIAM WALKER.

of taking. We were in favor of young men.

our reasons.

215

He asked

We replied, the defendant being a young man, we thought the sympathies of young men could be more easily aroused in his behalf. Mr. Lincoln differed with us, and requested the privilege of making the chal lenges, which we accorded to him, and to me. The most remarkable-looking twelve men were sworn, that I had ever seen in a jury-box. All were past middle life, and the more strict the men were in enforcing obedience to the law, and the good order of society, the better pleased Mr. Lincoln was with them. The trial progressed, evidence heard and instructions given, and the State was heard from through its attorney. Mr. Lincoln made the closing argument for the defense. powerful and eloquent speech, never, in my opinion, fell from the lips of man; and when he closed, there was not a dry eye in the court-room. The young man was acquitted, for which Mr. Lincoln would not receive a cent. I have made this mention of some of my. recollections of Mr. Lincoln, longer, perhaps, than I ought— but I could not well avoid it-for, taking him all in all, I think him one of the greatest men America has ever produced.

A grander, or a more

LEXINGTON, 1882.

REPLY

TO GOVERNOR HICKS AND MAYOR BROWN.

FOR the future, troops, troops must be brought here, but I make no point of bringing them through Baltimore. Without any military knowledge myself, of course I must leave details to General Scott. He hastily said this morning, in the presence of these gentlemen, "March them around Baltimore and not through it." I sincerely hope the General, on fuller reflection, will consider this practical and proper, and that you will not object to it. By this, a collision of the people of Baltimore with the troops will be avoided, unless they go out of their way to seek it. I hope you will exert your influence to prevent this. Now and ever I shall do all in my power for peace, consistently with the maintenance of

the government.

APRIL 20, 1861.

LEONARD W. VOLK.

217

THE

HE public services of Mr. Lincoln are well known to the world. But there is much of the man, the inner man and his real characteristics-familiar only to his neighbors and intimate friends, as they knew him, before he was so suddenly called to the Presidency of the United States, from a country village, where, and near which most of his life had been spent, to assume the "cares of state," and carry, Atlas-like, the destinies of the Western Continent upon his brawny and herculean shoulders. The world at large will never know as do those living neighbors and friends the real greatness of the man. Personally, I had but little intimate acquaintance with Mr. Lincoln, compared to what many others had, and what I observed of his character was mainly while sitting to me, prior to his nomination in 1860, for the clay model of his bust. But he impressed. me, before I ever spoke with him, with a feeling akin to reverence-a feeling of affection. He was just the man to strike with favor every person who knew toil and privation-and what could be more natural? for he himself had been a toiler at every drudgery, and experienced the severest privations from earliest boyhood to mature manhood. Its effect was plainly visible in his figure, in the form of the bones, muscle and sinew, in his motion and in his speech. He was a plebeian in the truest sense, and his prototype cannot be found among the great men of ancient or modern times. He has been compared with King Servius Tullius, but might with more propriety be

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