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conversation in which he was deeply interested and in an abstracted manner, yet with a droll cast of the eye, and a nod of the head in the direction of the man, he repeated, in his dry and peculiar utterance, the following oldfashioned couplet :

"And Zaccheous he, did climb a tree,

His Lord and Master, for to see-"

Amid the laughter of those who had observed the incongruity of the scene, Mr. Lincoln resumed the serious tone of his remarks, as if nothing unusual had happened. And yet, said my informant, I have heard him charged, in connection with this incident, with a want of proper feeling, and even with turning sacred subjects into ridicule. It was evident, said he, that Mr. Lincoln did not employ the quotation in a spirit of levity. It was but an unconscious exhibition of the mirthful tendency-or, perhaps, more correctly speaking--necessity of the man's nature. He seemed, as it were, to instinctively select the old-time, ballad-like couplet, from among the mass of quaint and home-spun verse with which his memory was stored, more from the sing-song tone of its jingling rhyme, which perhaps suggested a likeness to the swinging motion of the man before him, than from any intent to ridicule the verses or its allusion to sacred history. It may be that such freaks of fancy were the unpremeditated make-weights by which an over-strained mental activity was prevented from taxing the brain too constantly.

He who can, for a moment, believe that Mr. Lincoln gave utterance to such an expression in a spirit of levity, or could utter a heartless jest, in the midst of a scene

JAMES E. MURDOCH.

351

calculated to arouse all the interest and enthusiasm of the mind, and stir every deep and impassioned feeling of the heart, by its grandly solemn surroundings, and inevitably terrible consequences, does not understand the character of Abraham Lincoln. Those soldiers and their imperiled lives; the destinies of the cause they were thronging to the front to defend; the fortunes of the families they left behind; the bloodshed, misery and suffering in store for the nation; all this was crowding upon his brain and throbbing in his heart, with as much intensified. sympathy and soul-harrowing foreboding as ever wrung the heart of wife or mother, when called upon to surrender a loved son or a husband to the cause of freedom.

The following incident is but one of many instances of his personal sufferings in the general cause. Having called upon Mr. Lincoln on one occasion during the war, by special appointment, at 9 o'clock in the morning, I was shown into a private room. When the President appeared I was surprised to find him in a state of intensified grief and nervous excitement, the very embodiment of woe, the alternate fever and cold of his hand, and his whole physical being, indicating an overstrained condition, attendant upon mental and physical agitation and suffering. After a few passing remarks the cause of his condition was explained, when I learned from his lips, for the first time, the news of our defeat at Chancellorville. I shall never forget the kindly and grateful expression of his face when I stated the fact that, not being aware of the disaster when I came, I felt the propriety of deferring the occa

sion of our interview to some more fitting time.

Receiv ing an earnest pressure of the hand, and a fervent "God bless you," I left the presence of one whom I felt to be indeed bowed down under the burden of a nation's affliction. And yet, strange as it may appear to those of a different temperament, Mr. Lincoln could, as he certainly did on many an occasion, by force of will, subdue the heart-throb, crush back the rising tear, and turn his thoughts in other channels, molding his features to expression of indifference or mirth. This same "levity," as some white-haired sinners of his day called it, was often the "nice fence," with which he foiled the more serious thrusts made by his opponents, and as such served his purpose, perhaps better than other means might have

done.

Those who knew Mr. Lincoln and loved the man had cause to look through and over such peculiarities, content with an appreciation of the more sterling qualities which generously and thoroughly pervaded his nature. What was said of Thomas Fuller, the facetious, though devout old preacher, who lived in the troublous times of Charles the First, may be as truly said of Mr. Lincoln: "He was endowed with that happy buoyancy of spirit which, next to religion itself, is the most precious possession of man." Untiring humor seemed the ruling passion of his soul; quaintly and facetiously he thought, wrote and spoke, preferring ever a jocose expression even in his gravest moments.

With a heart open to all innocent pleasure and purged from the leaven of malice and uncharitableness,

JAMES E. MURDOCH.

353

It was as natural that he should be as full of mirth as it is for the grasshopper to chirp, or bees to hum, or birds to warble in the spring breeze and the bright sunshine.

Amy Eardisk

CINCINNATI, 1882.

23

SPEECH TO THE 148TH OHIO REGIMENT.

IT is vain and foolish to arraign this man or that for the part he has taken or has not taken, and to hold the Government responsible for his acts. In no administration can there be perfect equality of action and uniform satisfaction rendered by all.

But this Government must be preserved in spite of the acts of any man or set of men. It is worthy your every effort. Nowhere in the world is presented a Govern ment of so much liberty and equality. To the humblest and poorest amongst us are held out the highest privileges and positions. The present moment finds me at the White House, yet there is as good a chance for your children as there was for my father's. Again I admonish purpose of defend

you not to be turned from your stern

ing our beloved country and its free institutions by any arguments urged by ambitious and designing men, but stand fast to the Union and the old flag.

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