Sunday, September 29, 2013

Lincoln’s Wit/Wisdom 65

At one point during the war Lincoln was forced by his cabinet to confront the realization that many people who were thought to be Unionists were actually spies providing key information to the Confederacy. After presenting the evidence, Secretary of War Stanton asked for direction.

Lincoln, who had been silent and visibly disturbed, expressed his feelings with a story about the dilemma of an old farmer who had a very large shade tree towering over his house. 'It was a majestic-looking tree and apparently perfect in every part – tall, straight and of immense size - the grand old sentinel of his forest home. One morning while at work in his garden he saw a squirrel run up the tree into a hole and thought the tree might be hollow. He proceeded to examine it carefully and - much to his surprise - he found that the stately tree that he had valued for its beauty and grandeur to be the pride and protection of his little farm was hollow from top to bottom. Only a rim of sound wood remained barely sufficient to support its weight. What was he to do? If he cut it down it would do immense damage with its great length and spreading branches. If he let it remain his family was in constant danger; in a storm it might fall or the wind might blow it down and his house and children be crushed by it. What should he do? As he turned away he said sadly, “I wish I had never seen that squirrel.”’
- Abraham Lincoln

Friday, September 27, 2013

Lincoln’s Wit/Wisdom 64

In the run-up to Lincoln's inauguration in 1861 the country was in a state of apoplexy. At one of his stops along his route to Washington from Illinois Lincoln said, 'why all this excitement - why all these complaints? As I said before, this crisis is all artificial. It has no foundation in facts. It was not argued up as the saying is and cannot therefore be argued down. Let it alone and it will go down of itself.'

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Lincoln’s Wit/Wisdom 63

‘You have to do your own growing no matter how tall your grandfather was.’
- Abraham Lincoln

Monday, September 23, 2013

Lincoln’s Wit/Wisdom 62

'How miserably things seem to be arranged in the world! If we have no friends we have no pleasure; and if we have them we are sure to lose them, and be doubly pained by the loss.'
- Abraham Lincoln

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Lincoln’s Wit/Wisdom 61

'Those who deny freedom to others, deserve it not for themselves; and, under a just God, can no long retain it.'
- Abraham Lincoln

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Lincoln’s Wit/Wisdom 60

'The Emancipation Proclamation applies to Arkansas. I think it is valid in law, and will be so held by the courts. I think I shall not retract or repudiate it. Those who shall have tasted actual freedom I believe can never be slaves or quasi slaves again.'
- Abraham Lincoln

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Lincoln’s Wit/Wisdom 59

'And having thus chosen our course without guile and with pure purpose let us renew our trust in God and go forward without fear and with manly hearts. '
- Abraham Lincoln

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Lincoln’s Wit/Wisdom 58

'If I had been allowed my way this war would have ended before this, but we find it still continues; and we must believe that God permits it for some wise purpose of his own, mysterious and unknown to us; and though with our limited understandings we may not be able to comprehend it, yet we cannot but believe, that He who made the world still governs it.'
- Abraham Lincoln

Friday, September 13, 2013

Lincoln’s Wit/Wisdom 57

'I am naturally antislavery. If slavery is not wrong, nothing is wrong. I cannot remember when I did not so think and feel.'
- Abraham Lincoln

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Lincoln’s Wit/Wisdom 56

'I am glad,’ said Lincoln, ‘I made the late race [he lost the senate race against Stephen Douglas in 1858]. It gave me a hearing on the great and durable questions of the age, which I could have had in no other way; and though I now sink out of view, and shall be forgotten, I believe I have made some marks which will tell for the cause of civil liberty long after I am gone.'

Monday, September 9, 2013

Lincoln’s Wit/Wisdom 55

'I am exceedingly anxious that this Union, the Constitution, and the liberties of the people shall be perpetuated in accordance with the original idea for which that struggle [The Revolutionary War] was made, and I shall be most happy indeed if I shall be an humble instrument in the hands of the Almighty, and of this, his almost chosen people, for perpetuating the object of that great struggle.'
- Abraham Lincoln

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Lincoln’s Wit/Wisdom 54

'He treated Negroes as they wanted to be treated - as human beings... Negro visitors to the White House were treated without false heartiness, but without any sign of disdain. Never condescending, Lincoln did not talk down to Negroes, nor did he spell out his thoughts in one-syllable language of the first reader.'
- Frederick Douglass

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Lincoln’s Wit/Wisdom 53

Lincoln ‘was a most teachable man, and asked questions with a childlike simplicity which would have been too much for the false pride of many a man far less well informed. His fund of knowledge was, as he himself declared, very largely made up of information obtained in conversation.' If Lincoln's knowledge was 'not so well arranged and digested as if it had been the accumulation of careful and exact research, it included a vast amount of information hardly to be found in books.'
- William O. Stoddard

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Lincoln’s Wit/Wisdom 52

According to Horace Greeley, the editor of the influential New York Tribune, who had excoriated Lincoln in the past for his ‘mistaken deference’ to slavery, the preliminary Emancipation Proclamation was ‘one of those facts in human history which marks not only an era in the progress of the nation, but an epoch in the history of the world.’

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Lincoln’s Wit/Wisdom 51

In the late summer of 1864 a veteran on furlough was asked whether the soldiers wanted Lincoln re-elected.

'Why of course they do. We all re-enlisted to see this thing through and Old Abe must re-enlist too. He mustered us in and we'll be damned if he shan't stay where he is until he has mustered us out.'