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intruded himself upon an occasion where he was unwelcome, and where his appearance was in bad taste, using the occasion with a view to its effect upon the approaching political convention. It was a cruel and unjust judgment, but it colored the impression which not a few editors had when they commented upon Lincoln's immortal address at Gettysburg. To them it was not a masterpiece in language, in oratory and in nobility of sentiment, but a commonplace and vapid performance intended to advertise the fact that Abraham Lincoln was a candidate for reelection.

Perhaps we should count among the books which Lincoln helped to make, the campaign attacks upon him. They were numerous, and are at this day among the most interesting items for collectors.

Perhaps the most dignified and logical of these documents were those issued by "The Society for the Diffusion of Political Knowledge." This was organized at Delmonico's on February 6, 1864, and was composed of the silk-stockinged opponents of Lincoln. The President was Prof. Samuel F. B. Morse, inventor of the telegraph, and among its members were many able and prominent men. "The fanatic is on the

throne," said Prof. Morse in his speech of acceptance of the presidency, and he inveighed against the ursurpation of the throne, or perhaps we should say the conversion of the presidential chair into a throne; and he was nowhere more emphatic than in denouncing those ministers of the gospel who praised Lincoln from the pulpit, and in his rejoicing that there still were in the pulpit of the North some who had not bowed the knee to Baal.

The McClellan Club of Philadelphia issued some documents, though not as many as Prof. Morse's society, attempting to show that the American people were "being reduced to mere serfs to a despot tyrant."


A New York publishing house issued a well written pamphlet showing that Mr. Lincoln was engaged with the Republican party in "a conspiracy to destroy the American Union" and erect a monarchy.

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These booklets lie before me as I write, and also others entitled "Shall America Be Ruled by a Monarch or by the People"? "The United States Converted Into a Military Despotism,' "Grounds for the Impeachment of the President," "The Trial of Abraham Lincoln by the Great Statesmen of the Republic," a trial which

resulted, in the booklet, in his condemnation for despotism and cruelty and violation of the Constitution, demanding his impeachment, and consigning him to eternal disgrace.

We have no present occasion to dwell upon these documents. America has never had a great man in public life who was not shamefully abused while he was living and almost as shamefully eulogized after he was dead. But our present interest is not political or biographical, but bibliographical; and we mention these matters as things of interest to the book lover. They add very interesting items to the collection of any man who is inclined to seek for them; and they are not without value to those, if there be such among us, who would learn to value our great men while they still are living.


It is when we come to books about Lincoln that our subject overflows all its banks, and inundates the lands adjacent to our theme. This man who read few books and wrote none inspired more volumes than any other American; more than any other character in modern times. Not even Napoleon has a richer bibliography.

The first books about Abraham Lincoln appeared in 1860, very shortly after his nomination. Lincoln was nominated May 18, 1860; Scripps' Life of Lincoln was published on June 3. For this little book, Lincoln himself furnished the autobiographical sketch. A year before he had prepared for Jesse W. Fell of Bloomington, in the third person, a short biographical outline, written on three pages of note paper. It has been reproduced in fac-simile by the daughters of Mr. Fell, who live at Normal, and it shows Lincoln's first effort to put the events of his life into a form that could be read, and possibly printed in a newspaper sketch.

When in 1860 Mr. Scripps visited him, just

after the Chicago convention, Mr. Lincoln deprecated any attempt to write anything so pretentious as a campaign biography, saying that neither Scripps nor any other man could make anything out of Lincoln's life except what was contained in a single line of Gray's Elegy:

"The short and simple annals of the poor." But he prepared a sketch, rather longer than that which he had written for Fell, and out of it, with such added material as he could command, Scripps made a pamphlet of thirty-two double-column octavo pages. The little booklet sold for four cents, or at twenty dollars a thousand, and it sold by the thousand. Perfect copies are now difficult to obtain, and have been sold at a hundred dollars or more. This book, for which Lincoln furnished the basic material, and of which Lincoln read the proofs, must ever be of prime interest among biographies of Lincoln.

But it is doubtful if this was the first published biography of Lincoln. "The Wigwam Edition" was off the press as soon as, if not sooner than, Scripps' "Life." It had no author's name on its title page, and it did not stop the press. for any authentic information. It spelled Abraham "Abram" and it invented the story

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