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Leaf" by Oliver Wendell Holmes. There were no lines which he admired more than,

"The mossy marbles rest

On the lips that he has pressed,

In their bloom;

And the names he loved to hear

Have been carved for many a year

On the tomb.”

Lincoln did not continue to be a voracious reader. Herndon said of him that he read less and thought more than any other man in public life in his generation. But he accumulated a fairly good library, partly by purchase and more by natural accretion, and he had access to the exceptionally good library of his partner, Herndon.

About 1844 Lincoln read "Vestiges of the Natural History of Creation," published anonymously, but now known to have been written by Robert Chambers, of the noted Scotch publishing house. It introduced him to geology, increased his knowledge of astronomy, taught him the rudiments of comparative anatomy and embryology, and gave him the basis of his belief in "miracles under law," or a system of creation in essential accord with what we now call evolution.


In 1850, he read with profound appreciation a book on the evidences of Christianity, entitled "The Christian's Defense," and it wrought great changes in his theory of the relation of the human to the Divine. As late as 1859 he procured and read Paley's Natural Theology. another place I have set forth the significance of these books for him. In this same period also he read William Ellery Channing's sermons in part, and some of the writings of Theodore Parker; which, without converting him wholly to the theories of those men, were influential in widening his intellectual and spiritual horizon.*

Among Lincoln's books were several works of humor. He enjoyed Artemus Ward. He read Petroleum V. Nasby with great enjoyment. He owned and diligently perused "Joe Miller's Joke Book," and remembered the stories which it contained. A copy of this volume was found in the drawer of his desk after his death, in close juxtaposition with important state papers.

But it deserves to be remembered that while Lincoln told stories in personal argument and in jury trials, he almost never told a story in one of his formal addresses. His published speeches

*See "The Soul of Abraham Lincoln," by William E. Barton; chapters XIII, XIV, XV.

may be searched from end to end with very meager gleanings in the field of narrative. It is surprising to discover how few stories are to be obtained from Lincoln's authentic writings and how many from reminiscences of conversations with him. He knew well in what forms of discourse his homely illustrations would add weight to his argument, and when, in the interests of good taste or more solid and cogent reasoning it was better to omit them.


So much for the books which helped to make Lincoln; let us consider now the books which Lincoln helped to make.

Lincoln never wrote a book. J. McCann Davis reproduced in fac-simile the one book that might be called Lincoln's, being a series of newspaper clippings from his speeches on slavery, with annotations in his handwriting, arranged in a small blank book as an exposition of his authorized utterances on that subject. He edited from newspaper reports for publication in book form his part in the LincolnDouglas debates. I have seen the original sheets which he used, and it is notable that he did not change phraseology that he might possibly have wished to have modified slightly, and that he quite generally cut out the words "Laughter" and "Applause" with which the favorable press reports sprinkled the record of his addresses.

Lincoln liked to see his own addresses in print. Some of his biographers, notably Lamon,


comment on this fact with apparent desire to criticize him for it. But his editing of his addresses for publication, as it has fallen under the eye of the present writer, is strikingly modest.

Altogether the published addresses, state papers and correspondence of Lincoln make several thick volumes, two in one edition, eight in another and twelve in another. Beside these are one or two supplementary volumes of his otherwise uncollected writings. He was, therefore, an author of considerable fecundity. He was also a writer whose literary style underwent a remarkable and most interesting evolution. The little book of Prof. Dodge has already been referred to; a valuable little volume by Prof. Luther E. Robinson as "Lincoln as a Man of Letters" may also be cited.

Books compiled from the writings of Lincoln began to appear almost as soon as he was dead. The first of these began to be compiled within a few days after the assassination. The American News Company received on April 18, 1865, a letter saying:

"You have it in your power to erect a monument of its own kind to the memory of the President. Collect and publish, in the speediest

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