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Lincoln was thrifty only in the sense of working hard for what he got and never spending for that which was not absolutely needful for the comfort and happiness of those dependent upon him. Parsimonious he never was.
LINCOLN THE LAWYER.
An Honest Advocate and Counsellor—The Snow Boys and Old Man
Case-Famous Lawsuits about Negroes-Jack Armstrong's Son on Trial for Murder-Lincoln's Vindication of His Old FriendHow the Attorney Looked and Spoke.
MENTION has already been made of Lincoln's
immovable honesty. This was not only conspicuous in his dealings with men, but in his course as a politician and a lawyer. No man more than he ever made so many concessions to his opponents in a discussion, and yet succeeded in convincing those who were to be carried by his argument, whether it was a jury in a law-case, or an audience of the people in a political canvass. Sometimes, those who were with him, but did not, perhaps, understand his methods, were dismayed as they heard him give away point after point in the case that he presented. Their surprise, therefore, was very great when he began to sum up and, by the force of his reasoning, won his suit. This was because he knew his case thoroughly; he did not wait until its weak points were disclosed by the speaker on the other side. He relied on what lawyers call the equity of the case that he presented to the minds of men; and he was sure to go to the very bottom of things before he got through. It was the natural habit of his mind
to look at the objections that might be found against any given course rather than to the advantages and attractions of the same. People who knew him only on the surface, as it were, said that he looked on the dark side of things. This was not exactly true. He considered difficulties, in order that he might be prepared for failure and disappointment. He never forgot the advice of Captain Davy Crockett: “Be sure you are right, then go ahead.
Honest himself, he was intolerant of dishonesty in others; and not a few cases are mentioned of his fairly blazing with wrath when he presented to a jury the facts which showed the craft and wickedness of those who would escape their just deserts. He seemed to seize upon all the salient points of his opponent's case, before even they had attracted the attention of the counsel for the other side. And, what was remarkable, he seldom appealed to the native sense of justice which is hidden in a jury without success. A good instance of this was shown in the suit of an old man named Case, brought against “the Snow boys," to recover the amount of a note given by them for three yoke of oxen and a “breaking plough.” This team was used for breaking up the soil of the virgin prairie and was absolutely needful as part of the outfit of a prairie farmer, in those days. The Snow boys were not of age. They had bought the team and had given their note for the amount of the purchase money, and, being unable to pay when the note became due, they were sued for the money. Their counsel appeared in court and set up the plea that the defendants were