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PREFACE TO NEW EDITION.
THE "HE character of Abraham Lincoln, as the years
pass, becomes grander and more heroic; and, as is usual when a commanding figure slowly rises conspicuous in the history of humanity, traditions and myths are already beginning to cluster around his illustrious personality. The simplest truth is always best; and the simpler and more direct the biographical sketch of Abraham Lincoln, the more deeply will his image be impressed upon the heart of that “common people” whom he loved so well and of which he was the noblest representative. In this book it has been the author's aim to present such a picture of Lincoln and his times as shall leave upon the mind of the reader a definite and authoritative likeness of the man whose name is now enrolled highest among the types of our national ideals.
this brief biography, I have been moved by a desire to give to the present generation, who will never know aught of Abraham Lincoln but what is traditional, a lifelike picture of the man as many men knew him. To do this, it has been necessary to draw material from various sources, to paint in a background of the history of the times in which he lived, and to place the illustrious subject in his true relation, as far as possible, to the events in which he was so large a participant. So far as I have been able, I have subordinated the events to the man.
In the preparation of the work, I have been greatly helped by many authors; and I have been especially indebted to the writings of Colonel Ward H. Lamon, the Hon. Isaac N. Arnold, Dr. J. G. Holland, John G. Nicolay, and Colonel John Hay. It was my good fortune to know Lincoln with some degree of intimacy, our acquaintance beginning with the Frémont campaign of 1856, when I was a resident of Illinois, and continuing through the Lincoln-Douglas canvass, two years later. That relation became more intimate and confidential when, in 1862, I met Lincoln in Washington, and saw him almost daily until his tragical death. This preliminary egotism may be pardoned by way of explanation of the fact that many things relating to his early life, herein set
down, were derived from his own lips, often during hours of secluded companionship. If this little book shall give new and inspiring views of Lincoln to the English-speaking people, I shall be grateful that I have been permitted to write it.