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MEN AND THINGS I SAW
IN CIVIL WAR DAYS
My first knowledge of Mr. Lincoln was in 1857, when he dawned upon the nation as "The Rail-splitter of Illinois.” This was when he was nominated there for United States Senator, and conducted his great debate with Stephen A. Douglas, then widely known as “The Little Giant of Illinois." Mr. Lincoln struck me then, in the progress of that debate, as a really great American: sagacious, far-seeing, and with a broad grasp of principles. And I was still more impressed with this in 1860, when he became the Republican nominee for President, and won as "Honest Old Abe."
My first real sight of him was in February, 1861, when he came East, and halted at Trenton, N. J., en route to Washington, D. C., to be inaugurated. I was then residing in Trenton, a practicing lawyer, as now. I stood within a few feet of him, in our State House there, when he significantly said, in the course of his brief remarks, that while he meant peace and hoped for peace, “it might become necessary to put the foot down firmly [and he brought his great foot down with a stamp]; and if it does, you will stand by me, won't you?” And he was answered by the people with wild applause, that shook the very dome of the Capitol.
On March 4th following, I was in Washington, D. C., and stood directly in front of Mr. Lincoln, not fifty paces away, in the midst of fifty thousand people, when he de