xt7j3t9d5j58 https://exploreuk.uky.edu/dips/xt7j3t9d5j58/data/mets.xml Speed, Joshua F. (Joshua Fry), 1814-1882. 1884  books b97-24-37872784 English Printed by J.P. Morton and Co., : Louisville, Ky. : Contact the Special Collections Research Center for information regarding rights and use of this collection. Lincoln, Abraham, 1809-1865 Anecdotes. California Description and travel. Speed, Joshua Fry, 1814-1882. Reminiscences of Abraham Lincoln and Notes of a visit to California  : two lectures / by Joshua F. Speed ; with a sketch of his life. text Reminiscences of Abraham Lincoln and Notes of a visit to California  : two lectures / by Joshua F. Speed ; with a sketch of his life. 1884 2002 true xt7j3t9d5j58 section xt7j3t9d5j58 



       -  BY


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        With a Sketch of His Life.

          LOUISVILLE, KY.

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  Joshua Fry Speed was born November 14, 1814. His
parents were John Speed and Lucy G. Speed. They
came from Virginia to Kentucky in 1783, in their early
youth. The father of John Speed was Captain James
Speed, who was born in Mecklinburg, Va., and obtained
his title by service in the Revolutionary War. The
father of Lucy G. Speed was Joshua Fry. Captain
James Speed and Joshua Fry are both noted in the
early history of Kentucky. The former, as a member
of the Conventions by which the State was separated
from Virginia and became a separate commonwealth; the
latter for his connection with educational interests. The
ancestors of each came from England, and settled in
Virginia prior to the beginning of the last century.
  John Speed and Lucy G. Fry were married in i809.
They lived at the old homestead, known as Farming-
ton, on the Louisville and Bardstown Turnpike road,
about five miles from Louisville. There Joshua F.
Speed was born, the fifth in a family of ten children, all
of whom except one survived him. He was well edu-
cated at the schools in Jefferson County, and under the
tuition of Joshua Fry, and at St. Joseph's College, at

 4Joshua Fry Speed.

  It is related that when at school as a child he
replied to questions in the same frank, pointed, and com-
prehensive manner that characterized him as a man. He
was always positive and direct, and often his plainness
of speech amounted to bluntness.
  While at college he fell sick, and was cared for at the
house of his uncle, who lived near Bardstown. When
he recovered he rode home to his father on horseback,
that being the mode of traveling in that day.
  His father was anxious for him to return to college,
but he steadfastly refused, declaring he was old enough to
begin to make his own way in the world. He then spent
between two and three years as a clerk in the wholesale
store of Wm. H. Pope, then the largest establishment in
  After this he spent seven years of his life as a mer-
chant in Springfield, Ill. He makes reference to this in
his lecture upon Abraham Lincoln. At Springfield he
became an intimate friend not only of Mr. Lincoln, but
also of Stephen A. Douglas, Col. John Hardin, Col. Ba-
ker, Gen. Shields, Judge Gillespie, Nathaniel Pope, and
  It is noticeable that his association was with men of
that class. From his boyhood he regarded life with a
serious business-like gravity, which led him to seek the
companionship of young men of like disposition, or of
persons older than himself.
-His life at Springfield furnished many incidents amus-
ing and interesting, which he was fond of relating.


7oshua Fry Speed.

Often in after years, in a circle of friends, his memory
would recur to that period, and he would tell his expe-
riences as a country merchant in his crisp narrative style,
half playful, half serious, so as to charm all who heard
  Among his friends at Springfield he showed the same
characteristics that became more conspicuous in later
years. He took a lively interest in public affairs, and
assisted in editing a newspaper, but his personal friends
and associates were in all parties. His friendships were
never affected by political or religious views differing
from his own.
  He returned from Springfield to Kentucky in the
year 1842, and engaged in farming for about nine years.
He was married February i5, 1842, to Miss Fanny Hen-
ning, a sister of James W. Henning, of Louisville.
They made their home on a farm, in the Pond Settle-
ment neighborhood, about thirteen miles from Louisville,
on the Salt River road.
  It was a very pretty place, lying at the foot ofthe
knobs. The dwelling was a log house. They both
often recurred to their farm-life as the happiest part of
their lives. She was particularly fond of flowers, and
in this respect he was a genial companion. The grounds
about the house were covered with roses, the beauty of
which was the subject of remark by all their neighbors
and visitors from the city. In addition to the enjoyment
of these, they spent many hours together in the fields
and woods, seeking rare species of wild flowers. He


67oshua Fry Speed.

had a vein of sentiment in his nature which made him
fond of flowers and poetry, which his active business
never eradicated. Evidences of this are found in his
letters and lectures, and his friends recall how often it
was manifested in his conversation.
  In the year 1848, while he lived on the farm, he was
elected to represent Jefferson County in the State Legis-
Lnture. Though often solicited, he would never again
consent to become a candidate for or hold any office.
  He moved into the city of Louisville in 185i, and
formed a partnership with his brother-in-law, James W.
Henning, in the real - estate business. This relation
continued until his death. Until the year i86i his life
was uneventful, he pursued his vocation with great suc-
cess, devoting to it his entire time and energy. The
firm of Henning and Speed became one of the best
known in Louisville. It transacted a very large and im-
portant business. The two partners were admirably
suited to each other. Mr. Henning possessed an un-
equaled knowledge of the real estate in the city and
county. Mr. Speed had no superior as a financier.
Their business embraced agencies for many of the largest
owners of city property, and they were trustees of many
large estates. The public records show the large interests
intrusted to their care by wills, deeds of trusts, and ap-
pointment by the courts. In the division of estates and
valuation of property they were constantly appealed to.
In all such matters their judgment was so much relied
on that the courts, of their own motion, not infrequently


Roshua Fry Speed.

directed litigants to obtain the testimony of one or the
other before deciding a controversy.
  Among their agencies were estates of real and per-
sonal property belonging to persons who resided in the
South during the war. In the midst of that destructive
conflict, these persons apprehended their possessions were
swept away; but when the war ended they found every
thing preserved with the steadily accumulated earning of
four years. Their gratitude naturally found expression
in beautiful tokens of remembrance.
  Joshua Speed also managed the estates of his widowed
mother and his unmarried and widowed sisters.
  The uniform positive and emphatic testimony of all
is in praise of his ability, fidelity, and fairness. He gave
his personal attention to all business intrusted to him.
No one knew better how to invest money, or how to
buy and sell property. His skill and sound judgment
not only built up for himself a handsome fortune, it was all
put forth to the best advantage for the benefit of all whose
interests were in his hands.
  In i86i his whole heart was in the Union cause, and
the intimate acquaintance he had with Mr. Lincoln
enabled him to exert all his ability directly for that
  One of the fruits of their intimacy was a visit of Mr.
Lincoln to Kentucky some years prior to the war. He
saw, at the old Farmington homestead, slavery in the
form often spoken of as patriarchal-the mildest, best
phase of it. But on his return, he witnessed on the


8Joshua Fry Speed.

steamer the scene described in his letter, quoted in Mr.
Speed's lecture. There was the bitterness of the insti-
tution. He thus spoke from actual knowledge the
words, " If slavery is not wrong, nothing is wrong."
  Another of the fruits of this intimacy was, that in
that critical period, when so much depended on the
position Kentucky would take, the President could
rely upon one whose knowledge of the State, ability,
judgment, and earnest fidelity were all of the highest
  This was, perhaps, the most active part of Mr. Speed's
life. He made many trips to Washington. He was in-
trusted with the most important and delicate missions.
His every-day intercourse was with the President and
members of the Cabinet, and the highest officers of the
army. In this connection two things are most striking:
First, his entire self abnegation both as to emoluments
and honors. He gave freely his time, energies, and
means to the cause he had at heart, and all without at-
tracting the slightest attention to himself. None but
those with whom his business was, knew of that in which
he was engaged. Second, he offended no one, and in-
curred no ill-will. He was full of generosity and liber-
ality to individuals whose sentiments differed from his
own, while he opposed the cause they espoused. An
incident will illustrate this: While the war was raging
he was summoned as grand juror in the Federal Court.
The grand jurors were required to make oath that they
had not given aid or comfort to the enemy of the coun-


Yoshua Fry Speed.


try.  To the surprise of every one he said he did not
know that he could take that oath. The judge inquired
the reason. " Because," said he, " I have furnished pris-
oners with money, when I knew they were going to en-
gage in the rebellion." The court promptly stated that
this was no disqualification.
  The following extract from a letter from Gen. John
W. Finnell, who was Adj't General of Kentucky during
the war, sets forth Mr. Speed's services to his country
at that time:

  In the earlier days of the rebellion, Joshua F. Speed played a
very important, but before the general public an inconspicuous part
in saving Kentucky to the cause of the Union. lIe was a quiet, ob-
servant, courageous man. Full of energy and resource, self reliant,
ardently attached to the Union, and fixed in the noble purpose to do
his whole duty, letting consequences take care of themselves.
   He was the intimate and trusted friend of the great Lincoln, the
companion and associate of his younger days, and was rightly esti-
mated by the martyred President for his matchless integrityknd un-
faltering love of country.
  To him Gen. Nelson was sent with the arms furnished by the Fed-
eral Government for distribution among the Union men of Kentucky,
and under his direction the arms were distributed and placed in loyal
hands. He it was who called the first meeting of prominent Unionists,
held at Frankfort early in May, i86i, to devise means to save the
State from the designs of the agents and friends of the Confederacy.
He held numerous conferences all through that summer, at different
parts in the State, with prominent friends of the Union, and seemed at
all times instinctively to grasp the situation and to fully comprehend
the peril; to see so clearly the needs of the hour, that though his
views were presented modestly, and in such a sometimes provokingly
quiet way,,yet they were almost uniformly adopted as the wisest and
the best.
  There never was at any time a question of the attachment of an
overwhelming majority of the people of Kentucky to the Union; but
it required the greatest possible prudence and the wisest statesmanship
to direct the public mind to the real question presented by the seces-



Yoshua Fry Spted.

sionists; and there was danger, imminent and threatening, that Ken-
tucky might falter upon the question as it was so artfully and so per-
sistently urged, "Are you going South, or are you going North " And
numbers of our best men grew impatient at what they called the "timid
policy " of the more cautious, and insisted upon declaring openly for
the Union and "coercion." Mr. Speed, in the frequent discussions
growing out of this condition of things, displayed his high qualities
of courage, prudence, and a matchless self-control. He was for the
Union under all circumstances, without condition-btit he recognized
the force and power of our geographical and social connection with
the South, and of the prejudices as well which grew out of it. His
aim was to hold Kentucky until the sober thought of her people
should bring them to see clearly and unmistakably the real designs of
the secessionists-the real issue which they presented-when he felt
doubly sure that they would never abandon the Union and the old
flag. To this end he worked intelligently, earnestly, and persistently,
and his influence was felt all over the State.
   The election in Augustr i86x, resulted in the return of an over-
whelming majority of Union men to the General Assembly. That body
met early in September of the same year, and shortly after its meeting
passed resolutions taking a firm stand for the Union, directing the
raising of troops for the Federal service, and for borrowing money
from the banks of the State for subsistence, equipment, etc. A com-
mittee of the General Assembly was sent to Louisville to negotiate
with the banks of that city. The sums asked for seemed large as
things then looked (yet it would hardly be considered a sufficient
guarantee for' a season of opera now). There was a hesitancy on the
part of one or two of the banks, notably one of them, and Mr. Speed's
services were again called into requisition. His interview with the
hesitating officials was brief, but it was pointed and earnest. It was
   In the organization of our Kentucky volunteer soldiers, and in the
general conduct of our State affairs, particularly during 1861-2, there
were questions of interest and difficulty very frequently arising between
the General Government and that of the State, and between the Na-
tional and State military officials. There were wants to be supplied,
arms for recruits, munitions of war, etc., for our volunteers; and besides
"the want of confidence in the loyalty of the Border States" which
manifested itself almost daily among some of the Federal officials at
Washington, there was real difficulty in procuring the much-needed
arms and supplies, etc., because it often happened the Government did
not have them, and could not get them. In all these and kindred


                     Yoshua Fry Speed.                     1 I

difficulties and troubles, the State Military Board and officials
had recourse to Mr. Speed. He was at all times prompt to respond to
any call upon him, and ready to go to Washington when his services
were deemed of value or importance to the State. His influence with
Mr. Lincoln was potent. He knew that Mr. Lincoln loved Kentucky,
and had confidence in the truth and loyalty of her people who had de-
clared for the Union. His mission was uniformly successful. All these
things he did so quietly and so modestly I that one scarce knew it was
doing until it was done."
  His position was peculiar: without at any time an office, civil or
military, he was the trusted confidant, adviser and counselor of both
the civil and military authorities of the State and Nation all through
the rebellion. He was a man of few words, often painfully reticent,
never in a hurry, never disconcerted; he seemed intuitively to know
the right thing to do, and the right time to do it. His compensation
was found alone in the consciousness of duty performed. He uniformly
declined to receive pay for any time or effort he was asked to give to
the cause of his country.
  In my judgment, no citizen of the Commonwealth rendered larger
or more important and effective service to the Union cause in Ken-
tucky, during all the dark days of the rebellion, than did that noble
gentleman and patriotic citizen, JOSHUA F. SPEED.

  From the close of the war until his failing health
which preceded his death, he devoted himself to his bus-
iness. He also engaged in many enterprises affecting
the progress and welfare of the city. He was a project-
or of the "Short Line" Railroad, and director in the
company, Director in the Louisville & Bardstown Turn-
pike Company, the Louisville Cement Company, Sav-
ings Bank of Louisville, Talmage Ice Company, Lou-
isville Hotel Company. During this period of his life
he was one of the most conspicuous business men in
  In i867 he purchased a beautiful tract of land, near
the old Farmington homestead, lying on the waters of

7oshuaz Fry Speed.

Beargrass Creek, about two and a half miles from the
city. There he built a residence, and beautified the
place with landscape gardening. He planted almost every
species of tree that grows in this latitude, flowering plants
and shrubbery, and built extensive conservatories. There
he and his devoted wife lived over again, amid the fra-
grance and beauty of flowers, the earlier years of their
married life.
  In i874 they visited California. One of his lectures
is an account of this trip.
  His devotion to his wife was complete. When absent
from her his letters were full of the tenderest sentiment.
Many beautiful extracts might be published, but two will
   I wrote to you yesterday, and to-day, having some leisure, I will
write again upon the principle, I suppose. that where your treasure is
there will your heart go. My earthly treasure is in you; not like the
treasures only valuable in possession; not like other valuables acquir-
ing increased value from increased quantity; but, satisfied with each
other, we will go down the hill of life together, as we have risen.
  The following is an extract from a letter written from
home to his wife at Chautauqua:
  Last evening, as I sat upon the porch watching the sun set, as we
usually do, I thought of you and wished for you. Old Sol sank to
rest in the arms of night so grandly, giving some new beauty with
each expiring ray.
  It seemed as though the clouds had more beautiful phantasms of
every shape and form, like bridesmaids and bridegrooms, waiting in
graceful attendance upon the wedding of -day and night, than I ever
saw before. Night, like the blushing bride, was coy and shy, and gave
evidence of her modesty in her blushing cheeks, while day, like.a
gallant knight, who had won his spurs upon the bloody battle-field in
the heady current of the fight, had done his duty, laid aside his hel-
met and his spear, and approached his bride in the rich and beautiful

I 2

-7oshua Fry Speed.

garb of a lover. The wedding over, the stars came out, like guests in-
vited to the feast, and, I suppose, kept up the carousal till dawn of
day. I retired, and give no further report.
  For his brothers and sisters he had the warmest affec-
tion, and felt bound to them by the strongest ties of
fraternal regard and confidence. This was manifested
in many ways and to the close of his life.
  One of his notable characteristics was his abstracted-
ness. He was a constant worker and thinker. The de-
mands of business pressed constantly upon his mind; this
often caused him to fail to recognize persons he met.
On one occasion his wife, seeing him upon the street,
caused her carriage to drive to the side-walk and she
called to him. He turned and, seeing a lady in a carriage,
approached, unconscious who it was. Seeing this she
exclaimed, " Why, Joshua, are you crazy !"   He said,
"Why, Fanny, I did n't know you." On account of this
characteristic he was often misjudged, his mental ab-
straction being taken for indifference.
  His life was full of noble, kind, and generous deeds.
He was liberal in his charities, and especially through
his wife relieved the wants of thousands.
  Another characteristic was entire absence of ostenta-
tion. He had no taste for display. No one but the
beneficiary knew of his charity. It may be said with the
strongest emphasis, his left hand knew not what his right
hand did. He was charitable in his judgments. It was
almost an unknown thing for him to condemn others.
  He has no children, but his kindness and gentleness
to children was most striking. Nor did he ever blame

I 3

Yoshua Fry Speed.

others for too great parental fondness or indulgence. To
his numerous nephews and nieces he endeared himself
by his kindness and consideration. Some of them were
almost always inmates of his house, and all regarded him
with great fondness and admiration. Fanny Henning, the
youngest daughter of James Henning, was loved like a
daughter. Her death at his house was a deep affliction.
  He was a believer in the Christian religion. He often
said he believed the Bible, not because he understood
it all, but because he believed it was God's Word; that,
if he could understand it, he would not believe it was
God's Word. Years before his death he often said he
expected to be in the communion of the Church before
he died. And so it was. He united with the Methodist
Episcopal Church.
  The failure of the Savings Bank of Louisville was a
great shock to him. At that time, January, i88i, his
health had begun to fail, but he rallied his strength and
energies to make the best of that unfortunate wreck. His
last efforts in business were in behalf of the assets of that
bank. When he had done all that his efforts could do,
he began to decline under the power of a disease which
had troubled him for years. He gave up business and
sought relief at health resorts.
  He spent the winter of I881-2 at Nassau. Returning,
he died May 29, 1882. He had possession of his men-
tal faculties to the last, and ended a noble and busy life
in peace with all men, and with a good hope of a blessed




  In appearing before you to-night to give some reminis-
cences of the life of my early and much loved friend,
Abraham Lincoln, I approach the subject with diffidence,
and with a full sense that I am all-unequal to the task of
delineating the character of a man whose name now fills
the world, and whose character is studied by think-
ing men in every language, and is revered by all.
  Pardon me, if I devote a few words upon myself and
the State of Illinois, in which I spent my early man-
  The spring of 1835 found me a merchant in the then
village of Springfield, with one thousand two hundred
inhabitants, now a great city of twenty thousand inhabi-
tants. Then the population was sparse, the settlements
being near the timber, and around the prairie, no one
dreaming that those vast prairies would ever be entered,
but that they would be held by the Government, and
used perpetually as grazing fields for their stock. They
had then no roads across them, save those made by the
movers, then coming from the States south and east,
principally Kentucky, Tenessee, Ohio, and New York
These came with long trains of wagons covered with

Abraham Lincoln.

white sheets, filled with women and children, beds, bed-
ding, and light furniture, all bound westward. The
movers were of all grades and classes of society, from
the cultivated ladies and gentlemen with ample means
to the poor man who owns not more than his clothes,
and who chopped wood and did work in the camp and
drove the oxen as compensation for the privilege of mov-
ing with the train. Ntow, as I saw the State a few days
ago, long lines of railroad trains have taken the place of
the wagon trains, the iron rail has taken the place of the
wagon rut, and the steam-engine has usurped the place
of the ox-team.
  Never shall I forget the grand prairie as I first saw it,
in the fall of 1834. Then, covered with grass as high as
our wheat, waving in the breeze and resembling the bil-
lows of the ocean as the shadows of the fleeting clouds
passed over it. Sometimes the prairie was lit up by the
burning grass, and as the flames were seen in the dis-
tance, like a ribbon of fire belting the horizon, it would
almost seem that the distant clouds were on fire. Nowy
you have cultivated fields, large farms with stately
houses, and cities and towns with their numerous fac-
tories and mills, and every kind of modern building. It
is pleasing to see this progress. Then every thing was
plenty and every thing cheap. Now every thing plenty,
but every thing is dear. Springfield, the capital of the
State, is as near to New York now as she was to St.
Louis then.
  In the spring of 1836 I first saw Abraham Lincoln.

Abraham Lincoln.

He had been a laborer, a flatboatman, a deputy survey-
or, and for one term a member of the legislature. I
heard him spoken of by those who knew him as a won-
derful character. They boasted that he could outwrestle
any man in the county, and that he could beat any law-
yer in Springfield speaking.
  In I836 he was a candidate for re-election, and I believe
I heard the first speech he ever made at the county-seat.
  At that time there were but two parties, Whig and
Democrat. Lincoln was a Whig and the leading man
upon the ticket. I was then fresh from Kentucky, and
had heard many of her great orators. It seemed to me
thens as it seems to me now, that I never heard a more
effective speaker. He carried the crowd with him and
swayed them as he pleased. So deep an impression did
he make, that George Forquer, a man of much celebrity
as a sarcastic speaker and great State reputation as an
orator, rose and asked the people to hear him. He com-
menced his speech by saying that this young man would
have to be taken down, and he was sorry that the task
devolved upon him. He made what was called one of
his slasher-gaff speeches, dealing much in ridicule and
sarcasm. Lincoln stood near him with his arms folded,
never interrupting him. When Forquer was done Lin-
coln walked to the- stand, and replied so fully and com-
pletely that his friends bore him from the court-house on
their shoulders.
   So deep an impression did this first speech make
upon me that I remember its conclusion now.


Abraham Lincoln.

  Said he, "The gentleman commenced his speech by
saying that this young man will have to be taken down,
and he was sorry that the task devolved upon him. I
am not so young in years as I am in the tricks and
trades of a politician; but, live long, or die young, I
would rather die now, than, like the gentleman, change
my politics, and simultaneous with the change receive
an office worth 3,000 per year, and then have to erect
a lightning-rod over my house to protect a guilty con-
science from an offended God." To understand the point
of this, Forquer had been a Whig, but changed his poli-
tics, and had been appointed register of the land office,
and over his house was the only lightning-rod in the
town or county. Lincoln had seen it for the first time
on the day before. Not understanding its properties, he
made it a study that night by aid of a book, bought for
the purpose, till he knew all about it.
  The same quality of mind that made him look into
and understand the use and properties of that lightning-
rod made him study and understand all he saw. No
matter how ridiculous his ignorance upon any subject
might make him appear, he was never ashamed to ac-
knowledge it; but he immediately addressed himself to
the task of being ignorant no longer.
  The life of a great and good man is like the current
of a great river. When you see its force and power, you
at once think of its source, and what tributaries go to
make the great river. England is expending vast sums
now to discover the source of the Nile, and our own


Abraham Lincoln.

government at considerable expense sent an expedition
to explore the Amazon and its valleys. So the student of
history, when he hears of a great man who has attracted
attention, desires to know whence he came, what was
his origin, his habits of thought and study, and all
the elements of his character.
  Lincoln studied and appropriated to himself all that
came within his observation. Every thing that he saw,
read, or heard, added to the store of his information-
because he thought upon it. No truth was too small to
escape his observation, and no problem too intricate to
escape a solution, if it was capable of being solved.
Thought, hard, patient, laborious thought, these were the
tributaries that made the bold, strong, irresistible cur-
rent of his life. The great river gets its aliment from
the water-shed that feeds it, and from the tributaries
naturally flowing into it. Lincoln drew his supplies
from the great store-house of nature. Constant thought
enabled him to use all his information at all times and
upon all subjects with force, ease, and grace.
  As far as he knew, and it was only by tradition, his
ancestors came from England with Penn and settled in
Pennsylvania. Thence they drifted down to Virginia;
thence to Kentucky, where Lincoln was born on the
12th of February, 1809, on the banks of Nolin, in what
was then Hardin County, now Larue. Hewent from Ken-
tucky to Indiana, where he lost, as he always called her,
his "angel mother," at ten years of age. From Indiana,
with his father and step-mother, he went to Illinois.


Abraham Lincoln.

  Leaving his father and step-mother in Macon County,
he pushed on to Sangamon County, and stopped at New
Salem, on the Sangamon River, where he became a
boatman and made two trips to New Orleans. While a
flatboatman he studied that subject, as he did every
thing else, and invented a machine for lightening flat-
boats over shoals, a model of which is in the Patent
Office now.
  He resided at New Salem about eight years. The
society was rough, the young men were all wild, and full
of fun and frolic. All the manly sports that pertained
to a frontier life were in vogue there. Running, wrest-
ling, jumping, gander-pulling, and horse-racing. In all
the games and races, in which he was not engaged, he
was always selected as one of the judges. From the
justness of his decisions on all occasions he was called
Honest Abe. As he grew older, and until his death, his
sobriquet was " Honest old Abe."
  In the spring of 1837 he took his license as a law-
yer.  Then began with him the real battle of life.
Leaving the field of his youthful sports, pleasures, and
pains, where he was the leading man, he came to a bar
then considered the best in the State, and perhaps as
good as any in the West. He entered with diffidence
upon his new career, coming in contact with Logan
and Cyrus Walker, older than he and men of renown,
John J. Hardin, E. D. Baker, Douglas, and Browning, all
near his own age. They were all educated men, in the
ordinary acceptation of the word. They had read many


Abraham Lincoln.

books, and studied law, many of them with able lawyers.
He had read but few books, but had studied those.
They were such as he borrowed from his friend, John T.
Stuart, with whom he formed a partnership. He studied
them at his humble home on the banks of the Sanga-
mon, without a preceptor or fellow student. With such
preparation he came to bar. From this time forward he
took a leading position in the State.
  It was in the spring of 1837, and on the very (lay that
he obtained his license, that our intimate acquaintance
began. He had ridden into town on a borrowed horse,
with no earthly property save a pair of saddle-bags con-
taining a few clothes. I was a merchant at Springfield,
and kept a large country store, embracing dry goods,
groceries, hardware, books, medicines, bed-clothes, mat-
tresses, in fact every thing that the country needed. Lin-
coln came into the store with his saddle-bags on his arm.
He said he wanted to buy the furniture for a single bed.
The mattress, blankets, sheets, coverlid, and pillow, ac-
cording to the figures made by me, would cost seventeen
dollars. He said that was perhaps cheap enough; but,
small as the sum was, he was unable to pay it. But if I
would credit him till Christmas, and his experiment as a
lawyer was a success, he would pay then, saying, in the
saddest tone, " If I fail in this, I do not know that I can
ever pay you." As I looked up at him I thought then,