Thursday, February 12

Happy Birthday

LINCOLN'S morning mail once included a letter from a woman seeking his autograph, and asking him to include "a sentiment" along with it.

"Dear Madam," he responded, "When you ask from a stranger that which is of interest only to yourself, always enclose a stamp. There's your sentiment, and here's your autograph. A. Lincoln."


heydave said...

I like the guy even more now.

Kordo said...

Since we're remembering the man on his birthday, an oldie, but a goodie->

"That a steady purpose and a definite aim have been given to the jarring forces which, at the beginning of the war, spent themselves in the discussion of schemes which could only become operative, if at all, after the war was over; that a popular excitement has been slowly intensified into an earnest national will; that a somewhat impracticable moral sentiment has been made the unconscious instrument of a practical moral end; that the treason of covert enemies, the jealousy of rivals, the unwise zeal of friends, have been made not only useless for mischief, but even useful for good;...- all these results, any one of which might suffice to prove greatness in a ruler, have been mainly due to the good sense, the good humor, the sagacity, the large-mindedness, and the unselfish honesty of the unknown man whom a blind fortune, as it seemed had lifted from the crowd to the most dangerous and difficult eminence of modern times. It is by the presence of mind in untried emergencies that the native metal of a man is tested; it is by the sagacity to see, and the fearless honesty to admit, whatever of truth there may be in an adverse opinion, in order more convincingly to expose the fallacy that lurks behind it, that a reasoner at length gains for his mere statement of fact the force of argument; it is by a wise forecast which allows hostile combinations to go so far as by the inevitable reaction to become elements of his own power, that a politician proves his genius for statecraft; and especially it is by so gently guiding public sentiment that he seems to follow it, by so yeilding doubtful points that he can be firm without seeming obstinate in essential ones, and thus gain the advantages of compromise without the weakness of concession; by so instinctively comprhending the temper and prejudices of a people as to make them gradually conscious of the superior wisdom of his freedom from temper and prejudice,-it is by qualities such as these that a magistrate shows himself worty to be chief in a commonwealth of free men."

James Russell Lowell, "Abraham Lincoln"

Happy Birthday, Mr. Lincoln!

map106 said...

Ah, that madcap Abe.

Hattie said...

Guess he showed her!