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were folios of maps against the walls; volumes of military history came and went from the libraries and lay about on the President's table. Lincoln arose early and always breakfasted simply; he was often at work before the humblest clerk of the government had eaten his breakfast. "He knew," says Stoddard, "every river, mountain range, creek, hill, valley, on the broad acres through which the tides of war were to flow. He was better than ever acquainted with the local populations, their industries, tendencies, origins, wealths or poverties. No man living was endowed with better capacity to digest, assimilate and use all this knowledge. What it was to the country that Lincoln so studied and informed himself cannot be told. He once wrote to General McClellan about some point on which McClellan disputed him—as he was very apt to do-"I ordered" (such a thing) "on the unanimous opinion of every military man I could get an opinion from, and every modern military book,-yourself only excepted." What study that meant!
Then, in winning the great battle for the Union against disunion, Mr. Lincoln had to unite all the forces of the North, and some of these were not friendly to him and were difficult to manage. In all these matters he had to use the services of those skilful generals of dis
cretion, carefulness, faithfulness, wisdom, unselfishness, industry, ability that dwelt in his own head and heart. A busy time of it had the President bending day and night over his work and trying to turn all forces at his command into the service of his country.
In the November of 1861, Captain Wilkes of our navy captured two Southerners, Messrs. Mason and Slidell, who had run the blockade and were going abroad to try to get England and France to recognize the Southern Confederacy. They had run across to Havana and there taken passage in a British mail steamer
-the "Trent." It was from this ship that Captain Wilkes took them. There was great ado. The South rejoiced, because she believed that the English were so angry to have passengers taken from one of their ships that they would go to war. It was perhaps right that the men should not be detained; but the manner in which they were demanded by the British minister proved to the Americans how much the English people were in favor of the South and hoped for their success, and how rude they could be to the government when they thought it had on its hands a war in which perhaps it could not conquer.
But this was a time when President Lincoln took counsel of his wise General Discretion,
decided that he would not have a war with England on our hands at the same time with the war with the Southern confederacy, or at all, if he could help it, and gave up Messrs. Mason and Slidell. They could not do any real harm, after all. For England and France did not recognize the confederacy then, or ever; and after the Union cause had won, of course they said that they had never thought of doing it.
PEOPLE WHO TRIED TO Advise.
Stoddard says that a President's mail is always large; but that Mr. Lincoln's grew so heavy that it was impossible that he should examine it himself. "Counting packages of documents as one 'letter,' the number of letters of all kinds," he says, "varied from two hundred to two hundred and fifty a day." These treated of all imaginable subjects. Some one tells a story of one of Mr. Lincoln's private secretaries who sat opening and throwing letters into the waste basket by dozens and scores. A gentleman who sat watching him grew very angry and asked him how he dared to destroy what the President himself should have an opportunity to read?
"Look at those letters yourself," answered the secretary.
And when the gentleman did so, his wrath turned against the writers. For the letters
were full of anger, insult, abuse and all evil and hateful words heaped upon the sad and burdened President.
Such fault-finding and abuse as this never reached Mr. Lincoln. But there was much advice, some mixed with much criticism and fault-finding which he did receive. Some of this he paid no attention to in words, although, no doubt, it hurt him. And other advice came to him in such ways that he must notice if he did not follow it. For Mr. Lincoln had a mind of his own and followed that; and it brought him out right, while other people's advice would very possibly have landed the country in destruction. It seems so strange to have persons who are not in a thing at all think they know so much more about it than those who are in the midst of affairs and have every means of knowing the truth, and of knowing the way out, when there is a way out of difficulties.
It happened that those who ought to have known Lincoln better sometimes tried to guide him as they should not have done. When he first became President, Mr. Seward who was his secretary of state and a great scholar, remembered that Mr. Lincoln had not been educated like himself and thought that the President would not know at all what to say or do in regard to managing the representatives of Eng