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Herndon's Lincoln

The True Story of a Great Life

Herndon's Lincoln by William H. Herndon
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"My long personal association with Mr. Lincoln gave me special facilities in the direction of obtaining materials for these volumes. Such were our relations during all that portion of his life when he was rising to distinction, that I had only to exercise a moderate vigilance in order to gather and preserve the real data of his personal career. Being strongly drawn to the man, and believing in his destiny, I was not unobservant or careless in this respect. It thus happened that I became the personal depository of the larger part of the most valuable Lincolniana in existence. Out of this store the major portion of the materials of the following volumes has been drawn.

In determining Lincoln’s title to greatness we must not only keep in mind the times in which he lived, but we must, to a certain extent, measure him with other men. Many of our great men and our statesmen, it is true, have been self-made, rising gradually through struggles to the topmost round of the ladder; but Lincoln rose from a lower depth than most of them – from a stagnant, putrid pool, like the gas which, set on fire by its own energy and self-combustible nature, rises in jets, blazing, clear and bright. I should be remiss in my duty if did not throw the light on this part of the picture, so that the world may realize what marvelous contrast one phase of his life presents to another.

The object of this work is to deal with Mr. Lincoln individually and domestically; as lawyer, as citizen, as statesman. Special attention is given to the history of his youth and early manhood, and while dwelling on this portion of his life the liberty is taken to insert many things that would be omitted or suppressed in other places. The endeavor is to keep Lincoln in sight all the time, to cling close to his side all the way through – leaving to others the more comprehensive task of writing a history of his times. I have no theory of his life to establish or destroy. Mr. Lincoln was my warm devoted friend."

Digital Scanning, Inc.; January 2000
651 pages; ISBN 9781582181097
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Title: Herndon's Lincoln
Author: William H. Herndon