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5. His early education was very limited. His whole school-life did not exceed the short space of one year. His education, therefore, was mainly due to his own exertions. There are very few boys in all the country who have not better opportunities for acquiring knowledge than he had. His home contained no "gas-light” nor “midnight oil” to stimulate or aid him in his efforts.
6. The bright blaze of the hickory and the crackling of the elm furnished his
with light and his heart with music, as he pored over his books, and transferred the latent knowledge of their lifeless pages to the living page of his own mind, and there gave it form, and place, and power.
7. He was never satisfied with half-knowing what he undertook to learn. He says, “When an idea was presented to my mind, I would chase it up till I could bound it north, and bound it south, and bound it east, and bound it west; and I was not satisfied till I could put it in language plain enough for any boy I knew to comprehend.” 8. Abraham Lincoln was the
soul of honor from his youth. He would never do a mean thing His parents were too poor to
furnish him many books; but the neighbors, seeing his desire to read, were willing to lend him from their scanty collections.
9. One of these borrowed books, through the carelessness of others, became injured by getting wet. Abraham did not take it home without pointing out the injury; nor dithe try to excuse himself from responsibility by throwing the blame on others.
10. He told the man how sorry he was that the book was injured, and offered to pay for it and keep it. The man was very much pleased with Abraham's frankness; and very soon a bargain was made by which Abraham was to become the owner of the book as soon as it was paid for.
11. Now, how do you suppose he paid for that book? He had no money, as many
little boys have. Did he ask his father for some ? This is what most boys would do. Did he do it? Not he. He said that money given to him would not cost him any thing. He wanted to pay for the book himself.
12. And he did pay for it; but not in money. He paid for it in hard work, in work done during extra hours; and when the man was fully satisfied, Abraham owned the book. It was the first book he ever owned. This was a proud day for him: for he not only owned a book, but he had paid for it himself out of “his own wealth."
13. When he became a man he had the same desire to do right and to be just to all men, and he would never let any advantage to himself prevent his doing unto others as he would that others should do unto him. People learned to trust him; and long before he was made President, he was known, far and near, as “ Honest Abe.”
14. One day a lady called at his office and desired him to prosecute a claim for her ; for Mr. Lincoln was a lawyer. She handed him a bundle of papers to examine, which she thought would establish her claim to a large property, and paid him a retainer of two hundred and fifty dollars.
15. This was a large sum of money, but Mr. Lincoln was a good lawyer, and people were glad to get his services at any price. A few days after, the lady called again. Mr. Lincoln told her that he had read her papers very carefully ; that there was not a “peg" on which to hang her claim, and that he could not advise her to bring an action.
16. This was bad news, indeed, for the lady; but she did not blame Mr. Lincoln. She thanked him for his candor, and rose to leave.
Stop a moment," said Mr. Lincoln; and he got the two hundred and fifty dollars and handed it to her, saying, “Here is the money you left with me.” 17.“
“Mr. Lincoln,” said the lady, "you have earned that money; keep it. I am satisfied.” No, madam, I can't do that,” said Mr. Lincoln, “it would not be right. I have done only my duty in examining your papers and advising you not to bring suit. I can't take money for doing only my duty.”
18. At the time he was first talked of for President, some men, who thought they had a great deal of influence, sent him word that they could secure his nomination, and that they would do so, if he would agree, in case he was elected, to give them office.
19. But he would agree to no such thing. He would rather be simply “Honest Abe,” as he was called, than President Lincoln and a dishonest man, and he sent them back word that he would make no bargains with them, nor be bound by any that others might make.
20. This reply pleased the people very
much, and they resolved to make him President in spite of the politicians; and what the people so bravely resolved to do, they did do in November, 1860.
21. In November, 1864, the people must again elect a President, for in the United States a President is elected every four years. For more than three years there had been a great war in the country. It was a terrible war, and had not yet closed. I hope we shall never see such a war again.
22. Mr. Lincoln had shown so much wisdom and goodness in managing the war and the affairs of the country, that the people learned to love as well as to trust him, and they thought no one else could do as well as he could; so they elected him again.
23. He was very much pleased to know that the people had so much confidence in him, but he said to some men who went to see him, “O, I don't suppose they think me the wisest and best man in the world, but they think it is not best to swap horses while crossing the stream !”
24. There have been Presidents that the people were sometimes ashamed of, but Abraham Lincoln was not one of these ; they were