With these principles and aims, Mr. Lincoln grappled with slaverythe real cause of the Rebellionand, finally, enlisted nearly two hundred thousand negroes as soldiers in the Union army, and gave liberty to every slave in the land.
Sojourner Truth was introduced to Mr. Lincoln as having come all the way from Michigan to see you.
I am very much pleased to see you, responded Mr. Lincoln, rising from his seat, and shaking the old ladys hand cordially. Take a seat.
Mr. President, replied Sojourner, when you first took your seat I feared you would be torn to pieces, for I likened you unto Daniel, who was thrown into the lions den; and if the lions did not tear you in pieces, I knew that it would be God that had saved you; and I said if He spared me I would see you before the four years expired, and He has done so, and now I am here to see you for myself.
I am truly glad that you have been spared to see this day, answered Mr. Lincoln.
I appreciate you, for you are the best President who has ever taken his seat, added the old lady.
I suppose you refer to the emancipation of your race, responded the President.
For half-an-hour the conversation continued with as much cordiality and politeness on the part of the President as he would have shown to the most refined white woman in Washington.
At one time he learned that Frederick Douglas, the distinguished ex-slave, was in Washington; and he sent his carriage to his boarding-place, with the message: Come up and take tea with me.
Mr. Douglas accepted the invitation; and, for the first time in the history of our country, a coloured man became an invited guest in the Executive Mansion. Mr. Douglas said of that interview, subsequently:
Mr. Lincoln is one of the few white men I ever passed an hour with, who failed to remind me in some way, before the interview terminated, that I am a negro.
The children of Concord, Mass., sent a memorial to him, praying for the freedom of all slave children. He replied to it as follows:
Tell those little people I am very glad their young hearts are so full of just and generous sympathy, and that while I have not the power to grant all they ask, I trust they will remember that God has; and that, as it seems, He wills to do it.
A citizen of Washington entered the Presidents office one day, and found him counting greenbacks.
This is something out of my usual line, Mr. Lincoln remarked; but a President of the United States has a multitude of duties not specified in the Constitution or acts of Congress.
The gentleman responded courteously, hinting that he would like to know what special duty was connected with that pile of greenbacks.
This money belongs to a poor negro, who is a porter in the Treasury Department, at present very sick with the small-pox. He is now in the Hospital, and could not draw his pay because he could not sign his name. I have been to considerable trouble in overcoming the difficulty, and getting it for him, and cutting red tape, as you newspaper men say. I am now dividing the money, and putting by a portion, labelled, in an envelope, with my own hands, according to his wish. Thus the kind-hearted man had turned aside from grave official duties to assist and comfort one of the humblest of Gods creatures in his sufferings and sorrow.
A delegation of coloured men from Louisiana waited upon the President to ask for some additional rights.