The description of LIFE OF ABRAHAM LINCOLN
The original edition of this book was published about twenty years after Lincoln's death at the close of the Civil War. At that time many of the men who had taken a prominent part in the affairs, military and civil, of that heroic period, many who had known Lincoln and had come in personal contact with him during the war or in his earlier years, were still living. It was a vivid conception of the value of the personal recollections of these men, gathered and recorded before it was too late, that led to the preparation of this book. It was intended to be, and in effect it was, largely an anecdotal Life of Lincoln built of material gathered from men still living who had known him personally. The task was begun none too soon. Of the hundreds who responded to the requests for contributions of their memories of Lincoln there were few whose lives extended very far into the second quarter-century after his death, and few indeed survive after the lapse of nearly fifty years,—though in several instances the author has been so fortunate as to get valuable material directly from persons still living (1913). Of the more than five hundred friends and contemporaries of Lincoln to whom credit for material is given in the original edition, scarcely a dozen are living at the date of this second edition. Therefore, the value of these reminiscences increases with time. They were gathered largely at first hand. They can never be replaced, nor can they ever be very much extended.