By Benjamin P. Thomas

May 19, 1860,By Benjamin P. Thomas

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    The day after the adjournment of the Chicago convention a group of distinguished Republican politicians got off the train at Springfield to notify Lincoln officially of his nomination. He received them in the modest parlor of his home. Only a few of them had ever seen him; several were bitterly disappointed by his victory, and some had misgivings about his ability to fulfill the duties of the nation’s highest office. All of them scrutinized Lincoln closely as George Ashmun of Massachusetts, their chairman, presenting him with a letter of notification and a copy of the platform, made a short congratulatory speech.

    Standing quietly before them in his ill-fitting clothes, head sunk, shoulders drooping, his huge hands clasped in front of him, and a sad, impenetrable expression on his scraggy face, Lincoln seemed embarrassed and irresolute. Ashmun finished, and the bent head lifted. The drooping body straightened to its full height. The dull eyes lighted with an intelligence that animated the whole countenance. The irresolute figure took on a calm, sure dignity.
    Lincoln’s words were brief-thanks for the honor done him, a recognition of the responsibility of his position, a promise to respond formally in writing when he had studied the platform. He wished to take each visitor by the hand, he said, and with that he passed from man to man, greeting each one cordially, talking easily and sometimes humorously. Governor Edwin D.Morgan of New York was somewhat startled when Lincoln, appraising his lofty stature, asked how tall he was. Refreshments were served, and the committee left. “Why, sir, they told me he was a rough diamond,” said George Boutwell, Governor of Massachusetts, to one of Lincoln’s townsmen at a reception for the committee at the Chenery House. “Nothing could have been in better taste than that speech.” And Judge W.D. Kelley, of Pennsylvania, turning to Carl Schurz as the committeemen walked down Eighth Street, observed:”Well, we might have done a more brilliant thing, but we could certainly not have done a better thing.”

–Abraham Lincoln: A Biography By Benjamin P. Thomas, Michael Burlingame   Thomas-214-206-2