Learning Lincoln On-line

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CONTENTS SET THREE:

Topic Sixty-two:  Readings to Learn about Abraham Lincoln while in Springfield (HOME PAGE) On-Line Hunt-a-Puzzle

READING #10

MEETINGS WITH ABOLITIONISTS IN THE WHITEHOUSE:  A NARRATION OF WHEN PRESIDENT LINCOLN WOULD MEET THE FAMOUS ABOLITIONIST FREDERICK DOUGLASS:

Many colored people in Washington, and large numbers had desired to attend the levee, but orders were issued not to admit them. A gentleman, a member of Congress, on his way to the White House, recognized Mr. Frederick Douglas, the eloquent colored orator, on the outskirts of the crowd.

'How do you do, Mr. Douglas? A fearful jam to-night. You are going in, of course?'

'No -- that is, no to your last question.'

'Not going in to shake the President by the hand! Why, pray?'

'The best reason in the world. Strict orders have been issued not to admit people of color.'

'It is a shame, Mr. Douglas, that you should thus be placed under ban. Never mind; wait here, and I will see what can be done.'

The gentleman entered the White House, and working his way by the President, asked permission to introduce Mr. Douglas to him.

'Certainly,' said Mr. Lincoln. 'Bring Mr. Douglas in, by all means. I shall be glad to meet him.'

The gentleman returned, and soon Mr. Douglas stood face to face with the President. Mr. Lincoln pressed his hand warmly, saying: 'Mr. Douglas, I am glad to meet you. I have long admired your course, and I value your opinions highly.'

Mr. Douglas was very proud of the manner in which Mr. Lincoln received him. On leaving the White House he came to a friend's house where a reception was being held, and he related the incident with great pleasure to myself and others.

On the Monday following the reception at the White House, everybody was busy preparing for the grand ball to come off that night. I was in Mrs. Lincoln's room the greater portion of the day. While dressing her that night, the President came in, and I remarked to him how much Mr. Douglas had been pleased on the night he was presented to Mr. Lincoln. Mrs. L. at once turned to her husband with the inquiry, 'Father, why was not Mr. Douglas introduced to me?'

'I do not know. I thought he was presented.'

'But he was not.'

'It must have been an oversight then, mother; I am sorry you did not meet him.'

I finished dressing her for the ball, and accompanied her to the door. She was dressed magnificently, and entered the ballroom leaning on the arm of Senator Sumner, a gentleman that she very much admired. Mr. Lincoln walked into the ballroom accompanied by two gentlemen. This ball closed the season. It was the last time that the President and his wife ever appeared in public.'

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