Mathematical Circles Squared: A Third Collection of Mathematical Stories and Anecdotes

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Charmed with his sagacity, he stood one day leaning against the fence, counting his hogs, when a neighbor came along. Case, this is all very fine.

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Your hogs are doing very well just now, but you know out here in Illinois the frost comes early, and the ground freezes for a foot deep. Then what you going to do? Case had not taken into account. At the hour appointed, the Judge came up, leading the sorriest-looking specimen of a horse ever seen in those parts. In a few minutes Mr. Lincoln was seen approaching with a wooden saw-horse upon his shoulders. The President had made arrangements to visit New York, and was told that President Garrett, of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, would be glad to furnish a special train.

Lincoln spend there. Here he would read over the telegrams received for the several heads of departments. Three copies of all messages received were made—one for the President, one for the War Department records and one for Secretary Stanton. Chandler told a story as to the manner in which the President read the despatches:. His position in running over these telegrams was sometimes very curious. I remember a curious expression of his when he got to the bottom of the new telegrams and began on those that he had read before.

One day she ate a good many more raisins than she ought to, and followed them up with a quantity of other goodies. They made her very sick. After a time the raisins began to come. He performed the feat at the November election. Douglas, of Illinois, as their candidate, the Southern wing naming John C. Breckinridge, of Kentucky; the Constitutional Unionists the old American of Know-Nothing party placed John Bell, of Tennessee, in the field, and against these was put Abraham Lincoln, who received the support of the Abolitionists.

Lincoln made short work of his antagonists when the election came around. He received a large majority in the Electoral College, while nearly every Northern State voted majorities for him at the polls. Douglas had but twelve votes in the Electoral College, while Bell had thirty-nine. The votes of the Southern States, then preparing to secede, were, for the most part, thrown for Breckinridge.

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The popular vote was: Lincoln, 1,,; Douglas, 1,,; Breckinridge, ,; Bell, ,; total vote, 4,, Judge H. Beckwith of Danville, Ill. The lobby was crowded with partisan leaders from various sections of the state, and Mr. Lincoln, from his greater height, was seen above the surging mass that clung about him like a swarm of bees to their ruler.

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The day was warm, and at the first chance he broke away and came out for a little fresh air, wiping the sweat from his face. From the shadow that went quickly over his face, the pained look that came to give way quickly to a blaze of eyes and quiver of lips, I felt that Mr. Lincoln had gone beneath my mere words and caught my inner and current fears as to the result. He jumps high in the air, cracking his heels together, smites his fists, and wastes his wreath trying to scare somebody.

His arms are at his sides, his fists are closely doubled up, his head is drawn to the shoulder, and his teeth are set firm together. He is saving his wind for the fight, and as sure as it comes off he will win it, or die a-trying. Where men bred in courts, accustomed to the world, or versed in diplomacy, would use some subterfuge, or would make a polite speech, or give a shrug of the shoulders, as the means of getting out of an embarrassing position, Lincoln raised a laugh by some bold west-country anecdote, and moved off in the cloud of merriment produced by the joke.

Besides that, I must tell you, he did me a good turn long ago. When I took to the law, I was going to court one morning, with some ten or twelve miles of bad road before me, and I had no horse. Come in and I will give you a seat! Presently the carriage struck a stump on one side of the road, then it hopped off to the other. I looked out, and I saw the driver was jerking from side to side in his seat, so I says:. While the company were laughing, the President beat a quiet retreat from the neighborhood. After the War was well on, and several battles had been fought, a lady from Alexandria asked the President for an order to release a certain church which had been taken for a Federal hospital.

The President said he could do nothing, as the post surgeon at Alexandria was immovable, and then asked the lady why she did not donate money to build a hospital. So, madam, you will excuse me. I can do nothing for you. Afterward, in speaking of this incident, President Lincoln said that the lady, as a representative of her class in Alexandria, reminded him of the story of the young man who had an aged father and mother owning considerable property. The young man being an only son, and believing that the old people had outlived their usefulness, assassinated them both. He was accused, tried and convicted of the murder.

When the judge came to pass sentence upon him, and called upon him to give any reason he might have why the sentence of death should not be passed upon him, he with great promptness replied that he hoped the court would be lenient upon him because he was a poor orphan!

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It is true that Lincoln did not drink, never swore, was a stranger to smoking and lived a moral life generally, but he did like horse-racing and chicken fighting. As the result of these contests was generally a quarrel, in which each man, charging foul play, seized his victim, they chose Lincoln umpire, relying not only on his fairness but his ability to enforce his decisions. But no sooner had the little beauty discovered what was to be done than he dropped his tail and ran. Once arrived at the latter place he threw his pet down with a feeling of indignation and chagrin.

When Lincoln was a candidate of the Know Nothings for the State Legislature, the party was over-confident, and the Democrats pursued a still-hunt. Lincoln was defeated. Beckwith, of Danville, Ill. The latter, in defending himself, gave the other much the worst of the encounter. The aggressor, to get even, had the one who thrashed him tried in our Circuit Court on a charge of an assault and battery.


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In parrying off the brute with the fork, its prongs stuck into the brute and killed him. Lincoln whirled about in his long arms an imaginary dog, and pushed its tail end toward the jury. The President had decided to select a new War Minister, and the Leading Republican Senators thought the occasion was opportune to change the whole seven Cabinet ministers. They, therefore, earnestly advised him to make a clean sweep, and select seven new men, and so restore the waning confidence of the country. The President listened with patient courtesy, and when the Senators had concluded, he said, with a characteristic gleam of humor in his eye:.

His wife insisted on his trying to get rid of them. After some time the wife heard the shotgun go off, and in a few minutes the farmer entered the house. I took aim, blazed away, killed one, and he raised such a fearful smell that I concluded it was best to let the other six go. The following story was told by Mr. Lincoln to Mr. Conant, the artist, who painted his portrait in Springfield in He asked me if I would buy an old barrel for which he had no room in his wagon, and which he said contained nothing of special value.

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I did not want it, but to oblige him I bought it, and paid him, I think, half a dollar for it. Without further examination, I put it away in the store and forgot all about it. I began to read those famous works, and I had plenty of time; for during the long summer days, when the farmers were busy with their crops, my customers were few and far between. Never in my whole life was my mind so thoroughly absorbed. I read until I devoured them. The Southern states had seceded from the Union, the Confederacy was established, with Jefferson Davis as its President, the Union had been split in two, and the task Lincoln had before him was to glue the two parts of the Republic together.

Lincoln went to work to glue the two pieces together, and after four years of bloody war, and at immense cost, the job was finished; the house of the Great American Republic was no longer divided; the severed sections—the North and the South—were cemented tightly; the slaves were freed, peace was firmly established, and the Union of states was glued together so well that the nation is stronger now than ever before.

Lincoln was just the man for that job, and the work he did will last for all time. At the very moment of its completion, five days after the surrender of Lee to Grant at Appomattox, the Martyr President fell at the hands of the assassin, J. Wilkes Booth.

Phillips made several warm speeches against Lincoln and his policy. I have seen enough to satisfy me that I am a failure, not only in the opinion of the people in rebellion, but of many distinguished politicians of my own party. But time will show whether I am right or they are right, and I am content to abide its decision. The position is not an easy one; and the occupant, whoever he may be, for the next four years, will have little leisure to pluck a thorn or plant a rose in his own pathway. It was urged that this opposition must be embarrassing to his Administration, as well as damaging to the party.

I am not capable of doing so. I cannot please them without wantonly violating not only my oath, but the most vital principles upon which our government was founded.

I accord them the utmost freedom of speech and liberty of the press, but shall not change the policy I have adopted in the full belief that I am right. The caller talked fluently, but at no time did he give advice or suggest a way to put down the Confederacy. He was full of humor, told a clever story or two, and was entirely self-possessed.

Grasping him by the hand Lincoln shook it until the visitor squirmed. I am glad to see you. I was afraid you were a preacher. I have watched you narrowly ever since your inauguration, and I called merely to pay my respects. What I want to say is this: I think you are doing everything for the good of the country that is in the power of man to do.

You are on the right track. As one of your constituents I now say to you, do in future as you d—— please, and I will support you! Accurate and penetrating as Mr.