Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Hudson and Abraham Lincoln

We know that Abraham Lincoln stopped in Hudson on his inaugural journey from Springfield to Washington in February 1861, and we know that Lincoln's funeral train stopped in Hudson on its journey from Washington to Springfield in April 1865. What Gossips didn't know until a couple of days ago is that someone from Hudson visited Lincoln in his home in Springfield in the fall of 1860, exactly one month before Lincoln was elected President. 

The visitor was Dr. John C. Dubois, who at the time of the visit was 28 years old. Dubois' recollection of his visit with Lincoln appeared in The Columbia Republican on February 12, 1909, in an edition of the newspaper celebrating the 100th anniversary of Lincoln's birth. The account appeared again on May 2, 1913, accompanying the announcement of Dubois' death.

To the Editor of the Republican:--In compliance with your request, I have written out my interview with Mr. Lincoln from memory with the assistance of my journal.  
In August, 1860, I returned home after an absence in Europe of two and a half years. On September 14, I started West to see something of my own country. On Oct. 3d, at Chicago, I heard Gov. Seward speak; on October 4, Douglas. Mr. Douglas's voice was almost gone from much speaking and each orator was at the head of his respective procession--"Wide Awakes" and "Little Giants."
On Oct. 6th, I went via the Chicago, Alton and St. Louis railroad to Springfield, Ill., and in the evening called on Mr. Lincoln. His was a plain two-story brown house on the corner of two streets. Mr. Lincoln let me in. I handed him my card and was ushered into the parlor. He was clean-shaven then and better looking than when he wore whiskers. When seated he read my card and asked if I were any relation to Jesse K. DuBois, State Auditor of Illinois. In 1872 the two sons of Jesse K. DuBois graduated at Yale and the elder, Frederick T. DuBois, has been twice elected United States Senator from Idaho. I told Mr. Lincoln I thought I was not related and he replied: "You needn't be ashamed of it if you are; he's a mighty nice man."
As the State elections in Pennsylvania, Ohio and Indiana had each resulted in a Republican victory, Mr. Lincoln's election to the Presidency was assured. He began to talk politics and I had to acknowledge that I had known little of such matters during the last two and a half years. The Lincoln-Douglas debates, the Cooper Union speech at New York and the Republican nominating convention at Chicago were all dim in my mind because of my long absence abroad, although the John Brown raid in 1859 had split our student band at Paris into Northerners and Southerners.
Mr. Lincoln gave me a clear and rapid history of these events and then asked:
"What have you been doing all this time?"
I replied: "Studying medicine in Paris, and traveling."
"Then you were in Europe during the Franco-Italian war?" said he.
"Yes," I said. "I visited the battlefields of Magenta and Solferino."
After asking many questions he gave me a condensed sketch of that war, its causes, its sudden close and, in short, a sort of a lecture on the subject including his opinion of Napoleon. I was astonished. That homely prairie lawyer had a fuller, clearer understanding than I had, who had read French papers daily for two years! Then I began to appreciate Abraham Lincoln.
I bade him good-bye; he accompanied me to the door with a hearty shake of the hand and my hour with Lincoln was over.
J. C. DuBOIS     
Lincoln's "plain two-story brown house"
Gratitude to DC for turning me on to this story and to LF for guiding me to The Columbia Republican in which DuBois' recollections appeared

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