Lincoln’s Yarns and Stories: Douglas Held Lincoln’s Hat

When Mr. Lincoln delivered his first inaugural he was introduced by his friend, United States Senator E. D. Baker, of Oregon. He carried a cane and a little roll—the manuscript of his inaugural address. There was moment’s pause after the introduction, as he vainly looked for a spot where he might place his high silk hat.

Stephen A. Douglas, the political antagonist of his whole public life, the man who had pressed him hardest in the campaign of 1860, was seated just behind him. Douglas stepped forward quickly, and took the hat which Mr. Lincoln held helplessly in his hand.

“If I can’t be President,” Douglas whispered smilingly to Mrs. Brown, a cousin of Mrs. Lincoln and a member of the President’s party, “I at least can hold his hat.”