Lincoln’s Yarns and Stories: Giving Away the Case

Between the first election and inauguration of Mr. Lincoln the disunion sentiment grew rapidly in the South, and President Buchanan’s failure to stop the open acts of secession grieved Mr. Lincoln sorely. Mr. Lincoln had a long talk with his friend, Judge Gillespie, over the state of affairs. One incident of the conversation is thus narrated by the Judge:

“When I retired, it was the master of the house and chosen ruler of the country who saw me to my room. ‘Joe,’ he said, as he was about to leave me, ‘I am reminded and I suppose you will never forget that trial down in Montgomery county, where the lawyer associated with you gave away the whole case in his opening speech. I saw you signaling to him, but you couldn’t stop him.

“‘Now, that’s just the way with me and Buchanan. He is giving away the case, and I have nothing to say, and can’t stop him. Good-night.’”