February 23, 1861: Richmond Dispatch just doesn’t “get” Lincoln

As we’ve seen, The Richmond Daily Dispatch’s editor doesn’t think Lincoln is dignified enough. On Feb. 23, the Dispatch published what would now be considered a teaser for The Wit and Wisdom of Abraham Lincoln — but to the editors, it was a disgrace that the President-elect should behave so informally.

The Humors of the Presidential Progress — Dignity at a Discount.
We take the following extracts, relating to Mr. Lincoln’s “sayings and doings,”

from a leading Republican journal of New York:
“I have been told I look like you,” remarked a tall, weasel-faced individual, the color of the mud on his boots indicating New Jersey as his residence.
“You do look like me, that’s certain,” responded Mr. Lincoln; “the fact is settled that you are a handsome man.”

“How is your wife and family?” very seriously asked a rural resident.
“Able to be about,” replied Mr. Lincoln, very soberly; and then turning to the Mayor, finished the remark by saying, “that fellow is from the country, and meant to be polite.”

“This is my husband,” said a lady to Mr. Lincoln; “you must shake hands with him, for he is a member of the Illinois Legislature.”
“He might come from a worse State,” replied Mr. Lincoln, taking the Illinois legislator by the hand, “but he could not have a better half.”

“Here is a man,” said the Mayor, as a Mr. Cohen, from South Carolina advanced, “who is rather out of your bailiwick.”
“Here is my hand,” Mr. Lincoln remarked, “we will shake hands for the Union.”

“You must let me shake hands with you, because I am as tall as you are,” said a tall, gentlemanly-looking man.
“I don’t know about your being as tall,” replied Mr. Lincoln, “let us measure.”
Mr. Lincoln wheeled his back about, and the two stood back to back.
“You are an inch the tallest,” exclaimed the Mayor.
“I thought so,” responded Mr. Lincoln; “I’m hard to beat.”

“God bless you,” said a gentleman of melodramatic look and dress, “the flag of the country is looking at you.”
“Hope it won’t lose any of its eyes,” rejoined Mr. Lincoln. [Laughter.]

“Here is a tall fellow, I guess, will take me down,” said the Mayor to Mr. Lincoln, as a very tall man advanced.
“Stranger, what is your height?” asked Mr. Lincoln.
“Six feet six.”
“Here is my hand, I am six feet four.”–[Great laughter.]

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