Recollection by Henry Villard, Freeport Debate, August 27,1858

    Source citation
    Henry Villard, Memoirs of Henry Villard Journalist and Financier, 1835-1890 (2 vols; New York: Houghton, Mifflin Co., 1904), 1: 93-94.
    Date Certainty
    Adapted by David Park, Dickinson College
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    The following transcript has been adapted from Memoirs of Henry Villard Journalist and Financier, 1835-1890 (1904).

    I was introduced to Lincoln at Freeport, and met him frequently afterwards in the course of the campaign. I must say frankly that, although I found him most approachable, good-natured, and full of wit and humor, I could not take a real personal liking to the man, owing to an inborn weakness for which he was even then notorious and so remained during his great public career. He was inordinately fond of jokes, anecdotes, and stories. He loved to hear them, and still more to tell them himself out of the inexhaustible supply provided by his good memory and his fertile fancy. There would have been no harm in this but for the fact that, the coarser the joke, the lower the anecdote, and the more risky the story, the more he enjoyed them, especially when they were of his own invention. He possessed, moreover, a singular ingenuity in bringing about occasions in conversation for indulgences of this kind. I have to confess, too, that, aside from the prejudice against him which I felt on this account, I believed, with many prominent leaders of the Republican party, that, with regard to separating more effectively the antislavery Northern from the proslavery Southern wing of the Democracy, it would have been better if the reelection of Douglas had not been opposed.

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