John Bigelow

“His Greatness was Peculiar”

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The suave diplomat John Bigelow believed that in ordinary peacetime conditions Lincoln would have been a very ordinary President.In a wild crisis calling for a man deep in moral issues, the nation found Lincoln “even as the son of Kish found a crown while searching for his father’s asses.”his greatness was peculiar. “He was so modest by nature that he was perfectly content to walk behind any man who wished to walk before him.
I do not know that history has made a record of the attainment of any corresponding eminence by any other man who so habitually, so constitutionally, did to others as he would have them do to him. Without any pretensions to religious excellence, from the time he first was brought under the observation of the nation he seemed, like Milton, to have walked ’as ever in his great Taskmaster’s eye.’
St. Paul hardly endured more indignities and buffetings without complaint.

–Abraham Lincoln: The Prairie Years and the War Years By Carl Sandburg   Sandburg-734