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precinct, and he came in third on a list of twelve. As he says in his autobiography, “ This
“ was the only time Abraham was ever defeated on a direct vote of the people.” His gift of popularity was proved by the fact that in his own precinct only 13 votes were cast against him, io not voting for representative, and the 12 candidates, out of a total vote of 300, standing thus: Abraham Lincoln, 277; John T. Stuart, 182; William Carpenter, 136; John Dawson, 105; E. D. Taylor, 88; Archer D. Herndon, 84; Peter Cartwright, 62; Achilles Morris, 27; Thomas M. Neal, 21; Edward Robeson, 15; Zachariah Peters, 4; Richard Dunston, 4.
This defeat raised the necessity of work again, and Lincoln, after a little thought of utilizing his physical strength as a blacksmith, and an unsuccessful attempt to secure a clerkship in any of the four New Salem stores, went into business in a more independent position by buying from Rowan Herndon his half interest in the store which he owned with William F. Berry. The terms were liberal, Herndon trusting Lincoln's honesty and taking the notes of the two owners. Almost immediately one of the rival merchants, Reuben Radford, by an attack from Clary's Grove, whose boys were so hostile to him that they took a night to smash his doors and windows and damage his goods, was put into a mood for selling out, which he did to William G. Green for a $400 note. At Green's request Lincoln made an inventory and then offered him $650, and the deal went through, as usual in that vicinity, on credit. Notes bought and assigned also brought about the final move, the absorption of the third and last store by Berry and Lincoln.
The consolidated business did not thrive. Berry drank while Lincoln read and studied. One of his branches was law, an interest which had been dormant since his departure from Indiana. “One day,” related Lincoln after his first nomination, “a man who was migrating to the west drove up in front of my store with a wagon which contained his family and household plunder. He asked me if I would buy an old barrel for which he had no room in his wagon, and which he said contained nothing of special value. I did not want it, but to oblige him I bought it, and paid him, I think, half a dollar for it. Without further examination, I put it away in the store, and forgot all about it. Some time after, in overhauling things, I came upon the barrel, and emptying gan to read those famous works, and I had plenty of time; for during the long summer days, when the farmers were busy with their crops, my customers were few and far between. The more I read, the more intensely interested I became. Never in my whole life was my mind so thoroughly absorbed. I read until I devoured them."
the floor to see what it contained, I found at the bottom of the rubbish a complete edition of Blackstone's Commentaries.' I be
The lack of business prosperity led the partners to take out March 6, 1833, a tavern license, to make it possible, or easier, to retail their liquors. To help perform this labor they hired a clerk, Daniel Green Burner, who has made the following statement about the business :
“The store building of Berry and Lincoln was a frame building, not very large, one story in height, and contained two rooms. In the little back room Lincoln had a fireplace and a bed. There is where we slept. I clerked in the store through the winter of 1833-34, up to the ist of March. While I was there they had nothing for sale but liquors. They may have had some groceries before that, but I am certain they had none then. I used to sell whiskey over their counter at six cents a glass - and charged it too. N. A. Garland started a store, and Lincoln wanted Berry to ask his father for a loan, so they could buy out Garland; but Berry refused, saying this was one of the last things he would think of doing."
This transformation into a liquor business did not work either, and Lincoln was glad enough
to be appointed postmaster at New Salem, on May 7 of this year 1833, by a Democratic administration, the office being too insignificant to make politics an objection, in Lincoln's own explanation. The mail arrived on horseback once a week, and the new postmaster carried it in his hat until he met the recipients or was able to call at their dwellings. The newspapers he was permitted to open and read as soon as they arrived. All this was pleasant, but not immediately very lucrative, so the postmaster and storekeeper indulged in odd jobs. He split rails and helped at the mill. As Rowan Herndon, with whom he had been living, removed to the country, Lincoln took up at the tavern kept by James Rutledge, who had a daughter named Ann. It was a small log house, covered with clapboards, containing four rooms. He stuck to Blackstone and got hold of Chitty and other law books. He was no observer of times or places. One day an old man, who had given him some of his irregular jobs, saw him on the woodpile, barefoot, in his flax or tow-linen pantaloons, several inches short, probably one suspender, no vest or coat, calico shirt, coarse tan-color brogans, blue yarn socks, and straw hat without a band, his big, rough, gentle face perusing a book.
“What are you reading ?” asked the old man. “ I'm not reading, I'm studying,” replied Lincoln.
Studying what?” · Law, sir.” “Great God Almighty!” And the old man passed on.
This ungainly young man, with his careless business habits and lounging ways, who slept on the store counter when the tavern was full, was getting on in real preparation for life. He could soon draw deeds, contracts, and mortgages for his neighbors. He frequently got before a justice of the peace, but charged little and often nothing. At the same time he read natural science, a little history, including some Gibbon, and apparently liked to skim Mrs. Lee Hentz's novels, which were popular then, and which he could borrow, though he said later he seldom or never read a work of fiction through. Indeed, reading a thing through was not very frequent with him. Shakespeare and Burns he seems to have early become familiar with in parts, but not to any large extent. In the meantime he did not neglect relaxation, but, being of absolutely sober habits, relieved his spirits by free stories, trials of strength, and miscellaneous amusements such as umpiring at chicken fights, an innocent sporting tendency which was later used against him by Stephen A. Douglas. Behind, in his spirit, was