Sunday, September 20, 2015

The 180 Pound Gorilla

beardless lanky Ape-raham in Lytle Park, Cincinnati
We have notions that our beloved leaders from the past were always admired. We tend to think that gentleman in ye olde days were more civil and less obnoxious than we are now with all the screaming and yelling on cable news shows. It's kind of always been that way.

In 1855 a young patent lawyer was hired to hear an infringement case in Illinois on a new reaper that was about to revolutionize farming. The trial was moved to Cincinnati so the young lawyer and former Congressman traveled there to meet with the new team. On this day in 1855, he was met by one of the most prominent attorneys of the day named Edwin Stanton. As you may have guessed by now, the visiting lawyer was Abraham Lincoln. He was treated rudely and dismissively by members of his own team. Stanton was unimpressed and regarded Lincoln as an ill-schooled rube and called him a "long-armed ape". He went on to remark that Lincoln was a “long, lank creature from Illinois, wearing a dirty linen duster for a coat and the back of which perspiration had splotched with wide stains that resembled a map of the continent.” At least the insults then were more eloquent. Lincoln was shut out of the proceedings. They wouldn't even read his brief. With nothing to do,  Abraham Lincoln spent most of his time touring Cincinnati. His team won the case and he was paid but he tried to return the fee since he hadn't really done anything.  He ended up accepting half of the fee which he then split with his partner in Illinois. Lincoln admitted he did not enjoy his stay in Cincinnati.

a long way in 10 years
Lincoln, of course, went on to become the 16th President of the United States overseeing a critical point in US history. Who did he choose for Secretary of War as the Civil War got underway? The man who snubbed and insulted him seven years prior but who Lincoln felt was best suited for the job, Edwin Stanton. They sometimes remained at odds but Stanton eventually became one of Lincoln's closest friends and advisors. Upon Lincoln’s death in 1865, it was Stanton who tearfully said the famous words “Now he belongs to the ages.” 

Lincoln’s lousy week in Cincinnati
Lincoln in Ohio

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