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E Americans devour eagerly any piece of writing that purports to tell us the secret of success in life; yet how often we are disappointed to find nothing but commonplace statements, or receipts that we know by heart but never follow. Most of the life stories of our famous and successful men fail to inspire because they lack the human element that makes the record real and brings the story within our grasp. While we are searching far and near for... more...

INTRODUCTORY NOTE BENJAMIN FRANKLIN was born in Milk Street, Boston, on January 6, 1706. His father, Josiah Franklin, was a tallow chandler who married twice, and of his seventeen children Benjamin was the youngest son. His schooling ended at ten, and at twelve he was bound apprentice to his brother James, a printer, who published the "New England Courant." To this journal he became a contributor, and later was for a time its nominal editor. But... more...

I Ancestry—Thomas Lincoln and Nancy Hanks—Rock Spring Farm—Lincoln's Birth—Kentucky Schools—The Journey to Indiana—Pigeon Creek Settlement—Indiana Schools—Sally Bush Lincoln—Gentryville—Work and Books—Satires and Sermons—Flatboat Voyage to New Orleans—The Journey to Illinois Abraham Lincoln, the sixteenth President of the United States, was born in a log cabin in... more...

FOREWORD Naturally, there are chapters of my autobiography which cannot now be written. It seems to me that, for the nation as for the individual, what is most important is to insist on the vital need of combining certain sets of qualities, which separately are common enough, and, alas, useless enough. Practical efficiency is common, and lofty idealism not uncommon; it is the combination which is necessary, and the combination is rare. Love of... more...

CHAPTER I: THE THEATRE OF WAR The Ghilzaie chief wrote answer: "Our paths are narrow andsteep.The sun burns fierce in the valleys, and the snow-fed streams rundeep;. . . . . . . . . .So a stranger needs safe escort, and the oath of a valiant friend.""The Amir's Message," SIR A. LYALL. All along the north and north-west frontiers of India lie the Himalayas, the greatest disturbance of the earth's surface that the convulsions of chaotic periods... more...


THE PLAY-HOUSE CALLED OTTAWA. Do not imagine that I spend much time at once in Ottawa. I have never liked the kind of play-house that politicians have made on that glorious plateau in a valley of wonderland with a river of dreams rolling past to the sea. Where under heaven is any other Capital so favoured by the great scenic artist? On what promontory do parliamentary towers and gables so colossally arise to enchant the vision? The Thames draws... more...

I. A PRESIDENT'S CHILDHOOD Abraham Lincoln's forefathers were pioneers—men who left their homes to open up the wilderness and make the way plain for others to follow them. For one hundred and seventy years, ever since the first American Lincoln came from England to Massachusetts in 1638, they had been moving slowly westward as new settlements were made in the forest. They faced solitude, privation, and all the dangers and hardships that... more...

PREFACE These Recollections grew out of a long deferred purpose to publish a selection of my speeches on public questions, but in collecting them it became manifest that they should be accompanied or preceded by a statement of the circumstances that attended their delivery. The attempt to furnish such a statement led to a review of the chief events of my public life, which covers the period extending from 1854 to the present time. The sectional... more...

CHAPTER I. THE ANCESTRY, BIRTH, AND CHILDHOOD, OF JOHN QUINCY ADAMS. The Puritan Pilgrims of the May-Flower landed on Plymouth Rock, and founded the Colony of Massachusetts, on the 21st day of December, 1620. HENRY ADAMS, the founder of the Adams family in America, fled from ecclesiastical oppression in England, and joined the Colony at a very early period, but at what precise time is not recorded. He erected his humble dwelling at a place... more...

THE EMPRESS DOWAGER—HER EARLY LIFE One day when one of the princesses was calling at our home in Peking, I inquired of her where the Empress Dowager was born. She gazed at me for a moment with a queer expression wreathing her features, as she finally said with just the faintest shadow of a smile: "We never talk about the early history of Her Majesty." I smiled in return and continued: "I have been told that she was born in a small house,... more...