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"old Abe" Consults The Spirits

"old Abe" Consults The Spirits image
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Washington, April 23, 1863. A few evenings sinoo Abraham Lincoln President of the Uuited otates, was induoed to give a spiritual soiree in the crimson room at the White House, to test the wonderful alleged supt-rnatural powers of Mr. Charles E. Shockle. It was my good fortune, as a. friend of the medium, to be present, the party consisting of the President, Mr. Lincoln, Mr. Welles, Mr. Stanton, Mr. L , of New York, and Mr. F , of j phia. We took our seats in the circle about 8 o'eloek, but the President was caüed away shortly after the mauifestations commeheed, and the spirits, which had apparently assembled to convince him of the power, gave visible tokens of their displeasure at the President' absence, by piuching Mr. Stanton's ears and twitching Mr. Welles' beard. He soon returncd, but it was soine time before harmony was restored, for the mishaps to the secrotaries eaused such bursts of laughter that the iuüuenee was vcry unpropitious. For some half hour the demonstrations were of a physical chnraeter - tables were moved and the picture of Henry Clay, which hangs on the wall, was swayed more than a foot, and two uandelabi'as, presentod by tho Dey of Algiers to President Adains, were twico raised nearly to the ceiling. It was nearly 9 o'clock before Shockle was fully under spiritual influence, and so powerful were the subsequent mani festations that twice during the cvening restoratives were applicd, for he was much woakened, and though I took no notes, I shall eudoavor to give you as fi.ithf'ul an account as possible of what ook place. Loud rappings about 9 o'eloek were heard directly beneath the President's feet, and Mr. Shockle stated that an Indian desired to communicate. " Well, sir," said the President, '■ I sliould ba happy to hear what hiá Indian majesty has to say. We have receitly had a visitation from our red bretlireu, and it was the only delegation, black, tfhifce, or blue, which did not voluntcer some advice about the conduct of tlic war." The medium then called for pencil and paper, and they were laid upon the table in sight of all. A handkerchief was then taken from Mr. Stanton, and the materials were carefully concealed from sight; In legsspace of time than it has required me to write this, knocks wtre heard and the paper was uncovered. To the surprise of all present it rcad as follows : "Haste rnakes waste, but delays cause vexations. Give vitality by energy, - Use every means to subdue. Proclamatious are useless ; make a bold front and fight the enemy ; leave traitors at home to the care of loyal men. Less note of preparation, less parade and policy talk, and more action. HENHY KKOX." " That is not Indiau talk, Mr, Sheekle," s;iid the President. '■ Who is Henry Knox r " I suggestcd to the medium to ask who Henry Knox ws, and before the words were from my lips the medium spoke in a st range voice : " The first Secretary of War." " Oh, yes, General Knox," said the President, who, turning to the secretary, said : " Stanton, that message is for you; it is from your preuecessor." Mr. Stanton made no reply. " I should like to ask General Knox," said tho President, ' if it ia within the scope of his ability to teil us wheu this rebellion will be put down." In the same manner as before his mC3 sage was received : " Washington, Lafayctte, Franklin, Wilberforce, Napoleon and myself, have held frequent consultations upon this point. There is something which our spiritual eyes cannot deteet which appear wcll formed. Evil has come at times by removal of men from high positions, and there are those in retirement whose abilities should be made useful to hastcn the end. Napoleon says concéntrate your forces upon one point ; Lafayette thinks that the rebellion will die of exhaustion; Franklin sees the ead approaching, as the South must give up for want of meehanical ability to compete against Northeru mechanics. Wilberforce sees hope only in a negro army. - Knox." " Weil," exclaiined tho President, "opinions dift'er among the saints as well as among thy winners. Tlioy don't secm to understand running tho ma'ehii.e among the celestials mueh better thar, ! we do. Thcir talk and advice sound very much like, the taik of my cabiuet-- don't you tllink so, Mr. Welles ? " "Well, I dou't know- I will think the matter over and sec what conclusión to arrivc at." Heavy raps were heard and the alphabet was caüed for, when " That's what 's the matter " was spollcd out. There was a shout of laughtor, and Mr. Welles stroked his beard. '' That means, Mr. Welles, said the President, that you are apt to be longwinJed and [hink the nearest way bome is tho longpst way around. Short cuts in war linies. I wish the spirits could teil us how to catch the Alabama." The Üghts, which had beou partially lowered, almost instantaneously beentue so dim that I could not sec sufficieatly to distinguith the fea'.ürés of any oue in the room, nnd on the kirge mirror over the mantel-pieco thifö appean d the moet beauüful tfaough sujirrnatural picture ever belicld II . representcd a sea view, tho Alabama with all steam up flying from the punsuit of anothèr largo steaUicr. Two nierchantmen in tho distanee were seen parüally destroycd by flre. - The picture cbanged, and the AWbama was scen at anchor under the shadow of an English fort - from wliieh an English flag Wiia waving. Tho .Akibama was floating idly, uot a sou! on board, aud uo sigus of life visible about her. The picture vauished, and in letters of purplo appcared, "The English people demanded this of England's uristocracy." " So Enlaud is to seize the Alabama finally," said the President. ■' It may bepossible; but, Mr. Welles, dou't let one gunboat or monitor less bo built." The spirits ealled for the alphabet, and again ': That's what's the matter,'1 was spelt out. " I see, I see," said the President. - "Mother England thinks that what's sauce for the goose may be saúco for the gander It may be tit, tat, too, hereaf ter. But it is not very complitneutary to our navy, anyhow." " W e've done our best, Mr. President," said Mr. Welles. " I'm maturing a plan which, when pcrfected, I think, if it works well, will be a perfect trap for the Alabain a." " Well, Mr. Shoclde," remarked the President, " I have seen straugo things and heard rather odd remarles, but nothing which convinces me, oxcept the pictures, that there is anything vcry heavenly about all thÍ3. I should liko, if possible, io iiear whafc Judge Douglas says about this war.'' " I'll tryto get his spirit," said Mr. Shockle : " but it sometimes happens, as it did io ñíglit in the case of the indian, that tliough first impressed by one spirit, I yield to anothec more powerful. If perfect silcnce is maintained I will see if we canuot induce General Knox to send for Mr. Douglas." Threo raps were given, signifyiug assent to the proposition. Perfect sileitce was maiutaiued, and after an interval of perhaps thrce minutes, Mr. Shockle rose quickly from his chair and stood up bebind it, resting bis left arni on the back, his rjgbt thrust into his bosom. Iu a voice such :s io one could inistake who had ever heard Mr. Douglas, he spoke. I ehal! not pretend to quote the langiiüge. Tt was eloquent and choice. - He urged the President to throw a.side all advisers who hesitate about the policy to be pursued, and to listen Io the wishes of the people, who would sustain him at all points, if his aim was, as he believed it was, (o reeiore the Union. He said there were Burrs and Blennerhassetts living, but that they would wither before the popular appi oval which would follow one or two victories, such as he thought must take place ere long. The turnning point iu this war will bo the proper use of these victories - if wicked men in tbe first hours of suceess think it time to devote their attention to party, the war will be prolongcd, but if victory is fol lowed up by energetic action, all will be well. " I believe that," said the President, "whether it comes from spirit or human," Mr. Shockle was much prostrated after this, and at Mrs. Lincohi's request it was thought best to adjourn the dance, which, if i esuuied, I shall give you an account of. . ■■II J-f-vl. 1 M „


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