The president meets the presidents

Charles Blanchard, second president of Wheaton College, recalls in his autobiography (1915) crossing paths with two Presidents of the United States and other notables.

I have never known any of them in an intimate way. They were either before my time or had homes in distant parts of our country, but I have had the privilege of seeing a number of them and I count this also among the privileges of my life. The great Lincoln I saw when I was a boy of ten years. I heard him at that time in the Lincoln-Douglas debate. It has never passed from my mind. I do not suppose it ever will. The tall, angular loose-jointed, benevolent man, rather inexpensively clothed, the short, well-dressed, polished-looking opponent, the seething crowds, the bands of music and the storm of flags! As I remember there were twenty music organizations in the procession that day at Galesburg. The number may have been greater or less, I do not pretend to know. Twenty is the number which remains within my mind. The evident appeal to conscience and humanity in the speeches of the great President and the deft, cunning, clever twisting and turning of his opponent, these came to me even as a child and remained. After he had passed away I met in the White House at a reception General President Grant, who also was a great man of totally different type but one of the real men of our nation and time. I have always thought better of him since I read the story of his own life. He was injured by his friends. He was too loyal to his friends, that is, his loyalty made him true to them when he ought to have placed the country before them. In purpose no doubt he did; he was of Scotch parentage and it is hard for a Scotchman to give up his friend.

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