By the end of 1862, Lincoln would declare, “The dogmas of the quiet past5 are inadequate for the stormy present.”
In these sessions, Lincoln also became known for his laughter, taking pleasure in his own humor as well as that of others. There was something about “the heartiness of his own enjoyment” that drew others to him.
James Conkling, Mercy’s beau, wrote her that when Lincoln danced he gave the impression of being “old Father Jupiter bending down from the clouds to see what’s going on.”
Lincoln also responded to Robertson’s discussion of liberty. “On the question of liberty, as a principle, we are not what we have been.” He continued, “When we were the political slaves of King George, and we wanted to be free, we called the maxim ‘all men are created equal’ a self-evident truth; but now when we have grown fat, and have lost all dread of being slaves ourselves, we have become so greedy to be masters that we call the same maxim ‘a self-evident lie.’” What did all this mean? “The fourth of July has not quite dwindled away; it is still a great day—for burning fire-crackers!!!”