Mr. Lincoln was a slow thinker. It seemed as if every proposition submitted to -his mind was subjected to the regular process of a syllogism, with its major proposition and its minor proposition and its conclusion. Whatever could not stand the test of sound reasoning he rejected. Though honest by instinctive impulse, he became still more so by the logical operation of his mind. He would not accept a fee in a bad cause. He would not argue a case before a jury for the sake of argument, when he believed he was wrong.
No man was stronger than he when on the right side, and no man weaker when on the opposite. A knowledge of this fact gave him additional strength before the court or a jury, when he chose to insist that he was right He indulged in no rhetorical flourishes or mere sentimental ideas, but could illustrate a point by one of his inimitable stories, so as to carry conviction to the most common intellect. He used plain Saxon words, which imparted strength to his style, at the expense, it may be, of elegance, but which were understood and appreciated by the masses of the people.
-- James C. Conkling
Lawyer, 8th Judicial Circuit
Recollections of the Bench and Bar of Central Illinois
Read before Chicago Bar Association
January 12, 1881