“I do not see why people call him Old Abe. There is no appearance of age about the man, excepting the deeply indented wrinkles on his brow, and the furrow ploughed down his bare cheeks, hairless as an Indian’s; you can hardly detect the present of frost in his black, glossy hair. Neither do I understand why he is represented as being so prodigiously ugly. Put him alongside of Mr. Charles O’Conor [sic] and Mr. James W. Gerard—both of which eminent gentlemen ridiculed so much his supposed ugliness at the Cooper Institute in your city last week—and if he would not appear ‘an Adonis to a Satyr,’ he would, at all events, be set down as the finest looking man of the trio.
“He is awkwardly tall; but if he had had a military training, his height would be rather to his advantage than otherwise. He is ‘no carpet knight so trim,’ affects not the elegancies of refined society, does not care to imitate New York aldermen in the matter of yellow kids [gloves], but is altogether a plain, blunt, unostentatious man, and I have no doubt that the epithet ‘honest’ as applied to him is not misapplied…
“While you would recognise in his face a general resemblance to the popular photographs and prints of him, yet you would say at once that none of them did him justice. The portrait that most nearly approaches perfection is the imperial photograph in Brady’s gallery in New York. But in all of them his face wears a stony, rigid, corpse-like expression, as if they were taken from a piece of sculpture, whereas in conversation he has great mobility and play of features, and when he is thus animated you fail to perceive anything of the ugly or grotesque about him.”