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integrity which has become a proverb belonged to the same quality. The most perfect honesty must be the most perfect simplicity. Words by which an ancient Roman was described picture him,-"Vita innocentissimus, proposito sanctissimus." He was naturally humane, inclined to pardon, and never remembered hard things against himself. He was always good to the poor, and in dealings with them was full of those "kind little words which are of the same blood as great and holy deeds." On the Saturday before his death I saw him shake hands with more than five thousand soldier patients in the tent-hospitals at City Point, and he told me afterwards that his arm was not tired. Such a character awakened the instinctive sympathy of the people. They saw his fellow-feeling, and felt the kinship. With him as President, the idea of Republican Institutions, where no place is too high for the humblest, was perpetually apparent; so that his simple presence was like a Proclamation of Human Equality.

While social in nature and enjoying the flow of conversation, he was often reticent. Modesty was natural to such a character. Without affectation, so was he without pretension or jealousy. No person, civil or military, complains that he appropriated to himself any honor belonging to another. To each and all he gave the credit that was due. And this same spirit appeared in smaller things. In a sally of Congressional debate, he exclaimed, that a fiery slave-master of Georgia, who had just spoken, was "an eloquent man, and a man of learning, so far as he could judge, not being learned himself." 2

1 Tiberius Gracchus. - VELLEIUS PATERCULUS, Historia Romana, Lib. II. c. 2, § 2.

2 Congressional Globe, 30th Cong. 1st Sess., Appendix, p. 1042.

His humor, like his integrity, has become a proverb. Sometimes he insisted that he had no invention, but only memory. Good things heard he did not forget, and he was never without a familiar story. When he spoke, the recent West seemed to vie with the ancient East in apologue and fable. His ideas moved, as the beasts entered Noah's ark, in pairs. His illustrations had a homely felicity, and seemed not less important to him than the argument, which he always enforced with a certain emphasis of manner and voice. This same humor was often displayed where there was no story, and with a point that might recall Franklin. know not how the indifference to Slavery exhibited by so many could be exposed more effectively than when he said of a political antagonist thus offending, “I suppose the institution of Slavery really looks small to him. He is so put up by nature, that a lash upon his back would hurt him, but a lash upon anybody else's back does not hurt him." And then again there is a bit of reply to Mr. Douglas, most characteristic not only for humor, but as showing how little at that time he was looking to the great place he reached so soon afterwards. "Senator Douglas," said he, "is of world-wide renown. All the anxious politicians of his party, or who have been of his party for years past, have been looking upon him as certainly, at no distant day, to be the President of the United States. They have seen in his round, jolly, fruitful face post-offices, land-offices, marshalships and cabinet appointments, chargéships and foreign missions, bursting and sprouting out in wonderful exuberance, ready to be laid hold of by their greedy hands. . ... On the contrary, nobody has ever expected me to be President. In my poor, lean, lank face

nobody has ever seen that any cabbages were sprouting out. These are disadvantages, all taken together, that the Republicans labor under. We have to fight this battle upon principle, and upon principle alone." Here is a glimpse of himself, as honorable as curious. In a different vein, he said, while President, "The United States Government must not undertake to run the churches." 2 Here wisdom and humor vie with each other.

He was original in mind as in character. His style was his own, having no model, but springing directly from himself. Failing often in correctness, it is sometimes unique in beauty and sentiment. There are passages which will live always. It is no exaggeration to say, that, in weight and pith, suffused in a certain poetical color, they call to mind Bacon's Essays. Theirs also was a touching reality and unconscious power, without form or apparent effort. Nothing similar can be found. in state-papers. How poor are kings' speeches and Presidential messages by the side of such utterances, fit harbingers of the sublime era of Humanity!

He was placed by Providence at the head of his country during an unprecedented crisis, when the fountains of the great deep were broken up, and men turned for protection to military power. Multitudinous armies were mustered. Great navies were created. Of all these he was constitutional commander-in-chief. As the war proceeded, prerogatives enlarged and others sprang into being, until the sway of a Republican President became imperatorial, imperial. But not for one moment did the modesty of his nature desert. His constant thought was

1 Speech in Springfield, July 17, 1858: Political Debates, p. 55.

2 Letter to General Curtis, January 2, 1863: McPherson's Political History of the United States during the Rebellion (2d edit.), Appendix, p. 534

his country, and how to serve it. He saw the certain greatness of the Republic, and was pleased in looking forward to that early day, when, according to assured calculation, its millions of people will count by the hundred; but this prodigious sway was commended to him only by the good of man. Personal ambition at the expense of patriotism was as far removed from the simple purity of his nature as poison from a strawberry. And thus, with equal courage in the darkest hours, he continued on, heeding as little the warnings of danger as the temptations of power. "It would not do for a President," he said, "to have guards with drawn sabres at his door, as if he fancied he were, or were trying to be, or were assuming to be, an Emperor." In the same homeliness he spoke of his morning return. to daily duty as "opening shop." Though commissioning officers in multitudes beyond any other person of authentic history, he never learned the mystery of shoulder-straps or of buttons in the military and naval uniforms, except that he noticed three stars on the shoulders of the Lieutenant-General.

When he became President, he was without any considerable experience in public affairs; nor was he much versed in history, whose lessons would have been valuable. Becoming more familiar with the place, his facility increased. He had "learned the ropes," so he said. But his habits of business were irregular, and never those of despatch. He did not see at once the just proportions of things, and allowed himself to be occupied by details. Even in small affairs, as well as great, there was in him a certain resistance to be overcome. Moments occurred when this delay excited impatience, and the transcendent question seemed to suffer. But

when the blow fell, there was nothing but gratitude, and all confessed the singleness with which he sought the public good. A conviction prevailed, that, though slow to reach his conclusion, he was inflexible in maintaining it. Pompey boasted that by the stamp of his foot he could raise an army. The President did this by a word, and more: according to his own saying, he “put his foot down," and saved a principle.

This firmness in the right, as he saw it, was an anchor which held always. Emancipation, once adopted, was safe against recall or change. From time to time his determination was repeated in terms which awakened a throb in every liberty-loving bosom, as when, in the summer before the Presidential election, in his letter "To whom it may concern," he announced "the abandonment of Slavery" as an essential condition of peace,1 and thus again proclaimed Emancipation, or when, on another occasion, he said, in simple words, "And the promise, being made, must be kept," and then again exclaimed, loftily, in words good to repeat, "If the people should, by whatever mode or means, make it an Executive duty to reënslave such persons, another, and not I, must be their instrument to perform it."3 All this was beautiful and grand. Sodom was burning, but there was no disposition to look back.

In statement of moral truth and exposure of wrong he was at times singularly cogent. There was fire as well as light in his words. Nobody more clearly exhibited Slavery in its enormity. On one occasion, he branded it as a "monstrous injustice"; on another, he

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1 July 18, 1864. McPherson's Political History of the United States during the Rebellion (2d edit.), p. 301.

2 Letter to the Union Convention in Illinois, August 26, 1863: Ibid., p. 335. 3 Fourth Annual Message, Dec. 6, 1864.

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