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pictured the slave-masters as "wringing their bread from the sweat of other men's faces"; and then, on still another, he said, with fine simplicity of diction, "If Slavery is not wrong, then nothing is wrong." Would you find condemnation more complete, you must go to John Brown, or to those famous words of John Wesley, where the great Methodist held up Slavery as the "execrable sum of all villanies." Another mind, more submissive to the truth he recognized, and less disposed to take counsel of to-morrow, would have hesitated less in carrying this judgment forward to its natural conclusion. His courage to apply truth was not always equal to his clearness in seeing it. The heights he gained in conscience were not always sustained in conduct. And have we not been told that the soul can gain heights it cannot keep? Thus, while condemning Slavery, he still waited, till many feared that with him judgment would "lose the name of action." Even while exalting Human Equality, assailed and derided by one of our ablest debaters, and insisting, with admirable constancy, that all, without distinction of color, are within the birthday promises of the Republic, he yet allowed himself to be pressed by his adversary to an illogical limitation of political rights. But he was willing at all times to learn, and not ashamed to change. Before death he expressed a desire that suffrage should be accorded to colored persons in certain cases; yet here again he failed to apply the great Declaration for which he so often contended. If suffrage be accorded to colored persons only in certain cases, then, of course, it can be accorded to whites only in the same cases, or Equality ceases.
It was his own frank confession that he had not
controlled events, but they had controlled him. At the important stages of the war, he followed rather than led. The people, under God, were masters. Let it not be forgotten that the national triumphs, and even Emancipation itself, sprang from the great heart of the American people. Individual services have been important, but there is no man who was necessary.
On one theme he inclined latterly to guide the public mind it was the treatment of the Rebel leaders. His policy was never announced, and of course would have been subject to modification always in the light of experience. But it is known that at the moment of his assassination he was occupied by thoughts of lenity and pardon. He was never harsh, even in speaking of Jefferson Davis; and only a few days before his end, when one who was privileged to address him in that way said, "Do not allow him to escape the law, he must be hanged," the President replied calmly, in the words so beautifully adopted in his last Inaugural Address, "Judge not, that ye be not judged"; and when pressed again by the remark that the sight of Libby Prison made it impossible to pardon him, the President repeated twice over the same words. The question of clemency to our Rebels is the very theme so ably debated between Cæsar and Cato, while the Roman Senate was considering how to treat the confederates of Catiline. Cæsar consented to confiscation and imprisonment, but pleaded for life. Cato was sterner. It is probable that the President, who was a Cato in patriotism, would have followed the counsels of Cæsar.
Good-will to all men was with him a science as well as a sentiment. His nature was pacific, and throughout the terrible conflict his thoughts were always turned
on peace. He wished peace among ourselves, and he wished peace with foreign powers. While abounding in gratitude to returned officers and men, who had fought the national battle so well, he longed to see the sword in its scabbard, never again to flash against the sky. His prudence found expression in the saying, "One war at a time"; but his whole nature seemed to say, "Peace always." And yet it was his fortune to conduct one of the greatest wars in all time. "With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right,"1-so he worked and lived; and these words of his own might be his honest epitaph.
His place in history may be seen from the transcendent events with which his name must be forever associated. The pyramids of our country are built by the people more than by any ruler; but the ruler of the people at such a moment cannot be forgotten.
It is impossible to exaggerate the Proclamation of Emancipation as an historic event. Its influence cannot be limited to the present in place or time. It will reach beyond the national jurisdiction, and beyond the present age. Besides its immediate efficacy in liberating slaves at home, it rises already a landmark of Human Progress. From the solidarity of Slavery, the fall of this abomination among us must cause its fall everywhere, so that in Cuba, Porto Rico, Brazil, or wherever else a slave now wears a chain, that Proclamation will be felt. Proudly will it be recognized always in the destinies of the Republic. Only a short time before, the Czar of Russia, also by proclamation, raised twenty
millions of serfs to the dignity of freemen; but even this eminent act was less historic. Though of incalculable importance to the serfs, it was not the triumph of Popular Government, and it came from the East instead of the West. It is to the West that the world now looks for sunrise. "Video solem orientem in occidente." But the Emancipation Proclamation itself was an agency in the military overthrow of the Rebellion, which, if regarded as an achievement of war, is one of the greatest in the annals of war, but, if regarded in political consequences, is an epoch of history. Here, again, the magnitude of the event is fully appreciated only when it is considered that the triumph of the Republic is the triumph of Popular Institutions everywhere. It is much that the Republic has become impregnable, whether against "malice domestic" or "foreign levy"; but it is more that it has become an example to the world. That all this should be done under a President representing especially the people, speaking always in sympathy with the people in words of power never to be forgotten, and sealing his devotion with life, adds to the splendor of the example.
His are great heralds, such as few have had as they entered the lofty portals. Our martyred dead is seen also in the company to which he is admitted, among the purest of all time, martyrs, patriots, philanthropists, servants of truth and duty. Milton, Hampden, Sidney, Wilberforce, all welcome the new-comer. Washington leads the hosts of his own country, from the Pilgrims of the Mayflower to the thronging crowds who have laid down their lives for the Republic.
1 Bacon, Of the True Greatness of the Kingdom of Britain: Works, ed. Spedding, (London, 1857-59,) Vol. VII. p. 47.
By the association of a similar death he passes into the same galaxy with Cæsar, William of Orange, and Henry the Fourth of France, all of whom were assassinated, and his star will not pale by the side of theirs. Cæsar was a contrast in everything, unless in clemency, and the coïncidence that each at the time. of sacrifice was fifty-six years of age. How unlike in all else! Caesar was of brilliant lineage, which he traced on one side to the immortal gods, and on the other to a recent chief of Rome,of completest education, of amplest means, of rarest experience, - of acknowledged genius as statesman, soldier, orator, and writer, being in himself the most finished man. of Antiquity; but he was the enslaver of his country, whose personal ambition took the place of patriotism, and whose name has become the synonym of imperial power. Of princely birth and great riches, William of Orange began as page in the household of Charles the Fifth, on whose wide-spread dominions, the largest of modern history, the sun never set. The youthful page became companion and intimate of the powerful Emperor. Unawed and unseduced, he upheld the liberties of his country, which he conducted wisely, surely, grandly, anticipating the example of Washington. His name of "Silent" suggests the reticence of his American parallel, like whom he was also a liberator. Henry the Fourth, of the House of Bourbon, was a king memorable for practical sense, anecdote, and pregnant wit, with a certain Gallic salt. He, too, knew the trials of civil war, which he closed in peace and crowned with mercy. The National Unity prevailed in him. The age of fifty-six witnessed also his death, leaving great plans unfulfilled, and his career