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Omnia incrementa sua sibi debuit, vir novitatis nobilissimæ. -VELLEIUS PATERCULUS, Historia, Lib. II. cap. 34, § 3.

Offensarum inimicitiarumque minime memor executorve. — SUETONIUS, Vespasianus, Cap. XIV.


N the universe of God there are no accidents. From

the fall of a sparrow to the fall of an empire or the sweep of a planet, all is according to Divine Providence, whose laws are everlasting. No accident gave to his country the patriot we now honor. No accident snatched this patriot, so suddenly and so cruelly, from his sublime duties. Death is as little an accident as life. Never, perhaps, in history has this Providence been more conspicuous than in that recent procession of events, where the final triumph is wrapped in the gloom of tragedy. It is our present duty to find the moral of the stupendous drama.

For the second time in our annals, the country is summoned by the President to unite, on an appointed day, in commemorating the life and character of the dead. The first was on the death of GEORGE WASHINGTON, when, as now, a day was set apart for simultaneous eulogy throughout the land, and cities, towns, and villages all vied in tribute. Since this early observance for the Father of his Country more than half a century has passed, and now it is repeated in tribute to ABRAHAM LINCOLN.

Thus are WASHINGTON and LINCOLN associated in the grandeur of their obsequies. But this association is not

accidental. It is from the nature of things, and because the part Lincoln was called to perform resembled in character the part performed by Washington. The work left undone by Washington was continued by Lincoln. Kindred in service, kindred in patriotism, each is surrounded in death by kindred homage. One sleeps in the East, the other sleeps in the West; and thus, in death, as in life, one is the complement of the other.

The two might be compared after the manner of Plutarch; but it must suffice for the present to glance only at points of resemblance and of contrast, so as to recall the parts they respectively performed.

Each was head of the Republic during a period of surpassing trial; and each thought only of the public good, simply, purely, constantly, so that single-hearted devotion to country will always find a synonym in their names. Each was national chief during a time of successful war. Each was representative of his country at a great epoch of history. Here, perhaps, resemblance ends and contrast begins. Unlike in origin, conversation, and character, they were unlike also in the ideas they served, except as each was servant of his country. The war conducted by Washington was unlike the war conducted by Lincoln, as the peace which crowned the arms of the one was unlike the peace which began to smile upon the other. The two wars did not differ in scale of operations and in tramp of mustered hosts more than in the ideas involved. The first was for National Independence; the second was to make the Republic one and indivisible, on the indestructible foundation of Liberty and Equality. The first cut the connection with the mother country, and opened the way to the duties and advantages of Popular Government; the sec

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ond will have failed, unless it consummates all the original promises of the Declaration our fathers took upon their lips when they became a Nation. In the relation. of cause and effect the first was natural precursor and herald of the second. National Independence became the first epoch in our history, whose mighty import was exhibited when Lafayette boasted to the First Consul of France, that, though its battles were but skirmishes, they decided the fate of the world.1

The Declaration of our fathers, entitled simply "The Unanimous Declaration of the Thirteen United States of America," is known familiarly as the Declaration. of Independence, because the remarkable words with which it concludes made independence the final idea, to which all else was tributary. Thus did the representatives of the United States of America in General Congress assembled solemnly publish and declare “that these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent States; that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown; and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain is, and ought to be, totally dissolved; . . . . and for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor." To sustain this mutual pledge Washington drew his sword and led the national armies, until at last, by the Treaty of Peace in 1783, Independence was acknowledged.


Had the Declaration been confined to this pledge, it would have been less grand. Much as it might have

1 "Ce furent les plus grands intérêts de l'univers décidés par des rencontres de patrouilles."— Mémoires, publiés par sa Famille, Tom. V. p. 167.

been to us, it would have been less of a warning and trumpet-note to the world. There were two other pledges it made. One was proclaimed in the designation "United States of America," which it adopted as the national name; and the other was proclaimed in those great words, fit for the baptismal vows of a Republic," We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; that to secure these rights governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed." By the sword of Washington Independence was secured; but the Unity of the Republic and the principles of the Declaration were left exposed to question. From that early day, through various chances, they were assailed and openly dishonored, until at last the Republic was constrained to take up arms in their defence. And yet, since enmity to the Union proceeded entirely from enmity to the great ideas of the Declaration, history must record that the question of the Union itself was absorbed in the grander conflict to uphold the primal truths our fathers had solemnly proclaimed.

Such are the two great wars where these two chiefs bore each his part. Washington fought for National Independence, and triumphed, making his country an example to mankind. Lincoln drew a reluctant sword to save those great ideas, essential to the life and character of the Republic, which unhappily the sword of Washington failed to put beyond the reach of assault.

By no accident did these two great men become representatives of their country at these two different ep

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