« PreviousContinue »
Father of his country.
other means than those be was impelled to employ. That is theory. He reduced his to practice. For himself, he could work only in his own harness; and patiently, persistently, painfully he worked on till the goal was reached.
Well has Washington been styled the Father of his Country. Yet this arose from veneration rather than from love; for the most felt such an impassable gulf between themselves and the patriot-bero, that to them he appeared of quite another order of beings than themselves.
Abraham Lincoln was both Saviour and Father; for he preserved whatever was most valuable in the old and created a new order of things possessing an inherent dignity and importaoce which the old never had. And such titles the people bestow upon him through love.
The characteristics of the man stood prominently out in the statesman. He had not one garb as an official and another as a citizen. No change marked his transit from the chat of the drawing-room to the consultation of cabinet. What he was in the one situation he was in the other. His peculiar humor was not, as those wbo least knew him judged, his habitual disposition. More of melancholy and sadness centred in him than most were aware. His favorite poemgiven below for the sufficient reason that it was his favorite -attests the vein of pensiveness which was in him. “There is one poem,” he remarked in conversation, “ that is almost continually present with me: it comes in my mind whenever I have relief from thought and care."
Oh, why should the spirit of mortal be proua ?
His Favorite Poem.
His Favorite Poem.
The infant a mother attended and loved ;
The maid on whose cheek, on whose brow, in whose eye,
The hand of the king that the sceptre hath borne ;
The peasant whose lot was to sow and to reap;
The saint who enjoyed the communion of heaven,
So the multitude goes, like the flowers or the weed
For we are the same our fathers have been ;
The thoughts we are thinking our fathers would think;
Taey loved, but the story we cannot unfold;
Ilis Favorite Poem.
Record of his Life.
Always a Learner.
They died, aye ! they died ; and we things that are now,
No one was more modest than be. Look at the record of his life as furnished by himself, in 1858, for Lanman's Dictionary of Congress :
"Born February 12, 1809, in Hardin county, Kentucky. “ Education Defective. “Profession a lawyer. “ Have been a captain of volunteers in the Black Hawk war. “ Postmaster at a very small office. “ Four times a member of the Illinois Legislature. “And was a member of the lower House of Congress. Yours, etc.,
A. LINCOLN." With no self-conceit, a pupil in the school of events, he was never ashamed to confess himself a learner, and as such he grew and ripened. Equable in his temperament, never wrathful or passionate, none need have been his enemy, unless such an one were intended for an enemy of the human race. Mild and forgiving, he never allowed the unmerited abuse which was heaped upon bim to affect in the least his intercourse or dealings with its authors. His very failings leaned to mercy's side. There is scarcely a hamlet in the loyal States that does not contain some witness of his clemency and lenity. One of the most touching incidents con
An Avowed Christian,
His Reverential Spirit
nected with his obsequies at Washington was the placing on his cofin of a wreath of flowers, sent from Boston by the sister of a young man whom he had pardoned when sentenced to death for some military offence.
Honored as a private citizen, happy in his domestic relations, successful as a statesman, he was, moreover, an avowed Christian. He often said that his reliance in the gloomiest hours was on his God, to whom he appealed in prayer, although he had never become a professor of religion. To a clergyman who asked him if he loved his Saviour, be replied :
“When I was first inaugurated I did not love him; when God took my son I was greatly impressed, but still I did not love him; but when I stood upon the battle-field of Gettysburg I gave my heart to Christ, and I can now say I do love the Saviour."
Attention has already been called to the reverential spirit which pervades his official papers; and this was the index of the man. Leaving home, he invoked the prayers of his townsmen and friends; during the excitements of bis Washington life, he leaned upon a more than human arm; against his pure moral character not even his bitterest enemy could truthfully utter a word,
Such--imperfectly sketched, and at best but in rude outline—was Abraham Lincoln. The manner of his death invests his name with a tragic interest. This will be but temporary. But the more the man as he was is known, the mpre completely an insight is obtained into his true character, the more bis private and public life is studied, the more carefully his acts are weighed, the higher will he rise in the estimation of all whose esteem is desirable. Coming years will detract nought from him. He has passed into history. There no lover of honesty and integrity, no admirer of firmness and resolution, no sympathizer with conscientious conviction, no friend of man need fear to leave
Speech in Congress.
The Mexican War.
MR. LINCOLN'S SPEECHES IN CONGRESS AND ELSEWHERE, PROCLAMATIONS, LETTERS, ETC., NOT INCLUDED IN THE BODY OF THE WORK.
SPEECH ON THE MEXICAN WAR.
(In Committee of the Whole House, January 12, 1848.)
Mr. Lincoln addressed the Committee as follows:
“MR. CHAIRMAN :—Some, if not all, of the gentlemen on the other side of the House, who have addressed the Committee within the last two days, have spoken rather complainingly, if I have rightly understood them, of the vote given a week or ten days ago, declaring that the war with Mexico was unnecessarily and unconstitutionally commenced by the President. I admit that such a vote should not be given in mere party wantonness, and that the one given is justly censurable, if it have no other or better foundation. I am one of those who joined in that vote; and did so under my best impression of the truth of the case. How I got this impression, and how it may possibly be removed, I will now try to show.
When the war began, it was my opinion that all those who, because of knowing too little, or because of knowing too much, could not conscientiously approve the conduct of the President in the beginning of it), should, nevertheless, as good citizens and patriots, remain silent on that point, at least till the war should be ended. Some leading Democrats, including ex-President Van Buren, bave taken this same view, as I understand them; and I adhered to it,