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tion. He also significantly added at the close of the conference: "I can assure you the subject is on my mind by day and night more than any other. Whatever shall appear to be God's will I will do." And now God's will is rapidly revealed to him, not through miraculous interposition,— for, as he says, "these are not the days of miracles," but through an earnest desire to "ascertain what is possible and learn what appears to be wise and right." Events are his instructors. The spirit of Almighty Justice, unfolding its high purpose more and more in the daily history of the struggle, is his teacher. He consults his cabinet for suggestion, not for advice. Upon him Heaven has put the responsibilty, and he will decide and bear the weight of the decision alone. And the decision being made, the duty clear, on the 22d of September he issues the preliminary declaration, and gives the final warning to the rebellious States; and on the 1st of January, 1863, appears the great Proclamation of immediate emancipation.

The critical blow has now been struck. The deed is done for which all before has been only preparation; and all that comes after emancipation in the border States, the enlistment of negroes in the army, the Freedmen's Bureau, the anti-slavery amendment to the Constitution is only the gathering up of the fruits of that victory and making it secure forever. The issuing of the Proclamation was the crisis in the drama; and so, when that blow was given, the embattled hosts rushed to the

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conflict with a more furious and deadlier onset. It was now life or death to the foe and slavery, life or death to the nation and freedom. But through all the deathly contests on the martial field and through all the struggles on the equally dangerous field of politics, threatened by foes and importuned by friends, the President never recedes from that decree. "The promise," he says, "being made, must be kept." "While I remain in my present position, I shall not attempt to retract or modify the Emancipation Proclamation, nor shall I return to slavery any person who is free by the terms of that Proclamation or by any of the acts of Congress. And again, "If the people," he says, “by whatever mode or means, should make it an executive duty" to reverse the action of that Proclamation, "another, and not I, must be their instrument to perform it." Here speaks the stern stuff from which strong men are made and martyrs come. But the people will stand by the Proclamation, nor will they choose any other hand than his that had written it to execute it. Not to another can the true champion's glory be given before the field is wholly won.

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And now, with clearer vision and more entire surrender to the divine purpose of events, he consecrates himself to the remaining tasks before him. Henceforth union and freedom are synonymous. Two conditions are necessary to peace, the abolition of all acts of secession, the acceptance of emancipation. But hear again the lofty strains of

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Peace does not appear so distant as it did. I hope it will come soon and come to stay, and so come as to be worth the keeping in all future time. It will then have been proved that among freemen there can be no successful appeal from the ballot to the bullet, and that they who take such appeal are sure to lose their case and pay the cost. And there will be some black men who can remember that, with silent tongue and clinched teeth and steady eye and well-poised bayonet, they have helped mankind on to this great consummation; while I fear there will be some white ones unable to forget that, with malignant heart and deceitful speech, they have striven to hinder it. Still, let us not be over-sanguine of a speedy, final triumph. Let us be quite sober. Let us diligently apply the means, never doubting that a just God, in his own good time, will give us the rightful result."

And so, with ever broader comprehension of the divine meaning of the contest and deeper conviction of the divine hand controlling it, the President renews his vows, and leads on the loyal hosts of freedom to new achievements. Under God, and the providential choice of the nation, he is the instrument for establishing the government on the true democratic basis of liberty, justice, and equality, and so for fulfilling, at last, the prophecy of the Declaration of Independence to all the people of the land.

At Gettysburg, standing among the graves of the heroes who on that glorious field had given their bodies to death, but who, with their blood, had written their names in the book of immortal life, he opens his address with these memorable sentences: "Fourscore and seven years ago our fathers brought forth upon this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure." And then he solemnly consecrates himself and the nation to finish the work which the heroes there buried had so nobly died for, in order "that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom, and that government of the people, by the people, and for the people shall not perish from the earth."

What a perfect recognition of the eternal principles involved in the conflict, and of the Providence watching over and directing with far-reaching vision the struggle, does this reverent dedication disclose! Henceforth the nation's President is God's servant, and the war is a religious war,- a religious war more really than if it were to set up some idol of theology, or to enthrone some ecclesiastic power, or to rescue the tomb of Jesus from the hand of unbelieving Saracens; for it is a war to disenthrall and redeem humanity, to rescue a whole continent from being the grave of liberty to become its throne, to lift from the shoulders of a

whole people, through the expiatory suffering of just retribution, the monstrous burden of a gigantic iniquity, and to bring, through the reconciliation of obedience to divine law, the grandest opportunity for national and individual development that was ever offered to the human race: it is a war, conducted by unseen powers in the heavens, for the divine right of mankind, without reference to race or class or color, to self-government and self-development. And the President acknowledges himself but a willing instrument in the hands of the mighty celestial forces directing the combat. Hear how the lips of the loyal leader give utterance to the sentiment of this advanced position: "Now, at the end of three years' struggle, the nation's condition is not what either party, or any man, devised or expected. God alone can claim it. Whither it is tending seems plain. If God now wills the removal of a great wrong, and wills also that we of the North, as well as you of the South, shall pay fairly for our complicity in that wrong, impartial history will find therein new causes to attest and revere the justice and goodness of God."

From this high position it is but a step to the final consummation of the moral progress of the drama. After a political struggle, filled with critical and perilous incidents and the most solemnly momentous of any that has occurred in our history, the people rechoose for their leader the man who now confesses himself to be not only the servant

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