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of the people, but the servant of God; and they choose him with the express purpose that he may finish the work for republican freedom which the retributive justice of Almighty God has given to his hands. And now the recognition of this truth of the expiatory nature of the war, and the divine instrumentality of his office, culminates in the majestic, almost awful solemnity of the second Inaugural Address, which rises clear above all earthly taint and human infirmity and reservation, to the prophetic and divine standpoint. The political orator is clothed with the mantle of the inspired prophet. The wise statesman utters his counsels as from the tribunal of heaven. The leader of the nation becomes the oracle of divine laws and judgments. From the mouth of what other human magistrate in all history shall we find such utterances as these?

"The Almighty has his own purposes. 'Woe came into the world because of offences, for it must needs be that offences come; but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh.' If we shall suppose that American slavery is one of these offences which in the providence of God must needs come, but which, having continued through his appointed time, he now wills to remove, and that he gives to both North and South this terrible war as the woe due to those by whom the offence came, shall we discern that there is any departure from those divine attributes which the believers in a living God always ascribe to him? Fondly do

we hope, fervently do we pray, that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away. Yet, if God wills that it continue until all the wealth piled by the bondman's two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn by the lash shall be paid by another drawn with the sword, as was said three thousand years ago, so still it must be said that the 'judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.' With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation's wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow and his orphans,- to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations."

In these words the highest possible utterance of the struggle is reached, the moral triumph of the drama is here achieved, the eternal majesty of the divine laws is acknowledged and vindicated; and the hero stands perfectly submissive to the divine Purpose, docile to the slightest behest of Almighty Power, and his eye anointed with heavenly wisdom. These sentences read like a solemn choral response to the half-illuminated, oracularly uttered judgment of the first Inaugural: it is the genius of the republic, gathering up, as in the ancient chorus, the whole meaning and purpose of the drama, and echoing back, through all the vast, intervening events of the action, the august an

nouncement that the mystery is unravelled, the struggle ended, the judgment finished and unalterably given. Battles, victories, capitulations, the surrender of armies and towns, the submission of the whole rebellion to the cause that is thus decided for by the celestial umpires, follow in rapid and natural course.

But is the hero to have no more visible triumph than this? Yes: he enters the fallen capital of rebellion and slavery. His entrance into Richmond, with no imperial pomp, with no military escort even, attended only by a few sailors from the navy,— emblem of republican Executive simplicity; walking up the long, desolate streets of the captured city, in plain citizen's dress, holding his little boy by the hand,- emblem of republican domestic simplicity; followed by a growing throng, as the news ran from street to street, of men, women, and children, from whose limbs his hands had broken the shackles of slavery, their skin black, but hearts white with joyous gratitude, as they crowded round to hail their deliverer, baring their heads in reverence before him, and he, with instinctive courtesy, standing with uncovered. head in response, emblem of democratic liberty and equality, this journey is his triumphal procession, this throng of emancipated slaves his imperial escort, the benedictions of these new-made freemen are his crown, the crown of democratic sovereignty.

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The strict laws of tragedy require that the hero shall die for the truth he has lived for, shall fall in the hour of triumph. And so the President must fall. Does Providence therefore direct the assassin's blow? By no means: only as the Providential laws surround, limit, and penetrate every contest between good and evil. But the deadly blow is aimed by the hand of the foe. It is the last, desperate, maddened effort of the struggling combatant. It is the crowning wickedness of the rebellion and slavery. The evil principle of the drama must culminate, as well as the good: it must develop all its inherent and hidden horrors of evil. It must leave no seed of crime that belongs to itself unfruitful; it must leave not the smallest vestige of honor attached to its name. And so, filled with revenge, mad with defeat, inspired with demoniac frenzy, it puts forth all the remaining energy of its mortal strength to slay the man whom it recognizes as the incarnation of all the principles that have contended against it, and the leader of the hosts that have defeated it in battle. It slays him, and thereby, according to the moral intent of the drama, brands itself with everlasting infamy, while it lifts him to an immortal glory, and saves forever the truth to which his life was devoted. The assassin's crime is the rebellion's infamy, and his and freedom's apotheosis. The President falls. But over his grave the nation has a new birth, a resurrection. He seals his testament with his blood, and sanctifies repub


lican truth forever. The President falls. over his grave his spirit rises into the renowned halls of the celestial heroes, welcomed amid the triumphant songs of a nation redeemed, a people emancipated, a country saved.

With the hero's triumphant departure from earth the drama is ended; but the Spirit of the drama lingers, and utters an epilogue for the awestruck, listening spectators, and this is the epilogue it speaks:

The President falls, "for, where a testament is, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator." The President falls. But his testament remains with us, "for a testament is of force after men are dead." The testament remains. The nation, humanity, the world, are its legatees; but we, the people of this generation, are its executors, and we have given sacred bonds, written and attested on many a battlefield with our kindred's blood, that we will administer it,- administer it with exact and impartial justice to all classes and castes and races among us,- in order "that government of the people, by the people, and for the people shall not perish from the earth."

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