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President?" "McClellan," he answered, and added: "He certainly did do this well. He did it while he was at West
The next morning, sick with the excitement through which she had passed, the lady was at the White House again. She found more than fifty persons waiting for an audience; so she sent in her name, and said she would call again. The messenger said he thought the President would see her, and she had better be seated. Soon afterward, he informed her that the President would see her. As she passed in, she heard the words from one of the waiting throng: "She has been here six days; and, what is more, she is going to win." As she entered, Mr. Lincoln smiled, pleasantly, drew a chair to his side, and said: "Come here, and sit down." As she did so, he handed her a copy of the coveted order. She thanked him, and apologized for not being more promptly at the house; she had been sick all night. "Did joy make you sick?" he inquired. "I suppose," he added, "you would have been mad if I had said 'no."" She replied: "No, Mr. Lincoln, I should have been neither angry nor sick." "What would you have done?" he inquired. "I should have been here at nine o'clock this morning." "Well," said he, laughing, "I think I have acted wisely then." Then he turned suddenly, and looked into her face as he said: "Don't you ever get angry?" She replied that she never did when she had an important object to attain. Further conversation occurred as to the naming of the hospital, when the lady rose, and said: "You will not wish to see me again." "I did not say that, and I shall not say it," said the President. "You have been very kind to me, and I am very grateful for it," said his visitor. He looked up at her from under his eyebrows, in his peculiar way, and said: "You almost think I am handsome, don't you?" His face was full of benevolence, and his countenance lighted by a cordial smile; and it is not strange that the lady exclaimed: "You are perfectly lovely to me now, Mr. Lincoln." The President colored a little, and laughed a good deal, at the impulsive response, and reached out his hand
to bid her farewell. She took it reverently, bowed her head upon it, and, bowing, prayed: "God bless you, Abraham Lincoln!" Then she turned, heard his "good bye," and was gone.
"I shall never be glad any more!" The young men of his people were slain. His enemies were seeking his life. With a heart that beat kindly toward every human being, his motives were maligned, and his good name was contemned; greedy politicians and ambitious officers were about him, pushing forward their selfish schemes; he had daily experience of the faithlessness of men; and "this great trouble," as he was accustomed to call the war, was always on his mind and heart. He could not sleep; and, such was the character of the impression he had received from all his toils and cares, that he felt he could never be glad any more.
In Mr. Lincoln's senatorial campaign, and during the course of his debates with Mr. Douglas, it will be remembered that he was not once betrayed into a loss of temper. He was misrepresented and abused in every way, in order to break down his good nature; but, from the first to the last, he did not utter an angry or an impatient word. Then he was wellin the full strength of a hardy constitution. The interview just narrated has shown how much he had become changed by bearing the burdens of office. When he saw that his visitor was not only overthrowing his theory but the policy he had based upon it, and felt either that he was, or that he might be, in the wrong, he became peevish and querulous. This was very unlike Mr. Lincoln in health. He was one of the most generous of men in his dealings; but weakness and weariness made him on this, and on some other occasions, childish and petulant. Exhibitions of this character, which occurred during the last two years of his life, are all referable to the prostrated and irritable condition of his nervous system, resulting from excessive labor, mental suffering, and loss of sleep.
The interview with the lady will show, too, how universal and how minute were his cares. This case was only one among ten thousand cases that came to him for decision. It was a great thing to her, and of itself made her sick. It
lasted with her a week. It concerned the establishment of a hospital, simply. With him, the burden never was laid aside. He bore hundreds of matters upon his mind, all as important as this; and felt pressing upon his shoulders the interests of freedom, the future of a wonderful nation, and the destiny of a race; while he wielded as instruments for the accomplish ment of his purposes a great government, and an army com posed of the flower of the national life. It was killing him. There was always one tired spot in him that was not reached by rest.
Throughout the rebellion, Mr. Lincoln was the recipient of many attentions from the various bodies which constitute the Christian church of America. There was hardly a denomination that did not take occasion to express itself upon the war, and the great questions of humanity which it involved. They visited Mr. Lincoln at the White House; they approached him with addresses and resolutions; and the majority of them called forth from him either spoken or written responses. Representatives of foreign religious and philanthropic organizations mingled their voices with these. Expressions of personal sympathy, declarations of loyalty and devotion to the national cause, recommendations of policy, counsels, prayers, encouragements,—all poured in, in almost bewildering profusion, and of themselves became a burden. McPherson's History of the Rebellion gives forty-seven large and finely printed pages, consisting entirely of records of the action of the northern churches upon the rebellion; and the results of this action were communicated to the President in a way to draw from him either grateful acknowledgments, or responses that related to their subject matter.
The wear and tear of brain and nerve were often manifested in a deep melancholy, to which he had a natural tendency. "Whichever way it ends," said he to Mrs. Stowe, the authoress, alluding to the war, "I have the impression that I shall not last long after it is over." Hon. Schuyler Colfax met him one morning, after having received bad news which had not been made public. He had neither slept nor break
fasted, and exclaimed: "How willingly would I exchange places to-day with the soldier who sleeps on the ground in the army of the Potomac!" During the doubts and disasters of 1862, a member of Congress called on him for conversation. Mr. Lincoln began to tell a trifling story. "Mr. President," said the Congressman, rising, "I did not come here this morning to hear stories. It is too serious a time." The smile fled from Mr. Lincoln's face, as he replied: "A., sit down. I respect you as an earnest and sincere man. You cannot be more anxious than I am constantly; and I say to you now, that, if it were not for this occasional vent, I should die." To another he said: "I feel a presentiment that I shall not outlast the rebellion. When it is over, my work will be done." Of this presentiment he made no secret, but spoke of it to many of his friends.
Thus sad and weary, working early and late, full of the consciousness that God was working through him for the accomplishment of great ends, praying daily for strength and guidance, with a heart full of warm charity toward his foes, and open with sympathy toward the poor and the suffering, this Christian President sat humbly in his high seat, and did his duty. It is with genuine pain that the writer is compelled to leave behind, unrecorded, save in the floating literature of the day, multiplied instances which illustrate his tender-heartedness, his pity, his over-ruling sense of justice, his patience under insult, his loveliness of spirit, his devotion to humanity, his regard for the poor and the despised, his truthfulness, his simplicity, and the long list of manly virtues which distinguished his character and his career. They would of themselves fill a volume.
Mr. Lincoln's character was one which will grow. It will become the basis of an ideal man. It was so pure, and so unselfish, and so rich in its materials, that fine imaginations will spring from it, to blossom and bear fruit through all the centuries. This element was found in Washington, whose human weaknesses seem to have faded entirely from memory, leaving him a demi-god; and it will be found in Mr. Lincoln
in a still more remarkable degree. The black race have already crowned him. With the black man, and particularly the black freed man, Mr. Lincoln's name is the saintliest which he pronounces, and the noblest he can conceive. To the emancipated, he is more than man-a being scarcely second to the Lord Jesus Christ himself. That old, white-headed negro who undertook to tell what "Massa Linkum" was to his dark-minded brethren, imbodied the vague conceptions of his race, in the words: "Massa Linkum, he ebery whar; he know ebery ting; he walk de earf like de Lord." He was to these men the incarnation of power and goodness; and his memory will live in the hearts of this unfortunate and oppressed race while it shall exist upon the earth.