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Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1866,
In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the United States for the Northern District of Illinois.
GENTLEMEN: To you, in commemoration of many friendships which will be ever cherished, of an association which will ever be held in grateful recollection, and as an expression of my high appreciation of the patriotism, constancy, love of liberty, wisdom, and statesmanship, which, by your legislation and influence, contributed so largely to redeem and save the Republic, I desire respectfully to dedicate this work. It was your privilege to occupy a responsible position at the most critical period of our history. Under the lead of the Great Martyr whose work, with yours, I have on these pages attempted to record, you have rendered great service to our country. Those vast armies, whose victorious campaigns extended over half a continent; that great navy, which has made the United States "Mistress" at least of the Western "Seas;" that system of finance which has carried us, unaided by foreign loans, through the late stupendous war, were all created and sustained by your laws.
But more than all, above all, that ever treasonable, cruel and barbarous institution of slavery, has been "overthrown" by the President, aided and seconded by you. It was for you to abolish forever, slavery at the National Capital; to prohibit it throughout all the Territories; to repeal the Fugitive Slave Laws; to put the sword into the hand of the slave, that he might achieve liberty for himself, his family, and his race; and it was for you to crown all by the Constitutional amendment, abolishing and prohibiting slavery throughout the Republic. You stood close and ever faithful to our great National Leader, during his eventful administration; and by your aid he was enabled to maintain the integrity of the Nation; to establish National unity based on universal liberty.
Although many of you did not at first fully understand or appreciate the great, pure, honest, long-headed Statesman from the West, yet before he was so mysteriously removed, you had learned to love, honor, and respect him. Ilis deeds and yours I have attempted on these pages to record. How imperfect the execution of the work, none can more fully appreciate than the author.
I have quoted from your debates far less than I would have done, had space permitted. Of many of those from whose speeches my limits did not permit me to quote, I can only say, that, if what is given shall direct attention to those rich mines of eloquence and statesmanship to be found in those volumes of the Congressional Globe, which contain the complete records of your speeches and transactions, they who shall study those volumes will be richly compensated.
In looking over your records, I recall the names of many who left the forum for the camp and battle-field. Among others there were Logan, Blair, McClernand, Fouke, Marston, Van Wyck, Divin, McKean, Curtis, Vandever, Dunn, and Baker, the martyred Senator.
And in running over the old roll-call of the Senate, I miss the names of the jovial, honest, and true Preston King; of those grave, learned, and able Senators from Vermont, Jacob Collamer and Solomon Foote; and of the genial Kinsley S. Bingham, of Michigan, and Governor Hicks, the Senator from Maryland, all of whom now sleep in death.
Of the members of the House who have been thus removed, there were Bailey, of Massachusetts Gurley, of Ohio, Hanchot, of Wisconsin,
Noell. of Missouri; and to these must be added the names of Owen Lovejoy, the pioneer Abolitionist of Illinois, and the venerable John J. Crittenden; and who of us, that so often hung with delight upon his fervid eloquence, can ever forget the scholar, and genius of the House, Henry Winter Davis?
The work of crushing the rebellion and overthrowing slavery was consummated, with your assistance, by ABRAHAM LINCOLN. Had he lived, the work of reconstruction and reconciliation might now have been in good part accomplished. He knew so well how to temper justice with mercy, "with malice towards none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gave him to see the right, he would have bound up the Nation's wounds," and achieved and cherished "a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations." He fell a martyr to liberty, and his death has thrown heavier, graver responsibilities upon the American Congress. Yet when I see so many of the old leaders of the Senate and the House still at their posts, still enjoying the well earned confidence of the American people, I cannot doubt, but that which Lincoln began, they will consummate. With prayers for your complete success, I subscribe myself,
Very Respectfully Yours,
ISAAC N. ARNOLD.