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The address has no parallel in political literature. To the great audience listening in breathless attention it was like a transcription of a portion of the Sermon on the Mount. From the hour when Lucy Gilman Speed talked with Mr. Lincoln about eternal truths, there had been within him a growing recognition of divine Providence in human affairs. It appears in many of his State papers and private letters.
“Every one likes a compliment,” he wrote to Mr. Weed. “ Thank you for yours, and on my little notification speech and on the recent inaugural address. I expect the latter to wear as well, or perhaps better, than anything I have produced, but I believe it is not immediately popular. Men are not flattered by being shown there is a difference of purpose between the Almighty and themselves. To deny it, however, in this case is to deny there is a God governing the world. It is a truth which I thought needed to be told, and as to whatever of humiliation there is in it falls most directly on myself, I thought others might afford for me to tell it." (")
The great drama was about to close. The army under Sherman was in North Carolina. Union troops were in Charleston and Wilmington. Sheridan with the cavalry was on his way from the Shenandoah to Petersburg. A few more weeks, and the final blow would be given.
General Grant, desiring to have an interview with the President, invited him to visit City Point. The invitation was accepted. He was
accompanied by Mrs. Lincoln and “Tad," on the steamer River
Queen, protected by a small gunboat. Upon the President's arrival General Grant and the members of his staff went on board the steamer to pay their respects to their commander-in-chief. They were cordially received.
“I am not feeling very well,” said the President. “I got pretty well shaken up on the bay coming down, and am not altogether over it." (0)
“Let me send,” said a staff-officer, “ for a bottle of champagne for you, Mr. President; that is the best remedy I know of for sea-sickness." '
“No, no, my young friend; I have seen many a man in my time sea-sick ashore from drinking that very article,” the President replied.
In the evening a pitch-pine camp-fire was kindled at the military headquarters. It was a pleasure to the President to sit before it, assuming any attitude he pleased. He was regardless of etiquette. With his legs at full length or doubled up, the bright flames illuming his countenance, he gave free play to fancy, and entertained General Grant and his staff with anecdote and story. He listened with interest to
what others said. He inquired in regard to new inventions relating to military art.
“I have here,” said General Horace Porter, member of the staff, “ a specimen of the new powder for the fifteen-inch guns at Fortress Monroe. The kernel is nearly as large as a walnut.”
Well,” the President replied, “ that is a little larger than the powder I used in my shooting days. It reminds me of what once occurred in a country meeting-house in Sangamon County. You see, there were very few newspapers then, and the country store-keepers had to resort to some other means of advertising their wares. If, for instance, the preacher happened to be late in coming to a prayer-meeting of an evening, the shopkeeper would often put in the time while the people were waiting by notifying them of any new arrival of an attractive line of goods. One evening a man said : ‘Brethren, let me take occasion to say, while w're a-wa'tin', that I have just received a new inv'ice of sportin' powder. The grains is so small you kin scarcely see 'em with the naked eye. They are polished so fine you kin stand up and comb your ha'r in front of 'em jes' like it was a lookin'-glass. Hope you'll come down to my store at the cross-roads, and examine that powder for yourselves.
“When he had got about thus far a rival merchant, who had been boiling with indignation at the amount of advertising, got up and said : · Bretherin, I hope you'll not believe a single word Brother Jones has been saying about that powder. I've been down thar and seen it for myself, and I pledge you my word, brethren, that the grains is bigger than the lumps in a coal-pile, and any one of you brethren in your
future state could put a bar'l of that powder on your shoulder and march square through the sulphurious flames of the world below without the least danger of an explosion.?" ()
Mr. Lincoln desired to see the army, and on the following morning, mounted on General Grant's favorite horse, “ Cincinnati,” he rode along the lines. The soldiers tossed their caps and cheered lustily for the man in whom they had unswerving confidence.
Again, as evening came, the President sat by the glowing camp-fire. He spoke of the events of the war—of the changes that had taken place, the patriotism of the people, the attitude of England and France.
“ Have you ever doubted, Mr. President," one asked, " of the final success of our cause ?"
“ Never for a moment. Mr. Seward has said that there is just enough virtue in the Republic to save it—not much to spare, but suffi
cient for any emergency. I agree with him. The capture of Mason and Slidell made me uneasy."
“ Was it not hard to surrender them ?"
“Yes, it was a pretty bitter pill to swallow; but I contented myself with believing that England's triumph in the matter would be shortlived, and that after the war we should be so powerful that we could call her to account for all the embarrassments she has inflicted on us. I felt a good deal like the sick man in Illinois who was told he hadn't probably many days to live, and be ought to make peace with any enemies he might have. He said the man he hated most of all was a fellow named Brown in the next village, and he guessed he had better commence with him first; so Brown was sent for, and when he came the sick man began to say in a voice as meek as Moses that he wanted to die in peace with all his fellow- creatures, and hoped he and Brown could now shake hands and bury all their enmity. The scene was becoming very pathetic. Brown had to get out his handkerchief and wipe his tears. He finally melted and reached out his hand, and they had a regular love - feast. It was an affecting parting.
It was an affecting parting. Brown had about reached the door when the sick man raised himself, and said, 'See here, Brown, if I ever should get well that old grudge is going to stand,' so I thought that if this nation should happen to get well we might want that old grudge to stand against John Bull.” (“)
It was a season of delightful recreation to the President. For the moment he forgot the great questions confronting him relating to the reconstruction of the seceded States—the future status of the liberated slaves, the pardon of the Confederate leaders. For four years he had been burdened with the nation's welfare. The lines had deepened upon his face. He had endured anxious days, passed sleepless nights. The grief of the nation had been his grief. But as the storm-tossed sailor beholds the headlands of the harbor where he may ride in safety, so he looked forward to a haven of peace and rest. He could rejoice in the thought that the people trusted him as they had trusted no other man since George Washington. They were sustaining his administrationmanifesting their patriotism and confidence by subscribing for the new loan of $500,000,000, bearing 71 per cent. interest. It had been placed upon the market just before the election. Mr. Lincoln believed that the people would sustain the Government in financial as they had in military affairs. The bankers of Great Britain were not appealed to. They trusted the Confederate Government, subscribed to the Confederate cotton loan, but distrusted the United States. Their sympathies were with the Confederacy. The people of Holland and Germany, with truer instinct and clearer vision, had purchased the bonds of the United States. The new loan might have been negotiated at Frankfort, Hamburg, and Amsterdam, but President Lincoln and bis Cabinet determined to call upon the people for money to carry on the war. The appeal had not been in vain. In forty-three days $161,000,000 was subscribed, not by bankers as a speculation, but by the people in every section of the country.)
The army under Sherman had reached Goldsboro'. Its commander, wishing to confer with General Grant, proceeded to Wilmington, and
from that port to City Point. I had witnessed his departure Mar. 27, from Savannah, beheld the Stars and Stripes floating once more
over Sumter, and was again with the Army of the Potomac. While at headquarters, near the cabin which General Grant had occu
pied during the winter, I saw him step from the door, followed by President Lincoln, Generals Sherman, Meade, Ord, and Crook.
“Good-morning. What news have you ?" said the President, shaking my hand as he entered the headquarters.
“I have just arrived, Mr. President, from Savannah and Charleston.”
“ Indeed! Well, I am right glad to see you. How do the people down there like being back in the Union again ?"
“I think some of them are reconciled, if we may draw conclusions from the action of one planter, who came down Savannah River on a flat-boat loaded with cotton, bringing wife and children, a negro woman and her children, of whom he was the father. Of course he was anxious to sell his cotton."
The eyes of the President sparkled as he replied, “Oh yes, I see,
patriarchal times once more ! Abraham, Sarah, Ilagar, Isaac, and Ishmael, all in one boat.” General Sherman laughed heartily, and General Grant's countenance was illuminated by a smile. The President added, “I reckon they will accept the situation now they can sell their cotton at a price never dreamed of before the war." (0)
All present turned to a map lying on a table.
“We are in a position to catch Lee between our thumb and finger," said Sherman, pointing to Grant's position at Petersburg, and his own at Goldsboro'.
In the cabin of the River Queen the next advance of the armies was discussed by the President, Grant, and Sherman. The last named thus narrates the conversation :
« “Mr. Lincoln made many inquiries about the events which attended the march from Savannah to Goldsboro', and seemed to enjoy the humorous stories about our bummers which he had heard. When in lively conversation his face brightened wonderfully, but if the conversation flagged it assumed a sad and sorrowful expression. General Grant and I explained to him that my next move would bring my army of 80,000 men in close communication with Grant's army, and that unless Lee could escape, and make junction with Johnston in North Carolina, he would soon be shut up in Richmond, with no possibility of supplies, and would have to surrender. Mr. Lincoln seemed unusually impressed with this. General Grant said that Sheridan was passing his cavalry across James River, and he would extend his left to the south side road. If Lee let go his fortified lines he (Grant) would follow him so close that Lee could not possibly fall on me alone in North Carolina. I expressed the fullest confidence that my army was willing to cope with Lee and Johnston combined till Grant could come up. We both agreed that one more bloody battle probably would be fought before the close of the war. ... More than once he exclaimed, “ Must more blood be shed? Cannot this last bloody battle be avoided? We explained that we had to presume Lee must see that Johnston alone was no barrier to my progress, and if my army should reach Burksville he was lost in Richmond. We were forced to believe he would not await that inevitable conclusion, but make one more desperate effort. ... We talked generally about what was to be done when Lee's and Johnston's armies were beaten and dispersed. On this point Mr. Lincoln was very full. He said he had long thought of it, and he hoped this end could be reached without more bloodshed, but in any event he wanted us to get the deluded men of the rebel armies disbanded and back to their