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Many free countries have lost their liberty, and ours may lose hers; but if she shall, be it my proudest plume, not that I was the last to desert, but that I never deserted her. I know that the great volcano at Washington, aroused and directed by the evil spirit that reigns there, is belching forth the lava of political corruption in a current broad and deep, which is sweeping with frightful velocity over the whole length and breadth of the land, bidding fair to leave unscathed no green spot or living thing, while on its bosom are riding, like demons on the waves of hell, the imps of the Evil Spirit, and fiendishly torturing and taunting all those who dare resist its destroying course with the hopelessness of their effort; and knowing this, I can not deny that all may be swept away. Broken by it, I, too, may be; bow to it I never will. The probability that we may fall in the struggle, ought not to deter us from the support of a cause which we deem to be just. It shall not deter me.
If I ever feel the soul within me elevate and expand to those dimensions not wholly unworthy of its Almighty architect, it is when I contemplate the cause of my country deserted by all the world beside, and I standing up boldly and alone, hurling defiance at her victorious oppressors. And here, without contemplating consequences, before high Heaven, and in the face of the whole world, I swear eternal fidelity to the just cause, as I deem it, of the land of my life, my liberty and my love. And who, that thinks with me, will not fearlessly adopt the oath I take? Let none falter who thinks he is right, and we may succeed. But if, after all, we shall fall, be it so. We shall have the proud consolation of saying to our conscience, and to the departed shade of our country's freedom, that the cause approved by our judgments, and adored by our hearts in disaster, in chains, in torture, and in death, we never failed in defending.
LETTER TO MR. CHOATE, OF NEW YORK.
WASHINGTON, December 19, 1864.
MY DEAR SIR-I have the honor to acknowledge the reception of your kind invitation to be present at the annual festival of the New England Society, to commemorate the landing of the Pilgrims, on Thursday, the 22d of this month.
My duties will not allow me to avail myself of your kindness. I can not but congratulate you and the country, however, upon the spectacle of devoted unanimity presented by the people at home, the citizens that form our marching columns, and the citizens that fill our squadrons on the sea-all
animated by the same determination to complete and perpetuate the work our fathers began and transmitted.
The work of the Plymouth emigrants was the glory of their age. While we reverence their memory, let us not forget how vastly greater is our opportunity. I am, very truly, your obedient servant, A. LINCOLN.
JOSEPH H. CHOATE, ESQ.
LETTER TO DR. JOHN MACLEAN, OF PRINCETON COLLEGE.
In December, 1864, the degree of Doctor of Laws was conferred upon President Lincoln, by a vote of the Board of Trustees of Princeton College, in New Jersey, of which fact he was duly notified by the President of that institution, Dr. Maclean. Mr. Lincoln sent the following letter, in acknowledgment of this honor:
WASHINGTON, December 27, 1864.}
MY DEAR SIR-I have the honor to acknowledge the reception of your note of the of the 20th of December, conveying the announcement that the Trustees of the College of New Jersey had conferred upon me the degree of Doctor of Laws.
The assurance conveyed by this high compliment, that the course of the Government which I represent has received the approval of a body of gentlemen of such character and intelligence, in this time of public trial, is most grateful to me.
Thoughtful men must feel that the fate of civilization upon this continent is involved in the issue of our contest. Among the most gratifying proofs of this conviction, is the hearty devotion everywhere exhibited by our schools and colleges to the national cause.
I am most thankful if my labors have seemed to conduce to the preservvtion of those institutions under which, alone, we can expect good government, and in its train, sound learning and the progress of the liberal arts.
I am, Sir, very truly, your obedient servant,
DR. JOHN MACLEAN.
LETTER TO GOV. FLETCHER, OF MISSOURI.
His Excellency, Gov. Fletcher:
It seems that there is now no organized military force of the
enemy in Missouri, and yet that destruction of property and life is rampant everywhere. Is not the cure for this within easy reach of the people themselves? It can not but be that every man, not naturally a robber or cut-throat, would gladly put an end to this state of things. A large majority, in every locality, must feel alike upon this subject; and if so, they only need to reach an understanding, one with another. Each leaving all others alone solves the problem; and surely each would do this, but for his apprehension that others will not leave him alone. Can not this mischievous distrust be removed? Let neighborhood meetings be everywhere called and held, of all entertaining a sincere purpose for mutual security in the future, whatever they may heretofore have thought, said or done, about the war, or about any thing else. Let such meet, and, waiving all else, pledge each to cease harassing others, and to make common cause against whoever persists in making, aiding or encouraging, further disturbance. The practical means they will best know how to adopt and apply. At such meetings, old friendships will cross the memory, and honor and Christian charity will come in to help.
Please consider whether it may not be well to suggest this to the now afflicted people of Missouri.
MR. LINCOLN TO THE MINERS OF THE FAR WEST.
On the fatal 14th of April, Hon. Schuyler Colfax, then about to start for the far-off mining regions, received from Mr. Lincoln a verbal message for the miners, which was thus given in a speech by Mr. C. in Colorado:
"Mr. Colfax, I want you to take a message from me to the miners whom you visit. I have," said he, "very large ideas of the mineral wealth of our nation. I believe it practically inexhaustible. It abounds all over the Western country-from the Rocky Mountains to the Pacific, and its development has scarcely commenced. During the war, when we were adding a couple of millions of dollars every day to our national debt, I did not care about encouraging the increase in the volume of our precious metals. We had the country to save first. But, now that the Rebellion is overthrown, and we know pretty nearly the amount of our national debt, the more gold and silver we mine, makes the payment of that debt so much the easier. Now," said he, speaking with much emphasis, "I am going to encourage that in every possible way. We shall have hundreds of thousands of disbanded soldiers, and many have
feared that their return home in such great numbers might paralyze industry by furnishing suddenly a greater supply of labor than there will be a demand for. I am going to try and attract them to the hidden wealth of our mountain ranges, where there is room enough for all. Immigration, which even the war has not stopped, will land upon our shores hundreds of thousands more per year, from over-crowded Europe. I intend to point them to the gold and silver that waits for them in the West. Tell the miners, from me, that I shall promote their interests to the utmost of my ability, because their prosperity is the prosperity of the nation; and," said he, his eye. kindling with enthusiasm, "we shall prove, in a very few years, that we are, indeed, the TREASURY OF THE WORLD.'
HIS SPEECH AT INDEPENDENCE HALL.
These quotations from the written and spoken words of Mr. Lincoln, can not be more fitly closed than with the remarkable speech which he made at Independence Hall, in Philadelphia, on Washington's birthday, while on his way to the National Capital, to enter upon the duties of the Presidency. He had taken. his life in his hand, as he well knew, in thus responding to the call of the people. He seems at the moment, to have almost foreseen the end which awaited him, and his unpremeditated words rise into prophetic grandeur, as he stands face to face with the possible-and now actual result:
I am filled with deep emotion at finding myself standing here in the place where were collected together the wisdom, the patriotism, the devotion to the principle from which sprung the institutions under which we live. You have kindly suggested to me that in my hands is the task of restoring peace to our distracted country. I can say, in return, sir, that all the political sentiments I entertain have been drawn, so far as I have been able to draw them, from the sentiments which originated and were given to the world from this hall in which we stand. I have never had a feeling, politically, that did not spring from the sentiments embodied in the Declaration of Independence. I have often pondered over the dangers which were incurred by the men who assembled here and adopted the Declaration of Independence. I have pondered over the toils that were endured by the officers and soldiers of the army who achieved that independence. I have often inquired of myself what great principle or idea it was that kept this Confederacy
so long together. It was not the mere matter of the separation of the colonies from the mother land, but something in that declaration giving liberty, not alone to the people of this country, but hope for the world for all future time. It was that which gave promise that in due time the weights should be lifted from the shoulders of all men, and that all should have an equal chance. This is the sentiment embodied in the Declaration of Independence.
How, my friends, can this country be saved upon that basis? If it can, I will consider myself one of the happiest men in the world if I can help to save it. If it can't be saved upon that principle, it will be truly awful. But if this country can not be saved without giving up that principle, I was about to say, I would rather be assassinated on the spot than to surrender it.
Now, in my view of the present aspect of affairs, there is no need of bloodshed and war. There is no necessity for it. I am not in favor of such a course, and I may say, in advance, there will be no bloodshed unless it be forced upon the Government. The Government will not use force unless force is used against it. [Prolonged applause, and cries of" That's the proper sentiment."] My friends, this is a wholly unprepared speech. I did not expect to be called upon to say a word when I came here. I supposed I was merely to do something toward raising this flag. I may, therefore, have said something indiscreet. But I have said nothing but what I am willing to live by, and, in the pleasure of Almighty God, die by.
From the cabin to the White House-from a lowly birth to an honored death, at the summit of human glory-these pages have imperfectly traced the earthly course of ABRAHAM LINCOLN. He is now where praise and blame alike fall unheeded" on the dull, cold ear" of the dead, yet one comes reluctantly to any final summing up of the labors and the character of one so lately gone, and still so spiritually present. He served the people. He saved the nation. He gave his life for his country. His name will be one of heroic grandeur for all time. His fame will be perennial as the sun. While Liberty lives, this her chief martyr will be the central figure among her most illustrious devotees. He finished his work, and its renown is not alone for a transient generation, but for the wide world and for the whole future.
What Robert Burns has, proverbially, been to the people of