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Union victories in the West, especially at Fort Donelson and Vicksburg, and the check to rebel invasion at Antietam and Gettysburg-tried the patience and faith of the President greatly, but he never lost confidence in the ultimate success of the Union cause. Then, too, he was the subject of bitter criticism on the part of political enemies, as well as a class of political friends -by the former, because he consented to the appeal to arms at all in defense of the Union; by the latter, because the war was not pushed with sufficient energy, and especially on his tardiness in striking at the institution of slavery, which was regarded as the cause of the war. And yet, as to the latter, it is the universal judgment of impartial historians of that period, that he chose the right juncture for the issue of the Emancipation Proclamation of January 1, 1863.
That document-now universally regarded, next to the preservation of the Union itself, as the crowning. feature of his administration-preceded by the preliminary proclamation of September 22, 1862, was issued as a "war measure" after months of anxious deliberation. It is well known that Mr. Lincoln, while determined to resist the further extension of slavery into free territory, and desirous of its "ultimate extinction," still believed that the supremacy of the laws and the Constitution should be respected, on this question as well as all others. For this reason, he urged upon the few loyal members who still remained in Congress from the Southern States the acceptance of emancipation with compensation-which, if accepted by the South as a solution of the controversy between the two sections, would have resulted in immense saving of life and treasure. But this was not to be, and the
blow came, forced as a "war measure," immediately upon the heels of the victory at Antietam. If it had come earlier, there is reason to believe that it would have cost the Union some of its ablest but more conservative supporters. Mr. Lincoln never evinced his remarkable political sagacity more strikingly than in the time and manner of its issue, and it was accepted by the people and the army, as a rule, without protest -often with enthusiastic approval as time proved its wisdom. And thus was verified the prophecy which he had made in his "house-divided-against-itself" speech less than five years before-and he had been the chief instrument in its accomplishment.
The re-election of Mr. Lincoln in 1864, followed by the triumph of Thomas and Sherman in the West, and of Grant before Richmond, determined the fate of the Union. On April 3, 1865, the Union forces entered the city of Richmond, and, the day following, President Lincoln visited the Rebel capital, receiving an enthusiastic welcome, the most unique feature of which was the thanks of the members of the race whom he had emancipated. On the 11th-two days after the surrender of Lee to Grant-he arrived in Washington. Three days later (April 14), the fourth anniversary of the fall of Fort Sumter, the people in the principal cities of the country celebrated the fall of Richmond, the surrender of Lee, and the end of the rebellion.
On the evening of that day, Mr. Lincoln, accompanied by his wife, attended Ford's Theatre in Washington, and, about half past nine, was shot by John Wilkes Booth, a fanatical champion of secession. His death occurred at 7:22 o'clock the next morning. The nation, which had been rejoicing the day befor
over a restored Union, was cast beneath a pall of the deepest gloom. His public funeral occurred on the 19th, after which his remains lay in state in the rotunda of the National Capitol. On the 21st, the funeral cortége started on its sorrowful journey to Springfield, stopping at the principal cities en route, and arriving at its destination on the morning of May 3d. No such evidence of national sorrow has been witnessed in this country or elsewhere. His remains lay in state in the Hall of Representatives-the theater of some of his most brilliant oratorical triumphs-until the 4th, when the final obsequies took place in Oak Ridge Cemetery, Bishop Simpson, of the Methodist Church, delivering the funeral address. Here a stately monument, including a statue of the martyred President, has been erected to his memory, which was dedicated, October 15, 1874, the late Governor Oglesby delivering the principal address. Among other distinguished men present, and who delivered addresses, were Gen. U. S. Grant (then President), Vice-President Henry Wilson, Gen. William T. Sherman, Hon. William E. Forster, M. P., of England, and Hon. Schuyler Colfax.
Nothing could more strikingly illustrate Mr. Lincoln's high ideal and firmness for the right, his intense humanity, his deep sympathy and his broad charity for all-friends and foes alike-than the closing paragraph of his last inaugural address-his last important public
"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 orphan-to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations."
Stories of Lincoln's
BOOKS READ BY LINCOLN IN HIS EARLY LIFE.
The books which Abraham had the early privilege of reading were the Bible, much of which he could repeat, Æsop's Fables, all of which he could repeat, Pilgrim's Progress, Weem's Life of Washington, and a Life of Henry Clay, which his mother had managed to purchase for him. Subsequently he read the Life of Franklin and Ramsey's Life of Washington. In these books, read and re-read, he found meat for his hungry mind. The Holy Bible, Æsop and John Bunyan-could three better books have been chosen for him from the richest library?
For those who have witnessed the dissipating effects of many books upon the minds of modern children, it is not hard to believe that Abraham's poverty of books was the wealth of his life. These three books did much to perfect that which his mother's teaching had begun, and to form a character which, for quaint simplicity, earnestness, truthfulness and purity, has never