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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-hearted ness, his pity, his over-ruling sense of justice, his patienco 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 , .
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.
On the 9th of December, 1863, Mr. Lincoln sent in his annual message to Congress, which had assembled on the seventh. It represented the country as holding satisfactory relations with foreign powers; spoke favorably of the establishment of an international telegraph across the Atlantic; referred to the movements abroad for emigration to this country, to fill the demand for labor in every field of industry; stated that the operations of the Treasury Department had been successfully conducted during the year; and gave a general historical account of the operations of the army and navy. Eleven months had passed since the final proclamation of emancipation was issued; and Mr. Lincoln took up the matter to see what progress had been made under its operations. The policy of emancipation and of the employment of black soldiers had changed the aspect of affairs; and, though it was immediately followed by dark and doubtful days, the results had vindicated its wisdom. The rebel borders had been pressed still further back; the rebel territory had been divided by the opening of the Mississippi; Tennessee and Arkansas had been substantially cleared of insurgent control; and, in these states, influential citizens were declaring openly for emancipation. Maryland and Missouri, neither of which states, three years previously, would tolerate any restraint upon the extension of slavery into new territories, were disputing only as to the best mode of removing it from their own limits. Of those who were slaves at the beginning of the rebellion, full one hundred thousand were in the military service of the United States, and about one-half of them were bearing arms in the ranks. No servile insurrection, or tendency to violence or cruelty, had marked the measures of emancipation and the arming of the blacks. The tone of public feeling abroad had improved under the influence of the policy, while the government had been encouraged and supported by elections at home. The new reckoning showed that the crisis which threatened to divide the friends of the Union was passed.
The message treated with considerable detail a question which had, from the first, been one of great importance, and which, it was seen, would grow more important with the progress of events. On the day previous to the delivery of the message, he had issued a proclamation of amnesty, to all those engaged in the rebellion who should take an oath to support, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States, and the Union of the states under it, with the acts of Congress passed during the rebellion, and the proclamations of the President concerning slaves. This proclamation made certain exceptions of persons in the civil and military service of the rebel government, and of persons who had left the civil and military service of the United States to aid in the rebellion. It further declared that whenever, in any of the rebel states, a number of persons, not less than one-tenth of the qualified voters, should take this oath, and establish a state government which should be republican, it should be recognized as the true government of the state. These were the principal pro visions of the proclamation; and to them the President called congressional attention.
He had issued it, he said, “looking to the present and the future, and with reference to a resumption of the national authority in the states wherein that authority had been suspended.” He had given the form of an oath; but no man was coerced to take it. Men were only promised pardon in case they should voluntarily take it. Amnesty was offered, so that, if, in any of the rebel states, a state government should be set up, in the mode prescribed, it should be recognized and guaranteed by the United States, and protected against invasion and domestic violence. The following passage is his justification for prescribing the peculiar oath which he had niade the condition of pardon :
“An attempt to guarantee and protect a revived state government, constructed in whole or in preponderating part from the very element against whose hostility and violence it is to be protected, is simply absurd. There must be a test by which to separate the opposing elements, so as to build only from the sound; and that test is a sufficiently liberal one which accepts as sound whoever will make a sworn recantation of his former unsoundness. But, if it be proper to require, as a test of admission to the political body, an oath of allegiance to the Constitution of the United States and to the Union under it, why also to the laws and proclamations in regard to slavery? Those laws and proclamations were enacted, and put forth, for the purpose of aiding in the 'suppression of the rebellion. To give them their fullest effect, there had to be a pledge for their maintenance. In my judgment, they have aided and will further aid the cause for which they were intended. To now abandon them, would be not only to relinquish a lever of power, but would also be a cruel and an astounding breach of faith. I may add, at this point, that while I remain in my present position, I shall not attempt to retract, or modify, the Emancipation Proclamation; nor shall I return to slavery any person who is free by the terms of that proclamation, or by any of the acts of Congress.
“ For these and other reasons, it is thought best that support of these measures shall be included in the oath; and it is believed that the Executive may lawfully claim it, in return for pardon and restoration of forfeited rights, which he has a clear constitutional power to withhold altogether, or grant upon the terms which he shall deem wisest for the public interest. It should be observed, also, that this part of the oath is subject to the modifying and abrogating power of legislation and supreme judicial decision."
This proclamation was issued as a rallying point for those loyal or penitent elements which were believed to exist in many of the insurgent states, and which, in the confusion of plans for reconstruction, were lying dormant, and without practical advantage to the states themselves and to the government. He believed his plan of reconstruction would save labor, and avoid great confusion. On the 24th of March, 1864, he issued a supplementary and explanatory