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entirely ignorant of their movements tions and catastrophies which this or their plots.
nation escaped by having Abraham As I now look back and review, Lincoln for President in 1861 instead more calmly than I could then, the of William H. Seward. words and acts of our greatest men,
Back of Lincoln and Congress Lincoln stands forth pre-eminent stood the rank and file of the army, among them all.
to whom the greatest credit is due. Without experience, and confronted And back of the army there was a by trials and responsibilities greater patriotic sentiment for national unity than any President who had preceded and national glory, which represented him, he proved equal to every emer the moral force of an overwhelming gency, and never failed in the most majority of the nation. This sentitrying and difficult hour.
ment moulded and directed Lincoln Surrounded
by and her statesmen, and inspired her traitors and often misinformed by generals and the army with the nereal but mistaken friends and be cessity of union and the hope of victrayed by pretenders, he faced a tory. million rebels in arms, and never Without this united moral force quailed nor faltered; he, more than
Congress would not have acted, the all others, secured the loyal co-opera President would have been powertion of the border slave States; he less, and the Republic of Washington was the one great leader of the Re
and Jefferson would have been dipublican party, and more, of all men vided, dismembered and destroyed, of whatever party, who hoped for the and on its ruins two or more discordtriumph of the Union, and he occu ant and hostile governments erected, pied this position because he was which would have been a perpetual fitted by nature for the great task im
to each other and to the posed upon him. His leadership was
peace of the world. gentle but firm, cautious yet persist
TRUE STATESMANSHIP. ent. He was the one man of all the men I knew in those days of trial and We have now reached a time (so far danger, best fitted for the place he
have we advanced in a single generafilled so well. As tender as a woman tion) where we can form a proper esto suffering and sorrow, he stood timate of the statesmen who ruled forth, during the entire rebellion, a this nation from 1836 to 1860. Colossus among men.
Even the ordinary observer of to“ Like the oak of the mountain, deep-rooted
day no longer recognizes their preand firm,
tensions to statesmanship. Plain, Erect when multitudes bent to the storm.”
practical, common-sense Americans No man
can depict the humilia who believe in a “government of the
people, by the people, for the people," sinner alike must see to it “that ser-
Christian teachers affirming the ditions of the world were joining hands vinity of slavery; they may build to attempt the civilization of the dark monuments of marble, brass or iron continent of Africa, to the end that to their lost cause and its dead they might make slave piracy impos- leaders, and do what they may to sible, the so-called statesmen of this justify or excuse their blunders or country were conspiring to destroy their crimes, and yet the time is comthe freest and best government on ing, and now is, in which no sane man earth, and making war on their own will read their writings except to kindred in order that they might es
learn from their own pens the heighth tablish one or more petty governments and depth of their amazing folly. whose cornerstone should be human And a generation of men shall not slavery.
have passed away before all who The folly and crimes of the seces
stand before their monuments will be sion leaders and their allies of the asking themselves whether the leaders North can never be repeated again; of the Whiskey rebellion, the schemers even the memory of them will soon of the Hartford Convention plot, or have
Aaron Burr and his conspirators are “Gone glimmering through the gleam of
not better entitled to commemorathings that were
tion, in brass or iron, than the leaders A school-boy's tale, the wonder of an hour.”
of the slaveholders' rebellion. Never again shall there be wit I have not spoken personally of any nessed in the land of Washington and of the leaders of the rebellion, beLincoln the blasphemy of religious cause they were all the followers and teachers preaching that saint and satellites of Calhoun, from Jefferson
Davis down to Senator Wigfall, of In his great speech in Springfield, Texas, who was dubbed by his fellow in 1858, he said: conspirators “one of the most elo
“A house divided against itself quent fools on the continent."
cannot stand. I believe that this To me there are inseparably con government cannot endure permanected with the history of the rebell
nently half slave and half free. I do ion three men in civil life, who stand
not expect the Union to be dissolved. out more prominently than their as
I do not expect the house to fall, but sociates-Calhoun, the great con I do expect it will cease to be divided. spirator; Seward, the dreamer, and It will become all one thing, or all Lincoln, the statesman, Calhoun,
the other. Either the opponents of able, ambitious, logical and persistent, slavery will arrest the further spread and as unyielding as death; Seward,
of it, and place it where the public the philosophical dreamer, political mind shall rest in the belief that it is prophet and Presidential aspirant, in the course of ultimate extinction, the coiner of beautiful and high
or its advocates will push it forward sounding phrases, with no practical till it shall become alike lawful in all ability for a crisis, such as the rebell the States, old as well as new, North ion of 1861. When the hour of action
as well as South.” and trial came, he suggested, in his
This great speech made Mr. Linspeech of January 12th, “that we
coln President. After his inaugurameet prejudice with conciliation, ex
tion he followed logically, and with action with concessions, violence with
fidelity, the doctrine announced in the right hand of fellowship," and
that speech. surrender to the rebels all the public
And when he declared, in his inproperty of the nation in their States,
augural address, that his oath and “except where the authority of the United
duty alike required him to see that States could be exercised without war.”
the laws were impartially and honTo crown all, he offered to vote for
estly executed, and added:
The an amendment to the Constitution which would preserve slavery forever, power confided in me will be used to hold, and thus make the “irrepressible con
occupy, and possess the property, and en
a flict” perpetual, so long as a single force the laws of the government,” State elected to maintain the institu- practical and patriotic people knew
what that declaration meant. They tion of slavery in its borders. The world recognizes when it reads
knew that Mr. Lincoln intended
" that the house should not be divided nor Mr. Lincoln's statement of the “irrepressible conflict,” that he was the
fall,” but that the Union should be' practical, just and far-seeing states
maintained forever, and be all one thing—all free.
And to the accom
plishment of that great work he con think I am so bad a man as some secrated his life.
people say I am.” Mr. Seward would not only have Kindness, of course, broke down been dismissed from office by any Mr. Schurz just as it had other men. other government, but would have I went up to see him at one time been arrested for usurpation of power about McClellan--got there early in —and for holding secret and un the morning. He hadn't got into his authorized communication with the room. When he came in he expressed public enemy. And I do not believe some surprise, talking to himself, as that any President who had preceded I supposed. He hesitated a moment, Mr. Lincoln would have continued and said: Mr. Seward in his cabinet for a single "Well, General, what are you doing day after the formal and unanimous here so early ?" request of the Senate for his I came here to see you." removal.
“What can I do for you?” It was Mr. Lincoln's hopefulness Nothing, sir." I shut my mouth and faith in man that made him so as tight as I could. long-suffering in his dealings with “You have come up to see about Seward, Chase and McClellan, and McClellan ?" hundreds of others, myself included. “Yes, sir."
I think he was in that respect one Well,” said he, “ that reminds me of the most wonderful of men.
of a story." remember two instances, one of which I was determined to have a solid was with reference to myself, the talk with him. So I said, rising to other, Senator Schurz. Schurz was my feet: “Mr. President, I beg your in the army, and was as restless as a pardon, but I didn't come this morn
man could be, and fired a ing to hear a story." letter of sixteen pages over the head
He looked at me and said, with of his commander to Mr. Lincoln, a such a sad face: “Ashley, I have thing which, as a military matter, was great confidence in you, and great not to be tolerated. Afterward he respect for you, and I know how sinthought better of it, and wrote Mr. cere you are.
But if I couldn't tell Lincoln a kind of an apology for hav these stories I would die. Now, you ing committed this breach of military sit down !" So he ordered a cup of discipline. The President kindly coffee, and we discussed the situawrote him: “Never mind; come and tion. see me.” When he came to meet That was the peculiar character of him he began to apologize.
the man. "Never mind, Schurz. I guess be I saw him one day give a pardon fore we get through talking you won't for a soldier sentenced to be shot,
where the mother and some women armies and crushed the rebellion; of his household came there. When that they amended the National Conhe did it, of course there was a scene. stitution prohibiting slavery forever; Tears came to the eyes many. that they were both merciful and forThe President says: “Well, I have giving as conquerors never were bemade one family happy, but I don't fore; that all laws and constitutional know about the discipline of the amendments were impartial in their army!”
character, and operated on the North That was the characteristic of the and South alike. He will show that man, and because of that he held to under their State governments, as regether the discordant elements-held organized by them, the South has together the border States; and I prospered and increased in wealth as think carried
to victory better never before; that the census of 1890 than any man, certainly, of whom I confirmed all we hoped and promised have the least knowledge. I don't when we declared that her increase in know of any man in this country that cotton, sugar, tobacco, rice, iron and I would rather have had for Presi manufactures more than doubled in dent, considering it after it is all value between 1860 and 1890, and that uver, for a quarter of a century, than her plantation and city property inAbraham Lincoln.
creased in value threefold, that a That the historian of the future National Government, with amnesty will accord the highest order of and impartial suffrage, found a comstatesmanship to Abraham Lincoln plete vindication, both at home and and the Union men of 1861-65 I do abroad. And knowing this, as each not doubt.
Union soldier and Union citizen who A practical world will judge public took part in the great drama of 1861 men by what they accomplish, not "folds the drapery of his couch about by what they profess. Soldier and him," and joins the silent majority, statesmen alike must be judged by he will know that his sacrifices have this simple standard.
not been in vain. From this point of view the his There are men before me to-night torian will show that Mr. Lincoln who bore aloft and followed that flag found the government disrupted and at Shiloh and Stone River, at Murfesbankrupt, with a hostile government boro, Missionary Ridge and Nashorganized by conspirators on its sup ville, and from Chickamauga to posed ruins. He will show that Mr. Chattanooga and the top of Lookout Lincoln and a Union Congress pro- Mountain, and from Atlanta through ceeded at once to secure its political Georgia on to Washington, as they unity and territorial integrity; that carried it in triumph back to their they raised, organized and equipped homes prior to placing it here within