« AnteriorContinuar »
.operate for the practical success of the principles declared by the Convention. “ Your obliged friend and fellow-citizen,
“ ABRAHAM LINCOLN."
The enthusiasm of the Republicans during the ensuing presidential campaign was very great, scarcely equalled even in the log-cabin days of "Tippecanoe and Tyler too;" and, as one after another of the Northern and Western States declared the Chicago nominee to be their choice, the wildest demonstrations of joy were exhibited in torch-light processions, illuminations, &c., all over the loyal portion of the country. The Quakers of Pennsylvania were moved from their position of "eminent grav- . ity" on this occasion, and polled an overwhelming vote for the champion of liberty; and the Quaker poet — who stands second to none in America - told the triumph in tuneful numbers.*
The solid phalanx of earnest men who had resolved that freedom should reign in America formed a body of
* It was the privilege of the writer to prepare, as a portion of the street decorations on the premises of Mr. S. D. Herrick, on the occasion of a jubileo illumination in Beverly, Mass., one line of Whittier's poem, in gigantic lettering; viz., “ For Lincoln goes in when the Quakers come out." The whole poem was read at a Republican meeting in Georgetown, Mass., and was as follows:
“ Not vainly we waited, and counted the hours;
The buds of our hope have burst out into flowers.
The plot has exploded; we've found out the trick;
The good State has broken the cords for her spun;
nearly two millions of voters, who carried for Mr. Lincoln the electoral votes of the States of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Iowa, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and California.
Already the mutterings of the coming storm were to be heard along the horizon. A pusillanimous President sat helpless in the White House, while seceding States unrighteously possessed themselves of forts and other Government property, and began to prepare for civil Never nation needed a leader more.
God saw our necessity. It was his glorious opportunity. He saw our need of a pillar of fire in the night of war fast settling down upon us; and, lo! Abraham Lincoln “stood before us, a man of the people. He was thoroughly American; had never crossed the sea, had never been spoiled by English insularity or French dissipation; a quiet native, aboriginal man, as an acorn from the oak; no aping of foreigners, no frivolous accomplishments ; Kentuckian-born, working on a farm ; a flatboat-man, a captain in the Black Hawk War, a country lawyer, a representative in the rural Legislature of Illinois, --- on such modest foundations the broad structure of his fame was laid. How slowly, and yet by happily prepared steps, he came to his place !" *
One eloquent eulogist of thus pictured the people's choice: "In person he was tall and rugged, with little
The Dutchman has seasoned with freedom his krout;
Give the flag to the winds ! set the hills all aflame!
* R. W. Emerson.
† Hon. Charles Sumner,
resemblance to any historic portrait, unless he might seem in one respect to justify the epithet which was given to an early English monarch. His countenance had even more of rugged strength than his person. Perhaps the quality which struck the most at first sight was his simplicity of manners and conversation, without form or ceremony of any kind, beyond that among neighbors. His hand-writing had the same simplicity. It was as clear as that of Washington, but less florid. Each had been a surveyor, and was perhaps indebted to this experience. But the son of the Western pioneer was more simple in nature, and the man appeared in the autograph. That integrity which has become a proverb belonged to the same quality. The most perfect honesty must be the most perfect simplicity. The words by which an ancient Roman was described belong to him: Vitâ innocentissimus, proposito sanctissimus. He was naturally humane, inclined to pardon, and never remembering the hard things said against him. He was always good to the poor, and in his dealings with them was full of those kind little words which are of the same blood as great and holy deeds. Such a character awakened instinctively the sympathy of the people. They saw his fellowfeeling with them, and felt the kinship. With him as President, the idea of republican institutions, where no place is too high for the humblest, was perpetually manifest, so that his simple presence was like a proclamation of the equality of all men.'
Such pen-pictures of this great and good man are often to be met, and will continually be drawn by poets, eulogists, and historians. One of those invaluable newspaper correspondents, who like his co-laborers aided to give the waiting North a true panorama of events from time to time, thus speaks of President Lincoln: “Our interview left no grotesque recollections of the President lounging, his huge hands and feet, great mouth, or angular features. We remembered rather the ineffable tenderness which shone through his gentle eyes, his childlike ingenuousness, his utter integrity, and his love of country. Igno. rant of etiquette and conventionalities, without the graces of form or manner, his great reluctance to give pain, his beautiful regard for the feelings of others, made him
• Worthy to bear without reproach
Strong without symmetry, humorous without levity, religious without cant; tender, merciful, forgiving; a profound believer in divine love, an earnest worker for human brotherhood, — Abe Lincoln was perhaps the best contribution which America has made to history."*
As another most eloquent eulogist of said before the General Assembly of Connecticut, “ His greatness is the most original and bizarre in the world's history, shaped after no model, suggesting as a compact whole no pattern, no parallel, and can only be loosely described as composed of great simplicity, great naturalness, great bonhomie, great shrewdness, great strength, great devotion, great equanimity, and great success, on the greatest. theatre ever offered to such qualities for exhibition. . . Ennobled by no patent but that of nature, with no diploma but his record, crowned as it were with the wild flowers of the forest, and with all its flavor and freshness upon him, he walks into the surprised Pantheon of the world's great men, a large grotesque backwoodsman, but with credentials to admission which
* A. D. Richardson's “The Secret Service, -- the Field, Dungeon, and Escape.”
Hon. H. C. Deming.
cannot be challenged or disallowed; like the hirsute and half-naked Brennus striding into the grave and reverend decorum of a Roman senate; like Hans Luther's plebeian and beetle-browed son confronting the stoled, mitred, and ermined Diet of Charles the Fifth ; like a red-nosed, cropped, and mail-clad Cromwell, shuffling through the silken splendors, the Vandyke dresses, the perfumed love. locks, and the fastidious etiquette, of outraged Whitehall; like St. Artegans iron soldier, marching with his invincible flail into the startled and shrinking ranks of vulnerable and pain-suffering warriors.”
One aim of this volume is to give a true picture of Abraham Lincoln as a man, and the concurrent testimony of various contemporaries is exceedingly valuable. The “ New-York World," which, while he lived, was ever opposed to his cause and policy, thus spoke of the people's choice when death had set its seal upon his virtues:--
“ If we look for the elements of character.which have contributed to the extraordinary and constantly growing popularity of Mr. Lincoln, we have not far to seek. The kindly, companionable, jovial turn of his disposition, free from every taint of affectation, puerilo vanity, or parvenu insolence, conveyed a strong impression of worth, sense, and solidity, as well as goodness of heart. He never disclosed the slightest symptom that he was dazzled or elated by his great position, or that it was incumbent upon him to be anybody but plain Abraham Lincoln. This was in infinitely better taste than would have been any attempt to put on manners that did not sit easily upon his training and habits, under the false notion that he would be supporting the dignity of his office. No offence in manners is so intolerable as affectation, nor any thing so vulgar as a soul haunted by an uneasy consciousness of vulgarity. Mr. Lincoln's freedom from any such