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phrase: “All this talk about the dissolution of the Union is humbug, nothing but folly. We do not want to dissolve the Union; you shall not." In his famous speech delivered at Springfield, Illinois, at the close of the Republican State Convention of 1858,-in which he had been named as candidate for United States senator,--the skilful and serious orator rises not merely to the broad level of nationality, but to the plane of universal humanity. As events thicken and threaten, his style becomes more solemn. So telling at last his power of phrase that it would hardly seem to be an exaggeration to declare that the war itself was partly induced by the fact that Abraham Lincoln was able to express his pregnant thoughts with the art of a master. How
familiar now these words of prophecy:
“A house divided against itself cannot stand.” I believe this government cannot endure permanently half slave and half free.
I do not expect the Union to be dissolved-I do not expect the house to fall—but I do expect it will cease to be divided.
The cadence of Lincoln's prose with its burden of high hope, touched with that heroism which is so near to pathos, reminds one of the Leitmotif, the leading motive" in symphony and music-drama of which musicians make use, and which is especially characteristic of the manner of Wagner:
Two years ago the Republicans of the nation mustered over thirteen hundred thousand strong. We did this under the single impulse of re
sistance to a common danger, with every external circumstance against us. Of strange, discordant, and even hostile elements, we gathered from the four winds, and formed and fought the battle through, under the constant hot fire of a disciplined, proud, and pampered enemy. Did we brave all then to falter nownow, when that same enemy is wavering, dissevered, and belligerent? The result is not doubtful. We shall not fail-if we stand firm, we shall not fail. Wise counsels may accel. erate or mistakes delay it, but, sooner or later, the victory is sure to come.
We have arrived now at the period of the joint debate between Lincoln and Douglas. In Lincoln we have the able and practised attorney, with one side of his nature open to the eternal; in Douglas the skilful lawyer, adroit and ambitious, not easily
moved by the moral appeals which so quickly took hold upon Lincoln, but a man capable of right and patriotic action when the depths of his nature were stirred.
One of the most characteristic qualities of Lincoln's expression is its morality, its insight, its prophecy; and in the now famous debate he reached well-nigh the fullness of his power to put great thoughts into fitting language. Straight his words went into the minds and hearts of eagerly listening crowds. The question, he contended, was as to the right or the wrong of slavery:
That [he said] is the real issue. That is the issue that will continue in this country when these poor tongues of Judge Douglas and myself shall be silent. It is the eternal
struggle between these two principles
– right and wrong-throughout the world. They are the two principles that have stood face to face from the beginning of time, and will ever continue to struggle. The one is the common right of humanity, and the other the divine right of kings.
A recent biographer of Lincoln, Mr. John T. Morse, Jr., says that “it is just appreciation, not extravagance, to say that the cheap and miserable little volume, now out of print, containing in bad newspaper type ‘The Lincoln and Douglas Debates,' holds some of the masterpieces of oratory of all ages and nations.”
It is interesting to recall the fact that, in the pause of his affairs after the debate with Douglas, Lincoln took up the then popular custom of lyceum-lecturing. In the very year before