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that patriots so often shoot at the President as they plunge past him in the processions through the White House,-“I believe in God Almighty and Abraham Lincoln.” “You 're more than half right," quickly answered the President. When, at a conference with Confederate leaders, he was reminded by the Southern commissioner, Mr. Hunter, that Charles I entered into an agreement with “parties in against the government,” Lincoln said: “I do not profess to be posted in history. In all such matters I will turn you over to Seward. All I distinctly recollect about the case of Charles I is that he lost his head."
Lincoln was elected to the Presidency of a country on the verge of civil war. In his farewell to
his fellow-townsmen sounds again that musical “motive" of which I have spoken, recurring like the refrain of a sad but heroic poem. Remember the passage quoted before. It occurred in his speech of 1858: “The result is not doubtful. We shall not fail -if we stand firm, we shall not fail. Wise counsels may accelerate or mistakes delay it, but, sooner or later, the victory is sure to come."
In parting from his old neighbors he said:
Here my children have been born, and one is buried. I now leave, not knowing when or whether ever I may return, with a task before me greater than that which rested upon Washington. Without the assistance of that Divine Being who ever attended him I cannot succeed. With that assistance I cannot fail. Trusting in
him, who can go with me and remain with you, and be everywhere for good, let us confidently hope that all will yet be well.
The First Inaugural concludes with a passage of great tender
We learn from Nicolay and Hay that the suggestion of that passage, its first draft indeed, came from Seward.
But compare this first draft with the passage as amended and adopted by Lincoln ! This is Seward's:
I close. We are not, we must not be, aliens or enemies, but fellowcountrymen and brethren. Although passion has strained our bonds of affection too hardly, they must not, I am sure they will not, be broken. The mystic chords which, proceeding from so many battle-fields and so many patriot graves, pass through all the hearts and all hearths in this broad continent of ours, will yet again
harmonize in their ancient music when breathed upon by the guardian angel of the nation.
And this is Lincoln's:
I am loath to close.
We are not enemies, but friends. We must be enemies. Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battle-field and patriot grave to every living heart and hearthstone all over this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.
There is in this last something that suggests music; again we hear the strain of the Leitmotif. Strangely enough, in 1858 Lincoln himself had used a figure not the same as, but suggestive of, this very one now given by
Seward. He was speaking of the moral sentiment, the sentiment of equality, in the Declaration of Independence. “That,” he said, “is the electric chord in that Declaration, that links the hearts of patriotic and liberty-loving men together, that will link those patriotic hearts as long as the love of freedom exists in the minds of men throughout the world.”
In the final paragraph of the Second Inaugural we find again the haunting music with which the First Inaugural closed. On the heart of what AmericanNorth or South -are not the words imprinted?
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