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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 accelerate 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 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
his election to the Presidency the great statesman and orator was engaged in delivering a totally uninspired lecture on “Discoveries, Inventions, and Improvements” in towns near Springfield, and in Springfield itself on Washington's Birthday in the fateful year of 1860. There was little in this lecture to attract the slightest attention; and while it may
have given satisfaction among neighbors, it could never have added to his fame. Yet when he had the opportunity of an engagement to lecture on political subjects in this same month of February, he made what is now known as the “great address” at Cooper Union. Soon after this came his nomination, then his election to the Presidency of the United States; and with these events he may be said to have
resumed his true literary career, for his style was at its best only when he was dealing with a cause in which his whole heart was enlisted.
By way of contrast to what has passed and is to come, let us cull some of the passages in which shone Lincoln's wit and humor. How pleasing it is to know that his melancholy nature, his burdened spirit,
refreshed with glimpses- often storms-of mirth! They say that to see Lincoln laugh was an amazing sight.
The humor of which we learn so much from those who heard him tell his quaint and often Rabelaisian stories
out sharply and roughly in one of his congressional speeches, in which he referred with grim sarcasm to General Cass's military record