Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

Father of his country.

Personal Characteristics.

Favorite Poem.

other means than those be was impelled to employ. That is theory. He reduced his to practice. For himself, he could work only in his own harness; and patiently, persistently, painfully he worked on till the goal was reached.

Well has Washington been styled the Father of his Country. Yet this arose from veneration rather than from love ; for the most felt such an impassable gulf between themselves and the patriot-hero, that to them he appeared of quite another order of beings than themselves.

Abraham Lincoln was both Saviour and Father; for he preserved whatever was most valuable in the old and created a new order of things possessing an inherent dignity and importance which the old never had. And such titles the people bestow upon him through love.

The characteristics of the man stood prominently out in the statesman. He had not one garb as an official and another as a citizen. No change marked his transit from the chat of the drawing-room to the consultation of cabinet. What he was in the one situation he was in the other. His peculiar humor was not, as those who least knew bim judged, his habitual disposition. More of melancholy and sadness centred in him than most were aware. His favorite poemgiven below for the sufficient reason that it was his favorite -attests the vein of pensiveness which was in him. “ There is one poem,” he remarked in conversation, “that is almost continually present with me : it comes in my mind whenever I have relief from thought and care.”

Oh, why should the spirit of mortal be proud ?
Like a swift, fleeting meteor, a fast-flying cloud,
A flash of the lightning, a break of the wave,
Man passeth from life to his rest in the grave.
The leaves of the oak and the willow shall fade,
Be scattered around and together be laid ;
And the young and the old, and the low and the high,
Shall moulder to dust and together shall lie.

His Favorite Poem.

His Favorite Poem.

The infant a mother attended and loved ;
The mother that infant's affection who proved;
The husband that mother and infant who blessed,
Each, all, are away to their dwellings of Rest.

The maid on whose cheek, on whose brow, in whose eye,
Shone beauty and pleasure- her triumphs are by ;
And the memory of those who loved her and praised,
Are alike from the minds of the living erased.

The hand of the king that the sceptre hath borne ;
The brow of the priest that the mitre hath worn;
The eye of the sage and the heart of the brave,
Are hidden and lost in the depth of the grave.

The peasant whose lot was to sow and to reap;
The herdsman, who climbed with his goats up the steep;
The beggar, who wandered in search of his bread,
Have faded away like the grass that we tread.

The saint who enjoyed the communion of heaven,
The sinner who dared to remain unforgiven,
The wise and the foolish, the guilty and just,
Have quietly mingled their bones in the dust.

So the multitude goes, like the flowers or the weed
That withers away to let others succeed;
So the multitude comes, even those we behold,
To repeat every tale that has often been told.

For we are the same our fathers have been ;
We see the same sights our fathers have seen-
We drink the same stream and view the same sun-
And run the same course our fathers have run.

The thoughts we are thinking our fathers would think;
From the death we are shrinking our fathers would shrink,
To the life we are clinging they also would cling;
But it speeds for us all, like a bird on the wing.

They loved, but the story we cannot unfold;
They scorned, but the heart of the haughty is cold ;
They grieved, but no wail from their slumber will come;
They joyed, but the tongue of their gladness is dumb.

His Favorite Poem.

Record of his Life.

Always a Learner.

They died, aye ! they died ; and we things that are now,
Who walk on the turf that lies over their brow,
Who make in their dwelling a transient abode,
Meet the things that they met on their pilgrimage road.

Yea! hope and despondency, pleasure and pain,
We mingle together in sunshine and rain ;
And the smile and the tear, the song and the dirge,
Still follow each other, like surge upon surge.

'Tis the wink of an eye, 'tis the draught of a breath;
From the blossom of health to the paleness of death,
From the gilded saloon to the bier and the shroud-
Oh why should the spirit of mortal be proud ?

No one was more modest than he. Look at the record of his life as furnished by himself, in 1858, for Lanman's Dictionary of Congress :

“Born February 12, 1809, in Hardin county, Kentucky. “Education Defective. “Profession a lawyer. “Have been a captain of volunteers in the Black Hawk war. “ Postmaster at a very small office. “Four times a member of the Illinois Legislature. “And was a member of the lower House of Congress. “Yours, etc.,

A. LINCOLN.” With no self-conceit, a pupil in the school of events, he was never ashamed to confess himself a learner, and as such he grew and ripened. Equable in his temperament, never wrathful or passionate, none need have been his enemy, unless such an one were intended for an enemy of the human race. Mild and forgiving, he never allowed the unmerited abuse which was heaped upon him to affect in the least his intercourse or dealings with its authors. His very failings leaned to mercy's side. There is scarcely a hamlet in the loyal States that does not contain some witness of his clemency and lenity. One of the most touching incidents con

Touching Incident.

An Avowed Christian.

His Reverential Spirit.

nected with his obsequies at Washington was the placing on his coffin of a wreath of flowers, sent from Boston by the sister of a young man whom he had pardoned when sentenced to death for some military offence.

Honored as a private citizen, happy in his domestic relations, successful as a statesman, he was, moreover, an avowed Christian. He often said that his reliance in the gloomiest hours was on his God, to whom he appealed in prayer, although he had never become a professor of religion. To a clergyman who asked him if he loved his Saviour, be replied :

“When I was first inaugurated I did not love him ; when God took my son I was greatly impressed, but still I did not love him; bụt when I stood upon the battle-field of Gettysburg I gave my heart to Christ, and I can now say I do love the Saviour."

Attention has already been called to the reverential spirit which pervades his official papers; and this was the index of the 'man. Leaving home, he invoked the prayers of his lownsmen and friends; during the excitements of his Washington life, he leaned upon a more than human arm ; against his pure moral character not even his bitterest enemy could truthfully utter a word.

Such-imperfectly sketched, and at best but in rude outline—was Abraham Lincoln. The manner of his death invests his name with a tragic interest. This will be but temporary. But the more the man as he was is known, the more completely an insight is obtained into his true character, the more his private and public life is studied, the more carefully his acts are weighed, the higher will he rise in the estimation of all whose esteem is desirable. Coming years will detract nought from him. He has passed into history. There no lover of bonesty and integrity, no admirer of firmness and resolution, no sympathizer with conscientious conviction, no friend of man need fear to leave

ABRAHAM LINCOLN.

Speech in Congress.

The Mexican War,

APPENDIX.

MR. LINCOLN'S SPEECHES IN CONGRESS AND ELSEWHERE,

PROCLAMATIONS, LETTERS, ETC., NOT INCLUDED IN THE BODY OF THE WORK.

SPEECH ON THE MEXICAN WAR.

(In Committee of the Whole House, January 12, 1848.)

Mr. Lincoln addressed the Committee as follows:

“MR. CHAIRMAN :—Some, if not all, of the gentlemen on the other side of the House, who have addressed the Committee within the last two days, have spoken rather complainingly, if I have rightly understood them, of the vote given a week or ten days ago, declaring that the war with Mexico was unnecessarily and unconstitutionally commenced by the President. I admit that such a vote should not be given 'in mere party wantonness, and that the one given is justly censurable, if it have no other or better foundation. I am one of those who joined in that vote; and did so under my best impression of the truth of the case. How I got this impression, and how it may possibly be removed, I will now try to show. When the war began, it was my opinion that all those who, because of knowing too little, or because of knowing too much, could not conscientiously approve the conduct of the President (in the beginning of it), should, nevertheless, as good citizens and patriots, remain silent on that point, at least till the war should be ended. Some leading Democrats, including ex-President Van Buren, have taken this same view, as I understand them; and I adhered to it,

« AnteriorContinuar »