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In July, 1862, the President conferred with the loyal governors, and yielded to their desire that more men should be summoned to the defence of the country. The senators and representatives of the border States were at this time invited to a personal conference ; the President talked freely with them in regard to gradual emancipation, reading to them a letter which he had prepared, in which he stated his views explicitly, and closed it with the following eloquent appeal : “ You are patriots and statesmen; and, as such, I pray you consider this proposition, and, at the least, commend it to the consideration of your States and people. As you would perpetuate popular government for the best people in the world, I beseech you that you do in no.wise omit this. Our common country is in great peril, demanding the loftiest views and boldest action to bring a *speedy relief. Once relieved, its form of government is saved to the world, its beloved history and cherished memories are vindicated, and its happy future fully assured, and rendered inconceivably grand. To you, more than to any others, the privilege is given to assure that happiness and swell that grandeur, and to link your own names therewith forever."
An able article in the leading Review* of our land expatiates upon the progress of the country towards an acknowledgment of freedom and equality for all, without distinction of color, and says, –
“While every day was bringing the people nearer to the conclusion which all thinking men saw to be inevitable from the beginning, it was wise in Mr. Lincoln to leave the shaping of his policy to events. In this country, where the rough and ready understanding of the people is sure at last to be the controlling power, a profound common sense is the best genius for statemanship. Hitherto the wisdom of the President's measures has been justified by the fact that they have always resulted in more firmly uniting public opinion.”
*“North-American Review " for January, 1864. g*
It is manifestly evident to candid minds that slavery was the cause of our troublous times, and that the course pursued by the President, under divine direction, was such as to overthrow slavery, and thus secure peace. There could be no permanent peace or prosperity with that accursed system among us, which the great Methodist, John Wesley, declared to be “the sum of all villanies."
President Hopkins, of Williams College, has summed up the proofs of the direful effects of slavery in the following words :
“Slavery may stand as the type and culmination of all oppressive systems, and the testimony consists in a manifestation of its legitimate and matured fruits.
“ Till our armies went South, and Southern prisoners came North, there was but a slight impression among us of the general ignorance under such a system; of the number who could not read, or sign their names. But for this ignorance, there could have been no rebellion. There had been no adequate conception of the want of thrift and general behind-handedness, nor of the pervading spirit at once of license and of despotism. What were called the abuses of the system were more frequent and foul than had been supposed. But these are little compared with the spirit of the system as revealed,first by atrocities in the treatment of Southern Union mei, ac exceeded by any thing in the Sepoy Rebellion; second by the massacre at Fort Pillow, intended to be the inauguration of a policy ; third by the preparations to blow up Libby Prison ; fourth by the deliberate, systematic, long-continued exposure, neglect, and starvation of Union prisoners; and, finally, by the assassination of the President. These things we do not charge to all the people of the South. They are like other men. Many are better than their system : but we do charge them to the spirit of the system; and we say, that by these exposures and revelations, culminating as they did in a way to send a thrill of horror through the civilized world, God has pilloried the system before the nations, and all that has affinity with it.
“ That there were atrocities on our side we do not deny. They are incident to war. But we do deny any thing that can be at all an offset to such a record. It is to be said further on the part of the North, that the war was carried on here chiefly without proscription; and that, in connection with it, there were the Sanitary and Christian Commissions that furnished by voluntary contribution millions for the aid of wounded and sick soldiers, to be applied equally, so far as might be, to friend and foe. Any thing like these, in connection with war, no institutions or form of government had ever before developed."
We of the North could not, then, be accused of barbarism further than war necessarily involves. We fought under a commander-in-chief whose heart was as tender as a father toward his soldiers, and who was as lenient towards his enemies as He could desire who said, " Bless them that curse you." But he was a magistrate, and it was not for him to "bear the sword in vain."
God knew the heart of our beloved Lincoln; and He, who prepared him for the glorious work before him, un. doubtedly approved of the course he pursued while the country of his patriot love was writhing like a second Laocoon in the teible folds of the serpent Treason.
PECULIAR TRIAL 8.
“ Trials make the promise sweet,
Trials give new life to prayer,
Lay me low, and keep me there."
« These are they that came up out of great tribulation, and have washed their
robcs, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.” REV. vii. 14.
ALL great and noble natures have their great and peculiar trials; and no name stands on the heights of his. tory, as a beacon for the nations, which has not been fitted for its position by trial and suffering. One farseeing woman of our land has said, “Whatever is highest and holiest is tinged with melancholy. The eye of genius has always a plaintive expression, and its natural language is pathos. A prophet is sadder than other men; and He who was greater than all prophets was a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief.” * And another, whose own experience has taught her the taste of Marah's waters, and whose "Uncle Tom" was the creature of her sympathy with sorrow, as well as the truthful exponent of the woes of slavery, has said, with the force of highest wisdom,“ Sorrow is the great birthagony of immortal powers; sorrow is the great searcher and revealer of hearts, the great test of truth; ... sorrow reveals forces in ourselves of which we never dreamed; ... sorrow is divine.
sorrow is divine. Sorrow is reigning on the throne of the universe, and the crown of all crowns has been one of thorns." *
* Mrs. Lydia Maria Child
It is evident that the ministry of sorrow to the human soul is one which elevates, strengthens, purifies. It is among the "all things " that "work together for good” to the child of God. Abraham Lincoln was among those favored ones for whom the “light afflictions” of this world were to "work the far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.” Of some peculiar trials which his great soul experienced during the years of his presidency, it is here designed to speak; though it may be true that other weights were upon his expanding spirit, and other trials, even more grievous, oppressed his soul: for, evermore, the bidden sorrow is deepest, and only the human heart itself knowoth its own bitterness. By the very greatness of Lincoln's character, we may measure the discipline of trial and sorrow through which he had to pass while a sojourner on earth. This life is the childhood of our existence; and God deals with us all as a father with his children, wisely correcting us in need. ed discipline, for our highest good.
We know some of the trials of his early life, his bitter grief at the loss of a beloved mother, his struggles amid poverty and other discouragements. And, when he became the President of the vast Republic, there was laid upon him the burden of responsibility which must rest upon a leader in the time of civil war.
His personal friend Col. Deming declares, “The hour when doubt and hesitancy first yielded to the stern command of remorseless duty must have been the soberest, saddest, solemnest of his faithful life, not from doubt of the result, though that was sufficiently perplexing; not
* Mrs. Stowe's“ Minister's Wooing."