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the earth. All this is now obvious to every reflecting mind. But for the violent death of our Chief Magistrate at so important a crisis in our history, we cannot, as yet, discover the reason. That some wise design is to be answered by it, we do not doubt; but what it is we are unable to comprehend. Clouds and darkness enshroud the providential dispensation and it beconies us in Christian faith and submission, to bow reverently before the inscrutable mystery.
In contemplating the career of Abraham Lincoln, we cannot but discover the fostering character of our institutions, and the encouragement held out to native talent and industry in whatever outward condition they may be found. Passing a portion of his earlier years in a section of Indiana which was then an almost uninhabited wilderness, he acquired among the hardships of frontier life, those habits of self-reliance and persistent energy which became the marked attributes of his subsequent character. He afterwards resided in the state of Illinois, where, in 1832, he took an active part in the Indian war which so sadly disturbed the western portion of the country. At the close of his brief military service he engaged in the study of the law, and by a natural transition, entered the political arena of the state. In 1847 he became a member of the congress of the United States, where he acquired honorable distinction among
power as a statesman became more fully known, in 1858, when, opposed to Senator Douglas- no mean antagonist — he maintained on equal terms a protracted struggle, during which he evinced qualities of intellect, force of reasoning, comprehensiveness of judgment, and ability to grasp and master some of the most intricate questions of national policy, which attracted to him the attention of the nation, and prepared the way for his advancement to the high position which he so recently and honorably sustained. How humane and how efficient the character of that government, which thus takes charge of a child of penury and toil, opens the way for his intellectual and moral improvement, recognizes and fosters his true native worth, however rude the outward garb, and places within his reach the highest position of honor and trust, within the gift of a mighty people! Such is the genius of our institutions. It exercises a paternal care over all its children, seeking to qualify each for useful service. And how beautifully and forcibly is this feature illustrated in the history of him, for whose death the nation this day sits in the dust and refuses to be comforted ! A few years since he was a plain man, comparatively obscure, and possessing little more than a mere local notoriety. But how by the discipline of native powers in the conflicts of public life, during which his mind was in contact with the profoundest questions and principles of national policy, was he prepared, when the great occasion demanded it, to loom up and become distinguished among the foremost statesmen of the world. What a sublime tribute to the character of our institutions! In this country distinction depends not upon contingencies of location or birth. The road to eminence is open equally to all, and there is no royal avenue to the summit. Here, intellect alone is the secret of success, intellect well cultivated and well balanced, and directed with persevering energy to the accomplishment of noble objects. Every American youth may aspire to become an American lord, a man who depends upon a higher distinction than an hereditary title, whose name is enrolled in nature's own peerage and who carries the patent of his nobility in his intellect and his heart.
Were I to attempt an analysis of the character of the lamented dead, I would not hesitate to accord to him a high measure of intellectual power. And by this I do not assert that he possessed either brilliancy of genius or extended literary acquirements, or vastness of research. He was, for the most part, a self-educated man, and was indebted to the schools for little more than the simplest rudiments of education. With natural capacities of a high order, his mind acquired, amid the struggles of public life, a culture, a vigor and a breadth which no institution of learning can ordinarily impart. He possessed, to a surprising degree, the faculty of penetrating deep into the intricacies of theories and arguments, detecting both the truth and the error that might be either magnified or concealed beneath the drapery of rhetoric, or the mystifications of false logic. He seems to have had an intuitive insight into the nature and relations of things, a ready perception of the bearings of measures and policies, and could anticipate results with a sort of prophetic foresight. His style was chaste, his words were few and well chosen, and his arguments pertinent and conclusive. Practical wisdom, or stern common sense, which always constitutes the basis of a sound judgment and of safe conclusions, was a preëminent attribute of his mind. He was patient and deliberate in investigating measures and in weighing the arguments for or against their adoption ; and when he had reached a conclusion, it partook of the character of a positive unchangeable conviction, which resulted in corresponding action. No man ever had greater responsibilities resting upon him than he. No man was ever called to act in circumstances of greater perplexity, surrounded by counsellors of conflicting views and variant policies, and not certain always who were strictly loyal, and who were concealed traitors. Yet with a calm determination and an unwavering purpose he pursued one steady course, met every responsibility, and during the season of the most imminent peril, conducted the affairs of the nation in a manner which has elicited the admiration of the purest patriots and the wisest statesmen in all parts of the civilized world.
He possessed also a well balanced character. And here, I know not that I can do better than quote a brief passage from a recent writer who has pertinently expressed my views on this point.
“With a unanimity rarely equaled, a people who had fought eight years against a tax of three pence on the pound, and that was rapidiy advancing to the front rank of nations through the victories of peace, a people jealous of its liberties and proud of its prosperity, has reëlected to the chief magistracy a man under whose administration burdensome taxes have been levied, immense armies marshaled, imperative drafts ordered, and fearful suffering endured. They have done this because, in spite of possible mistakes and short-comings, they have seen his. grasp ever tightening around the throat of slavery, his weapons ever seeking the vital point of the rebellion. They have beheld him standing always at his post, calm in the midst of peril, hopeful when all was dark, patient under every obloquy, courteous to his bitterest foes, conciliatory where conciliation was possible, inflexible where to yield was dishonor. Never have the passions of civil war betrayed him into cruelty or hurried him into revenge; nor has any hope of personal benefit or any fear of personal detriment stayed him when occasion beckoned. If he has erred, it has been on the side of leniency. If he has hesitated, it has been to assure himself of the right. Where there was censure, he claimed it for himself; where there was praise, he lavished it upon his subordinates. The strong he has braved, and the weak sheltered. He has rejected the counsels of his friends when they were inspired by partizanship, and adopted the sug