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he would have been fully justified in committing to subordinates; and that never-failing fund of cheerfulness, that exhaustless humor which the most complicated problem would so often "remind of a story,” that elasticity which suffered him to bate not one jot of heart or hope in those times when the strongest held their breath, were God's own gifts to the care-worn man, blessed springs of refreshing and strength gushing up all along the dusty road of official duty. His errors, some of them, lay in the direction of his kindness. His deep conscientiousness, his keen sense of justice, his unwillingness to wrong anything human, and perhaps his too great faith in the natural goodness of mankind, led him at times to be lenient and forgiving, when many thought that severity would have been but justice. His personal kindness had extended to his own assassin. His mind, at the time of his death, was full of schemes for the forgiveness and restoration of the traitors who had struck at the nation's heart; and if it be that the South is avenged in his death, she will find it to be a vengeance that will recoil upon her own head; for in him she has lost her best friend, and however little we could afford to
spare him, she could afford it still less.
The lightness and jocularity of which I have spoken, were but a veil for sterner traits. They were but as the waving verdure, flecked with passing shadows, and toyed with by every wind, yet growing upon the everlasting hills whose heart is rock, and whose foundations are in the depths of the earth. His uprightness has passed into a proverb. His jest and story covered a strength of purpose, a rigid determination, an adherence to principle which no crooked policy could undermine, and which no bribe was great enough to tempt. In the real old Roman sense of the term he was an honest man—an embodiment of manly worth and honor. Where men or measures stood in the way of principle they must go down. When even plausible views of moral right on certain great questions were urged upon him by reformers, he could even consent for the time to be deemed false to the great objects of philanthropy, rather than swerve from his conscientiously chosen policy. He did not consult personal popularity. He regarded himself as the people's servant; and to do their work in the best way, and in accordance with his sworn obligation to the Constitution, was his sole care, And the
secret of this lay in his religiousness. From the time of his assumption of his office to his death, his words on all public occasions breathe a spirit of trust in the God of nations. As nearly as I can ascertain, moreover, circumstances go to indicate that after his assumption of office, he became the subject of deeper religious experience. This sentiment is the key-note of the few words spoken by him on leaving his home for Washington. “Washington would never have succeeded except for the aid of Divine Providence, upon which he at all times relied. I feel that I cannot succeed without the same Divine aid which sustained him, and on the same Almighty being I place my reliance for support.” Of him it might be justly said, as of William of Orange, to whose character his own presents some points of similarity: “From his trust in God, he ever derived support and consolation in the darkest hours. Implicitly relying upon Almighty wisdom and goodness, he looked danger in the face with a constant smile, and endured incessant labors and trials with a serenity which seemed more than human ;” and, in the beautiful words of him who pronounced his funeral eulogy, “While we admired and loved him on many accounts, more suitable than any
or all of these, more holy and influential, more beautiful and strong and sustaining, was his habitual confidence in God, and in the final triumph of truth and righteousness through him and for His sake. This was his noblest virtue and grandest principle, the secret alike of his strength, his patriotism and his success. And this, it seems to me, after being near him steadily, and with him often for more than four years, is the principle by which, more than by any other, he being dead yet speaketh.”
Oh! were it my lot to speak this day to men in high places, I would commend to him who comes to Abraham Lincoln's place, this trait above any in Abraham Lincoln's character. I would implore him by the great interests of humanity now committed to him, in view of the fact that the questions which sway the nation to-day have risen far above the realm of politics, into that of morals and religion ; in view of the insignificance of all human power and wisdom, in an arena where God is so manifestly exercising control, and shaping the age's destiny, to look to this first of all. I would implore him to let the wave of prayer that sweeps toward him from every hearthstone in the land, bear him to the secret place of the
Most High, there to seek the leadings of that higher will, there to have his thought drawn into sympathy with the Divine purposes, there to be clad in the mantle of Lincoln's unswerving faith, and thence to come forth and place himself at the nation's head, girt with a sublimer strength, a purer patriotism, and a holier wisdom.
The elements of the President's intellectual character were not complex. It has been taken for granted that he did not exhibit the characteristics of a great statesman.
But without presuming to deny this, I would not be too certain that he was wanting in the capacities for the highest statesmanship. His discernment was quick; his power of generalizing not inferior; his grasp of a subject firm ; his knowledge of political machinery extensive, though gathered from experience more than from study. His policy, as exhibited in his administration, was cautious and farreaching. To his sterling integrity and frankness he added the wiliness of a Talleyrand. Under other influences, and in a foreign court, he might have developed into a diplomat of the first order. After all that has been said of his statesmanship, it cannot be denied that he piloted the nation through one of the most difficult of all