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his hand to quicken the machinery. It will record how sacredly he respected the Constitutional rights of the Souih; how timely were his warnings; how liberal his solicitations, until at last, when he saw that God's purpose was ripe, when, having kept adroitly in the rear of events, yet having so employed them as to make the full power of the popular wave bear him to his goal, he rose in his might, and with a word that echoed through the world, the fetters fell forever from the slave. How a great moral act like this looms up amid the political developnients of the age, and those things which more directly touch us as individuals—questions of financial policy, learned diplomatic correspondence, generals, victories, deeds of individual heroism, party triumphs. For when state volumes shall be mouldering in libraries, and the soldiers' children's children playing with his rusty sword and asking its story, when the names of old political parties shall be obsolete, and the issues which created them forgotten, this fact shall be fresh in the nation's memory. Abraham Lincoln signed the death warrant of American slavery. Thank God, “ the past at least is secure." What he has done in this matter will not be undone. The moral
sentiment of the nation, educated by the stern discipline of war and sorrow, has followed up the blow and clinched the nail, and to-day one mighty will pulsates from East to West, that this curse shall be no more.
Shut close thine accursed door, oh! slave mart Stand in the midst of the Southern cities, a monument of a past barbarism, a haunted place past which the belated wayfarer shall hasten, and whose story of horror shall be told with bated breath. Where the auctioneer's hammer sealed the doom of humanity and virtue, let the rank grass grow, and scorpions lurk, and silence brood, and over its door let it be written — “ Aceldama." Lie still, oh! slave ship, in thy port, thou whose every plank and timber is seasoned with bitter tears; lie still and rot in the blistering sun; let the foul slime and ooze gather about thy keel, and the crawling things of the deep, foul shapes that fishers' line never brought to light, lurk in thy shadow; and let the breeze refuse to fill thine idle sails, and no traitorous wind ever send thee lessening down the west on thy mission of woe. Pile the fetters into the furnace, and let the molten flood pour forth into moulds of plow and pruning-hook wherewith the ransomed man shall bring beauty
out of the wilderness, and train the clustering vines of the South over his cabin, his home, his castle, on whose threshold he shall have a man's right to stand and keep the destroyer from his flock. This land at least cannot, dare not renew the curse.
It dare not cancel the charter to which Abraham Lincoln set his hand. His great shade would rise from the grave in its fiery indig. nation. No, the hand cannot be found that shall rivet the chains again, and this deed of his shall stand in time to come, a monument more enduring than brass, whose inscription angels shall pause to read on their messages of peace.
. But he could not be spared to us longer. His work here was done. Heaven had new and higher purposes concerning him which it does not reveal to us; and now that he has been so mysteriously and suddenly snatched from us, it becomes us to ask with all due reverence, “ What does it mean?”
He must be presumptuous indeed who shall assume to interpret such a providence, and to say for what end this blow hath fallen. We can do little more than sit reverently at God's closed gates, and wait until He shall tell us more. Yet there are some thoughts so naturally suggested to us that we should not be justified in wholly passing them by.
The juncture at which the event occurred is significant. The President was fully committed to a vigorous prosecution of the war, and to the submission of the rebels as the first condition of peace. He was re-elected on this basis over a man who, in all human probability, would have stopped the war where it was, patched up an unrighteous peace, and left the whole fundamental question open for our children to settle. Lincoln lived to see his policy carried out—the military power of the rebellion broken ; and almost at the very hour of this consummation his life was cut short. I accept this as an indication that his work as an instrument of Providence ended here, and that the work of reconstruction belonged to other and doubtless fitter instruments. I will not positively assert that his policy toward traitors was so much too lenient that God replaced him by a man who, we have good reason to think, will not err in this direction. Yet I say that this may be so, and that it looks like it. Mr. Lincoln was a man whose policy was formed in the light of events, and in this instance it had not had time to develop itself fully; but I have no hesitation in saying that in so far as it had developed itself, it was setting, in my opinion, much too strongly
in the direction of lenity and conciliation. We may talk as we will about the great right of freedom of speech, but if this right be admitted to be unlimited at all times, I cannot see but that a popular government like this deliberately exposes itself to the most mischievous of all results—a perverted public opinion. I see nothing in the letter or spirit of the Constitution which should prevent such men as Vallandigham and the Woods, and others who might be named, whose treason was open and blatant, and who, from their public position and influence, were enabled to divide the North, and give aid and comfort to our enemies—nothing which should prevent their mouths being stopped, and they themselves being put beyond the possibility of doing further mischief. And as for the leading traitors of the South-the men who struck their blow deliberately and with malice aforethought, who, for years before the overt act, were digging their mines and laying their train, I call upon the Christian justice and common sense of this nation to show cause why they should not suffer the extreme penalty of the law ? Do we not yet realize the full significance of their crime ? Have we been so free from the damning crime of