Hesperian student / (Lincoln [Neb.]) 1872-1885, May 02, 1890, Page 12, Image 12

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T it k h eis i ii n 1 a n
certain futuie the destin) of out i net, dedicated to truth and
to God; and vc may hear reverbraling thiough the eontuiies
the glad anthem of that 'vaiicd music from an hundred
tongues Our English Language.
13. H. Timberlake, U. of M., Minneapolis, Minn.
A quarter of a century ago, the fiercest civil war of history
was rending our land. Underlying that strife were two an
tagonistic principles. Though the supporters of these prin
ciples had been pacified for many years by compromise, the
bitterness of feeling had ever continued to increase. When
at length all hope of reconciliation was lost, and the destruc
tion of the Union was threatened, there appeared a man who
led the loyal party to victory, and forever sealed the bond of
the states. 1 hat man was Abraham .Lincoln, ne was not
only chief in ending the struggle, but he had been one of the
first to see its approach. His voice early proclaimed to an
agitated nation, "this government cannot permanently en
dure, half slave and half free." He believed the principle
of slavery wrong, and always opposed its extension. The
clanking of the chains on the slave dock at New Orleans in
1832, never ceased to sound in his ears till, in 1863, he gave
to the world his "Edict of Freedom," and the fetters
dropped from four million slaves.
Lincoln was pre-eminently a man of the people. To pos
sess and to maintain the support of the masses, a man must
have an open heart. He must not shroud his talents in mys
terious grcntucss, but in simplicity and honesty submit his
actions to the tribunal of the people. Lincoln, coming from
the New West, where only the genuine passes, bore deep
traces of frontier life, and until the tragic end they remained
in his honest nature as indelible stamps of integrity. Col
lege had neither "dimmed nor polished" his rare native
powers. He was ever a learner, and acquired only for use.
With a conscience untarnished by the greed of personal gain
and with an abundance of common sense, he unerringly dis
tinguished right from wrong, and unfalteringly championed
the cause of right. With clear insight into the thoughts of
men, he stood before the people the embodiment of their own
desires as intensified by his iron logic and the candor of his
simple words. With his pure life he wrought the tie that
bound him to their hearts.
As an orator and statesman he stands pre-eminent. His
oratory was pure, simple, sublime. He claimed the inatten
tive ear, awakened the dormant imagination thrilled the cold
heart, and convinced the critical brain. His unanswerable
logic in debate with Douglas brought him to the head of his
party in Illinois, and carried his name into every Northern
home. His Cooper Institute speech convinced and electrified
the culture of the East, and gave him the nomination at Chic
ago. His words at Gettysburg touched the heart-strings of
every patriot, and ranked him with the leading orators of the
world. ,
His statesmanship was the product of a clear intellect, a
faultless judgment and a fearless soul. His first inaugural
address is a marvel of conciliation, love, and firmness, all
overshadowed by a presentiment of possible national disrup
tion. His selection and retention of his cabinet are the high
est proofs of his consummate ability as a leader. His correc
tions in' Seward's dispatch to Adams at the court of St.
James, snared us a third English war, and proved beyond
question his sagacious statesmanship and diplomacy.
I would not detract one woid of pi .use from the deserv
ing names of Seward and of Chase, ol Garrison and of Phillips,
of Sherman and of Grant; nor from the other true and loyal
men who served their country with rare talent and patriotic
zeal; nor from the heroic throng who lost their lives in their
country's cause; nor yet from the brave veterans who lived to
rejoice over their victories and mourn for their fallen chief;
but Lincoln, embodying the earnestness of Ganisonand the
logic of Webster, the statesmanship of Seward and the leader
ship of Grant, the unyielding fiiinness of Stanton and the
moderation of Clay, stands in his native majesty, simple, un
affected the ideal of American patriotism. The candid
mind can do naught else than yield homage to his nobler
No man ever had a keener sense of humor, or employed
it more habitually. His appreciation of a good story, and
his power to apply it in illustration, arc characteristics which
cling to his name with lasting tenacity. Clitics have thought
tu find a lack of sincerity in this; it is hut a witness to the
honesty of his nature. No mun during the uat felt the Ihp-Ipm
as did Lincoln. When the bitterness of party spirit thic.it
encd to rob him ol united support, when radical assailed him
from the right and conservative Irom the left, the enormous
strain thrown upon him could be enduicd by no mind nine
licved. When the battle raged and shells were shrieking, no
car listened with more painful anxiety, no eye watched witli
more vigilant care. When the Union troops began to wavci,
intense anguish seized his soul and sunk the furrows deeper
in his sad and tragic face. In such times as these, a story or
the pages of a humorist gave him mental escape, and it is to
his lasting credit that he employed them, regardless of the
opinions of others.
Lincoln had a strong individuality. Ilis furrowed lace be
tokened the struggles of a burdened heart, his smile bright
ened every countenance it met. lie was original, yet wady
to adopt; but when he hail reproduced what he had received
from others, it was stamped with his own personality. He
controlled men with a master hand. To Seward he said:
"If this must be done I must do it;" to Greeley he replied:
"I would save the Union;" he said to his cabinet and con
gress: "One war at a time;" to Govcmoi Seymour he urged:
"The draft must go on;" to Secretary Chase he explained:
"Only as a military necessity;" to his iron willed secretary
of war he declared: "It will have to be done." Though
he was firm, he was never obstinate; nay, he was ever indul
gent. What other ruler in the whole history of ages would
have tolerated the offences of McClellan? Yet Lincoln
knew the general's heart was right, and history commends
his forbearance. Nothing so characterizes a man as his use
of power. A desire to assert authority when possessing it, Is
a weakness common to humanity. To use and not abuse, is
to pass to the ideal. Lincoln, possessing almost dictatorial
power, never abused it unless to pardon.
For piety and goodness he stands among rulers without a
peer. Read his faicwcll address to his friends at Springfield,
and there learn his implicit trust in "that Divine Being
who attended Washington." Listen to his reproof of the
minister who hoped the Lord was on our side: "It is my con
stant prayer that I may be on the Lord's side." Follow him
in his long black cloak as he goes into the inner chamber- at
the White House, and there alone in the darkness, pours out
his soul to the King of kings, and asks for Divine guidance.
Behold his moral courage-when the national committee came
to inform him of his nomination. "I can offer you my only
beverage, pure water," he said, with that modest frankness
which is the grace of nature. Watch him as that mother ap
proaches, with suppressed emotion and cautious tread.
"Her boy will be shot to-morrow." See that look of sympa
thy, of tenderness, and watch the countenance of that mother
brighten. His pen has saveJ her boy. Her joy has glad
dened his heart. His sense of justice was like the
divine. He sought to convince, not to coerce; to pardon,
not to punish; to soothe, not to accuse. "He was mercy
mailed injustice."
Thus he stands before us, the Great Emancipator, the
First American. He has been a poor boy. His latent ener
gies have been aroused by the suffering of the slave. His
noble nature cannot understand why all mankind should not
be free. Bit great as is his heart, it is controlled by a greater
mind. He challenges the champion of slavery extension.
His penetrating logic shatters the skillful sophistry of "his
antagonist. His country is in the throes of death and he is
called to be its deliverer. Slavery is now recognized to' have
been the cause of the war. Emancipation is urged. The
cherished dream of Lincoln's youth is transferred fiom his
heart to a paper in yondei drawer. Hut it is not yet tune.
Oh, the suffering of suspense l Will the Union troops gain
no victory? Yes; the stars and stripes float over Aiiticlam,
and by his proclamation Lincoln is immortal. He is asked
to dedicate to the Union dead the spot where the heroes fell.
See his tall form advancing, his head bowed, his hands
folded before him. The perils of the nation rest upon him.
The sob that icaches his ear tells the fate of a patriot son.
Around him, skirting the throng of throbbing hearts, lie the
"honored dead who have consecrated the hallowed ground
far above the power of other men to add or to detract, testing
whether a nation conceived in liberty and dedicated to the
pioposition that all men are created equal, can long endure."
Ilis key-note is the hope "that the dead shall not have died
in vain; that this nation, under God, shall have a '"new birth
of freedom, and that government of the people, by the peo
ple, for the people, shall not perish from the earth." lie is
advancing to deliver his second inaugural. Louk into the