Hiram P Crozier.

The nation's loss. A discourse upon the life, services, and death of Abraham Lincoln, late president of the United States online

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THE nation's loss. 11

Mr. Lincoln was oiFerecT the nomination for Governor by the
anti-Nebraska party in 1854, but lie declined in favor of Mr. Bis-

In 1858 came the greatest senatorial contest ever waged on this
continent, between Mi-. Lincoln and Mr. Douglas. Mr. Lincoln
again put forth great exertions and great talents as a del)ater,
and won in the popular election, while Mr. Douglas secured the
legislative triumph, lie impaled Mr. Douglas on his own double
doctrine of tlie Dred Scott decision and poj^ular sovereignty.
Mr. Lincoln's friends told him at Frccport :

" That if Mr. Douglas was cornered on the Drecl Scott decision, he would
throw the decision overboard, and take up popular sovereignty, and tlw.t^
they said, will make him Senator. ' That may be,' said Mr. Lincoln, and
his large gray eye twinkled, 'but if he takes that shoot, he never can be
President.' "

The great progress of Mr. Lincoln's mind on the question of
human rights is distinctly traced in this senatorial contest. No
man ever had a more wily, or more unscrupulous adversary than
was Senator Douglas. Mr. Douglas, of course, sought to arouse
popular prejudice against Mr. Lincoln by charges of negro equality
rung with such persistent misrepresentation by smaller men all
over the land. Mr Lincoln's reply was :

" I hold that the negro is as much entitled to all the'rights enumerated
in the Declaration of Independence, ' The right to life, liberty, and the pur-
suit of happiness,' as the white man. I agree with Judge Douglas— he
is not my equal in many respects ; certainly not in color ; perhaps not in
moral or intellectual endowment. But in the right to eat the bread, with-
out the leave of any one else, which his own hand earns, he is my equal, ajid
the equal of Judge Douglas^ and the equal of every living man.''''

Here Mr. Lincoln's early training is overcome. Here the j^rin-
ciple of chattelhood, so painfully manifest in his own bill for the
regulation of slavery in the District of Columbia, six years be-
fore, 1848, is manfully pushed away. Here the simple manhood
of the negro slave, however weak or despised that manhood may
be, is recognized, and the duty of Government maintained to pro-
tect it, with all its essential rights, as quick as it would protect
Judge Douglas, Mr. Lincoln himself, or any other living man !
Here expediency and policy, the bane of politics, are brushed
away, and solid principle put in their stead. Here the corner-
stone is laid for that unyielding character, which made him the
leader of a great people through the Red Sea of their distresses
to the borders of the promised land !

In Mr. Lincoln's speech to the Convention which nominated him
for the Senate, were these words of truth and prophecy, so often
used, both by his enemies and friends :

" A house divided against itself can not stand. I believe this Govern-
ment can not endure permanently half slave and half free. I do not ex-

12 TnE nation's loss.

pect the Union to be dissolvcil — I do not expect the house to fall, but I do
expect it will cease to be divided. It will become all the one thing, or all
the other."

Peeside:xt op the U:nited States.

In the Republican Convention which met at Chicago, May,
1860, there were present four hundred and sixty-five delegates.
On the third ballot Mr. Lincoln received three hundred and fifty-
four votes, and then, on motion of Mr. Evarts, of New- York, the
nomination for the high ofiice of President of the United States
was made inianimous.

His election Avas secured through a vigorous and exciting cam-
paign. It was the moral uprising of a great people rebuking
slavery propagandism, the Lecomj^ton swindle, the Dred Scott
inlamy, the Kansas tyrannies and cheats, in the sugar-coated name
ol Democracy. Not a man in the nation had done more to secure
the triumph than Mr. Lincoln himself, working with might and
main in the West years before he was thought of as standard-
bearer, and even when he had no chance of election as Governor
of Illinois, because his political principles would not yield to the
prejudices of his people. Mr. Douglas yielded and fiiiled. Mr.
Lincoln had faith iu God, faith in man, faith in the future, and tri-
umphed. No man in the nation was more worthy of the honors
of victory ! No man in the nation could have so safely carried
us over the first arch of the bridge from the old civilization to the
new !

His route to the capital was an ovation. He was needed there.
"Weakness, incapacity, treason, disintegration, were visible in ev-
ery part of the Government when Mr. Lincoln took the reins.
Secession was already accomplished. The rebel government was
inaugurated at Montgomery, February 18, 1861,"by the election
of Jeflersou Davis and Alexander H. Stephens. l)nvis issued a
flauntmg address, in which he declared the day of compromise
past. (He sj)oke the truth for once — it is 2)cist.)

" The South," he said, " will maintain her position, and make all who
oppose her smell Southern powder and feel Southern steel, if coercion is
persisted in. He felt sure of the result. It might be thei/ would have to
encounter inconveniences at the hcg inning, but he had no doubts of the final

We still think he spoke the truth. They have encountered in-
conveniences ; and we think Mr. Davis, a fieeing vagabond from
his own cai)ital, with cause and army and country lost, "has no
doubts of the final issue."

Twelve days before Mr. Lincoln was inaugurated in Washiilg-
ton, having escaped assassination in Baltimore, treason was inau-
gurated in Montgomery. Forty days after he had taken the oath
to preserve, protect, and defend tlie Constitution of the United
States, Fort Sumter was bombarded by order of the rebel con-
spiracy. Civil war was begim by the South, President Lincoln

THE nation's loss. 13

patiently but firmly acting on the defensive. Tlis Inaugural Ad-
dress was a marvel of magnanimity, containing not one Avord of
rei)roach to the South — not one menace — not one threat. On the
other hand, it leaned toward them — it took them by the hand —
it assured them of certain protection of all their old rights \mder
the Constitution. It closed with these words of warning and en-
treaty, without a parallel in any state paper in the history of the
world :

" In your hands, my dissatisfied fellow-countrymen, and not mine, is the
momentous issue of civil war. The Government will not assail you. You
can have no conflict without being yourselves the aggressors. You have
no oath registered in heaven to destroy the Government, while I have the
most solemn one * to preserve, protect, and defend it.'

" I am loth to close. "\Ye are not enemies, but friends. "We must not
be enemies. Though passion may have strained, it must not break our
bonds of affection.

" The mystic cords of memory, stretching from every battle-field and pa-
triot-grave to every living heart and hearthstone all over this broad land,
will yet swell the chorus of the Union, when again touched, as surely they
will be, by the better angels of our nature."

This is a faithful father imploring his willful children. A great,
tender, human heart, yearning over the dangers that threaten his
country. Christ wept over Jerusalem, and they repaid his sym-
pathy with crucifixion. President Lincoln yearned over the South,
and the South repaid his sympathy with civil war, firing upon his
country's flag, shedding innocent blood in the streets of Balti-
more, menacing the very capital, and threatening to overrun and
engulf the whole laud !

The Issue Accepted.

On the 15th of April, 1861, proclamation and call for seventy-
five thousand men was made, " to suppress treasonable combina-
tions, and cause the laws to be duly executed." This proclama-
tion, and the imminent danger of the Government, united the
North. The very first day after the call, Massachusetts had her
Sixth Regiment completely equipped, on the road to the national
capital. Those troops were fired upon by a mob in Baltimoi-e.
Governor Hicks, of Maryland, and Mayor Brown, of Baltimore,
asked that no more troops be sent through Baltimore. President
Lincoln yielded, and sent them by way of Annapolis.

On the 19th of April, a temperate proclamation of blockade
was made, and the nation stood calmly on the defensive, wliile
the South was making the most vigorous preparations for war.

Seeing this, President Lincoln convened Congress on the 4 th
of July, 1861, and asked for four hundred thousand men and
four hundred million dollars. Congress acted with the utmost
promptness and liberality. They passed acts apj^roviug and le-
galizing all that President Lincoln had done, on his own respon-
sibility, to save the Government. Tiiey passed the Confiscation


Act by a, vote of 93 to 55, altliougli John C. Breckinridge, and
such men, since open traitors, were in their seats. They passed a
resohition dechiring it to be " no part of the duty of the soldiers
of the United States to capture and return fugitive slaves."
They voted five hundred thousand men and five hundred million
dollars for the war for the Union. Thus was President _ Lin-
coln not only indorsed by the people, but commended, justified,
and more than sustained. One hundred thousand more men and
one lumdred million dollars more money than he called for were
promptly given him by the people.

On the'eth of March, 1802, President Lincoln sent a special
message to Congress recommending a joint resolution to compen-
sate ail States for their abolition of slavery, as a war measure and
a measure of public safety. The resolution to compensate was
l-)assed in both houses and signed by the President ; and in Presi-
dent Lincoln's correspondence with both Generals Hunter and
Fremont, who had both declared martial law and the abolition of
slavery, he gives as the reason for the revocation of the eman-
cipation part of their military proclamations the fact, that they
had transcended the laws of Congress, Avhich he, as Executive,
was to execute and not to obstruct. He had not yet made up his
mind as to his power, under the Constitution, to free the slaves,
and he therefore revoked the proclamations of Generals Hunter
and Fremont, and held out the olive-branch of comiiensated eman-
cipation. Next to the fatal mistake of commencing war at all,
the refusal of the slave States to accept of this proposition was
their awful blunder.

In August 22, 1862, President Lincoln wrote his brief and
pertinent letter to Horace Greeley, defining his policy, of which
Mr. Greeley and many others were hitherto uncertain. In that
letter he said :

" My paramount object is to save the Union, and not either to save or
destroy slavery. If I could save the Union without freeing any slave, I
would do it. If I could do it by freeing all the slaves, I would do it. And
if I could do it by freeing some and leaving others alone, I would do that.
. . . . I shall try to correct errors when shown to be errors, and I
shall adopt new views so fast as they shall appear to be true views.

" I intend no modification of my oft-expressed personal wish, that all
men, everywhere, could be free."

On the 22d September, 1862, one month from the date of hits
letter to Mr. Greeley, the President issued the conditional " Pro-
clamation of Emancipation," which, by being rejected by the reb-
els, sealed the fate of human slavery on this continent, and ren-
ders its speedy extinction by the war power of 'he Government
certain. On the first day of January, 1863, the supplemental
proclamation came, naming all those States and parts of States in
rebellion where the emancipation proclamation should take efl^ect.
It i)ledged the executive, military, and naval j^ow^er of tli^Gov-
ernment to maintain their freedom. It enjoined the freednien to

THE nation's loss. 15

abstain from nil violence, unless in necessary self-defense. It re-
commended them to labor for wages Avherever allowed. It in-
formed them that they would be received into the armed service
of the United States, and closed with this solemn appeal :

" And upon this act, sincerely believed to be an act of justice warranted
by the Constitution, upon military necessity, I invoke the considerate judg-
ment of mankind and the gracious favor of Almighty God."

My friends, it is no part of my intention, or of the duty of this
hour, to enter into a minute and critical history of President Lin-
coln's conduct of the war. Your judgments are as well informed
as mine on this subject. His renomination and reelection by one
of the largest popular majorities ever given a candidate in this
country, sweeping every thing, from Maine to California, except
three States, is proof that the great body of the American people
approve of his conduct of the war ; and the deliberate, impartial
judgment of history will be, that the nation has suflered more
from his clemency than his severity ; more from his goodness of
heart, and simiilc fiith in his kind, than from any fancied strain of
power ; more from the absence of martial law, than from its
abundant presence ; more from the lack of arbitrary arrests, than
from the multiplication of them ; more from traitors all over the
North, and all along the war-jiath to the South, who have been
unmolested, than from the denial of the great writ of habeas cor-
pus to the few who have been imprisoned.

" In war, laws are silent," is a proverb of Roman history. The
safety of the Republic is the su23reme law. The Constitution it-
self provides for all the extraordinary measures which President
Lincoln saw needful for the public welfare ; and history will mar-
vel, that in a civil war which marshaled two millions of men in the
field — which lasted four years, at least — which overran more ter-
ritory than half of all Europe, so little excess was committed, and
so little severity was dealt out.

President Lincoln took up into his long arms — his capacious
mind — his great heart, all the jarring elements of factions — all
the differences of his friends — all the necessities of his enemies.
He was patient with all congressional differences, silent imder all
attacks, forgiving to a fault as a child. He was approachable by
the humblest citizen in the Republic. You not only approached
his bodily frame — he allowed you to approach his interior person-
ality. You could not fail to believe in his sympathy for all that is
just, and good, and true. He, more than any other man we have
ever raised, was the Chief Magistrate of the people, and not of a
party. He found time to receive and listen to all sorts of delega-
tions, from all sorts of people and societies — ministers, laymen,
Quakers, colored people — all were taken into his kindly consider-
ation. Like William of Orange, "he bore the sorrows of his peo-
ple with a smiling face." He had not only tim^e to visit the poor,
sick soldiers in the camps and hospitals aroimd Washington, but

16 THE nation's loss.

he had time to write hopeful and thankful letters to the working-
men of Lancasliire and London, thanking them for tlieir genuine
sympathy in our cause, and returning the sympathy of a great hu-
man heart for their distresses, occasioned by our strict blockade
and the stoppage of their cotton-mills. He was a laboring man.
He had no jjatrimony but honesty, industry, frugality. When a
boy only eight years of age, he lielped to cut the road for the ox-
team that was transporting his father's earthly all into the wilds of
Indiana. From the lowest social condition to the highest social
condition of the Avorld he arose, by the purity of his purpose, the
discipline of his mind, and the majesty of his will. Elevation to
power had no intoxication for him. Pie was no party man. He
neither punished his political enemies, nor rewarded his political
friends, as such. He sought for the right man in the right place.
With all the horrors of war arovmd him, he never became intolei*-
ant, revengeful, or bloodthirsty. He drove through the pickets of
the Army of the Potomac, to pardon a boy condemned to death
for sleeping on his post. With the smoke of battle around liim,
and the roar of hostile cannon in his ear, he all the time kept an
open ear for peace. He went to meet the enemy, and tell him
peace, by cessation of hostilities on the part of the rebellion,
would be followed by a liberal construction of the pardoning
power. After victory brought thousands of his proud enemies at
his feet, he exulted in no hope of personal revenge, but exulted in
the hope of a near j^eace for his distracted country. He died
with forgiveness on his tongue, and forgiveness in his heart. He
was simple as a child in his liabits, temperate, chaste, devout, re-
ligious. Though no sectarian, he was a firm believer in God, and
a great believer in man. He died a martyr to his country, and a
martyr to his faith in human kind. He did not even believe tliat
slavery could educate a man up to the depravity of killing him.
Such, my friends, very imperfectly and hastily told, is the man
this nation mourns to-day as it never mourned a loss before.
Such is the friend of the high and the low, the rich and the poor,
the wliite and the black, the learned and the ignorant, tlie free
and the bond, avIio will be mourned by the struggling millions of
Europe and the world when they shall hear of his untimely death.
When the despair of our grief is over, and the panoply of mourn-
ing wliich hangs over the land is laid aside, may we better mourn
him by emulating his simple, homely virtues and his lofty patriot-
ism ! May God bless the memory of Abraham Lincoln, and grant
that liis blood, slied by unnatural and wicked hands, may cement
tlie union of these States, foimded upon equal liberty for all men,
and may tliat union and his memory live together long as the stars
shall endure !




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Online LibraryHiram P CrozierThe nation's loss. A discourse upon the life, services, and death of Abraham Lincoln, late president of the United States → online text (page 2 of 2)