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as President


Millersburg, Pa.


Lincoln as President




Delivered June 4, 1906, at his graduation from the
Public Schools of Millersburg, Pa.

JUNE 1910



This is No. / / / of an edition of 100 copies.

Jno. W. Starr, Jr.



MAR i!0 1911


In printing this short oration, I do so chiefly for
my own gratification. It was written and delivered
four years ago, when I graduated from our public
schools. In explanation of the length, I may say
that each scholar's production was limited to seven
hundred words.

Jno. W. Starr, Jr.


^jljYHENEVER in history some great step in the onward
march of civilization was about to be made, a
leader from out among the people arose to in-
spire and guide to success his followers. Napo-
leon, Washington and Cromwell were such. But where in
all history do we find one like our great Commoner, Abra-
ham Lincoln, who proved himself at all times to be ready
to lend his ear to the grievances of the people, whom he
represented. He truly was the man for the place and time.
In his handling of public questions, he was undoubt-
edly one of the most successful Presidents. In appointing
his cabinet — composed as it was of the ablest men of his
own party — he showed a keen appreciation of the situation.
Four of these men had been his chief competitors for the
nomination at the Chicago convention in i860. Seward,
the Premier of his whole administration, was the recog-
nized leader of his party in New York. Salmon P. Chase,
by his handling of the government finances during the war,
proved to be the best man for the position. Montgomery


Blair, Postmaster General, represented the Blair family,
one of large political influence. The remaining members
of the cabinet, while not so prominent, were all men of
ability. Thus at the very outset of his Presidential career
we find him exercising that wonderful tact for which he
was noted.

But never did his statesmanship show to better ad-
vantage than in the manner in which he handled the Trent
affair. Only his calm judgment saved the Union from a
third war with England. After Capt. Wilkes had taken
the Confederate Commissioners, Mason and Slidell, from
the English steamship, the whole country rang with ac-
clamation. But Lincoln clearly saw the result of the reten-
tion of these prisoners, and by his orders they were freed.

In considering the emancipation problem, his good
judgment again asserted itself. From the time of his in-
auguration, his abolitionist friends demanded that he issue
an order freeing the slaves, but he saw that the opportune
time had not yet arrived, and withheld the order. Mean-
while he made every peaceful effort possible, but seeing the
futility of such measures, immediately after the battle of


Antietam, in which Lee's advance was checked, he issued
the preliminary draft Sept. 22, 1862.

One of Lincoln's sorest trials was his search for a gen-
eral to command the Union forces. His first selection,
General McClellan, proving a failure, he tried successively
Generals Burnside, Hooker and Meade, none of whom
proved fully competent to meet the responsibility of handl-
ing such a large force of men as the Army of the Potomac.
Finally he determined to try a quiet little man by the name
of Grant, who had been winning victories in the west.
Lincoln's friends remonstrated, but he now saw that he had
the right man, and determined to keep him in command.
To find how Grant fulfilled his expectations, one has only
to turn to the annals of history, and read his record there.

One of the most remarkable traits of Lincoln's com-
posite nature was his ability to use the English language.
His Gettysburg address has been called the best piece of
prose ever written on this continent, and one of the best
ever written in any language. His Cooper Union speech
and his second Inaugural were both masterpieces.

His letters also show careful preparation, and stand as


models for state papers. His communications to Horace
Greely, Governor Hodges, and others, showing his relation
to slavery, will always remain as good examples of English

As a man of the people, he understood what was due
to humanity. During the war he was worried nearly to
death by delegations and others, asking for the pardon of
prisoners of war, deserters, cowards and the like. The
Secretary of War and Generals in command were frequently
much annoyed at being overruled. They thought the dis-
cipline and efficiency of the service was greatly endangered.
Though kind-hearted to a fault, he always endeavored to be
just, and tried to do what was right.

Thus in summing up his career as President, we may
say that as a ruler of men he had few equals and no su-
periors, and as ages come and go it is not improbable that
his name will stand at the head of the roster of the world's
great men, and as a leader among men his fame will
eclipse all others.

IB S T \2



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