Abraham Lincoln.

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Complete Works of
Abraham Lincoln


This Edition de Luxe is limited to seven
hundred nwnbered and registered sets.

Numbe r. * *

r o.

Abraham Lincoln

The Celebrated Chicago Photograph.

Photogravure from the Original Photograph taken

about i860 by Hester, of Chicago, Illinois,

and now in the O. H. Oldroyd Lincoln

Memorial Collection, Washington,

D. C.

Complete Works of

Abraham Lincoln

Edited by

John g.Nicolayw John hay

R I cH ARD W w AT a so ! en G era ' Intr ° duction *

h°Z, ?""' an " Special A «^>

y uther Eminent Persons

New and barged Edition


New Tori
Francis D. T andy C oM PANy


Two Codes Received

APR 12 1906

-Copyright Er.try

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Copyright, igoS, b


Abraham Lincoln as a Man
Inspired of God. 1

THE statesmen in knee-breeches and powdered
wigs who signed the Declaration of Inde-
pendence and framed the Constitution —
the soldiers in blue-and-buff, top-boots, and epaulets
who led the armies of the Revolution — were what we
are wont to describe as gentlemen. They were Eng-
lish gentlemen. They were not all, nor even gen-
erally, scions of the British aristocracy; but they came,
for the most part, of good Anglo-Saxon and Scotch-
Irish stock.

The shoe-buckle and the ruffled shirt worked a spell
peculiarly their own. They carried with them an air
of polish and authority. Hamilton, though of ob-
scure birth and small stature, is represented by those
who knew him to have been dignity and grace per-
sonified; and old Ben Franklin, even in woollen hose,
and none too courtier-like, was the delight of the great
nobles and fine ladies, in whose company he made
himself as much at home as though he had been born
a marquis.

1 Revision of a lecture delivered at Lincoln Union, Auditorium,
Chicago, February 12, 1895. From " The Compromises of Life,"
copyright 1904 by Fox, DuiHcld & Company.

vi Abraham Lincoln as a

When we revert to that epoch the beauty of the
scene which history unfolds is marred by little that is
uncouth, by nothing that is grotesque. The long pro-
cession passes, and we see in each group, in every
figure, something of heroic proportion. John Adams
and John Hancock, Joseph Warren and Samuel Ad-
ams, the Livingstons in New York, the Carrolls in
Maryland, the Masons, the Randolphs, and the Pen-
dletons in Virginia, the Rutledges in South Carolina
— what pride of caste, what elegance of manner, what
dignity and dominancy of character! And the sol-
diers! Israel Putnam and Nathanael Greene, Ethan
Allen and John Stark, Mad Anthony Wayne and
Light Horse Harry Lee, and Morgan and Marion
and Sumter, gathered about the immortal Washing-
ton — Puritan and Cavalier so mixed and blended as
to be indistinguishable the one from the other — where
shall we go to seek a more resplendent galaxy of field-
marshals? Surely not to Blenheim, drinking beakers
to Marlborough after the famous victory; nor yet to
the silken marquet of the great Conde on the Rhine,
bedizened with gold lace and radiant with the flower
of the nobility of France ! Ah, me ! there were gen-
tlemen in those days; and they made their influence
felt upon life and thought long after the echoes of
Bunker Hill and Yorktown had faded away, long
after the bell over Independence Hall had ceased to

The first half of the Republic's first half-century of
existence the public men of America, distinguished
for many things, were chiefly and almost universally

Man Inspired of God vii

distinguished for repose of bearing and sobriety of
behavior. It was not until the institution of African
slavery had got mto politics as a vital force that Con-
gress became a bear-garden, and that our lawmakers

Efl «"?T WitH the,V ""^.clothe*'
fell into the loose-fitting habiliments of modern fash^
ion and the slovenly jargon of partisan controversy
The gentlemen who signed the Declaration and
tramed the Constitution were succeeded by eentle-
men-much like themselves-but these were succeed-
ed by a race o party leaders much less decorous and
much more self-confident; rugged, puissant; deeply
moved m all that they said and did, and sometimes
urbulent; so that finally, when the volcano burst
forth flames that reached the heavens, great human
bowlders appeared am,d the glare on every side; none
of them much to speak of according to rules regnant

ull o/ r" " n . d . Ve '*» J U «: b " vigorous, able men,
full of their mission and of themselves, and pulling
for dear life in opposite directions. g

,jT Steward 3nd Sumner and Ci >™> Corwin
and Ben Wade, Trumbull and Fessenden, Hale and
Col amer and Grimes, and Wendell Phillips, and
Horace Greeley, our latter-day Franklin. There
were Toombs and Hammond, and Slidell and Wig-
fall, and the two little giants, Douglas and Stephen!,
and Yancey and Mason, and Jefferson Davis. With
hem soft words h no parsn . psi and

1, tie how many pitchers might be broken by rude
ones. The issue between them did not require a
d.agram to explain it. It was so simple a child might

viii Abraham Lincoln as a

understand. It read, human slavery against human
freedom, slave labor against free labor, and involved
a conflict as inevitable as it was irrepressible.

Long before the guns of Beauregard opened fire
upon Fort Sumter, and, fulfilling the programme of
extremism, "blood was sprinkled in the faces of the
people," the hustings in America had become a battle-
ground, and every rood of debatable territory a ring
for controversial mills, always tumultuous, and some-
times sanguinary. No sooner had the camp-fires of
the Revolution — which warmed so many noble hearts
and lighted so many patriotic lamps — no sooner had
the camp-fires of the Revolution died out, than there
began to burn, at first fitfully, then to blaze alarm-
ingly in every direction, a succession of forest fires,
baffling the energies and resources of the good and
brave men who sought to put them out. Mr. Web-
ster, at once a learned jurist and a prose poet, might
thunder expositions of the written law, to quiet the
fears of the slave-owner and to lull the waves of agi-
tation. Mr. Clay, by his resistless eloquence and
overmastering personality, might compromise first one
and then another of the irreconcilable conditions that
threw themselves across the pathway of conservative
statesmanship. To no purpose, except to delay the
fatal hour.

There were moving to the foreground moral forces
which would down at no man's bidding. The still,
small voice of emancipation, stifled for a moment by
self-interest playing upon the fears of the timid, re-
covered its breath and broke into a cry for abolition.

Man Inspired of God ;*

v. The cry for abolition rose in volume to a roar. Slow-
ly, step by step, the forces of freedom advanced to
meet the forces of slavery. Gradually, these mighty
discordant e ements approached the predestined line
of battle; the gams for a while seeming to be in
doubt, but ,„ reality all on one side. There was less
and less of middle-ground. The middle-men who
ventured to get in the way were either struck down
or absorbed by the one party or the other. The Sen-
ate had ,ts Gettysburg; and many and many a Shiloh
was fought on the floor of the House. Actual war
raged , n K ^hc mysterious descent upon Har-

pers Ferry, hke a fire-bell in the night, might have
warned al men of the coming conflagration; migh

auored?. V 1 ^ 3 PWpheC y '"" the I!nes th»t.

quoted to descnbe the scene, fortold the event—

" Th blood k " r ' bfaed ' edgeS dn ' P With a silent horr ° r of
A " d ' DeaV' "^ Wh3teVer '' S asked her - a "™'ers:
Greek was meeting Greek at last; and the field of
pol,t,cs became almost as sulphurous and murky as an
actual field of battle.

*/? n the 1° iSe 3nd confus; °". ^e clashing of in-
tellects hke sabres bright, and the booming of the big
oratoncal guns of the North and the South, now
defimtely arrayed, there came one day into the North-
ern camp one of the oddest figures imaginable; the
figure of a man who, in spite of an appearance some-
what at outs with Hogarth's line of beauty, wore a
senous aspect, if not an air of command, and, pans-

x Abraham Lincoln as a

ing to utter a single sentence that might be heard
above the din, passed on and for a moment disap-
peared. The sentence was pregnant with meaning.
The man bore a commission from God on high ! He
said: "A house divided against itself cannot stand.
I believe this Government cannot endure permanently
half free and half slave. I do not expect the Union
to be dissolved ; I do not expect the house to fall ; but
I do expect it will cease to be divided." He was Ab-
raham Lincoln.

How shall I describe him to you ? Shall I speak of
him as I first saw him immediately on his arrival in
the national capital, the chosen President of the
United States, his appearance quite as strange as the
story of his life, which was then but half known and
half told, or shall I use the words of another and
more graphic word-painter?

In January, 1861, Colonel A. K. McClure, of
Pennsylvania, journeyed to Springfield, 111., to meet
and confer with the man he had done so much to elect,
but whom he had never personally known. "I went
directly from the depot to Lincoln's house," says
Colonel McClure, "and rang the bell, which was an-
swered by Lincoln himself opening the door. I doubt
whether I wholly concealed my disappointment at
meeting him. Tall, gaunt, ungainly, ill-clad, with a
homeliness of manner that was unique in itself, I
confess that my heart sank within me as I remembered
that this was the man chosen by a great nation to
become its ruler in the gravest period of its history.
I remember his dress as if it were but yesterday —

Man Inspired of God xi

snuff-colored and slouchy pantaloons; open black vest,
held by a few brass buttons; straight or evening dress-
coat, with tightly fitting sleeves to exaggerate his long,
bony arms, all supplemented by an awkwardness that
was uncommon among men of intelligence. Such
was the picture I met in the person of Abraham Lin-
coln. We sat down in his plainly furnished parlor,
and were uninterrupted during the nearly four hours
I remained with him, and, little by little, as his ear-
nestness, sincerity, and candor were developed in con-
versation, I forgot all the grotesque qualities which
so confounded me when I first greeted him. Before
half an hour had passed I learned not only to respect,
but, indeed, to reverence the man."

A graphic portrait, truly, and not unlike. I recall
him, two months later, a little less uncouth, a little
better dressed, but in singularity and in angularity
much the same. All the world now takes an interest
in every detail that concerned him, or that relates to
the weird tragedy of his life and death.

And who was this peculiar being, destined in his
mother's arms — for cradle he had none — -so pro-
foundly to affect the future of human-kind? He has
told us himself, in words so simple and unaffected, so
idiomatic and direct, that we can neither misread
them, nor improve upon them. Answering one who,
in 1859, had asked him for some biographic particu-
lars, Abraham Lincoln wrote:

" I was born February 12, 1809, in Hardin Coun-
ty, ^Kentucky. My parents were both born in Vir-
ginia, of undistinguished families — second families,

xii Abraham Lincoln as a

perhaps I should say. My mother, who died in my
tenth year, was of a family of the name of Hanks.
. . . My paternal grandfather, Abraham Lin-
coln, emigrated from Rockingham County, Va., to
Kentucky about 178 1 or 1782, where, a year or two
later, he was killed by the Indians, not in battle, but
by stealth, when he was laboring to open a farm in
the forest.

" My father (Thomas Lincoln) at the death of
his father was but six years of age. By the early
death of his father, and the very narrow circumstances
of his mother, he was, even in childhood, a wandering,
laboring boy, and grew up literally without educa-
tion. He never did more in the way of writing than
bunglingly to write his own name. . . . He re-
moved from Kentucky to what is now Spencer Coun-
ty, Indiana, in my eighth year. ... It was a
wild region, with many bears and other animals still
in the woods. . . . There were some schools,
so-called, but no qualification was ever required of a
teacher beyond ' readin', writin', and cipherin' to the
rule of three. 1 If a straggler supposed to understand
Latin happened to sojourn in the neighborhood he
was looked upon as a wizard. . . . Of course,
when I came of age I did not know much. Still,
somehow, I could read, write, and cipher to the rule
of three. But that was all. . . . The little ad-
vance I now have upon this store of education I have
picked up from time to time under the pressure of

" I was raised to farm work . . . till I was
twenty-two. At twenty-one I came to Illinois, Ma-
con County. Then I got to New Salem . . .
where I remained a year as a sort of clerk in a store.
Then came the Black Hawk War; and I was elected
captain of a volunteer company, a success that gave
me more pleasure than any I have had since. I went

Man Inspired of God xiii

the campaign, was elated, ran for the Legislature the
same year (1832), and was beaten — the only time I
ever have been beaten by the people. The next, and
three succeeding biennial elections, I was elected to
the Legislature. I was not a candidate afterward.
During the legislative period I had studied law and
removed to Springfield to practise it. In 1846 I was
elected to the lower house of Congress. Was not a
candidate for re-election. From 1849 to I ^54, in-
clusive, practised law more assiduously than ever be-
fore. Always a Whig in politics, and generally on
the Whig electoral tickets, making active canvasses.
I was losing interest in politics when the repeal of the
Missouri Compromise aroused me again.

" If any personal description of me is thought de-
sirable, it may be said that I am in height six feet four
inches, nearly; lea.i in flesh, weighing on an average
one hundred and eighty pounds; dark complexion,
with coarse black hair and gray eyes. No other
marks or brands recollected."

There is the whole story, told by himself, and
brought down to the point where he became a figure
of national importance.

His political philosophy was expounded in four
elaborate speeches; one delivered at Peoria, 111., Octo-
ber 16, 1854; one at Springfield, 111., June 16, 1858;
one at Columbus, O., September 16, 1859, and one,
February 27, i860, at Cooper Institute, in the city
of New York. Of course Mr. Lincoln made many
speeches and very good speeches. But these four,
progressive in character, contain the sum total of his
creed touching the organic character of the Govern-
ment and at the same time his personal and party
view of contemporary affairs. They show him to

xiv Abraham Lincoln as a

have been an old-line Whig of the school of Henry
Clay, with strong emancipation leanings; a thorough
anti-slavery man, but never an extremist or an ab.oli-
tionist. To the last he hewed to the line thus laid

Two or three years ago I referred to Abraham
Lincoln — in a casual way — as one "inspired of God."
I was taken to task for this and thrown upon my
defence. Knowing less then than I now know of Mr.
Lincoln, I confined myself to the superficial aspects
of the case; to the career of a man who seemed to
have lacked the opportunity to prepare himself for
the great estate to which he had come, plucked as it
were from obscurity by a caprice of fortune.

Accepting the doctrine of inspiration as a law of
the universe, I still stand to this belief; but I must
qualify it as far as it conveys the idea that Mr. Lin-
coln was not as well equipped in actual knowledge
of men and affairs as any of his contemporaries. Mr.
Webster once said that he had been preparing to make
his reply to Hayne for thirty years. Mr. Lincoln had
been in unconscious training for the Presidency for
thirty years. His maiden address as a candidate for
the Legislature, issued at the ripe old age of twenty-
three, closes with these words, "But if the good peo-
ple in their wisdom shall see fit to keep me in the
background, I have been too familiar with disap-
pointment to be very much chagrined." The man
who wrote that sentence, thirty years later wrote this
sentence: "The mystic chords of memory, stretching
from every battle-field and patriot-grave to every liv-

Man Inspired of God xv

ing 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 angels of our
better nature." Between those two sentences, joined
by a kindred, sombre thought, flowed a life-current —

" Strong, without rage, without o'erflowing, full,"

pausing never for an instant; deepening while it ran,
but nowise changing its course or its tones; always the
same; calm; patient; affectionate; like one born to a
destiny, and, as in a dream, feeling its resistless force.

It is needful to a complete understanding of Mr.
Lincoln's relation to the time and to his place in the
political history of the country, that the student peruse
closely the four speeches to which I have called atten-
tion ; they underlie all that passed in the famous de-
bate wth Douglas; all that their author said and did
after he succeeded to the Presidency. They stand
to-day as masterpieces of popular oratory. But for
our present purpose the debate with Douglas will suf-
fice — the most extraordinary intellectual spectacle the
annals of our party warfare afford. Lincoln entered
the canvass unknown outside the State of Illinois. He
closed it renowned from one end of the land to the

Judge Douglas was himself unsurpassed as a stump-
speaker and ready debater. But in that campaign,
from first to last, Judge Douglas was at a serious dis-
advantage. His bark rode upon an ebbing tide;
Lincoln's bark rode upon a flowing tide. African
slavery was the issue now; and the whole trend of

xvi Abraham Lincoln as a

modern thought was set against slavery. The Demo-
crats seemed hopelessly divided. The Little Giant
had to face a triangular opposition embracing the Re-
publicans, the Administration, or Buchanan Demo-
crats, and a little remnant of the old Whigs, who
fancied that their party was still alive and thought to
hold some kind of balance of power. Judge Douglas
called the combination the "allied army," and de-
clared that he would deal with it "just as the Russians
dealt with the allies at Sebastopol — that is, the Rus-
sians did not stop to inquire, when they fired a broad-
side, whether it hit an Englishman, a Frenchman, or
a Turk." It was something more than a witticism
when Mr. Lincoln rejoined, "In that case, I beg he
will indulge us while we suggest to him that those
allies took Sebastopol."

He followed this centre-shot with volley after vol-
ley of exposition so clear, of reasoning so close, of
illustration so pointed, and, at times, of humor so in-
cisive, that, though he lost his election — though the
allies did not then take Sebastopol — his defeat count-
ed for more than Douglas's victory, for it made him
the logical and successful candidate for President of
the United States two years later.

What could be more captivating to an out-door
audience than Lincoln's description "of the two per-
sons who stand before the people of the State as can-
didates for the Senate," to quote his prefatory words?
"Judge Douglas," he said, "is of world-wide renown.
All the anxious politicians of his party . . .
have been looking upon him as certainly . . .

Man Inspired of God xvii

to be President of the United States. They have seen
in his round, jolly, fruitful face, post-offices, land-
offices, marshalships and cabinet appointments,
chargeships and foreign missions, bursting and spread-
ing out in wonderful exuberance, ready to be laid
hold of by their greedy hands. And as they have
been gazing upon this attractive picture so long, they
cannot, in the little distraction that has taken place in
the party, bring themselves to give up the charming
hope ; but with greedier anxiety they rush about him,
sustain him, and give him marches, triumphal entries,
and receptions, beyond what in the days of his highest
prosperity they could have brought about in his favor.
On the contrary, nobody has ever expected me to be
President. In my poor, lean, lank face nobody has
ever seen that any cabbages were sprouting."

As the debate advanced, these cheery tones deep-
ened into harsher notes; crimination and recrimina-
tion followed; the two gladiators were strung to their
utmost tension. They became dreadfully in earnest.
Personal collision was narrowly avoided. I have re-
cently gone over the entire debate, and with a feeling
I can only dscribe as most contemplative, most melan-

I knew Judge Douglas well ! I admired, respected,
loved him. I shall never forget the day he quitted
Washington to go to his home in Illinois to return no
more. Tears were in his eyes and his voice trembled
like a woman's. He was then a dying man. He had
burned the candle at both ends from his boyhood; an
eager, ardent, hard-working, pleasure-loving man;

xviii Abraham Lincoln as a

and, though not yet fifty, the candle was burned out.
His infirmities were no greater than those of Mr.
Clay; not to be mentioned with those of Mr. Webster.
But he lived in more exacting times. The old-style
party organ, with its mock heroics and its dull respec-
tability, its beggarly array of empty news-columns and
cheap advertising, had been succeeded by that unspar-
ing, tell-tale scandal-monger, modern journalism, with
its myriad of hands and eyes, its vast retinue of de-
tectives, and its quick transit over flashing wires, anni-
hilating time and space. Too fierce a light beat upon
the private life of public men, and Douglas suffered
from this as Clay and Webster, Silas Wright and
Franklin Pierce had not suffered.

The Presidential bee was in his bonnet, certainly;
but its buzzing there was not noisier than in the bon-
nets of other great Americans, who have been dazzled
by that wretched bauble. His plans and schemes
came to naught. He died at the moment when the
death of those plans and schemes was made more pal-
pable and impressive by the roar of cannon proclaim-
ing the reality of that irrepressible conflict he had
refused to foresee and had struggled to avert. His
life-long rival was at the head of affairs. No one has
found occasion to come to the rescue of his fame. No
party interest has been identified with his memory.
But when the truth of history is written, it will be
told that, not less than Webster and Clay, he, too,
was a patriotic man, who loved his country and tried
to save the Union. He tried to save the Union, even
as Webster and Clay had tried to save it, by compro-

Man Inspired of God xix

mises and expedients. It was too late. The string
was played out. Where they had suceeded he failed;
but, for the nobility of his intention, the amplitude
of his resources, the splendor of his combat, he merits
all that any leader of losing cause ever gained in the
report of posterity; and posterity will not deny him
the title of statesman.

In that great debate it was Titan against Titan;
and, perusing it after the lapse of forty years, the
philosophic and impartial critic will conclude which
got the better of it, Lincoln or Douglas, much accord-
ing to his sympathy with the one or the other. Doug-
las, as I have said, had the disadvantage of riding an
ebb-tide. But Lincoln encountered a disadvantage in
riding a flood-tide, which was flowing too fast for a
man so conservative and so honest as he was. Thus
there was not a little equivocation on both sides for-
eign to the nature of the two. Both wanted to be
frank. Both thought they were being frank. But
each was a little afraid of his own logic; each was a
little afraid of his own following; and hence there
was considerable hair-splitting, involving accusations
that did not accuse and denials that did not deny.
They were politicians, these two, as well as states-
men; they were politicians, and what they did not
know about political campaigning was hardly worth
knowing. Reverently, I take off my hat to both of
them ; and I turn down the page ; I close the book and
lay it on its shelf, with the inward ejaculation, "there

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