Charles Rufus Skinner.

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Abraham Lincoln. — Theodore Frclinghuysen.

Long centuries hence thy name shall shine as one
No blame can cloud — our second Washington.

— Henry Peterson.

Freedom's great high-priest, who set apart his life, while others sought but
gold or bread. — T. C. Pease.

His career teaches young men that every position of eminence is open before
the diligent and worthy. — Bishop Matthew Simpson.

The purity of his patriotism inspired him with the wisdom of a statesman and
the courage of a martyr. — Stanley Matthews.

* * * so true and tender,
The patriot's stay, the people's trust,
The shield of the offender.

— Oliver Wendell Holmes.

Such a life and character will be treasured forever as the sacred possession of
the American people and of mankind. — lames A. Garfield.

A great man, tender of heart, strong of nerve, of boundless patience and
broadest sympathy, with no motive apart from his country. — Frederick Douglass.

The purest of men, the wisest of statesmen, the most sincere and devoted
patriot, the loveliest character of American statesmen. — Hon. Charles Foster.

His country saved, his work achieved,

He boasted not of what he'd done,
But rather in his goodness, grieved

For all sad hearts beneadi the sun,

— G. Martin.

Under the providence of God, he was, next to Washington, the greatest instru-
ment for the preservation of the Union and the integrity of our country. — Peter

Of all the men I ever met he seemed to possess more of the elements of great-
ness combined with goodness than any other. — Gen. W . T. Sherman.


Lincoln, the honest man, who, without personal ambition, always supported by
a strong perception of his duties, deserved to be called emphatically a great citizen.—
Louis Phillipe, Due D'Orleans.

All the kindly grace,
The tender love, the loyalty to truth,
That flow and mingle in the gentlest blood,
Were met together in his blameless life.

— Mary A. Ripley.

The past century has not, the century to come will not have, a figure so grand
as that of Abraham Lincoln.— Emilio Castelar (Spain).

The life of Abraham Lincoln is written in imperishable characters in the history
of the great American Republic— John Bright (England).

By his fidelity to the True, the Right, the Good, he gained not only favor and
applause, but what is better than all, love.— W . D. Howells.

The form is vanished and the footsteps still,

But from the silence Lincoln's answers thrill;

" Peace, charity and love! " in all the world's best needs

The master stands transfigured in his deeds.

— Kate M. B. Sherwood.

He was a true believer in the divinity of the rights of man as man, the civil as
well as the religious hope of the race. — Sidney Dyer.

In Lincoln there was always some quality that fastened him to the people and
taught them to keep time to the music of his heart. — David Swing.

" You will find the whole of my early life," said Lincoln to a friend, " in a single
line of Gray's Elegy "

" The short and simple annals of the poor."

— Anon.

Heroic soul, in homely garb half hid,

Sincere, sagacious, melancholy, quaint;
What he endured, no less than what he did,

Has reared his monument and crowned him saint.

— /. T. Trowbridge.

He was one whom responsibility educated, and he showed himself more and
more nearly equal to duty as year after year laid on him ever fresh burdens. God-
given and God-led and sustained we must ever believe him. — Wendell Phillips.


He was warm-hearted; he was generous; he was magnanimous; he was most
truly, as he afterward said on a memorable occasion, " with malice toward none,
with charity for all."— Alexander H. Stephens.

It is the great boon of such characters as Mr. Lincoln's that they reunite what
God has joined together and man has put asunder. In him was vindicated the
greatness of real goodness and the goodness of real greatness.— Bishop Phillips

We rest in peace, where his sad eyes

Saw peril, strife and pain;
His was the awful sacrifice.
And ours the priceless gain.

— John G. Whittier.


Let me endeavor to give those in this audience who never saw
Mr. Lincoln some idea of his personal appearance. He was a very tall
man _ 6 feet 4 inches. His complexion was dark, his eyes and hair
black; and though he was of lean, spare habit, I should suppose he
must have weighed about 180 pounds. He was a man of fine fibre,
and thus a brain of superior power was contained in a small, but rather
elongated, skull. * * * His movements were rather angular, but
never awkward; and he was never burdened with that frequent curse
of unfortunate genius, the dreadful oppression of petty self-conscious-
ness. It was a most remarkable character, that of Abraham Lincoln.
He had the most comprehensive, the most judicial mind; he was the
least faulty in his conclusions of any man that I have ever known.—
Charles A. Dana, Lecture on " Lincoln and His Cabinet/' at New
Haven, March 10, 1896.

Mr. Lincoln was not what you would call an educated man. The
college that he had attended was that which a man attends who gets
up at daylight to hoe the corn, and sits up at night to read the best
book he can find, by the side of a burning pine knot. What education
he had, he picked up in that way. He had read a great many books;
and all'the books that he had read, he knew. He had a tenacious mem-


ory, just as he had the ability to see the essential thing-. He never
took an unimportant point and went off upon that; but he always laid
hold of the real thing, of the real question, and attended to that with-
out attending to the others any more than was indispensably necessary.
— Charles A. Dana, Lecture, " Lincoln and His Cabinet."

There, by his courage, his justice, his even temper, his fertile
counsel, his humanity (Abraham Lincoln) stood a heroic figure in the
centre of a heroic epoch. He is the true history of the American
people in his time. Step by step he walked before them; slow with
their slowness, quickening his march by theirs, the true representative
of this continent; an entirely public man; father of his country, the
pulse of twenty millions throbbing in his heart, the thought of their
minds articulated by his tongue. — Ralph Waldo Emerson.

We can still count as one of ourselves, with his honor and his
sadness, with his greatness and his everyday homeliness, with his wit
and his logic, with his gentle chivalry that made him equal to the
best born knight, and his awkward and ungainly way that made him
one of the plain people, our martyred President, our leader of the
plain people, Abraham Lincoln. * * * Beyond the rulers of every
age, Lincoln was the leader of the people, — of what he called the plain
people. * * * He knew, as no other man did, as cabinets and
congresses did not know, the sentiments and feelings of the plain people
of the Northern States. He knew that they loved, beyond every-
thing else, the Union, and he would move only so fast as, over the
electric currents which connected his heart and brain with every
fireside in the land, came the tidings to him that they were ready for
another advance along the lines of revolutionary action which would
preserve the Union. — Chauncey M. Dcpezv, Speech at Lincoln Dinner.

I have often contemplated and described (Lincoln's) life. Born
in a cabin of Kentucky, of parents who could hardly read; born a new
Moses in the solitude of the desert, where are forged all great and
obstinate thoughts, monotonous, like the desert, and, like the desert,
sublime; growing up among those primeval forests, which, with their



fragrance, send a cloud of incense, and, with their murmurs, a cloud
of prayers, to heaven; a boatman at eight years, in the impetuous cur-
rent of the Ohio, and at seventeen in the vast and tranquil waters of
the Mississippi; later, a woodman, with axe and arm felling the imme-
morial trees, to open a way to unexplored regions for his tribe of
wandering workers; reading no other book than the Bible, the book
of great sorrows and great hopes, dictated often by prophets to the
sound of fetters they dragged through Nineveh and Babylon; a child
of nature, in a word, by one of those miracles only comprehensible
among free peoples, he fought for the country, and was raised by his
fellow-citizens to the Congress at Washington, and by the nation to
the presidency of the Republic; and, after emancipating three million
slaves, that nothing might be wanting, he dies in the very moment
of victory, — like Christ, like Socrates, like all redeemers, at the foot
of his work. His work! Sublime achievement! over which humanity
shall eternally shed its tears, and God His benedictions. — Emilia
Castelar (Spanish orator).

From the union of the colonists, Puritans and Cavaliers, from
the straightening of their purposes and the crossing of their blood,
slow perfecting through a century, came he who stands as the first
typical American, the first who comprehended within himself all the
strength and gentleness, all the majesty and grace of this republic —
Abraham Lincoln. He was the sum of Puritan and Cavalier, for in
his ardent nature were fused the virtues of both, and in the depths
of his great soul the faults of both were lost. He was greater than
Puritan, greater than Cavalier, in that he was American, and that in
his honest form were first gathered the vast and thrilling forces of his
ideal government — charging it with such a tremendous meaning and
so elevating it above human suffering, that martyrdom, though
infamously aimed, came as a fitting crown to a life consecrated from
the cradle to human liberty. Let us build with reverent hands to the
type of this simple, but sublime life, in which all types are honored. —
Henry W. Grady, of Georgia, from the speech at the New England
Club, in New York city, December 21, 1886.


If ever the face of a man writing solemn words glowed with holy
joy, it must have been the face of Abraham Lincoln as he bent over
the Emancipation Proclamation. Here was an act in which his whole
soul could rejoice, an act that crowned his life. All the past, the free
boyhood in the woods, the free youth upon the farm, the free man-
hood in the honorable citizen's employment — all his freedom gathered
and completed in this. And is it any wonder that among the swarthy
multitudes, ragged, and tired, and hungry, and ignorant, but free
forever from anything but the memorial scars of the fetters and the
w hips, — i s it any wonder there grew up in camps and hovels a super-
stition, which saw in Lincoln the image of one who was more than
man, and whom with one voice they loved to call " Father Abraham? "
— Phillips Brooks.

The nation's debt to these men (Washington and Lincoln) is not
confined to what it owes them for its material well-being, incalculable
though this debt is. Beyond the fact that we are an independent and
united people, with half a continent as our heritage, lies the fact that
every American is richer by the noble deeds and noble words of Wash-
ington and of Lincoln. Each of us who reads the Gettysburg speech
or the second inaugural address of the greatest American of the nine-
teenth century, or who studies the long campaigns and lofty states-
manship of that other American who was even greater, cannot but
feel within him that lift toward things higher and nobler which can
never be bestowed by the enjoyment of mere material prosperity. —
From " American Ideals," Theodore Roosevelt.

On the day of his death, this simple Western attorney, who, accord-
ing to one party, was a vulgar joker, and whom some of his own sup-
porters accused of wanting every element of statesmanship, was the
most absolute ruler in Christendom, and this solely by the hold his
good-humored sagacity had laid on the hearts and understandings of
his countrymen. Nor was this all, for it appeared that he had drawn
the great majority, not only of his fellow-citizens, but of mankind
also, to his side. So strong and persuasive is honest manliness, with-
out a single quality of romance or unreal sentiment to help it! A
civilian during times of the most captivating military achievements,


awkward, with no skill in the lower technicalities of manners, he left
behind him a fame beyond that of any conqueror, the memory of a
grace higher than that of outward person, and of gentlemanliness
deeper than mere breeding. Never before that startled April morn-
ing did such multitudes of men shed tears for the death of one they
had never seen, as if with him a friendly presence had been taken
away from their lives, leaving them colder and darker. Never was
funeral panegyric so eloquent as the silent look of sympathy which
strangers exchanged when they met on that day. Their common
manhood had lost a kinsman. — James Russell Lozvell.

To Horace Greeley, the greatest of American editors, his party
associate and a stinging thorn in his flesh, Lincoln wrote: " If there be
those who would not save the Union unless they could at the same
time save slavery, I do not agree with them." " If there be those who
would not save the Union unless they could at the same time destroy
slavery, I do not agree with them."

" 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 also do that." " What I do about slavery and the colored
race, I do because I believe it helps to save the Union, and what I for-
bear, I forbear because I do not believe it would help to save the

From the hour of that touching farewell speech to his neighbors
in the Springfield depot, down to the fatal night in Ford's Theatre, his
life was consecrated to the restoration of a dissevered country.

Walking in the busy streets of the city of Atlanta, not long since,
I came upon a fine statue of Henry W. Grady. Beneath the bronze
figure of the young orator, whose early death has been so widely
regretted, was the legend: "He died while literally loving a nation
into peace."

Even more suggestive than his cheering words was the act of the
Southern masses, which placed this monument in their busiest
thoroughfare, a witness of their satisfaction at the sentiments which



had distinguished him. No traveler in the South can doubt that there
is a " New South." The industries are growing and the schools are
multiplying. There is a healthier sentiment upon sociological and
economic questions, because the slave system is no longer there to
throttle it. * * * The South has a new feeling towards the
North. As we understand each other better, we love each other more.
The roads are being broken out. Beaten paths are being made.
Commercial intercourse has commenced and fraternal regard is grow-
ing. The Ohio river no longer separates two opposing peoples, who
merely sustain diplomatic relations with each other; there is a chemical
affinity in progress; we are amalgamating. The bitterness of a century
of controversy is well-nigh gone. The wounds torn by the rough
hoof of war have almost healed. The soldiers of the two armies, and
the young men and women of the new generation, who " look forward
and not back," have attained this magnificent result. The Union is
stronger, safer, because it stood the shock of battle. The people are
more homogeneous because more free. A hundred millions of united,
industrious, frugal, educated Christian people, under a free flag, stand
in a place so high among the nations that they can command anything
that is right by the force and dignity of their position, and without
resort to war. And the work of Abraham Lincoln is accomplished. —
President Andrezv S. Draper, University of Illinois, Lincoln's Birthday,

While we say that Mr. Lincoln was an uneducated man, unedu-
cated in the sense that we recognize in any college town, he yet had a
singularly perfect education in regard to everything that concerns the
practical affairs of life. His judgment was excellent, and his informa-
tion was always accurate. He knew what the thing was. He was a
man of genius, and, contrasted with men of education, genius will
always carry the day. I remember very well going into Mr. Stanton's
room in the War Department on the day of the Gettysburg celebration,
and he said: " Have you seen these Gettysburg speeches?" " No,"
said I, "I didn't know you had them." He said: 'Yes; and the
people will be delighted with them. Edward Everett has made a
speech that will make three columns in the newspapers, and Mr. Lincoln


has made a speech of perhaps forty or fifty lines. Everett's is the
speech of a scholar, polished to the last possibility. It is eloquent and
it is learned; but Lincoln's speech will be read by a thousand men
where one reads Everett's, and will be remembered as long as any-
body's speeches are remembered who speaks in the English language."
That was the truth. If you will take those two speeches now,
you will get an idea how superior genius is to education; how superior
that intellectual faculty is which sees the vitality of a question and
knows how to state it; how superior that intellectual faculty is which
regards everything with the fire of earnestness in the soul, with the

relentless purpose of a heart devoted to objects beyond literature.

Charles A. Dana, Lecture on " Lincoln and His Cabinet."

Another interesting fact about Abraham Lincoln was that he
developed into a great military man, that is to say, a man of supreme
military judgment. I do not risk anything in saying that if you will
study the records of the war and study the writings relating to it, you
will agree with me that the greatest general we had, greater than
Grant or Thomas, was Abraham Lincoln. It was not so at the begin-
ning; but after three or four years of constant practice in the science
and art of war, he arrived at this extraordinary knowledge of it, so
that Von Moltke was not a better general or an abler planner or
expounder of a campaign than President Lincoln was. He was, to
sum it up, a born leader of men. He knew human nature; he knew
what chord to strike, and he was never afraid to strike it when he
believed that the time had arrived. — Cliarlcs A. Dana, Lecture on
" Lincoln and His Cabinet."

Another remarkable peculiarity of Mr. Lincoln's was that he
seemed to have no illusions. He had no freakish notions that things
were so or might be so, when they were not so. All his thinking and
all his reasoning, all his mind, in short, was based continually on actual
facts, and upon facts of which, as I said, he saw the essence. I never
heard him say anything that was not so. I never heard him foretell
things. He told what they were. But I never heard him intimate
that such and such consequences were likely to happen, without the


consequences following. I should say, perhaps, that his greatest qual-
ity was wisdom. And that is something superior to talent, superior
to education. I do not think it can be acquired. He had it. He was
wise; he was not mistaken; he saw things as they were. All the
advice that he gave was wise; it was judicious; and it was always timely.
This wisdom, it is scarcely necessary to add, had its animating phil-
osophy in his own famous words: "With charity toward all; with
malice toward none/' — Charles A. Dana, Lecture on "Lincoln and
His Cabinet."

Not long since, as I sat in a crowded courtroom, there came to
the witness stand a venerable, white-haired negro. Born a slave, he
had stood upon the auction block and been sold to the highest bidder.
Now, he came into a court of Justice to settle, by the testimony of his
black lips, a controversy between white men. When asked his age, he
drew himself proudly up, and said: " For fifty years I was a chattel.
On the first day of January, 1863, Uncle Abe Lincoln made me a man."

The act which set that old man free was the crowning glory of
Lincoln's life, for by it he not only saved his country, but emancipated
a race. We of the Anglo-Saxon tongue are justly proud of the Magna
Charta. We are justly proud of the Declaration of Independence, of
the right of government by the people. True it is that the genesis of
American Liberty was in the Declaration of Independence, but the
gospel of its new testament was written by Abraham Lincoln in the
Emancipation Proclamation. — John M. Thurston, New York, Lincoln's
Birthday, 1895.

Mr. Lincoln had many amiable and lovable personal qualities,
but the great thing was the fact that he succeeded; that the Civil War
was ended under his rule. He succeeded, with the forces of the anti-
slavery states, in putting down a rebellion in which twelve millions of
people were concerned, determined people, educated people, fighting
for their ideas and their property, fighting to the last, fighting to the
death. I don't think there is anything else in history to compare with
that achievement. How did he do it?

In the first place, he never was in haste. As I said, he never took
a step too soon, and also he never took a step too late. When the


whole northern country seemed to be clamoring for him to issue a
proclamation abolishing slavery, he didn't do it. Deputation after
deputation went to Washington. I remember once, a hundred gentle-
men came, dressed in black coats, mostly clergymen, from Massachu-
setts. They appealed to him to proclaim the abolition of slavery. But
he didn't do it. He allowed Mr. Cameron and General Butler to
execute their great idea of treating slaves as contraband of war, and of
protecting those who had got into our lines against being recaptured
by their Southern owners. But he would not prematurely make the
proclamation that was so much desired. Finally the time came; and
of that he was the judge. Nobody else decided it; nobody commanded
it; the proclamation was issued as he thought best; and it was effi-
cacious. The people of the North, who during the long contest over
slavery had always stood strenuously by the compromises of the Con-
stitution, might themselves have become half rebels if this proclama-
tion had been issued too soon. They at last were tired of waiting,
tired of endeavoring to preserve even a show of regard for what were
called the compromises of the Constitution, when they believed that
the Constitution itself was in danger. Thus public opinion was ripe
when the proclamation came, and that was the beginning of the end.
This unerring judgment, this patience which waited and which knew
when the right time had arrived — those were intellectual qualities,
which I do not find exercised upon any such scale by any other man in
history, and with such unerring precision. This proves Abraham Lin-
coln to have been intellectually one of the greatest of rulers. — Charles
A. Dana, Lecture on " Lincoln and His Cabinet."

Abraham Lincoln was the grandest figure of the nineteenth cen-
tury. With a giant intellect, a boundless love of his kind, and an
irrevocable determination that right should triumph, he stood before
the people of the world, and so conducted himself that all criticism was
disarmed, and all oppressors put to shame. Sensitive as a child, firm
as a rock, he lifted up the lowly, restrained the arrogant, and, with a
foresight that was almost inspiration, made possible and certain the
union of the states. He was neither appalled by disaster nor elated by


the grandest successes. Devoid of self-esteem, unconscious of his
mighty ability, he aimed at and attained results because he believed
eternal justice demanded them. With the growth of centuries, the
name of Abraham Lincoln will be more highly honored, and the value
of his work more fully appreciated. — George W. Ray.

Abraham Lincoln cannot be compared with any man. He stands
alone. More and more, as time goes on, does his work impress itself
upon the world. His genius was fitted exactly to the circumstances
under which he lived and labored. He is the conspicuous example of
the truth that an all-wise Providence provides the man for the emer-
gency. And then what an inspiration he has become to every ambi-

Online LibraryCharles Rufus SkinnerManual of patriotism : for use in the public schools of the State of New York → online text (page 17 of 31)