New Jersey. Legislature. General Assembly.

Addresses delivered at the presentation of the portrait of Abraham Lincoln online

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Portrait of Abraham Lincoln,


FEBRUARY 12, L8«7.



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At the session of the Legislature of 1866, Bon. Roberl Moore, of
berland, offered the following preambles and resolution, having
in view the placing of the portrail of Abraham Lincoln in the Assem-
bly Chamber :

•• Whereas, the American people have always held in grateful re-
membrance the memory of their patriotic and illustrious dead: and.

•• Wher as, thos • who preceded us have given a place for the por-
trail of George Washington, the Father of his Country, in this A
sembly Chamber; therefore,

•• Resolved, That a Committee of three be appointed, of which the
Speaker of the House shall lie one of said Committee, to procure a
portrait of Abraham Lincoln, the Saviour of his Country, at a cost
not to exceed two hundred and fifty dollars, and to have a place in
this Assembly Chamber."

Messrs. Moore, Jlill and Custis were appointed in accordance with
tins resolution.

'1 he work was entrusted to the care of Mr. Waugh, of Philadelphia,
and was completed to the entire satisfaction of the Committee.

Mr. Lincoln's birthday was selected as a suitable time for the pre-
sentation, in connection with which the following addresses were de-


Mr. Speaker : — The day having arrived which was set apart for
the report of the Committee and the presentation of the portrait of
Abraham Lincoln, in accordance with the preamble and resolution
passed at the last regular session of the Legislature, which read as
follows :

" Whereas, the American people have always held in grateful re-
membrance the memory of their patriotic and illustrious dead ; and,

" Whereas, those who preceded us have given a place for the por-
trait of George Washington, the Father of his Country, in this As-
sembly Chamber; therefore.

" Resolved, That a Committee of three be appointed, of which the
Speaker of the House shall be one of said Committee, to procure a
portrait of Abraham Lincoln, the Saviour of his Country, at a cost
not to exceed two hundred and fifty dollars, and to have a place in
this Assembly Chamber."

I desire to say in behalf of said Committee, after examining the
portraits painted by different artists, your Committee unanimously re-
solved to give the order to one Mr. Waugh, of Philadelphia, who,
your Committee believes, has most successfully accomplished the end
desired, and take pleasure in offering this report, and presenting for
your acceptance this portrait of Abraham Lincoln.

On the 12th day of February, 1809, fifty-eight years ago, Abraham
Lincoln was first permitted to behold the light of day. Six years ago
he stood within these walls, and on the floor of this House, to do honor
to New Jersey's sons, and said: "While but a boy, reading the history
of the Revolution by the dim light of the midnight lamp, I was al-
ways more interested in that part of the history relating to the hard
fought battles and glorious victories gained upon New Jersey's soil.
I suppose," said he, " I stand to-day not far from where some of those
glorious victories were won, and am I not addressing the sons of those
noble sires? Allow me to say," said he, "if my life is spared to
come into office, in my official capacity 1 shall know no North, no
South, no East, no West, but the whole country. I shall do every-
thing in my power to bring the country back to its original peace and
harmony; but if all efforts should fail, and it becomes necessary to
put down the foot firmly, will you stand by me V" And all, with one

voice, cried aloud, " We will !" and we did; and how truthfully did
he fulfill those promises.

We propose to introduce to this House the portrait of Abraham
Lincoln, a man who defended and perpetuated the liberty that Wash-
ington had founded — a true friend of freedom and humanity. History
and tradition are explored in vain for a parallel to his short and
eventful career. Born to be the benefactor of mankind, nature made
him great, he made himself virtuous. In his life lie triumphantly
vindicated the rights of humanity, and on the everlasting pillars of
freedom he proposed to reconstruct this government. Twice called
by the voice of a free people to occupy the highest position in their
gift, his voice in the cabinet and in the councils of the nation was
listened to with awe and respect; his highest ambition was the happiness
of mankind — bequeathing to posterity the inheritance of freedom for
all. And time may roll on its sweeping current, carrying myriads to
the tomb, generations may die, centuries may close up their long
career, nations may be revolutionized, the vast fabrics of empire may
all crumble into dust, and others arise in their place, but the short
and eventful public life and violent death of Abraham Lincoln will
ever live in history, and be remembered away beyond them all. A
nation that mourned his loss has caught up his name, and will bear it
onward and onward, as the sweep of empire widens and strengthens
and prolongs its reign. A single moment accomplished his death,
eternity alone will reveal the results of his life. Thousands of
volumes will proclaim his eventful rule, and history in its calm and
truthful record will bring out in bold relief the fact that his was
" One of a few immortal names that was not born to die." His life
speaks volumes to American youth. Though a humble farmer's boy,
without a dollar, without a book, with the advantages of our institu-
tions may become a great leader of men and controller of mind, and
at least become the head of the greatest of nations. Mr. Lincoln,
whose portrait the Committee presents before you to-day, was a.
farmer's boy. He became a successful advocate, a wise counselor,
an honest man. When the voice of the people summoned him to
Washington to take hold of the helm of the ship of State, how the old
ship trembled in the stream; how eventful the time; how men's
hearts quailed with fear. The dark and heavy cloud of civil war was
already above the horizon. It ascended in awful grandeur and over-
spread the heavens. The lightning flashed, the thunder rolled, ami
the storm burst forth with terrific fury, threatening eternal ruin every
where, and yet calm and self possessed amidst the raging storms of
political strife, the gaping wave and rushing flood, the helmsman
stood with steady hand and fixed eye, with nerves of steel and
patriotic heart, and his bright hopes inspired confidence that gave
success. The storm gave way and the noble ship finds a calmer sea.
All honor to the illustrious statesman who brought her' safely on her
way. But as the storm abates the statesman falls — the nation mourns.
Just as the nation looks in admiration, and hearts of swelling grati-

tude and love speak forth his praise, he is no more. The statesman
falls just as the sun of peace rise;- with healing on her wings and
drives back the dark cloud of civil war. Just as the burden is rolled
oft* from every loyal heart, we are overwhelmed with sorrow. And
we can only say. Not our will, Oh! God, but Thine be done.

Then let us lay aside all party differences, and dedicate this por-
trait to the memory of the patriotic and illustrious dead.


Mr. Speaker:— I hold in my hand resolutions which I propose
offering to this house in relation to the portrait now submitted by tho
committee to us for our acceptance.

But previous to formally doing so, I beg leave to make a few pre-
liminarv remarks. I should have prefered to have spoken without
writing, but was fearful that in my flow of feeling on such a subject,
I might forget the convenience and trespass on the rights of others
as to length therefore, I have committed to paper what I have to say.

I would first acknowledge and give credit for the original resolu-
tion to its author, the Hon. Robert Moore of Cumberland county, to
whose patriotic efforts we are indebted in procuring this speaking
likeness of the immortal Lincoln, whose memory is enshrined in the
heart of every true lover of his country.

May we not look upon this portrait as a fitting companion to deco-
rate this Assembly Chamber with that of our beloved Washington—
the one properly designated the Father and the other the Savior of
his country. .

And may we not also here .couple with it the recollection ot the
talented and eloquent address delivered by the Hon. Richard S.
Field before the Legislature of the last session, just one year ago
to-day on a similar anniversary occasion, and cherish them as fitting
tributes by the representatives of our State to the memory of tho
martyred statesman and hero. , ...

It is not my purpose, sir, to pronounce a lengthy eulogy on the hie
and character of the good and great man whose portrait we now
have before us. Though I cannot help but believe that it will be
quite appropriate and acceptable to us all, for me just here to quote
the sentiments of an eloquent writer, Hon. John Davidson, from a
truthful eulogium on Abraham Lincoln, which in a word will express
my own views and feelings on this anniversary of his birth-day.

Abraham Lincoln was the sixteenth President of the United States;
he was honest, just, liberal, patriotic, of uncommon common sense;
a worthy successor of George Washington ; a ruler whom the nation
loved ; inflexible in right ; never cast down in the darkest hour ot
gloom ; a man and a President.

The' great meteoric star of New England, Daniel Webster, once
said • "They can take awav my life, can destroy my name, but they
can never undo what I have done for my country." Our lamented


President could have adopted these words; for the benefits conferred
on America by him can neither be undone nor forgotten, until the
grand dissolution of empires, kingdoms and republics shall announce
to a slumbering world the second appearing of the Son of man

Washington bade farewell to earth, and passed from mortal cares
to immortal bliss as an emancipationist.

Abraham Lincoln trod the same hallowed ground as the emanci-
pator of a nation's slaves. .

Our late President was no more noted lor his patnotism-which
was of that high and pure type, soaring above party cliques and
Seeds, and comprehending as his duty the entire circle of states and
everv beat of whose heart was true to Amenca-than lie was for his
simplicity-— the simplicity of great men with great minds His intel-
lect was of that high and pure mould, that he could take the telescope
of] hi mind and, with the eye of patriotism, look into the dark future
and through the bursting heart-strings of a nation and the smoke of
carnage, discern the clear, unclouded sky, and see the bow of promise,
is n ennonv snan the American nation.

Sonest and just, he has earned for himself a name in this particu-
lar which will be classified by the future historian with Anstides
the Just ; a name greater than conqueror. His heart and sou was
large enough to embrace his whole country. Never hasty, but always
sure He weighed his words and acts as in the scale of jus ice. His
name will live? it cannot die. Graven upon the hearts of loyal mil-
lions, is the record of his deeds. Generation succeeding generation
will tell of the great man. Painters will delineate on canvass sculp-
tors in marble,'poets in song, orators in living words, and historians,
on the recording page' will each and all vie in committing to > imper
ishable works and words the many virtues and deeds of that great
and sood man's heart and life.

The four millions of ransomed and redeemed sons and daughters
of Africa will lisp, in softened accents and with streaming tears, the
virtues of that heart whose wonderful simplicity and power became
the instruments of the Almighty God to break in pieces the clanking

and galling chains of a barbarous servitude. His fame is American,

"XndTfuture generations see and realize the full glory of the
meridian sun of universal libcrty,and feel its benignant rays, blessing
the land with its untold, uncounted mercies, they will with one accord,
crown Abraham Lincoln the morning star of American liberty.

Should no marble column raise to his memory, nor engraved stone
bear record of his deeds, yet will his name be as lasting as the land

h \larble C colu.nns may indeed moulder into dust; time may erase all
impress from the crumbling stone, yet will his fame remain for with
American Liberty it rose, and with American Liberty only can it

Pe Thus' may we read in the features of that speaking likeness the


tfT- Ca T V ° f Sen "-' Ce ai ; d deyotion ' and as we l00k u P<>n it again
and agam, the expression of countenance will remind us as often tint
the noblest motive of his life was the public good, and that he had
malice towards none and charity for all.
Truly, in the words of another, he was a

"Statesman, yet friend to truth of soul sincere
In action faithful, and in honor clear,
Who broke no promise, serv'd no private end
Who gamed no title, and who lost no friend. 1 '

And now he rests; his greatness and his simplicity no more shall
KerfhfeKfe m ° Ulded int ° Cdm com P leteness the

"Where Liberty dwells there shall be his monument."
resolution 11686 remarks ' Mr ' S P caker > Permit me to offer the following

Resolved, That the portrait of the lamented Lincoln, now presented
for the acceptance of the Legislature by their committee of the last

llfZ ZSSf i ^ r 8 m + att6r h Ch / rge ' meets with our ^Probation,
and its faithful delineation of the features and expression of the ff ood
and great patriot, as well as its execution generally, as a work of art
is creditable to the artist. *'

Resolved That the thanks of this Legislature are due and are
hereby tendered to the Committee, and especially to their Chairman,
the Hon. Robert Moore, of Cumberland county, who offered the reso-
lution m relation to procuring this portrait, and who, together with
the other members of the Committee, have so satisfactorily performed
the duties committed to them. '

Resolved That the report of the Committee be accepted, and that
they be discharged.


Mr. Speaker: — It is now nearly two years since the American
people were paralyzed by the announcement that Abraham Lincoln
had been slain by the hand of an assassin. It fell like a thunderbolt
from a cloudless sky. Forgetting for the moment its horror and
indignation at the foul deed that had bereft it, in the bitter sense
of loss and of bereavement, the whole vast nation "lifted up its
voice and wept." Even over the regions where rebellion had scarcely
laid down its arms, there passed a hush and a shudder at the awful
event, as if it boded some new aggravation of their doom.

The morning that dawned on that fearful night of Good Fridi
too fresh in our memories to need description. Blank despair filled
the faces of men. while scarce word was spoken, and tears fell like rain.

The news was borne across the sea and flashed over (he old world;
and the hearts of men sank within them as they exclaimed, " our
friend is dead!"' The princes and potentates of the world vied with
each other in the formal expressions of sympathy, and the common
people, with an instinct that never errs, laid their stricken hearts to
ours and wept with us.

It was but yesterday that the last echoes of a world's tender sym-
pathy in our loss has reached our ears. To-day we receive the "coun-
terfeit presentment" of his features, and we reverently place it b<
the portrait of the " Father of his country."

Who is this man, whose death by violence fdls. not only one nation,
but a world, with the notes of woe? And whence his right to stand
beside him to whom this people has so long accord* d the firsl place
in its veneration and regard. He boasted no titled, no honored, ao
oultured ancestry. No herald's book of pedign the came

of his grandfather, or the heroic (U-<><\< of Ids remote progenitors. A
log cabin in the young State of Kentucky witnessed bis birth. His
youth was passed in occupations but illy calculated, according to or-
dinary experience, to mature either presidents or heroes. Even the
scant rudiments of education, with which he began his sturdy struggle
with an adverse fair, were wrung from the few books thai chance
threw in his way. Mis manhood came to find him armed only with
slender knowledge, but with a purpose as resolute, and a heart as
true to rierht as ever human breasl contained.


How his logical instinct inclined him to the law, how he won
competence and the confidence of men therein, how he rushed to the
field when the savage tribes threatened our frontier, how his fellow
citizens summoned him to one after another of the places of honor
and trust in their gift, until a nation called him to be its .chief, at the
most momentous and critical period of its history, there is no time
now to speak.

It is enough for my purpose that at the commencement of the re-
bellion, Abraham Lincoln was President ot the United States. He
was comparatively a new man, known to the nation at large chiefly
by his celebrated contest before the people of Illinois, with the ablest
and most adroit debater among his political opponents. On the
strength of that series of debates, and his local reputation, they made
him their Chief Executive. The experiment (for such it was) was a
perilous one. But it was presented as the alternative to one which
they deemed far more perilous. The government was virtually in
the hands of conspirators, who had thrust themselves into its chief
places, in order the better to betray and destroy it. Their demon-
stration against it wore an air of solemn dignity and deliberation
that was well calculated to overawe the timid, and decide the doubt-
ful. They scattered our navy; they accepted the surrender of the
greater part of our army from one of themselves; they seized our
forts and embezzled our money. The nation — the loyal part of it —
seemed stupefied by the discovery that what they had taken lor
bravado was a real attack upon the Republic. They looked to their
newly elected President for guidance and direction, and they looked
not in vain. The new hand seized the helm — not in a spirit of boast-
ing self-confidence — not as if the problem were easy of solution — but
with a humble reliance on the support of a higher power, a spirit of
noble self-devotion, and above all, an unfaltering faith in the people,
that clung to him and supported him through every hour and every
phase of the long and terrible struggle that followed. There were
seasons of doubt and depression far more often than seasons of ex-
ultation. Every base passion of humanity, lashed into preternatural
activity by the vast prizes and opportunities of a gigantic war, surged
around him like the fiery waves of hell, and threatened every mo-
ment to whelm him and the precious hopes committed to his keeping,
in final and hopeless ruin. He had learned war only as a subaltern
in an Indian expedition, yet he was compelled in the last resort to
decide on plans of mighty campaigns, and the changes of warring com-
manders. His practice of diplomacy had been confined to the man-
agement of his cases in the law courts, yet he alone was the final
arbiter of questions on which hung the issue of peace or war with
foreign nations. His knowledge of finance was limited by an expe-
rience which scarcely extended beyond the acquisition and expendi-
ture of a moderate competence, yet his voice was needed to give the
final sanction to the financial system of a great nation, in the midst


of the mightiest war and the most enormous expenditure recorded in
human annals.

And yet, in all these difficult positions, this new and untried man
proved equal to every occasion. He was not always right in his con-
clusions—and who ever was? But results have proved his wisdom to
have been of that kind that, to use a homely phrase, wears the best.
He made some mistakes, but there is hardly an instance in which, re-
specting a great question of policy, he would have done better had
lie followed the advice which others so persistently thrust upon him.
He had literally no pride of opinion that could keep him for a mo-
ment from changing his ground when his judgment was convinced.
His keen, logical mind seemed to pierce at once through the shell of
sophistry and error, and seize the truth with a certainty that was un-
erring. His judgment of men, though inspired always with a warm
charity and human sympathy, was something wonderful in its pene-
tration. He sought for no ideals, for he knew he must do his work
with such materials as he found at hand. If he often appointed in-
competent officers, it was notbecause ho thought them perfect, but,
as he often remarked, solely because none could show him better
men. He saw and felt that a nation practising war on a vast scale,
after fifty years of hardly interrupted peace, must grow to its work
by its own hard-boughtexperiem e.

He knew from the first that slavery was the weak point of the re-
bellion, and he longed for the overthrow of that relic of savage days
with a longing that never knew abatement. But he knew also that
he was chosen to rule under a constitution and laws which it was not
for him to call inquestion, and therefore it was that he waited till
every needful condition precedent had been fulfilled, and then, with
•every form and sanction that could give it emphasis and force, he
launched the immortal proclamation of emancipation, and gave the
slaveholders' rebellion its death blow.

No clamor moved him to issue it a moment sooner than he deemed
wise and just, and no threats or imprecations availed to stay his hand
when the hour had arrived.

One by one the measures of his administration grew out of the ne-
cessities of the time. He had no pet theories to vindicate— no fa-
vorites to reward, no enemies (except those of his country) to pdnish.
Amid all the trials and treacheries, and exasperations of such
varied experience, his heart, instead of growing hard and cold with
its terrible knowledge of human weakness and depravitj . seemed to
grow softer and more tender to the Inst. The sufferings of our brave
soldiers weighed his spirits down with a perpetual sorrow. The cry
of the bereaved and desolate never fell unheeded on his ears. Op-
pressed by the cares of state as man was never oppressed before, he
could not bear to send away any who desired to see him and pour
their individual grief into Ins overburdened heart. They went to
him as to a father, and he sorrowed for them as for his own children.


Possessing no graces of person or of manner— plain and awkward
in appearance, he found little favor with those who deem all elevate*
positions the natural birthright of the graceful and cultivated childien

3 But with those whom he called " the plain people," the force of his
character soon made itself felt. When the conviction settled down
into their minds that Abraham Lincoln had no purpose m his heart
but to serve and save his country, that they could trust his honesty
as well as his judgment in the mighty strife before them, they gave
him without stint their love and contidence-they poured out then
money like water— they gave their sons and husbands by the million,
and the fate of rebellion was sealed. They cared not if his form was
gaunt, his hands were large, or his homely face furrowed with the
fines of care. They saw that he was wise, and they felt that he was

"suddenly elevated from a simple and private life to the first posi-
tion on earth, he manifested no sign of exultation no arrogance ; or
pride of place, but kept his plain manners and frank, cordial address
to the last. In the dark hours of the war he never sank in imbecile
depression, nor when victory crowned his armies did he claim lor
himself the elory of the triumph.

The mirthful element, to which such a disproportioned prominence
has been given in the popular estimation of his character, was a bless-
ing, the value of which cannot be estimated. It was but the heat-
lightning that played about the cloud of anxiety and doubt that filled

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Online LibraryNew Jersey. Legislature. General AssemblyAddresses delivered at the presentation of the portrait of Abraham Lincoln → online text (page 1 of 4)