Robert Green Ingersoll.

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— in the supremacy of the Nation — in the territorial
integrity of the Republic.



XIII.

A GREAT actor can be known only when he has
'**• assumed the principal character in a great
drama. Possibly the greatest actors have never ap-
peared, and it may be that the greatest soldiers have
lived the lives of perfect peace. Lincoln assumed
the leading part in the greatest drama ever enacted
upon the stage of this continent.

His criticisms of military movements, his corre-
spondence with his generals and others on the con-
duct of the war, show that he was at all times master
of the situation — that he was a natural strategist,
that he appreciated the difficulties and advantages
of every kind, and that in " the still and mental "
field of war he stood the peer of any man beneath
the flag.

Had McClellan followed his advice, he would
have taken Richmond.

Had Hooker acted in accordance with his sugges-
tions, Chancellorsville would have been a victory for
the Nation.

Lincoln's political prophecies were all fulfilled.

We know now that he not only stood at the top,
but that he occupied the centre, from first to last,

(161)



\£>2 ABRAHAM LINCOLN.

and that he did this by reason of his intelligence,
his humor, his philosophy, his courage and his
patriotism.

In passion's storm he stood, unmoved, patient, just
and candid. In his brain there was no cloud, and in
his heart no hate. He longed to save the South as
well as North, to see the Nation one and free.

He lived until the end was known.

He lived until the Confederacy was dead — until
Lee surrendered, until Davis fled, until the doors of
Libby Prison were opened, until the Republic was
supreme.

He lived until Lincoln and Liberty were united
forever.

He lived to cross the desert — to reach the palms
of victory — to hear the murmured music of the wel-
come waves.

He lived until all loyal hearts were his — until the
history of his deeds made music in the souls of men
— until he knew that on Columbia's Calendar of
worth and fame his name stood first.

He lived until there remained nothing for him to
do as Qfreat as he had done.

What he did was worth living for, worth dying for.

He lived until he stood in the midst of universal



ABRAHAM LINCOLN. 1 63

joy, beneath the outstretched wings of Peace — the
foremost man in all the world.

And then the horror came. Night fell on noon.
The Savior of the Republic, the breaker of chains,
the liberator of millions, he who had " assured free-
dom to the free," was dead.

Upon his brow Fame placed the immortal wreath,
and for the first time in the history of the world a
Nation bowed and wept.

The memory of Lincoln is the strongest, tenderest
tie that binds all hearts together now, and holds all
States beneath a Nation's flag.

XIV.

ABRAHAM LINCOLN — strange mingling of
** mirth and tears, of the tragic and grotesque,
of cap and crown, of Socrates and Democritus, of
^Esop and Marcus Aurelius, of all that is gentle and
just, humorous and honest, merciful, wise, laughable,
lovable and divine, and all consecrated to the use of
man ; while through all, and over all, were an over-
whelming sense of obligation, of chivalric loyalty to
truth, and upon all, the shadow of the tragic end.
Nearly all the great historic characters are impos-



164 ABRAHAM LINCOLN.

sible monsters, disproportioned by flattery, or by
calumny deformed. We know nothing of their
peculiarities, or nothing but their peculiarities.
About these oaks there clings none of the earth of
humanity.

Washington is now only a steel engraving. About
the real man who lived and loved and hated and
schemed, we know but little. The glass through
which we look at him is of such high magnifying
power that the features are exceedingly indistinct.

Hundreds of people are now engaged in smooth-
ing out the lines of Lincoln's face — forcing all
features to the common mould — so that he may be
known, not as he really was, but, according to their
poor standard, as he should have been.

Lincoln was not a type. He stands alone — no
ancestors, no fellows, and no successors.

He had the advantage of living in a new country,
of social equality, of personal freedom, of seeing in
the horizon of his future the perpetual star of hope.
He preserved his individuality and his self-respect.
He knew and mingled with men of every kind ;
and, after all, men are the best books. He became
acquainted with the ambitions and hopes of the
heart, the means used to accomplish ends, the



ABRAHAM LINCOLN.



105



springs of action and the seeds of thought. He was
familiar with nature, with actual things, with com-
mon facts. He loved and appreciated the poem of
the year, the drama of the seasons.

In a new country a man must possess at least
three virtues — honesty, courage and generosity.
In cultivated society, cultivation is often more im-
portant than soil. A well-executed counterfeit
passes more readily than a blurred genuine. It is
necessary only to observe the unwritten laws of
society — to be honest enough to keep out of prison,
and generous enough to subscribe in public — where
the subscription can be defended as an investment.

In a new country, character is essential ; in the
old, reputation is sufficient. In the new, they find
what a man really is ; in the old, he generally passes
for what he resembles. People separated only by
distance are much nearer together, than those divided
by the walls of caste.

It is no advantage to live in a great city, where
poverty degrades and failure brings despair. The
fields are lovelier than paved streets, and the great
forests than walls of brick. Oaks and elms are more
poetic than steeples and chimneys.

In the country is the idea of home. There you



i66



ABRAHAM LINCOLN.



see the rising and setting sun ; you become ac-
quainted with the stars and clouds. The constella-
tions are your friends. You hear the rain on the
roof and listen to the rhythmic sighing of the winds.
You are thrilled by the resurrection called Spring,
touched and saddened by Autumn — the grace and
poetry of death. Every field is a picture, a land-
scape ; every landscape a poem ; every flower a
tender thought, and every forest a fairy-land. In
the country you preserve your identity — your per-
sonality. There you are an aggregation of atoms,
but in the city you are only an atom of an aggrega-
tion.

In the country you keep your cheek close to the
breast of Nature. You are calmed and ennobled by
the space, the amplitude and scope of earth and sky
— by the constancy of the stars.

Lincoln never finished his education. To the
night of his death he was a pupil, a learner, an
inquirer, a seeker after knowledge. You have no
idea how many men are spoiled by what is called
education. For the most part, colleges are places
where pebbles are polished and diamonds are
dimmed. If Shakespeare had graduated at Oxford,
he might have been a quibbling attorney, or a hypo-
critical parson.



ABRAHAM LINCOLN. 1 67

Lincoln was a great lawyer. There is nothing
shrewder in this world than intelligent honesty.
Perfect candor is sword and shield.

He understood the nature of man. As a lawyer
he endeavored to get at the truth, at the very heart
of a case. He was not willing even to deceive him-
self. No matter what his interest said, what his
passion demanded, he was great enough to find the
truth and strong enough to pronounce judgment
against his own desires.

Lincoln was a many-sided man, acquainted with
smiles and tears, complex in brain, single in heart,
direct as light ; and his words, candid as mirrors,
gave the perfect image of his thought. He was
never afraid to ask — never too dignified to admit
that he did not know. No man had keener wit, or
kinder humor.

It may be that humor is the pilot of reason.
People without humor drift unconsciously into ab-
surdity. Humor sees the other side — stands in the
mind like a spectator, a good-natured critic, and
gives its opinion before judgment is reached. Humor
goes with good nature, and good nature is the
climate of reason. In anger, reason abdicates and
malice extinguishes the torch. Such was the humor



1 68 ABRAHAM LINCOLN.

of Lincoln that he could tell even unpleasant truths
as charmingly as most men can tell the things we
wish to hear.

He was not solemn. Solemnity is a mask worn
by ignorance and hypocrisy — it is the preface, pro-
logue, and index to the cunning or the stupid.

He was natural in his life and thought — ■ master
of the story-teller's art, in illustration apt, in applica-
tion perfect, liberal in speech, shocking Pharisees
and prudes, using any word that wit could disinfect.

He was a logician. His logic shed light. In its
presence the obscure became luminous, and the
most complex and intricate political and metaphysi-
cal knots seemed to untie themselves. Logic is the
necessary product of intelligence and sincerity. It
cannot be learned. It is the child of a clear head
and a good heart.

Lincoln was candid, and with candor often de-
ceived the deceitful. He had intellect without arro-
gance, genius without pride, and religion without
cant — that is to say, without bigotry and without
deceit.

He was an orator — clear, sincere, natural. He
did not pretend. He did not say what he thought
others thought, but what he thought.



ABRAHAM LINCOLN. 169

If you wish to be sublime you must be natural —
you must keep close to the grass. You must sit by
the fireside of the heart ; above the clouds it is too
cold. You must be simple in your speech ; too
much polish suggests insincerity.

The great orator idealizes the real, transfigures the
common, makes even the inanimate throb and thrill,
fills the gallery of the imagination with statues and
pictures perfect in form and color, brings to light the
gold hoarded by memory the miser, shows the glit-
tering coin to the spendthrift hope, enriches the
brain, ennobles the heart, and quickens the con-
science. Between his lips words bud and blossom.

If you wish to know the difference between an
orator and an elocutionist — between what is felt and
what is said — between what the heart and brain can
do together and what the brain can do alone — read
Lincoln's wondrous speech at Gettysburg, and then
the oration of Edward Everett.

The speech of Lincoln will never be forgotten.
It will live until languages are dead and lips are
dust. The oration of Everett will never be read.

The elocutionists believe in the virtue of voice,
the sublimity of syntax, the majesty of long sen-
tences, and the genius of gesture.



17° ABRAHAM LINCOLN.

The orator loves the real, the simple, the natural.
He places the thought above all. He knows that
the greatest ideas should be expressed in the short-
est words — that the greatest statues need the least
drapery.

Lincoln was an immense personality — firm but not
obstinate. Obstinacy is egotism — firmness, heroism.
He influenced others without effort, unconsciously ;
and they submitted to him as men submit to nature
— unconsciously. He was severe with himself, and
for that reason lenient with others.

He appeared to apologize for being kinder than
his fellows.

He did merciful things as stealthily as others com-
mitted crimes.

Almost ashamed of tenderness, he said and did the
noblest words and deeds with that charming con-
fusion, that awkwardness, that is the perfect grace of
modesty.

As a noble man, wishing to pay a small debt to a
poor neighbor, reluctantly offers a hundred-dollar
bill and asks for change, fearing that he may be sus-
pected either of making a display of wealth or a pre-
tence of payment, so Lincoln hesitated to show his
wealth of goodness, even to the best he knew.



ABRAHAM LINCOLN. I/ 1

A great man stooping, not wishing to make his
fellows feel that they were small or mean.

By his candor, by his kindness, by his perfect
freedom from restraint, by saying what he thought,
and saying it absolutely in his own way, he made it
not only possible, but popular, to be natural. He
was the enemy of mock solemnity, of the stupidly
respectable, of the cold and formal.

He wore no official robes either on his body or his
soul. He never pretended to be more or less, or
other, or different, from what he really was.

He had the unconscious naturalness of Nature's
self.

He built upon the rock. The foundation was se-
cure and broad. The structure was a pyramid,
narrowing as it rose. Through days and nights of
sorrow, through years of grief and pain, with un-
swerving purpose, " with malice towards none, with
charity for all," with infinite patience, with unclouded
vision, he hoped and toiled. Stone after stone was
laid, until at last the Proclamation found its place.
On that the Goddess stands.

He knew others, because perfectly acquainted
with himself. He cared nothing for place, but every-
thing for principle ; little for money, but every-



I 72 ABRAHAM LINCOLN.

thing ibr independence. Where no principle was
involved, easily swayed — willing to go slowly, if in
the right direction — sometimes willing to stop ; but
he would not go back, and he would not go wrong.

He was willing to wait. He knew that the event
was not waiting, and that fate was not the fool of
chance. He knew that slavery had defenders, but
no defence, and that they who attack the right must
wound themselves.

He was neither tyrant nor slave. He neither
knelt nor scorned.

With him, men were neither great nor small —
they were right or wrong.

Through manners, clothes, titles, rags and race he
saw the real— that which is. Beyond accident,
policy, compromise and war he saw the end.

He was patient as Destiny, whose undecipherable
hieroglyphs were so deeply graven on his sad and
tragic face.

Nothing discloses real character like the use of
power. It is easy for the weak to be gentle. Most
people can bear adversity. But if you wish to know
what a man really is, give him power. This is the
supreme test. It is the glory of Lincoln that, having
almost absolute power, he never abused it, except
on the side of mercy.



ABRAHAM LINCOLN. 1 73

Wealth could not purchase, power could not awe,
this divine, this loving man.

He knew no fear except the fear of doing wrong.
Hating slavery, pitying the master — seeking to
conquer, not persons, but prejudices — he was the
embodiment of the self-denial, the courage, the hope
and the nobility of a Nation.

He spoke not to inflame, not to upbraid, but to
convince.

He raised his hands, not to strike, but in bene-
diction.

He longed to pardon.

He loved to see the pearls of joy on the cheeks of
a wife whose husband he had rescued from death.

Lincoln was the grandest figure of the fiercest
civil war. He is the gentlest memory of our
world.



Writings of Col. Robert G. Ingersoll.

A NEW AND COMPLETE EDITION OF

Col. Robert G. Ingersoll's

WORKS.

Known as the DRESDEN EDITION, in twelve octavo vol-
umes handsomely ilhistrated, with photogravures, etchings,
facsimiles and half-tones. Published with the authority
and supervision of the family from his manu-
scripts, notes, and literary memoratida.



COMPLETE INDEX TO ALL THE VOLUMES AND TABLE OF
CONTENTS TO EACH VOLUME.



The Only Authorized and Complete Edition of
Colonel Ingersoll's Works.

THIS Edition of the writings of Robert G. Ingersoll justifies its de-
scription as "complete." Besides including all of Col. Ingersoll's
famous lectures, addresses and orations already issued in book or
pamphlet form, the volumes contain some thousands of pages of
matter not hitherto published. Among his inedited writings, now
first appearing, may be mentioned the author's first lecture, entitled
" Progress," delivered in i860 ; the lectures on "Robert Burns,"
"The Great Infidels," "My Reviewers Reviewed ;" an answer to
the Rev. Lyman Abbott's article, " Flaws in Ingersollism," published
in the North American Review ; an answer to Archdeacon Farrar's
article, "A Few Words on Colonel Ingersoll," published in the same
magazine ; an answer to the Dean of St. Paul's article on " Cruelty; "
many new pages on Divorce, after-dinner Speeches, Magazine articles
on the Chinese Question ; essays on Art and Morality, "Three Phil-
anthropists," "Is Avarice Triumphant?" "Some Interrogation
Points" (on the Labor Question); Prefaces, Tributes, Fragments,
etc., etc.

The whole of one volume is devoted to Interviews, which cover a
multitude of subjects, and indeed leave hardly any topic of interest
untouched. The earlier Interviews dealt largely with Colonel Inger-
soll's clerical critics and with theological subjects ; but the scope of
inquiry was gradually expanded to include political, economic and
social questions, until at length his opinion came to be solicited on
whatever might be uppermost for the time in the public mind, whether
it were an election, a race problem, finance, woman suffrage, marriage
and divorce, Socialism, Labor, Prohibition, protection or free trade.
The press discovered that he had valuable ideas on art, music, the
drama, literature, oratory, and allied subjects ; and what he had to
say about them occupies many hundreds of pages.

From his ability in other fields it may be judged how illuminating
were Colonel Ingersoll's expositions of the law, how complete his
mastery of the details of a case, how convincing his arguments, and



g. C. P. Farrell, Publisher, New York.

how effective his addresses to court and jury. The Legal Volum«
contains his noted speeches in the Star Route Trials, in the Davis
Will Case, in the Munn Trial (from which his universally quoted
Temperance Speech is taken)* and his last public address, delivered
in the Russell Will Case before Vice-Chancellor Grey at Camden,
New Jersey.

The Patriotic and Political addresses of Colonel Ingersoll ire here
for the first time gathered between covers. They contain utterances
from which the fires of patriotism will be ever fed or renewed, and
discuss issues that will appear in every campaign while the Nation
remains a Republic. Some of them — the Decoration Day Orations,
the Soldiers' Reunion Address, the Vision of War — are classics.
The Campaign Speeches are models of argument, appeal — and ridi-
cule. Colonel Ingersoll's political deliverances as a whole disclose
the softening influence of time and thought on a great mind from the
" nine o'clock in the morning" to the afternoon oflife.

The matter given precedence in the Dresden Edition as might be
foreseen, comprises the author's great lectures on the Bible and the
Christian Religion and his discussions with theologians, amateur and
professional. Among his opponents were the Rt. Hon. W. E.
Gladstone, Cardinal Manning, Judge Jeremiah S. Black, and the
Rev. Henry M. Field, whose defences of their faith are given in full.
It is doubted that Colonel Ingersoll's Replies will be found in the
published writings of those authors.

ILLUSTRATIONS.

There are fifteen Pictures and two fac-simile reproductions of Colonel
Ingersoll's manuscript. As a frontispiece for Volume I. a photograv-
ure of the author has been prepared from a photograph taken in 1890.
This faces a picture, on the engraved title page, of the Birthplace of
Robert G. Ingersoll at Dresden, New York.

In Volume II. is an etched engraving of Attorney-General Ingersoll
of Illinois, showing the Author as he appeared in 1868, when holding
the office indicated.

Volume III. contains the well-known standing portrait of 1890. a
photogravure. In the same binding is a manuscript fac-simile of the
poem, "The Birthplace of Burns," written in the Burns cottage at
Ayr, August 19. 1878.

The photogravure frontispiece of the fourth volume is from 1897, a
profile, taken when the hand of time was feeling for the tardy furrows
in cheek and brow.

In Volume V. we again have the orator represented in his prime,
(1877) standing at ease with left hand pocketed. This is a fine half-
tone, and there is another in profile taken in 1884.

The favorite 1876 picture, in which the artist returns to the photo-
gravure process, ornaments the sixth division — the book of Dis-
cussions.

Volume VII. presents the interior of " Chatham Street Theatre,
where Robert G. Ingersoll was Baptized in 1836" — a view that is full
of interest considering the infant's subsequent career.

" With daughter's babes upon his knees, the white hair mingling
with the gold," the Author is shown in the photogravure preceding
the title page of Volume VIII., the only group in the series. The
picture fulfills the words.

Ingersoll with mustache and imperial, and wearing the epaulets
of his colonelcy, is brought before us in unaccustomed guise by the
photogravure frontispiece of Vol. IX. The picture was taken in 1862,
when he was commanding officer of the Eleventh Illinois Cavalry.



Catalogue of Robert G. IngersoWs Works. 3

Again in age the iconoclast and builder looks out from the initial
page of the succeeding volume — No. X. — wherein appear his ex-
positions of the law. It is an 1897 portrait, in photogravure.

For the illustration of Vol. XI. the publisher has secured two views,
north and west, of Walston, at Dobbs Ferry-on-Hudson. Here in
summer lived the great humanitarian, and here he received that last
visitor, who came that we might have in the closing volume the final
pictures, " After Death" and the Urn that holds the ashes while the
heart preserves the memory of Robert G. Ingersoll.

A letter written July 20, 1899, 1S reproduced in fac-simile. It was
the writer's last, and dealt with Cuban and Philippine affairs.

Every photogravure portrait is printed by hand on Japanese vellum
paper.

Colonel Ingersoll's admirers will derive pleasure and information
from the many notes, consisting for the most part of newspaper re-
ports, attached to the public addresses, descriptive of the occasions
when they were delivered and of the enthusiasm with which they
were received. Some of those occasions — as the convention where
was made the stirring speech nominating James G. Blaine for the
Presidency, and the meeting where Henry Ward Beecher introduced
Ingersoll as the most brilliant speaker of the English language on
the globe — have become historic, and their story is here fittingly
preserved. The notes are frequent and copious, and, bringing the
reader as they do into the immediate presence of the events they
record, are of the highest importance and value.

Notice is attracted to the full Contents and elaborate Index of this
edition. These useful adjuncts have been prepared not only at the
expense of that labor and time necessary to all such compilations, but
with an intelligent appreciation of the needs of those who would con-
sult the writings of this Author. The Index is not the " hack-work "
of a professional indexer satisfied to jot down proper names and t©
note their recurrence with volume and page. Here matter explana-
tory of each reference is given where its importance warrants, and
the reader may find that for which he seeks without opening any other
volume than the one containing it. Our Index embraces the titles of
lectures, speeches, interviews and discussions, with their contents,
the principal words of such titles being likewise ended in alphabetical
order, with references to heads under which the subject is treated
at length. Approaching the fullness of a concordance, the compila-
tion is complete without being cryptic, and is in fact what it has been
said every index should be to the searcher — " a guide, philosopher
and friend." The character of the contents is shown by specimen
pages in this Circular.

The twelve volumes contain nearly seven thousand pages, printed
in large type, on finest of laid rag paper, wide margins, gilt top,
uncut edges, and bound library style, in olive silk cloth, (Colonel
Ingersoll's favorite color), gold back titles. Packed in a neat
wooden box, ready for shipment.



8®* SOLD ONLY IN SETS. 3 ®!



Gems of Eloquence and Beauty from
the Immortal IngersolL

A VISION OF WART"

m\ DMITTED by all to be the mast marvelous piece of patriotic word painting
L\ that ever issued from the lips of man. Printed on 15 leaves, (10 r Hi,) 13
il of which are exqusitely illustrated in colors by the well-known artist,
Mr. Harry A. Ogden, whose reputation is unequaled in work of this description .
Mr. Ogden was employed by the Government to illustrate the celebrated work on
the Historical Uniforms of the U. 8. Army, and is at present on the staff of
Harper's, Scribner's, and the Century Magazines. The title page is embellished


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Online LibraryRobert Green IngersollAbraham Lincoln → online text (page 3 of 5)