Page images

guided the thoughts and shaped the opinions of millions of thinking freemen, pursued, through a long and honored life, the same glittering phantom; and, when at last, after leading him through bogs and quagmires of political chicanery, it finally and forever eluded him, he sought his secluded home in Marshfield, and died of a broken heart; while the Atlantic waves, rolling almost at his bedside, seemed, in a sad, monotonous, and majestic dirge, to wail over the crushing of his hopes !

4. Other eminent names rush to the memory, of gifted citizens who have fallen in the same unsatisfying pursuit, after exhausting, by themselves or their friends, every political art that could be brought to bear upon the point. But Abraham Lincoln, with no brilliant accomplishments, no such eloquence as Clay's, no such ponderous intellect as Webster's, with little skill in manipulating parties, far from being a match for his rival, Douglas, in managing the public sentiment and in turning it to his own advantage,- indeed, with nothing but his straight-forward honesty to distinguish him from many other men,- Abraham Lincoln found the presidential mansion opening its doors and inviting him to enter ; the post stood candidate for him. Plain, simple, unadorned, the people's man, he was called by his countrymen to the great office, simply because they believed him an honest man,-one whose promises could be trusted,- one who would practice no dishonest jugglery or legerdemain. And not only did they call him to the highest office in their gift, but they bestowed upon him their heart treasures,—their esteem, their confidence, and their affection,-more lavishly than upon any other man since Washington! When will our public men learn that the truest and only satisfactory success can be secured in no way but by an honest and sincere devotion to the public weal ?

5, May we not hope that, by the terrible experience of the last four years, we have been taught something of the value of principle, as opposed to mere management ? of downright integrity, as opposed to dishonest intrigue? How, during this terrible contest, men have been tried! How great prin

ciples have risen in unwonted might, and demanded the '' allegiance of all men! What a laying aside have we seen of

supple-jointed, limber-backed politicians! How the miserable quibbles and intricate nothings of the political arena have been swept out of sight, and men have been compelled to engage in discussing momentous questions that are to influence mankind for ages! And shall this be all in vain? Are our public men to be the same race of pigmy schemers and supple flunkeys that we have sometimes seen? Shall we not have, for a time at least, as a result of this war, a race of stalwart men, honest, straight-forward, trusting in God and the right,-men, in short, after the similitude of Abraham Lincoln ?

6. But, not only was Mr. Lincoln of the people, and honest; he was also a great man. We do not by this mean that he possessed all kinds of greatness in the highest degree. But we do affirm that he was endowed with an unusually full share of the highest kind of greatness. Dr. Channing, in his admirable and truthful analysis of the character of Napoleon Bonaparte, notes three principal forms of greatness. And among these, he assigns the highest place to moral greatness,—that which lifts the soul above all things mean and untruthful, and makes it willing to suffer any pain, rather than renounce its allegiance to God and the truth. This is the greatness that has characterized the world's heroes and martyrs, that has lifted them up into a calm and serene abnegation of self, into a lofty and unhesitating devotion to duty, into an unfaltering conviction that, in the hands of the good God, all things, whether joyous or sorrowful, will, in the end, help to bring about the highest good..

7. This type of character,—this great moral power,-marked Mr. Lincoln through his whole life. It enabled him to use life's experiences for his own and others' good. The career of a Mississippi boatman,--so fatal to many young men, because they have not moral power to convert its boisterous experiences into steps in manly progress,— was to him, no doubt, a source of improvement in the power to resist temptation. He was a stronger man for this experience, in all the elements that go to form a noble character. A man that can draw moral nourishment from the turbid influences of such a life, must surely have true greatness conceded to him. A little man,- little in the essentials of a true manhood, could never digest such material into that noblest product of the Divine hand, an honest man. This power to transmute the evil of this world into a sterling Christian character, to gather honey from the thorns and nettles of an unpropitious experience, to turn the darts of the devil against him who hurled them forth, this is a power allied to that of God himself, and stamps its possessor with the unmistakable impress of true greatness !

8. But Mr. Lincoln was also great in his simplicity, and in his full confidence in the ultimate success of the right. Little men are ever seeking circuitous paths,-ever striving to prop up their feebleness by intrigue and strategy. It takes a strong mind to rely implicitly and calmly upon the final triumph of. truth and justice. The small craft toss and plunge with every wave that rises ; but the vast steamship plows her way through their midst, never deviating from her true course. Thus, great minds, guided by a celestial light, spurn every solicitation that would draw them aside into the paths of chicanery and deceit. They see so clearly the end from

the beginning, they comprehend so fully the great purpose of life, that they cannot prevail upon themselves to stoop to the little by-plays of faction. And they always succeed, because their lives are in harmony with the great plan of the universe!


1. Now must the storied Potomac

Laurels forever divide ;
Now to the Sangamon fameless

Give of its century's pride, -
Sangamon, stream of the prairies,

Placidly westward that flows,
Far in whose city of silence

Calm he has sought his repose.
Over our Washington's river

Sunrise beams rosy and fair;
Sunset on Sangamon fairer,

Father and martyr lies there.

since 1

2. Kings under pyramids slumber,

Sealed in the Lybian sands;
Princes in gorgeous cathedrals,

Decked with the spoil of the lands;
Kinglier, princelier sleeps he,

Couched ’mid the prairies serene,
Only the turf and the willow

Him and God's heaven between;

Temple nor column to cumber

Verdure and bloom of the sod, -
So, in the vale by Beth-peor,

Moses was buried of God.
3. Break into blossom, O prairies !

Snowy and golden and red;
Peers of the Palestine lilies

Heap for your Glorious Dead !
Roses as fair as of Sharon,

Branches as stately as palm, Odors as rich as the spices

Cassia and aloes and balm, —
Mary, the loved, and Salome,

All with a gracious accord,
Ere the first glow of the morning, .

Brought to the tomb of the Lord. 4. Wind of the West ! breathe around him

Soft as the saddened air's sigh, When, to the summit of Pisgah,

Moses had journeyed to die; Clear as its anthem that floated

Wide o'er the Moabite plain, Low, with the wail of the people,

Blending its burdened refrain. Rarer, O wind ! and diviner —

Sweet as the breeze that went by, When, over Olivet's mountain,

Jesus was lost in the sky. 5. Not for thy sheaves nor savannas

Crown we thee, proud Illinois ! Here in his grave is thy grandeur,

Born of his sorrow thy joy.

« PreviousContinue »