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all united for him, is inspired with vigilance, and energy, and daring, to the same end. Grant that he desires the elective franchise, will he not attain it sooner by saving the already advanced steps toward it than by running backward over them? Concede that the new govern- 5 ment of Louisiana is only to what it should be as the egg is to the fowl, we shall sooner have the fowl by hatching the egg than by smashing it.
Again, if we reject Louisiana we also reject one vote in favor of the proposed amendment to the national Con- 10 stitution. To meet this proposition it has been argued that no more than three-fourths of those States which have not attempted secession are necessary to validly ratify the amendment. I do not commit myself against this further than to say that such a ratification would 15 be questionable, and sure to be persistently questioned, while a ratification by three-fourths of all the States would be unquestioned and unquestionable. I repeat the question: Can Louisiana be brought into proper practical relation with the Union sooner by sustaining or 20 by discarding her new State government? What has been said of Louisiana will apply generally to other States. And yet so great peculiarities pertain to each State, and such important and sudden changes occur in the same State, and withal so new and unprecedented 25 is the whole case that no exclusive and inflexible plan can safely be prescribed as to details and collaterals. Such exclusive and inflexible plan would surely become a new entanglement. Important principles may and must be inflexible. In the present situation, as the 30 phrase goes, it may be my duty to make some new announcement to the people of the South. I am considering, and shall not fail to act when satisfied that action will be proper.
ABRAHAM LINCOLN. From “THE SPECTATOR," LONDON, APRIL 25, AND
MAY 2, 1891.
*THE English-speaking world will never read the story of the Rebellion without a thrill of pride and exultation. Heroic and inspiring as was the achievement of the
Puritans in throwing off the tyranny of the Stuarts, 5 and establishing in its place, not license or anarchy,
but a wise and liberal polity, the veiling hand of time diminishes for modern men its distinctness and reality. With the defense of the Union it is different. We can
almost hear the reverberations of the cannon at Vicks10 burg, and our hands may still clasp the hands of those
who fought for the life of the Nation at Gettysburg and Chattanooga. The glory won by the English race is so near, that it still stirs the blood like a trumpet
to read of the patriotism of the men who fought at 15 the call of Lincoln. Nothing is more admirable, as
nothing is more dramatic in recorded history, than the manner in which the North sprang to arms at the news that the nation's flag had been fired on at Fort
Sumter. It is all very well to hire soldiers at so much 20 a day and send them to the front with salutes and re
joicings, but the action of the Eastern and Western States meant a great deal more than this. It meant a voluntary sacrifice on the part of men who had nothing
to gain and everything to lose by throwing over a life 25 of ease or profit to shoulder a musket or serve a gun. A continent was on fire.
It is one of the greatest of Lincoln's claims to admiration, that though he sympathized with the fervor and enthusiasm of his countrymen, he was not carried away by it. He was one of those rare men who can at once be zealous and moderate, who are kindled by great 5 ideas, and who yet retain complete control of the critical faculty. And more than this, Lincoln was a man who could be reserved without the chill of reserve. Again, he could make allowance for demerits in a principle or a human instrument, without ever falling into the pur- 10 blindness of cynicism. He often acted in his dealings with men much as a professed cynic might have acted; but his conduct was due, not to any disbelief in virtue, but to a wide tolerance and a clear knowledge of human nature. He saw thirgs as a disillusionised man sees 15 them, and yet in the bad sense he never suffered any disillusionment. For suffusing and combining his other qualities was a serenity of mind which affected the whole man. He viewed the world too much as a whole to be greatly troubled or perplexed over its accidents. To this 20 serenity of mind was due an almost total absence of indignation in the ordinary sense. Generals might halfruin the cause for the sake of some trumpery quarrel, or in order to gain some petty personal advantage; officeseekers might worry at the very crisis of the nation's 25 fate; but none of the pettiness, the spites, or the follies could rouse in Lincoln the impatience or the indignation that would have been wakened in ordinary men. Pity, and nothing else, was the feeling such exhibitions occasioned him. Lincoln seems to have felt the excuse 30 that tempers the guilt of every mortal transgression. His largeness and tenderness of nature made him at heart á universal apologist. He was, of course, too practical and too great a statesman to let this sensibility
to the excuses that can be made for human conduct induce him to allow misdeeds to go unpunished or uncorrected. He acted as firmly and as severely as if he
had experienced the most burning indignation; but the 5 moment we come to Lincoln's real feelings, we see that
he is never incensed, and that, even in its most legitimate form, the desire for retribution is absent from his mind. Tout comprendre, c'est tout pardonner, was the secret
of his attitude towards human affairs. That is not the 10 highest wisdom; but it errs on the right, and also on the rare, side.
So much for the intellectual side of Lincoln's nature. Behind it was a personality of singular charm. Tender
ness and humor were its main characteristics. As he 15 rode through a forest in spring-time, he would keep
on dismounting to put back the young birds that had fallen from their nests. There was not a situation in life which could not afford him the subject for a kindly
smile. It needed a character so full of gentleness and 20 good temper to sustain the intolerable weight of re
sponsibility which the war threw upon the shoulders of the President. Most men would have been crushed by the burden. His serenity of temper saved Lincoln.
Except when the miserable necessity of having to sign 25 the order for a military execution took away his sleep,
he carried on his work without any visible sign of overstrain. Not the least of Lincoln's achievements is to be found in the fact that though for four years he
wielded a power and a personal authority greater than 30 that exercised by any monarch on earth, he never gave
satirist or caricaturist the slightest real ground for declaring that his sudden rise to world-wide fame had turned the head of the backwoodsman. Under the circumstances, there would have been every excuse for Lincoln, had he assumed to his subordinates somewhat the bearing of the autocrat he was. It is a sign of the absolute sincerity and good sense of the President that he was under no sort of a temptation to do so. Lincoln was before all things a gentleman, and the good 5 taste inseparable from that character made it impossible for him to be spoiled by power and position. This grace and strength of character is never better shown than in the letters to his generals, victorious or defeated. When they were beaten, he was anxious to share 10 the blame; when victorious, he was instant to deny by anticipation any rumor that he had inspired the strategy of the campaign. If a general had to be reprimanded, he did it as only the most perfect of gentlemen could do it. He could convey the severest censure without in- 15 flicting any wound that would not heal, and this not by using roundabout expressions, but in the plainest language. "He writes to me like a father,” were the heart-felt words of a commander who had been reproved by the President. Throughout these communications, 20 the manner in which he not only conceals, but altogether sinks, all sense that the men to whom they were addressed were, in effect, his subordinates, is worthy of special note. “A breath could make them, as a breath had made," and yet Lincoln writes as if 25 his generals were absolutely independent.
We have said something of Lincoln as a man and as the leader of a great cause. We desire now to dwell upon a point which is often neglected in considering the career of the hero of the Union, but which, from the 30 point of view of letters, is of absorbing interest. No criticism of Mr. Lincoln can be in any sense adequate which does not deal with his astonishing power over words. It is not too much to say of him that he is