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ABRAHAM LINCOLN

ABRAHAM LINCOLN

Address delivered before the Edinburgh Philosophical

Institution, November 13th, 1900.

WHEN you asked me to deliver the Inaugural

Address on this occasion, I recognized that I owed this compliment to the fact that I was the official representative of America — and in selecting a subject I ventured to think that I might interest you for an hour in a brief study in popular Government, as illustrated by the life of the most American of all Americans. I therefore offer no apology for asking your attention to Abraham Lincoln — to his unique character and the part he bore in two important achievements of modern history: the preservation of the integrity of the American Union and the Emancipation of the colored race.

During his brief term of power, he was probably the object of more abuse, vilification and ridicule than any other man in the world; but when he fell by the hand of an assassin, at the very moment of his stupendous victory, all the nations of the earth vied with one another in paying homage to his character; and the thirtyfive years that have since elapsed have established his place in history as one of the great benefactors not of his own country alone, but of the human One of many noble utterances upon the occasion of his death was that in which “ Punch" made its magnanimous recantation of the spirit with which it had pursued him:“Beside this corpse that bears for winding sheet

race.

The stars and stripes he lived to rear anew,
Between the mourners at his head and feet

Say, scurrile jester, is there room for you?

Yes, he had lived to shame me from my sneer

To lame my pencil, and confute my pen
To make me own this hind of princes peer,

This rail-splitter - a true born king of men."

Fiction can furnish no match for the romance of his life, and biography will be searched in vain for such startling vicissitudes of fortune, so great power and glory won out of such humble beginnings and adverse circumstances.

Doubtless, you are all familiar with the salient points of his extraordinary career. In the zenith of his fame he was the wise, patient, courageous, successful ruler of men; exercising more power than any monarch of his time, not for himself, but for the good of the people who had placed it in his hands; commander-in-chief of a vast military power, which waged with ultimate success the greatest war of the century; the triumphant champion of popular Government, the deliverer of four millions of his fellow men from bondage; honored by mankind as Statesman, President and Liberator,

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