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the noble cause of union and liberty. Aye, they did more, they indorsed his position on another and vastly more important phase of the race problem. They approved his course as President in reorganizing the government of Louisiana, and a hostile press did not fail to call attention to the fact that this meant eventually negro suffrage in that state.
Perhaps, however, it was not known then that Lincoln had written the new free state governor on March 13, 1864, as follows:
"Now you are about to have a convention, which, among other things, will probably define the elective franchise. I barely suggest for you private consideration, whether some of the colored people may not be let in—as, for instance, the very intelligent, and especially those who have fought gallartly in our ranks. They would probably help, in some trying time to come, to keep the jewel of liberty within the family of freedom.”
IMMORTAL GETTYSBURG SPEECH. Lincoln had that happy, peculiar habit, which few public men have attained, of looking away from the deceptive and misleading influences about him, and none are more deceptive than those of public life in our captitals, straight into the hearts of the people. He could not be deceived by the self-interested host of eager counselors who sought to enforce their own particular views upon him as the voice of the country. He chose to determine for himself what the people were thinking about and wanting him to do, and no man ever lived who was a more accurate judge of their opinions and wishes.
The battle of Gettysburg turned the scale of the war in favor of the union, and it has always seemed to me most fortunate that Lincoln declared for emancipation before rather than after that decisive contest. A later proclamation might have been constructed as a tame and cowardly performance, not a challenge of truth to error for mortal combat. The ground on which the battle was fought is held sacred by every friend of freedom. But important as the battle itself was the dedication of it as a national cemetery is celebrated for a grander thing. The words Lincoln spoke there will live “until time shall be no more," through all eternity. Well may they be forever preserved on tablets of bronze upon the spot where he spoke, but liow infinitely better it would be if they could find a permanent lodging in the soul of every American!
USED POWER WITH MODERATION. Lincoln was a man of moderation. He was neither an autocrat nor a tyrant. If he moved slowly sometimes, it was because it was better to move slowly, and, like the successful general that he was, he was only waiting for his reserves to come up. Possessing almost unlimited power, he yet carried himself like one of the humblest of men. He weighed every subject. He considered and reflected upon every phase of public duty. He got the average judgment of the plain people. He had a high sense of justice, a clear understanding of the rights of others, and never needlessly inflicted an injury upon any man.
He said in response to a serenade, Nov. 10, 1864, just after his triumphant election for a second term to the great office of President:
“Now that the election is over, may not all having a common interest reunite in a common effort to save our common country? For my own part, I have striven and s'all strive to avoid placing any obstacle in the way. So long as I have been here I have not willingly planted a thorn in any man's bosom. While I am deeply sensible to the high compliment of a re-election, and duly grateful, as I trust, to Almighty God for having directed my countrymen to a right conclusion, as I think, for their own good, it adds nothing to my satisfaction that any other man may be disappointed or pained by the result.”
It is pleasant to note that in the very last public speech by President Lincoln, on April 11, 1865, he uttered noble sentiments of charity and good will similar to those of his sublime second inaugural, which were of peculiar interest to the people of the south. In discussing the question of reconstruction, he said :
"We all agree that the seceded states, so called, are out of their proper practical relation with the union, and that the sole object of the government, civil and military, in regard to those states, is to again get them into that proper practical relation. I believe that it is not only possible, but in fact, easier, to do this without deciding or even considering whether these states have ever been out of the union, than with it. Finding themselves safely at home, it would be utterly immaterial whether they had ever been abroad. Let us all join in doing the acts necessary to restoring the proper practical relations between these states and the union, and each forever after innocently indulging his own opinion whether in doing the acts he brought the states from without into the union, or only gave them proper assistance, they never having been out of it."
CLEARLY THE GREATEST MAN OF HIS TIME. . Mr. President, it is not difficult to place a correct estimate upon the character of Lincoln. He was the greatest man of his time, especially approved of God for the work He gave him to do. History abundantly proves his superiority as a leader, and establishes his constant reliance upon a higher power for guidance and support. The tendency of this age is to exarceration, bit of Linerin certainly none have spoken more highly than those vio knew him hest
A distinguished orator of to-day (John J. Ingalls, of Kansas,) has said: "Lincoln surpassed all orators in eloquence; all diplomatists in wisdom; all statesmen in foresight, and the most ambitious in fame."
This is in accord with the estimate of Stanton, who pronounced him "the most perfect ruler of men the world had ever seen.”
Seward, too, declared Lincoln "a man of destiny, with character made and molded by divine power to save a nation from perdition.”
Oliver Wendell Holmes characterized him as "the true representative of this continent; an entirely public man; father of his country; the pulse of twenty millions throbbing in his heart, the thought of their minds articulated by his tongue.”
Bancroft wisely observed: “Lincoln thought always of mankind, as well as his own country, and served human nature itself; he finished a work which all time cannot overthrow.”
Sumner said that in Lincoln "the west spoke to the east, pleading for human rights, as declared by our fathers.”
Horace Greeley, in speaking of the events which led up to and embraced the rebellion, declared: "Other men were helpful, and nobly did their part; yet, looking back through the lifting mists of those seven eventful, tragic, trying glorious years, I clearly discern the one providential leader, the indispensable hero of the great drama, Abrahanı Lincoln."
James Russell Lowell was quick to perceive and proclaim Lincoln's greatness. In December, 1863, in a review of the “President's Policy," in the Atlantic Monthly, he said: "Perhaps none of our Presidents since Washington has stood so firm in the confidence of the people as Lincoln, after three years' stormy administration. * * * A profound common sense is the best genius for statesmanship. Hitherto the wisdom of the President's measures has been justified by the fact that they always resulted in more firmly uniting public opinion.”
Lincoln is certainly the most sagacious and far-seeing statesman in the annals of American history. His entire public life justifies this estimate of him. It is notable that his stand on all public questions in his earlier as well as his later career stamp him as the wisest exponent of political truths we have ever had.
WISE WORDS FOR THE PRESENT DAY. Witnessing the government as we do to-day, with its debt-increasing, bond-issuing, gold-depleting, labor-destroying low-tariff policy, with what mighty force the words of Lincoln, written more than half a century ago, come to us in this hour and emergency! They read as if written for the living present, not for the forgotten past. Why, do you know that as far back as March 1, 1843, at a whig meeting in Springfield, Mr. Lincoln offered a series of resolutions relating to the tariff which could well be accepted here to-night? They were then instantly and unanimously adopted, and Mr. Lincoln was himself appointed to prepare an “Address to the People of the State" upon the subjects which they embraced. Let me read from this address his profound observations upon tariff and taxation and their relation to the condition of the country. He said:
“The first of our resolutions declares a tariff of duties upon foreign importations, producing sufficient revenue for the support of the general government, and so adjusted as to protect American industry, to be indispensably necessary to the prosperity of the American people; and the second declares direct taxation for a national revenue to be improper.
"For several years past the revenues of the government have been unequal to its expenditures, and consequently loan after loan, sometimes direct and sometimes indirect in forin, has been resorted to. By this means a new national debt has been created, and is still growing on up with rapidity fearful to contemplate—a rapidity only reasonably to be expected in time of war. This state of things has been produced by a prevailing unwillingness either to increase the tariff or to resort to direct taxation. But the one or the other must come. Coming expenditures must be met, and the present debt must be paid, and money cannot always be borrowed for these objects. The system of loans is but temporary in its nature, and must soon explode. It is a system not only ruinous while it lasts, but one that must soon fail and leave us destitute. As an individual who undertakes to live by borrowing soon finds his original means devoured by interest, and, next, no one left to borrow from, so must it be with the government.
“We repeat, then, that a tariff sufficient for revenue, or a direct tax, must soon be resorted to, and, indeed, we believe this alternative is now denied by no one. But which system shall be adopted ? Some of our opponents, in theory, admit the propriety of a tariff for a revenue; but even they will not in practice vote for such a tariff; while others boldly advocate direct taxation. Inasmuch, therefore, as some of them boldly advocate direct taxation, and all the rest—or so nearly all as to make exceptions needless—refuse to adopt the tariff, we think it doing them no injustice to class them all as advocates of direct taxation. Indeed, we believe they are only delaying an open avowal of the system till they can assure themselves that the people will tolerate it. Let us then briefly compare the two systems. The tariff is the cheaper system, because the duties, being collected in large parcels at a few commercial points, will require comparatively few officers in their collection, while by the direct tax system the land must be literally covered with assessors and collectors, going forth like swarms of Egyptian locusts, devouring every blade of grass and other green thing.
"By this system (the protective) the man who contents himself to live upon the products of his own country pays nothing at all. Surely our country is extensive enough and its products abundant and varied enough to answer all the real wants of its people. In short, by the protective system the burden of revenue falls almost entirely upon the wealthy and luxurious few, while the substantial and laboring many who live at home and upon home products, go entirely free.
"By the direct tax system none can escape. However strictly the citizen may exclude from his premises all foreign luxuries—fine clothes, fine silks, rich wines, golden chains and diamond rings—still for the possession of his house, his barn, and his homespun, he is to be perpetually haunted and harassed by the tax-gatherer. With these views we leave it to be determined whether we or our opponents are the more truly democratic on the subject.”
WILL REAFFIRM PROTECTION IN 1896. "Perhaps it is not entirely accidental that these views of Mr. Lincoln found almost literal expression in the republican national platform of 1860. Nor is it strange that this year, as in 1860, no chart is needed to mark the republican position upon this great economic question. The whole world knew a year in advance of its utterance what the republican platform of 1860 would be, and the whole world knows now, and has known for a year past, what the republican platform of 1896 will be.
Then the battle was to arrest the spread of slave labor in America; now it is to prevent the increase of illy paid and degraded free labor in America. The platform of 1896, I say, is already written—written in the hearts and the homes of the masses of our countrymen. It has been thought out around hundreds of thousands of American firesides-literally wrought out by the new conditions and harsh experiences of the past three years.
On the great questions still unsettled, or in dispute between the dominant parties, we stand now just as we did in 1860, for republican principles are unalterable. On the subject of protection to American labor and. American interests we can reaffirm the Lincoln platform of 1860. It needs neither amendment nor elaboration. Indeed, we could begin the platform of 1896 in the exact words with which the fathers of the republican party began the platform of 1860. Its first plank, you will remember, reads as follows: