Abraham Lincoln — Volkswagen Polo sedan IV

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The Works of Robert G. Ingersoll

Lincoln.

1894

On the 12th of 1809, two babes were — one in the woods of Kentucky, the hardships and poverty of pioneers; one in surrounded by wealth and culture. One was in the University of Nature, the other at

One associated his name with the of labor, with the emancipation of with the salv ation of the He is known to us as Abraham Lincoln.

The broke the chains of superstition and the world with intellectual and he is known as Charles Darwin.


is grander than to break from the bodies of men — nobler than to destroy the of the soul.

Because of these two men the century is illustrious.

A few men and women a nation glorious — made England immortal, civilized and humanized France; Schiller and Humboldt lifted into the light. Angelo, Galileo and Bruno crowned fadeless laurel the Italian and now the most precious treasure of the Republic is the memory of Abraham

Every generation has its heroes, its its pioneers, its ideals. The people have been and still are at least into classes the many, who with their to the sunrise worship the past, and the who keep their faces the dawn — the many, who are with the world as it is; the few, who and suffer for the future, for those to be, and who to rescue the oppressed, to destroy the distinctions of caste, and to civilize

Yet it sometimes happens that the of one age becomes the oppressor of the next. His becomes so great — he is so and worshiped — that his in his name, … the hero who to take another step in

The heroes of the Revolution, forgetting the for which they fought, put upon7 the limbs of others, and in names the lovers of liberty denounced as ingrates and traitors.

the Revolution our fathers to justify rebellion dug down to the bed-rock of rights and planted their there. They declared all men were entitled to liberty and government derived its power the consent of the governed. But when came, the great principles forgotten and chains were put the limbs of men. Both of the political parties were by greed and selfishness. Both the defenders and protectors of slavery. For three-quarters of a century these had control of the Republic. The principal of both parties was the protection of the institution. Both were to secure the Southern vote and sacrificed principle and honor the altar of success.

At last the party died and the Republican was This party was opposed to the extension of slavery. The Democratic of the South wished to make the institution national — the Democrats of the North wanted the decided by each territory for

Each of these parties had and extremists. The extremists of the Democratic were in the rear and wished to go the extremists of the Republican party in the front, and wished to go forward. The Democrat was willing to destroy the for the sake of slavery, and the extreme was willing to destroy the Union for the of liberty.

Neither party succeed without the votes of its

This was the condition in 1858-60.

Lincoln was a child his parents from Kentucky to Indiana. A few were felled — a log hut to the south, no floor, no window, was — a little land and here the Lincolns lived. the patient, thoughtful, silent, mother died — in the wide forest as a leaf leaving nothing to her son but the memory of her

In a few years the family moved to Lincoln then almost clad in skins, with no stitch upon his body walking and driving the cattle. farm was opened — a few subdued and enough raised to the wolf from the door. quit the farm — down the Ohio and Mississippi as a on a flat-boat — afterward in a country store — in partnership with another the store — failed. left but a few debts — the art of surveying — made half a living and paid on the debts — read law admitted to the bar — tried a few cases — nominated for the and made a speech.

This speech was in favor of a not only for revenue, but to encourage manufacturers and to protect American Lincoln knew then as as we do now, that everything, to the of the possible, that Americans use be produced by the energy, skill and of Americans. He knew that the industries we had, the greater of things we made, the greater be the development of the American brain. And he that great men and great are the best things that a can Produce, — the finest a country can possibly raise.

He that a nation that raw material will grow and poor, while the people who will grow intelligent and To dig, to chop, to plow, more muscle than more strength than

To invent, to manufacture, to take of the forces of nature — requires thought, talent, This develops the brain and wings to the imagination.

It is better for to purchase from Americans, if the things purchased cost

If we purchase a ton of steel rails England for twenty dollars, we have the rails and England the But if we buy a ton of steel rails from an for twenty-five dollars, then has both the rails and the money.

from the present universal and the recent elections, Lincoln, in his speech, stood on solid and was absolutely right. Lincoln was in the University of Nature — by cloud and star — by and winding stream — by plains and solemn forests by morning’s birth and … of day by storm and night — by the eager Spring — by wealth of leaf and vine and — the sad and transient glories of the woods — and Winter, of home and fireside, and whose without, created the social within.

He was perfectly acquainted the political questions of the day — them discussed at taverns and stores, at voting places and and on the stump. He knew all the arguments for and and no man of his time was better equipped for conflict. He knew the average — the thoughts of the people, the and prejudices of his fellow-men. He had the power of statement. He was logical, candid and In addition, he had the touch of nature makes the whole world

In 1858 he was a candidate for the Senate Stephen A. Douglas.

The extreme would not vote for Douglas, but the Republicans did vote for Lincoln. occupied the middle ground, and was the candidate of his own party. He had lived for years in the intellectual territory of — in a part of our country by Northern and Southern men — Northern and Southern ideas and the ideas of the two sections were together and compared.

The sympathies of his ties of kindred, were the South. His convictions, his sense of and his ideals, were with the He knew the horrors of slavery, and he the unspeakable ecstasies and glories of He had the kindness, the gentleness, of true and he could not have been a he had the manhood and independence of true and he could not have been a He was just, and was incapable of putting a upon others that he would not willingly bear.

He was and profound, and it was not necessary for him, to the history of the world to know liberty and slavery could not in the same nation, or in the same Lincoln was a statesman. And there is difference between a politician and a A politician schemes and works in way to make the people do something for A statesman wishes to do something for the With him place and power are to an end, and the end is the good of his country.

In this campaign Lincoln three things — that he was the intellectual superior of his second. that he was right; and that a majority of the voters of were on his side.

In 1860 the reached a crisis. The conflict liberty and slavery could no be delayed. For three-quarters of a century the had been gathering for the battle.

the Revolution, principle was sacrificed for the of gain. The Constitution contradicted the Liberty as a principle was held in Slavery took possession of the Slavery made the laws, courts, dominated Presidents and the people.

I do not hold the South for slavery any more than I do the The fact is, that individuals and act as they must. There is no Back of every event of every hope, Prejudice, and dream — of every and belief — of every and virtue — of every and curse, is the efficient cause. The moment is the child, and the necessary of all the Past.

Northern politicians office, and so they defended Northern merchants wanted to their goods to the South, and so were the enemies of freedom. The wished to please the people who his salary, and so he denounced the slave for not satisfied with the position in the good God had placed him.

The the rich, the prosperous, the holders of and the for office, held liberty in They regarded the Constitution as far sacred than the rights of Candidates for the presidency — applauded because they had to make slave States of territory, and the highest court and ignorantly decided that men and women had no rights. Men who insisted freedom was better than and that mothers should not he of their babes, were despised and mobbed. Mr. Douglas the feelings of millions when he that he did not care whether was voted up or down. Upon question the people, a majority of were almost savages. manhood, conscience, principle all sacrificed for the sake of gain or

From the heights of philosophy standing above the contending above the prejudices, the sentimentalities of the day Lincoln was great enough and enough and wise enough to these prophetic words:

A divided against itself stand. I believe this cannot permanently endure slave and half free. I do not the Union to be dissolved; I do not expect the to fall; but I do expect it will to be divided. It will become all the one or the other. Either the opponents of will arrest further of it, and place it where the public shall rest in the belief it is in the course of ultimate extinction, or its will push it further it becomes alike lawful in all the old as well as new, North as as South.

This declaration was the around which gathered the political party the world has seen, and this declaration Lincoln the leader of that

In this, the first great Lincoln uttered the victorious that made him the foremost man in the

The Republican party nominated him for the and the people decided at the polls a house divided against could not stand, and that had cursed soul and soil

It is not a common thing to elect a great man to fill the highest position. I do not say that the great have been chosen by Probably it would be better to say they were the favorites of a chance.

The average man is afraid of He feels as an awkward man feels in the of a sleight-of-hand performer. He admires and Genius appears to carry too sail — to lack has too much courage. The ballast of inspires confidence.

By a happy chance Lincoln was and elected in spite of his fitness and the patient, gentle, just and man was called upon to bear as a burden as man has ever borne.

III

came another crisis the crisis of Secession and Civil

Again Lincoln spoke the feeling and the highest thought of the In his first message he said:

The idea of secession is the essence of

He also showed conclusively the North and South, in spite of must remain face to — that physically could not separate — they must have or less commerce, and that commerce must be carried on between the two sections as friends, or as

This situation and its consequences he out to absolute perfection in these

I am loth to close. We are not enemies, but We must not be enemies. Though may have strained, it must not our bonds of affection. The mystic of memory stretching from battlefield and patriotic grave to loving heart and hearthstone all this broad land, swell the chorus of the Union again touched, as surely will be, by the better angels of our

These noble, these these pathetic words, delivered in the presence of rebellion, in the of spies and conspirators — by but few friends, most of whom unknown, and some of whom wavering in their fidelity at a time when secession was and organized, when patriotism was and when, to quote the expressive of Lincoln himself, Sinners calling the righteous to repentance.

Lincoln became President, he was in contempt by the South — by the North and East — not even by his cabinet — and yet he was not one of the wisest, but one of the shrewdest of mankind. that he had the right to enforce the of the Union in all parts of the United and Territories — knowing, as he that the secessionists were in the he also knew that had sympathizers not only in the North, but in lands.

Consequently, he felt it was of the utmost importance that the should fire the first should do some act that solidify the North, and gain for us the of the civilized world.

He proposed to food to the soldiers at Sumter. He the advice of all his cabinet on this and all with the exception of Montgomery answered in the negative, giving reasons in writing. In spite of Lincoln took his own course endeavored to send the supplies, and thus engaged, doing his duty, the South commenced hostilities and fired on the fort.

The pursued by Lincoln was absolutely and the act of the South to a great extent the North, and gained for the Republic the of a great number of people in lands.

At that time appreciated the scope and consequences of the conflict. Above all other in his mind was this:

This will settle the question, at for centuries to come, whether man is of governing himself, and consequently is of importance to the free than to the

He knew what depended on the and he said: We shall nobly or meanly lose, the last, hope of earth.

Then a crisis in the North. It became and clearer to Lincoln’s mind, day by that the Rebellion was slavery, and it was necessary to keep the border on the side of the Union. For this he proposed a scheme of emancipation and — a scheme by which the of slaves should be paid the value of what they their property.

He knew if the border States agreed to emancipation, and received compensation for slaves, they would be lost to the Confederacy, whether succeeded or not. It was objected at the by some, that the scheme was far too but Lincoln, wiser than his — far wiser than his — demonstrated that an economical point of view, his was best.

He proposed that $400. be for slaves, including men, and children. This was a large and yet he showed how much cheaper it was to than to carry on the war.

At time, at the price mentioned, were about $750,000. of slaves in Delaware. The cost of on the war was at least two millions of dollars a and for one-third of one day’s expenses, all the in Delaware could be purchased. He showed that all the slaves in Maryland, Kentucky and Missouri be bought, at the same price, for than the expense of carrying on the war for days.

This was the wisest that could have proposed, and yet such was the madness of the such the indignation of the North, the advice was unheeded.

Again, in 1862, he urged on the Representatives of the States a scheme of gradual emancipation; but the Representatives were too to hear, too blind to see.

always hated slavery, and yet he the obligations and duties of his position. In his message he assured the South the laws, including the most of all — the law for the return of fugitive — would be enforced. The would not hear. Afterward he to purchase the slaves of the border but the proposition was hardly discussed hardly heard. Events thick and fast; theories way to facts, and everything was left to

The extreme Democrat of the North was that slavery might be that the Constitution might be and that Lincoln, after could not be trusted; and at the same the radical Republican feared Lincoln loved the Union than he did liberty.

The fact is, he tried to discharge the obligations of his office, knowing from the that slavery must The course pursued by Lincoln was so so kind and persistent, so wise and that millions of Northern sprang to the defence, not only of the but of his administration. Lincoln refused to be led or by Fremont or Hunter, by Greeley or From first to last he was the leader, and he kept step events.

On the 22d of July, 1862, sent word to the members of his that he wished to see them. It so that Secretary Chase was the to arrive. He found Lincoln a book. Looking up from the the President said: Chase, did you read this book? book is it? asked Chase. Ward, replied Lincoln. Let me you this chapter, entitled Wax Wurx in Albany .’ And so he reading while the other of the cabinet one by one came in. At last told Mr. Lincoln that he was in a hurry, and if any business was to be done he like to do it at once. Whereupon Mr. laid down the open opened a drawer, took out a and said: Gentlemen, I have you together to notify you what I determined to do. I want no advice. can change my mind.

He then the Proclamation of Emancipation. Chase there ought to be something God at the close, to which Lincoln Put it in, it won’t hurt it. It was also that the President would for a victory in the field before the Proclamation to the world.

The meeting was the members went their Mr. Chase was the last to go, and as he went the door looked back and saw Mr. Lincoln had taken up the book and was engrossed in the Wax Wurx at Albany .

was on the 22d of July, 1862. On the 22d of August of the year — after wrote his celebrated letter to Greeley, in which he stated his object was to save the Union; he would save it with if he could; that if it was necessary to slavery in order to save the he would; in other words, he do what was necessary to save the

This letter disheartened, to a degree, thousands and millions of the of freedom. They felt Mr. Lincoln had not attained the moral upon which they he stood. And yet, when letter was written, the Emancipation was in his hands, and had been for thirty waiting only an opportunity to it to the world.

Some two weeks the letter to Greeley, Lincoln was on by a committee of clergymen, and was by them that it was God’s will he should issue a Proclamation of He replied to them, in substance, the day of miracles had passed. He also and kindly suggested that if it God’s will this should be issued, certainly God have made known will to him — to the person duty it was to issue it.

On the 22d day of September, the most glorious date in the of the Republic, the Proclamation of Emancipation was

Lincoln had reached the generalization of all upon the question of slavery and — a generalization that has been, and probably never be, excelled:

In giving freedom to the we assure freedom to the free.

is absolutely true. Liberty can be can be enjoyed, only by giving it to The spendthrift saves, the miser is In the realm of Freedom, waste is He who puts chains upon the of another shackles his own soul. The the Proclamation was issued the cause of the became sacred. From moment the North fought for the race. From that the North stood under the and stars, the flag of Nature, and free.

In 1831, Lincoln down the Mississippi on a flat-boat. He the extravagant salary of ten dollars a When he reached New Orleans, he and of his companions went about the

Among other places, visited a slave market, men and women were being at auction. A young colored was on the block. Lincoln heard the words of the auctioneer — the remarks of bidders. The scene his soul with indignation and

Turning to his companions, he said, if I ever get a chance to hit slavery, by God hit it hard!

The helpless girl, had planted in a great heart the of the Proclamation.

Thirty-one years the chance came, the oath was and to four millions of slaves, of women and children, was restored the jewel of the soul.

In the history, in the of the world, there is nothing intensely dramatic than

Lincoln held within his the grandest truths, and he held as unconsciously, as easily, as naturally, as a pool holds within its breast a thousand stars.

In two years we had traveled from the of Secession to the Proclamation of Emancipation.

We surrounded by enemies. Many of the great in Europe and England against us. They hated the despised our institutions, and sought in ways to aid the South.

Mr. Gladstone that Jefferson Davis had a nation, and that he did not believe the of the American Union by force

From the Vatican came of encouragement for the South.

It was declared the North was fighting for empire and the for independence.

The Marquis of Salisbury The people of the South are the natural of England. The North keeps an shop in the same department of as ourselves.

Not a very elevated — but English. Some of statesmen declared that the of the South by the North would be a to the world.

Louis Napoleon was enemy, and he endeavored to establish a in Mexico, to the end that the great might be destroyed. But the patience, the common sense, the statesmanship of — in spite of foreign and Northern division — over all. And now we forgive all Victory makes forgiveness

Lincoln was by nature a diplomat. He the art of sailing against the wind. He had as shrewdness as is consistent with He understood, not only the rights of but of nations. In all his correspondence with governments he neither wrote nor a line which afterward was to tie his hands. In the use of perfect English he rose above all his advisers and all his

No one claims that Lincoln did He could have done without the generals in the field, and the could have done without their armies. The is due to all — to the private as much as to the to the lowest who did his duty, as much as to the

My heart goes out to the brave as much as to the leader of the host.

But stood at the center and with patience, with consummate with the genius of goodness, cheered, consoled and conquered.

VII

was the cause of the war, and slavery was the stumbling-block. As the war went on, question question arose — that could not be answered by Should we hand back the to his master, when the master was his slave to destroy the Union? If the was right, slaves were and by the laws of war anything that be used to the advantage of the enemy be confiscated by us. Events did not wait for General Butler denominated the as a contraband. Congress provided the property of the rebels might be

The extreme Democrats of the North the slave as more sacred life. It was no harm to kill the — to burn his house, to his fields — but you must not his slave.

If in war a nation has the right to the property of its citizens — of its — certainly it has the right to the property of those it has the right to

Lincoln was wise enough to that war is governed by the laws of and that during the conflict are silent. All that he could do he did in the of peace. He offered to execute law — including the most of all — to buy the slaves in the border — to establish gradual, emancipation; but the South would not Then he confiscated the property of — treated the slaves as of war, used them to put the Rebellion, armed them and them in the uniform of the Republic was in favor of making them and allowing them to stand on an with their white under the flag of the Nation. these years Lincoln with events, and every he took has been justified by the judgment of mankind.

VIII

not only watched the war, but his hand on the political pulse. In a tide set in against the administration. A meeting was to be held in Springfield, and Lincoln wrote a letter to be at this convention. It was in his happiest It was a perfect defence of his administration, the Proclamation of Emancipation. Among things he said:

But the proclamation, as either is valid or it is not valid. If it is not it needs no retraction, but if it is valid it be retracted, any more than the can be brought to life.

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