Page images

announced; and two hearts at least were happy at the news, though they could not know how far they had been instrumental in securing the pardon. One thing they knew, that the President was as glad to pardon as they to hear of it.

[ocr errors]

The following is from a newspaper correspondent, and shows the President's appreciation of their efforts who fought bravely for their country:

"That night I left the fortress, and got Worden safe home in Washington City; when, leaving him to the care of my wife, I went with the Secretary to the President, and gave him the particulars of the engagement. As soon as I had done, Mr. Lincoln said, 'Gentlemen, I am going to shake hands with that man;' and presently he walked round with me to our little house. I led him up stairs to the room where Worden was lying with fresh bandages over his scorched eyes and face, and said, 'Jack, here's the President, who has come to see you.' He raised himself on his elbow as Mr. Lincoln took him by the hand, and said, 'You do me great honor, Mr. President; and I am only sorry that I can't see you.' The President was visibly affected, as, with tall frame and earnest gaze, he bent over his wounded subordinate; but, after a pause, he said, with a quiver in the tone of his voice, 'You have done me more honor, sir, than I can ever do to you.' He then sat down, while Worden gave him an account of the battle; and, on leaving, he promised, if he could legally do so, that he would make him a captain."

President Lincoln was accustomed to visit the hospitals, and speak kind words to the sick and wounded soldiers. True charity is shown not only in almsgiving, but in kind words and pleasant smiles; and many a poor



soldier-boy, far away from home and dear ones whom he longs to see, has been cheered by beholding the President's tall form enter the crowded hospital, and, with a manner showing his fatherly interest, pass around among his "boys," as he called them. They called him "Uncle

[graphic][merged small]

Abe;" and one such visit from him, in whose countenance they could read the real interest he felt for them, was enough to bind their loyal hearts still more firmly to him, and to the cause which he represented. More than one bereaved family to-day blesses the memory of Abraham Lincoln as they remember how he cheered in his hour of sickness, and even, it might be, beneath the shadowing wing of the death-angel, the dear soldier-boy whom they gave to their country.

President Lincoln declares plainly, and in so doing manifests his own faith in God, that a power beyond himself led to many of the wisest acts of his administration. In the letter to A. G. Hodges, where he speaks

of his course in regard to slavery, saying, "When, early in the war, Gen. Frémont attempted military emancipation, I forbade it, because I did not then think it an indispensable necessity; when, a little later, Gen. Cameron, then Secretary of War, suggested the arming of the blacks, I then objected, because I did not yet think it an indispensable necessity; when, still later, Gen. Hunter attempted military emancipation, I again forbade it, because I did not yet think the indispensable necessity had come," &c,-he concludes with these words, concerning the most Christian deed of his whole life: —

"I claim not to have controlled events, but confess plainly that events have controlled me. Now, at the end of three years' struggle, the nation's condition is not what either party or any man desired or expected. God alone can claim it. Whither it is tending seems plain. If God now wills the removal of a great wrong, and wills also that we of the North, as well as you of the South, shall pay fairly for our complicity in that wrong, impartial history will find therein new cause to attest and review the justice and goodness of God."

No place may be more fitting, perhaps, than this chapter, for those words spoken at Gettysburg, Nov. 19, 1863, which indicate so plainly his deep appreciation of that patriotism which was willing to die for country and God, and which reveal the tenderness of his spirit. They are as follows:

"Fourscore and seven years ago, our fathers brought forth upon this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition, that all men are created equal. Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We are met to dedi

cate a portion of it as the final resting-place of those who here gave their lives that a nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

"But, in a larger sense, we cannot dedicate, we cannot consecrate, we cannot hallow, this ground. The brave men, living or dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it far above any power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember, what we say here; but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us, the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work that they have thus far so nobly carried on. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us,- that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to the cause for which they here highly resolved that the dead shall not have died in vain; that the nation shall, under God, have a new birth of freedom; and that the government of the people, by the people, and for the people, shall not perish from the earth."

It is well known that the President was fond of a poem entitled

"Oh! why should the spirit of mortal be proud? ›

It is a poem, a love for which indicates a spirit of true humility on the part of one who prefers it. Mr. Carpenter says, "The circumstances under which this copy was written are these: I was with the President alone one evening in his room, during the time I was painting my large picture at the White House last year. He presently threw aside his pen and papers, and began to talk to me of Shakspeare. He sent little 'Tad,' his son, into the library to bring a copy of the plays, and then read to me several of his favorite passages, showing genuine appreciation of the great poet. Relapsing into a sadder strain,

he laid his book aside, and, leaning back in his chair, said, 'There's a poem which has been a great favorite with me for years, which was first shown to me, when a young man, by a friend, and which I afterwards saw, and cut from a newspaper, and learned by heart. I would,' he continued, 'give a great deal to know who wrote it; but I have never been able to ascertain.""

Then, half closing his eyes, he repeated to me the lines which I enclose to you. Greatly pleased and interested, I told him I would like, if ever an opportunity occurred, to write them down. He said he would some time try to give them to me. A few days afterward, he asked me to accompany him to the temporary studio of Mr. Swayne, the sculptor, who was making a bust of him at the Treasury Department. While he was sitting for the bust, I was suddenly reminded of the poem, and said to him that THEN would be a good time to dictate to me. He complied; and sitting upon some books at his feet, as nearly as I can remember, I wrote the lines down, one by one, as they fell from his lips."

The first stanza reads thus:

"Oh! why should the spirit of mortal be proud?
Like a fast-flitting meteor, a fast-flying cloud,
A flash of the lightning, a break of the wave,
He passes from life to his rest in the grave."

The closing stanza is as follows:

"Tis the twink of an eye, 'tis the draught of a breath,
From the blossom of health to the paleness of death,
From the gilded saloon to the bier and the shroud:
Oh! why should the spirit of mortal be proud?"

There may well be added to this chapter the following letter written by the President to Mrs. Eliza P. Gurney, an American lady, the widow of the late well-known

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »