Изображения страниц
PDF
EPUB

RUFUS BLANCHARD.

155

Who could become the political gladiator, in hand-tohand conflict with the disciples of Calhoun, and the neophytes of the oligarchy of which he was father? Who could become the animated target at whose feet the shafts of malice should fall harmless? Who could be compromising without a letting down of principles? Who had firmness without arrogance, eloquence without pretension, charity without cupidity? Who had the virtues of the statesman without the vices of the partisan? He who had seen every phase of American life, and shared its wants, and felt its anxieties, and been taught in its school; and whose spotless record now beckoned to the lovers of justice to follow whither he might lead.

Abraham Lincoln. He was nominated, elected once, and again. His services wrung from the reluctant lips of his adversaries praise that they dared not refuse. The stickler for "blue blood" stood aghast, before the charm of his words-simple and potent, and fortified by the force of events; and last of all, the autocrats of the world obsequiously bowed before the bier which held the genius of America-a corpse, around which a halo of glory shone to the uttermost parts of the earth. Other rulers of nations had been assassinated, but none before had won such acknowledgments of that kind of grandeur which died in him to live again. Our country, in her youthful fecundity, stimulated into activity by the vastness of her wild domain, through which genius became the handmaiden of creative power, produced a Lincoln. It is not essential that heraldry or even conventionalism should accompany merit, it is a positive principle. All the more lustrous if unshackled with forms. Lincoln

was its simple model-the child of our training and own maturity. He became our father, and his tomb is our shrine.

Rufus Blanchard,

WHEATON, 1882.

J. T. TROWBRIDGE.

157

H

LINCOLN.

EROIC soul, in homely garb half hid,
Sincere, sagacious, melancholy, quaint;
What he endured, no less than what he did,

Has reared his monument, and crowned him saint.

[merged small][ocr errors]

SPEECH

TO THE MEMBERS OF THE LEGISLATURE OF INDIANA WHO WAITED UPON HIM AT HIS HOTEL.

"Solomon says there is a time to keep silence,' and when men wrangle by the mouth with no certainty that they mean the same thing, while using the same word, it perhaps were as well if they would keep silence."

"The words 'coercion' and 'invasion' are much used in these days, and often with some temper and hot blood. Let us make sure, if we can, that we do not misunderstand the meaning of those who use them. Let us get the exact definitions of these words, not from dictiona ries, but from the men themselves, who certainly depre cate the things they would represent by the use of the word. What then, is 'coercion'? What is invasion'? Would the marching of an army into South Carolina, without the consent of her people, and with hostile intent towards them, be invasion? I certainly think it would, and it would be 'coercion' also if South Carolinians were forced to submit. But if the United States should merely hold and retake its own forts and other property, and collect the duties on foreign importations, or even withhold the mails from places where they were habitually violated, would any or all these things be 'invasion' or 'coercion'? Do our professed lovers of the Union, but who spitefully resolve that they will resist coercion

[blocks in formation]

and invasion, understand that such things as these on the part of the United States would be coercion or invasion of a State? If so, their idea of means to preserve the object of their affection would seem exceedingly thin and airy. If sick, the little pills of the homœopathists would be much too large for it to swallow. In their view, the Union, as a family relation, would seem to be no regular marriage, but a sort of free love' arrangement, to be maintained only on 'passional attraction.' By the way, in what consists the special sacredness of a State? I speak not of the position assigned to a State in the Union by the Constitution; for that, by the bond, we all recognize. That position, however, a State cannot carry out of the Union with it. I speak of that assumed primary right of a State to rule all which is less than itself, and ruin all which is larger than itself. If a State and a county, in a given case, should be equal in extent of territory, and equal in number of inhabitants-in what, as a matter of principle, is the State better than a county? Would an exchange of names be an exchange of rights upon principle? On what rightful principle may a State, being not more than one-fiftieth part of the nation in soil and population, break up the nation, and then coerce a proportionally larger subdivision of itself, in the most arbitrary way? What mysterious right to play tyrant is conferred on a district of country, with its people, by merely calling it a State? I am not asserting anything; I am merely asking questions for you to consider."

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »