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THIRD ANNUAL MESSAGE TO CONGRESS,

DECEMBER 8, 1863.

In the midst of other cares, however important, we must not lose sight of the fact that the war power is still our main reliance. To that power alone can we look, yet for a time, to give confidence to the people in the contested regions that the insurgent power will not again overrun them. Until that confidence shall be established, little can be done anywhere for what is called reconstruction. Hence our chiefest care must still be directed to the army and navy, who have thus far borne their harder part so nobly and well. And it may be esteemed fortunate, that in giving the greatest efficiency to these indispensable arms, we do also honorably recognize the gallant men, from commander to sentinel, who compose them, and to whom, more than to others, the world must stand indebted for the home of freedom, disenthralled, regenerated, enlarged and perpetuated.

CHARLES HENRY HART.

301

M

R. LINCOLN was certainly a most remarkable man. He was undoubtedly well fitted for the times in which he lived, and the emergency that confronted him. He began with a very moderate degree of public confidence and sympathy. A large proportion of the community had, at the time of his first election, and for a considerable period afterwards, a painful sense of distrust as to his qualifications for the position to which he had been called. This distrust was slow to yield. Good things were done, but they were all attributed, on account of this preconceived opinion of his ability, to the excellence of his advisers, while the evils and the mistakes were all laid to him. His physical organization must not be overlooked as one of the sources of his success. The great practical men of the world have been, not necessarily of large, but of strong bodily frames. To the heathen philosopher, a sound mind in a sound body seemed the greatest good: "Mens sana in corpore sano.” The discipline of his early life prepared his frame for the laborious duties which were to devolve upon him. It is true that this discipline did not develop his form into a beautiful and graceful one-his warmest friends could not claim that for him-but they could declare that “his large eyes in their softness and beauty expressed nothing but benevolence and gentleness," and that a pleasant smile frequently brought out more vividly the earnest cast of his features, which were serious even to sadness. He has been called by one of his best friends "a wiry,

Yet

awkward giant." He was six feet four inches high; his arms were long, almost disproportionately so; his mouth and nose were both exceedingly large; his features were coarse, and his large hands exhibited the traces of toil. He was not specially attentive to dress, though by no means slovenly. The formal politeness of fashionable life he had not, though the gentleness of the unspoiled child of nature he had. He said once that he had never studied the art of paying compliments to women. they never received a grander one than he paid when he declared: "If all that has been said by orators and poets since the creation of the world, in praise of women, were applied to American women, it would not do them justice for their conduct doing the war." It has been stated that he had none of the grossness of life. He was not a licentious man. He was not addicted to the use of profane language. He did not gamble. He was temperate, and he did not use tobacco in any form. Only those who have known the fearful extent to which these habits prevail among our public men can appreciate the honor which the absence of them confers upon. the late President. His honesty passed into a proverb, and his integrity was beyond reproach. It was not called in question, even in the height of political excitement and vituperation. His qualities of heart were such as commended him to all men. He was naturally disposed to think well of his race. His prepossessions were generally in favor of a man. He would rather love than hate him; in fact, he seemed as if he could not hate him if he would. The entire absence of vindictiveness, either personal or political, was one of the ripe fruits of his native tender

CHARLES HENRY HART.

393

ness.

Was he ever heard to have said a hard thing of his opponents, or known to have uttered a single word showing personal hate or even personal feeling? Between him and his predecessors no parallel can be drawn, for no other President ever held the reins of power through four years of virulent rebellion. It is therefore impossible to say how much better or how much worse others would have done. Not graceful nor refined, not always using the English language correctly, he proved to be a meet and proper man for the times. He had the greatness

He had the

brilliant intellect, but

of goodness; not a powerful nor a plain, practical good sense; á sincere purpose to do right; an eminent Catholic spirit that was ready to listen to all sides, and a firm, unshaken belief in the expediency of justice. When others with higher and more profound faculties might have failed, he succeeded, guided by his matchless sagacity and prudence and common sense and native shrewdness. His thoughts were his own; they were fresh and original, and were clothed with a quaintness, a directness, a simplicity of style, peculiar to himself. He had a vein of humor which marked him from all other men in his position, and lost him, perhaps, the reputation of official dignity; and yet this very humor, which in most important emergencies could not refrain from making the witty repartee or telling the pointed anecdote, undoubtedly helped him to endure those fatigues and cares under which he would otherwise have sunken.

In the words of Daniel Webster on the death of President Taylor: "He has left on the minds of the country a strong impression; first, of his absolute honesty

and integrity of character; next, of his sound, practical good sense; and lastly, of the mildness, kindness and friendliness of his temper towards his countrymen.

Mas Surry Sti

PHILADELPHIA, 1882.

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