« PreviousContinue »
Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1865, by
THE AMERICAN NEWS COMPANY, In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the United States for the Southern
District of New York.
Stereotyped by SMITH & MODOUGAL, 82 & 84 Beekman Street.
A FEW days after the assassination of President LINCOLN, the publishers of the present volume received the following letter from the distinguished gentleman whose name it bears :
You have it in your power to erect a monument of its own kind to the memory of the President, who, but a few months ago, was elected by one of the greatest national acts known in all history, and has now been taken off by foul assassination, as the chief representative of our national existence, and by an assassin who represents in this deed the ruthless evil against which we contend.
Collect and publish, in the speediest possible manner, the inaugural and other addresses of ABRAHAM LINCOLN, his proclamations, messages, and public letters ; indeed, all he has written as President, and you will contribute to the mournful celebrations of the American people your share of lasting value, and of far more impressive eloquence than the most fervent orator could utter.
You would thus make the martyr rear his own monument, which no years, no centuries could level and cause to mingle again with the dust. Your obedient,
FRANCIS LIEBER. New York, April 18th, 1865.
In accordance with this suggestion the follow
ing pages have been prepared ; their object being to present in a convenient and easily accessible form, and with chronological arrangement, the writings of which Dr. LIEBER speaks with such well-merited admiration. But the editor has included in the collection somewhat more than all that Mr. LINCOLN wrote as President. The pith of his remarkable speech delivered at the Cooper
importance while he was President elect, and other expressions of his purposes and his convictions, not uttered exactly as President, will be found in the collection, which is well worth the thoughtful perusal of every citizen of the Republic.
THE MARTYR’S MONUMENT.
The memory of ABRAHAM LINCOLN is now fresh in the hearts of his countrymen. It is hardly a memory. The grass which we would keep ever green has not yet had time to spring upon his grave. But already we are taking measures to erect monuments wbich will preserve that memory, and show the honor in which we hold it to after generations. This is right, and proper, and becoming; but it is almost superfluous. The name and the fame of him who fell by an assassin's hand, a martyr to his devotion to his country, to the duties of his high office, and to his conviction that if slavery is not wrong nothing is wrong,” will endure without the help of stone or bronze. It was what he did that will make our dead President immortal; and his deeds will of necessity be recorded upon one of the grandest and most stirring pages of the world's history. But beside the record of his acts he left behind him in his spoken and written words, which were but the expression of the motives of his deeds, a monument more enduring than any, however splendid, that will ever be erected to him by wealth and taste inspired by gratitude. To present his character in these fitly and completely to his fellow citizens, that they may be enabled to see how wise and good he was, how entirely he was devoted to the cause of his country and
to freedom, and how skillfully he performed one of the most difficult tasks that ever man was called upon to undertake, how by forbearance and by patient waiting, no less than by vigorous and decided action when the time had come for action, he led a great nation through a crisis of unequaled peril, until he fell a victim in the very hour of its complete salvation, is the purpose of the following pages.
This collection presents a complete view of Mr. Lincoln's public life from the time when he was chosen as a candidate for the Presidency by those who were determined that slavery should no longer be extended by the authority and under the flag of this Republic, until the very day when that flag was formally raised again upon Fort Sumter as a sign that the Republic was preserved in its integrity and Slavery was utterly destroyed, and when he, having accomplished his great mission, closed his labors and gave up his spirit. Of all his speeches, messages, proclamations, public letters, and orders during that eventful period, only such parts have been omitted as were of a merely formal and business character. All that displayed his patriotism, set forth his principles, or illustrated his personal character has been solicitously retained. We have here Abraham Lincoln's portrait painted, and his monument raised, by his own hands.
THE GREAT ISSUE.
Rarely, if ever, was the issue to be decided by a great war so simple and so clearly defined as in the case of that war of which Abraham Lincoln's election was the immediate occasion, and which his administration con