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Abraham Lincoln by George Haven Putnam

We bear thee to an honoured grave


Rabbi

Schechter, in an eloquent address delivered at the Centennial celebration, speaks of Lincoln's personality as follows:

The half century that has elapsed since Lincoln's death has dispelled the mists that encompassed him on earth. Men now not only recognise the right which he championed, but behold in him the standard of righteousness, of liberty, of conciliation, and truth. In him, as it were personified, stands the Union, all that is best and noblest and enduring in its principles in which he devoutly believed and served mightily to save. When to-day, the world celebrates the century of his existence, he has become the ideal of both North and South, of a common country, composed not only of the factions that once confronted each other in war's dreadful array, but of the myriad thousands that have since found in the American nation the hope of the future and the refuge from age-entrenched wrong and absolutism. To them, Lincoln, his life, his history, his character, his entire personality, with all its wondrous charm and grace, its sobriety, patience, self-abnegation, and sweetness, has come to be the very prototype of a rising humanity.

Carl Schurz, himself a man of large nature and wide and sympathetic comprehension, says of Lincoln:

In the most conspicuous position of the period, Lincoln drew upon himself

the scoffs of polite society; but even then he filled the souls of mankind with utterances of wonderful beauty and grandeur. It was distinctly the weird mixture in him of qualities and forces, of the lofty with the common, the ideal with the uncouth, of that which he had become with that which he had not ceased to be, that made him so fascinating a character among his fellow-men, that gave him his singular power over minds and hearts, that fitted him to be the greatest leader in the greatest crisis of our national life.

He possessed the courage to stand alone--that courage which is the first requisite of leadership in a great cause. The charm of Lincoln's oratory flooded all the rare depth and genuineness of his convictions and his sympathetic feelings were the strongest element in his nature. He was one of the greatest Americans and the best of men.

The poet Whittier writes:

The weary form that rested not Save in a martyr's grave; The care-worn face that none forgot, Turned to the kneeling slave.

We rest in peace where his sad eyes Saw peril, strife, and pain; His was the awful sacrifice, And ours the priceless gain.

Says Bryant:

That task is done, the bound are free, We bear thee to an honoured grave, Whose noblest monument shall be The broken fetters of the slave.


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