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- The Life of Abraham Lincoln - 46/46 -

the humblest origin, but remaining the simplest and most unpretending of citizens, was raised to a position of power unprecedented in our history; who was the gentlest and most peace-loving of mortals, unable to see any creature suffer without a pang in his own breast, and suddenly found himself called to conduct the greatest and bloodiest of our wars; who wielded the power of government when stern resolution and relentless force were the order of the day, and then won and ruled the popular mind and heart by the tender sympathies of his nature; who was a cautious conservative by temperament and mental habit, and led the most sudden and sweeping social revolution of our time; who, preserving his homely speech and rustic manner, even in the most conspicuous position of that period, drew upon himself the scoffs of polite society, and then thrilled the soul of mankind with utterances of wonderful beauty and grandeur; who, in his heart the best friend of the defeated South, was murdered because a crazy fanatic took him for its most cruel enemy; who, while in power, was beyond measure lampooned and maligned by sectional passion and an excited party spirit, and around whose bier friend and foe gathered to praise him--which they have since never ceased to do--as one of the greatest of Americans and the best of men.

Henry Watterson:

He went on and on, and never backward, until his time was come, when his genius, fully developed, rose to the great exigencies intrusted to his hands.

Where did he get his style? Ask Shakespeare and Burns where they got their style. Where did he get his grasp upon affairs and his knowledge of men? Ask the Lord God, who created miracles in Luther and Bonaparte!... Where did Shakespeare get his genius? Where did Mozart get his music? Whose hand smote the lyre of the Scottish plowman, and stayed the life of the German priest? God, God, and God alone; and as surely as these were raised up by God, inspired by God, was Abraham Lincoln; and a thousand years hence, no drama, no tragedy, no epic poem, will be filled with greater wonder, or be followed by mankind with deeper feeling, than that which tells the story of his life and death.


The Life of Abraham Lincoln - 46/46

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