Page:Abraham Lincoln address (1909).djvu/15

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been validated.

13

very ambitious man, and that he was without a particle of ambition; that he was one of the saddest men that ever lived, and that he was one of the jolliest men that ever lived; that he was very religious, but that he was not a Christian; that he was a Christian, but did not know it; that he was so far from being a religious man or Christian that the least said on that subject the better; that he was the most cunning man in America, and that he had not a particle of cunning in him; that he had the strongest personal attachments, and that he had no personal attachments at all, only a general good feeling toward everybody; that he was a man of indomitable will, and that he was a man almost without a will; that he was a tyrant, and that he was the softest-hearted, most brotherly man that ever lived; that he was remarkable for his pure-mindedness, and that he was the foulest in his jests and stories of any man in the country; that he was the wittiest man, and that he was only a retailer of the wit of others; that his apparent candor and fairness were only apparent, and that they were as real as his head and his hands; that he was a boor, and that he was in all essential respects a gentleman; that he was a leader of the people, and that he was always led by the people; that he was cool and impassive, and that he was susceptible of the strongest passions."

Now it seems to us, with all deference to the opinions of others, that any man who could play the chameleon and present to the world such contrasts and contradictions of character as are here described must be singularly devoid of the finest ingredients which are essential to real greatness, viz: unwavering and steadfast devotion to principle and to duty and that uniform bearing towards his fellow-man which can only lift those who have these characteristics into the atmosphere of true greatness.

Another of Mr. Lincoln's friends, a brother lawyer, having been asked to describe him, says:

"My opinion of him was formed by a personal and professional acquaintance of over ten years, and has not been altered or influenced by any of his promotions in public life. The adulations by base multitudes of a living, and the pageantry surrounding a dead President, do not shake my well-settled convictions of the man's mental calibre. Phrenologically and physiologically, the man was a sort of monstrosity. His frame was large, bony and muscular; his head was small and disproportionately shaped; he had large, square jaws; a large, heavy nose; a small, lascivious mouth; soft, tender, bluish eyes. I would say he was a cross between Venus and Hercules. I