Page:Abraham Lincoln address (1909).djvu/9

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


great lawyer, Reverdy Johnson, that such a tribunal had no jurisdiction to try the case, and it was afterwards expressedly so decided in Ex parte Milligan, 4th Wallace. But this commission convicted this woman, who even such a creature as Ben Butler said was perfectly innocent, thereby bringing themselves within the principle stated by Lord Brougham in a famous case, when he said:

"When the laws can act, every other mode of punishing supposed crimes is itself an enormous crime."


In all our reading, we know of no man whose merits have been so exaggerated and whose demerits have been so minimized as have those of Abraham Lincoln. Indeed, this course has been so insistently and persistently pursued by some Northern writers that it amounts to a patent perversion of the truth, and a positive fraud on the public.

General Don Piatt, an officer in the Federal Army, a man of character and culture, says:

"With us, when a leader dies, all good men go to lying about him. * * * Abraham Lincoln has almost disappeared from human knowledge. I hear of him, and I read of him in eulogies and biographies, but I fail to recognize the man I knew in life." (Facts and Falsehoods, p. 36-7; Men Who Saved the Union, p. 28.)

William H. Herndon, Mr. Lincoln's close friend and law partner for twenty years, who, we are informed, wrote a biography of him in 1866, which is said to have been bought up and suppressed, simply because it told the unvarnished truth, said:

"I deplore the many publications pretending to be biographies of Lincoln, which teemed from the press so long as there was hope for gain. Out of the mass of these works, of only one (Holland's) is it possible to speak with any degree of respect." (Facts and Falsehoods, p. 37; Lamon's Preface, iii.)

And Ward Hill Lamon, who was Mr. Lincoln's close friend and at one time his law partner, who was especially selected by Mr. Lincoln to accompany him on his midnight journey to the capital when he was to be inaugurated, who was appointed by him marshal