Page:Life and Times of Frederick Douglass (1892).djvu/449

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441
INAUGUEATION PROCESSION.


east portico, and where I could hear and see all that took place. There was no such throng as that which celebrated the inauguration of President Garfield nor that of President Rutherford B. Hayes. The whole proceeding was wonderfully quiet, earnest, and solemn. From the oath as administered by Chief Justice Chase, to the brief but weighty address delivered by Mr. Lincoln, there was a leaden stillness about the crowd. The address sounded more like a sermon than like a state paper. In the fewest words possible he ref erred to the condition of the country four years before on his first accession to the presidency, to the causes of the war, and the reasons on both sides for which it had been waged. "Neither party," he said, "expected for the war the magnitude or the duration which it had already attained. Neither anticipated that the cause of the conflict might cease with or even before the conflict itself should cease. Each looked for an easier triumph and a result less fundamental and astounding." Then in a few short sentences admitting the conviction that slavery had been the "offense which in the providence of God must needs come, and the war as the woe due to those by whom the offense came," he asks if there can be "discerned in this any departure from those Divine attributes which the believers in a loving God always ascribe to him? Fondly do we hope," he continued, "fervently do we pray, that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away. Yet if God wills that it continue until all the wealth piled by the bondman's two hundred and fifty years of. unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid for by another drawn with the sword, as was said three thousand years ago, so still it must be said, 'The judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.'

"With malice toward none, with charity for all, with