Six Months at the White House/III

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When ABRAHAM LINCOLN, called from the humblest rank in life to preside over the nation during the most momentous period of its history, uttered his Proclamation of Freedom,-- shattering forever the chains which bound four millions of human beings in slavery; an act unparalleled for moral grandeur in the history of mankind,-- it was evident to all who sought beneath the surface for the cause of the war that the crisis was past,--that so surely as Heaven is on the side of Right and Justice, the North would triumph in the great struggle which had assumed the form of a direct issue between Freedom and Slavery.

In common with many others, I had from the beginning of the war believed that the government would not be successful in putting down a rebellion based upon slavery as its avowed corner-stone, without striking a death-blow at the institution itself. As the months went on, and disappointment and disaster succeeded one another, this conviction deepened into certainty. When at length, in obedience to what seemed the very voice of GOD, the thunderbolt was launched, and, like the first gun at Concord, "was heard around the world," all the enthusiasm of my nature was kindled. The "beast" Secession, offspring of the "dragon" Slavery, drawing in his train a third part of our national stars, was pierced with the deadly wound which could not be healed. It was the combat between Michael and Satan of Apocalyptic vision, reenacted before the eyes of the nineteenth century.