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here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us,-that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion-that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain-that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom-and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth."
As Mr. Lincoln finished speaking, and the tears and sobs and cheers which had met him subsided, he turned to Edward Everett and congratulated him on his success.
Arnold tells us that Everett answered: "Ah, Mr. President, how gladly would I exchange all my hundred pages to have been the author of your twenty lines."
How MR. LINCOLN TRIED FOR PEACE.
It has been said, and truly, that there was no time from the beginning to the end of the civil war when we could have had peace without acknowledging the Confederate States as a separate government; that would have meant disunion.
There were many people at the North and some at the South who talked of peace; but they did not mean peace of the right kind. No one in the whole country longed for peace more earnestly than Mr. Lincoln did. When there was a prospect of another great battle with its dreadful list of killed and wounded, his kind, loving heart was wrung at the thought. But he knew that we must conquer a peace; the South would have no other kind, except without the Union.
June, 1863, leaders of the peace party met at Springfield, Illinois, and held a mass meeting. They wanted to carry the Northwest and make a
peace that should submit to whatever the South desired. After this the Republicans resolved to hold a great meeting at the same place the third of September, 1863; and they asked the President to be present. How much Mr. Lincoln would have liked to meet his old neighbors and friends, whom he was never to see again together, as he would have done there. But he could not leave his work at Washington. So, he wrote a letter to be read at the Convention. One of his biographers declares: "In this letter which the chairman took only ten minutes to read, Lincoln said more than all the orators at all the stands." Among many other things, all of which the readers of this record of Lincoln should some day read, he said:
"The signs look better. The Father of Waters again goes unvexed to the sea." (For a few days after the fall of Vicksburg, General Grant had captured Port Hudson, which opened the Mississippi River entirely.) * "Peace does not appear so distant as it did," wrote Mr. Lincoln after speaking of the Union victories. "I hope it will come soon and come to stay; and so come as to be worth the keeping in all future time. * Still, let us not be over-sanguine of a speedy, final triumph. Let us be quite sober" (reasonable). "Let us diligently apply the means, never doubting that a just God, in
His own good time, will give us the rightful result."
The only peace that Lincoln really believed would come was when the war was fought out and the confederacy conquered. He thought this because he believed that the confederates would not come back so long as they had an army to fight with. And this proved true.
But when people talked to him about listening to suggestions of peace, he was always most ready, provided this did not mean that the South was a separate and independent power. Mr. Greeley again wrote him one of his letters telling him he (Mr. Lincoln) did not know how much the people wanted peace, and that there were men in Canada with authority to propose peace to him. Mr. Lincoln said he should be glad to talk with them, provided everything was all right to do so. But it turned out very far from right. Mr. Greeley always meant well; but, like other people, he made mistakes. Other attempts at peace conferences also amounted to nothing.
But Mr. Gilmore (Edmund Kirke), in his book upon Lincoln, tells how the President once seized upon an opportunity to allow him to go in company with another gentleman and interview Mr. Jefferson Davis as to any possibility of peace he would accept, or suggest. Mr. Lincoln would
not send Mr. Gilmore, but was ready to learn if there was any chance to save further bloodshed.
Mr. Gilmore had a long interview with Mr. Davis, and the most positive assurances from him that nothing short of the independence of the Southern confederacy was to be thought of.
So, he came home with his companion-although the two came near being imprisoned in Richmond and kept there. When they reached the North, Mr. Gilmore wrote out what Mr. Davis had said, proving that if we would have the Union, we must fight the war out.
The article was published in the "Atlantic Monthly," and republished by almost all the leading newspapers in the North, and copied entire by several English papers. "It was read," says Mr. Gilmore, "by not less than onehalf of the four million men who voted in the Presidential election of 1864;" and he adds that Oliver Wendell Holmes wrote him that it, certainly, had a larger number of readers than any other magazine article ever written.
So, the interview of Jefferson Davis with Mr. Gilmore, who was then one of the editors of Mr. Greeley's "New York Tribune," helped, after all, to bring about the peace that Lincoln believed in a peace bought on the battle-field; but a peace that would come to stay and would be worth the keeping.