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or performing your duty in this House, by following the right hon. Baronet into the lobby when he refuses an inquiry and investigation into the condition of the very men who send you up here? With mere politicians, I have no right to hope to succeed; but give me a committee, and I will explode the delusion of agricultural protection; I will produce such a mass of evidence, and call authorities so convincing, that when the blue book shall be sent out, I am convinced that protection will not live two years.
Protection is a very convenient vehicle for politicians ; the cry of “protection ” won the last election; and politicians looked to secure honours, emoluments, places by it; but you, the gentry of England, are not sent up for such objects. Is, then, that old, tattered and torn flag to be kept up for the politicians, or will you come forward and declare that you are ready to inquire into the state of the agricultural interests? I cannot think that the gentlemen of England can be content to be made mere drum-heads, to be sounded by the Prime Minister of England—to be made to emit notes, but to have no articulate sounds of their own. You, gentlemen of England, the high aristocracy of England, your forefathers led my forefathers; you may lead us again if you choose ; but though-longer than any other aristocracy—you have kept your power, while the battlefield and the hunting-field were the tests of manly vigour, you have not done as the noblesse of France or the hidalgos of Madrid have done ; you have been Englishmen, not wanting in courage on any call. But this is a new age ; the age of social advancement, not of feudal sports ; you belong to a mercantile age; you cannot have the advantage of commercial rents and retain your feudal privileges, too. If you identify yourselves with the spirit of the age, you may yet do well ; for I tell you that the people of this country look to their aristocracy with a deep-rooted prejudice—an hereditary prejudice, I may call it—in their favour ; but your power was never got, and you will not keep it by obstructing the spirit of the age in which you live. If you are found obstructing that progressive spirit which is calculated to knit nations more closely together by commercial intercourse ; if you give nothing but opposition to schemes which almost give life and breath to inanimate nature, and which it has been decreed shall go on, then you are no longer a national body.
There is a widely-spread suspicion that you have been tampering with the feelings of your tenantry—you may read it in the organ of your party—this is the time to show the people that such a suspicion is groundless. I ask you to go into this Committee—I will give you a majority of county membersyou shall have a majority of members of the Central Agricultural Protection Association in the committee; and on these terms I ask you to inquire into the causes of the distress of our agricultural population. I trust that neither of those gentlemen who have given notice of amendments will attempt to interfere with me, for I have embraced the substance of their amendments in my motion. I am ready to give those hon. gentlemen the widest range they please for their inquiries. I only ask that this subject may be fairly investigated. Whether I establish my principle, or you establish yours, good must result from the inquiry; and I do beg and entreat of the honourable, independent country gentlemen in this House, that they will not refuse on this occasion, to sanction a fair, full, and impartial inquiry.
ABRAHAM LINCOLN LINCOLN was of all American orators at once the most homely and the most eloquent. His speech at Gettysburg, and the second of his two Inaugural Addresses, are models of classical rhetoric. But when he left his home in Illinois for Washington after his first election, he spoke to the friends and neighbours who came to see him off with a simple unaffected dignity and tenderness which no artificial elaboration could surpass. Into most of his speeches, terse and vigorous as they are, he wove racy and appropriate anecdotes which, however telling at the time, hardly bear reproduction now. His genuine humour was entirely his own, the fruit of a meditative, reflective temper, habitually dwelling upon the incongruities of life. He was quite incapable of being conventional. But he had a singular knack of saying the right thing in the right way, the result partly of human sympathy, and partly of shrewd observation. The duty he had to discharge might well have seemed insurmountable. It was not, he often said, his business as President to put down or to maintain slavery as an institution. He had to uphold the Union, and to treat those who attacked it, on whatever ground, as enemies. He did what he could to avoid civil war. He never attempted to interfere with slavery in the old States until the necessities of the war compelled him to issue his decree of emancipation. He was in truth a strict constitutionalist. By profession a lawyer, he was ready to argue the limits of State and Federal rights in the vain hope of avoiding hostilities. When he found that they could no longer be avoided, he protested with the utmost solemnity, and with undoubted sincerity, that they had been forced upon him against his will. He never ceased to regard the Southerners as his fellow-citizens, or to feel the horror of being engaged in domestic strife. His humour had a strain of melancholy, as of a man placed in circumstances not of his choosing, and not to his taste. The principal characteristic of his speaking was a determination to inspirit his friends without insulting his foes. He was always trying to soften asperity, to heal wounds, to prepare for the time when peace would return. Although during his life he was subject to much misconception, history has justified his methods, and shown that he did all he could to diminish the causes of dispute. He could do little by speaking. He succeeded, however, in impressing even those most strongly opposed to him with a sense of his perfect fairness, his wide comprehension, and his extreme reluctance to take any step which would be irrevocable, or leave bitterness behind it.
Address delivered at the Dedication of the Cemetery
at Gettysburg, Nov. 19th, 1863 FOUR score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.
Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battlefield of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting-place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fit and proper that we should do this.
But, in a larger sense, we cannot dedicate—we cannot consecrate—we cannot hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember, what we say 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 honoured 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.
Address at his Second Inauguration, March 4th, 1865 FELLOW-COUNTRYMEN : At this season, appearing to take the oath of the Presidential office, there is less occasion for an extended address than there was at first. Then, a statement
somewhat in detail of a course to be pursued seemed very X fitting and proper. Now, at the expiration of four years,
during which public declarations have been constantly called forth on every point and phase of the great contest which still absorbs the attention and engrosses the energies of the nation, little that is new could be presented. The progress of our arms, upon which all else chiefly depends, is as well known to the public as to myself, and it is, I trust, reasonably satisfactory and encouraging to all. With high hope for the future, no prediction in regard to it is ventured.
On the occasion corresponding to this, four years ago, all thoughts were anxiously directed to an impending civil
All dreaded it, all sought to avoid it. While the inaukgural address was being delivered from this place, devoted
altogether to saving the Union without war, Ansurgent agents 7 were in the city, seeking to destroy it with war seeking to
dissolve the Union, and divide the effects of negotiation. Both parties deprecated war, but one of them would make war rather than let the nation survive, and the other would accept war rather than let it perish; and the war came. One eighth of the whole population were coloured slaves, not distributed generally over the Union, but localised in the southern part of it. These slaves constituted a peculiar and powerful interest. All knew that this interest was somehow the cause of the war. To strengthen, perpetuate and extend this interest was the object for which the insurgents would rend the Union by war, while the Government claimed no right to do more than restrict the territorial enlargement of it.
Neither party expected for the war the magnitude or the duration which it has 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.