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Iii. 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. Wh