them along the drifts and trends of their own tendencies, always keeping in mind the consent of the governed, he developed what the future historian will call the sublimest order of conservative statesmanship.
Whatever of life, vigor, force, and power of eloquence his peculiar qualities gave him; whatever there was in a fair, manly, honest, and impartial administration of justice under law to all men at all times; whatever there was in a strong will in the right governed by tenderness and mercy; whatever there was in toil and sublime patience; whatever there was in these things or a wise combination of them, Lincoln
is justly entitled to in making up the impartial verdict of history.
These limit and define him as a statesman, as an orator, as an executive of the nation, and as a man. They developed in all the walks of his life; they were his law; they were his nature, they were Abraham Lincoln
This long, bony, sad man floated down the Sangamon river
in a frail canoe in the spring of 1831.
Like a piece of driftwood he lodged at last, without a history, strange, penniless, and alone.
In sight of the capital of Illinois
, in the fatigue of daily toil he struggled for the necessaries of life.
Thirty years later this same peculiar man left the Sangamon river
, backed by friends, by power, by the patriotic prayers of millions of people, to be the ruler of the greatest nation in the world.
As the leader of a brave people in their desperate struggle for national existence, Abraham Lincoln
will always be an interesting historical character.