Younger men might be confused or dazed by plausible pretensions, and half the North
was be fooled; but the old pioneer detected the false ring as quickly as in his youth.
The words his dying hand traced, welcoming the Southern
exodus and foretelling its result, had all the defiant courage and prophetic solemnity of his youngest and boldest days.
Serene, fearless, marvellous man!
Mortal, with so few shortcomings!
Farewell, for a very little while, noblest of Christian men!
Leader, brave, tireless, unselfish!
When the ear heard thee, then it blessed thee; the eye that saw thee gave witness to thee.
More truly than it could ever heretofore be said since the great patriarch wrote it, “the blessing of him that was ready to perish” was thine eternal great reward.
Though the clouds rest for a moment to-day on the great work that you set your heart to accomplish, you knew,--God in his love let you see,--that your work was done; that one thing, by his blessing on your efforts, is fixed beyond the possibility of change.
While that ear could listen, God gave what He has so rarely given to man, the plaudits and prayers of four millions of victims, thanking you for emancipation, and through the clouds of to-day your heart, as it ceased to beat, felt certain, certain
, that whether one flag or two shall rule this continent in time to come, one thing is settled,--it never henceforth can be trodden by a slave!