If Lincoln had lived.In responding to the toast to Abraham Lincoln, ‘He was not for an age, but for all time,’ Colonel Henry Watterson incidentally said:
Jefferson Davis, than whom there never lived, in this or any other land, a noblier gentleman, and a knightlier soldier; Jefferson Davis, who, whatever may be thought of his opinions and actions, said always what he meant and meant always what he said; Jefferson Davis declared that next after the surrender at Appomattox, the murder of Abraham Lincoln made the darkest day in the calendar for the South and the people of the South. Why? Because Mr. Davis had come to a knowledge of the magnanimity of Mr. Lincoln's heart and the generosity of his intentions. If Lincoln had lived there would have been no era of reconstruction, with its repressive agencies and oppressive legislation. If Lincoln had lived there would have been wanting to the extremism of the time the cue of his taking off to spur the steeds of vengeance. For Lincoln entertained, with respect to the rehabilitation of the Union, the single wish that the Southern States, to use his homely phraseology, “should come back home and behave themselves;” and, if he had lived, he would have made this wish effectual, as he made everything effectual to which he seriously addressed himself.