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seemingly sacred forms, Abdiel's exclamation at Satan's yet undimmed glory leaped from our lips:
"O heaven! that such resemblance of the highest
Remain not! Wherefore should not strength and might
They have thus proved. Their brightness, their strength, their good name is gone. Those then puissant congregations and commanders have sunk into as complete infamy, and will into as complete destruction, as the less apostate Churches of Ephraim and Jerusalem.
Is not this election preferable? The auction-block has rarely exhibited its atrocities since the fires of heaven fell upon this hideous Sodom, whose very Lots had become partakers of its vilest sins. Rare have been the forced separations, then so frequent; rare the lash, then so constant; rare the unspeakable shames, then so universal and so awful. God has suspended these atrocities even where he has not yet led them into liberty. Their Pharoahs have paused in their career of abominations where they have not yet let them go. Baleful as were the attendant miseries of the last election, they were blessed as the smile of heaven in comparison with the agonies that then rolled up from half the land in a wail that made the angels weep.
2. In another respect it may be said this last election is inferior to its predecessor. "That was held freely over the whole country, this only over a fraction." But this statement is not true. This was a freer and fuller expression of the people's sentiments than was that.
In one half of the land four years ago, no man could have deposited a ballot for Mr. Lincoln without the sacrifice of his life. Freedom of the ballot was as much precluded from the states below the Ohio as freedom of men. There was immeasurably greater liberty of voting at this election in Kentucky, Tennessee, Virginia, and Maryland, than was ever known there before. A friend in Baltimore told me that it was at the risk of his life that he gave his vote for Mr. Lincoln in 1860. Now that city rolls up a heavier vote for him than even Boston. The alarm cry of our regiments at the Relay, fearing midnight
assault, was "Baltimore;" the midnoon shout of joy to-day is "Baltimore;" so swift tread time and truth.
3. The two campaigns are vividly contrary, though also vividly alike in their relation to the great evil against which they fought. Both are but parts of one stupendous whole. Both are steps of God in his march through the earth. Each involves more than it formally asserts. Their declarations of policy and purpose show how great has been our progress in this brief hour of time.
Four years ago the highest we could reach was the non-extension of slavery. To touch it where it was was declared impossible. To lift the fetter from a single neck, to even express sympathy for those who wore them, was forbidden. Our unpeopled territories should be free. So said only a minority of the people, and they not its representatives of fashion, wealth, or influence. To-day by a great majority the people say, "No more slavery. If the Constitution does not forbid it, amend the Constitution. Not territories alone but states, not wilds but cities, shall be cleansed of this plague. The nation shall be pure." How vast that stride! Then defensive, almost in a posture of entreaty, now aggressive and defiant, liberty wraps her starry robe about her and marches forth to the sovereignty of the continent.
Though this culmination was involved in that victory, but few beheld it at all, none saw it so near. Nay, I should not say, none. The slave saw it. He felt that his redemption drew nigh. He knew how full, how pressed together and running over was the cup of his calamity and the cup of his master's iniquity. He knew, for God had told him, in his secret groanings and writhings, that the day of vengeance was at hand. The little cloud, no bigger than a man's hand, as it seemed to all common gazers, appeared to his prophetic eye in its true proportions, and he saw that there was to be speedily abundance of rain. Father, I thank thee that thou didst hide these things from the wise and prudent, and didst reveal them unto babes. Even so, Father, for so it seemed good in thy sight."
We saw the gradual approach of the sun of liberty. We knew that it was the first blow slavery had received from the arm of the people, and that from it she could not recover.
Though it might fight long and die hard, die it must; yet we could not believe it would die so soon.
The first word spoken against it doomed it. Though Church and nation subsided into silence and submission, still that word lived. It broke forth with new power through the pen of Mr. Garrison. For thirty years it had grown amid storms such as never beat upon God's truth in this land before. It had compelled to its service ministers, lawyers, statesmen, Christians of every creed, Christians with no Christian creed, until it had become an exceeding great army. Yet it never got beyond the simple principle first enunciated: liberty is the immediate and unconditional right of all men. It had never, till this campaign, reached the height of that great argument, and for the first time since he leaped into this conflict with all the power and populace of the land, could the great revivalist of this reform approve the nomination and aid in the election of a chief magistrate. He ought to have been on the electoral ticket of Massachusetts with Edward Everett. The dullest eye would then have seen the mighty change. The two antagonists of Mr. Lincoln, each from an opposite side, the one the conservative candidate for the vice-presidency, the other the most radical denouncer of any presidency upon such a Constitution, the extreme lover of the Union and the extreme lover of liberty, unite together, to uphold both of these great pillars of our national temple.
4. This contrast of these conflicts is yet more marked in their relation to foreign nations. The former election was local and unknown. It was not seen across the Atlantic save by a few discerning eyes. The masses, whether titled or without a surname, whether in robes or rags, saw nothing. To-day they saw nothing else. The quarrels of Europe were unseen. Their international politics, once so grand to their unwidened vision, appear as the battles or diplomacies of pigmies. What matters it if Denmark is disparted, or Italy united, or Poland subjugated? They are baubles of an hour, tiny eddies of the great current whose gulf stream sweeps across America. Even the pregnant movements of this continent, the imperializing of Mexico, and nationalizing of British America, are alike unnoticed. Europe pays no regard to them. What is that rent and bleeding Democracy going to do? cry these pallid kings. "Will
she assert her purpose to fight it out on that line, if it takes a century, or will she succumb to her foes and her wounds, and, sinking amid the waves her blood has reddened, leave the ocean of the future free to our monarchic sails?"
"Will she," cry their half-despairing subjects, "will she abandon the struggle for our rights no less than for her own? Will she be slain in her own home by her own children, the most horrible matricide in history? And shall we weep in unutterable sorrow the death of her who might have been the mother of free empires wide as the earth, enduring as time?" How they gathered to their shores! How they fastened greedy eyes upon our great controversy! How they prayed for our salvation! How they leaped for joy at the glorious result! We were exultant, but with no such happiness as beat in every peasant breast of Europe.
As the first election awoke the greatest exultation in the cabins of southern slaves, so has this in the hardly less degraded cabins of England, and Scotland, and France, and Germany. It carries dismay and death to kings and their minions, life and light to their downtrodden brethren. Never before did such a message cut the skies.
II. But the greatness of this election is better seen by a more direct contemplation of its actual results. Not alone in the questionable superiority of war over slavery, or publicity over privacy, does it deserve its title of great, but by the principles which, through it, have become the unalterable masters of the nation, the certain masters of the world.
Three ideas essential to the consummation of the divine desire in Christ with respect to man have been established by this decree of America.
1. The first is that of Union. The debate on that topic is closed. Till this year it has always been questionable whether the Union would endure. It was effected with great difficulty. It was imperiled at the start by the wrongful demands of some of the states, by the wrongful pride of others.
When effected by the partial, and as we have too painfully learned, by the fatal surrender of principle, it was still expected to survive but for a season. In 1798, within ten years after its organization, the Virginia Democrats set state sovereignty above the Union. The resolutions of Kentucky, which were
written by Thomas Jefferson, became the serpent that the Satan of slavery entered and seduced the new-born nation from its rectitude. To what depths of weakness and disgrace it brought her, the closing hours of Mr. Buchanan's administration have written with the point of the diamond. Under their formulary the nation saw her forts and armaments seized, her power.triumphantly defied in her own domain, and herself the scorn and derision of every petty princedom.
Not only did resolutions thus early foreshadow this struggle; the purpose to sever the Union was itself avowed in the same century that witnessed its birth. It assumed many forms, and was never formally passed upon by the people, unless the re-election of Andrew Jackson, by a great majority after his suppression of South Carolina nullification, was an expression of their hostility to it. If so the determination still lived. It flourished more and more. The reawakening of the national conscience to the great evil of slavery gave its supporters the pretext they desired. For thirty years they waged the ceaseless strife. At last, when the people had mildly said to this iniquity, "Thus far shalt thou go but no further," they sprang to arms. "The United States," cries Keitt, of South Carolina, in a jubilant voice to his rebellious associates, "are scattered unto a thousand fragments." "Disunion forever!" re-echo the leagued traitors, as they hold by the throat eleven states, more than a third of her commonwealths, more than a half of her domain. To this shout of disruption the nation with a universal voice responded, "Not yet!"
"Not yet the hour is nigh, when they
'Proud country, welcome to the pit!
The first cry for the Union was an inspiration. It sprang unconsciously from every lip. They said "a picnic excursion to the Potomac will settle the business. Seventy-five thousand men, in holiday costume, lounging in Baltimore and Washington hotels, and easily moving down upon Richmond, will recement the Union in its old and immaculate perfection." They knew not with how great a price this treasure was to be