The Creed of Abraham Lincoln in His Own Words


Today is Abraham Lincoln’s 209th birthday, in honor of which, according to the custom of my blog, I re-post this post about Lincoln’s religious beliefs, such as they were. Enjoy!

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In 1920, William E. Barton published The Soul of Abraham Lincoln, a now classic study of the development of Lincoln’s faith. “Lincoln’s religious was an evolution,” Barton wrote, “both in its intellectual and spiritual qualities.”

Lincoln’s religious identity seems to have moved through three stages: (1) a Calvinist Baptist in childhood; (2) a skeptical, freethinker in young adulthood; and (3) and a not-altogether-orthodox Christian in mature adulthood.

“Too much of the effort to prove that Abraham Lincoln was a Christian,” Barton wrote, “has begun and ended in the effort to show that on certain theological opinions he cherished correct opinions.” Lincoln didn’t. For example, he evidently believe in evolution and universal salvation, and he had doubts about Christ’s virgin birth.

“Abraham Lincoln was not a theologian,” Barton went on to say, “and several of his theological opinions may have been incorrect; but there is good reason to believe that he was a true Christian.” By this, Barton meant that Lincoln had “a right attitude toward spiritual realities and practical duties.” (In my opinion, Lincoln was neither an infidel nor an orthodox Christian, but something in between.)

Barton concluded his study with “a series of short quotations [of Lincoln’s] from documents, letters, and addresses, certified authentic and touching directly upon points of Christian doctrine.” He organized these quotations into what he called “The Creed of Abraham Lincoln in His Own Words.”

In honor of Lincoln’s birthday—he was born on February 12, 1809—I’ve posted that creed below, adding footnotes that link individual phrases to their sources in The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln. This is the online version of Roy P. Bassler’s authoritative series of the same name.

The Creed of Abraham Lincoln in His Own Words[1]

I believe in God, the Almighty Ruler of Nations,[2] our great and good and merciful Maker,[3] our Father in Heaven, who notes the fall of a sparrow, and numbers the hairs of our heads.[4]

I believe in His eternal truth and justice.[5]

I recognize the sublime truth announced in the Holy Scriptures and proven by all history that those nations only are blest whose God is the Lord.[6]

I believe that it is the duty of nations as well as of men to own their dependence upon the overruling power of God, and to invoke the influence of His Holy Spirit; to confess their sins and transgressions in humble sorrow, yet with assured hope that genuine repentance will lead to mercy and pardon.[7]

I believe that it is meet and right to recognize and confess the presence of the Almighty Father equally in our triumphs and in those sorrows[8] which we may justly fear are a punishment inflicted upon us for our presumptuous sins to the needful end of our reformation.[9]

I believe that the Bible is the best gift which God has ever given to men. All the good from the Saviour of the world is communicated to us through this book.[10]

I believe the will of God prevails.[11] Without Him all human reliance is vain.[12] Without the assistance of that Divine Being, I cannot succeed. With that assistance I cannot fail.[13]

Being a humble instrument in the hands of our Heavenly Father, I desire that all my works and acts may be according to His will; and that it may be so, I give thanks to the Almighty, and seek His aid.[14]

I have a solemn oath registered in heaven[15] to finish the work I am in,[16] in full view of my responsibility to my God,[17] with malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right as God gives me to see the right.[18] Commending those who love me to His care, as I hope in their prayers they will commend me,[19] I look through the help of God to a joyous meeting with many loved ones gone before.[20]

 

Notes

[1] William E. Barton, The Soul of Abraham Lincoln (Urbana and Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 2005), 300. This book is a reprint of the 1920 first edition published by George H. Doran Co. Chapter XXIII is titled, “The Creed of Abraham Lincoln.”

[2] “First Inaugural Address—Final Text,” March 4, 1861.

[3] “To John D. Johnston,” January 12, 1851.

[4] Ibid.

[5] “First Inaugural Address.”

[6] “Proclamation Appointing a National Fast Day,” March 30, 1863.

[7] Ibid.

[8] “Proclamation of Thanksgiving,” July 15, 1863.

[9] “Proclamation Appointing a National Fast Day.”

[10] “Reply to Loyal Colored People of Baltimore upon Presentation of a Bible,” September 7, 1864.

[11] “Meditation on the Divine Will,” [September 2, 1862?].

[12] “To the Friends of Union and Liberty,” May 9, 1864.

[13] “Farewell Address at Springfield, Illinois,” February 11, 1861.

[14] “Reply to Eliza P. Gurney,” October 26, 1862.

[15] “First Inaugural Address.”

[16] “Second Inaugural Address,” March 4, 1865.

[17] “Message to Congress,” March 6, 1862.

[18] “Second Inaugural Address.”

[19] “Farewell Address at Springfield, Illinois.”

[20] “To John D. Johnston.”

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Abraham Lincoln’s Thanksgiving Proclamation


The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God. In the midst of a civil war of unequalled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theatre of military conflict; while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union. Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defence, have not arrested the plough, the shuttle, or the ship; the axe had enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege and the battle-field; and the country, rejoicing in the consciousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years, with large increase of freedom.

No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy.

It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and voice by the whole American people. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to his tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity and Union.

In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand, and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed.

Done at the city of Washington, this third day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the independence of the United States the eighty-eighth.

A. Lincoln

Abraham Lincoln, American Christians, and the Public Square


Last June, the Pew Research Center released a report entitled, Political Polarization in the American Public. Its opening sentence was alarming: “Republicans and Democrats are more divided along ideological lines – and partisan antipathy is deeper and more extensive – than at any point in the last two decades.” Obviously, people will have principled differences about big ideas and public policies, but those principled differences seem to be negatively affecting personal relationships. “Not only do many of these polarized partisans gravitate toward like-minded people,” the report went on to note, “but a significant share express a fairly strong aversion to people who disagree with them.”

Today is the sesquicentennial of Abraham Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address. That speech addressed ideological division and personal antipathy so severe that they had resulted in a civil war. Might Lincoln’s words from 150 years ago still speak to us today?

Abraham Lincoln delivering the Second Inaugural Address
Abraham Lincoln delivering the Second Inaugural Address

The Progress of Our Arms

“The progress of our arms, upon which all else chiefly depends,” Lincoln began, “is as well known to the public as to myself; and it is, I trust, reasonably satisfactory and encouraging to all. With high hope for the future, no prediction in regard to it is ventured.” Lincoln’s high hope would be realized in little over a month, when Robert E. Lee surrendered to U.S. Grant on April 9 at the McLean House in Appomattox, Virginia. At the time of the inaugural, victory was just around the corner, but not yet in sight. Neither, of course, was Lincoln’s assassination, which took place on April 14.

The Role of Slavery

Lincoln continued his address with a reminder of the cause of the war. “One eighth of the whole population were colored slaves, not distributed generally over the Union, but localized in the Southern part of it. These slaves constituted a peculiar and powerful interest.” Lincoln was not saying, it should be noted, that the Civil War began as a fight to abolish slavery. As Lincoln wrote Horace Greeley on August 22, 1862, “My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and is not either to save or to destroy slavery.” The abolition of slavery became an explicit war aim on January 1, 1863, when Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation. But at the outset of the war, preserving the Union, not freeing the slaves, was Lincoln’s stated goal.

Nonetheless, the reason the Union was threatened was because of differences over slavery. As Lincoln noted: “All knew that this interest was, somehow, the cause of the war. To strengthen, perpetuate, and extend this interest was the object for which the insurgents would rend the Union, even by war; while the government claimed no right to do more than to restrict the territorial enlargement of it.”

Because these clashing interests could not be resolved peacefully, “the war came.” Both sides expected “an easier triumph, and a result less fundamental and astounding” than the long slog of violence that actually ensued. In a nation of 32 million, 625,000 soldiers died—nearly two percent of the entire population! To put these military casualties in perspective, consider this: Civil War military casualties account for nearly half of all U.S. military casualties from the Revolutionary War to the present day.

The Role of Providence

Given Lincoln’s commitment to Union and emancipation, and given the war’s slaughter, his listeners undoubtedly expected Lincoln to issue a rousing denunciation of the Confederacy. But that’s not what they got. Instead, what they heard may be the most profound theological meditation on the Civil War ever given:

Lincoln began by noting the religious kinship of the North and South: “Both read the same Bible, and pray to the same God; and each invokes His aid against the other.” At a recent visit to a Civil War battlefield, I purchased replicas of prayer books printed for use by Union and Confederate soldiers. With minor exceptions, the prayer books are identical. The hymn selections—indeed, the very numbering of the hymns!—shows that opposing soldiers sang from the same hymnal.

Speaking as a Union partisan, Lincoln pointed out the oddity of this religious kinship: “It may seem strange that any men should dare to ask a just God’s assistance in wringing their bread from the sweat of other men’s faces,” but paraphrasing Jesus, he counseled listeners, “let us judge not that we be not judged” (Matthew 7:1). Obviously, he pointed out, contradictory prayers cancel each other out. “The prayers of both could not be answered; that of neither has been answered fully.”

But then, rather than saying that the prayers of the Union had been answered in the main because God was on their side, Lincoln said this: “The Almighty has His own purposes. Once again, quoting Jesus, he continued, “Woe unto the world because of offences! for it must needs be that offences come; but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh!” (Matthew 18:7). And this led to an indictment of both North and South for their participation in the offense of slavery:

If we shall suppose that American Slavery is one of those offences which, in the providence of God, must needs come, but which, having continued through His appointed time, He now wills to remove, and that He gives to both North and South, this terrible war, as the woe due to those by whom the offence came, shall we discern therein any departure from those divine attributes which the believers in a Living God always ascribe to Him? [Emphasis added.]

The answer, of course, is no. The war came by the providence of God. Lincoln continued

Fondly do we hope—fervently do we pray—that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away. Yet, if God wills that it continue, until all the wealth piled by the bond-man’s two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash, shall be paid by another drawn with the sword, as was said three thousand years ago, so still it must be said “the judgments of the Lord, are true and righteous altogether” [Psalm 19:9].

Americans have become accustomed to presidents invoking God’s blessing on our nation, its interests, and even its wars. Lincoln was the rare politician who invoked God’s judgment against the very country he led.

A Just and Lasting Peace

I can’t help but wonder whether Lincoln’s hearers were offended by his even-handed criticism of both the North’s and the South’s roles in the offense of slavery, not to mention his invocation of divine judgment against them both as an explanation for the war.

But if they were offended, they must have been astonished by his concluding words:

With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation’s wounds; to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan—to do all which may achieve and cherish a just, and a lasting peace, among ourselves, and with all nations.

Without giving an inch on “the right”—that is, on the North’s efforts both to preserve the Union and free the slaves—Lincoln called a nation still at war to replace “malice” toward its enemies with “charity.” He called on it to move from killing, and fighting, and war to healing, and caring, and peace.

Lincoln and Christians Today

It is Lincoln’s transcendence of the passions of his day that is so relevant to all Americans today. Somehow, he found a way to affirm the ideology of Union and emancipation without practicing personal antipathy to its Southern critics. He sought “the right” without becoming self-righteous in the process. Precisely because he could see Northern complicity in Southern slavery, he warned against judgmentalism and encouraged “malice toward none” and “charity for all.”

His words have a special relevance for Christian partisans because today—as in his own day—faith (or the lack of it) is a driver of ideological division. American Christians should seek to implement “the right” in public policy, “as God gives [them] to see the right.” We should be critical in our analysis of the “particular and peculiar interest[s]” that misshape our republic, even as we are cognizant of the interests that misshape us too. And we should be wary—as Lincoln was, and so many theologians in his day were not—of so easily invoking God’s blessing on our side. (On the North’s and South’s equally fervent but mutually contradictory Christian partisanship, see The Civil War as a Theological Crisis by Mark Noll.) With Lincoln, American Christians need to remember, “The Almighty has His own purposes”; “the judgments of the Lord, are true and righteous altogether.” They apply equally to us as they do to others.

Finally, with Lincoln, American Christians need to remember that in all our controversies—some of which cannot be avoided, the goal of our actions is “a just, and a lasting peace”: the all-encompassing wellbeing which God created us to experience with one another, and through Christ, with Him. True peace requires that justice—“the right”—prevail. But it also requires that peaceableness—“malice toward none,” “charity for all”—be our stance toward others, even in the midst of our conflicts with them.

Firmness in the right. Malice toward none. Charity for all. These are principles all Americans—especially American Christians—would do well to remember as they seek to influence the public square.

Abraham Lincoln’s Thanksgiving Proclamation


The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies.  To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God.  In the midst of a civil war of unequalled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theatre of military conflict; while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union.  Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defence, have not arrested the plough, the shuttle, or the ship; the axe had enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore.  Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege and the battle-field; and the country, rejoicing in the consciousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years, with large increase of freedom.

No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things.  They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy.

It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and voice by the whole American people.  I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens.   And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to his tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity and Union.

In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand, and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed.

Done at the city of Washington, this third day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the independence of the United States the eighty-eighth.

A. Lincoln

The Gettysburg Address at 150 [UPDATED]


The only known photo of Lincoln at Gettysburg
The only known photo of Lincoln at Gettysburg

Today–November 19, 2013–is the 150th anniversary of the Gettysburg Address. In that speech, President Abraham Lincoln said, “The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here.” In fact, his words are precisely what we remember about that momentous battle, which was fought on July 1-3, 1863.

Here is the text of Lincoln’s landmark speech.

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate — we can not consecrate — we can not hallow — this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us — that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion — that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain — that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

Abraham Lincoln
November 19, 1863

This afternoon, at 4:30 p.m. (Eastern), Allen C. Guelzo will deliver the Witherspoon Institute’s first annual William E. and Carol G. Simon Lecture on Religion in American Public Life. The title of his lecture is “Under God at Gettysburg? Lincoln’s Moral Constitution.” At the moment, I am unsure whether the speech will be live cast or even recorded. If video of the speech does surface, however, I will make sure to post it here.

And finally, here for your reading pleasure is some commentary on the speech:

[UPDATES: I keep adding to this list of articles as I come across interesting ones.]

Review of ‘The Gettysburg Address: A Graphic Adaptation’ by Hennessy and McConnell


Gettysburg Address Graphic Jonathan Hennessy and Aaron McConnell, The Gettysburg Address: A Graphic Adaptation (New York: William Morrow, 2013). $15.99, 224 pages.

At the outset, I should confess that I am not a reader of graphic novels. Indeed, The Gettysburg Address by Jonathan Hennessy (writer) and Aaron McConnell (artist) is the first one I have ever read from cover to cover, let alone with any enjoyment. I am, however, a lover of all things Lincoln, so in the sesquicentennial of his address, I resolved to purchase and read this graphic novel.

A graphic novel has to be reviewed in two parts: the substance of the writing and the form of the art. Let me start with the latter. Aaron McConnell has done a superb job illustrating the Jonathan Hennessy’s text. As an avid reader of text-only books, I worried that the graphics might get in the way of the text. In fact, they enhanced it. One example, on page 22: Early in the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln appointed general after general to lead the Union armies, each of whom he replaced when they didn’t do an adequate job. A text-only approach would spend hundreds of words to explain what McConnell shows in a single picture: four Union generals marching through a revolving door. Brilliant! My only complaint is that in several frames, where Hennessy quotes historical documents, he uses a cursive type script that was hard to read, at least for me. (See Robert E. Lee’s letter on page 26, for example.)

That brings me to the substance of Jonathan Hennessy’s writing. What Hennessy does is use the words of the Gettysburg Address to organize a historical brief of the historical forces that led to the Civil War, reached critical mass at Gettysburg, and then were channeled into Reconstruction and the Civil Rights Movement. On the whole, this organization works well, resulting in a coherent narrative.

There is much to commend in this narrative. However, I repeatedly choked on Hennessy’s simplistic distinction between Lincolnian “big government” and Southern “small government,” with its concomitant praise of centralized federal power and its critique of states’ rights. There are fewer “big” governments than state governments that legalized slavery, and fewer “small” governments than Lincoln’s nuanced attention to the limits of his constitutional powers in the Emancipation Proclamation. Moreover, through much of the nation’s history, the federal government—especially the Supreme Court in its Dred Scott and Plessy v. Ferguson decisions—was the engine of oppression, not the liberator from it. Meanwhile, Northern states took the lead in emancipating slaves.

The question of the Civil War, then, is not whether government should be big or small according to some abstract metric, but which government—Federal or state? Executive, legislative, or judicial?—should exercise its powers under the Constitution, and how. The Civil War forever settled the nature of the American union, but it didn’t repeal the 10th Amendment. Within their respective frames, the federal and state governments have enumerated constitutional powers that make them “big,” as well as constitutional limits that keep them “small.”

Despite my philosophical reservations about Hennessy’s narrative, I read, enjoyed, and recommend this graphic novel. Prior to The Gettysburg Address, Hennessy and McConnell produced The United States Constitution: A Graphic Adaptation. Given my positive experience with this graphic novel, I look forward to reading that one too.

P.S. If you found my review helpful, please vote “Yes” on my Amazon.com review page.

Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address


On this Memorial Day, which began as a commemoration of the Civil War, I am posting the most profound meditation on that war ever written, in hope that we always remember its lessons about war, partisanship, and the divine will.

20130527-075212.jpgFellow-Countrymen:

At this second appearing to take the oath of the Presidential office there is less occasion for an extended address than there was at the first. Then a statement somewhat in detail of a course to be pursued seemed fitting and proper. Now, at the expiration of four years, during which public declarations have been constantly called forth on every point and phase of the great contest which still absorbs the attention and engrosses the energies of the nation, little that is new could be presented. The progress of our arms, upon which all else chiefly depends, is as well known to the public as to myself, and it is, I trust, reasonably satisfactory and encouraging to all. With high hope for the future, no prediction in regard to it is ventured.

On the occasion corresponding to this four years ago all thoughts were anxiously directed to an impending civil war. All dreaded it, all sought to avert it. While the inaugural address was being delivered from this place, devoted altogether to saving the Union without war, insurgent agents were in the city seeking to destroy it without war—seeking to dissolve the Union and divide effects by negotiation. Both parties deprecated war, but one of them would make war rather than let the nation survive, and the other would accept war rather than let it perish, and the war came.

One-eighth of the whole population were colored slaves, not distributed generally over the Union, but localized in the southern part of it. These slaves constituted a peculiar and powerful interest. All knew that this interest was somehow the cause of the war. To strengthen, perpetuate, and extend this interest was the object for which the insurgents would rend the Union even by war, while the Government claimed no right to do more than to restrict the territorial enlargement of it. Neither party expected for the war the magnitude or the duration which it has already attained. Neither anticipated that the cause of the conflict might cease with or even before the conflict itself should cease. Each looked for an easier triumph, and a result less fundamental and astounding. Both read the same Bible and pray to the same God, and each invokes His aid against the other. It may seem strange that any men should dare to ask a just God’s assistance in wringing their bread from the sweat of other men’s faces, but let us judge not, that we be not judged. The prayers of both could not be answered. That of neither has been answered fully. The Almighty has His own purposes. “Woe unto the world because of offenses; for it must needs be that offenses come, but woe to that man by whom the offense cometh.” If we shall suppose that American slavery is one of those offenses which, in the providence of God, must needs come, but which, having continued through His appointed time, He now wills to remove, and that He gives to both North and South this terrible war as the woe due to those by whom the offense came, shall we discern therein any departure from those divine attributes which the believers in a living God always ascribe to Him? Fondly do we hope, fervently do we pray, that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away. Yet, if God wills that it continue until all the wealth piled by the bondsman’s two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid by another drawn with the sword, as was said three thousand years ago, so still it must be said “the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.”

With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation’s wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations.