Abraham Lincoln by Godfrey Rathbone Benson Charnwood (Lord Charnwood)

By Godfrey Rathbone Benson Charnwood (Lord Charnwood)

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Later on crude notions of evolution began to get about in a few circles of advanced thought, and these lent themselves as easily to the same purpose. Loose, floating thoughts of this kind might have mattered little. Calhoun, as the recognised wise man of the old South, concentrated them and fastened them upon its people as a creed. Glorification of “our institution at the South" became the main principle of Southern politicians, and any conception that there may ever have been of a task for constructive statesmanship, in solving the negro problem, passed into oblivion under the influence of his revered reasoning faculty.

He saw no fighting, but he could earn his living for some months, and stored up material for effective chaff in Congress long afterwards about the military glory which General Cass's supporters for the Presidency wished to attach to their candidate. His most glorious exploit consisted in saving from his own men a poor old friendly Indian who had fallen among them. A letter of credentials, which the helpless creature produced, was pronounced a forgery and he was about to be hanged as a spy, when Lincoln appeared on the scene, “swarthy with resolution and rage,” and somehow terrified his disorderly company into dropping their prey.

They included possibly too many of that sort who would seek salvation by repenting of other men's sins. But even these did not indulge this propensity at their ease, for by this time the politicians, the polite world, the mass of the people, the churches (even in Boston), not merely avoided the dangerous topic; they angrily proscribed it. The Abolitionists took their lives in their hands, and sometimes lost them. Only two men of standing helped them: Channing, the great preacher, who sacrificed thereby a fashionable congregation; and Adams, the sour, upright, able ex-President, the only ex-President who ever made for himself an after-career in Congress.

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