Open main menu

Page:Samuel Scoville -Abraham Lincoln, His Story.djvu/63

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
51
THE SPEAKER

of these books until they became for him a storehouse to which he turned unconsciously for words, and phrases, and ideas. A part of his great speech in 1857 on the Dred Scott Decision of the Supreme Court, which, in effect, took away the last rights of the negro, might have been written by Bunyan:

All the powers of earth seem rapidly combining against the black man. Mammon is after him; ambition follows, philosophy follows, and the theology of the day is fast joining in the cry. They have him in the prison house; they have searched his person and left no prying instrument with him. One after another they have closed the heavy iron doors upon him; and now they have him, as it were, bolted in with a lock of a hundred keys, which cannot be unlocked without the concurrence of every key; the keys in the hands of a hundred different men, and they scattered to a hundred different places; and they stand, musing as to what invention in all the dominions of mind and matter can be produced to make the impossibility of escape more complete them it is.

Who but one nourished on the imagery of the Bible could have spoken as Lincoln did in his first reply to Senator Douglas in 1854?

These principles cannot stand together. They are as opposite as God and Mammon, and whosoever holds to the one must despise the other. . . . Our Republican robe is soiled and trailed in the dust. Let us purify it. Let us turn and wash it white in the spirit if not the blood of the Revolution.

Last and first and all the time Lincoln's power lay in the fact that he always had some-