The chief purpose, however, as I understand, of a memorial service is not so much to glorify the dead as to enlighten and inspire the living. We borrow the thought of his own Gettysburg address (so eloquent in its exquisite simplicity) when we say that no words of ours can add any glory to the name of Abraham Lincoln. His work is accomplished. His fame is secure. It is for us, his fellow-citizens, for the older men who had personal touch with the great struggle in which Lincoln was the nation's leader, for the younger men who have grown up in the generation since the War, and for the children by whom are to be handed down through the new century the great traditions of the Republic, to secure from the life and character of our great leader incentive, illumination, and inspiration to good citizenship, in order that Lincoln and his fellow-martyrs shall not have died in vain.
The post next in importance under the existing war conditions was that of Secretary of War. The first man to hold this post was Simon Cameron of Pennsylvania. Cameron was very far from being a friend of Lincoln's. The two men had had no personal relations and what Lincoln knew of him he liked not at all. The appointment had been made under the pressure of the Republicans of Pennsylvania, a State whose support was, of course, all important for the administration. It was not the first nor the last time that the Republicans of this great State, whose Republicanism seems to be much safer than its judgment, have committed themselves to unworthy and undesirable representatives, men who were not fitted to stand for Pennsylvania and who were neither willing nor able to be of any service to the country. The appointment of Cameron had, as appears from the later history, been promised to Pennsylvania by Judge Davis in return for the support of the Pennsylvania delegation for the nomination of Lincoln. Lincoln knew nothing of the promise and was able to say with truth, and to prove, that he had authorised no promises and no engagements whatsoever. He had, in fact, absolutely prohibited Davis and the one or two other men who were supposed to have some right to speak for him in the convention, from the acceptance of any engagements or obligations whatsoever. Davis made the promise to Pennsylvania on his own responsibility and at his own risk; Lincoln felt under too much obligation to Davis for personal service and for friendly loyalty to be willing, when the claim was finally pressed, to put it to one side as unwarranted. The appointment of Cameron was made and proved to be expensive for the efficiency of the War Department and for the repute of the administration. It became necessary within a comparatively short period to secure his resignation. It was in evidence that he was trafficking in appointments and in contracts. He was replaced by Edwin M. Stanton, who was known later as "the Carnot of the War." Stanton's career as a lawyer had given him no direct experience of army affairs. He showed, however, exceptional ability, great will power, and an enormous capacity for work. He was ambitious, self-willed, and most arbitrary in deed and in speech. The difficulty with Stanton was that he was as likely to insult and to browbeat some loyal supporter of the government as to bring to book, and, when necessary, to crush, greedy speculators and disloyal tricksters. His judgment in regard to men was in fact very often at fault. He came into early and unnecessary conflict with his chief and he found there a will stronger than his own. The respect of the two men for each other grew into a cordial regard. Each recognised the loyalty of purpose and the patriotism by which the actions of both were influenced. Lincoln was able to some extent to soften and to modify the needless truculency of the great War Secretary, and notwithstanding a good deal of troublesome friction, armies were organised and the troops were sent to the front.
"I am approached with the most opposite opinions expressed on the part of religious men, each of whom is equally certain that he represents the divine will."