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I mean the powerful influence which the interesting scenes of the Revolution had upon the passions of the people as distinguished from their judgment. By this influence, the jealousy, envy, and avarice incident to our nature and so common to a state of peace, prosperity, and conscious strength, were for the time in a great measure smothered and rendered inactive, while the deep-rooted principles of hate, and the powerful motive of revenge, instead of being turned against each other, were directed exclusively against the British nation. And thus, from the force of circumstances, the basest principles of our nature, were either made to lie dormant, or to become the active agents in the advancement of the noblest cause — that of establishing and maintaining civil and religious liberty. But this state of feeling must fade, is fading, has faded, with the circumstances that produced it. I do not mean to say that the scenes of the Revolution are now or ever will be entirely forgotten, but that, like everything else, they must fade upon the memory of the world, and grow more and more dim by the lapse of time. In history, we hope, they will be read of, and recounted, so long as the Bible shall be read; but even granting that they will, their influence cannot be what it heretofore has been. Even then they cannot be so universally known nor so vividly felt as they were by the generation just gone to rest. At the close of that struggle, nearly every adult male had been a participator in some of its scenes. The consequence was that of those scenes, in the form of a husband, a father, a son, or a brother, a living history was to be found in every family—a history bearing the indubitable testimonies of its own authenticity, in the limbs mangled, in the scars of wounds received, in the midst of the very scenes related—a history, too, that could be read and understood alike by all, the wise and the ignorant, the learned and the unlearned. But those histories are gone. They can be read no more forever. They were a fortress of strength; but what invading foeman could never do, the silent artillery of time has done—the leveling of its walls. They are gone. They were a forest of giant oaks; but the all-restless hurricane has swept over them, and left only here and there a lonely trunk, despoiled of its verdure, shorn of its foliage, unshading and unshaded, to murmur in a few more gentle breezes, and to combat with its mutilated limbs a few more ruder storms, then to sink and be no more. They were pillars of the temple of liberty; and now that they have crumbled away that temple must fall unless we, their descendants, supply their places with other pillars, hewn from the solid quarry of sober reason. Abraham Lincoln

Tags:

I

mean

the

powerful

influence

which

the

interesting

scenes

of

the

Revolution

had

upon

the

passions

of

the

people

as

distinguished

from

their

judgment



By

this

influence



the

jealousy



envy



and

avarice

incident

to

our

nature

and

so

common

to

a

state

of

peace



prosperity



and

conscious

strength



were

for

the

time

in

a

great

measure

smothered

and

rendered

inactive



while

the

deep

rooted

principles

of

hate



and

the

powerful

motive

of

revenge



instead

of

being

turned

against

each

other



were

directed

exclusively

against

the

British

nation



And

thus



from

the

force

of

circumstances



the

basest

principles

of

our

nature



were

either

made

to

lie

dormant



or

to

become

the

active

agents

in

the

advancement

of

the

noblest

cause



that

of

establishing

and

maintaining

civil

and

religious

liberty



But

this

state

of

feeling

must

fade



is

fading



has

faded



with

the

circumstances

that

produced

it



I

do

not

mean

to

say

that

the

scenes

of

the

Revolution

are

now

or

ever

will

be

entirely

forgotten



but

that



like

everything

else



they

must

fade

upon

the

memory

of

the

world



and

grow

more

and

more

dim

by

the

lapse

of

time



In

history



we

hope



they

will

be

read

of



and

recounted



so

long

as

the

Bible

shall

be

read



but

even

granting

that

they

will



their

influence

cannot

be

what

it

heretofore

has

been



Even

then

they

cannot

be

so

universally

known

nor

so

vividly

felt

as

they

were

by

the

generation

just

gone

to

rest



At

the

close

of

that

struggle



nearly

every

adult

male

had

been

a

participator

in

some

of

its

scenes



The

consequence

was

that

of

those

scenes



in

the

form

of

a

husband



a

father



a

son



or

a

brother



a

living

history

was

to

be

found

in

every

family—a

history

bearing

the

indubitable

testimonies

of

its

own

authenticity



in

the

limbs

mangled



in

the

scars

of

wounds

received



in

the

midst

of

the

very

scenes

related—a

history



too



that

could

be

read

and

understood

alike

by

all



the

wise

and

the

ignorant



the

learned

and

the

unlearned



But

those

histories

are

gone



They

can

be

read

no

more

forever



They

were

a

fortress

of

strength



but

what

invading

foeman

could

never

do



the

silent

artillery

of

time

has

done—the

leveling

of

its

walls



They

are

gone



They

were

a

forest

of

giant

oaks



but

the

all

restless

hurricane

has

swept

over

them



and

left

only

here

and

there

a

lonely

trunk



despoiled

of

its

verdure



shorn

of

its

foliage



unshading

and

unshaded



to

murmur

in

a

few

more

gentle

breezes



and

to

combat

with

its

mutilated

limbs

a

few

more

ruder

storms



then

to

sink

and

be

no

more



They

were

pillars

of

the

temple

of

liberty



and

now

that

they

have

crumbled

away

that

temple

must

fall

unless

we



their

descendants



supply

their

places

with

other

pillars



hewn

from

the

solid

quarry

of

sober

reason



Abraham

Lincoln



 Good Luck!