Another observation, in order to be entirely just to Mr. Lincoln, after what has been stated, would at this point seem to be called for. There is no doubt that from the first he was at heart an Anti-Slavery man, which is saying a good deal for one born in Kentucky, raised in southern Indiana and southern Illinois, and who was naturally of a conservative turn of mind. Nevertheless, he was never an Abolitionist. He was opposed to immediate—what he called “sudden”—emancipation. He recognized the “right”—his own word—of the slave-owner to his pound of flesh, either in the person of his bondman or a cash equivalent. He was strongly prejudiced against the negro. Of that fact we have the evidence in his colonization ideas. He favored the banishment of our American-born black people from their native land. It was a cruel proposition. True, the President did move from his first position, which, as we have seen, was far from that occupied by the Abolitionists, but from first to last he was more of a follower than leader in the procession.
And here the author wishes to add, in justice to himself, that if, by reason of anything he has said in this chapter, or elsewhere in this work, in criticism of Mr. Lincoln’s dealings with the slavery issue, he should be accused of unfriendliness toward the great martyr President, he enters a full and strong denial. He holds that, in view of all the difficulties besetting him, Mr. Lincoln did well, although he might have done better. Much allowance, must be made to one situated as he was. He undoubtedly deserves the most of the encomiums that have been lavished upon him. At the same time, the conclusion is inevitable that his fame as a statesman will ultimately depend less upon his treatment of the slavery issue than upon any other part of his public administration. The fact will always appear that it was the policy of Salmon P. Chase, Charles Sumner, Thaddeus Stevens, Horace Greeley, Henry Ward Beecher, and other advocates of the radical cure, with whom the President was in