Mr. Henry Watterson, the distinguished and scholarly
editor of the widely-read Louisville Courier Journal, once delivered a lecture
on "Lincoln." The following is part of what he said:
"After he was inaugurated President, Mr. Lincoln evinced
four great qualities of mind and heart so great indeed that it is doubtful if
such a combination of kingly talents was ever before or since concentrated in
the same man." Mr. Watterson then elaborated from historical fact, incidents,
and conclusions, as also from quotations from Mr. Lincoln’s speeches and
letters, his direction and management of generals and cabinet officers, his
knowledge of law, diplomacy, and military affairs, his firmness for the right,
his great kindness of heart, and love of humanity, the following propositions:
Lincoln was the wisest ruler of this or any
He had the firmness of the everlasting hills.
His love of justice and righteousness between
man and man, and between nations guided him in all things.
His kindness of heart, and his sympathies for
mankind were as an overflowing fountain.
Abraham Lincoln was raised up of God, and in a
sense inspired for the place and work he fulfilled in the world.
"Perhaps the most striking illustration of superior wisdom
and power as a ruler," said the speaker, "was his reply to Mr. Seward’s
proposition to declare war against France and Spain, and impliedly against
England and Russia, only one month after Lincoln’s inauguration. The reply was
complete; so was his mastery over the most astute and scholarly statesman and
diplomatist of the age. While preparing that reply, the same night after
receiving Mr. Seward’s wonderful proposals,—a reply which the best critics of
the world have declared needed not another word, and would not have been
complete with one word lacking,—he was overheard repeating to himself audibly
over and over, ‘One war at a time, one war at a time, one war at a time.’"