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From our archives: Lincoln tops Davis on integrity, justice

What we thought: 150 years ago

Published: Tuesday, Sept. 3, 2013 1:15 a.m. CST
Caption
(ALEXANDER GARDNER)
Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865) The Civil War president's public statements were praised in a Gazette editorial on Sept. 5, 1863.
Caption
James Buchanan (1791-1868) The 15th president, whose administration (1857-1861) failed in its closing weeks to halt the secession of Southern states, was looked upon poorly in 1863, as a Gazette editorial noted.

Note to readers – Sauk Valley Media reprints editorials from the past as a regular Monday feature. The following editorials appeared in the Gazette on Sept. 5, 1863.

A significant contrast

The public documents of President Lincoln, if more wanting than could be desired in inspiring phrases, are the calm, dispassionate utterance of one who knows that he has a just cause and represents the right.

Opposed to these are the papers of Jeff. Davis, which are the mingling of hypocritical piety, false assertions, arrogant vituperation, and frenzied appeals indicating the spirit of a man playing a desperate game of iniquity, and striving to work up his deluded followers by unscrupulous appeals, to aid him in his traitorous conspiracy.

Jeff. Davis may have more finish of rhetoric than Lincoln; but in other respects the difference between their productions is as wide as that between the speech of integrity and the lying special pleadings of a knave.

Dixon seminary

The dedication sociable on the occasion of the opening of this institution, under present auspices, comes off on Monday evening next. The fall session commences on Tuesday. Several short speeches from the clergy and other friends of education may be expected on Monday evening, as well as other entertainments.

Several families in this city, we learn, intend to join the Dixon people in the festivities of that occasion. We presume our young friends, ladies and gentlemen, in this city intending to go away to school this fall, will avail themselves of this occasion, to visit that institution, so near home, before deciding to go elsewhere. The educational facilities there offered, as published in the circular, surely are all that could well be desired.

Sterling

We find the [accompanying] notice of our growing city in the Elgin Gazette. Permit us, Friend Joslyn, to thank you for all compliments, and we regret exceedingly that we were not “in” when you called. ...

•  •  •

We spent a couple of days in this thriving little city [Sterling] recently. It straggles along the right bank of the Rock River, for 3 or 4 miles, so that if the people cannot quarrel about the sides of the river, they manage to keep up a spirited controversy about the old town and the new, the uptown or downtown.

The old uptown was killed by the removal of the county seat to Morrison, and the location of the depot of the Air Line Road. We should judge, that the influence run with the river, as we observed the new bridge, new in process of erection, was quite below everything, save the interest of a few wealthy operators.

Sterling receives and ships more freight than any other town on the Fulton route. Its warehouses are immense and fully occupied. There are several good business blocks, and a fine hotel is to be put up this season.

A permanent and safe dam on the rock bottom furnishes an immense water power, which is but partially improved. We were surprised to find considerable manufacturing carried on by steam, and even by hand, while such fine hydraulic power was neglected.

The church buildings are inferior for so smart a town. The Methodist House comes the nearest to being respectable. The Congregationalists have just commenced a house on a lot near Main Street. The location is good, but they are making a great mistake in building on so low a lot without a basement. Two foot more of stone work would have given them a fine suit of rooms at a trifling expense, and greatly improved the appearance of the main building.

One half of the public edifices of the country are spoiled for the want of a little architectural skill on the part of those who project them.

We called at the Gazette office in that city, but it was too early on Monday morning for an editor to be “in.” We found the “boys” at work, and saw by a copy of the paper, that it was a lively Republican sheet. Copperheadism does not flourish much in the rural districts of Northern Illinois.

A fearful scene and withering rebuke

Ex-President Buchanan and suit, en route from Bedford Springs to Wheatland, passed through Harrisburg [Pa.] on Saturday last. After Mr. Buchanan had changed cars and a few moments before the train started, a crowd was collected in front of the car he occupied, gazing in mute curiosity at the infirm old man, whose unsteady look wandered from object to object, as if he hesitated to meet the gaze of the citizens and the soldiers present upon the occasion.

Just then, a soldier who had lost an arm began to shake the stump in the face of [Buchanan], exclaiming fiercely, “I am indebted to you for this!” (pointing to the maimed arm) “and the devil will liquidate the debt when he gets you!”

At this point, the whistle of the locomotive screamed the signal of departure, and Buchanan, with the rebuke of the wounded soldier blanching on his already pale and withered cheek, was soon lost in the distance with the train. But, what an existence! What a career for an American president! – Philadelphia Press

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