The two monumental sentences from Frederick Douglass’s oration dedicating the Lincoln “Emancipation” statue in Washington, DC on April 14, 1876 (see p. 167 of Lincoln’s Body:  “an epic battle between a 155-word sentence cataloguing Lincoln’s early missteps on racial equality and a 360-word sentence listing the gains for blacks achieved ‘under his wise and beneficent rule.’”)  

Apparently alone among the major dailies of 1876, the New York Times published a lengthy fragment of the speech, including almost all of the two dueling sentences, as “Douglass on Lincoln,” Apr. 22, 1876.  The full text is available at the Teaching American History website:

I cite the 1876 New York Times version—edited by the paper for style, making it slightly shorter than the oration as given by Teaching American History-- because the Times text is the one that black and white Americans had access to in 1876:


When he tarried long in the mountain; when he strangely told us that we were the cause of the war; when he still more strangely told us to leave the land in which we were born; when he refused to employ our arms in defense of the Union; when, after accepting our services as colored soldiers, he refused to retaliate when we were murdered as colored prisoners; when he told us he would save the Union if he could with slavery; when he revoked the Proclamation of Emancipation of Gen. Fremont; when he refused to remove the Commander of the Army of the Potomac, who was more zealous in his efforts to protect slavery than to suppress rebellion;-- when we saw all this, and more, we were at times grieved, stunned, and greatly bewildered; but our hearts believed while they ached and bled.

Though he loved Caesar less than Rome, though the Union was more to him than our freedom or our future, under his wise and beneficent rule we saw ourselves gradually lifted from depths of slavery to the heights of liberty and manhood; under his wise and beneficent rule, and by measures approved and vigorously pressed by him, we saw that the handwriting of ages, in the form of prejudice and proscription, was rapidly fading away from the face of our whole country; under his rule and in due time, about as soon after all as the country could tolerate the strange spectacle, we saw our brave sons and brothers laying off the rags of bondage, and being clothed all over in the blue uniforms of the soldiers of the United States; under his rule we saw two hundred thousand of our dark and dusky people responding to the call of Abraham Lincoln, and, with muskets on their shoulders, and eagles on their buttons, timing their high footsteps to liberty and union under the national flag; under his rule we saw the independence of the black Republic of Hayti, the special object of slaveholding aversion and horror, fully recognized, and her minister, a colored gentleman, duly received here in the City of Washington; under his rule we saw the internal slave-trade, which so long disgraced the nation, abolished, and slavery abolished in the District of Columbia; under his rule we saw for the first time the law enforced against the foreign slave trade, and the first slave-trader hanged like any other pirate or murderer; under his rule and inspiration we saw the Confederate States, based upon the idea that our race must be slaves and slaves forever, battered to pieces and scattered to the four winds; under his rule and in the fullness of time, we saw Abraham Lincoln, after giving the slaveholders three months of grace, in which to save their hateful slave system, penning the immortal paper, which, though special in its language, was general in its principles and effect, making slavery forever impossible in the United States.