Albert F. McLean, "Bryant, William Cullen," American National Biography Online, February 2000, http://www.anb.org/articles/16/16-00213.html.
While forcefully addressing the issues of the day, Bryant and the Post spoke in a moderate voice, seeking to convince through solid reasoning and eloquence. In the years before the Civil War, Bryant supported the new Republican party and its Free Soil platform. Indeed, it was Bryant who introduced Abraham Lincoln when he gave his famous speech at Cooper Union in 1860. When Lincoln became president, the Evening Post, while being generally supportive of the administration, urged more decisiveness and vigor in the waging of the war. Bryant not only corresponded with Lincoln, but, in 1862, also joined a delegation pressing for greater military action. Upon the assassination of Lincoln, Bryant read to the bereaved New Yorkers gathered in Union Square his poem "The Death of Lincoln" (1865), which began, "Oh, slow to smite and swift to spare, / Gentle and merciful and just!"