deprecate the things they would represent by the use of words.
What, then, is " coercion"? What is "invasion"? Would the
marching of an army into South Carolina without the consent of
her people, and with hostile intent toward them, be " invasion " ? I
certainly think it would ; and it would be " coercion " also if the
South Carolinians were forced to submit. But if the United States
should merely hold and retake its own forts and other property, and
collect the duties on foreign importations, or even withhold the
mails from places where they were habitually violated, would any
or all of these things be "invasion" or "coercion"? Do our pro-
fessed lovers of the Union, but who spitefully resolve that they will
resist coercion and invasion, understand that such things as these
on the part of the United States would be coercion or invasion of a
State ? If so, their idea of means to preserve the object of their
great affection would seem to be exceedingly thin and airy. If sick,
the little pills of the homeopathist would be much too large for them
to swallow. In their view, the Union as a family relation would
seem to be no regular marriage, but rather a sort of " free-love " ar-
rangement, to be maintained only on "passional attraction." By
Vol. I.â€” 43.
074 ADDRESSES AND LETTERS OF ABRAHAM LINCOLN
tin- way, in what consists the special sacredness of a State ? I speak
qoI of tie position assigned to a State in the Union by the Constitu-
tion ; for that, by the bond, we all recognize. That position, how-
ever, a State cannot carry out of the Union with it. I speak of that
assumed primary right of a State to rale all which is less than itself,
and ruin all which is larger than itself. If a State and a county, in
a given case, should be equal in extent of territory, and equal in
number of inhabitants, in what, as a matter of principle, is the State
better than the county? Would an exchange of names be an ex-
change of rights upon principle? On what rightful principle may
a State, being not more than one fiftieth part of the nation in soil
and population, break up the nation and then coerce a proportion-
ally larger subdivision of itself in the most arbitrary way ? What
mysterious right to play tyrant is conferred on a district of country
with its people, by merely calling it a State ? Fellow-citizens, I am
not asserting anything; I am merely asking questions for you to
consider. And now allow me to bid you farewell.
February 12, 1861. â€” Address to the Mayor and Citizens
of Cincinnati, Ohio.
Mr. Mayor, Ladies, and Gentlemen : Twenty-four hours ago, at the
capital of Indiana, I said to myself I have never seen so many peo-
ple assembled together in winter weather. I am no longer able to
say that. But it is what might reasonably have been expectedâ€”
that this great city of Cincinnati would thus acquit herself on such
an occasion. My friends, I am entirely overwhelmed by the magnifi-
cence of the reception which has been given, I will not say to me, but
to the President-elect of the United States of America. Most heartily
do I thank you, one and all, for it.
I am reminded by the address of your worthy mayor that this
reception is given not by any one political party, and even if I had
not been so reminded by his Honor I could not have failed to know
the fact by the extent of the multitude I see before me now. I could
not look upon this vast assemblage without being made aware that
all parties were united in this reception. This is as it should be. It
is as it should have been if Senator Douglas had been elected. It is
as it should have been if Mr. Bell had been elected ; as it should
have been if Mr. Breckinridge had been elected; as it should ever
be when any citizen of the United States is constitutionally elected
President of the United States. Allow me to say that I think what
has occurred here to-day could not have occurred in any other coun-
try' on the face of the globe, without the influence of the free institu-
tions which we have unceasingly enjoyed for three quarters of a
There is no country where the people can turn out and enjoy this
day precisely as they please, save under the benign influeuce of the
free institutions of our land.
I hope that, although we have some threatening national difficul-
ties now â€” I hope that while these free institutions shall continue to
ADDRESSES AND LETTERS OF ABRAHAM LINCOLN 675
be in the enjoyment of millions of free people of the United States,
we will see repeated every four years what we now witness.
In a few short years I, and every other individual man who is now
living, will pass away ; I hope that our national difficulties will also
pass away, and I hope we shall see in the streets of Cincinnati â€”
good old Cincinnati â€” for centuries to come, once every four years,
her people give such a reception as this to the constitutionally
elected President of the whole United States. I hope you shall all
join in that reception, and that you shall also welcome your brethren
from across the river to participate in it. We will welcome them in
every State of the Union, no matter where they are from. From away
South we shall extend them a cordial good- will, when our present
difficulties shall have been forgotten and blown to the winds forever.
I have spoken but once before this in Cincinnati. That was a
year previous to the late presidential election. On that occasion,
in a playful manner, but with sincere words, I addressed much
of what I said to the Kentuckians. I gave my opinion that we as
Republicans would ultimately beat them as Democrats, but that they
could postpone that result longer by nominating Senator Douglas
for the presidency than they could in any other way. They did not,
in any true sense of the word, nominate Mr. Douglas, and the result
has come certainly as soon as ever I expected. I also told them how
I expected they would be treated after they should have been beaten ;
and I now wish to recall their attention to what I then said upon
that subject. I then said, "When we do as we say, â€” beat you, â€”
you perhaps want to know what we will do with you. I will tell you,
so far as I am authorized to speak for the opposition, what we mean
to do with you. We mean to treat you, as near as we possibly can,
as Washington, Jefferson, and Madison treated you. We mean to
leave you alone, and in no way to interfere with your institutions;
to abide by all and every compromise of the Constitution ; and, in
a word, coming back to the original proposition, to treat you, so far
as degenerate men â€” if we have degenerated â€” may, according to
the examples of those noble fathers, Washington, Jefferson, and
Madison. We mean to remember that you are as good as we; that
there is no difference between us other than the difference of circum-
stances. We mean to recognize and bear in mind always that you
have as good hearts in your bosoms as other people, or as we claim
to have, and treat you accordingly."
Fellow-citizens of Kentucky ! â€” friends ! â€” brethren ! may I call you
in my new position ? I see no occasion, and feel no inclination, to
retract a word of this. If it shall not be made good, be assured the
fault shall not be mine.
And now, fellow-citizens of Ohio, have you, who agree with him
who now addresses you in political sentiment â€” have you ever enter-
tained other sentiments toward our brethren of Kentucky than those
I have expressed to you 1 ? If not, then why shall we not, as hereto-
fore, be recognized and acknowledged as brethren again, living in
peace and harmony again one with another ? I take your response
as the most reliable evidence that it may be so, trusting, through
the good sense of the American people, on all sides of all rivers in
676 ADDRESSES AND LETTERS OF ABRAHAM LINCOLN
America, under the providence of God, who has never deserted us.
thai we shall again be brethren, forgetting all parties, ignoring all
parties. My friends, I now bid you farewell.
February 12, 1861.â€” Address to Germans at Cincinnati, Ohio.
Mr. Chairman : I thank you and those whom you represent for the
compliment you have paid me by tendering me this address. In so
far as there is an allusion to our present national difficulties, which
expresses, as you have said, the views of the gentlemen present, I
shall have to beg pardon for not entering fully upon the questions
which the address you have now read suggests.
I deem it my duty â€” a duty which I owe to my constituents â€” to
you, gentlemen, that I should wait until the last moment for a devel-
opment of the present national difficulties before I express myself
decidedly as to what course I shall pursue. I hope, then, not to be
false to anything that you have to expect of me.
I agree with you, Mr. Chairman, that the working-men are the
basis of all governments, for the plain reason that they are the more
numerous, and as you added that those were the sentiments of the
gentlemen present, representing not only the working-class, but citi-
zens of other callings than those of the mechanic, I am happy to
concur with you in these sentiments, not only of the native-born
citizens, but also of the Germans and foreigners from other countries.
Mr. Chairman, I hold that while man exists it is his duty to im-
prove not only his own condition, but to assist in ameliorating
mankind; and therefore, without entering upon the details of the
question, I will simply say that I am for those means which will give
the greatest good to the greatest number.
In regard to the homestead law, I have to say that in so far as
the government lands can be disposed of, I am in favor of cutting up
the wild lands into pai-cels, so that every poor man may have a home.
In regard to the Germans and foreigners, I esteem them no better
than other people, nor any worse. It is not my nature, when I see
a people borne down by the weight of their shackles â€” the oppres-
sion of tyranny â€” to make their life more bitter by heaping upon
them greater burdens ; but rather would I do all in my power to
raise the yoke than to add anything that would tend to crush them.
Inasmuch as our country is extensive and new, and the countries
of Europe are densely populated, if there are any abroad who desire
to make this the land of their adoption, it is not in my heart to throw
aught in their way to prevent them from coming to the United States.
Mr. Chairman and gentlemen, I will bid you an affectionate
February 13, 1861. â€” Address to the Legislature of Ohio
Mr. President and Mr. Speaker, and Gentlemen of the General As-
s< mhl>/ of Ohio: It is true, as has been said by the president of the
Senate, that very great responsibility rests upon me in the position
ADDKESSES AND LETTEKS OF ABEAHAM LINCOLN 677
to which the votes of the American people have called me. I am
deeply sensible of that weighty responsibility. I cannot but know
what you all know, that without a name, perhaps without a reason
why I should have a name, there has fallen upon me a task such as
did not rest even upon the Father of his Country; and so feeling, I
can turn and look for that support without which it will be impossi-
ble for me to perform that great task. I turn, then, and look to the
American people, and to that God who has never forsaken them.
Allusion has been made to the interest felt in relation to the policy of
the new administration. In this I have received from some a degree
of credit for having kept silence, and from others some deprecation.
I still think that I was right. . . .
In the varying and repeatedly shifting scenes of the present, and
without a precedent which could enable me to judge by the past, it
has seemed fitting that before speaking upon the difficulties of the
country I should have gained a view of the whole field, being at
liberty to modify and change the course of policy as future events
may make a change necessary.
I have not maintained silence from any want of real anxiety. It is
a good thing that there is no more than anxiety, for there is nothing
going wrong. It is a consoling circumstance that when we look out
there is nothing that really hurts anybody. "We entertain different
views upon political questions, but nobody is suffering anything.
This is a most consoling circumstance, and from it we may conclude
that all we want is time, patience, and a reliance on that God who
has never forsaken this people.
Fellow-citizens, what I have said I have said altogether extempo-
raneously, and I will now come to a close.
February 14, 1861. â€” Address at Steubenvtlle, Ohio.
I fear that the great confidence placed in my ability is unfounded.
Indeed, I am sure it is. Encompassed by vast difficulties as I am,
nothing shall be wanting on my part, if sustained by God and the
American people. I believe the devotion to the Constitution is equally
great on both sides of the river. It is only the different understand-
ing of that instrument that causes difficidty. The only dispute on
both sides is, " What are their rights ? " If the majority should not,
rule, who would be the judge ? Where is such a judge to be found ?
We should all be bound by the majority of the American people;
if not, then the minority must control. Would that be right?
Would it be just or generous ? Assuredly not. I reiterate that the
majority should rule. If I adopt a wrong policy, the opportunity
for condemnation will occur in four years' time. Then I can be
turned out, and a better man with better views put in my place.
February 15, 1861. â€” Address at Pittsburg, Pennsylvanda..
I most cordially thank his Honor Mayor Wilson, and the citizens
of Pittsburg generally, for their flattering reception. I am the more
678 ADDRESSES AND LETTERS OF ABRAHAM LINCOLN
grateful because I know that it is not given to me alone, but to the
cause I represent, which clearly proves to me their good-will, and
t hat sincere feeling is at the bottom of it, And here I may remark
that in every short address I have made to the people, in every crowd
through which I have passed of late, some allusion has been made to
the present distracted condition of the country. It is natural to ex-
pect that I should say something on this subject ; but to touch upon
it at all would involve an elaborate discussion of a great many ques-
tions and circumstances, requiring more time than I can at present
command, and would, perhaps, unnecessarily commit me upon mat-
ters which have not yet fully developed themselves. The condition of
the country is an extraordinary one, and fills the mind of every pa-
triot with anxiety. It is my intention to give this subject all the
consideration I possibly can before specially deciding in regard to it,
so that when I do speak it may be as nearly right as possible. When
I do speak I hope I may say nothing in opposition to the spirit of
the Constitution, contrary to the integrity of the Union, or which
will pi-ove inimical to the liberties of the people, or to the peace of
the whole couutry. And, furthermore, when the time arrives for me
to speak on this great subject, I hope I may say nothing to disappoint
the people generally throughout the country, especially if the expec-
tation has been based upon anything which I may have heretofore
said. Notwithstanding the troubles across the river [the speaker
pointing southwardly across the Monongahela, and smiling], there
is no crisis but an artificial one. What is there now to warrant the
condition of affairs presented by our friends over the river? Take
even their own view of the questions involved, and there is nothing
to justify the course they are pursuing. I repeat, then, there is no
crisis, excepting such a one as may be gotten up at any time by tur-
bulent men aided by designing politicians. My advice to them, under
such circumstances, is to keep cool. If the great American people
only keep their temper on both sides of the line, the troubles will come
to an end, and the question which now distracts the country will be
settled, just as surely as all other difficulties of a like character which
have originated in this government have been adjusted. Let the
people on both sides keep their self-possession, and just as other
clouds have cleared away in due time, so will this great nation con-
tinue to prosper as heretofore. But, fellow-citizens, I have spoken
longer on this subject than I intended at the outset.
It is often said that the tariff is the specialty of Pennsylvania.
Assuming that direct taxation is not to be adopted, the tariff ques-
tion must be as durable as the government itself. It is a question
of national housekeeping. It is to the government what replenish-
ing the meal-tub is to the family. Ever-varying circumstances will
require frequent modifications as to the amount needed and the
sources of supply. So far there is little difference of opinion among
the people. It is as to whether, and how far, duties on imports shall
l"' adjusted to favor home production in the home mai-ket, that con-
troversy begins. One party insists that such adjustment oppresses
one class for the advantage of another ; while the other party argues
that, with all its incidents, in the long run all classes are benefited.
In the Chicago platform there is a plank upon this subject which
ADDRESSES AND LETTERS OF ABRAHAM LINCOLN 679
should be a general law to the incoming administration. We should
do neither more nor less than we gave the people reason to believe
we would when they gave us their votes. Permit me, fellow-citizens,
to read the tariff plank of the Chicago platform, or rather have it
read in your hearing by one who has younger eyes.
Mr. Lincoln's private secretary then read Section 12 of the Chicago
platform, as follows:
That while providing revenue for the support of the General Government
by duties upon imports, sound policy requires such an adjustment of these
imposts as will encourage the development of the industrial interest of the
whole country ; and we commend that policy of national exchanges which
secures to working-men liberal wages, to agriculture remunerating prices,
to mechanics and manufacturers adequate reward for their skill, labor, and
enterprise, and to the nation commercial prosperity and independence.
Mr. Lincoln resumed : As with all general propositions, doubtless
there will be shades of difference in construing this. I have by no
means a thoroughly matured judgment upon this subject, especially
as to details ; some general ideas are about all. I have long thought
it would be to our advantage to produce any necessary article at
home which can be made of as good quality and with as little labor
at home as abroad, at least by the difference of the carrying from
abroad. In such case the carrying is demonstrably a dead loss of
labor. For instance, labor being the true standard of value, is it
not plain that if equal labor get a bar of railroad iron out of a mine
in England, and another out of a mine in Pennsylvania, each can be
laid down in a track at home cheaper than they could exchange
countries, at least by the carriage ? If there be a present cause why
one can be both made and carried cheaper in money price than the
other can be made without carrying, that cause is an unnatural and
injurious one, and ought gradually, if not rapidly, to be removed.
The condition of the treasury at this time would seem to render an
early revision of the tariff indispensable. The Morrill [tariff] bill,
now pending before Congress, may or may not become a law. I am
not posted as to its particular provisions, but if they are generally
satisfactory, and the bill shall now pass, there will be an end for the
present. If, however, it shall not pass, I suppose the whole subject
will be one of the most pressing and important for the next Congress.
By the Constitution, the executive may recommend measures which
he may think proper, and he may veto those he thinks improper, and
it is supposed that he may add to these certain indirect influences to
affect the action of Congress. My political education strongly in-
clines me against a very free use of any of these means by the ex-
ecutive to control the legislation of the country. As a rule, I think it
better that Congress should originate as well as perfect its measures
without external bias. I therefore would rather recommend to
every gentlemen who knows he is to be a member of the next Con-
gress to take an enlarged view, and post himself thoroughly, so as to
contribute his part to such an adjustment of the tariff as shall pro-
duce a sufficient revenue, and in its other bearings, so far as possible,
be just and equal to all sections of the country and classes of the
680 ADDRESSES AND LETTERS OF ABRAHAM LINCOLN
February 15, 1861.â€” Address at Cleveland, Ohio.
FeUouf-dtieens of Cleveland and Ohio: We have come here upon a
wry inclement afternoon. We have marched for two miles through
the rain and the mud.
The large numbers that have turned out under these circumstances
testify that you are in earnest about something, and what is that some-
thing? I would not have you suppose that I think this extreme ear-
nestness is about me. I should be exceedingly sorry to see such devo-
tion if that were the case. But I know it is paid to something worth
more than any one man, or any thousand or ten thousand men. You
have assembled to testify your devotion to the Constitution, to the
Union, and the laws, to the perpetual liberty of the people of this coun-
try. It is, fellow-citizens, for the whole American people, and not for
one single man alone, to advance the great cause of the Union and the
Constitution. And in a country like this, where every man bears on
his face the marks of intelligence, where every man's clothing, if I
may so speak, shows signs of comfort, and every dwelling signs of
happiness and contentment, where schools and churches abound on
every side, the Union can never be in danger. I would, if I could,
instil some degree of patriotism and confidence into the political
mind in relation to this matter.
Frequent allusion is made to the excitement at present existing in
our national politics, and it is as well that I should also allude to it
here. I think that there is no occasion for any excitement. I think
the crisis, as it is called, is altogether an artificial one. In all parts
of the nation there are differences of opinion on politics; there are
differences of opinion even here. You did not all vote for the per-
son who now addresses you, although quite enough of you did for all
practical purposes, to be sure.
What they do who seek to destroy the Union is altogether arti-
ficial. What is happening to hurt them ? Have they not all their
rights now as they ever have had ? Do not they have their fugitive
slaves returned now as ever? Have they not the same Constitution
that they have lived under for seventy-odd years ? Have they not
a position as citizens of this common country, and have we any
power to change that position ? [Cries of " No ! "] What then is
the matter with them ? Why all this excitement? Why all these
complaints? As I said before, this crisis is altogether artificial. It
has no foundation in fact. It can't be argued up, and it can't be
argued down. Let it alone, and it will go down of itself.
I have not strength, fellow-citizens, to address you at great length,
and I pray that you will excuse me ; but rest assured that my thanks
are as cordial and sincere for the efficient aid which you will give to
the good cause in working for the good of the nation, as for the
votes you gave me last fall.
There is one feature that causes me great pleasure, and that is to
learn that this reception is given, not alone by those with whom I
chance to agree politically, but by all parties. I think I am not
selfish when I say this is as it should be. If Judge Douglas had
ADDRESSES AND LETTERS OF ABRAHAM LINCOLN 681
been chosen President of the United States, and had this evening
been passing through your city, the Republicans should have joined
his supporters in welcoming him just as his friends have joined with
mine to-night. If we do not make common cause to save the good
old ship of the Union on this voyage, nobody will have a chance to
pilot her on another voyage.
To all of you, then, who have done me the honor to participate in
this cordial welcome, I return most sincerely my thanks, not for my-
self, but for Liberty, the Constitution, and Union.
I bid you an affectionate farewell.
February 16, 1861. â€” Address at Buffalo, New York.