Abraham Lincoln.

Abraham Lincoln; complete works, comprising his speeches, letters, state papers, and miscellaneous writings; online

. (page 91 of 91)
Online LibraryAbraham LincolnAbraham Lincoln; complete works, comprising his speeches, letters, state papers, and miscellaneous writings; → online text (page 91 of 91)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

anything in which they are being injured or about to be injured;
for which reason I have felt aU the while justified in concluding
that the crisis, the panic, the anxiety of the country at this time, is
artificial. If there be those who differ with me upon this subject,
they have not pointed out the substantial difficulty that exists. I
do not mean to say that an artificial panic may not do considerable
harm ; that it has done such I do not deny. The hope that has been
expressed by your mayor, that I may be able to restore peace, har-
mony, and prosperity to the country, is most worthy of him; and
most happy, indeed, will I be if I shall be able to verify and fulfil
that hope. I promise you that I bring to the work a sincere heart.
Whether I will bring a head equal to that heart will be for future
times to determine. It were useless for me to speak of details of
plans now; I shall speak oflciaUy next Monday week, if ever. If I
should not speak then, it were useless for me to do so now. If I do
speak then, it is useless for me to do so now. When I do speak, I
shall take such ground as I deem best calculated to restore peace,
harmony, and prosperity to the country, and tend to the perpetuity
of the nation and the liberty of these States and these people. Your
worthy mayor has expressed the wish, in which I join with him, that
it were convenient for me to remain in your city long enough to
consult your merchants and manufacturers; or, as it were, to listen
to those breathings rising within the consecrated walls wherein the
Constitution of the United States, and, I wiU add, the Declaration
of Independence, were originally framed and adopted. I assure you
and your mayor that I had hoped on this occasion, and upon all occa-
sions during my life, that I shall do nothing inconsistent with the
teachings of these holy and most sacred walls. I have never asked
anything that does not breathe from those walls. All my politi-
cal warfare has been in favor of the teachings that come forth
from these sacred walls. May my right hand forget its cunning
and my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth if ever I prove false
to those teachings. Fellow-citizens, I have addressed you longer
than I expected to do, and now allow me to bid you good-night.

February 22, 1861. — Address in Independence Hall,

Mr. Guyler : I am filled with deep emotion at finding myself
standing in this place, where were collected together the wisdom,
the patriotism, the devotion to principle, from which sprang the
institutions under which we live. You have kindly suggested to me
that in my hands is the task of restoring peace to our distracted
country. I can say in return, sir, that all the political sentiments I


entertain have been drawn, so far as I have been able to draw them,
from the sentiments which originated in and were given to the world
from this hall. I have never had a feeling, politically, that did not
spring from the sentiments embodied in the Declaration of Indepen-
dence. I have often pondered over the dangers which were incurred
by the men who assembled here and framed and adopted that Dec-
laration. I have pondered over the toUs that were endured by
the officers and soldiers of the army who achieved that independence.
I have often inquired of myself what great principle or idea it was
that kept this Confederacy so long together. It was not the mere
matter of separation of the colonies from the motherland, but that
sentiment in the Declaration of Independence which gave liberty
not alone to the people of this country, but hope to all the world, for
all future time. It was that which gave promise that in due time
the weights would be lifted from the shoulders of all men, and that
all should have an equal chance. This is the sentiment embodied in
the Declaration of Independence. Now, my friends, can this coun-
try be saved on that basis f If it can, I will consider myself one of
the happiest men in the world if I can help to save it. If it cannot
be saved upon that principle, it will be truly awful. But if this
country cannot be saved without giving up that principle, I was about
to say I would rather be assassinated on this spot than surrender it.
Now, in my view of the present aspect of affairs, there is no need of
bloodshed and war. There is no necessity for it. I am not in favor
of such a course ; and I may say in advance that there will be no
bloodshed unless it is forced upon the government. The govern-
ment will not use force, unless force is used against it.

My friends, this is wholly an unprepared speech. I did not expect
to be called on to say a word when I came here. I supposed I was
merely to do something toward raising a flag. I may, therefore,
have said something indiscreet. [Cries of " No, no."] But I hav€
said nothing but what I am willing to live by, and, if it be the
pleasure of Almighty Grod, to die by.

February 22, 1861.— Address on Raising a Flag over
Independence Hall, Philadelphia.

Fellotv-citizens: I am invited and called before you to participate ir
raising above Independence Hall the flag of our country, with an ad
ditional star upon it.^ I propose now, in advance of performing this
very pleasant and complimentary duty, to say a few words. I pro-
pose to say that when the flag was originally raised here, it had but
thirteen stars: I wish to call your attention to the fact that, under
the blessing of God, each additional star added to that flag has given
additional prosperity and happiness to this countrj?-, until it has ad-
vanced to its present condition ; and its welfare in the future, as
well as in the past, is in your hands. Cultivating the spirit that
animated our fathers, who gave renown and celebrity to this hall,

1 The State of Kansas, which was admitted into the Union January 29, 1861.


cherishing that fraternal feeling which has so long characterized us as
a nation, excluding passion, ill temper, and precipitate action on all
occasions, I think we may promise ourselves that not only the new
star placed upon that flag shall be permitted to remain there to our
permanent prosperity for years to come, but additional ones shall
from time to time be placed there until we shall number, as it was
anticipated by the great historian, five hundred millions of happy
and prosperous people.

With these few remarks I proceed to the very agreeable duty
assigned to me.

February 22, 1861. — Reply to GtOvernob CxiRTm of


Governor Gurtin and Gitizens of the State of Pennsylvania : Perhaps
the best thing that I could do would be simply to indorse the
patriotic and eloquent speech which your governor has just made in
your hearing. I am quite sure that I am unable to address to you
anything so appropriate as that which he has uttered.

Reference has been made by him to the distraction of the public
mind at this time and to the great task that is before me in entering
upon the administration of the General Government. With aU the
eloquence and ability that your governor brings to this theme, I am
quite sure he does not — in his situation he cannot — appreciate as
I do the weight of that great responsibility. I feel that, under God,
in the strength of the arms and wisdom of the heads of these masses,
after all, must be my support. As I have often had occasion to say,
I repeat to you — I am quite sure I do not deceive myself when I tell
you I bring to the work an honest heart ; I dare not tell you that I
bring a head suiHcient for it. If my own strength should fail, I shall
at least fall back upon these masses, who, I think, under any cir-
cumstances wiU not faU.

Allusion has been made to the peaceful principles upon which this
great commonwealth was originally settled. Allow me to add my
meed of praise to those peaceful principles. I hope no one of the
Friends who originally settled here, or who lived here since that
time, or who lives here now, has been or is a more deyoted lover of
peace, harmony, and concord than my humble self.

While I have been proud to see to-day the finest military array, I
think, that I have ever seen, allow me to say, in regard to those men,
that they give hope of what may be done when war is inevitable.
But, at the same time, allow me to express the hope that in the shed-
ding of blood their services may never be needed, especially in the
shedding of fraternal blood. It shall be my endeavor to preserve
the peace of this country so far as it can possibly be done consis-
tently with the maintenance of the institutions of the country. With
my consent, or without my great displeasure, this country shall
never witness the shedding of one drop of blood in fraternal strife.

And now, my fellow-citizens, as I have made many speeches, will
you allow me to bid you farewell ?


February 22, 1861. — Address to the Legislature op
Pennsylvania, at Haeeisburq.

Mr. SpeaJcer of the Senate, and also Mr. Speaher of the House of
Representatives, and Gentlemen of the General Assembly of the State
of Pennsylvania : I appear before you only for a very few brief re-
marks in response to what has been said to me. I thank you most
sincerely for this reception, and the generous words in which sup-
port has been promised me iipon this occasion. I thank your great
commonwealth for the overwhelming support it recently gave, not
me personally, but the cause which 1 thmk a just one, in the late

Allusion has been made to the fact — the interesting fact perhaps
we should say — that I for the first time appear at the capital of the
great commonwealth of Pennsylvania upon the birthday of the
Father of his Country. In connection with that beloved anniver-
sary connected with the history of this country, I have already gone
through one exceedingly interesting scene this morning in the cere-
monies at Philadelphia. Under the kind conduct of gentlemen there,
I was for the first time allowed the privilege of standing in old In-
dependence Hall to have a few words addressed to me there, and
opening up to me an opportunity of manifesting my deep regret
that I had not more time to express something of my own feelings
excited by the occasion, that had been really the feelings of my
whole life.

Besides this, our friends there had provided a magnificent flag of
the country. They had arranged it so that I was given the honor of
raising it to the head of its staff, and when it went up I was pleased
that it went to its place by the strength of my own feeble arm.
When, according to the arrangement, the cord was pulled, and it
floated gloriously to the wind, without an accident, in the bright,
glowing sunshine of the morning, I could not help hoping that there
was in the entire success of that beautiful ceremony at least some-
thing of an omen of what is to come. Nor could I help feeling then,
as I have often felt, that in the whole of that proceeding I was a very
humble instrument. I had not provided the flag ; I had not made
the arrangements for elevating it to its place ; I had applied but a
very small portion of even my feeble strength in raising it. In the
whole transaction I was in the hands of the people who had arranged
it, and if I can have the same generous cooperation of the people of
this nation, I think the flag of our country may yet be kept flaunt-
ing gloriously.

I recur for a moment but to repeat some words Tittered at the
hotel in regard to what has been said about the military support
which the G-eneral G-overnment may expect from the commonwealth
of Pennsylvania in a proper emergency. To guard against any pos-
sible mistake do I recur to this. It is not with any pleasure that I
contemplate the possibility that a necessity may arise in this countrj^
for the use of the military arm. While I am exceedingly gratified to
see the manifestation upon your streets of your military force here^


and exceedingly gratified at your promise to use that force upon a
proper emergency — -while I make these acknowledgments I desire to
repeat, in order to preclude any possible misconstruction, that I do
most sincerely hope that we shall have no use for them ; that it will
never become their duty to shed blood, and most especially never to
shed fraternal blood. I promise that so far as I may have wisdom
to direct, if so painful a result shall in any wise be brought about, it
shall be through no fault of mine.

Allusion has also been made by one of your honored speakers to
some remarks recently made by myself at Pittsburg in regard to
what is supposed to be the especial interest of this great common-
wealth of Pennsylvania. I now wish only to say in regard to that
matter, that the few remarks which I uttered on that occasion were
rather carefully worded. I took pains that they should be so. I
have seen no occasion since to add to them or subtract from them.
I leave them precisely as they stand, adding only now that I am
pleased to have an expression from you, gentlemen of Pennsylvania,
signifying that they are satisfactory to you.

And now, gentlemen of the General Assembly of the Common-
wealth of Pennsylvania, allow me again to ceturn to you my most
sincere thanks.

February 27, 1861. — Reply to the Mayor of Washington, D. C.

Mr. Mayor: I thank you, and through you the municipal authori-
ties of this city who accompany you, for this welcome. And as it is
the first time in my life, since the present phase of polities has pre-
sented itself in this country, that I have said anything publicly
within a region of country where the institution of slavery exists, 1
will take this occasion to say that I think very much of the ill feel-
ing that has existed and still exists between the people in the section
from which I came and the people here, is dependent upon a mis-
understanding of one another. I therefore avail myself of this
opportunity to assure you, Mr. Mayor, and all the gentlemen present,
that I have not now, and never have had, any other than as kindly
feelings toward you as to the people of my own section. I have not
now, and never have had, any_ disposition to treat you in any respect
otherwise than as my own neighbors. I have not now any purpose
to withhold from you any of the benefits of the Constitution, under
any circumstances, that I would not feel myself constrained to with-
hold from my own neighbors; and I hope, in a word, that when we
shall become better acquainted — and I say it with great confidence
— we shall like each other better. I thank you for the kindness of
this reception.

February 28, 1861.— Reply to a Serenade at Washington, D. C.

My Friends : I suppose that I may take this as a compliment paid
to me, and as such please accept my thanks for it. I have reached
this city of Washington under circumstances considerably differing


from those uuder whicli any other mau has ever reached it. I am
here for the purpose of taking an official position amongst the people,
almost aU of whom were politically opposed to me, and are yet op-
posed to me, as 1 suppose.

I propose no lengthy address to you. I only propose to say, as I
did on yesterday, when your worthy mayor and board of aldermen
called upon me, that I thought much of the ill feeling that has ex-
isted between you and the people of your surroundings and that
people from among whom I came, has depended, and now depends,
upon a misunderstanding.

I hope that, if things shall go along as prosperously as I believe
we all desire they may, I may have it in my power to remove some-
thing of this misunderstanding ; that I may be enabled to convince
you, and the people of your section of the country, that we regard
you as in all things our equals, and in all things entitled to the same
respect and the same treatment that we claim for ourselves ; that
we are in no wise disposed, if it were in our power, to oppress you,
to deprive you of any of your rights under the Constitution of the
United States, or even narrowly to split hairs with you in regard to
these rights, but are determined to give you, as far as lies in our
hands, all your rights under the Constitution — not grudgingly, but
fully and fairly. I hope that, by thus dealing with you, we will be-
come better acquainted, and be better friends.

And now, my friends, with these few remarks, and again returning
my thanks for this compliment, and expressing my desire to hear a
little more of your good music, I bid you good-night.

March 1, 1861. — Letter to Wm. H. Seward.


WiLLARD's Hotel, "Washington, March 1, 1861.
Hon. "W. H. Seward.

Dear Sir : If a successor to General Twiggs is attempted to be
appointed, do not allow it to be done.

Tours in haste, A. Lincoln.







Online LibraryAbraham LincolnAbraham Lincoln; complete works, comprising his speeches, letters, state papers, and miscellaneous writings; → online text (page 91 of 91)