Henry J. (Henry Jarvis) Raymond.

History of the administration of President Lincoln : including his speeches, letters, addresses, proclamations, and messages. With a preliminary sketch of his life online

. (page 6 of 46)
Online LibraryHenry J. (Henry Jarvis) RaymondHistory of the administration of President Lincoln : including his speeches, letters, addresses, proclamations, and messages. With a preliminary sketch of his life → online text (page 6 of 46)
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This closed the action of Congress upon this important
subject. It was strongly Republican in both branches, yet it
had done every thing consistent with its sense of justice and
fidelity to the Constitution to disarm the apprehensions of the
Southern States, and to remove all provocation for their re
sistance to the incoming administration. It had given the
strongest possible pledge that it had no intention of inter
fering with slavery in any State, by amending the Constitution
so as to make such interference forever impossible. It created
governments for three new Territories, Nevada, Dakota!], and
Colorado, and passed no law excluding slavery from any one
of them. It had severely censured the legislation of some
of the Northern States intended to hinder the recovery of
fugitives from labor ; and in response to its expressed wishes,
Rhode Island repealed its laws of that character, and Vermont,
Maine, Massachusetts, and Wisconsin, had the subject under
consideration, and were ready to take similar action. Yet all
this had no effect whatever in changing or checking the seces
sion movement in the Southern States.




FROM the date of his election, Mr. LINCOLN maintained
silence on the affairs of the country. The government was to
remain for three months longer in the hands of Mr. Buchanan,
and the new President did not deem it becoming or proper for
him to interfere, in any way, with the regular discharge of its
duties and responsibilities. On the llth of February, 1SG1,
he left his home in Springfield, Illinois, accompanied to the
railroad depot by a large concourse of his friends and neigh
bors, whom he bade farewell in the following words :

MY FRIENDS : No one not in my position can appreciate the sadness I
feel at this parting. To this people I owe all that I am. Here I have
lived more than a quarter of a century ; here my children were born,
and here one of them lies buried. I know not how soon I shall see you
again. A duty devolves upon me which is, perhaps, greater than that
which has devolved upon any other man since the days of WASHINGTON.
He never would have succeeded except for the aid of Divine Providence,
upon which he at all times relied. I feel that I cannot succeed without
the same Divine aid which sustained him, and on the same Almighty
Being I place my reliance for support, and I hope you, my friends, will
all pray that I may receive that Divine assistance, without which I can
not succeed, but with which, success is certain. Again I bid you all
an affectionate farewell.

As the train passed through the country the President was
greeted with hearty cheers and good wishes by the thousands
who assembled at the railway stations along the route. Party
spirit seemed to have been forgotten, and the cheers were
always given for " Lincoln and the Constitution." AtTolono


he appeared upon the phitform, and in response to the applause
which hailed his appearance, he said :

I am leaving you on an errand of national importance, attended, as
you are aware, with considerable difficulties. Let us believe, as some
poet has expressed it, " Behind the cloud tho sun is still shining." I bid
you an affectionate farewell.

At Indianapolis the party was welcomed by a salute of
thirty-four guns, and the President-elect was received by the
Governor of the State in person, and escorted to a carriage
in waiting, which proceeded followed by a procession of the
members of both Houses of the Legislature, the municipal
authorities, the military, and firemen to the Bates House.
Appearing on the balcony of this hotel, Mr. LINCOLN was
greeted by the hearty applause of the large crowd which had
assembled in the street, to which he addressed the following
remarks :

Gov. Morion and Fellow- Citizens of the State of Indiana :

Most heartily do I thank you for this magnificent reception, and while
I cannot take to myself any share of the compliment thus paid, more
than that which pertains to a mere instrument, an accidental instrument,
perhaps I should say, of a great cause, I yet must look upon it as a
most magnificent reception, and as such, most heartily do thank you
for it. You have been pleased to address yourself to me chiefly in
behalf of this glorious Union in which we live, in all of which you have
my hearty sympathy, and, as far as may be within my power, will have,
one and inseparably, my hearty consideration ; while I do not expect,
upon this occasion, or until I get to Washington, to attempt any lengthy
speech, I will only say to the salvation of the Union there needs but
one single thing, the hearts of a people like yours. [Applause.]

The people, when they rise in mass in behalf of the Union and the
liberties of their country, truly may it be said, " The gates of hell cannot
prevail against them." [Renewed applause.] In all trying positions
in which I shall be placed, and, doubtless, I shall be placed in many
such, my reliance will be placed upon you and the people of the United
States ; and I wish you to remember, now and forever, that it is your
business, and not mine ; that if the union of these States, and the lib-


erties of this people shall be lost, it is but little to any one man of fifty-
two years of age, but a great deal to the thirty millions of people who
inhabit these United States, and to their posterity in all coming time.
It is your business to rise up and preserve the Union and liberty for
yourselves, and not for me.

I desire they should be constitutionally performed. I, as already
intimated, am but an accidental instrument, temporary, and to serve but
for a limited time, and I appeal to you again to constantly bear in mind
that with you, and not with politicians, not with Presidents, not with
office-seekers, but with you, is the question, Shall the Union and shall
the liberties of this country be preserved to the latest generations ?

In the evening the members of the Legislature waited upon
him in a body at his hotel, where one of their number, on
behalf of the whole, and in presence of a very large assemblage
of the citizens of the place, made a brief address of welcome
and congratulation, which Mr. LINCOLN acknowledged in the
following terms :

much for this magnificent welcome, and still more for the generous sup
port given by your State to that political cause which I think is the true
and just cause of the whole country and the whole world.

Solomon says there is "a time to keep silence," and when men wran
gle by the mouth with no certainty that they mean the same thing, while
using the same word, it perhaps were as well if they would keep silence,

The words " coercion" and " invasion" are much used in these days,
and often with some temper and hot blood. Let us make sure, if we can,
that we do not misunderstand the meaning of those who use them. Let
us get exact definitions of these words, not from dictionaries, but from
the men themselves, who certainly depreciate 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 towards 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


these things be " invasion" or "coercion?" Do oar professed 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 affection would seem ex
ceedingly thin and airy. If sick, the little pills of the homoeopathists
would be much too large for it to swallow. In their view, the Union, as
a family relation, would seem to be no regular marriage, but a sort of
free love" arrangement, to be maintained only on u passional attrac

By the way, in what consists the special sacredness of a State ? I
speak not of the position assigned to a State in the Union, by the Con
stitution ; 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 as
sumed primary right of a State to rule 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 inhabi
tants, in what, as a matter of principle, is the State better than the coun
ty ? Would an exchange of names be an exchange of rights upon princi
ple ? 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 proportionally larger subdivision of itself, in the most ar
bitrary 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 any thing ; I am merely asking
questions for you to consider. And now allow me to bid you farewell.

On the morning of the 12th, Mr. LINCOLN took his departure
and arrived at Cincinnati at about noon, having been greeted
along the route by the hearty applause of the thousands as
sembled at the successive stations. His reception at Cincin
nati was overwhelming. The streets were so densely crowded
that it was with the utmost difficulty the procession could
secure a passage. Mr. LINCOLN was escorted to the Burnett
House, which had been handsomely decorated in honor of his
visit. He was welcomed by the Mayor of the city in a few
remarks, in response to which he said :

MR. MAYOR AND FELLOW-CITIZENS : 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 ad
dressed 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 Doug
las for the Presidency than they could in any other way. They did
not, hi 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 call their attention to what I then said upon that subject.
I then said, ""When we do as we say, beat you, you perhaps want to
know what we will do with you. I will tell you, as far as I am author
ized 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, Jeffer
son, 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 com
promise of the Constitution ; and, in a word, coming back to the original
proposition, to treat you so far as degenerate men, if we have degener
ated, may, according to the example of those noble fathers, WASHING
TON, 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 circumstances. 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! friends ! 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 bo

In the evening the German Republican associations called
upon Mr. LINCOLN and presented him an address of con
gratulation, to which he responded, warmly endorsing the wis
dom of the Homestead bill, and speaking of the advantages
offered by the soil and institutions of the United States to
foreigners who might wish to make it their home. He left
Cincinnati on the morning of the 13th, accompanied by a Com
mittee of the Ohio Legislature, which had come from the Capi
tal to meet him. The party reached Columbus at 2 o clock,
and the President was escorted to the hall of the Assembly,



where he was formally welcomed by Lieutenant-Governor Kirk
on behalf of the Legislature which had assembled in joint ses
sion, to which he made the following reply :

ASSEMBLY: It is true, as has been said by the President of the Senate,
that very great responsibility rests upon me in the position 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 cannot but turn and look for the support
without which it will be impossible for me to perform that great task. I
turn, then, and look to the great 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 depreciation. 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 so as to be sure
after all 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 cir
cumstance that when we look out, there is nothing that really hurts
anybody. We entertain different views upon political questions, but no
body is suffering any thing. This is a most consoling circumstance, and
from it we may conclude that all we want is time, patience, and a reli
ance on that God who has never forsaken this people.. Fellow-citizens,
what I have said I have said altogether extemporaneously, and will now
come to a close.

Both Houses then adjourned. In the evening Mr. LINCOLN
held a levee, which was very largely attended. On the morning
of the 14th, Mr. LINCOLN left Columbus. At Steubenville he
had a formal though brief reception, being addressed by Judge
Floyd, to whose remarks he made the following reply :


I fear that the great confidence placed in my ability is unfounded.
Indeed, I am sure it is. Encompassed by vast di inanities as I am,
nothing shall be wanting on my part, if sustained by the American
people and God. I believe the devotion to the Constitution is equally
great on both sides of the river. It is only the different understanding
of that instrument that causes difficulty. The only dispute on both
sides is " What are their rights ?" If the majority should not rule,
who should 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 condemna
tion will occur in four years time. Then I can be turned out, and a
better man with better views put in my place.

The train reached Pittsburg in the evening, and Mr. LIN
COLN was received with the utmost enthusiasm at the Monon-
gahela House by a large crowd which had assembled to greet
him. lie acknowledged their reception briefly :

He said he would not give them a speech, as lie thought it more rare,
if not more wise, for a public man to abstain from much speaking. He
expressed his gratitude and surprise at seeing so great a crowd and such
boundless enthusiasm manifested in the night-time and under such un
toward circumstances, to greet so unworthy an individual as himself.
This was undoubtedly attributable to the position which more by acci
dent than by worth he had attained. He remarked further, that if all
those whole-souled people whom he saw this evening before him were
for the preservation of the Union, he did not see how it could be in
much danger. He had intended to say a few words to the people of
Pittsburg the greatest manufacturing city of the United States
upon such matters as they were interested in ; but as he had adopted
the plan of holding his tongue for the most part during the last canvass,
and since his election, he thought he had perhaps better now still
continue to hold his tongue. [Cries of " Go on," " go on."] Well, I am re
minded that therj is an Alleghan} - City as well as an Alleghany County,
the former the banner town, and the latter the banner county, perhaps,
. of the world. I am glad to see both of them, and the good people
of both. That I may not disappoint these, I will say a few words to
you to-morrow as to the peculiar interests of Alleghany County."


On the morning of the loth, the Mayor and Common Coun
cil of the City of Pittsburg waited in a body upon the
President-elect. The Mayor made him an address of formal
welcome in presence of a verv large number of citizens who
had assembled to witness the ceremony. After the applause
which greeted his appearance had subsided, Mr. LINCOLN made
the following remarks :

I most cordially thank his Honor Mayor "Wilson and the citizens of
Pittsburg generally, for their flattering reception. I arn the more
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 that
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 pres
ent distracted condition of the country. It is natural to expect that I
should say something on this subject ; but to touch upon it at all would
involve an elaborate discussion of a great many questions and circum
stances, requiring more time than I can at present command, and
would, perhaps, unnecessarily commit me upon matters which have not
yet fully developed themselves. The condition of the country is an
extraordinary one, and fills the mind of every patriot 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 prove inimical to the Liber
ties of the people or to the peace of the whole country. And, further
more, 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 expectation has beea based upon any thing
which I may have heretofore said. Notwithstanding the troubles
across the river (the speaker pointing southwardly across the Monon
gahela, 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 turbulent 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 continue 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. Assum
ing that direct taxation is not to be adopted, the Tariff question must
be as durable as the Government itself. It is a question of national
housekeeping. It is to the Government what replenishing the meal-
tub is to the family. Every varying circumstance 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 only
whether, and how far, the duties on imports shall be adjusted to favor
home productions. In the home market that controversy begins. One
party insists that too much protection oppresses one class for the ad
vantage of another, while the other party argues that with all its inci
dents, in the long run, all classes are benefited. In the Chicago Plat
form there is a plank upon this subject, which 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. That plank is as I now read:

Mr. LINCOLN S private secretary then read section twelfth of the
Chicago Platform, as follows :

iterest ol tne wnoic country ; aua we comment! inui poucj 01 uu-
exchanges which secures to working-men liberal wages to agri-
e remunerating prices to mechanics and manufacturers adequate
1 for their skill, labor, and enterprise ; and to the nation conimer-

That while providing revenue for the support of the General Govern
ment, by duties upon imports, sound policy requires such an adjust
ment of these imports as will encourage the development of the indus
trial interest of the whole country ; and we commend that policy of na
tional e
reward :
cial 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 to
produce any necessary article at home which can be made of as good
quality and with as little labor at home as abroad, would be better policy,


at least by the difference of the carrying from abroad. In such a cas3
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 gets
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 cost of
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 nat
urally if not rapidly to be removed. The condition of the treasury at
this time would seem to render an early revision of the Tariff indispens
able. 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 of the matter 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 inclines me against a very free use of any
of these means by the Executive to control the legislation of the coun

Online LibraryHenry J. (Henry Jarvis) RaymondHistory of the administration of President Lincoln : including his speeches, letters, addresses, proclamations, and messages. With a preliminary sketch of his life → online text (page 6 of 46)