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 7 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 7 of 46)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

try. 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 gentleman who knows he is to be a member
of the next Congress, to take an enlarged view, and inform himself
thoroughly, so as to contribute his part to such an adjustment of the
tariff as shall produce a sufficient revenue, and in its other bearings, so
far as possible, be just and equal to all sections of the country and all
classes of the people.

Mr. LINCOLN left Pittsburg immediately after the delivery
of this speech, being accompanied to the dep6t by a long
procession of the people of the city. The train reached
Cleveland at half-past four in the afternoon, and the President
elect was received by a long procession, which marched, amidst
the roar of artillery, through the principal streets to the
Weddcll House, where Mr. LINCOLN, in reply to an address of
welcome from the Mayor, made the following remarks:


been marching about two miles through snow, rain, and deep mud.
The large numbers that have turned out under these circumstances
testify that you are in earnest about something or other. But do I
think so meanly of you as to suppose that that earnestness is about mo
personally? I would be doing you injustice to suppose it was. You
have assembled to testify your respect to the Union and the Constitu
tion and the laws. And here let me state that it is with you, the
people, to advance the great cause of the Union and the Constitution,
and not with any one man. It rests with you alone. This fact is
strongly impressed on my mind at present. In a community like this,
whose appearance testifies to their intelligence, I am convinced that the
cause of liberty and the Union can never be in danger. Frequent allu
sion is made to the excitement at present existing in our national poli
tics, and it is as well that I should also allude to it here. I think that
there is no occasion for any excitement. The crisis, as it is called, is
altogether an artificial crisis. 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 person who now addresses you.
What is happening now will not hurt those who are further away from
here. 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 "Xo."]
What, then, is the matter with them ? Why all this excitement ? Why
all these complaints ? As I said before, this crisis is all artificial ! It
has no foundation in fact. It was not "argued up," as the saying is,
and cannot therefore be argued down. Let it alone, and it will go
down of itself. [Laughter.] Mr. LINCOLN said that they must be con
tent with but a few words from him. He was very much fatigued,
and had spoken so much that he was already hoarse. He thanked
them for the cordial and magnificent reception they had given him.
JSTot less did he thank them for the votes they gave him last fall; and
quite as much he thanked them for the efficient aid they had given the
cause which he represented a cause which he would say was a good

He had one more word to say. Ho was given to understand that
this reception was tendered not only by his own party supporters, but
by men of all parties. This is as it should be. If Judge Douglas had


been elected, and had been here, on his way to Washington, as I am
to-night, the Republicans should have joined his supporters in welcom
ing him, just as his friends have joined with min3 to-night. If all do
not join now to save the good old ship of the Union on this voyage,
nobody will have a chance to pilot her on another voyage. He con
cluded by thanking all present for the devotion they had shown to the
cause of the Union.

On the morning of the 16th the Presidential party left
Cleveland for Buffalo. At Erie, where they dined, loud calls
were made upon Mr. LINCOLN for a speech, in response to which
he made a few remarks, excusing himself for not expressing
his opinions on the exciting questions of the day. He trusted
that when the time for speaking should come, he should find
it necessary to say nothing not in accordance with the Con
stitution, as well as with the interests of the people of the whole
country. At Northeast Station he took occasion to state that
during the campaign he had received a letter from a young
girl of the place, in which he was kindly admonished to do
certain things, and among others to let his whiskers grow ;
and, as he had acted upon that piece of advice, he
would now be glad to welcome his fair correspondent, if she
was among the crowd. In response to the call a lassie made
her way through the crowd, was helped on the platform, and
was kissed by the President.

Arriving at Buffalo, Mr. LINCOLN had the utmost difficulty
to make his way through the dense crowd which had assem
bled in anticipation of his arrival. On reaching the American
Hotel, he was welcomed in a brief speech by Acting-Mayor
Bemis, to which he responded as follows :

NEW YORK ; I am here to thank you briefly for this grand reception
given to me, not personally, but as the representative of our great and
beloved country. [Cheers.] Tour worthy Mayor has been pleased to
mention, in his address to me, the fortunate and agreeable journey which
I have had from home, only it is a rather circuitous route to the Federal


capital. I am very happy that he was enabled in truth to congratulate
myself and company on that fact. It is true we have had nothing thua
far to mar the pleasure of the trip. We have not been met alone by
those who assisted in giving the election to me ; I say not alone by
them, but by the whole population of the country through which wo
have passed. This is as it should be. Had the election fallen to any
other of the distinguished candidates instead of myself, under the
peculiar circumstances, to say the least, it would have been proper for
all citizens to have greeted him as you now greet me. It is an evidence
of the devotion of the whole people to the Constitution, the Union, and
the perpetuity of the liberties of this country. [Cheers.] I am unwill
ing on any occasion that I should be so meanly thought of as to have
it supposed for a moment that these demonstrations arc tendered to me
personally. They are tendered to the country, to the institutions of the
country, and to the perpetuity of the liberties of the country, for which
these institutions were made and created.

Your worthy Mayor has thought fit to express the hope that I may
be able to relieve the country from the present, or, I should say, the
threatened difficulties. I am sure I bring a heart true to the work.
[Tremendous applause.] For the ability to perform it, I must trust in
that Supreme Being who has never forsaken this favored land, through
the instrumentality of this great and intelligent people. Without that
assistance I shall surely fail; with it I cannot fail. When we speak of
threatened difficulties to the country, it is natural that it should be ex
pected that something should be said by myself with regard to partic
ular measures. Upon more mature reflection, however and others
will agree with me that, when it is considered that these difficulties
are without precedent, and never have been acted upon by any individ
ual situated as I am, it is most proper I should wait and see the
developments, and get all the light possible, so that when I do speak
authoritatively, I may be as near right as possible. [Cheers.] When I
shall speak authoritatively, I hope to say nothing inconsistent with the
Constitution, the Union, the rights of all the States, of each State, and
of each section of the country, and not to disappoint the reasonable
expectations of those who have confided to me their votes. In this
connection allow me to say that you, as a portion of the great Amer
ican people, need only to maintain your composure, stand up to your
sober convictions of right, to your obligations to the Constitution, and
act in accordance with those sober convictions, and the clouds which
now arise in the horizon will be dispelled, and we shall have a bright


and glorious future ; and when this generation has passed away, tens of
thousands will inhabit this country where only thousands inhabit it
now. I do not propose to address you at length ; I have no voice for
it. Allow me again to thank you for this magnificent reception, and
bid you farewell.

Mr. LINCOLN remained at Buffalo over Sunday, the 17th,
and on the morning of the 1 8th left for Albany. On reaching
Rochester he was introduced by the Mayor to a crowd of
several thousands, to whom he said :

I confess myself, after having seen many large audiences since leav
ing home, overwhelmed with this vast number of faces at this hour of
the morning. I am not vain enough to believe that you are here from
any wish to see me as an individual, but because I am for the time
being the representative of the American people. I could not, if I
would, address you at any length. I have not the strength, even if I
had the time, for a speech at each of these many interviews that are
afforded me on my way to Washington. I appear merely to see you,
and to let you see me, and to bid you farewell. I hope it will be under
stood that it is from no disinclination to oblige anybody that I do not
address you at greater length."

At Syracuse, where preparations had been made to give
him a formal reception, he made the following remarks in
reply to an address of welcome from the Mayor :

LADIES AND GEXTLEMEX: I see you have erected a very fine and
handsome platform here for me, and I presume you expected me to
speak from it. If I should go upon it, you would imagine that I was
about to deliver you a much longer speech than I am. I wish you to
understand that I mean no discourtesy to you by thus declining. I
intend discourtesy to no one. But I wish you to understand that,
though I am unwilling to go upon this platform, you are not at liberty
to draw any inferences concerning any other platform with which my
name has been or is connected. [Laughter and applause.] I wish you
long life and prosperity individually, and pray that with the perpetuity
of those institutions under which we have all so long lived and pros
pered, our happiness may be secured, our future made brilliant, and the
glorious destiny of our country established forever. I bid you a kind


At Utica, where an immense and most enthusiastic assem
blage of people from the surrounding country had gathered to
see him, Mr. LINCOLN contented himself by saying :

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN : I have no speech to make to you, and no
time to speak in. I appear before you that I may see you, and that
you may see me ; and I am willing to admit, that so far as the ladies
are concerned, I have the best of the bargain, though I wish it to be
understood that I do not make the same acknowledgment concerning
the men. [Laughter and applause.]

The train reached Albany at half-past two in the afternoon,
where Mr. LINCOLN was formally received by the Mayor in a
complimentary address, to which he thus replied :

MR. MAYOR : I can hardly appropriate to myself the flattering terms
in which you communicate the tender of this reception, as personal to
myself. I most gratefully accept the hospitalities tendered to me, and
will not detain you or the audience with any extended remarks at this
time. I presume that in the two or three courses through which I
shall have to go, I shall have to repeat somewhat, and I will therefore
only repeat to you my thanks for this kind reception.

A procession was then formed, which escorted Mr. LINCOLN
to the steps of the Capitol, where he was welcomed by the
Governor, in presence of an immense mass of the people,
whom he addressed as follows :

MR. GOVERNOR: I was pleased to receive an invitation to visit the
capital of the great Empire State of the nation, on my way to the Fed
eral Capital, and I now thank you, Mr. Governor, and the people of
this capital, and the people of the State of New York, for this most
hearty and magnificent welcome. If I am not at fault, the great Empire
State at this time contains a greater population than did the United
States of America at the time she achieved her national independence.
I am proud to be invited to pass through your capital and meet them,
as I now have the honor to do.

I am notified by your Governor that this reception is given without
distinction of party. I accept it the more gladly because it is so.
Almost all men in this country, and in any country where freedom of


thought is tolerated, attach themselves to political parties. It is but
ordinary charity to attribute this to the fact that in so attaching him
self to the party which his judgment prefers, the citizen believes he
thereby promotes the best interests of the whole country ; and when
an election is passed, it is altogether befitting a free people that, until
the next election, they should be as one people. The reception you
have extended to me to-day is not given to me personally. It should
not be so, but as the representative for the time being of the majority
of the nation. If the election had resulted in the selection of either of
the other candidates, the same cordiality should have been extended to
him as is extended to me this day, in testimony of the devotion of the
whole people to the Constitution and the whole Union, and of their
desire to perpetuate our institutions, and to hand them down in their
perfection to succeeding generations.

I have neither the voice nor the strength to address you at any
greater length. I beg you will accept my most grateful thanks for this
devotion not to me, but to this great-and glorious free country.

Mr. LINCOLN was then escoitcd to the Hall of Assembly, and
was formally received on behalf of the members of the Legis
lature, to whom he made the following address:

OF NEW YORK: It is with feelings of great diffidence, and, I may say,
with feelings of awe, perhaps greater than I have recently experienced,
that I meet you here in this place. The history of this great State, the
renown of those great men who have stood here, and spoke here, and
been heard here, all crowd around my fancy, and incline me to shrink
from any attempt to address you. Yet I have some confidence given
me by the generous manner in which you have invited me, and by the
still more generous manner in which you have received me, to speak
further. You have invited and received me without distinction of
party. I cannot for a moment suppose that this has been done in any
considerable degree with reference to my personal services, but that it
is done in so far as I am regarded at this time as the representative of
the majesty of this great nation. I doubt not this is the truth, and the
whole truth, of the case, and this is as it should be. It is much more
gratifying to me that this reception has been given to me as the repre
sentative of a free people, than it could possibly be if tendered as an
evidence of devotion to me. or to any one man personally. And now I
think it were more fitting that I should close these hasty remarks. It


is true that, while I hold myself, without mock modesty, the humblest
of all individuals that have ever been elevated to the Presidency, I have
a more difficult task to perform than any one of them. You have gener
ously tendered me the united support of the great Empire State. For
this, in behalf of the nation in behalf of the present and future of the
nation in behalf of civil and religious liberty for all time to come, most
gratefully do I thank you. I do not propose to enter into an explana
tion of any particular line of policy, as to our present difficulties, to be
adopted by the incoming Administration. I deem it just to you, to
myself, and to all, that I should see every thing, that I should hear
every thing, that I should have every light that can be brought within
my reach, in order that when I do so speak, I shall have enjoyed every
opportunity to take correct and true grounds; and for this reason I
don t propose to speak, at this time, of the policy of the Government.
But when the time comes I shall speak, as well as I am able, for the
good of the present and future of this country for the good both of
the North and the South of this- country for the good of the one and
the other, and of all sections of the country. [Rounds of applause.]
In the mean time, if we have patience, if we restrain ourselves, if we
allow ourselves not to run off in a passion, I still have confidence that
the Almighty, the Maker of the Universe, will, through the instrumen
tality of this great and intelligent people, bring us through this as he
has through all the other difficulties of our country. Relying on this, I
again thank you for this generous reception." [Applause and cheers.]

On the morning of the 19th Mr. LINCOLN went to Troy,
and, in reply to the welcome of the Mayor, said:

" MR. MAYOR AND CITIZENS OF TROY: I thank you very kindly for this
great reception. Since I left my home it has not been my fortune to
meet an assemblage more numerous and more orderly than this. I am
the more gratified at this mark of your regard since you assure me it is
tendered, not to the individual, but to the high office you have called
me to fill. I have neither strength nor time to make any extended
remarks, and I can only repeat to you my sincere thanks for the kind
reception you have thought proper to extend to me. 1

On the route to New York, by the Hudson River Railroad,
very large crowds of people had assembled at the various sta
tions, to welcome him. At Hudson he spoke as follows:


FELLOW-CITIZENS: I see that you have provided a platfurm, but I
shall have to decline standing on it. [Laughter and applause.] The
superintendent tells me I have not time during our brief stay to leave
the train. I had to decline standing on some very handsome platforms
prepared for me yesterday. But I say to you, as I said to them, you
must not on this account draw the inference that I have any intention
to desert any platform I have a legitimate right to stand on. I do not
appear before you for the purpose of making a speech. I come only to
see you, and to give you the opportunity to see me, and I say to you, as I
have before said to crowds where there are so many handsome ladies
as there are here, I think I have decidedly the best of the bargain. I
have only, therefore, to thank you most cordially for this kind reception,
and bid you all farewell.

At Poughkeepsie, where great preparations had been made
for his reception, he responded thus to an address from the
Mayor :

FELLOW-CITIZENS: It is altogether impossible I should make myself
heard by any considerable portion of this vast assemblage ; but, although
I appear before you mainly for the purpose of seeing you, and to let
yo\i see, rather than hear me, I cannot refrain from saying that I am
highly gratified, as much here, indeed, under the circumstances, as I
have been anywhere on my route, to witness this noble demonstration
made, not in honor of an individual, but of the man who at this time
humbly, but earnestly, represents the majesty of the nation. This
reception, like all others that have been tendered to me, doubtless
emanates from all the political parties, and not from one alone. A3
such I accept it the more gratefully, since it indicates an earnest desire
on the part of the whole people, without regard to political differences,
to save not the country, because the country will save itself but to
save the institutions of the country those institutions under which, in
the last three-quarters of a century, we have grown to be a great, an
intelligent, and a happy people the greatest, the most intelligent, and
the happiest people in the world. These noble manifestations indicate,
with unerring certainty, that the whole people are willing to make com
mon cause for this object; that if, as it ever must be, some have been
successful in the recent election, and some have been beaten, if some
are satisfied, and some are dissatisfied, the defeated party are not iu
favor of sinking the ship, but are desirous of running it through the tern-


pest in safety, and willing, if they think the people have committed an
error in their verdict now, to wait in the hope of reversing it, and setting
it right next time. I do not say that in the recent election the people
did the wisest thing that could have been done ; indeed, I do not think
they did; but I do say, that in accepting the great trust committed to
me, which I do with a determination to endeavor to prove worthy of it,
I must rely upon you, upon the people of the whole country, for sup
port; and with their sustaining aid, even I, humble as I am, cannot fail
to carry the ship of State safely through the storm.

I have now only to thank you warmly for your kind attendance,
and bid you all an affectionate farewell.

At Peekskill, in reply to a brief address from Judge Nelson,
he said :

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN: I have but a moment to stand before you,
to listen to and return your kind greeting. I thank you for this recep
tion and for the pleasant manner in which it is tendered to me, by our
mutual friend. I will say in a single sentence, in regard to the diffi
culties that lie before me and our beloved country, that if I can enly be
as generously and unanimously sustained, as the demonstrations I have
witnessed indicate I shall be, I shall not fail ; but without your sus
taining hands I am sure that neither I, nor any other man, can hope to
surmount these difficulties. I trust that in the course I shall pursue I
shall be sustained, not only by the party that elected me, but by the
patriotic people of the whole country.

The President-elect reached New York at 3 o clock, and
was received by an immense demonstration of popular en
thusiasm. Places of business were generally closed, and the
streets were filled with people, eager to catch a glimpse of
his person. On reaching the Astor House, he was compelled
by the importunity of the assembled crowd to appear on the
balcony, from which he said :

FELLOW-CITIZENS : I have stepped before you merely in compliance
with what appears to be your wish, and not with the purpose of making
a speech. I do not propose making a speech this afternoon. I could
not be heard by any but a small fraction of you at best ; but, what is


still worse than that, I have nothing just now to say that is worthy of your
hearing. [Applause.] I beg you to believe that I do not now refuse
to address you from any disposition to disoblige you, but to the con
trary. But, at the same time, I beg of you to excuse me for the present.

In the evening, Mr. LINCOLN received a large deputation
from the various Republican associations which had taken an
active part in the election canvass, and in reply to a brief
welcome from Mr. E. D. Smith, on their behalf, he thus ad
dressed them :

Mr. CHAIRMAN AND GENTLEMEN : I am rather an old man to avail myself
of such an excuse as I am now about to do. Yet the truth is so distinct,
and presses itself so distinctly upon me, that I cannot well avoid it and
that is, that I did not understand when I was brought into this room
that I was brought here to make a speech. It was not intimated to me
that I was brought into the room where DANIEL WEBSTER and HENRY
CLAY had made speeches, and where, in my position, I might be ex
pected to do something like those men, or do something worthy of my-
self or my audience. I, therefore, will beg you to make very great
allowance for the circumstances in which I have been by surprise
brought before you. Now, I have been in the habit of thinking and
speaking sometimes upon political questions that have for some years
past agitated the country; and, if I were disposed to do so, and we could
take up some one of the issues, as the lawyers call them, and I were

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 7 of 46)