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 8 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 8 of 46)
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called upon to make an argument about it to the best of my ability, I
could do so without much preparation. But, that is not what you
desire to be done here to-night

I have been occupying a position since the Presidential election of
silence, of avoiding public speaking, of avoiding public writing. I have
been doing so, because I thought, upon full consideration, that was the
proper course for me to take. [Great applause.] I am brought before
you now, and required to make a speech, when you all approve more
than any thing else of the fact that I have been keeping silence. [Great
laughter, cries of " Good," and applause.] And now it seems to me that
the response you give to that remark ought to justify me in closing just
here. [Great laughter.] I have not kept silence since the Presidential
election from any party wantonness, or from any indifference to the
anxiety that pervades the minds of men about the aspect of the political


affairs of this country. I have kept silence for the reason that I sup
posed it was peculiarly proper that I should do so until the time came
when, according to the custom of the country, I could speak officially.
A Voice The custom of the country ?

I heard some gentleman say " According to the custom of the
country." I alluded to the custom of the President-elect, at the time o
taking the oath of office. That is what I meant by " the custom of the
country." I do suppose that, while the political drama being enacto
in this country, at this time, is rapidly shifting its scenes-forbidding an
anticipation, with any dogree of certainty, to-day, what we shall i
morrow-it was peculiarly fitting that I should see it all, up to the last
minute, before I should take ground that I might be disposed (by the
shifting of the scenes afterwards) also to shift. [Applause.]
said, several times, upon this journey, and I now repeat it to you, that
when the time does come, I shall then take the ground that I think
ri ,,kt [applause] the ground that I think is right-[applause, and
cries of " Good, good"] right for the North, for the South, for the East,
for the West, for the whole country. [Cries of "Good," "Hurrah for
LINCOLN/ and applause.] And in doing so, I hope to feel no necessity
pressing upon me to say any thing in conflict with the Constitution; in
conilict with the continued union of these States [applause] in con
flict with the perpetuation of the liberties of this people [applause]
or any thing in conflict with any thing whatever that I have ever given
you reason to expect from me. [Applause.] And now, my friends,
have I said enough? [Loud cries of "No, no," and three cheers for
LINCOLN.] Now, my friends, there appears to be a difference of opinion
between you and me, and I really feel called upon to decide the question
myself. [Applause, during which Mr. LINCOLN descended from the

On the morning of the 20th Mr. LINCOLN proceeded to the
City Hall, where it had been arranged that he should have
an official reception. He was there addressed by Mayor
Wood in the following terms :

MR. LINCOLN: As Mayor of New York, it becomes my duty to ex
tend to you an official welcome in behalf of the Corporation. In doing
so permit me to say, that this city has never offered hospitality to a
man clothed with more exalted powers, or resting under graver respon
sibilities, than those which circumstances have devolved upon you.


Coming into office with a dismembered Government to reconstruct, and
a disconnected and hostile people to reconcile, it will require a high
patriotism, and an elevated comprehension of the whole country and its
varied interests, opinions, and prejudices, to so conduct public affairs as
to bring it back again to its former harmonious, consolidated, and pros
perous condition. If I refer to this topic, sir, it is because New York
is deeply interested. The present political divisions have sorely afflicted
her people. All her material interests are paralyzed. Her commercial
greatness is endangered. She is the child of the American Union.
She has grown up under its maternal care, and been fostered by its
paternal bounty, and we fear that if the Union dies, the present su
premacy of New York may perish with it. To you, therefore, chosen
under the forms of the Constitution as the head of the Confederacy, we
look for a restoration of fraternal relations between the States only to
be accomplished by peaceful and conciliatory means, aided by the
wisdom of Almighty God.

To this address Mr. LINCOLN made the following reply :

MR. MAYOR: It is with feelings of deep gratitude that I make my
acknowledgments for the reception that has been given me in the great
commercial city of New York. I cannot but remember that it is done
by the people, who do not, by a large majority, agree with me in politi
cal sentiment. It is the more grateful to me, because in this I see that
for the great principles of our Government the people are pretty nearly
or quite unanimous. In regard to the difficulties that confront us at
this time, and of which you have seen fit to speak so becomingly and
so justly, I can only say that I agree with the sentiments expressed.
In my devotion to the Union I hope I am behind no man in the nation.
As to my wisdom in conducting affairs so as to tend to the preservation
of the Union, I fear too great confidence may have been placed in me.
I am sure I bring a heart devoted to the work. There is nothing that
could ever bring me to consent willingly to consent to the destruc
tion of this Union (in which not only the great city of New York, but
the whole country, has acquired its greatness), unless it would be that
thing for which the Union itself was made. I understand that the ship
is made for the carrying and preservation of the cargo ; and so long as
the ship is safe with the cargo, it shall not be abandoned. This Union
shall never be abandoned, unless the possibility of its existence shall
cease to exist, without the necessity of throwing passengers and cargo
ttrerboard. So long, then, as it is possible that the prosperity and liber-


ties of this people can be preserved within this Union, it shall be my
purpose at all times to preserve it. And now, Mr. Mayor, renewing
my thanks for this cordial reception, allow me to come to a close.

On the morning of Thursday, the 21st, Mr. LINCOLN left
New York for Philadelphia, and on reaching Jersey City was
met and welcomed, on behalf of the State, by the Hon. W. L.
Dayton, to whose remarks he made this reply :

shall only thank you briefly for this very kind reception given me, not
personally, but as the temporary representative of the majesty of the
nation. [Applause.] To the kindness of your hearts, and of the hearts
of your brethren in your State^ I should be very proud to respond, but
I shall not have strength to address you or other assemblages at length,
even if I had the time to do so. I appear before you, therefore, for
little else than to greet you, and to briefly say farewell. You have
done me the very high honor to present your reception courtesies to me
through your great man a man with whom it is an honor to be asso
ciated anywhere, and in owning whom no State can be poor. [Ap
plause.] He has said enough, and by the saying of it suggested enough,
to require a response of an hour well considered. [Applause.] I could
not in an hour make a worthy response to it. I therefore, ladies and
gentlemen of New Jersey, content myself with saying, most heartily do
I indorse all the sentiments he has expressed. [Applause.] Allow me,
most gratefully, to bid you farewell. [Applause.]

At Newark he was welcomed by the Mayor, to whom he
said :

MB. MAYOR : I thank you for this reception at the city of Newark.
"With regard to the great work of which you speak, I will say that I
bring to it a heart filled with love for my country, and an honest desire
to do what is right. I am sure, however, that I have not the ability to
do any thing unaided of God, and that without his support, and that of
this free, happy, prosperous, and intelligent people, no man can succeed
in doing that the importance of which we all comprehend. Again
thanking you for the reception you have given me, 1 will now bid you
farewell, and proceed upon my journey.


At Trenton he was received by a committee of the Legis
lature, and escorted to both branches, which were in session.
The President of the Senate welcomed him in a brief address,
to which he made the following reply :

NEW JERSEY: I am very grateful to you for the honorable reception
of which I have been the object. I cannot but remember the place that
New Jersey holds in our early history. In the early revolutionary
struggle few of the States among the old thirteen had more of the battle
fields of the country within their limits than old New Jersey. May I
be pardoned if, upon this occasion, I mention that away back in my
childhood, the earliest days of my being able to read, I got hold of a
small book, such a one as few of the younger members have ever seen,
""WEEM S Life of Washington. 1 1 I remember all the accounts there
given of the battle-fields and struggles for the liberties of the country,
and none fixed themselves upon my imagination so deeply as the strug
gle here at Trenton, New Jersey. The crossing of the river ; the con
test with the Hessians ; the great hardships endured at that time, all
fixed themselves on my memory, more than any single revolutionary
event ; and you all know, for 3 r ou have all been boys, how these early
impressions last longer than any others. I recollect tl linking then, boy
even though I was, that there must have been something more than
common that these men struggled for. I am exceedingly anxious that
that thing which they struggled for ; that something even more than
National Independence ; that something that held out a great promise
to all the people of the world to all time to come I am exceedingly
anxious that this Union, the Constitution, and the liberties of the people
shall be perpetuated in accordance with the original idea for which that
struggle was made, and I shall be most happy indeed if I shall be an
humble instrument in the hands of the Almighty and of this, his most
chosen people, as the chosen instrument also in the hands of the
Almighty for perpetuating the object of that great struggle. You
give me this reception, as I understand, without distinction of party. I
learn that this body is composed of a majority of gentlemen who, in
the exercise of their best judgment in the choice of a Chief Magistrate,
did not think I was the man. I understand, nevertheless, that they
come forward hereto greet me as the constitutional President of the
United States as citizens of the United States to meet the man who,


for the time being, is tho representative man of the nation united by a
purpose to perpetuate the Union and liberties of the people. As such,
I accept this reception more gratefully than I could do did I believe it
was tendered to me as an individual.

Mr. LINCOLN then passed to the Assembly Chamber, where,
in reply to the Speaker, he said :

MR. SPEAKER AND GENTLEMEN: I have just enjoyed the honor of a
reception by the other branch of this Legislature, and I return to you
and them my thanks for the reception which the people of New Jersey
have given through their chosen representatives to me as the rep
resentative, for the time being, of the majesty of the people of the
United States. I appropriate to myself very little of the demonstrations
of respect with which I have been greeted. I think little should be
given to any man, but that it should be a manifestation of adherence to
the Union and the Constitution. I understand myself to be received
here by the representatives of the people of New Jersey, a majority of
whom differ in opinion from those with whom I have acted. This man
ifestation is, therefore, to be regarded by me as expressing their devotion
to the Union, the Constitution, and the liberties of the people. You,
Mr. Speaker, have well said that this is a time when the bravest and
wisest look with doubt and awe upon the aspect presented by our na
tional affairs. Under these circumstances, you will readily see why I
should not speak in detail of the course I shall deem it best to pursue.
It is proper that I should avail myself of all the information and all the
time at my command, in order that when the time arrives in which I
must speak officially, I shall be able to take the ground which I deem
the best and safest, and from which I may have no occasion to swerve.
I shall endeavor to take the ground I deem most just to the North, the
East, the West, the South, and the whole country. I take it, I hope, in
good temper, certainly with no malice towards any section. I shall do
all that may be in my power to promote a peaceful settlement of all our
difficulties. The man does not live who is more devoted to peace than
I am. [Cheers.] None who would do more to preserve it, but it may
be necessary to put the foot down firmly. [Here the audience broke
out into cheers so loud and long, that for some moments it was impossi
ble to hear Mr. LINCOLN S voice.] And if I do my duty and do right
you will sustain me, will you not ? [Loud cheers-, and cries of " Yes,
yes, we will."] Received, as I am, by the members of a Legislature,


the majority of whom do not agree with me in political sentiments, I
trust that I may Lave their assistance in piloting the ship of State
through this voyage, surrounded by perils as it is, for if it should suffer
wreck now, there will be no pilot ever needed for another voyage.
Gentlemen, I have already spoken longer than I intended, and must beg
leave to stop here.

The procession then moved to the Trenton House, where
the President-elect made the following speech to the crowd
outside :

I have boen invited by your representatives to the Legislature, to
visit this, the Capital of your honored State, and in acknowledging their
kind invitation, compelled to respond to the welcome of the presiding
officers of each body, and I suppose. they intended I should speak to
you through them, as they are the representatives of all of you ; and if
I was to speak again here, I should only have to repeat, in a great
measure, much that I have said, which would be disgusting to my
friends around me who have met here. I have no speech to make, but
merely appear to see you and let you look at me, and as to the latter I
think I have greatly the best of the bargain. [Laughter.] My friends,
allow me to bid you farewell.

The party arrived at Philadelphia at 4 o clock, and the
President-elect, proceeding immediately to the Continental
Hotel, was welcomed in a brief speech from Mayor Henry, to
which he replied as follows :

fore you to make no lengthy speech, but to thank you for this reception,
The reception you have given me to-night is not to me, the man, the in
dividual, but to the man who temporarily represents, or should represent
the majesty of the nation. [Cheers.] It is true, as your worthy Mayor
has said, that there is anxiety amongst the citizens of the United States
at this time. I deem it a happy circumstance that this dissatisfied posi
tion of our fellow-citizens does not point us to any thing in which they
are being injured, or about to be injured, for which reason I have felt all
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 we upon this subject, they have not pointed out the substantial
difficulty that exists. 1 do not mean to say that an artificial panic may


not do considerable harm : that it has done such I do not deny. Tho
hope that has been expressed by your Mayor, that I may be able to re
store peace, harmony, and prosperity to the country, is most worthy of
Mm ; and happy, indeed, will I be if I shall be able to verify and fulfil
that hope. [Tremendous cheering.] I promise you, in all sincerity,
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 use
less for me to speak of details of plans now ; I shall speak officially 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 1he 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 Consti
tution of the United States, and I will add the Declaration of Independ
ence, were originally framed and adopted. [Enthusiastic applause.] I
assure you and your Mayor that I had hoped on this occasion, and upon
all occasions during my life, that I shall do nothing inconsistent with the
teachings of these holy and most sacred walls. I never asked any thing
that does not breathe from those walls. All my political warfare has
been in favor of the teachings that came 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.

On the 2 1st Mr. LINCOLN visited the old Independence Hall,
from which was originally issued the Declaration of Independ
ence. He was received in a cordial speech by Mr. Theodore
Cuyler, to which he made the following response :

MB. CUTLER: I am filled with deep emotion at finding myself stand
ing here 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 the present distracted condition
of the 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 Independence. I
have often pondered over the dangers which were incurred by the men
who assembled here, and framed and adopted that Declaration of Inde
pendence. I have pondered over the. toils 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 the separation of the Colonies from the mother land, but that senti
ment in the Declaration of Independence which gave liberty, not alone
to the people of this country, but, I hope, to the world, for all future
time. [Great applause.] It was that which gave promise that in due
time the weight would be lifted from the shoulders of all men. This is
the sentiment embodied in the Declaration of Independence. Now, my
friends, can this country be saved upon that basis ? 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 sur
render it. [Applause.] Now, in my view of the present aspect of
affairs, there need be no bloodshed or 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 be forced upon the Government, and then
it will be compelled to act in self-defence. [Applause.]

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

One object of tlie visit to the Hall was, to have Mr. LINCOLN
assist in raising the national flag over the Hall. Arrangements
had been made for the performance of this ceremony, arid Mr.
Lincoln was escorted to the platform prepared for the purpose,
and was invited, in a brief address, to raise the flag. He re
sponded in a patriotic speech, announcing his cheerful compli-


ance with the request. lie alluded to the original flag of thir
teen stars, saying that the number had increased as time rolled
on and we became a happy, powerful people, each star adding
to its prosperity. The future is in the hands of the people. It
was on such an occasion we could reason together, reaffirm our
devotion to the country and the principles of the Declaration
of Independence. Lot us make up our minds, said he, that when
ever we do put a new star upon our banner, it shall be a fixed
one, never to be dimmed by the horrors of war, but brightened
by the contentment and prosperity of peace. Let us go on to ex
tend the area of our usefulness, and add star upon star until their
light shall shine over five hundre d millions of free and happy
people. lie then performed his part in the ceremony, amidst
a thundering discharge of artillery.

In the afternoon he left for the West. On reaching Lancas
ter he was received with a salute, and replied to an address of
welcome in the following words :

a speech. I have not time to make a speech at length, and not strength
to make them on every occasion, and worse than all I have none to make.
There is plenty of matter to speak about in these times, but it is well
known that the more a man speaks the less he is understood the more
he says one thing, the more his adversaries contend lie meant something
else. I shall soon have occasion to speak officially, and then I will en
deavor to put my thoughts just as plain as I can express myself true
to the Constitution and Union of all the States, and to the perpetual lib
erty of all the people. Until I so speak, there is no need to enter upon
details. In conclusion, I greet you most heartily, and bid you an affec
tionate farewell.

On reaching Harrisburg, on the 22d, Mr. LINCOLN was
escorted to the Legislature, and was welcomed by the presi
ding officers of the two houses, to whom he replied as follows:

I appear before you only for a very few, brief remarks, in response to
what has been said to me. I thank you most sincerely for this recep
tion and the generous words in which support has been promised me


upon this occasion. I thank your great Commonwealth for the over
whelming support it recently gave, not me personally, but the cause
which I think a just one, in the late election. [Loud applause.]
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 anniversary connected with
the history of this country. I have already gone through one exceed
ingly interesting scene this morning in the ceremonies at Philadelphia.
Under the high conduct of gentlemen there, I was for the first time
allowed the privilege of standing in old Independence Hall [Enthu
siastic cheering], to have a few words addressed to me there, and open
ing up to me an opportunity of expressing, with much regret, that I had
not more time to express something of my own feelings, excited by the
occasion, somewhat to harmonize and give shape to the feelings 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

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 8 of 46)